June 10, 2013

Mention it Monday, Mississippi Version

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Fantasy, Favorite Quotes, Fiction, Freebies, Just Life, Theology/Christian life, Travel at 10:10 am by catsinboxes

Greetings from Mississippi!

20130610-091604.jpg

Though to be more accurate, it looks a bit more like this today:

20130610-091640.jpg

I woke up this morning to thunder rumbling and pretty soon a torrential downpour was ensuring that 1) I didn’t take the dog out for a walk and 2) Bible time on the porch was out of the question!

I must admit that I had hoped to do more blogging on this vacation, but that is not how it worked out, and that’s okay. Still, no reason I can’t do some before I head home. So, here’s another Mention-it Monday!

Red to Black -by Alex Dryen

After reading World Magazine’s review of Dryden’s latest novel, I checked out all three of his books to date and started reading the first. I’m not usually one to read thrillers; Joel Rosenburg’s Last Jihad and Last Days are the extent of my reading in this genre! Still, having just travelled to Eastern Europe, I was intrigued by the Russian side of this novel. So, I started to read. And I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a thriller, but it’s also a fascinating look at modern Russia that is written by an author who knows his facts. The book is told in a series of flashbacks which I normally find annoying, but this time it absolutely worked! The story was engaging and kept me interested and reading. The main storyteller, Anna, –a Russian KGB agent caught up in an intricate plot involving a British spy– is interesting and well-developed. What’s more, she is likable, and you definitely find yourself pulling for her! There is occasional language, but I appreciated the fact that it was used sparingly and wasn’t gratuitous. There are also some sexual references: the KGB is happy to use Anna’s sexuality in getting what they want, but nothing was explicit. All in all, it was quite a fun book, and I look forward to reading more by Alex Dryden.

Merlin’s Blade -by Robert Treskillard

I won’t say much here because this book deserves a whole review and post in itself. In fact, I probably will be reviewing it for Redeemed Reader this summer. I started this book on the plane, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Arthurian aficionados, you should read this! Right now it’s only $2.99, Kindle version, on Amazon. What’s it about? I love how the cover puts it:

Before the Round Table . . . Before Arthur was Crowned . . . There was Merlin.

20130610-095650.jpg

The Explicit Gospel -by Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson

This is my theological vacation read, and so far, I haven’t made much progress though I have enjoyed everything that I’ve read.  Having heard Matt Chandler speak, I appreciate that his unique voice is very clear in this book.  Chandler is passionate about the gospel; that is very evident.  From a mere evangelistic point, I love the title of this book.  It’s eye-catching: a good book to read at the airport!  (If you’re like me, you do your best, via casual glances, to figure out what your fellow passengers are reading . . . This title is provocative enough to get more than one glance.  They’re reading the explicit what???)  As it happens, The Explicit Gospel is Christian Audio’s free audiobook of the month, so I might be finishing it via audiobook.  If you’re looking for a theological read or audiobook this summer, I’d highly recommend this.  (And you can get the audiobook for free this month, remember!)  In closing, here is a quote from The Explicit Gospel that I quite enjoyed and is very applicable to this post:

How deep is the wisdom and the knowledge of God?  God knows every word in every language in every sentence in every paragraph in every chapter of every book ever written.

Advertisements

June 5, 2013

What’s So Great About Aaron?

Posted in Bible, Faith, Just Life at 9:54 am by catsinboxes

Currently in my Bible reading, I am moving chapter by chapter through several books of the Bible including Leviticus.  And in the past few days, I was really anticipating getting to Leviticus 10 though I couldn’t quite explain why.  It definitely has action and conflict, and it’s shocking to say the least.  Yesterday, I finally reached it, and ended up spending my whole Bible time focused on that chapter!  As I finished up my Bible time, I thought “I should write a blog post with some of the notes I’ve made”, so here it is!

Something I didn’t realize until today is that Nadab and Abihu were probably drunk when they offered profane/unauthorized fire.  I inferred that while reading and confirmed it in the footnotes.  The point here though is that God is jealous for His glory, and “will not allow his holiness to be violated, not even by members of the high priest’s family.”  (ESV notes)  Their installation not even complete yet, and two of the priests –in the vernacular– screw-up with deadly results.

You know, I don’t know why people like the name Aaron so much!  He could speak, sure, but he succumbed easily to peer pressure, he lied, he didn’t always support Moses and he had 2 sons who couldn’t even make it through the priestly installation process!  You can’t judge a man by his offspring, but a look at them will tell you a lot about that man, and I think this holds true for Aaron.   His sons had seen their father not always follow the rules; goodness he heard the 10 commandments and then made a golden calf!  Why shouldn’t they try something different, too???  Being drunk surely wouldn’t have helped their logic either!

What can we learn from Aaron?  In God’s words to Aaron (v.8-11) we see the “three major rules” of the priesthood.  –And this is the only time God speaks directly to Aaron.–

The priests were (courtesy of the ESV footnotes for the breakdown)

  1. To distinguish between the holy and the profane
  2. To separate the clean from the unclean
  3. To teach the people the laws of God

It was a holy calling and one that no Levite could fulfill perfectly.  Aaron couldn’t, his sons couldn’t, none of their children, or children’s children could, until one day a child was born with Levite blood from his mother’s side.  He was the Christ, the anointed one, perfectly fulfilling the roles of prophet, priest, and king.

And that is why I could like the name Aaron, because Aaron, in all his fallibility, pointed toward something –rather, someone– so much greater.  Aaron stands for me, for you, for each of us as we live and sin and screw things up.  We can’t make it on our own, but by God’s grace, there is a way.  A way though the ultimate, perfect priest whose sacrifice made it possible for all of us Aarons to come to God.  Because of Him we can draw close without fear to a most Holy LORD and even call Him, “Father.”  How great is our God!

June 2, 2013

I’ll Be Back Soon!

Posted in Blogging, Just Life, Travel at 9:35 pm by catsinboxes