Category Archives: Been Reading…

Bible Study Tools and Christian Resources

Every day I like to study the Bible.   I usually do so on the computer.   The main tool I use is E-Sword.  It is an integrated Bible software package that has various translations, commentaries, maps, devotionals and Bible dictionaries.  There are copies of the early Biblical text and current foreign language translations on the website (I saw a translation in Thai).  The best part about it is that it is free.  I have used it for over eight years.  You can download it at  http://e-sword.net/.  Follow the instructions to load it on your computer.   After you download the set-up program then you need to download the various resources and install them.    Once loaded this program does not need the internet for ongoing use.

A second Bible tool I just discovered is Bible Mapper.   It provides you with full customizable Bible mapping software.   It is also free and available at BibleMapper.com.

An additional resource for Christian readers is the Christian classics ethereal library.   This site provides free plain text copy of of hundreds of classic Christian books selected for edification and education.  Click here to access this library.

The last resource I want to mention for Burmese Bible students is the Myanmar Bible Society.   They provide various Burmese ethnic translations of the Bible for on-line use.  Click here to access their website.

P.S.  Also check out Bible Gateway.com.

 

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Adoniram Judson

A biography of the life of Adoniram Judson was written by his son Edward.  Judson was a pioneer missionary to the Burmese .  His biography is available at this link.

Cultural Profile: Refugees from Burma

The US Dept of State has provide a profile of various people groups.  For those who seek to know more about the Burmese, here is the link to a downloadable pdf.

http://www.cal.org/co/pdffiles/refugeesfromburma.pdf

Just an Old Goat!

I was reflecting on Matthew 21 and decided that I’m just an old goat that Abba is transforming into a sheep.   I want to be one of Abbas  sheep, hear His voice and be called by name.  Take a look at this scripture and see where I am coming from:

(Mat 25:32-46 Message)  Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats,  putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room,  I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink?  And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’
Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me–you did it to me.’ “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell.   And why? Because– I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me–you failed to do it to me.’   “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

Scared by Tom Davis

Tom Davis is flat out passionate about intervention with the people of Africa.   Last week I posted about his book Red Letters and today I just finished a novel by him that captures the plight of the Swaziland children orphaned by AIDS and facing aggrevious conditions of hunger, lack of safety and inadequate medical care.

You cannot come away from reading his books without an awareness of the need and in my case questions on how I can intervene.  Our church is directly involved in ministry in neighboring Zambia.   Three years ago Kay and I visited Zambia and can attest to the reality of Tom’s narrative.  Get your hands on Scared.

Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds

Tom Davis, author of Red Letters, shares these words:  “Every time I go into a community to offer help, I take with me little more than a sincere desire to do whatever is needed.  I go with the expectation that I will leave a little of my money, my time–a little of myself–with people who need it more than I do.  I don’t do this to get anything in return–I do it because it delights God” ( p. 96).

As you think about the mission imperative given by Jesus, I would highly recommend Red Letters (click here to order the book).  Tom has a focus on the orphans and aids children of Africa.   As a Wesleyan I am very interested in his references to Swaziland, where we have missionaries doing ministry.

A Homeless God

Out of all eternity, out of all places, God has chosen to make a home here!   My heart has been captivated by Frank Viola’s teaching on God’s place of dwelling.   In Old Testament times, God “camped” in the portable tabernacle, later for a period of time He resided in a consecrated temple.   But all along he had a grander plan in mind.   He desired to reside in a building constructed of “church” materials.   Today as believers, we are part of this body called the church.   Each of us who reside (eat, drink, and rest) in Christ are part of the construction materials.   Revelation 21 and 22 give a sketch or painting of this ultimate home for God.

The house is not not just a mansion (John 14), but a city with many rooms.   The city is made of gold, pearl and precious stones.   Paul also talks about silver as a construction element.  Silver speaks of redemption.  During our sojourn on earth, post fall and pre-resurrection, we must all be redeemed through Christ alone.   Subsequently He can work in to purify us as gold by fire, fashion pearls out of life’s irritants and yield precious living stones from great pressures.  How’s God doing with your part of the building project.

I’ve been thinking of this in conjunctions with our Burmese friends and see many Christians that have gone through persecution, suffering, the martyrdom of relatives, pressures beyond the pale and irritating juntas that won’t go away.   Today in America, in this next chapter of their lives, the Burmese folks are still among the construction materials.  God is fashioning a beautiful home, composed of all of us, where He will dwell.   As we learn to live the indwelling divine life, God continues to use us, in the building of His house.

Read more about the home God is making,  in “From Eternity to Here” by Frank Viola.

A Bird, Thanksgiving, an Opportunity!

img_3417Two nights ago, as Kay and I were preparing a Thanksgiving celebration with some of our friends, I was disposing of a bag of trash and came back up on my front porch under a Boston fern.  Well there was a little bird roosting in the plant and we were mutually startled.  The funny thing is the bird chased me across the porch.  When I went in to the house and through the front room, he had flown across the front of the house and for the next half hour was endeavoring to fly in through our bay window.

This anecdote has become juxtaposed in my mind with several incidents on Thanksgiving day.  Kay and I had planned a dinner party of 15 with three Burmese families.  Frosintina and BiBi Thakbal offered to come and help us get ready for all the company.  They were a real blessing to Kay and all three worked really hard.  My job was to carve the turkey.  As Frosintina was assisting me with this task she noted I was discarding the skin, bones, some pieces of fat and ultimately the carcass.  She said to me, the Burmese might make soup with those things. img_3440

After all the festivities, Kay prepared four plates of food for additional Burmese friends.  As we were delivering the food to one family, we knocked on their door and couldn’t find them.  Finally they came out from behind a neighbor’s house and told us the neighbor had got a deer while hunting and was dressing out the meat.   So we stopped and went around to watch him work on the venison for a while.   I found out from the Burmese later that they were quite shocked that he only saved a few pieces of meat and threw away the rest.

We have one of those pictures inside of a picture on our wall.  I can never seem to see the underyling image.   I showed it to a couple of the Burmese men and in a few minutes they were chatting about it and pointing out the pattern to their wives.  Here are a couple of snaps.img_3442img_3443

I was thinking about how these refugee families, attending our church, are like that bird outside the window.  They are trying to adjust and fit in.  They see the Americans through their picture windows but there is still a great gulf.   Sure there are things they need, but more important there are things they don’t understand, they are catching on quickly…they need friends.

Recently I read a soon-to-be published book by Brennan Manning, entitled “The Furious Longing of God”.    It is all about the passionate love of God for each of us.  He longs to let us in, to bridge the gap, and to satisfy us.  I am thankful God is able to be everything that we need.  Thanks for reading as I share these somewhat disjointed thoughts, they are still crisscrossing in my mind.