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Modern Readers and their Books

Guest Post

Modern Readers and their Books

It has been reported in Christianity Today that all 240 of the Family Christian Stores will be closing soon. These Christian bookstores have been extremely useful and helpful to believers. As one who used to work in a Christian bookstore many years ago, I know the disappointment and frustration that this must bring to many Christians who depended upon this bookstore chain for their Bibles, Sunday school literature and related materials.

In the bookstore in which I worked, we would see people come in regularly with issues, problems and needs. We would talk to them for a few minutes, discern what they were struggling with, and then recommend good quality Christian books to help them. This meant that we had to have a good understanding of Scripture, know not only the stock in our store but also anything else that might be available, have discernment, and be able to pick just the right book for them. Sometimes we would stop and pray with them. We wanted to supply them with materials which would help them find the Lord and grow in grace. We viewed this as our primary and basic ministry.

Regrettably over the years, many mom-and-pop Christian bookstores have gone out of business because of the big chain Christian bookstores. And now the big chain stores are going out of business.

There are several possible reasons for these Christian bookstores to be going out of business.

First, a good many of the stores quit carrying Bibles and quality Christian literature. Instead, they began to carry books which were nothing more than self-help literature. Many of these books and tapes would be about inner healing, self motivation and positive thinking. The stores also started stocking ’Christian’ knickknacks, jewelry and art. This stuff was known in the business collectively as ’holy hardware’.

Second, in recent years there has been a tremendous loss of reading skills and abilities. At about the same time there arose various electronic reading devices. There was a drop in the purchase of dead-tree books even from discount bookstores. Now independent discount bookstores are beginning to disappear.

Online businesses such as Amazon have exploded the world of ebooks into the public consciousness. They provide literature which is consistently cheaper than paper books and available within seconds, and have many options which make reading so much easier. With the modern Kindle readers and other e-readers, you can adjust the font size, number of lines per page and marginal spacing. Many people who love to read have moved to these readers because they can carry a huge number of books in their device and take it anywhere they like. This solves the problem that people have who read lots of books but have nowhere to store them.

Another interesting feature is that unlike a dead-tree book which has the added expense of printing, binding and shipping, the ebook can be typeset and made available quickly for readers. Often dead-tree books go out of print. However, it is possible and even feasible that ebooks never go out of print.

Some of the sad details of a populace that is losing its ability to read is the loss of classic literature which has come to us down through the centuries. However, books that have affected the human experience in just about every area of life can still be found in print in ebooks. Some publishers and retailers provide these classic books in ebook format for free or very little money. This is astounding. That cannot be said for paper books which cost a good deal of money to produce and ship.

This must not be understood as attacking paper books. I personally would love to see paper books in print and available widely for everyone to enjoy. But where does this bring us? With the major Christian publishers slow on the uptake in producing ebooks, and the failure of both private Christian bookstores and now major chain stores, where can Christians turn for quality Christian literature? For those who still have the ability to read, ebooks are a distinct avenue for reading.

But even more basic, we must teach our children to read. If your child is not learning good reading skills in school, help them. Let them see you model reading a book (and of course the most important book to read is the Bible). There are numerous things that you can do to help children and others not only learn to read but love and enjoy reading. You can even read a book as a family. It wouldn’t take but a few minutes each day. Be sure and ask questions to determine whether or not your child understands what they are reading.

At any rate, Christians need to take back the high ground of producing good quality Christian literature and help people to learn about the Lord Jesus and to grow in grace.

GW Anderson
Spoudason Services

 

George W. Anderson taught at Columbia International University and served as the Editorial Manager as well as an Editorial Consultant of the Trinitarian Bible Society in London. Mr. Anderson offers his knowledge and expertise at Spoudason Services, a research & teaching consultancy in Bible, NT Greek, hermeneutics & theology for Bible students, SS teachers, pastors & missionaries.

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Peace on Earth

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,

good will toward men.”  Luke 2:14

Our family here in Virginia had a lovely Christmas season, enjoying a nice warm weather and wonderful time with family and friends. What a blessing it is to be able to celebrate the true reason for the season – Jesus Christ born as a humble baby to bring the peace to this world and demonstrate God’s good will toward men!

Family Photo

However, as we enjoyed the festive Christmas service, the holiday meal, and the warmth of fire in the wood stove, we couldn’t help but think and pray of Christians in the Middle East, in North Korea, in Africa who face persecution and death daily, of all the countries torn by unrest and war, of our motherland Ukraine under attack, of our wonderful new homeland America scarred  by unrest in Ferguson. Our world is drowning in violence and pain, and peace seems to be a mirage. Our thoughts and feelings are nothing new. Over a hundred years ago Henry Wadsworth Longfellow expressed pretty much the same but more poetically in his ‘Christmas Bells’:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

….

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today, just like ever before, this world needs peace; today this world still desperately needs a Savior. This world needs Jesus. We as His people, His followers, are given the mission to carry on the song sang by angels so many years ago: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. Our God is not dead, and He is coming back for His Church! While there is still time, we will shine His light and carry His Word to the world in need.

May this new year be a year when we re-commit to  our Lord and Savior, draw closer to Him, and spread the good news of His salvation to all the nations! And may God’s peace rule in our hearts and minds!

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Countdown to Thanksgiving

“Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains”. Psalm 147:7-8

This November Facebook is abuzz with “3o Days of Thanksgiving”. Many Christians post one gratitude note everyday. Some “thank-you’s” are big ticket items, while others are the recognition of small everyday blessings. And then there are some who thank God for ‘blessings in disguise’: lost jobs, financial struggle, health issues – all those things that test our faith, build up your trust, and make our hearts seek God with new eagerness.

“Gratitude is our ability to see the grace of God, morning by morning, no matter what else greets us in the course of the day”. ~ Craig Barnes

Whatever our situation is today – or any day – a grateful heart is the attitude we are called to as the redeemed children of God.

  • “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV).
  • “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:23.
  • “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” Hebrew 13:15.

We learn about thanksgiving every day as we wake up to a new dawn, have a morning cup of coffee, enjoy food on our table, hear our children’s voices, see our loved ones, get a phone call from a friend, watch the sunset, kiss our spouses good-night. There are things we might be missing. There are circumstances we wished be different. Yet none of that can or should diminish our gratitude to God for all what we do have: our life, His constant presence, protection, and provision.

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled”. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Our family had a good year. We stayed very busy with our three kids: homework, swim classes, field trips, AWANA. One of the biggest highlights of the year was our summer vacation to Virginia Beach along with Oksana’s sister and her son, who came to visit us for a month.

Our children are a constant reminder of God’s special mercy and His blessings. Each one of them is a gift from above. Their little hearts full of wonder and love, their eager minds hungry for truth, their arms outstretched toward us. We delight in our precious gems every day. What a blessing to be a Mom and a Dad!

With the headlines telling us that the world is falling apart all around, we thank God for His faithfulness and hold on to His everlasting promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

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What are you thankful for today?
Have you had any ‘blessings in disguise’ lately?

Please share with us in the comments.

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Who is Jesus?

The Bible,
from cover to cover,
answers the question,
“Who is this Jesus?”

 

 

 

JESUS: FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION 

In the Old Testament:

– In Genesis, He is the Creator God.

– In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.

– In Leviticus, He is your sanctification.

– In Numbers, He is your guide.

– In Deuteronomy, He is your teacher.

– In Joshua, He is the mighty conqueror.

– In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.

– In Ruth, He is your kinsman, your lover, your redeemer.

– In I Samuel, He is the root of Jesse.

– In 2 Samuel, He is the Son of David.

– In 1 Kings and 2 Kings, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

– In 1st and 2nd Chronicles, He is your intercessor and High Priest.

– In Ezra, He is your temple, your house of worship.

– In Nehemiah, He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies.

– In Esther, He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies.

– In Job, He is the arbitrator who not only understands your struggles, but has the power to do something about them.

– In Psalms, He is your song–and your reason to sing.

– In Proverbs, He is your wisdom, helping you make sense of life and live it successfully.

– In Ecclesiastes, He is your purpose, delivering you from vanity..

– In the Song of Solomon, He is your lover, your Rose of Sharon.

– In Isaiah, He is the mighty counselor, the prince of peace, the everlasting father, and more. He’s everything you need.

– In Jeremiah, He is your balm of Gilead, the soothing salve for your sin-sick soul.

– In Lamentations, He is the ever-faithful one upon whom you can depend.

– In Ezekiel, He is your wheel in the middle of a wheel–the one who assures that dry, dead bones will come alive again.

– In Daniel, He is the ancient of days, the ever- lasting God who never runs out of time.

– In Hosea, He is your faithful lover, always beckoning you to come back–even when you have abandoned Him.

– In Joel, He is your refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.

– In Amos, He is the husbandman, the one you can depend on to stay by your side.

– In Obadiah, He is Lord of the Kingdom.

– In Jonah, He is your salvation, bringing you back within His will.

– In Micah, He is judge of the nation.

– In Nahum, He is the jealous God.

– In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One.

– In Zephaniah, He is the witness.

– In Haggai, He overthrows the enemies.

– In Zechariah, He is Lord of Hosts.

– In Malachi, He is the messenger of the covenant.

In the New Testament:

– In Matthew, He is king of the Jews.

– In Mark, He is the servant.

– In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.

– In John, He is the Son of God.

– In Acts, He is Savior of the world.

– In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.

– In I Corinthians, He is the rock that followed Israel.

– In II Corinthians, He the triumphant one, giving victory.

– In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.

– In Ephesians, He is head of the Church.

– In Philippians, He is your joy.

– In Colossians, He is your completeness.

– In I Thessalonians, He is your hope.

– In II Thessalonians, He is your glory.

– In I Timothy, He is your faith.

– In II Timothy, He is your stability.

– In Titus He is your reason for serving.

– In Philemon, He is your benefactor.

– In Hebrews, He is your perfection.

– In James, He is the power behind your faith.

– In I Peter, He is your example.

– In II Peter, He is your purity.

– In I John, He is your life.

– In II John, He is your pattern.

– In III John, He is your motivation.

– In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.

– In Revelation, He is your coming King.

 (Post source: Bible Study Planet)

 

Have you discovered who Jesus is for you?
Pick up the Bible and spend some time with Jesus today! 

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The German Menge Bible

There is a growing collection of non-English Kindle Bibles, published by OSNOVA.

There is an English-French Parallel Bible.
There’s a Louis Segond French Bible.
There’s a Reina-Valera Spanish Bible.
There’s a Russian Synodal Bible.
There’s a Chinese Bible.

The latest addition to this collection is the German Bible translated by Hermann Menge.

Hermann August Menge was born February 7, 1841. He was a German classical scholar, educator and author. Menge worked intensively on Bible translations. At first he devoted himself to a translation of the New Testament into modern German, which appeared in May 1909. The next twelve years he spent on an additional translation of the Old Testament. The first Menge Bible was published in 1926.

In the foreword of his Bible translation Menge wrote, “I am … all efforts to make the translation in close connection to the biblical original text as faithfully as possible.”

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The National Bible Week

The National Bible Week has been celebrated during the week of Thanksgiving every year since 1941. The goal is to raise awareness of the Bible’s importance and relevance to the American nation as a whole, as well as in the lives of individuals. The first day of the week – Monday, November 21 – has been designated as the National Day of the Bible.

Reading the Bible publicly has its roots in the Word of God, in which we read that the people of Israel gathered to hear their leaders read Scripture.

Continue reading

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Dead Tree Books, e-Books and Christian Reading

by GW Anderson, Spoudason Services

Our guest blogger, George W. Anderson, taught at Columbia International University before becoming the Editorial Manager of the Trinitarian Bible Society in London. He is now an Editorial Consultant for the Society as well as a Consultant in Bible and Greek with Spoudason Services.

With the advent of e-book readers one would expect many more people having access to books, dictionaries and study tools. It would be anticipated that with the availability of Amazon’s Kindle, Nook, Sony and other e-book readers, more people would know the joy of reading and want to pass it on to others, particularly as the price of dedicated e-book readers has been declining. However, this is not necessarily the case. Just because someone has a Kindle or a Nook, does not necessarily mean that they are being used for reading. For many, after the new plastic smell has gone away the device finds its way into a drawer, never to see the light of day again. Continue reading

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Children’s Book: Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse

Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse

We are happy to announce a new wonderful book for the Kindle and NookLeon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse by Janet Hurst-Nicholson with illustrations by Barbara McGuire.  It is a clean educational detective story for children of 7 to 12 years, whose humor and wit could extend the recommended age to children of 30 years and above.  (My wife read it in one sitting). Continue reading

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