NAHUM HABAKKUK AND ZEPHANIAH

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NAHUM HABAKKUK AND ZEPHANIAH

Just to let you all know that the Bible Study for these three Minor Prophets has now been published.  Remember though that although they are called ‘minor’ prophets – their message is anything but minor!  I decided to cover all three books in one BSBP study because they each have only three chapters.  However, there is so much to learn from each of them, and hopefully you will enjoy reading them so much that you will want to explore other books and commentaries so you can learn more.

Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah were all prophets at a similar time in the history of Israel i.e. between 650BC and 600BC approximately.   In 722BC the Assyrians had invaded and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel and in 701BC they invaded Judah (see 2 Kings 17:6 and 18:13-18.)  At this point in history Assyria was drunk with power and wealth.  She would not acknowledge her sin or listen to God.

All three prophets have very serious messages which were very relevant for their time BUT I believe they are also very relevant for the time in which we now live.  The Great Day of the Lord is coming soon.  Are you looking forward to that, dreading it – or maybe you don’t even believe it is coming?  We all know that whether we believe something or not, makes no difference as to whether it is actually true.  So surely, with a matter so serious, it makes sense for each of us to urgently seek to find out the truth about all this.  God says, ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ Jeremiah 29:13.  So why not do this and find peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ?

Thank you for your interest and your support.  Thank you especially for your prayers.  Sales this year have been amazing and whilst I don’t receive a huge amount for each book, nevertheless the small sums mount up and are at the moment helping the wonderful people at Tearfund, who are continuing their great work to prevent children being trafficked.

The book is available on Amazon and in some bookstores.  If you need to know a stockist please contact us.  Here are the links for the book on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk – Readers in other places e.g. other European countries, Australia etc will find the book on the relevant Amazon site for their country.

http://www.amazon.com/Nahum-Habakkuk-Zephaniah-Bible-Study/dp/151699549X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441390984&sr=8-1&keywords=bsbp+nahum&pebp=1441390987976&perid=17VKEY56N3EKK9KY1FR2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nahum-Habakkuk-Zephaniah-Bible-Study/dp/151699549X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441391014&sr=8-1&keywords=bsbp+nahum

 

The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.  Nahum 1:3

The character of God never changes.  This verse is in the Old Testament but we must remember that the God of the Old Testament is the same God as the God of the New Testament.  And this God is righteous and just and I believe this Scripture to be as true today as it was more than 2000 years ago.  The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.  Yes He is slow to anger and very patient, but He will not leave the guilty unpunished.

Too often we forget this and therefore the tendency is to be soft on sin.  We hear things like, ‘Oh it doesn’t matter because God forgives sin.’  But we should remind ourselves that God does not forgive sin, if there is no repentance.  Unless someone ‘repents’ God does not forgive, He judges.  Thus it seems that one thief on the cross was safe, and the other one would face judgment.  And repentance does not just mean saying sorry!  It means a change.  It means not only being sorry about the sin, but a real desire to make amends (if we can) and to turn away from what we have done.  It means a having a horror and disgust about what I have done, and a willingness to turn to God, asking Him to prevent me ever doing it again.  Thus we not only pray ‘forgive us our sins’ but we also pray ‘lead us not into temptation’.  In other words, I know what I have done is wrong and I want to ask for help from God so I don’t do the same thing again.

And the reason God is able to forgive if I repent, is that Jesus died on the cross and took the punishment for my sin.  Therefore, God still punishes sin, but in my case, Jesus took my punishment.  But if I do not repent and confess my sins, then I must remember that ‘the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished’.

There seems to be such a muddle about forgiveness today.  If we see someone committing a great sin against someone else, we sometimes say ‘well, I forgive that person.’  What?  You can’t forgive that person – it is God who forgives, or not.  We cannot put ourselves in the place of God.  We are told to forgive those who sin against us and in so doing we free ourselves from bitterness.  We liberate ourselves, not the other person!  And we pray for them, Lord forgive their sin, just as Stephen did when he asked God to forgive the sin of those who were stoning him.  But if someone sins against another person – not me personally – I cannot claim to forgive them, or I am putting myself in the place of God!  I can pray for the victim that they will be able to forgive, and I can pray for the perpetrator that they will repent so that God will forgive them, but I have no right to claim that I forgive them

In the Gospels we hear people say of Jesus, ‘who is this that forgives sins?’  They knew that only God has the right to forgive sins, and we should remember this too.  So, I can forgive someone who sins against me personally – this is clear from the Lord’s prayer.  But as for others, I leave them in God’s hands – if they repent and accept all that Jesus has done for them, then God will forgive.  But if they do not repent and refuse the sacrifice that Jesus made on their behalf, there remains nothing but judgment.  The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.

And so this Easter the message goes out again – that Jesus died for YOU – because the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  Understand that you are guilty before God – just as I am – and race for protection from His wrath and punishment, by accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Lord.  Look around at the state of the world today and remember that although God is slow to anger, He will not leave the guilty unpunished and soon He will judge.  What will that mean for you?

Introducing Barton Jahn!

Well I did say I would be interviewing several authors and this year has got off to a very good start!  Next up is Barton Jahn.  Author of some very compelling Christian books about the last days.  Very appropriate for this day and age and he really makes you think!  And make the most of this interview because that will be it for a while.  I will be returning to my Bible verses and thoughts and then maybe interview some more authors later in the year.  This has been great fun though as I have met lots of lovely people.  So here’s Bart just joining me now…………………………

Hi Bart – thanks for joining me today.  I wanted to speak with you about your life as an author because I have read and enjoyed several of your books.  I particularly enjoyed ‘The Cross in the End Times’.  So, tell us about the first book you ever published.

B.J. My first book was one of four published through McGraw-Hill in their Professional Book Group.  The title is Practical Cost-Saving Techniques for Housing Construction, and was the product of about 20 years of research and 13 years of practicing and improving my writing.

The target audience was builders, jobsite superintendents, tradespeople, and architects.

I took a one-day seminar in how to get published at UCLA, purchased some books, identified six publishers of construction books, and sent out six query letters with short samples of the book.  I got back five cordial rejection letters wet-signed.  The sixth response was from a McGraw-Hill acquisitions editor who said “quick, call me…this is just what I am looking for.”

My four books with McGraw-Hill were published 1995-98.  The fourth book was translated into Chinese by the Architectural Society Press of China.

They were published under the name Bart Jahn.

Oh wow!  That sounds great and a real inspiration for any aspiring authors out there.  You just need to find the publisher who says ‘this is just what I am looking for’.  So what are some of your writing quirks?

B J.  My best time for writing is early morning for about 5-6 hours from 5 or 6 A.M. to noon.  Sometimes I can write decent first drafts later in the evening between 8 to 10 P.M.

I usually need several drafts to reach a finished product, especially with Christian books.  The technical writing for construction books comes easier and quicker as the task of articulating what I want to say is more narrowly focused and defined.  The Christian books require more analytical thought and numerous drafts to get the final product I want.

Well in my opinion you have done a great job with the Christian books.  I enjoyed them all because they are very thought provoking and particularly relevant for today with all the trouble there is in the world.   I can’t say I agree with everything you say, but it really helps to focus the mind and search the Bible to find evidence that supports our views.  I also like the way you are never dogmatic and always stress that what you are saying is your own opinion or view.  So where do you want to be in your writing career five years from now?

B J.  I would like to have completed the two current construction books I am working on, and also have completed a fifth Christian book that is in rough draft form.

I would like to pursue a graduate degree in science and engineering for the dual purpose of research for another construction book I have in mind, and another Christian book or books.

It would be fulfilling and challenging to have speaking engagements in both the building construction field and in Christianity as a result of my books.

I really hope – and will pray – this works out for you. What one piece of advice do you have for other writers?

B. J. I can only go by my own experience.  I was not good in English composition in college and showed no signs of a person who would someday write books and be published.  I am a self-taught writer with a foundation of being an avid reader and having spent untold hours writing and re-writing until my expression on paper was almost as free and easy as my speech.

So my advice to other authors is if you think you have something interesting, unique, and necessary to say to a particular audience, work hard at your writing until it becomes a workable craft that flows naturally from your thoughts on to the written page.  Then be disciplined to go back and fine-tune and edit your work until it feels and sounds professional.  When it feels polished and perfected, then join a writer’s group and critique other people’s work and have other author’s critique your work.  Participation in a writer’s group is a great way to step up a level in writing quality and to perfect the ability to evaluate your own work by critiquing other people’s work.

What book projects are you working on right now?

B.J.  I have two construction books that have several years of research invested that are each about 80 to 90 percent complete.  I have another Christian book that is rough notes form.

My day-job in building construction informs my inspiration for the concepts and topics of my Christian books, which I believe is as it should be.  Daily problems, issues, and challenges in the workplace and in the office flush out eternal truths in much the same way that the Apostle Paul’s evangelical mission to the first-century Greco-Roman world inspired the topics for his thirteen New Testament letters to the churches.

This is probably true for writers in every genre.  My personal journey of faith following Jesus Christ informs the issues and topics I cover in my Christian books.

My Christian books are published under the name of Barton Jahn.

I have put the link to your author page on Amazon (UK) below which shows all your Christian books, so anyone who is interested can find them quickly.  Thanks for joining me today and God bless you.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Barton-Jahn/e/B00MD005GO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Hosea – Bible Study BSBP Series Is Now Available

‘Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.  As surely as the sun rises he will appear.’ Hosea 6:3

The Bible study for the book of Hosea has now been published.  It is available in both electronic and paperback formats.  I love the book of Hosea!  And it is soooo appropriate for this day and age.

In Hosea God repeatedly warns Israel that if she does not repent and return to God then judgment will come.  I believe He would use this book to speak the same message to us.  He is still waiting for each of us to turn to God and accept His plan of salvation – to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

But if we refuse God’s offer of salvation, if we refuse to listen to His message, then eventually this will lead to judgment.  When Jesus returns He will return as a King and as a Judge.  Thus the message to us in the world today is very similar to that preached by Hosea to Israel so many years ago.

I hope you enjoy this Bible study as much as I enjoyed reading Hosea.  If you wish to purchase it you can do so via this website or directly from Amazon using the link below.  If you are in Europe, USA or Australia you can find it on your ‘local’ Amazon site using the search facility and typing in either my name or ‘Hosea BSBP’.

All profit goes to Tearfund.  You can find out more about this wonderful organisation at www.tearfund.org

Hosea Bible cover for blog

Hosea Bible Study – BSBP – link on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hosea-Bible-Study-Margaret-Weston/dp/1505408830/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421158453&sr=8-1&keywords=hosea+bsbp

Happy New Year!

‘only believe’  Mark 5:36

I wonder who you will believe in 2015.

I have been having a very interesting email exchange with someone who is not a Christian.  He wrote to me recently and said something which I thought was very profound, but also very simple.  His phrase leaped out of the page towards me and I have been thinking about it ever since.  It was this,

‘We believe or we don’t believe….it really is that simple’.

I realised that this statement sums up the Christian message and has an impact on our life on earth and our life after death too.  A very simple statement….. but the consequences which follow our decision are anything but simple.

God has spoken to us.  Do we believe Him?  We believe or we don’t believe ….. it really is that simple.

God has spoken to us through the universe, through the Bible and through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And all we have to do is believe Him!

We believe or we don’t believe….. it really is that simple.

So this year – 2015 – will you believe God?  If so it will certainly be a Happy New Year for you.

A NEW YEAR MESSAGE

The clock strikes twelve – the year has passed

How did it slip away so fast?

Will this year just be like the last?

Believe, my friend, believe.

 

The Lord is coming – have no doubt

My friend the time is running out

Events proclaim it all around

The Lord is coming – joyful sound.

 

Oh what a day! – at least, for those

Who have believed that Christ arose

They’ll rise to meet Him in the sky

Forever more with Him on high.

 

But oh, for some – what great despair

Horror and fear – they won’t be there

The truth will dawn – a dreadful fate

That awful cry – it is too late!

 

Believe, believe – I plead with you

Believe, believe – my friend, please do

Repent, repent of all your sin

Accept the Lord, just turn to Him.

 

My words run dry – what can I say?

If only you would stop and pray

Why do you doubt? God does not lie

And yet you won’t believe – but why?

 

Believe – for time will soon be gone

Believe – for now you haven’t long

Believe – and join the ransomed throng

Believe my friend – believe.

 

Anon

Hope where it is least expected

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared…..’  Luke 2:13

Christmas is a time of great sadness for many people.   And the apparent festive cheer of others only serves to make this worse.  Someone said to me very recently, ‘Christmas means nothing to me this year.  I have lost my Mum.’  Somehow such a loss seems greater at Christmas.  The death of a loved one, marital breakdown, family dissension – many people actually become severely depressed at Christmas.

Maybe you are one of them and if so I want to tell you not to give up hope because we so often find hope where it is least expected.  The story of Christmas shows us this so clearly.  God moved suddenly to announce the coming of the Saviour of the world.  But also in such an unexpected way.  A baby?  In a manger? But the shepherds didn’t think, ‘well that’s ridiculous’ (as I am sure I would have done) but instead they believed and went immediately to investigate further.

So if you are sad this Christmas I encourage you to invite God into your circumstances and believe.  Believe that He loves you and that He works in ways we do not understand.  Do not lose hope because God is still in control.  ‘Suddenly’ things may change.  ‘Suddenly’ you may see how God is working in your situation.  ‘Suddenly’ God may speak into your life and everything will change.  The shepherds saw Jesus and I guess their lives were never the same again.

I read a beautiful reflection recently on this very subject of hope written by Amy Church of Tearfund.  In the midst of all the sorrow and sadness there is in the world today, we can still hope in God.  The link is here so you can enjoy this too.

http://www.tearfund.org/en/about_you/pray/prayer_news/advent_reflection_no_4_when_hope_lies_in_rags/?utm_source=One+Voice&utm_campaign=85df14759d-One_Voice_week_19_12_14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ff3e17b03a-85df14759d-27531897

May God bless you this Christmas and don’t lose hope, because around 2000 years ago a baby was born who is the Saviour of the world.  And hope was found where, and when, it was least expected. 

Five star review for ‘How do I know God answers prayer?’

‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

Wow!  I am amazed again at the way our awesome God works.  Able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.  I am so pleased to have been given a five star review from Readers Favorite in America.  The link is here if you want to take a look.

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/35275

And this verse of Scripture is soooo true regarding my books.  But the important thing to remember is that it is ‘according to his power that is at work within us’.  So, as I often say, if God can use me then He can use anyone!

Some of you will remember when I wrote my first book and expected to sell about 10 books to a few friends.  And the amazing way even those first sales took place.  Then I cautiously prayed that maybe I could sell 100 and thought that was really far too big a prayer.  And today we are talking about thousands.  I lost count after hitting the 10,000 mark!  Some of these are free downloads of course (on kindle) when Amazon does a promotion for me, but I was never in it for the money.  I never wanted to make money from telling people about Jesus!!

Nevertheless, the profit I do make all goes to the wonderful work of Tearfund.  A Christian charity which is helping to release people from both spiritual and material poverty all over the world.  In other words, telling people about Jesus and showing them His love by providing what they need for their life on earth – helping them change the way they live so that the change is sustainable.  Check out their website or their facebook page:

www.tearfund.org   https://www.facebook.com/tearfund

Finally, just a note to say that another author interview will be appearing here soon.  Barton Jahn has agreed to be interviewed on my blog.  He is a Christian American Author and has written several books about Christians and the last days.  Very thought provoking and very appropriate for these days.  Watch this space and God bless you.

 

The bittersweet life of a Christian

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
- Psalm 119:71

“Afflictions, sufferings or persecutions need not be bad. Some are good. They teach us lessons that God wants us to learn. The caterpillar struggles to come out of the cocoon with strengthened wings to enable it to soar into the sky. Without that struggle it will just drop to the ground. God answered Paul’s prayer to have his thorn in the flesh removed—not removing it but providing His grace to bear it. Are you learning precious lessons from God through sufferings? Look up to Him. His grace is sufficient.”  – K. C. Ung

I have many friends and family who are suffering right now.  Suffering with health problems, employment problems, marital problems, emotional problems and other things too.  Being a Christian does not mean a trouble-free life!  Jesus Himself said, ‘in this world you will have trouble.’  But we find that life is bittersweet, the bitterness of the trial is sweetened by the knowledge that God will always use everything for our good – Romans 8:28.  In the problems we are often drawn closer to Jesus.  So although the experience may be bitter, there is the sweetness of knowing Him much better which is the result.

If we drink lemon juice by itself it is too bitter.  If we drink sugar-water by itself it is too sweet.  But combine the two and we have a drink which is perfect to quench our thirst.  We do not look for trouble and problems, of course, because none of us enjoy them.  But, if that is the only way we can be closer to Jesus?  If that is the only way we can learn more about Him?  That puts a different perspective on everything.

John was told to eat the scroll in Revelation 10 and it was sweet in his mouth – but became bitter in his stomach.  There is such sweetness in knowing Jesus, but while we are on earth we are told to take up our cross if we want to follow Him.  So many times we see in the Bible the contrast between the bitter and the sweet.

Smith Wigglesworth wrote, ‘Great faith is a product of great fights.  Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests.  Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.’  We all want the sweetness of great faith, great testimonies and great triumphs – but what about the bitterness that goes hand-in-hand with them?

I have such admiration for many of my friends who, although suffering, are still praising God for His goodness and His love.  They would not care to be named and honoured on this blog, but I know for sure they are named and honoured in heaven.

 

Today I realised I can’t blog!

Today I read a real blog – I mean a proper straight-from-the-heart blog.  A blog which showed me I can’t blog.  When you read something like this one, about a woman named April who lost her two boys in a tornado, then you realize that any pain or sadness you thought you had is nothing in comparison.  I realized how small my faith is and am deeply humbled by this wonderful lady who I don’t even know.

http://thehodgepodgedarling.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-cheerleader.html

And after reading this, at first I thought I could never blog again.  But then I realized that, as April says, we are each here for a purpose and God has a unique and special plan for my life, just as He has one for April.  And so, even though my experience is so limited in comparison with someone like April, it is still precious in the sight of God and just what I need to discover more of His goodness and His love.  And whilst my story is nothing like April’s, it is still my duty and my joy to speak about the wonderful God I know in whatever way I can.  He is worthy of every expression of praise however weak and inadequate I feel in such praise.

And so, I will continue to blog.  It may only help one person, it may help no-one at all – but I will still do what I can to point to God.  A God who is always good.  A God who loves me so much that He gave His only Son to die on a cross for me so that He could have my company forever!

Now I’m a Goodreads Author

Just joined Goodreads – and attached this blog to my author page.  So now I really will have to keep up the blogging – hopefully more than once a month!

But the news today is that I have joined the book giveaway scheme offered by Goodreads and 5 copies of ‘How do I know I know God?’ are being given away free.  But you have to be in it to win it!  You only have to click on the ‘enter’ button and there is no charge of course.  So if you want a free copy of the book then head over to Goodreads and you may be one of the five who are chosen at random to receive this book in the paperback version.

I will add the link here as soon as the giveaway has been approved – and here it is.  Sorry for the delay in posting this which has been caused by various family matters taking up my time.

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/93959-how-do-i-know-i-know-god?utm_medium=email&utm_source=giveaway_approved

God bless and thanks for your interest and support.