The Power of a Book

March 23, 2018

By: Walker Moore
Awestar Ministries

It was a Sunday night in Georgia. As usual, I was sitting on the front row of the church. I don’t know what it feels like to sit on row three or four. Most of you can identify each other by the back of your heads; I can’t. This particular evening, a young lady came up to me and asked, “Can I tell you my story?”

“I would love to hear it,” I said. So she began to share with me about her life, growing up in foster homes and being moved around from place to place. I sensed the heaviness as she talked about how, from early on, she had endured both physical and mental abuse. I’ve heard the same story many times, each from a different person.

Suddenly, her mood changed as she told me how she met the most wonderful man. She went on to tell me how Jesus had come into her life and changed it. Excited about walking out her newfound faith, she asked if I had any advice.

“I have something I want to give you,” I told her. I reached into my backpack and pulled out my book Escape the Lie. I asked how to spell her name, and I wrote it on the inside cover along with the simple phrase, “You are my Father’s favorite daughter.” I told her, “Take your Bible and study this book. It will help you grow in understanding how wonderful and beautiful our heavenly Father has created you.” She thanked me; I thanked her for sharing her story; and she walked away.

There are only three things the Holy Spirit has ever prompted me to give a stranger. The first is the gospel; the second is money; and the third is a book.

I know one thing about books: you don’t throw them away. In fact, I can’t ever remember throwing a book away. It almost seems sacrilegious to do so. Books have value. You throw away newspapers, or at least recycle them; you throw away flyers and magazines; but you don’t throw away a book.

I used to have bookcases and bookcases filled with volumes, but on my climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, I had an epiphany. Those books had sat on my bookshelves long enough.

I began to seek out young pastors just starting out in the ministry who could use these books. I began the process of dividing up my commentaries, language study books, doctrinal study books and books filled with stories of biblical characters. One by one, I have given them to young men and women who were serious about handing the Word of God. I have only two bookcases left.

I have found myself at garage sales (not on purpose but as the driver of someone who seeks out destinations like this). But every garage sale has—guess what? Books! Some of them are so old the pages are yellow and brittle. The cover is falling off, and the pages are worn from use, but the book still hasn’t been thrown away. Every so often, while I am waiting for my wife as she wanders through the tables of priceless objects, I will scan through the books. On occasion, I have even purchased one or two.

Of course, the greatest book of all is the Bible. King and tyrants have sometimes tried to eradicate the Word of God from the face of the earth, but to no avail. I have friends who risked their lives sneaking Bibles into closed countries. No other book has moved men to make such sacrifices to share it with others.

I recently passed on my oldest Bible to my youngest son, who is a pastor. That Bible is beyond repair, but I didn’t throw it away. How many of you still have your mother’s or a grandparent’s Bible? I bet many of you do, because a Bible has more than monetary value; it has heart.

One year, I had a speaker come to our mission conference. In her breakout session, she shared that as a young girl, she struggled with her identity: depression, suicidal thoughts and more. One day, almost 40 years ago, her father brought her to me and asked if I could talk to her. During our conversation, I had her bring me her Bible. I took it and wrote something on the inside. I don’t even remember what I wrote, but she told our students it had changed her life.

Why did I write in her Bible? Because no one ever throws a book away—and especially not when it’s God’s Holy Word. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you’” (Jer. 30:2).

Bless someone with a book today.

Does God Show Favoritism?

March 22, 2018

By Leighton Flowers
Apologist for Texas Baptists

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at soteriology101 and is used by permission.

Suppose a High School Principal selected 12 of his Seniors to spread a message to the student body about a special treat being given out in the cafeteria. Would the Principal’s choice of these 12 messengers demonstrate that he has favorites or has unfairly shown partiality to some individuals over others?

No. He has chosen these messengers to bring a blessing to the entire student body and his selection of one messenger over another is not in anyway to the detriment or neglect of another student.

We believe this is what God has done with the gospel. He has selected from Israel (like the Senior class) messengers to bless all the world (the entire student body).

Here are a few biblical passages which indicate this:

…but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. -Acts 10:40-42

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” -Acts 13:47

He said to them (Jewish apostles), “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” -Mark 16:15

[Speaking to his chosen apostles] You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last… -John 15:16

 And this is all a fulfillment of God’s original covenant with Abraham:

And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you *all the families of the earth* will be blessed.” -Gen 12:2-3


But suppose the High School in our analogy above was bilingual and most of the students only spoke and understood Spanish. And what if this Principal only selected English speaking messengers to take the message to the entire student body, knowing full well that only the English speaking students would hear and understand the news about the blessing he made available in the cafeteria.

Suppose that the Principal only bought enough treats for his English speaking students and so his intention was for only them to hear and understand the message. He didn’t want to appear bias so he told the messengers to invite the entire student body but secretly he knew only the English speaking students would understand the message and respond.

Does that indicate an unfair bias or partiality? Of course it does. Now, did the Principal owe any of the students these treats? No. No one is saying he did. But for him to outwardly pretend as if he wished for the entire student body to be blessed while secretly only purchasing treats for some and sending a message that was intended only for some to understand is clearly showing favoritism and an unjust bias.

God doesn’t show favoritism as the scriptures clearly teach:

Acts 10:34-35: Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

Matthew 22:16: And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.

Mark 12:14: When they came they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and do not court anyone’s favor, because you show no partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth

Luke 20:21: Thus they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, and show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth

Romans 2:8-11: But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

Galatians 2:6: But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.

Ephesians 6:9: Masters, treat your slaves the same way, giving up the use of threats, because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.

1 Peter 1:17: And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.

James? ?2:9: But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. ?

If your soteriological systematic paints God as partial then it’s not a biblical soteriology.

*[The guys at the Bible Brodown have complied much more on this topic]

Why Ancient People Needed God, Why Modern People Don’t, and Why I Still Do

March 21, 2018

By Joshua Williams
Associate Professor of Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Theological Matters and is used by permission.

Imagine living in the ancient world, a world without internet, without computers, without electrical power, without complex machines, without running water—without the conveniences of modern life. Just imagine it—the work required to gather and prepare food and water, clothing, and shelter. Also, imagine the limited knowledge available to you. It is the knowledge of your family, your tribe, your people, your ancestors. It is mostly practical knowledge required for survival.

Imagine how you might explain how things happen around you. Imagine that after several months of planting and cultivating your crops, one day they suddenly begin to turn brown and die. Imagine struggling through the next few months with just enough food to survive. Continue reading

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