BOOK REVIEW: Chronological Guide to the Bible


Chronological Guide to the Bible
Thomas Nelson Publishers
March 2010
$24.99
217pp

For my BookSneeze Review this month I chose the Chronological Guide to the Bible. This book is an excellent reference for any serious Bible student. Extremely user friendly with a nice form factor and feel; great color photos and charts. It’s an enjoyable study tool. As a former home school mom, I see this as a great addition to any home school Bible curriculum, and best of all the Chronological Guide to the Bible works with any Bible translation.

Rather than being divided by the traditional order of books in the Bible, the Chronological Guide to the Bible is divided into 9 Epochs of time; with handy charts for chronological reading of the Bible. Where several of the Bible’s books overlap, (i.e., 1 & 2 Samuel / 1 & 2 Kings) they are combined to tell the history in the order of their occurrence.

Most of the information is adapted from The Chronological Study Bible published also by Thomas Nelson in 2008. The benefit to using the guide over the Bible itself, I believe, is primarily simplicity of use. As far as I can tell it isn’t necessary to own both, although I chose to purchase the Bible myself so I could give an accurate review. I personally prefer to have both in my library and would encourage others to do the same.

I thoroughly enjoy studying the Bible; and because I find Biblical history fascinating I really look forward to spending more time in the Chronological Guide to the Bible.

This is an excellent reference tool I’ll use in my personal library for many years to come. Thank you Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze!
 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Battling Resistance!

 

Spiritually and/or naturally – life is a battle. We are waging war constantly.
We all battle Resistance in some form; whether we’re starting a new company, trying to salvage our marriage, leading a project, writing a blog or just trying to clean the house.
Resistance, like a faithful friend but more of an enemy, will be there trying to keep us from doing what we need, want or are called to do.
I’m reading what’s quickly becoming a new favorite book; one I believe will be a most useful tool for many years to come:
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.
This book is written to help writers/artists overcome their creative blocks. But it’s really more than that. I see it as a tool to help anyone who’s trying to accomplish anything worthwhile.

 “Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance? Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us. If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.
“Look in your own heart… a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.” – Steven Pressfield

What is Resistance?  
According to Mr. Pressfield here are some of the characteristics of Resistance: 
  • It’s the enemy within.
  • Tells us anything to keep us from our work.
  • Never sleeps.
  • Plays for keeps.
  • Most powerful at the finish line.
  • Self-Medication.
    “…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity… any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower… will elicit Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield
    To counter act Resistance, Mr. Pressfield says the writer / artist must be a professional: show up every day no matter what, be committed for the long haul, master the craft or technique, accept pay for the labor, realize the stakes are high and real, not over identify with the job, keep a sense of humor, and receive praise or blame due.
    Personally, I find the above lists easy to relate, to not just as a writer dealing with procrastination when my computer is staring me in the face each day; but in every area of my life…
    Exercise
    Eating properly
    Going to bed on time
     Drinking 80oz of water every day!
    Simply, fighting all temptations big or small…
    I will take on Resistance and his seedy little game.
    Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you. Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will! Then you will receive all that He has promised. –Hebrews 10:35-36

    I’m determined, with God’s help, to be a professional at life…
    • To show up every day no matter what.
    • To be committed for the long haul.
    • To realize the stakes are high and real.
    • To keep a sense of humor.
    • To receive praise or blame due.
    • To keep God’s Word close to my heart and mind.
    • To fight the good fight of faith!

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. –Hebrews 12:1

    QUESTION: Where do you feel the most resistance in your life?

    Who’s Writing Your Story?

    I follow Michael Hyatt’s blog (CEO Thomas Nelson), where he recently recommended a book.

    I was unfamiliar with the author, but because I take Michael’s advice very seriously, I ordered the book.

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:
    What I Learned While Editing My Life

    by Donald Miller

    $19.99
    Thomas Nelson Publisher
    ISBN 978-0-7852-1306-2

    This book caught me completely by surprise; and is now one of my top 10 books! I’m so taken by this book, I already want to reread it. I want to buy a case and pass them out to all my friends.

    It’s funny, profound, entertaining, thought provoking but most importantly — life changing!

    Maybe you’re in a low point of your life.

    Maybe not.

    Maybe your life is going great with no conflicts.

    Either way, this book is a must.

    It’s an easy, fast read that will catch you laughing out loud at the wonderful stories Don lives to tell.

    What makes this one of my favorite books?

    Simply – it made me look at my life in a completely different perspective and see that I have the ability to partner with God and write my own story.

    “A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” -Donald Miller

    We may feel like we’re a million miles and a thousand years away from being able to live what we believe is our “true story.”

    But whose fault is that?

    We don’t have a story because we are lazy. We don’t want to turn off the TV, get off the couch, and put away the Cheetos.

    We don’t see that God is allowing our character (us) to experience conflict that pushes us to become better people.

    “Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller.” -Donald Miller

    I don’t usually have to go too far to find the conflict in my life, it seems to come looking for me.

    The big question is:

    What am I doing with that conflict?

    “One of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage.

    … we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.” -Donald Miller

    What’s Your Story?

    Are you in conflict today but trying to numb the pain of it by depending on something or someone?

    Or you pressing through the conflict to find the resolution/freedom/joy that waits on the other side.

    “It’s a good calling, then, to speak a better story. How brightly a better story shines. How easily the world looks to it in wonder. How grateful we are to hear these stories, and how happy it makes us to repeat them.” – Donald Miller

    Let’s not be lazy and allow our life story to pass us by.

    Let’s partner with God to help tell His story through us.

    Passover: A Memorial to Freedom

    As Christians many of us don’t know exactly what to do with the Passover holiday.

    Isn’t it only a Jewish tradition?

    I’d like to take a look at this important holiday and maybe give you a fresh way to look at it in your life today.

    You may recall the 1956 classic movie The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston playing Moses. Although Cecil B DeMille took artist license with some of the story, most of it is taken directly from Old Testament accounts of the Israelite’s deliverance from 400 years of slavery.

    No doubt it will be shown this week on cable. If you haven’t seen it or it’s been a while since you have, I encourage you to watch it with you family this week. The visuals from this movie help me to have a clearer perspective on the reality of the Passover and its importance.

    In this story, God has heard the cry of the Israelite people who have been bound by slavery to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. A series of events leads Moses, who has grown up as a Prince in Egypt, out into the wilderness.

    God comes to Moses in a burning bush and asks him to go rescue the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. After some initial doubt, Moses agrees. He goes before Pharaoh multiple times asking for the Israelite’s freedom to leave so they can worship God. Pharaoh denies them their freedom.

    With each of Pharaoh’s denials God brings upon Egypt 10 plagues:

    1. All the water in Egypt turned to blood

    2. Frogs covered the land

    3. All of Egypt was swarmed with gnats

    4. Then a swarm of flies

    5. All the livestock dies

    6. All the people broke out in boils

    7. A hail storm killed all the plants and animals

    8. Locust covered Egypt and ate what was left after the hail

    9. Three days of such darkness that no one could move

    10. Death of all first born including people and animals

    During the first 9 plagues God protected the Israelite people. But for the final plague-Death of the Firstborn– the Israelite people had to take an action to protect themselves.

    Before the Death Angel came, God commanded the Israelites to put blood from an unblemished, first born lamb, over the door posts of each home; this would protect them from death.

    Inside their homes, the Israelites ate a meal of roast lamb, bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. They ate bitter herbs to signify the bitterness of slavery. Unleavened bread; because the dough didn’t have to rise.

    The meal was to be eaten while dressed for travel as a sign of their faith that God would deliver them. Although they were not yet free, they were to be prepared, for God had said he would lead them out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery. The Israelites were ready to leave at any time.

    I’m sure you know the rest of the story, the Death Angel comes; the Pharaoh’s son dies then in his grief finally agrees to let the Israelites leave.

    So what can we take from this story and apply to our modern lives today?

    What lesson is here for us?

    For us who are recovering addicts…?

    For us who have overcome a particular challenge in our lives?

    For us who have been freed from our own bondage?

    Since Jesus was Jewish, he celebrated all the Jewish traditions. As followers of Jesus doesn’t it make since that we would celebrate those same traditions as well.

    I suggest we take the Passover holiday and use it as an opportunity to celebrate the freedom that God has given us. Maybe have a Passover dinner with lamb, unleavened bread and some bitter herbs. I don’t mean in a legalistic way but simply to honor what God has done in our lives.

    I don’t know about you, but the Death Angel has passed me by several times!

    Praise God!

    I am free today from the bondage of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, from sexual and relationship addiction, from the grips of pornography, fantasy and disease.

    Father God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ; The Perfect Lamb, and covered me with The Blood that saved me from the ultimate Death.

    Let’s use Passover as a memorial to the freedom God has given us.

    QUESTION:

    What bondage has God freed you from?

    What can you do to remember the freedom God has given you?

    Maybe you aren’t yet free of your bondage?

    What can you do as a sign of your faith that God will bring you out as He has promised?

    Exciting News!

    I’m excited to announce that I’ll be writing as a freelance/guest blogger for the www.XXXChurch.com ministry starting sometime in April!

    For those of you unfamiliar, XXXChurch has been on the leading edge, tackling the porn industry from the inside, for 8 years now. In 2002, when I was heavily in my own sin/addiction I ran across their site one day when I was surfing for porn. I immediately thought it must be a joke.

    It’s far from a joke. The founders Craig Gross and Jake Larson started simply by showing up at the renown Las Vegas Porn convention with their own booth, telling the porn stars and producers that Jesus loves them no matter what they have done. The ministry has grown so much that now they’ve started, among other things, the Strip Church which is reaching Sin City with the love of Jesus Christ.

    Three years after I first heard of XXXChurch, I got free myself from sexual addiction and have followed their ministry closely hoping to one day partner with them in the fight against pornography. Praise God! That day has arrived!

    For my friends who’ve been with me so far, buckle up, this ride is about to get really exciting. God has opened a huge door for my ministry, one I’ve been anxiously waiting for.

    More details to come soon…

    Blessings… T

    Isn’t It Funny How God Works?

    Earlier this week I posted a blog. OK, that’s not big news, it’s what God taught me after the post that’s so cool.

    Since I started writing my blog two years ago, I’ve been focusing on trying to become a better writer, post on a somewhat regular basis and grow my reader base.

    For those who know me or have been following me for any time, you know Bill and I have moved multiple times in the last 3 years. (6 moves to be exact!) Needless to say, that can put a cramp in anyone’s writing style or schedule.

    When I did get a chance to write, I would take several hours of an afternoon, armed with the inspiration God had given me and set out to write the best blog possible.

    Carefully, consciously, creatively crafting…

    Occasionally I get discouraged. Even though a lot of women follow me, I’ve only had a couple of comments post to my blogs these two years.

    No long ago I found out that to post a comment on my blog you must sign up for a Gmail account because Blogger is a Google product. This has kept many readers from posting comments.

    To deal with the Google issue I contracted with Feed Blitz to distribute my blogs in an email newsletter to my followers. That’s going well; my reader number continues to grow, but still little response.

    Now to this week’s post…

    On Tuesday instead of spending hours carefully crafting my blog, I just sat down and blurted out what was on my heart in about 15 minutes.

    I’ve gotten several phone calls and multiple emails in response to that post.

    So…

    What’s the lesson learned here???

    Don’t try so hard.

    Set a timer.


    Go with the flow.


    Share from my heart.

    Trust the Lord, He’s in control!

    It’s for Him that I write anyway!

    Struggling to Focus

    It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted a blog, so I must apologize for my silence.

    I was sick for almost two weeks; during that time and since, I’ve been having technical difficulties with my computer.

    Now that the sickness has subsided and my computer is pretty much back to normal, I hope to get my writing schedule in sync too.

    These last few days I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with the task at hand…

    So many books I need and want to read. So much to say to the many women who need reaching. I feel like I’m running behind. Getting discouraged because I don’t seem to be making any real progress.

    One of the books I’m currently reading is You Were born for This: 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles by Bruce Wilkinson; best known as the author of The Prayer of Jabez.

    During my most recent slump- today, I read:

    “If you’re determined to serve people for the sake of people, you’ll eventually burn out and quit…. you’ve been called to serve God–and that’s always worth it. But one of the ways you serve Him is by serving others. You have to keep your eyes on Him, because otherwise you won’t last. Once you’re focused on serving and pleasing God, the rest becomes irrelevant.”

    It dawned on me–

    Why am I doing what I am doing?

    For the hurting women; for the head knowledge from all the books I read; or because I’ve been called by God to serve Him in whatever way He wants to use me?

    Joyce Meyer aptly puts it this way: Frustration=Works of the Flesh

    In other words, if I’m getting frustrated maybe I’m trying to do something in my own power and strength not depending on God’s guidance, strength or power to get me through.

    Today, I will re-access my goals, back up a bit and prayerfully see where God leads me from there.

    The main thing I want is to be available to be used by God; if I’m overwhelmed, out of focus or discouraged, I’m certainly of no use to Him or anyone else for that matter.

    I appreciate your prayers as I labor to rest in the Lord, to keep my focus on Him and not the tasks at hand, to know that He will bring about what He wants me to do in His perfect timing.

    Is Chastity Possible in the New Millennium?

    Since I’m a married woman, you may be wondering…

    “Tamara, why are you writing on chastity?”

    I’m reading an excellent book by John Michael Talbot – The Lessons of St. Francis-How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life, where Talbot discusses how to apply the spiritual disciplines taught by St. Francis in our modern world and relationships.

    As I was reading the chapter on chastity I was prompted to write a blog that relates chastity to the challenges sex addicts face today.

    With the hyper-sexualized media that’s thrown at us today, many are desensitized. From fashion magazine at the grocery checkout, to billboards on the freeway, to commercials on TV. It’s almost impossible to avoid the near naked images of provocatively posed models vying for our eyes and pocketbooks.

    For some of us, this is a serious battle, continuously waged; always careful to look away, preventing possible triggers from being set off. Sober now 5 years from sexual addiction, Praise God today these images are not a big problem; not that I dare let my guard down.

    Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman [or man] lustfully has already committed adultery in his [her] heart.”-Matt. 5:28

    I take these words very seriously, because I know it only takes one look to lead to… a fantasy, which, if meditated on long enough, can easily be acted out on.

    Chastity, along with celibacy, is usually seen as something only practiced by men and women who’ve made specific vows to God.

    I’d like to challenge that thinking with the idea of celibacy and chastity to heal or improve sex in a marriage relationship.

    Celibacy is critical in the very early days of sex addiction recovery. It’s important the sex addict refrain from all sexual stimulation for a period of 3-6 months, this may vary by individual. (includes sex in the marriage and self-sex). For an addict beginning recovery this is very difficult, but crucial to recovery.

    Chastity in a marriage can be as simple as cherishing your sexuality as a gift from God, using it in appropriate holy ways that respect God and your mate, resisting any temptation, no matter how small, when they come your way.

    Our marriage relationships are tender gardens that need to be cared for. If we’re not careful, the weeds of fantasy and comparison can easily tear down any healthy growth, if not kill it completely.

    Talbot writes from an interesting perspective on sexuality:

    “I’ve personally lived through at least three completely different approaches to sex: the freewheeling sensuality readily available to a rock musician; the cleansing fire and spiritual passion of repentance and sexual abstinence; and the rejuvenating joy of marriage, a union through which the church has long honored sex as a sacrament, and which helps me see sexuality as sacred and God-given.”

    Talbot further notes that many people don’t remain faithful in their marriages because they never learned the value of sexual control.

    I heartily agree with this last statement and will even go further to say, when you make a covenant with your eyes, to not look at another person with lust, examining them like they were the roast about to be served up for lunch, you’ll have more desire for the mate God has given you.

    If marriage was respected as the sacred covenant that it is, with its vows taken as seriously as our brothers and sisters who take a vow of celibacy, we’d have much healthier sexual relationships.

    Similar to Talbot, I’ve lived through three different worldviews of sexuality:

    • Relational sex is part of a loving relationship; without commitment to marriage
    • Recreationalsex is purely for pleasure; dispenses with romance and spirituality
    • Traditionalsex is exclusive with mutual respect; emphasizes lifelong commitment

    For most of my life I used sex to substitute unmet emotional and spiritual needs.

    After trying all the world has to offer, sexually speaking, I tell you today, without a doubt, sex kept simply between a husband and wife, with no toys, no fantasies, no porn; is better than any orgy, better than being hyped up on drugs using every toy one can imagine.

    If you would’ve asked me 5 years ago:

    “Is ‘Meth sex’ possible without the Meth?” I would’ve said, “NO WAY!”

    Today, I tell you it is! Because with God, ALL THINGS are possible!!

    By God’s grace and mercy, practicing the discipline of chastity in mind, soul and body, God has not only restored my marriage but continues to renew our desires in ways we could never have imagined before sexual sobriety.

    If you struggle with sexual sin or are just playing with the idea of it, I want you to know first of all you are not alone.

    Millions of women struggle with sexual sin even in the church.

    Find someone you trust and share your struggle with them; that’s the first step to freedom.

    Whether you’re single or married; one who struggles with sex or not; I encourage you to make a covenant of purity with your eyes, your heart and your mind.

    It will change your life!

    Question: What’s your world view of sex? How important is chastity to you? What are you doing to maintain a pure heart and mind?

    Review: FREE BOOK by Brian Tome

    Reviewed by Tamara Mapp

    Posted February 26, 2010

    Free Book by Brian Tome

    Thomas Nelson, February 2010

    230 pp., $14.99

    I recently joined a new kind of book club: BookSneeze. As a member I receive a free book in exchange for an honest review on my blog. Upon joining it didn’t take me long to choose Free Book by Brian Tome because I agree with every word in the subtitle:

    “I am a fanatic about freedom. And I’m fanatical about coming at you hard in this book. I’m tired of seeing people beaten down by the world’s systems and by religion. I’m sick of seeing people live safe, predictable lives while their God-given passions die. I hate the assumption that getting close to God means more rules and restrictions. No more. God’s offering real freedom. Get yours.”- Brian Tome

    Brian takes a little different approach to the subject of freedom. You may not agree with everything he says; but give him credit, he passionately covers all areas of life & how to walk out a life of freedom. This was an excellent book. I highly recommend it for those who are serious about living Free!

    Here are a few of the topics he discusses:

    • Be Void of Fear – cast off whatever hinders you; go after the grand adventure of experiencing God while you experience all of life.
    • Be Who God Designed You to Be – live free of condemnation & others’ concern; develop a healthy conscience; not allowing your past to taint your present or future.
    • Jesus: the Ultimate Freedom Giver – freedom requires a decision to follow someone; it’s about the one who’s leading you and the way you choose to follow.
    • Ride the Forgiveness Freeway – staying free means going with the flow of forgiveness; the more we give the more we receive.
    • Live an Unbalanced Life – instead of over committing & striving for balance in multiple areas, throw your weight behind one focused effort; push to experience the fullness of God’s blessings.

    Don’t go through life burdened by strongholds and fear; struggling with relationships or finances.



    Experience the grace and truth with which Christ brings us True Freedom!

    Read Free Book by Brian Tome.

    I review for BookSneeze

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”