This afternoon I’m flying to Chattanooga, TN, for Precept Ministries’ October Women’s Weekend. Here’s a photo of me and my friend Alicia Garcia (front row) with Kay Arthur (middle), and BJ Lawson, Donna Haginas, and Donna Otto (back row) after enjoying a nice quiet lunch at the English Rose Tearoom before the craziness of last year’s October Women’s Weekend began.
I can’t wait to have some girlfriend time as well as be encouraged and challenged by great teaching from the Word. If you’re there, please come up and say hi. I’d love to meet you!
Usually when I recommend a book for you to read, it is a Christian biography. Not always, but usually. This one is not. Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca is an amazing journey into the world of the most maligned people on earth – Gypsies. Or Roma, as they are referred to in many parts of Eastern Europe.
The Amazon.com Review says of the book: “They travel endlessly and seem to appear almost everywhere, yet they are the world’s most mysterious people: Gypsies. Isabel Fonseca has done the impossible, entering into their world, living and traveling with Gypsies during several long trips to Eastern Europe, and she has brought back an insightful, highly personal, and very readable account of who the Gypsies are and how they live. The Gypsies have a legendary aversion to ‘gadje,’ or outsiders, but Fonseca has lifted the curtain and written gracefully about their lives on the edge of society.”
My love for gypsies began almost 10 years ago with my first trip to Romania. Here’s a picture of my family and me in 2005 standing in the muddy streets of a gypsy village with one of our precious sisters in Christ. One of the few things I’ll probably ever agree with Madonna on is the injustice of the overwhelming racism against gypsies throughout Europe. My experience has been that the many stray dogs that roam the streets of Bucharest are more valued than they.
I’ll warn you: it isn’t an easy read. But it is completely fascinating. Stick with it. I promise you’ll learn a lot. And who knows – you might find out that you have something in common with Madonna, too!
One of the great things about the internet is the plethora of free information available on just about any subject. Bible study is no exception. Obviously, Bible study software programs that are available for purchase have their benefits and features which cannot be found online for free. But if you are a student of the Word and you are on a tight budget, you still have a lot of options.
A program that I have used for years is Online Bible. It has the basics: concordance, lexicons, word search, commentaries, and more. Go here and download it for free. There is also Palm OS for Palm Operating Systems. I am no computer expert but have found Online Bible easy to download and use.
Of course, I’m still saving my pennies for the Cadillac of Bible study software programs- Logos – but I have certainly gotten my money’s worth from the FREE Online Bible.
Have you ever wondered what your spiritual gift is? Or maybe you didn’t know that you have a spiritual gift. God’s Word teaches that each believer is given at least one charisma (gift of grace, divine gratuity, spiritual gift) by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. Knowing your gift helps you accept your place in the body of Christ and helps you function properly within the body and, therefore, causes the whole body to function properly. Best of all, God is glorified most when we are fulfilling His purpose in our lives.
How can you find out what your spiritual gift is? There are several ways. First, study God’s Word and pray. The primary passages dealing with this subject are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Precept Ministries has a wonderful study on Spiritual Gifts that goes into these passages in depth. (Order a workbook here.) Second, ask a godly Christian who knows you pretty well what he or she thinks your gift might be.
Another way is to take a spiritual gifts test. Be careful with this and remember 2 things: (1) Any test, no matter how good, is still written by man and is, therefore, fallible and (2) You need to understand the scriptural definition of each gift before you can properly understand how to use your gift.
Here is an online spiritual gifts test that is pretty good. After answering all the questions, your results are sent to your email address. I took it myself, and the results seemed right on target for me. Do your studying first, then take the test. Let me know what you thought of your results. I’d love to hear.
*You can also listen to this class discussion (Romans Part 4 Lesson 3). It will help guide you through the Scriptures mentioned above.
In Jonah Chapter 1, a key word is “calamity.” The calamity comes in the form of a great storm on the sea that threatens to run the ship aground. This word is found in many other places throughout the Old Testament. Much of the time, the author of the calamity is God Himself. Of course, the calamity is almost always a result of serious disobedience on the part of His people. (We would never do that, would we? Noooo, not us!)
My symbol for this word resembles a tornado and is drawn with a red pen. Mark every occurrence of this word, make a list of what you learn from each occurrence, and then apply it to your life so that you can know how to live when calamity comes into your life!