Saturday, March 26, 2011

Little Known Bible Facts


By Molly Noble Bull

Certain Bible facts are not clearly explained in Christian religious services today, and this lack of the knowledge of scriptures prevents Christians from fully understanding the Bible. One example of this is the Divided Kingdom.
Ever heard of it?
There are many places in the Old Testament where Judah and Israel are listed as if they are two different nations. In other places the nations mentioned are Judah and Joseph, and in still other places Judah and Ephraim are named. Do you know who these nations are and how they came to be?
Start on your journey by reading the Book of Genesis, chapters 22 to 50:
Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Of the two, God loved Jacob best.
Jacob fell in love with a young woman named Rachel, and her father promised to give her to Jacob in marriage, if Jacob worked for him for seven years. Jacob agreed to these terms, but at the end of the seven years, Jacob was given Leah, Rachel’s older sister, instead. He had to work another seven years to get Rachel. 
So Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah, and he also had some concubines. But according to the Bible, he loved Rachel best. Therefore, it is not surprising that he loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph’s mother was Rachel. Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors. Later, Jacob and Rachel had a second son, Benjamin, but Rachel died in childbirth having Benjamin. His wives and concubines gave Jacob twelve sons plus Levi, and Levi headed the priestly tribe. 
And God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. (See Genesis 32: 28.) 
Each of Jacob/Israel’s sons headed a tribe—called the twelve tribes of Israel.
You might also want to read Jacob/Israel’s prophecy concerning his sons found in Genesis, chapter 49. 
Jacob’s descendants were called the children of Israel—later called the Nation of Israel. 
The Nation of Israel’s first king was Saul. But King David soon replaced Saul as King of Israel. When King David died, his son, Solomon, became King. After King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam reigned as king.  
During Rehoboam’s reign, the twelve tribes were divided—the result of a sort of civil war. (1 King 12: 1-43 and 1 Kings 13: 1-10) The southern tribes were made up of Judah, Benjamin and the Levites. Since Judah was the main tribe in this group of three, the southern tribes were called Judah, and their capitol was Jerusalem. Rehoboam remained king of the southern tribes, and later, the name was shortened from Judah to Jew or the Jews.
The tribe of Joseph was the main tribe of the ten northern tribes, and Jeroboam reigned as their king. In the Bible, the northern tribes are called Joseph. However, the Bible also calls the northern tribes Ephraim and Israel. Some from the northern tribes turned away from God and worshipped at Bethel instead of at the Temple at Jerusalem. (1 Kings 12: 16-33) 
Both the tribes of Judah and the tribes of Israel (Joseph and Ephraim) were eventually captured by their enemies and led away into slavery. Israel was taken to Assyria, and Judah was taken to Babylon— modern day Iraq. The tribes of Judah (the Jews) were eventually released and allowed to return to Jerusalem to build the second Temple. But the ten northern tribes were never seen again—until fairly recently when some (but not all) were found. The recent discovery of some of the lost tribes is another reason we know that Jesus is coming soon. However, most of the ten tribes are still lost. Only God knows where the descendants of the northern tribes are located today. 
Knowing the facts about the tribes of Judah and Joseph/Ephraim/Israel makes it easier to understand Ezekiel chapter 37 and other scripture verses.
 Ezekiel 37: 15-17 says,
And the word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write on it For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for the House of Israel his companions. 
And join them together into one stick, and they shall become one in thine hand.
Ezekiel 37: 20-22 says,
And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
Who do you think the two ends of the stick are today? Nobody knows. But my guess would be the Jews and the Gentiles.
And who do you think this future king will be?
I know the answer to that one--for sure. It's Jesus Christ.
He's called Yeshua in Hebrew.

A friend recently asked me how I learned so much about the Bible. Well, that’s easy. I try to read at least one chapter in the Bible every day.
However, I also became aware of two ministries out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that helped me greatly in my study of the Bible. They are Southwest Radio Church ministry ( and J.R. Church’s Prophecy in the News ministry. Click on the square below ito see the cover of J.R. Church’s newest non-fiction book, Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist. But of all his inspirational non-fiction books, my favorite is Guardians of the Grail by J.R. Church. 

Thanks for your prayers for JR Church in recent days. He died in his home in Oklahoma City on the morning of March 22, 2011. It is comforting to know that he is now with the Lord.
However, his ministry lives on.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Writer's Mind

Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos

Do you think that writers have better memories than the average person? The reason I'm asking is because since I can recall, I've always had a strong, vivid memory. I remember incidents, people, situations, etc...decades after they've occurred. I'm not talking about just one incident or a sketchy detail, I'm talking tons of information about things that have happened in my life. I'm not going to necessarily remember dates. However I can recall events and incidents - these are minor incidents that don't really have much of an impact on my life - I just remember them. For example, when I was nine, my family left the military base since my dad had retired from the Army. We relocated, so, I left behind friends that I had not seen since the fourth grade. Fast forward nine years - I was in college, and I saw a male college student that I remembered from my elementary-school days while my dad was still in the military. He had no idea who I was but I remembered him. I remembered things we did in elementary school, and I recalled that his mother made a candy house every year and he'd bring it to class and we'd eat it! I then started asking about people that had graduated in his class, and he named people, people that I remembered as if I'd just seen them the previous day.

My mom has a box of old photos and class pictures. I can pull out my kindergarten class picture and name everybody on there. I remember who was who, and I also recall certain incidents that happened while I was in school with these people.

I could go on and on with examples, but I'll stop here for now. A friend of mine said I remember some of the guys because I probably had a crush on them in school. However, that's not the case here. I did have crushes, just like most girls do, however, I recall people with vivid clarity, and some of these people I didn't even have a close relationship with when I was growing up.

I was thinking about this recently and wondered, do writers have better memories than the average person? Do these vivid memories unlock the doors to our minds, exposing us to new ideas on which to focus on for future stories?

Leave a comment!! This inquiring mind wants to know what you think!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BIBLE PROPHECY -- Seven Last Years

By Molly Noble Bull

America divides her years into units of ten, called decades, but the Hebrews of the Bible divided their units of time into seven-year-periods. The last year of each seven-year cycle is/was called the Sabbatical Year, and the year 2007 (Hebrew year of 5768) was a Sabbatical Year, ending a cycle on Rosh Hashanah--The Feast of  Trumpets on September 29, 2008. On that same day, September 29, 2008, a new cycle began, and according the J. R. Church of Prophecy in the News magazine, it is widespread among the Jews that the coming Messiah will arrive in a Sabbatical year. 
However, nobody knows when the last seven years on earth will begin or end. Nobody knows when the Messiah of Israel will arrive. But as Christians, we believe that Jesus (called Yeshua in Hebrew) is the Messiah and that he will return to earth very soon—not as second in command behind the 12th Imam but as Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords. 
The law of the Sabbatical Year was given to Moses in 1491 BC. (See the Book of Leviticus chapter 25 and verses 1 to 5.)  The Hebrews (also called the Children of Israel) were told in Leviticus to plant and prune their crops during the six year period, but that the seventh year of each cycle was to be a Sabbath Rest for the land, and they were not to sow their fields or prune their vineyards during a Sabbatical Year.  Perhaps this was God’s way of restoring nutrition to the soil and avoiding the use of fertilizers. 
As mentioned above, the current Sabbatical Year began on the Feast of Trumpets on September 29, 2008, and Americans held a national election two months later. The next national election is scheduled for November 2012, and the current seven-year cycle will end on The Feast of Trumpets—September 13, 2015. According to J.R. Church, the Sabbatical Year of the current cycle begins on the Feast of Trumpets 2014 and ends on the Feast of Trumpets 2015. And a new cycle will begin on September 13, 2015.
J.R. Church also states that Pastor Mark Biltz was interested in the signs in heaven mentioned in the Bible that heralded the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and Biltz went on a US Government website to see if he could find any significant lunar or solar eclipses in the upcoming Sabbatical Year. Amazingly, he found four lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses in that one year.  Not only that, each of those eclipses will arrive on one of the Feasts of Israel. 
The four lunar eclipses will arrive on: 
Passover, April 15, 2014 
The Feast of Tabernacles, October 8, 2014 
Passover, April 4, 2015 
The Feast of Tabernacles, September 28, 2015 
Two Solar eclipses:
Adar 29/Nisan 1, March 20, 2015 
The Feast of Trumpets, September 13, 2015 
I would love to hear what you think about this article. Please leave a comment and let your voice be heard.
The information found in this article came from the September 2007 and May 2008 issues of Prophecy in the News, a magazine published by Prophecy in the News ministry. To learn more about the Feasts of Israel, see the Book of Leviticus, chapter 23.  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories -- Book Review

For those who enjoy the old hymns, the ones “chock full of theology,” stories have abounded for years about how certain favorite hymns came to be written. Author Robert J. Morgan compiled a collection of the stories behind 150 of the world’s most famous hymns, along with the lyrics and music to each hymn, into a book titled Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories.

The book begins with the earliest hymns and progresses through the more recent offerings. “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” taken from Numbers 6: 24 - 26, begins the book, and it describes how these biblical words were set to music many times. Then Peter Lutkin wrote the classic tune, Benediction, around 1900, which is probably the composition we all know and love. The book ends with “The All Sufficient King,” by Robert J. Morgan, who describes his own process in creating a hymn and points out that you, too, can study the Bible and write a hymn.

Other old favorites included in this book are “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” “Rock of Ages,” “Just As I Am,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “I Gave My Life For Thee,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Standing on the Promises, “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” and “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” Mr. Morgan, a pastor at The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, covers all these and many more. He even includes a chapter describing his own experience, which he titles, “The Cure for Shot Nerves.”

When I read that, I thought, “Ah-ha! No wonder I’ve never gone off the rails.” My favorite activity when doing rote work is the singing of various old hymns. No doubt all that subconscious absorption of theology has kept me well-balanced over the years. I highly recommend hymn singing as an antidote to whatever ails you, as it’s much cheaper than a doctor and doesn’t mess with you the way prescription drugs do.

Once upon a time, when I took piano lessons, hymns were about the only things I would practice, because (1) I knew how they ought to sound, and (2) I enjoyed trying to play them. I could have used a book like this back then, because knowing the story might have inspired my practice. Alas, I was unmusical and hated practice, and about that same time my parents came to the reluctant realization that my younger brother played better than I did after two years of lessons by teaching himself out of my piano books. So he got the piano lessons and I went back to fantasizing about playing hymns and singing them rather than actually having to play them.

According to Pastor Morgan, singing the old hymns is probably the most valuable therapy that exists these days. I agree wholeheartedly!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Prefer Male Or Female Novelists?

Which do you prefer, male or female novelists?

I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, but, when I think back in time to the stories I've read in my life, it appears that I seem to be partial to female authors. This isn't intentional, but, when I think about the stories that I've read, about 90% of the authors are female and about 10% are male. Why? I don't know. I guess since I'm a woman, maybe I can relate to the stories of romance and women's fiction - which are usually written by females, more so than the novels penned by males.

Please don't misunderstand me. I've read a lot of great books by male authors over the years, but when I'm in a bookstore, scanning the shelves, looking for great books, or, when I'm on Amazon or Barnes And, looking for a novel to purchase, I usually end up purchasing a female author!

On my other blog, I do book reviews. If you scan through the old posts, you'll see that most of the books that I review are by female authors.

So, what's your preference, male or female novelists, and why do you believe you have a preference? Please share your responses with us in the comments!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What does your writing say about you?

I’m not sure if there’s been any scientific studies done, but I think what a writer writes and writes well says a lot about that writer as a person. For this post, I'm not talking about genres like suspense or historicals or romance. I mean what part of writing comes easiest for each of us.

Is it description? Setting? Characterization? Plotting?

If you want to get published in today's market, you better be good at all of those and more. But most of us shine a little bit more in a particular area.

My favorite thing to write during any project is Dialog. And I happen to think I'm pretty good at it. That's probably why I like to write it most. My publisher tells me it's my strong suit. Reviewers have written that it brings my characters to life. I believe the reason I enjoy writing dialog so well is because I’m a good listener. Ask any of my friends. Being a good listener makes writing dialog second nature. I hear inflections, insinuations, personalities revealed, and what the speaker says in what they don’t say, possibly more than the average person.

Think a moment about today's contemporary Christian songwriters. Some songs topping the charts today are like listening to a mini-sermon. Others are inspiring, encouraging, vignettes on modern problems, or just plain worshipful. All of which are necessary and a beautiful part of the tapestry that makes up Christian music.

What does what you write--or how you write it--say about you? Do your settings resonate with readers who've never visited a medieval castle or the Ozark mountains? Can you make a reader weep for joy or laugh out loud? Does your plot make your reader grip the edge of his seat in anticipation of the next twist?

Think about it for a moment and then share here. Where do you shine and what does it say about you? Or what would you like it to say about you?

Happy Writing!