Feb 14 2015

How to Enjoy a Bible Study for All It’s Worth

Rebekyah Brewer

BibleWe read the bible differently than we read any other book. One reason is because of it’s sheer size. We can’t read the bible in one sitting. It’s too much to take in. Sometimes an entire chapter or even a short verse can be too much to take in during one sitting. We have to extend our reading over a period of hours and days as we wrestle with understanding and meditate on their meaning, their various implications and applications.

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May 20 2013

Stepping Heavenward

Rebekyah Brewer

SteppingI recently ran across a passage that I had marked from one of my favorite books called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I don’t read two many novels, but this was one that I ran across that I have bought copies of and insisted it was mandatory reading for my girl friends. You can actually download the free audio version here on Librovox or download and read the free EPUB version from Project Guttenberg here. Or you can purchase a copy on Amazon here.

Below is one of my earmarked pages capturing a conversation about dying and entering Christ’s presence.  It stood out to me as I reread the passage recently because we have been talking about death and dying a lot in our weekly women’s bible study at www.calledaside.com.  Mainly because we are going through the book of Revelation and it is all about facing “the dread of the King of Terrors“. We were talking just a few weeks ago about the importance of dying well in a lesson called Preparing to Enter Heaven and it has been a lesson that I have been replaying over and over again in my mind, asking myself the same question we asked that evening which is this, “At your funeral, what will people say you loved most? What will people say you lived for? Will Jesus come to their mind? Will they be able to say that you were a person who loved God, who was marked by your love for Jesus?” Continue reading

Feb 23 2013

What Are Your Favorite Devotional Books?

Rebekyah Brewer

If someone took all your books away and only allowed you to keep three of four,  what would they be?

I had a recent visitor comment on my blog post A Diary of Private Prayer that this was one of his favorite books and that if  his books were to be taken away and he was only allowed to keep three of four, this one would always make his list.   His comment made me look at my own overflowing book shelves and ask which ones would I keep if I could only keep three or four. I had attempted to reply back with my response but at the point where my comment turned to over 345 words, I figured it qualified as a valid blog post.

I am quite a book lover myself and narrowing it down to only three or four outside the bible would be quite a painful experience.   I would have to say mine would be The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett. It’s very similar to John Baillie, only very much expanded. It is a collection of puritan prayers that are heart felt. I have posted a few of my favorites on my blog. The Gift of Gifts, Sleep and Choices. I have several more but I know the book is copyrighted and I am always fighting the temptation to post them all. But there are more posted at Oldlandmarks.com. There is actually a Walking Through the Valley of Vision Prayer Guide that you can use with this devotional book at the Gospel Coalition website. Walking Through The Valley of Vision: A Strategy for Prayer. Continue reading

Jan 9 2011

How to Live on 24 Hours A Day

Rebekyah Brewer

I can’t think of a more appropriate book to begin the year off with then the one I have just began listening to. This is of course besides the bible and having a daily bible reading plan, a great classic daily devotional and a fresh blank journal. I just ran across this book, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett on my new favorite website LibriVox. If you haven’t discovered this website, I highly recommend your checking  it out, especially if you are a big audiobook fan like I am and love the classics.

This website offers free audiobooks in the public domain that you can listen to online or download and transfer to your favorite listening device.  I was wary of the sound and voice quality but I found it surprisingly amazing. A great voice, a slow reading pace and good technical sound quality are essential for a good audiobook in my opinion and I found many of the audiobooks on this free website met all three and surpassed my expectations. Continue reading

Oct 17 2010

A Diary of Private Prayer

Rebekyah Brewer

A Diary of Private Prayer_ I recently ran across and bought this old classic devotional called A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie. I had never heard of this little gem before. It is divided by 31 chapters for each of the 31 days of the month and has two pages for each day, one entitled Morning and the other Evening. Sort of like Spurgeon’s devotional called Morning & Evening.  Each day has a morning prayer and an evening prayer that serves as an aide to your prayer time along with a blank page on the left so that you can write down your own prayers and intercessions to be prayed along with it.

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Oct 6 2010

Picking up the Scraps

Rebekyah Brewer

Man of  Prayer I just finished a biography called E.M. Bounds: Man of Prayer by Lyle Dorsett. In this biography Lyle Dorsett writes about the life of E.M. Bounds through reading and  collecting every scrap of information he could find on him. Since very little had previously been written about this great man of prayer, Lyle Dorsett, was forced to do a lot of digging. Fortunately the family of E.M. Bounds made available to him for the first time a private collection of personal letters, notes and telegraphs that E.M Bounds had written himself and received. From these personal correspondences and scraps of paper Lyle Dorsett was able to accumulate, Lyle was able to compile them and write an accurate account of his life.

I was amazed at the faith in this man’s life, how he responded to some  of the greatest tragedies and trials of losing his first wife, two of his children, walking away from a prominent position to be faithful to what the word of God taught, to even the smallest details of his life, found in the private collections of letters. His attitude towards God was always humble and faithful. It seemed only fitting that even the scraps of such a great life, would be found to be as holy and righteous as the man was.

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Apr 18 2009

God’s Will: our dwelling place; Andrew Murray

Rebekyah Brewer

God's Will This book will be in my top 5 list for favorite and most influential books that I read this year. It’s organized in 31 Chapters for 31 daily devotions for meditating on understanding and doing the will of God. In it he emphasizes and teaches that this is the very essence of true faith, the path and foretaste of the glory of heaven – which is a place of  “unhindered manifestation of the working of God’s will.”

If we have no interest in enjoying and living in God’s will now, we will never enjoy heaven, and will have no business there since it is a place ruled by God’s will without hindrance.

He debunks the idea that the way to heaven is found in pious desires, religious duties, trusting in Christ for mercy and seeking to be saved from gross sin. Instead he emphasizes and shows us using Matt. 7:21 that the way into heaven is through “he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Too many have never allowed this truth to take possession of their mind and heart he laments.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matt. 7:21 NIV

True conversion is nothing but a surrender to live only to do the will of God.” He teaches. “It is the turning away from my own will, so as never to seek or do it again. It is the surrender of my will, with all its strength, and at all times to only seek and do that which God wills.” He calls us to use our self will with all our strength for the one great work which God created and prepared it to carry out: “to accept and to will what God wills.” This is the image and likeness of God for which we were created to bear. We are to use our self-will with all our strength to will and do what God wills and does.   He calls this, “the noblest work the will of a man can be engaged in.”

One of my favorite chapters and paragraphs from this book was in Chapter 10 “The Man After God’s Own Heart.” He starts this 10th day of devotion referencing Acts 13:22:

“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, who shall fulfill all my will.”

In this chapter he states, “If you learn the first lesson well – the secret aversion of your nature against God’s will, and your complete inability to overcome or change it – you are ready to go on to the second which is this: Believe that you have a new and Divine nature, expressly designed and prepared to do all God’s will.” If as son of God, Jesus Christ could do nothing of himself, even though he was son, neither can we we hope to fulfill the will of God by our own self-effort, the strength of our own will alone.   We are too weak to bend our own will. We are unable to cast ourselves out. It is at this realization, when we come face to face with ourselves and our own will, blocking our way to God, that we cry out in utter despair:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:24-25 NIV

In Andrew’s third and final lesson to us in this chapter, he encourages us to, “humbly but confidently give yourself up to God to do all His will. Give yourself to Him, as a loving Father, so that you do not take His commands as mere law, but as loving will. The will of the Father will be made known to you in the loving fellowship shared between Himself and yourself. Look at God’s will as one great whole – the revelation of His loving purpose for man and for you. Set yourself resolutely, in the faith of the Holy Spirit’s working in you, to make it your business to do all God’s will every day. Then again, bow yourself in the deepest humility to wait on God to work in you.”

Absolute Surrender. There is no other way, to make the word of God, Jesus Christ manifest himself daily in our lives, through his word taking life and  becoming flesh again in us except through Absolute Surrender. It is a call to die to ourselves every moment of every day so that Christ might live through us. Offering our bodies as living sacrifices. ed find the life God designed for us to live.

I pray that God might make us women after his own heart, that we might be able to sing and cry out as David:

I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. – Psa. 40:8 ESV

Feb 17 2009

The Master’s Indwelling by Andrew Murray

Rebekyah Brewer

I ran across this book on a trip to one of my most favorite bookstores next to Amazon.com, Half Price bookstore. I always love a good used bookstore, because you never know what treasures you might run across. This was a true true treasure find. I bought it because I was familiar with Andrew Murray and loved the books on prayer I had read of his before.  I had never heard of this particular book and was anxious to once again sit at his feet and listen to what else he had to share with me about his life, his assurances, his doubts and struggles, his experiences in his walk with Christ.

Andrew Murray was born in South Africa. He lived from 1828 until 1917. He was a Christian Pastor and author and some of his most famous works Andrew_Murrayamong many are Absolute Surrender, The Deeper Christian Life, With Christ in the School of Obedience, With Christ in the School of Prayer, & God’s Will: Our Dwelling Place. You can learn more about his biography here: Andrew Murray Biography.

What I admire most about Andrew Murray is his strong emphasis and teaching on the absolute surrender of our lives to Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit and dwelling in the will of God. He has much to say about carnal Christians,  those leading only half hearted devoted lives.  His life is a great example to me of what it looks like to live a surrendered life. I still have so much that I would like to learn from him and hope that by reading and reading his books that maybe a part of his sincere devotion, a part of his wisdom, a part of his deeply surrendered life might just rub off on me.

I like to consider such men as Andrew Murray as spiritual uncles. Some would call them spiritual fathers or spiritual brothers in Christ, but because of age and the generation I tend to look more at them as great uncles and aunts in Christ. When I think of forefathers, I personally think more of those biblical figures, like Abraham, Moses, Paul etc that gave us such strong examples to follow. Aunts and Uncles seem to be closer in history to me, yet more mature in age. Those that lived from the beginning of the church history until the late 1800’s early 1900’s such as Andrew Murray.  Men & women of this generation, that share this time period with me, I much easily view as spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ.

We have such a rich family history in Christ, such a rich, green, deeply rooted, fruit filled, drooping and hanging low spiritual family tree. I wish more Christians were as familiar with their rich spiritual heritage as they are with their genealogical one. I have found it to be very inspiring and encouraging to learn about the lives of those who have gone before me, walking the same path and who struggled with many of the same issues and questions that I myself have struggled with. It reminds me that the book of Acts has not yet ended. The story of faith goes on and is continuing to be lived out. I have my place to take in that same story. I have my part to play as a witness to the resurrection of Christ and in the advancement of the gospel.

It makes a great morning or lunchtime devotional by reading a chapter at a time. Or even half a chapter. There is so much to take in and meditate on you won’t want to read through this book too fast. Grab a cup of coffee, or your lunch time snack and take time to sit down a moment with Andrew Murray as he talks to us about what it means to have our master dwelling within us. You can order a copy by clicking the image of the book above or by reading it for free online at the Christian Classic Ethereal Library. The Master’s Indwelling