Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

I've been hearing a lot about this book the last few months, and it seems everyone but me has read it. It's nothing new- in fact, I'm sure most of you will exclaim, "What, Mandy? You haven't read that yet?"  I know, I know. I'm a little slow.

I first heard Tim Conway talking about it, and I knew it was something I had to get my hands on. 

And guess what- it's available for free download in both PDF from this site (so you can read it on your computer) and "audio book" MP3  (so you can listen to it on your computer or phone!).

Click the link below to begin downloading the PDF book:
Pilgrim's Progress PDF download.

There are many different sites that offer this book for free MP3 download, here are two: offers an ipod/itunes download, as well as an MP3 download with zips all the chapters into one file.

LibriVox allows you to download each chapter on its own, which is especially helpful if you have a phone like mine, which easily gets close to it's data limit. That way you can download as you go and delete as you finish.(Plus, they offer downloads in small and large bytes, so whichever suits you best.)

Also, you can read it online, without downloading, from this online library.

I want to mention that I have no affiliation with these sites and do not necessarily support the information they provide within their sites.

And hey, while you're at it, do a little read-up on John Bunyan!  He has an amazing testimony!

For those of you who, like me, haven't read this treasured book, here's a little information on it:

Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress in two parts, the first of which was published in London in 1678 and the second in 1684. He began the work in his first period of imprisonment, and probably finished it during the second. The earliest edition in which the two parts combined in one volume came in 1728. A third part falsely attributed to Bunyan appeared in 1693, and was reprinted as late as 1852. Its full title is The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come.

The Pilgrim's Progress is arguably one of the most widely known allegories ever written, and has been extensively translated. Protestant missionaries commonly translated it as the first thing after the Bible.

Pilgrim's Progress is a great work of Christian literature. Originally composed in the 17th century, this spiritual allegory has entertained and delighted innumerous readers for over 300 years. Part I tells of "Christian" and his journey to "Celestial City;" Part II tells of the journey of Christian's wife Christiana and their children to Celestial City. The two parts work together as a unified whole, which describes and depicts the believer's life and struggles. Indeed, given the easy style of the book, readers of all ages can understand the spiritual significance of the depictions in the story. However, Pilgrim's Progress does not simply instruct readers with spiritual allegories; it entertains them as well, through Bunyan's creative story telling. Enjoyable and spiritually instructive, Pilgrim's Progress is highly recommended.
(Christian Classics Ethereal Library)

"I love Jesus with all my heart"

"I love Jesus with all my heart!" Have you heard that before?  I can't even recall how any times I've listened to preachers call "the lost" to come down the aisle, telling them to "accept Jesus into your heart".

But that's not biblical, is it?

We aren't called to just love Him with our heart, but with our complete lives- our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  We are to give Him all of us.  If we've just given Him our heart, then we haven't given Him enough.

There's an issue here- we're told to invite Christ into our hearts, but that makes it sound as if we're saying, "Hey, you have this piece here, and I'll keep the rest of my life to myself."  Besides, Christ tells us to "remain in me", not the other way around.  Our Lord is inviting us to come into Him, to be a part of Him, not for Him to be "a part" of us.

Here's a wonderful sermon that really digs into this subject, convicting to the core those who would really "have ears to hear".

Offering Your Bodies, from Paul Washer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Calling All Churches! Return to the Word!

I just finished reading The Sufficiency of Scripture (by Joseph Stephen). It's a great book, one that allows the scripture to speak for itself, and I am definitely adding it to my list of recommended readings.

If you've been around my husband and I for any amount of time, then you likely know that we're pretty passionate about churches boldly living and proclaiming the Word of God, not conforming their methodology and message in order to bring in more people.  Today's church is fighting the same battles we see in the pages of Scripture, which is why the apostle Paul spends a lot of time exhorting, rebuking, and encouraging the churches of his day.

In his book, Stephen writes, "It is very wrong of us to bring the elements of the world into our worship and remembrance service. When we do so, we rob God of His rightful glory. It is very wrong to change our operation to accommodate unbelievers. After all, we are setting an example to them and not them to us. Our evangelism and explanation of worship and remembrance must be done outside of this time as this time is the Lord's. If one comes into our meeting off the street and sees our manner of worship, that person will know of a truth that God is among us. By accommodating the world in our manner of worship, we are proclaiming that the world's ways and idols are acceptable.  Some of the idols that rob God during this time are entertaining music, rousing speeches to whip up emotion, self-centered songs that talk about 'me', etc.  It is clear from Scripture that Paul never used cunning devices to proclaim truth. He spoke with simplicity and only used God's Word."

So many churches today cater to the lost.  Church has become a place of entertainment, centered around the people rather than focusing on worshiping God.  Many people have stood in disagreement with us when we have said, "Church is not for the lost."  Biblically speaking, the Church is Lord Jesus' bride. We are His people.  When gathering together to worship and praise Him, our Lord should be our focus- this is not a time of evangelism.  This is not to say that the church should not gather for the intent of evangelizing the lost, but one who is lost is not capable of worshiping "in spirit and in truth" as we are commanded to do.  They are not to take part in this "ceremony" nor are they to take part in communion. This is not to say there won't be lost people present from time to time, but that certainly doesn't mean we need to water down our message or sprinkle in entertainment for them so we can keep their attention. No, the lost would benefit from sitting through bold, biblical worship and praise (which includes teaching and preaching).  Hopefully it will stir their heart to conviction, godly grief, and repentance!

Unfortunately, today's churches want to cram all they can into one day.  Therefore, each Sunday they attempt to pack worship, praise, teaching, encouragement, and evangelism into just an hour or two.  Correction and rebuke are often left out because it's just too "offensive".

People today today have gathered themselves teachers and preachers who will coo into their itching ears what they want to hear. [2 Timothy 4:3]  And, these teachers and preachers are happy to do it, because it brings them more members, more money, and more earthly honor.

The church has adopted many of the world's ways and does not even realize it. Instead of digging into the Word of God to see what God desires of and from the church, we look to those around us.  We adopt the ways of other successful pastor and churches, mimicking them instead of Scripture.

It's time to get back into the Word and truly seek out God's direction for ourselves, our families, and our churches- which all should work together and not contradict one another.

Here's a video Paul Washer posted some time ago that goes along with this subject:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Homeschooling for the Glory of God


♥ If we educate our children so that they will be intelligent and successful - we may be seeking THEIR glory.
♥ If we educate our children so that they will impress our family, friends and neighbors - we may be seeing OUR OWN glory.
♥ If we educate our children so that they can pour forth facts and figures accurately - we may be seeking the glory of KNOWLEDGE (and knowledge puffs up).
♥ But if we educate our children so that they have a big view of God, are aware of their individuals giftings and seek to use them for the advancement of God's Kingdom around the world and in eternity - then we are seeking GOD'S glory.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Acts 4:12-  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

You are not simply Jesus. While some would say, "Is this not Jesus of Nazareth? Son of Mary?", we know you are not merely Jesus, but Lord, Savior and God.

How could You be a mere man and satisfy the wrath of God on our behalf? For if You are only a man, only "Jesus of Nazareth" then we are fools.  No, only that which is holy can satisfy a Holy God, and so God sent His beloved Son. 

You were clothed in flesh, and took on sin. You, who knew no sin, took on my sin. You took on my curses. You drank the cup of wrath meant for me.  How great a love that brought You to the cross and kept you there!

If You were simply the son of Mary, that death on the cross would have been in vain. It would have been a death just like any other death- ending there, confined the grave. But no, You defeated death! You had victory over the grave! No mere man has such a hope, unless it is in You.

Yes, You were clothed in flesh! You came down from heaven above, from Your place on High, from Your glorious kingdom. You took on flesh to save us from sin and from God's righteous wrath.

How mighty is the name- not the mere name of Jesus of Nazareth, but Jesus, Lord God Almighty! Salvation comes by no other name!

There is power in Your Name. There is forgiveness in Your Name.

We can call on Your Name, put our faith in Your name, trust in Your Name, pray in Your Name.

You are mighty, Lord, and worthy to be praised.

Romans 10:13, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:16, Acts 10:43, Philippians 2:9-10

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Holy, Righteous God: No excuse for Irreverence

When man said, “I am” in the presence of God it was always “I am vile”, “I am undone”, “I am unclean”, “I am sinful”. Man always hid his face, fell on his face or demonstrated absolute conviction as to God’s holiness, authority and perfection. (Some examples: Exodus 3:6 , Numbers 22:31 , Joshua 5:14 , Ezra 9:6 , Job 40:4 , Isaiah 6:5 , Ezekiel 3:23 , Matthew 2:11 , 17:6, Mark 5:33 , Luke 5:8 , Revelation 1:17 , 5:8, 14, 19:4, etc) No one dared approach God with the familiarity we do today and just because we are under grace we still have no excuse for irreverence.

[From Faithful Generations, What does God say about Himself]

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Breakfast and the Bible

Bright sunny mornings usually bring bible time to the kitchen table.  The other day, I whipped up a puff pancake (using spelt flour) and cooked a delicious strawberry topping to drizzle over it. 

We enjoyed our tasty breakfast while reading the Word. And, for once, the kids were quite (because they were eating!) so I was able to read through Proverbs and Psalms without many interruptions. Personally, I like to eat and read.  I usually have a snack, or at least something to sip on, while reading my bible. Do you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This evening, I'm listening to Paul Washer's sermon: The Crushing of Christ.

I've heard tidbits of it before (he tends to repeat himself in sermons, but there's nothing wrong with that!), but I always enjoy hearing the gospel over and over again!  It is wonderful to begin to understand that God not only loves us much, but His love is not like our love. Our love is weak and self-centered! God's love is abundant and unconditional and far reaching!

Give it a hear!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Christian Modesty & The Public Undressing of America

I've been wanting to read this book for some time... and then, I found out there's a free download available!

Click the link below to download the link. (It will not send you to another page. A download window should pop up, though.)

Christian Modesty and The Public Undressing of America, by Jeff Pollard

If you've read it (or, once you do), let me know your thoughts!

You can also purchase the book from Vision Forum for $8, if you'd rather have a paper copy in your hands!

"The Church is being destroyed by sacred cows. A “sacred cow” is an untouchable subject that we are not supposed to discuss. To do so impinges upon another’s “Christian liberty.” Certainly, there are few sacred cows quite as sacred as the right of modern Christians to dress however they please. But in this groundbreaking work, Jeff Pollard challenges us to embrace God’s standard and to understand the historical roots of the rise of nudity and immodesty in modern culture. His perspective is thoughtful and balanced. Most importantly, he accomplishes what few authors on this subject have achieved: a treatise that avoids both license and legalism. A courageous booklet."


Modesty and Lust

Modesty and Lust go hand in hand. Do you understand that, ladies? This is one area where I struggle. Sometimes I hold up a pair of shorts and think, "Well, I just want to be comfortable."  Sometimes I put on something and am not even aware of how it may be a stumbling block to someone else- whether a man struggling with lust, or a young woman watching me to see what "Christian modesty" looks like.  Does what you wear drive men who look upon you into Spiritual Warfare as they struggle with lust? It's not just "their problem"- it's ours, as women, as well.  If we love our brothers in Christ, we will adorn ourselves modestly so as to keep them from struggling.

I enjoyed this videos which so wonderfully approach this subject, and so, I'm sharing them with you today.

Whose attention to you crave?  (Modesty, Part 1)

From a guys point of view: (Modesty, Part 2)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bible Study: The Truth About Man

I came across this wonderful bible study put together by Paul Washer. I'm eager to dive into, having (digitally) flipped through the pages. Do it on your own, as a family, or as a group.

This free bible study book is available through Heart Cry Missionary  in PDF form.

This revealing study takes you through the following:
The Creation of Man
The Fall of Adam
The Fall of Mankind
Spiritual Death and Moral Inability
Enslavement to Satan
The Character and Universality of Sin
God’s Disposition Towards the Sinner
God’s Judgment of the Sinner
The Final Judgment of the Wicked
"The great goal of this study is for the student to have an encounter with God through His Word. Founded upon the conviction that the Scriptures are the inspired and infallible Word of God, this study has been designed in such a way that it is literally impossible for the student to advance without an open Bible before him or her. Our goal is to obey the exhortation of the apostle Paul in II Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [...] The student will find that this is primarily a Biblical study and does not contain much in the way of colorful illustrations, quaint stories, or even theological commentaries. It was our desire to provide a work that only pointed the way to the Scriptures and allowed the Scriptures to speak for themselves."
                                                [Taken from the Introduction]

Download by clicking the link below:
The Truth About Man

Let us know if you download it! I'm interested to read about other people's experiences as they dive into the Word of God!

                 With Love,
                    Mandy @ A Fighting Faith

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A baby and a bible

I open my bible and begin to read out loud.  A grin spreads across her face- she really seems to love these moments.  She wiggles and grabs for the pages, which are just barely out of reach.

I am blessed

I snapped a bunch of photos today as we went about our day. As I look over them, I am reminded how blessed I am.

Some days are totally exhausting. Okay, most days are. But I am so fortunate to have each and every single one of my sweet children here at home with me- under my eye, under my care. I am so privileged to teach them at home, to guide their little minds and hearts, and to give them the biblical education I feel is so very necessary.

Today has been a good day- evidenced by the many smiles I caught on camera, the lingering smell of freshly baked cookies, and the cheerful sounds I hear as my two oldest play out the backyard (the younger two are still napping).

Soon, my husband will walk through the front door- this is the moment I anticipate all day.  I am thankful that he works hard to provide and takes his job (as provider) seriously, but I miss him fiercely when he is gone.

I am blessed, I know.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Help me Love as You Love!

El Shaddai- my sovereign, compassionate, merciful God- help me love as You love. I don't want to be a "sounding brass or tinkling cymbal". Help me be patient- longsuffering towards the souls of those whom You created- just as You were patient and longsuffering when I was blind and bound to my sin, even as You remain so with me now.

I don't want to be prideful in my salvation- it is not from my own works, but a gift of mercy and grace through the blood of Christ that saved a wretch like me. (For I, too, once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see!)

Help me to leave my anger and frustrations at Your feet. I want to stay under Your wing, clothed in Your righteousness... but so often I wander. Pull me back, Lord. Do not let my feet leave your path. Do not allow my lips to speak words that would hinder Your work. May Your word fill my life so abundantly that, when I open my mouth, only Your word can flow out.

Strengthen me in this battle, and help me to walk in the Spirit so that my flesh cannot be provoked. I battle against my flesh constantly, trying to keep my pride and anger from ruling my life.  When I am prodded and poked and the sparks begin to fly, stomp them out, Lord so that they do not becoming a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Help me to forgive and forgive and forgive as You continue to forgive me!

Oh, Lord, help me be loving!  I know not how to love! Show me how!  I battle with my own evilness! How can I pray for anyone else when I must continually fall on my face because of my own vile thoughts? I feel like giving up. Don't let me, my Adonai!

Strengthen me! Help me to endure! I place my hope in Your promises. You will not fail me, I know. I cannot trust in man, but I can trust in You.

Though it be painful, I long to undergo the precise surgery by the Sword of the Spirit. Cut away those things that keep me from being loving! All of You, Lord! Less of me! Let me just be the empty vessel You fill! Empty me of myself!

Lord, I fail and fall and falter. And Satan shoves it in my face repeatedly. "Look at what you've done!" Oh, God, save me from myself! Love interceded for me, help me to intercede for others until the day I die.

I love you, I love you, I love you....
You whisper to me.  May my life whisper of Your love to others.

Sermon: Love is the Key to the Gifts of the Spirit


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Prayers please

Keep my family in your prayers, please. I don't know if anyone reads this blog, but we desperately need your prayers. There are some major health issues, some relationship issues, some salvation issues.... a lot of struggles.  Elohim, great God of all, He's the only one who can heal the body, the heart, the soul, the mind, the family..... and I feel pulled every which way.  My emotions betray me, my flesh works against me, and I need Him more than ever.