Archive for Reviews

Is “Heaven is for Real” for real?

(Book review)

Recently I have seen many references from friends about the book “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo. I decided to download the book to my kindle, and give the relatively short book a quick read.

I must say, having a daughter that had a ruptured appendix at a very young age as well, I could identify with the author and the book really gripped me for the first half.

In this book Todd Burpo, a Methodist minister, writes about a situation that happened to his four year old son. Young Colton Burpo has a ruptured appendix, and after 5 days of misdiagnosis, undergoes emergency surgery. During the surgery and the grim prospect of his little boy making it; his father finds a room to himself to cry out to God, and his mother is in a waiting room calling family and friends, and praying. During surgery, young Colton slips away from his body and sees his father in one room and his mother in another room.

The young boy makes it through surgery and recovers. Months later, he astounds his father and mother by telling them of different things that he should not have known about. He accurately describes where his mother and father were and what they were doing while he was in surgery, a fact he could not have known. He also mentions he has a sister in heaven. Mom and Dad are astounded by this because they’ve never told their son about a miscarriage they had prior to him being born. Other things begin to emerge over a period of months about him seeing his grandpa as a much younger man now in heaven and other such things.

It was a really nice story. Sadly, after we get through the tale of the physical surgery and such, and him seeing his mother in one room and his father in another, I have to stop believing it’s anything BUT a story.

You see, it just doesn’t line up with what a vindicated prophet of God taught us. In the book, Colton mentions his grandpa had bigger wings than he did. Bro Branham never mentions this. He tells us that not even all the angels have wings.

Colton mentions sitting on Jesus lap, yet when Bro Branham went beyond the curtain, he was told Jesus was “higher than this”. Colton also describes God having a big throne, Jesus having a smaller one, and the Holy Spirit having a different one as well. This is obviously a problem as the Bible tells us there is one throne, and that God is ONE Lord.

I could point out all the disparities between what we’re taught by Bro Branham and what is set forth in this book, but there would be no reason to continue, really.

It may sound harsh or hard to take, that I’m disagreeing with a four year old boy, but what else can I do? A vindicated prophet of God tells me something, I will take that over a Methodist minister’s tale of what his young boys tells him.

I do want to clarify though; I do believe HEAVEN IS REAL. I just don’t believe the book in question accurately depicts what Heaven is like. I know there are many who are encouraged by this book and the many others out on the market like it. I’m encouraged to know Heaven is real myself. In fact, we have a timeless Book that was given to us called the Bible. IT tells us Heaven is real, if we’d just put our faith in THAT, we wouldn’t need an unlikely story from a youngster to give us a spiritual lift.

If you chose to read it, take it for what it’s worth…a nice story, a tale of something incredible, and perhaps a bit of embellishment.

Close To The Cross, But Far From Christ

I read an excerpt from a book several years ago that stood out to me as being so applicable to the division, and debating we see around the Message that I have read it many times since.

We don’t typically post extended excerpts like this, but I wanted to share it with our readers in hopes that it will strike home with you as much as it does with me.

  

Close To The Cross, But Far From Christ

There was some dice-throwing that went on at the foot of the cross…I’ve wondered what the scene must have looked like to Jesus…

‘All right, all right–this throw is for the sandals.’

Casting lots for the possessions of Christ. Heads ducked. Eyes downward. Cross forgotten…

It makes me think of us. The religious. Those who claim heritage at the cross. I’m thinking of all of us. Every believer in the land. The stuffy. The loose. The strict. The simple. Upper church. Lower church. ‘Spirit-filled.’ Millenialists. Evangelical. Political. Mystical. Literal. Cynical. Robes. Collars. Three-piece suits. Born-againers. Ameners. (NB note: insert random doctrinally named sub-division of the Message)

I’m thinking of us.

I’m thinking that we aren’t so unlike those soldiers. (I’m sorry to say)

We, too, play games at the foot of the cross. We compete for members. We scramble for status. We deal our judgments and condemnations. Competition. Selfishness. Personal gain. It’s all there. We don’t like what the other did so we take the sandal we won and walk away in a huff.

So close to the timbers yet so far from the blood.

We are so close to the world’s most uncommon event, but we act like common crapshooters huddled in bickering groups and fighting over silly opinions.

How many pulpit hours have been wasted on preaching the trivial? How many churches have tumbled at the throes of miniscuity? How many leaders have saddled their pet peeves, drawn their swords of bitterness and launched into battle against brethren over issues that are not worth discussing?

So close to the cross but so far from the Christ

Are our differences that divisive? Are our opinions that obtrusive? Are our walls that wide? Is it that impossible to find a common cause?

May they all be one,’ Jesus prayed.

One. Not one in groups of two thousand. But one in One. One church. One faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christian. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.

Too idealistic? Impossible to achieve? I don’t think so. Harder things have been done, you know. For example, once upon a tree, a Creator gave his life for his creation. Maybe all we need are a few hearts that are willing to follow suit.

60-0304 THIRSTING FOR LIFE (PHOENIX, AZ )

Can you see now why I’m standing for unity of every church, every full gospel church, every believer? We ought to be one heart, one mind, and one accord. No matter how much we different in the Scriptures; that might be… One might see this that way, or–that has nothing to do with it. But in principle, we ought to stand, one great, mighty, army of God marching on, because each one of you in your peculiarity, God has proved that He’s ignoring your doctrine, because He give you the Holy Ghost. And the Bible said, “He gave–give them the Holy Ghost that obeyed Him.”
Now, if I obeyed Him in my peculiar way, and you obeyed Him in your peculiar way, He give us both the Holy Ghost, so we ought to be Christian brethren and sister enough, to arm up together and march on for one great purpose, the Gospel.

*** Text in green is an excerpt from the book
“No Wonder They Call Him Savior”, by Max Lucado ***

From the education just can’t fix some things department.

I read an article today about the recent Lacrosse player murdered in VA. Truly this is a sad thing. A couple paragraphs stood out to me, and I had to comment about them somewhere…so here I am!

First the link to the article: The Article

Now a clip:

“Drinking, debauchery and hateful language are not just lacrosse’s problem. Almost every sport on every college campus is dealing with these issues.

But lacrosse, with its heavy heart, can be the first to seriously try to clean up its act.

“People can’t close their eyes anymore,” Kaplan said. “They can’t pretend it’s not happening. I hope there will be more support on a state level and more specifically on each campus for mandatory, thorough education on gender-based violence.”

What can you say but wow. We want to fix this problem by thorough education on gender based violience?? How about we fix people’s hearts. Perhaps if they knew Christ and aspired unto a goal so much greater than drinking debauchery and hateful language, something greater than lacrosse, something greater than anything in the world; they wouldn’t come to such a horrid end.

This kind of thinking is everywhere. It is easier for man to reform through education or using the old adage of “just try harder”, than it is for him to admit he is so wrong and broken so that he might look for and receive something new, something that’s not them anymore.

We see this even in our churches today: men reforming, men trying harder, men “being good”. Salvation comes through grace by faith alone. There is no other way individuals, or colleges, can deal with the problems stemming from the fall of man and a sinful nature, than by placing them, guilty and lost, at cross of calvary. In the Church Age Book, Bro Branham tells us of how Comenius wrote long ago:

What can help? Only the one thing needful, return to Christ, looking to Christ as the only Leader, and walking in His footsteps, setting aside all other ways until we all reach the goal, and have come to the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:13). As the heavenly Master built everything on the ground of the Scriptures so should we leave all particularities of our special confessions and be satisfied with the revealed Word of God which belongs to us all. With the Bible in our hand we should cry: I believe what God has revealed in this Book; I will obediently keep His commands; I hope for that which He has promised. Christians, give ear! There is only one life, but Death comes to us in a thousand forms. There is only one Christ, but a thousand Antichrists… So thou knowest, O Christendom, what is the one thing needful. Either thou turnest back to Christ or thou goest to destruction like the Antichrist. If thou art wise and wilt live, follow the Leader of Life.


If thou are wise and wilt live, follow the Leader of Life!

Wow. Who would have thought?

A recent study found that sexual content on TV is directly linked to teen pregnancy. Really? Thank goodness for these studies. Now we can go about correcting the behavior of our children.

Or we could have listened to the prophet of God back in 1957 to figure that out.

GOD.KEEPS.HIS.WORD_ STURGIS.MI TUESDAY_ 57-0115
E-28 Put television out way it is now, and uncensored programs of all this vulgarity and everything. Let a little boy go. The gate is the eye to the soul… The eye is the gate to the soul, rather. Let him go in and, let these little girls go into one of these movies, or something, or other and see one of these here women out of Hollywood with eight or ten husbands, making love to some man. That little girl will practice the–the same thing the next day. Let some fantastic, nonsense come out out there with some kind of a little old scandal looking skirts on or something or other like that, and watch the American women go to wearing the same thing. That’s right. See, you catch each other…

I also want to take this post to point out the myth that was around when I was a teenager. The girls seemed to think it was ok for them to watch love scenes but the guys couldn’t because of the difference in how guys and girls are made. I think this quote kind of trumps that logic.

The study also points out that “a little parental involvement can go a long way” with regards to controlling content on TV. While I of course agree, my definition of “a little parental involvement” involves the various ways of unhooking or destroying the thing entirely…I’m not sure that’s what they meant.

-Bro Trevor

Beating A ‘Dead’ Religion

I’ve been reading a little book called “Sunshine & Smiles” by Bud Robinson. (Brother Branham speaks of Bud “Buddy” Robinson many times, and you can find the book ‘Sunshine & Smiles’ in the ‘Books By Other People’ section of The Table software).

One of the statements he makes in the book that I found very timely is this; “If the church is dead, and I keep on fighting it; I prove to the world that I still have faith in it being resurrected, or I prove to the mind of every thinking man that I am diseased just above the ears”.

In a nutshell; If you believe something is dead then why are you still fighting against it? Either you believe it will be resurrected, or there is something mentally wrong with you.

I’ve heard many people say certain ministries are dead, or that ‘certain geographical locations’ are dead, or even that the tapes are dead (or ‘stale manna’).

First let me say this; What could be more alive than the Word made manifest for our day?

Secondly; If you’re so sure something is dead why are you still fighting it so hard? Wouldn’t that mean you are (as the street expression goes) “beating a dead horse”? Either you believe it is alive, or that it will live again, or there is something mentally wrong with you.

I believe God still uses men (He has no hands but our hands, no lips but our lips), so please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. But if you are looking for The Living Word; I haven’t found anything more real or alive than the revealed Word for our day (as promised by Malachi 4, Luke 17:11&30, Revelation 17:30, etc).

I thank God that He has revealed the mysteries that were hid down through the ages, and has restored what the other ages left off (Joel 1:4, Joel 2:25). I can never thank Him enough for letting me be a tiny part of the body of believers who have been privileged enough (by the Grace of God) to Catch the Vision; that God sent a vindicated prophet to lead us back to the true Revelation of Jesus Christ.

We love to read the writings of Paul, and the written Words of our Lord Jesus. How wonderful would it be if we could hear their audible voices speaking those Words, and understand the language they were spoken in?

But do you realize how much more blessed we are to be able to have access to every available recorded message of the Messenger (the Voice of God) for our day?
Moses was God (in a portion) made manifest. He was the Word expressed for that hour…” ~ Rev. William Marrion Branham (64-0629)

Now you can take that too far and put the creation above the creator, but he said ‘in a portion’.

God took a part of His Spirit and put It upon seventy elders, and they prophesied. It never weakened Moses a bit. He… But Moses was still the last answer ’cause he had Thus Saith The Lord”. ~ Rev. William Marrion Branham (62-0603)

If part of it is inspired, and the rest isn’t; what kind of Bible or Message do we have? As I’ve stated many times; If this is a ‘hit and miss’ message we might as well go back to some of the denominations we came out of (because they were great at hit and miss).

O fools, and slow of heart to believe ALL that the prophets have spoken.” ~ The Lord Jesus Christ (St. Luke 24:25)

”… One of the men went down and said, ‘Now Brother Branham, when he’s under the anointing is a servant of the Lord, but his theology is no good.’ Said, ‘He’s a prophet when the anointing is upon him.’ But said, ‘When the anointing is off of him,’ said, ‘Oh, his theology is no good’.
A man that would make a statement like that don’t even know what the word prophet means. A ‘prophet’ means ‘a Divine revelator of The Word’. See? And these signs are a vindication that that’s what is the truth.” ~ Rev. William Marrion Branham (61-0209)

Now they didn’t have tape recorders, today, like we got here. But they had Scribes who was setting there, taking It down just as Paul was preaching It. And that’s what It is right here. We’re getting It by tape recorders, and these tapes go over the world, see, to show that It is the Truth. Our religion is not in vain, It’s absolutely the resurrected Jesus Christ, same thing. Now we mustn’t neglect It.” ~ Rev. William Marrion Branham (57-0901M)

Let me say as Job of old;
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” ~ Job (23:11)

-Brother Nathan Bryant