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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Tenth Plague Submitted to My Publisher

First, an Apology

Adam hard at work in his home office
Many may have wondered why I've been silent so long. It's true: I haven't sent out a writing update in ages. Why? I wanted to stay focused on the next novel and not continually bug all you nice people until I actually had something important to say. I hope you'll forgive me, but there was method behind my madness. Still, I should have worked harder at staying in touch.

The Sequel Is Done

Now for the big news. The Tenth Plague, my sequel to Fatal Illusions, is finally in the hands of my publisher. I'm grateful to God for helping me on this long journey that began with a synopsis submitted during the summer of 2009 and later to a major rewrite that began last May. My writing journeys are never easy and often seem to take a very long time—all within God's grand design, of course. I guess God also wants to teach me patience when a certain plot segment takes literally hours to get right, and humility when I can't keep up to the pace of other successful novelists.

So What Happens Next?

Now I wait to hear if my publisher likes the sequel. There are no guarantees that the sequel will even be accepted, though I have a gut feeling that the project is strong. In my opinion, it's my best work so far. But of course I bet every novelist feels that way after finishing a big project.

What am I working on next? A lot of story ideas are bouncing around in my head even as I write this. I have a file full of all sorts of unusual story ideas. The problem isn't finding ideas. It's seeing the potential in them and learning how to craft them into a believable, engaging read with a strong protagonist who faces a foe, struggles, even gets hurt, but wins in a big way. Yes, a certain unusual story idea has been nagging me for a while, so that's where I'm going next. What's the idea? Not so fast. You'll have to wait and see. (-;

Other News of Interest

Fatal Illusions has been on the Kregel best-seller list for a year now, so I find that news encouraging. All glory to God!

Last summer I had the honor of being a contributing columnist at the Christian Fiction Online Magazine. If you're interested in learning more about the process that went into writing Fatal Illusions, surf on over to my article, "What You Don't Know Can Hurt You."

How Are Things with My Dad?

Mom and Dad at Thanksgiving
Many may be wondering about my dad's brain cancer. Praise God, the cancer hasn't revealed any growth for a full year, so we are rejoicing. Doctors gave Dad a minimum of two years (January will mark Dad's two-year anniversary), so we have much to be grateful for. However, please keep my folks in prayer. Dad has suffered brain damage and struggles with simple things: seeing (on the left side), walking, remembering things, and doing things with his hands. He's been a fixer and hands-on type all his life, so perhaps you can imagine how hard (and depressing) this lifestyle change has been for him. He can easily become confused, but thankfully my mom is there to take care of him and remind him of God's goodness. Life isn't easy for them, but God gives grace for each day. I'm thankfully only five minutes away and can zip over at a moment's notice if they need help.

Thank you for your support. I'll be in touch when and if I have any news to share. In the meantime, I'll try not to bug you too much. May the Lord receive the glory for whatever He chooses to do. May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Emily of Deep Valley

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Emily of Deep Valley
Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
Mitali Perkins


A word from Mitali: Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong female characters trying to bridge different cultures.

Mitali Perkins is the author of several books for young people, including SECRET KEEPER (Random House), MONSOON SUMMER (Random House), RICKSHAW GIRL (Charlesbridge), and the FIRST DAUGHTER books (Dutton).


Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

Book Review

I requested this novel for my mom and my sister but sadly must confess that neither warmed up to this novel.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Facebook's Filters Fall Short in Blocking Pedophiles

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google posting the complete Dead Sea Scrolls online

Google posting the complete Dead Sea Scrolls online
How to Get Started With Google Voice

A Very Private Grave by Donna Fletcher Crow

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Very Private Grave
Monarch Books (August 1, 2010)
Donna Fletcher Crow


Donna Fletcher Crow is author of more than thirty-five novels. She has twice won first place in the Historical Fiction category from the National Association of Press Women, and has also been a finalist for "Best Inspirational Novel" from the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of The Arts Centre Group and Sisters in Crime. Find out more at

"History and mystery and murders most foul keep the pages turning ... A fascinating read." –Liz Curtis Higgs, bestelling author of Thorn in My Heart
“A Knickerbocker Glory of a thriller, a sweeping, page-turning quest served up with dollops of Church history and lashings of romance. Donna Fletcher Crow has created her own niche within the genre of clerical mysteries.” – Kate Charles, author of Deep Waters
“As in Glastonbury, Donna Fletcher Crow’s descriptions of the English and Scottish settings in her new mystery are drawn with real artistry. Lovers of British history and church history will be impressed by her grasp of both.”—Sally Wright, Edgar Award finalist and author of the Ben Reese Mysteries


Felicity Howard, a young American studying for the Anglican priesthood at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, is devastated when she finds her beloved Fr. Dominic bludgeoned to death and Fr. Antony, her church history lecturer, soaked in his blood.

Following the cryptic clues contained in a poem the dead man had pressed upon her minutes before his death, she and Fr. Antony—who is wanted for questioning by the police—flee the monastery to seek more information about Fr. Dominic and end up in the holy island of Lindisfarne, former home of Saint Cuthbert.

Their quest leads them into a dark puzzle...and considerable danger.

If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of A Very Private Grave, go HERE.

Watch the book video:

My Mom's Review

My mom had a difficult time getting through this novel for a few reasons. First, the novel is strongly Anglican, but even if one can be patient in that regard, the story is overloaded with history and, in her words, "too much going on." She also didn't like to see profanity suggested by the first letter of the word followed by a dash. The mind still fills in what the word is, especially the F word. This is simply unnecessary in a Christian novel and frankly disgusted her. Still, she did enjoy the trips across England, some of the history, and the puzzles the protagonists needed to solve to unravel the mystery. But overall, she finished the novel with a dissatisfied feeling. Sorry. She truly wishes she could have been more positive on this one.

Monday, October 18, 2010

YouTube - Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia

YouTube - Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 1
While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin

While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
While We're Far Apart
Bethany House (October 1, 2010)
Lynn Austin


It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.


In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother.

Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie's wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war.

And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary. But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse.

Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected--and ultimately discovering truths about God's love...even when He is silent.

If you would like to read the first chapter of While We're Far Apart, go HERE.

My Review

Both my mom and my wife loved this novel! Great characters and plot and not skimpy on message. My mom plans to submit a review for me to post. Because both women have raved about this book, I am adding it to my own TBR pile. Congratulations, Lynn!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Thursday, October 14, 2010

O’Donnell vs. Coons – Full Debate

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gold hits record as Fed signal sinks dollar
Obama administration appeals gay marriage ruling | Reuters

Monday, October 11, 2010

Deal Near for ‘Hobbit’ Films in 3-D, With Peter Jackson Directing -

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fed Officials Mull Inflation as a Fix -

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Clinton-Biden swap 'on the table'? Absolutely not, says Axelrod.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gallup’s astonishing numbers and the Lake Superior congressional districts | Washington Examiner

Monday, October 4, 2010

Encroachment of Islam in Europe

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Mayan Apocalypse by Mark Hitchcock and Alton Gansky

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing The Mayan Apocalypse (Harvest House Publishers, September 1, 2010) by Mark Hitchcock and Alton Gansky


Mark Hitchcock is the author of more than 17 books related to end-time Bible prophecy, including the bestselling 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World. He earned a ThM and PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He has worked as an adjunct professor at DTS and has served as a contributing editor for the Left Behind Prophecy Club for five years.

Alton Gansky is the author of 30 books—24 of them novels, including the Angel Award winner Terminal Justice and Christie Award finalist A Ship Possessed. A frequent speaker at writing conferences, he holds BA and MA degrees in biblical studies. Alton and his wife reside in Southern California.

On the heels of Mark Hitchcock’s prophecy bestseller 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World comes a suspenseful novel (coauthored with bestselling novelist Alton Gansky) about the supposed expiration date of planet earth—December 21, 2012.

Andrew Morgan is a wealthy oil executive in search of the meaning of life. In his quest for answers he encounters the ancient Mayan predictions that the world will end in 2012. That the claims seem supported by math and astronomy drives him to check on them. Then he meets Lisa Campbell, an attractive Christian journalist also researching the Mayan calendar. When he learns that she is a Christian, he quickly dismisses what she has to say.

As the time draws closer to December 21, 2012, a meteorite impact in Arizona, a volcanic eruption, and the threat of an asteroid on a collision-course with earth escalate fears. Are these indicators of a global apocalypse? Will anyone survive? Does Lisa’s Christian faith have the answers after all? Or has fate destined everyone to a holocaust from which there is no escape?

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Mayan Apocalypse, go HERE.

My Review

I'm looking forward to reading this one. I'll post my thoughts here when I'm done.
Book Review: Be Available by Warren Wiersbe

Be Available by Warren Wiersbe

My Review:

Once again Wiersbe hits the ball out of the park. I love his Be Series, and this offering in the series is no exception. Judges is definitely an Old Testament book that doesn't get much attention, and I loved digging in and seeing what the Word had to offer, complemented by Wiersbe insights. Once again I wasn't disappointed. I highly recommend this type of meaty but practical, easy-to-read Bible study to any layman who wants to get more out of God's Word without attempting to read a scholarly commentary. Wiersbe is always accessible, easy to read, and meaty without sounding academic. I highly recommend every book in the Be Series. Don't miss this one. You'll be richer in your understanding of God's Word, and what could be better than that? In the interest of full disclosure, a free copy of this book was provided in exchange for this unbiased review. Thank you to Cook Communications for providing my review copy.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook; 2 edition (September 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karen Davis of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the “Back to the Bible” radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 2 edition (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700488
ISBN-13: 978-1434700483


It Was the Worst of Times

(Judges 1—2)






Sensational headlines like these are usually found on the front page of supermarket tabloids, but the above headlines actually describe some of the events narrated in the book of Judges.1 What a contrast they are to the closing chapters of the book of Joshua, where you see a nation resting from war and enjoying the riches God had given them in the Promised Land. But the book of Judges pictures Israel suffering from invasion, slavery, poverty, and civil war. What happened?

The nation of Israel quickly decayed after a new generation took over, a generation that knew neither Joshua nor Joshua’s God. “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that He did for Israel.… And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judg. 2:7, 10; and see Josh. 24:31). Instead of exhibiting spiritual fervor, Israel sank into apathy; instead of obeying the Lord, the people moved into apostasy; and instead of the nation enjoying law and order, the land was filled with anarchy. Indeed, for Israel it was the worst of times.

One of the key verses in the book of Judges is 21:25: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (see 17:6; 18:1; 19:1).2 At Mount Sinai, the Lord had taken Israel to be His “kingdom of priests,” declaring that He alone would reign over them (Ex. 19:1–8). Moses reaffirmed the kingship of Jehovah when he explained the covenant to the new generation before they entered Canaan (Deut. 29ff.). After the conquest of Jericho and Ai, Joshua declared to Israel her kingdom responsibilities (Josh. 8:30–35), and he reminded the people of them again before his death (Josh. 24). Even Gideon, perhaps the greatest of the judges, refused to set up a royal dynasty. “I will not rule over you,” he said, “neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you” (Judg. 8:23).

Deuteronomy 6 outlined the nation’s basic responsibilities: Love and obey Jehovah as the only true God (vv. 1–5); teach your children God’s laws (vv. 6–9); be thankful for God’s blessings (vv. 10–15); and separate yourself from the worship of the pagan gods in the land of Canaan (vv. 16–25). Unfortunately, the new generation failed in each of those responsibilities. The people didn’t want to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33); they would rather experiment with the idolatry of the godless nations around them. As a result, Israel plunged into moral, spiritual, and political disaster.

One of two things was true: Either the older generation had failed to instruct their children and grandchildren in the ways of the Lord, or, if they had faithfully taught them, then the new generation had refused to submit to God’s law and follow God’s ways. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34 NKJV). The book of Judges is the record of that reproach, and the first two chapters describe four stages in Israel’s decline and fall.


The book of Judges begins with a series of victories and defeats that took place after the death of Joshua. The boundary lines for the twelve tribes had been determined years before (Josh. 13–22), but the people had not yet fully claimed their inheritance by defeating and dislodging the entrenched inhabitants of the land. When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed” (Josh. 13:1 NKJV). The people of Israel owned all the land, but they didn’t possess all of it, and therefore they couldn’t enjoy all of it.

The victories of Judah (vv. 1–20). Initially the people of Israel wisely sought God’s guidance and asked the Lord which tribe was to engage the enemy first. Perhaps God told Judah to go first because Judah was the kingly tribe (Gen. 49:8–9). Judah believed God’s promise, obeyed God’s counsel, and even asked the people of the tribe of Simeon to go to battle with them. Since Leah had given birth to Judah and Simeon, these tribes were blood brothers (Gen. 35:23). Incidentally, Simeon actually had its inheritance within the tribe of Judah (Josh. 19:1).

When Joshua was Israel’s leader, all the tribes worked together in obeying the will of God. In the book of Judges, however, you don’t find the nation working together as a unit. When God needed someone to deliver His people, He called that person out of one of the tribes and told him or her what to do. In obedience to the Lord, Moses had appointed Joshua as his successor, but later God didn’t command Joshua to name a successor. These circumstances somewhat parallel the situation of the church in the world today. Unfortunately, God’s people aren’t working together to defeat the enemy, but here and there, God is raising up men and women of faith who are experiencing His blessing and power and are leading His people to victory.

With God’s help, the two tribes conquered the Canaanites at Bezek (Judg. 1:4–7), captured, humiliated, and incapacitated one of their kings by cutting off his thumbs and big toes. (See Judg. 16:21; 1 Sam. 11:2; and 2 Kings 25:7 for further instances about being disabled.) With those handicaps, he wouldn’t be able to run easily or use a weapon successfully. Thus the “lord of Bezek” was paid back for what he had done to seventy other kings, although he may have been exaggerating a bit when he made this claim.

Those seventy kings illustrate the sad plight of anybody who has given in to the enemy: They couldn’t walk or run correctly; they couldn’t use a sword effectively; they were in the place of humiliation instead of on the throne; and they were living on scraps and leftovers instead of feasting at the table. What a difference it makes when you live by faith and reign in life through Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:17).

Jerusalem (v. 8) was Israel’s next trophy, but though the Israelites conquered the city, they didn’t occupy it (v. 21). That wasn’t done until the time of David (2 Sam. 5:7). Judah and Benjamin were neighboring tribes, and since the city was located on their border, both tribes were involved in attacking it. Later, Jerusalem would become “the city of David” and the capital of Israel.

They next attacked the area south and west of Jerusalem, which included Hebron (Judg. 1:9–10, 20). This meant fighting in the hill country, the south (Negev), and the foothills. Joshua had promised Hebron to Caleb because of his faithfulness to the Lord at Kadesh Barnea (Num. 13–14; Josh. 14:6–15; Deut. 1:34–36). Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai were descendants of the giant Anak whose people had frightened ten of the twelve Jewish spies who first explored the land (Num. 13:22, 28). Even though Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies, had the faith needed to overcome the enemy, the people wouldn’t listen to them.

Faith must have run in Caleb’s family, because the city of Debir (Judg. 1:11–16)3 was taken by Othniel, Caleb’s nephew (3:9, Josh. 15:17). For a reward, he received Caleb’s daughter Achsah as his wife. Othniel later was called to serve as Israel’s first judge (Judg. 3:7–11). Since water was a precious commodity, and land was almost useless without it, Achsah urged her husband to ask her father to give them the land containing the springs that they needed. Apparently Othniel was better at capturing cities than he was at asking favors from his father-in-law, so Achsah had to do it herself. Her father then gave her the upper and lower springs. Perhaps this extra gift was related in some way to her dowry.

The Kenites (1:16) were an ancient people (Gen. 15:19) who are thought to have been nomadic metal workers. (The Hebrew word qayin means “a metalworker, a smith.”) According to Judges 4:11, the Kenites were descended from Moses’ brother-in-law Hobab,4 and thus were allies of Israel. The city of palms was Jericho, a deserted and condemned city (Josh. 6:26), so the Kenites moved to another part of the land under the protection of the tribe of Judah.

After Judah and Simeon destroyed Hormah (Judg. 1:17), the army of Judah turned its attention to the Philistine cities of Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron (vv. 18–19). Because the Philistines had iron chariots, the Jews couldn’t easily defeat them on level ground, but they did claim the hill country.

What is important about the military history is that “the LORD was with Judah” (v. 19), and that’s what gave them victory. (See Num. 14:42–43; Josh. 1:5 and 6:27; and Judg. 6:16.) “If God be for us, who can

be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

The victory of Joseph (vv. 22–26). The tribe of Ephraim joined with the western section of the tribe of Manasseh and, with the Lord’s help, they took the city of Bethel. This city was important to the Jews because of its connection with the patriarchs (Gen. 12:8; 13:3; 28:10–12; 35:1–7). Apparently it hadn’t been taken during the conquest under Joshua, or if it had been, the Jews must have lost control. The saving of the informer’s family reminds us of the salvation of Rahab’s family when Jericho was destroyed (Josh. 2, 6). How foolish of this rescued people not to stay with the Israelites, where they were safe and could learn about the true and living God.

2. SPARING THE ENEMY (1:21, 27–36)

Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan all failed to overcome the enemy and had to allow these godless nations to continue living in their tribal territories. The enemy even chased the tribe of Dan out of the plains into the mountains! The Jebusites remained in Jerusalem (v. 21), and the Canaanites who remained were finally pressed “into forced labor” when the Jews became stronger (v. 28 NIV). Eventually Solomon conscripted these Canaanite peoples to build the temple (1 Kings

9:20–22; 2 Chron. 8:7–8), but this was no compensation for the problems the Canaanites caused the Jews. This series of tribal defeats was the first indication that Israel was no longer walking by faith and trusting God to give them victory.

The priests possessed a copy of the book of Deuteronomy and were commanded to read it publicly to the nation every sabbatical year during the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:9–13). Had they been faithful to do their job, the spiritual leaders would have read Deuteronomy 7 and warned the Israelites not to spare their pagan neighbors. The priests also would have reminded the people of God’s promises that He would help them defeat their enemies (Deut. 31:1–8). It was by receiving and obeying the book of the law that Joshua had grown in faith and courage (Josh. 1:1–9; Rom. 10:17), and that same Word would have enabled the new generation to overcome their enemies and claim their inheritance.

The first step the new generation took toward defeat and slavery was neglecting the Word of God, and generations ever since have made that same mistake. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4 NKJV). I fear that too many believers today are trying to live on religious fast food dispensed for easy consumption (no chewing necessary) by entertaining teachers who give people what they want, not what they need. Is it any wonder many churches aren’t experiencing God’s power at work in their


But wasn’t it cruel and unjust for God to command Israel to exterminate the nations in Canaan? Not in the least! To begin with, He had been patient with these nations for centuries and had mercifully withheld His judgment (Gen. 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9). Their society, and especially their religion, was unspeakably wicked (Rom. 1:18ff.) and should have been wiped out years before Israel appeared on the scene.

Something else is true: These nations had been warned by the judgments God had inflicted on others, especially on Egypt and the nations east of the Jordan (Josh. 2:8–13). Rahab and her family had sufficient information to be able to repent and believe, and God saved them (Josh. 2; 6:22–25). Therefore, we have every right to conclude that God would have saved anybody who had turned to Him. These nations were sinning against a flood of light in rejecting God’s truth and going their own way.

God didn’t want the filth of the Canaanite society and religion to contaminate His people Israel. Israel was God’s special people, chosen to fulfill divine purposes in this world. Israel would give the world the knowledge of the true God, the Holy Scriptures, and the Savior. In order to accomplish God’s purposes, the nation had to be separated from all other nations, for if Israel was polluted, how could the Holy Son of God come into the world? “God is perpetually at war with sin,” wrote G. Campbell Morgan. “That is the whole explanation of the extermination of the Canaanites.”5

The main deity in Canaan was Baal, god of rainfall6 and fertility, and Ashtoreth was his spouse. If you wanted to have fruitful orchards and vineyards, flourishing crops, and increasing flocks and herds, you worshipped Baal by visiting a temple prostitute. This combination of idolatry, immorality, and agricultural success was difficult for men to resist, which explains why God told Israel to wipe out the Canaanite religion completely (Num. 33:51–56; Deut. 7:1–5).


The danger. In this day of “pluralism,” when society contains people of opposing beliefs and lifestyles, it’s easy to get confused and start thinking that tolerance is the same as approval. It isn’t. In a democracy, the law gives people the freedom to worship as they please, and I must exercise patience and tolerance with those who believe and practice things that I feel God has condemned in His Word. The church today doesn’t wield the sword (Rom. 13) and therefore it has no authority to eliminate people who disagree with the Christian faith. But we do have the obligation before God to maintain a separate walk so we won’t become defiled by those who disagree with us (2 Cor. 6:14—7:1). We must seek by prayer, witness, and loving persuasion to win those to Christ who as yet haven’t trusted Him.

The Jews eventually became so accustomed to the sinful ways of their pagan neighbors that those ways didn’t seem sinful anymore. The Jews then became interested in how their neighbors worshipped, until finally Israel started to live like their enemies and imitate their ways. For believers today, the first step away from the Lord is “friendship with the world” (James 4:4 NKJV), which then leads to our being “unspotted from the world” (1:27). The next step is to “love the world” (1 John 2:15) and gradually become “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). This can lead to being “condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32), the kind of judgment that came to Lot (Gen. 19), Samson (Judg. 16), and Saul (1 Sam. 15, 31).

The disobedience (vv. 1–5). In the Old Testament, the “angel of the Lord” is generally interpreted to be the Lord Himself, who occasionally came to earth (a theophany) to deliver an important message. It was

probably the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, in a temporary preincarnation appearance (Gen. 16:9; 22:11; 48:16; Ex. 3:2; Judg. 6:11 and 13:3; 2 Kings 19:35). The fact that God Himself came to give the message shows how serious things had become in Israel.

The tabernacle was originally located at Gilgal (Josh. 4:19–20), and it was there that the men of Israel were circumcised and “rolled away the reproach of Egypt” (Josh. 5:2–9). It was also there that the Lord appeared to Joshua and assured him of victory as he began his campaign to conquer Canaan (Josh. 5:13–15). To Joshua, the angel of the Lord brought a message of encouragement; but to the new generation described in the book of Judges, He brought a message of punishment.

The Lord had kept His covenant with Israel; not one word of His promises had failed (Josh. 23:5, 10, 15; 1 Kings 8:56). He had asked them to keep their covenant with Him by obeying His law and destroying the Canaanite religious system—their altars, temples, and idols. (In Ex. 23:20–25, note the association between the angel of the Lord and the command to destroy the false religion; and see also Ex. 34:10–17 and Deut. 7:1–11.) But Israel disobeyed the Lord and not only spared the Canaanites and their godless religious system but also began to follow the enemy’s lifestyle themselves.

In His covenant, God promised to bless Israel if the people obeyed Him and to discipline them if they disobeyed Him (Deut. 27–28). God is always faithful to His Word, whether in blessing us or chastening us, for in both He displays His integrity and His love (Heb. 12:1–11). God would prefer to bestow the positive blessings of life that bring us enjoyment, but He doesn’t hesitate to remove those blessings if our suffering will motivate us to return to Him in repentance.

By their disobedience, the nation of Israel made it clear that they wanted the Canaanites to remain in the land. God let them have their way (Ps. 106:15), but He warned them of the tragic consequences. The nations in the land of Canaan would become thorns that would afflict Israel and traps that would ensnare them. Israel would look to the Canaanites for pleasures but would only experience pain; they would rejoice in their freedom only to see that freedom turn into their bondage.7

No wonder the people wept when they heard the message! (The Hebrew word bochim means “weepers.”) However, their sorrow was because of the consequences of their sins and not because the wickedness of their sins had convicted them. It was a shallow and temporary sorrow that never led them to true repentance (2 Cor. 7:8–11).

4. OBE YING THE ENEMY (2:6–23)

The sin in our lives that we fail to conquer will eventually conquer us. The people of Israel found themselves enslaved to one pagan nation after another as the Lord kept His word and chastened His people. Consider the sins of that new generation.

They forgot what the Lord had done (vv. 6–10). At that point in Israel’s history, Joshua stood next to Moses as a great hero, and yet the new generation didn’t recognize who he was or what he had done. In his popular novel 1984, George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” Once they got in control of the present, both Hitler and Stalin rewrote past history so they could control future events, and for a time it worked. How important it is for each new generation to recognize and appreciate the great men and women who helped to build and protect their nation! It’s disturbing when “revisionist” historians debunk the heroes and heroines of the past and almost make them criminals.

They forsook what the Lord had said (vv. 11–13). Had they remembered Joshua, they would have known his “farewell speeches” given to the leaders and the people of Israel (Josh. 23–24). Had they known those speeches, they would have known the law of Moses, for in his final messages, Joshua emphasized the covenant God had made with Israel and the responsibility Israel had to keep it. When you forget the Word of God, you are in danger of forsaking the God of the Word, which explains why Israel turned to the vile and vicious worship of Baal.

They forfeited what the Lord had promised (vv. 14–15). When they went out to fight their enemies, Israel was defeated, because the Lord wasn’t with His people. This is what Moses had said would happen (Deut. 28:25–26), but that isn’t all: Israel’s enemies eventually became their masters! God permitted one nation after another to invade the Promised Land and enslave His people, making life so miserable for them that they cried out for help. Had the Jews obeyed the Lord, their armies would have been victorious, but left to themselves they were defeated and humiliated.

They failed to learn from what the Lord did (vv. 16–23). Whenever Israel turned away from the Lord to worship idols, He chastened them severely, and when in their misery they turned back to Him, He liberated them. But just as soon as they were free and their situation was comfortable again, Israel went right back into the same old sins. “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.… Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of …” is the oft-repeated statement that records the sad, cyclical nature of Israel’s sins (3:7–8, see also v. 12; 4:1–4; 6:1; 10:6–7; 13:1). The people wasted their suffering. They didn’t learn the lessons God wanted them to learn and profit from His chastening.

God delivered His people by raising up judges, who defeated the enemy and set Israel free. The Hebrew word translated “judge” means “to save, to rescue.” The judges were deliverers who won great military victories with the help of the Lord. But the judges were also leaders who helped the people settle their disputes (4:4–5). The judges came from different tribes and functioned locally rather than nationally, and in some cases, their terms of office overlapped. The word “judge” is applied to only eight of the twelve people we commonly call “judges,” but all of them functioned as counselors and deliverers. The eight men are: Othniel (3:9), Tola (10:1–2), Jair (10:3–5), Jephthah (11), Ibzan (12:8–10), Elon (12:11–12), Abdon (12:13–15), and Samson (15:20; 16:30–31).

The cycle of disobedience, discipline, despair, and deliverance is seen today whenever God’s people turn away from His Word and go their own way. If disobedience isn’t followed by divine discipline, then the person is not truly a child of God; for God chastens all of His children (Heb. 12:3–13). God has great compassion for His people, but He is angry at their sins.

The book of Judges is the inspired record of Israel’s failures and God’s faithfulness. But if we study this book only as past history, we’ll miss the message completely. This book is about God’s people today. When the psalmist reviewed the period of the judges (Ps. 106:40–46), he concluded with a prayer that we need to pray today: “Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise” (Ps. 106:47 NIV).


1. When is it hard for you to obey God? Why?

2. Read Joshua 24:23–31 and Judges 1:1—2:13. Why did Israel end up obeying her enemies instead of God?

3. Read Deuteronomy 7:1–6. What was God’s plan for the people of Israel when they entered the Promised Land? Why?

4. How well did the Israelites obey this plan?

5. What was the key to their victory over their enemies? (See Judg. 1:19 and Rom. 8:31.)

6. What happened when they failed to overtake their enemies?

7. Review Judges 2:11–23. The Israelites repeatedly went through a cycle during the days of the judges. What were the steps of this cycle?

8. How is our society like the days of the judges?

9. How is today’s church like those days?

10. What temptations do God’s people face today that cause them to serve other gods?

11. How can we avoid these temptations so we don’t get caught in this type of cycle?

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Be Available by Warren Wiersbe. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 27, 2010

YouTube - Cyber Worm Strikes Iran Nuke Facility

Judgment Day by Wanda Dyson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Judgment Day
WaterBrook Press (September 21, 2010)

Wanda Dyson


Wanda Dyson – "a shining example of what Christian fiction is becoming..." (Christian Fiction Review). She's been called a "natural" and a "master of pacing," but her fans know that whether it's police thrillers, suspense, or bringing a true story to life, Wanda knows how to take her readers on a journey they'll never forget.

Wanda is a multipublished suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one attempt at a nonfiction book was picked for an exclusive release on Oprah. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment coordinator for the CCWC, Great Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW conferences.

Wanda lives in Western Maryland on a 125 acre farm with a menagerie of animals and when she's not writing critically acclaimed suspense, or away at conferences, you can find her zipping across the fields on a 4-wheeler with Maya, her German Shepherd, or plodding along at a more leisurely pace on her horse, Nanza.

With the release of her newest hit, Judgment Day, Wanda is heading back to the keyboard to start on her next high-octane thriller, The Vigilante.


Sensational journalism has never been so deadly.

The weekly cable news show Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell promises to expose businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians for the lies they tell. Suzanne positions herself as a champion of ethics and morality with a backbone of steel—until a revelation of her shoddy investigation tactics and creative fact embellishing put her in hot water with her employers, putting her credibility in question and threatening her professional ambitions.

Bitter and angry, Suzanne returns home one day to find an entrepreneur she is investigating, John Edward Sterling, unconscious on her living room floor. Before the night is over, Sterling is dead, she has his blood on her hands, and the police are arresting her for murder. She needs help to prove her innocence, but her only hope, private investigator Marcus Crisp, is also her ex-fiancé–the man she betrayed in college.

Marcus and his partner Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne reluctantly agree to take the case, but they won’t cut Suzanne any slack. Exposing her lack of ethics and the lives she’s destroyed in her fight for ratings does little to make them think Suzanne is innocent. But as Marcus digs into the mire of secrets surrounding her enemies, he unveils an alliance well-worth killing for. Now all he has to do is keep Suzanne and Alex alive long enough to prove it.

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Judgment Day, go HERE.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

YouTube - The Inconvenient Truth About Islam From an Ex-Muslim Woman
New Revelation - The Secret Blunder That Sank the Titanic

Monday, September 20, 2010 - Atheist Christopher Hitchens to Skip Prayer Day in His Honor
YouTube - The Lord Bless You and Keep You (John Rutter)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Christine O'Donnell, Delaware winner, bashes 'cannibalism'

Friday, September 10, 2010

YouTube - Karl Jenkins Imagined Oceans - 02 Mare Serenitatis

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to Stop an Allergic Sneezing Fit Without Medication |

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

YouTube - Glenn Beck's Crash Course
No Longer Just Star Trek - Scientists Invent a Tractor Beam

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Holy Sites in Jerusalem Threatened by Muslim Construction

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Myst Online: Uru Live - This cool game is now available online for free.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heat causes corn to pop in Kentucky field
Financial Disaster Looming for U.S.?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Homeschool Family

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Restoring Honor Rally - August 28, 2010

Congressional Scorecards

Congressional Scorecards | Christian Coalition of America

Friday, August 27, 2010

Music: An Odd Discovery Beyond the Trees

GOP House Whip Pledges to Repeal ObamaCare

GOP House Whip Pledges to Repeal ObamaCare
Environmental Protection Agency Reviewing Petition to Ban Lead Bullets | The Weekly Standard
The Most Fiscally Irresponsible Government in U.S. History - US News and World Report

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS - TIME

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YouTube - The music of Cosmos # Comet 16 - Vangelis

YouTube - The music of Cosmos # Comet 16 - Vangelis

Hitler 'had Jewish and African roots', DNA tests show

Hitler 'had Jewish and African roots', DNA tests show - Telegraph

Rich exoplanet system discovered

Rich exoplanet system discovered

Judge stops federal funding of embryonic stem cell research

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Book Review: The Gathering Storm

My Mom's Review

The Thoenes have written a book that I have to give mixed reviews to. I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the book, finding how it could have been for me if I were caught in Hitler's grip in Berlin and then in Belgium. I learned a lot about those days and the how and why things were done for the refugees fleeing before the Nazi Army and Air Force. It was really interesting to learn about the war activity in London, the home of one of my grandparents.

To go to the negative side of my review, I was disappointed in the expressions of sexual attraction between the two main characters.  God's Word says to "flee youthful lusts," and I feel that young people reading these sections in the book would be led to lustful thoughts. It is not needful to express sexual attraction in this way. It could have been done much more tastefully. Christians are bombarded on every side with the world view of sex, and it would be good to have some sources of good reading that would steer clear of this onslaught. I really like to read the Thoenes' books and have enjoyed them in the past, but I feel that I will have to steer clear from now on, and I am a grandmother. What is good for our youth is good for us all.

Rhoda J. Blumer

Friday, August 20, 2010

Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live - Yahoo! Finance

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

These Voices Don't Speak for the Rest of Us

Chicago Manual of Style - The 16th Edition Has Been Released

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Israel has '8 days' to hit Iran nuclear site: Bolton - Yahoo! News

Monday, August 16, 2010

Prop 8 Ruling Could Criminalize Christianity, Leaders Warn

Islam: What the West Needs to Know (98 minutes)

Islam: What the West Needs to Know (98 minutes)
YouTube - Glenn Beck told they can't pray at Kennedy Center

Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing Malacca Conspiracy
Zondervan (June 4, 2010) by Don Brown


DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES. a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. In 2003, Don began writing Treason, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES.

Paying no homage to political correctness, DON BROWN’S writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.

In November of 2009, four years after it was released, and in the wake of Fort Hood, TREASON rocketed to the top-selling in the nation on the bestseller list for fiction, and remained there for over a week. On Thanksgiving Day of 2009, all four of Don’s novels were ranked in the top 5 on the Amazon bestseller list for fiction!

DON BROWN graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.

During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.


A rogue Indonesian general and his army of terrorists attack oil tankers in the Strait of Malacca in order to profit from oil futures and buy nuclear weapons to establish an Islamic superpower.

Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian race against the odds and a 24-hour deadline before nuclear attacks hit the United States. Departing from the sea of books barely better than soap opera romance and using the frantic pacing of suspense fiction, Brown glides flawlessly among global hotspots of terrorism--including the United States--and the book's principal settings in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

The President of the United States orders ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malacca Straits to reassert control over the sea lanes, but with time quickly ticking away, will they arrive in time for Zack and Diane to survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death?

Sign up for the contest above! And if you would like to read the first chapter of Malacca Conspiracy, go HERE.

My Review

This novel is on my TBR pile. I plan to get to it soon and post a review at this blog.
Book Review: Be Compassionate by Warren Wiersbe

Book Review: Be Compassionate by Warren Wiersbe

My Review

As always, Wiersbe knocks the ball out of the park. This devotional commentary on Luke 1-13 is perfect for my morning devotions. I just crack open my Bible, read the verses Wiersbe addresses, and then read his thoughts, which are always pithy, informative, and practical. I'll admit that this devotional gave me initial pause only because Luke's Christmas story is so familiar; I wondered if I'd read anything here I hadn't already read before. Thankfully, I did. The books is crammed full of great biblical gems and thought-provoking points to ponder as I go about my busy day. Better yet, I always know Wiersbe is going to be trustworthy and thoroughly biblical. I'm always happy to get my hands on another installment in the Be Series, and Be Compassionate only added to my zeal to find more Wiersbe books like this one! If your "quiet time" is lacking some spice, consider picking up a book in this terrific series.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings – The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Warren Wiersbe has devoted his life to the deep examination of God’s Word. He is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, and the author of more than 150 books. Among this large body of written work, the “Be” commentary series has become a resource that millions have come to rely on for over thirty years. The timeless insights on Scripture provided by Dr. Wiersbe have helped countless numbers of readers to better understand and apply God’s Word to their daily lives. Known to many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe combines historical explanations and thought-provoking questions with the unchanging truth of Scripture in such a way that believers at every level of spiritual maturity can easily grasp its relevance.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765024
ISBN-13: 978-1434765024


Hear the Good News!

(Luke 1)

If ever a man wrote a book filled with good news for everybody, Dr. Luke is that man. His key message is, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He presents Jesus Christ as the compassionate Son of Man, who came to live among sinners, love them, help them, and die for them.

In this gospel you meet individuals as well as crowds, women and children as well as men, poor people as well as rich people, and sinners along with saints. It’s a book with a message for everybody, because Luke’s emphasis is on the universality of Jesus Christ and His salvation: “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

Dr. Luke is named only three times in the New Testament: in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; and Philemon 24. He wrote Acts (compare Luke 1:1–4 with Acts 1:1) and traveled with Paul (note the “we” sections in Acts 16:10–17; 20:4–15; 21:1–18, and 27:1—28:16). He was probably a Gentile (compare Colossians 4:11 and 14) and was trained as a physician. No wonder he began his book with detailed accounts of the births of two important babies! No wonder he emphasized Christ’s sympathy for hurting people! He wrote with the mind of a careful historian and with the heart of a loving physician.

The gospel of Luke was written for Theophilus (“lover of God”), probably a Roman official who had trusted Christ and now needed to be established in the faith. It’s also possible that Theophilus was a seeker after truth who was being taught the Christian message, because the word translated instructed in Luke 1:4 gives us our English word catechumen, “someone who is being taught the basics of Christianity.”

The life and message of Christ were so important that many books had already been written about Him, but not everything in them could be trusted. Luke wrote his gospel so that his readers might have an accurate and orderly narrative of the life, ministry, and message of Jesus Christ. Luke had carefully researched his material, interviewed eyewitnesses, and listened to those who had ministered the Word. Most important, he had the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The phrase from the very first (Gk. anothen)

can be translated “from above,” as it is in John 3:31 and 19:11. It speaks of the inspiration of the Spirit of God on the message that Luke wrote.

In this first chapter, Luke tells us how God’s wonderful news came to different people and how they responded to it. You will discover four different responses.

1. UNBELIEF (1:5–25)

It was indeed a dark day for the nation of Israel. The people had heard no prophetic word from God for four hundred years, not since Malachi had promised the coming of Elijah (Mal. 4:5–6). The spiritual leaders were shackled by tradition and, in some instances, corruption; and their king, Herod the Great, was a tyrant. He had nine (some say ten) wives, one of whom he had executed for no apparent reason. But no matter how dark the day, God always has His devoted and obedient people.

A faithful priest (vv. 5–7). Zacharias (“Jehovah has remembered”; Zechariah in NIV) and Elizabeth (“God is my oath”) were a godly couple who both belonged to the priestly line. The priests were divided into twenty-four courses (1 Chron. 24), and each priest served in the temple two weeks out of the year. In spite of the godlessness around them, Zacharias and Elizabeth were faithful to obey the Word of God and live blamelessly.

Their only sorrow was that they had no family, and they made this a matter of constant prayer. Little did they know that God would answer their prayers and give them, not a priest, but a prophet! And no ordinary prophet, for their son would be the herald of the coming King!

A fearful priest (vv. 8–17). The priests on duty drew lots to see which ministries they would perform, and Zacharias was chosen to offer incense in the Holy Place. This was a high honor that was permitted to a priest but once in a lifetime. The incense was offered daily before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice, about three o’clock in the afternoon. It was probably the evening offering that was assigned to Zacharias.

You have probably noticed that God often speaks to His people and calls them while they are busy doing their daily tasks. Both Moses and David were caring for sheep, and Gideon was threshing wheat. Peter and his partners were mending nets when Jesus called them. It is difficult to steer a car when the engine is not running. When we get busy, God starts to direct us.

Luke mentions angels twenty-three times in his gospel. There are innumerable angels (Rev. 5:11), only two of which are actually named in Scripture: Michael (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7) and Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). When Gabriel appeared by the altar, Zacharias was frightened, for the angel’s appearance could have meant divine judgment.

“Fear not” is a repeated statement in the gospel of Luke (1:13, 30; 2:10; 5:10; 8:50; 12:7, 32). Imagine how excited Zacharias must have been when he heard that he and Elizabeth were to have a son! “Rejoicing” is another key theme in Luke, mentioned at least nineteen times. Good news brings joy!

Gabriel instructed him to name his son John (“Jehovah is gracious”) and to dedicate the boy to God to be a Nazarite all of his life (Num. 6:1–21). He would be filled with the Spirit before birth (Luke 1:41) and would be God’s prophet to present His Son to the people of Israel (see John 1:15–34). God would use John’s ministry to turn many people back to the Lord, just as Isaiah had promised (Isa. 40:1–5).

A faithless priest (vv. 18–22). You would think that the presence of an angel and the announcement of God’s Word would encourage Zacharias’s faith, but they did not. Instead of looking to God by faith, the priest looked at himself and his wife and decided that the birth of a son was impossible. He wanted some assurance beyond the plain word of Gabriel, God’s messenger, perhaps a sign from God.

This, of course, was unbelief, and unbelief is something God does not accept. Zacharias was really questioning God’s ability to fulfill His own Word! Had he forgotten what God did for Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 18:9–15; Rom. 4:18–25)? Did he think that his physical limitations would hinder Almighty God? But before we criticize Zacharias too much, we should examine ourselves and see how strong our own faith is.

Faith is blessed, but unbelief is judged, and Zacharias was struck dumb (and possibly deaf, Luke 1:62) until the Word was fulfilled. “I believed, and therefore have I spoken” (2 Cor. 4:13). Zacharias did not believe; therefore he could not speak. When he left the holy place, he was unable to give the priestly benediction to the people (Num. 6:22–27) or even tell them what he had seen. Indeed, God had given him a very personal “sign” that he would have to live with for the next nine months.

A favored priest (vv. 23–25). Zacharias must have had a difficult time completing his week of ministry, not only because of his handicap, but also because of his excitement. He could hardly wait to return “unto the hill country” (Luke 1:39) where he lived, to tell his wife the good news.

God kept His promise and Elizabeth conceived a son in her old age. There is nothing too hard for the Lord (Jer. 32:17). Apparently, the amazement and curiosity of the people forced her to hide herself even as she praised the Lord for His mercy. Not only was she to have a son, but the birth of her son was also evidence that the Messiah was coming! These were exciting days indeed!

2. FAITH (1:26–38)

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Gabriel brought a second birth announcement, this time to a young virgin in Nazareth named Mary. At least there was variety in his assignments: an old man, a young woman; a priest, a descendent of David the king; the temple, a common home; Jerusalem, Nazareth; unbelief, faith.

The people in Judah disdained the Jews in Galilee and claimed they were not “kosher” because of their contacts with the Gentiles there (Matt. 4:15). They especially despised the people from Nazareth (John 1:45–46). But God in His grace chose a girl from Nazareth in Galilee to be the mother of the promised Messiah!

When it comes to Mary, people tend to go to one of two extremes. They either magnify her so much that Jesus takes second place (Luke 1:32), or they ignore her and fail to give her the esteem she deserves (Luke 1:48). Elizabeth, filled with the Spirit, called her “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43), and that is reason enough to honor her.

What do we know about Mary? She was a Jewess of the tribe of Judah, a descendant of David, and a virgin (Isa. 7:14). She was engaged to a carpenter in Nazareth named Joseph (Matt. 13:55), and apparently both of them were poor (Lev. 12:8; Luke 2:24). Among the Jews at that time, engagement was almost as binding as marriage and could be broken only by divorce. In fact, the man and the woman were called “husband” and “wife” even before the marriage took place (compare Matt. 1:19 and Luke 2:5). Since Jewish girls married young, it is likely that Mary was a teenager when the angel appeared to her.

Mary’s surprise (vv. 26–33). When you consider Gabriel’s greeting, you can well understand why Mary was perplexed and afraid: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” (NIV) (The phrase Blessed art thou among women is not found here in many Greek manuscripts. You find it in Luke 1:42.) Why would an angel come to greet her? In what way was she “highly favored” (“greatly graced”) by God? How was God with her?

Mary’s response reveals her humility and honesty before God. She certainly never expected to see an angel and receive special favors from heaven. There was nothing unique about her that such things should happen. If she had been different from other Jewish girls, as some theologians claim she was, then she might have said, “Well, it’s about time! I’ve been expecting you!” No, all of this was a surprise to her.

Gabriel then gave her the good news: She would become the mother of the promised Messiah whom she would name Jesus (“Jehovah is salvation”; see Matt. 1:21). Note that Gabriel affirmed both the deity and the humanity of Jesus. As Mary’s son, He would be human; as Son of the Highest (Luke 1:32), He would be the Son of God (Luke 1:35). “For unto us a child is born [His humanity], unto us a son is given [His deity]” (Isa. 9:6). The emphasis is on the greatness of the Son (cf. Luke 1:15), not the greatness of the mother.

But He would also be a king, inherit David’s throne, and reign over Israel forever! If we interpret literally what Gabriel said in Luke 1:30–31, then we should also interpret literally what he said in Luke 1:32–33. He was referring to God’s covenant with David (2 Sam. 7) and His kingdom promises to the people of Israel (Isa. 9:1–7; 11—12; 61; 66; Jer. 33).

Jesus came to earth to be the Savior of the world, but He also came to fulfill the promises God made to the Jewish fathers. Today, Jesus is enthroned in heaven (Acts 2:29–36), but it is not on David’s throne. One day Jesus will return and establish His righteous kingdom on earth, and then these promises will be fulfilled.

Mary’s surrender (vv. 34–48). Mary knew what would happen, but she did not know how it would happen. Her question in Luke 1:34 was not an evidence of unbelief (cf. Luke 1:18); rather, it was an expression of faith. She believed the promise, but she did not understand the performance. How could a virgin give birth to a child?

First, Gabriel explained that this would be a miracle, the work of the Holy Spirit of God. Joseph, her betrothed, would not be the father of the child (Matt. 1:18–25), even though Jesus would be legally identified as the son of Joseph (Luke 3:23; 4:22; John 1:45; 6:42). It’s possible that some people thought Mary had been unfaithful to Joseph and that Jesus was “born of fornication” (John 8:41). This was a part of the pain that Mary had to bear all her life (Luke 2:35).

Gabriel was careful to point out that the Baby would be a “holy thing” and would not share the sinful human nature of man. Jesus knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21), He did no sin (1 Peter 2:22), and He had no sin (1 John 3:5). His body was prepared for Him by the Spirit of God (Heb. 10:5) who “overshadowed” Mary. That word is applied to the presence of God in the Holy of Holies in the Jewish tabernacle and temple (Ex. 40:35). Mary’s womb became a Holy of Holies for the Son of God!

The angel ended his message by giving Mary a word of encouragement: Her aged relative Elizabeth was with child, proving that “with God nothing shall be impossible.” God gave a similar word to Abraham when He announced the birth of Isaac (Gen. 18:14). That our God can do anything is the witness of many, including Job (Job 42:2), Jeremiah (Jer. 32:17), and even our Lord Jesus (Matt. 19:26). I personally like the translation of this verse found in the 1901 American Standard Version: “For no word of God shall be void of power.” God accomplishes His purposes through the power of His Word (Ps. 33:9).

Mary’s believing response was to surrender herself to God as His willing servant. She experienced the grace of God (Luke 1:30) and believed the Word of God, and therefore she could be used by the Spirit to accomplish the will of God. A “handmaid” was the lowest kind of female servant, which shows how much Mary trusted God. She belonged totally to the Lord, body (Luke 1:38), soul (Luke 1:46), and spirit (Luke 1:47). What an example for us to follow (Rom. 12:1–2)!

3. JOY (1:39–56)

Now that Mary knew she was to become a mother, and that her kinswoman Elizabeth would give birth in three months, she wanted to see Elizabeth so they could rejoice together. “Joy” is the major theme of this section as you see three persons rejoicing in the Lord.

(1) The joy of Elizabeth (vv. 39–45). As Mary entered the house, Elizabeth heard her greeting, was filled with the Spirit, and was told by the Lord why Mary was there. The one word that filled her lips was “blessed.” Note that she did not say that Mary was blessed above women but among women, and certainly this is true. While we don’t want to ascribe to Mary that which only belongs to God, neither do we want to minimize her place in the plan of God.

The thing that Elizabeth emphasized was Mary’s faith: “Blessed is she that believed” (Luke 1:45). We are saved “by grace … through faith” (Eph. 2:8–9). Because Mary believed the Word of God, she experienced the power of God.

(2) The joy of the unborn son, John (vv. 41, 44). This was probably the time when he was filled with the Spirit as the angel had promised (Luke 1:15). Even before his birth, John rejoiced in Jesus Christ, just as he did during his earthly ministry (John 3:29–30). As John the Baptist, he would have the great privilege of introducing the Messiah to the Jewish nation.

(3) The joy of Mary (vv. 46–56). Hers was a joy that compelled her to lift her voice in a hymn of praise. The fullness of the Spirit should lead to joyful praise in our lives (Eph. 5:18–20), and so should the fullness of the Word (Col. 3:16–17). Mary’s song contains quotations from and references to the Old Testament Scriptures, especially the Psalms and the song of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1–10. Mary hid God’s Word in her heart and turned it into a song.

This song is called “The Magnificat” because the Latin version of Luke 1:46 is Magnificat anima mea Dominum. Her great desire was to magnify the Lord, not herself. She used the phrase “He hath” eight times as she recounted what God had done for three recipients of His blessing.

What God did for Mary (vv. 46–49). To begin with, God had saved her (Luke 1:47), which indicates that Mary was a sinner like all of us and needed to trust the Lord for her eternal salvation. Not only had He saved her, but He had also chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah (Luke 1:48). He had “regarded” her, which means He was mindful of her and looked with favor on her. No doubt there were others who could have been chosen, but God chose her! The Lord had indeed showered His grace on her (see 1 Cor. 1:26–28).

Not only was God mindful of her, but He was also mighty for her, working on her behalf (Luke 1:49). Mary would have no problem singing “great things he hath done” (see Luke 8:39; 1 Sam. 12:24; 2 Sam. 7:21–23; and Ps. 126:2–3). Because she believed God and yielded to His will, He performed a miracle in her life and used her to bring the Savior into the world.

What God did for us (vv. 50–53). In the second stanza of her song, Mary included all of God’s people who fear Him from generation to generation. We have all received His mercy and experienced His help. Mary named three specific groups to whom God had been merciful: the helpless (Luke 1:51), the humble (Luke 1:52), and the hungry (Luke 1:53).

The common people of that day were almost helpless when it came to justice and civil rights. They were often hungry, downtrodden, and discouraged (Luke 4:16–19), and there was no way for them to “fight the system.” A secret society of patriotic Jewish extremists called “the Zealots” used violent means to oppose Rome, but their activities only made matters worse.

Mary saw the Lord turning everything upside down: the weak dethrone the mighty, the humble scatter the proud, the nobodies are exalted, the hungry are filled, and the rich end up poor! The grace of God works

contrary to the thoughts and ways of this world system (1 Cor. 1:26–28). The church is something like that band of men that gathered around David (1 Sam. 22:2).

What God did for Israel (vv. 54–55). “He shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). In spite of Israel’s destitute condition, the nation was still God’s servant, and He would help the people fulfill His purposes. God was on Israel’s side! He would remember His mercy and keep His promises (Ps. 98:1–3; see also Gen. 12:1–3; 17:19; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). Were it not for Israel, Jesus Christ could not have been born into the world.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth until John was born, and then she returned to Nazareth. By then, it was clear that she was pregnant, and no doubt the tongues began to wag. After all, she had been away from home for three months, and why, people were likely asking, had she left in such a hurry? It was then that God gave the good news to Joseph and instructed him what to do (Matt. 1:18–25).

4. PRAISE (1:57–80)

God’s blessing was resting abundantly on Zacharias and Elizabeth. He sent them a baby boy, just as He promised, and they named him “John” just as God had instructed. The Jews looked on children as a gift from God and a “heritage from the Lord” (Ps. 127:3–5; 128:1–3), and rightly so, for they are. Israel would not follow the practices of their pagan neighbors by aborting or abandoning their children. When you consider that 1.5 million babies are aborted each year in the United States alone, you can see how far we have drifted from the laws of God.

“The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts,” said Dr. E. T. Sullivan. “The greatest forces in the world are babies.”

Traditionally, a baby boy would be named after his father or someone else in the family, so the relatives and neighbors were shocked when Elizabeth insisted on the name John. Zacharias wrote “His name is John” on a tablet, and that settled it! Immediately God opened the old priest’s mouth, and he sang a hymn that gives us four beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ to earth really means.

The opening of a prison door (v. 68). The word redeem means “to set free by paying a price.” It can refer to the releasing of a prisoner or the liberating of a slave. Jesus Christ came to earth to bring “deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18), salvation to people in bondage to sin and death. Certainly we are unable to set ourselves free; only Christ could pay the price necessary for our redemption (Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18–21).

The winning of a battle (vv. 69–75). In Scripture, a horn symbolizes power and victory (1 Kings 22:11; Ps. 89:17, 24). The picture here is that of an army about to be taken captive, but then help arrives and the enemy is defeated. In the previous picture, the captives were set free, but in this picture, the enemy is defeated so that he cannot capture more prisoners. It means total victory for the people of God.

The word salvation (Luke 1:69, 71) carries the meaning of “health and soundness.” No matter what the condition of the captives, their Redeemer brings spiritual soundness. When you trust Jesus Christ as Savior, you are delivered from Satan’s power, moved into God’s kingdom, redeemed, and forgiven (Col. 1:12–14).

Where did the Redeemer come from? He came from the house of David (Luke 1:69), who himself was a great conqueror. God had promised that the Savior would be a Jew (Gen. 12:1–3), from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), from the family of David (2 Sam. 7:12–16), born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). Both Mary (Luke 1:27) and Joseph (Matt. 1:20) belonged to David’s line. The coming of the Redeemer was inherent in the covenants God made with His people (Luke 1:72), and it was promised by the prophets (Luke 1:70).

Note that the results of this victory are sanctity and service (Luke 1:74–75). He sets us free, not to do our own will, because that would be bondage, but to do His will and enjoy His freedom.

The canceling of a debt (vv. 76–77). Remission means “to send away, to dismiss, as a debt.” All of us are in debt to God because we have broken His law and failed to live up to His standards (Luke 7:40–50). Furthermore, all of us are spiritually bankrupt, unable to pay our debt. But Jesus came and paid the debt for us (Ps. 103:12; John 1:29).

The dawning of a new day (vv. 78–79). Dayspring means “sunrise.” The people were sitting in darkness and death, and distress gripped them when Jesus came; but He brought light, life, and peace. It was the dawn of a new day because of the tender mercies of God (see Matt. 4:16).

The old priest had not said anything for nine months, but he certainly compensated for his silence when he sang this song of praise to God! And how joyful he was that his son was chosen by God to prepare the way for the Messiah (Isa. 40:1–3; Mal. 3:1). John was “prophet of the Highest” (Luke 1:76), introducing to Israel “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32) who was conceived in Mary’s womb by “the power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35).

Instead of enjoying a comfortable life as a priest, John lived in the wilderness, disciplining himself physically and spiritually, waiting for the day when God would send him out to prepare Israel for the arrival of the Messiah. People like Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25–38) had been waiting for this day for many years, and soon it would come.

God calls us today to believe His good news. Those who believe it experience His joy and want to express their praise to Him. It is not enough for us to say that Jesus is a Savior, or even the Savior. With Mary, we must say, “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).



1. Luke emphasizes Christ’s concern for hurting people. Who are some hurting people in your world?

2. Wiersbe highlights four ways people responded to the good news in Luke 1— unbelief, faith, joy, and praise. Where do you see one or more of these responses in your own life currently?

3. Why do you think God often speaks to His people when they are active, as He did to Zacharias (Zechariah)?

4. After the angel announced the joyous news that Zacharias and Elizabeth would have a son, what big mistake did Zacharias make? Why do you suppose he did this?

5. What character traits can be seen in Mary’s response to the angel’s surprising visit?

6. How was Zacharias’s question “How can I be sure of this?” different from Mary’s “How will this be?”

7. What expressions of joy do you read about as Mary visited Elizabeth?

8. According to Mary’s words in 1:46–55, what did God do for Mary? What did God do for others?

9. What four pictures of the incarnation do we see in Zacharias’s hymn (1:68–79)? What do they mean?

10. The results of the victory of salvation are sanctity and service (1:74– 75). Explain what you think these are meant to look like in your life.