Puritan project

reformation_heroes_front__33203__81433-1294352909-1280-1280Since last March, I’ve been writing biographical sketches about Puritans. These will appear in Puritan Heroes, which I’m writing with Dr. Joel Beeke for Reformation Heritage Books. Puritan Heroes will be formatted similarly to RHB’s popular Reformation HeroesMarketed for all ages, it will be written to appeal to twelve-year-old readers.

This is a big project that I was reluctant to take on. Puritans? What do I know about the Puritans? The required research seemed staggering. And weren’t the Puritans a bit boring? How in the world would I make biographical information about them interesting to adolescents?

But the Lord led me to believe this was something I should do, so I signed the contract. My life seemed busy before, but it has been intense since. And, like most people, I have family and other commitments that keep me from focusing exclusively on work.

As usual for a large project, I created a chart to schedule my writing. I’d have about three weeks per Puritan. Wow! That was tight. A little too tight for comfort, but I kept on schedule…until what we euphemistically call “the holidays.” That oxymoronic time of year when we feast and fellowship with family, giving thanks to God for all He’s given us and (a short time later) praising Him for the great gift of salvation through Immanuel, God with us. The last two months of one year and the beginning of the next are full of joy, but always seems to include unavoidable stress. This year, my schedule became unexpectedly complicated with another project and family matters.

I fell behind on the Puritans. Still, I’m more than halfway through the project with the first drafts for twelve of the twenty-two proposed subjects completed. I’ve focused on one at a time, and God has provided the information needed for each story.

Something surprising happened along the way. I fell in love with the Puritans. I felt an amazing affinity for each individual and rejoiced in their wholehearted faith. I had long known Anne Bradstreet as a fellow poet and kindred spirit, but many of these dead white men now live vibrantly in my mind as well.

41fser4qegl-_sy346_What joy to learn from John Howe about Delighting in God, to witness the marital love and fruitful ministry of Joseph and Theodosia Alleine, and to discover the “warm-hearted divinity” of Richard Sibbes (p. 128, Richard Sibbes, Early Stuart Preacher of Piety by Harold Patton Shelly).

Lord willing, Puritan Heroes will be close to being in your hands by this time next year. Meanwhile, I’m embracing the challenges and blessings of my Puritan journey.

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Imprisoned for her faith

Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr; Christian Biographies for Young Readers; Reformation Heritage Books; cloth; 64 pages; © 2015

Marie DurandWrongful incarceration is a hot topic of current interest, but few people realize how many Christians have been imprisoned (often without even the pretense of a trial) for their faith. Arrested as a young woman, Marie Durand remained in prison for thirty-eight years.

This remarkable woman, who kept the faith through decades of imprisonment and difficulties beyond, is the subject of the latest Christian Biographies for Young Readers book by Simonetta Carr.

Marie Durand was born in 1711 into a family who secretly taught their children the Protestant faith. When she was seven, her mother was arrested, and her father was arrested when she was seventeen. Marie’s own arrest curtailed her plans to marry. Imprisoned in a tower that allowed snow or rain and disease-bearing mosquitoes free entry, she and the other women and children suffered greatly. Marie became a leader and encourager, despite her frequent bouts of what may have been malaria. When Marie finally was released, she discovered her home had been plundered and she had to pay her cousins to reclaim her property. She died less than ten years later.

As always, Simonetta skillfully distills complex history into an understandable narrative. The beautiful illustrations add visual interest to Simonetta’s engaging story about a faithful woman who lived for her Lord during a lifetime of wrongful incarceration.

The above book review by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 42 of the August 26, 2015, issue of Christian Renewal.

 

Discovering Delight

Discovering-Delight-front (1)In this Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful I don’t have to go away on this snowy day, and I’m thankful to finally announce that my newest devotional is available.

Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law is available from Reformation Heritage Books or Amazon. Don’t believe the Amazon listing if it says it’s temporarily out of stock or that only one is left. You should be able to get all the copies you want.

And you’ll want several. Where else can you get such an affordable and meaningful Christmas gift for all the adults on your list? This book explores each of the twenty-two sections of Psalm 119 as well as other Old Testament and New Testament texts that speak about delighting in God and his word.

Cornelis Venema, president and professor of doctrinal studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, writes, “This collection of meditations on loving God’s law by Glenda Mathes is a jewel. Mathes’s primary aim is to encourage her readers to discover delight in God’s law and commandments, especially as this is expressed in Psalm 119. She fulfills this aim admirably in a series of brief meditations, each of which brims with helpful insights into the riches of the good gift of God’s holy law. While Mathes observes that loving law clashes in modern ears like clanging cymbals, her meditations invite the reader to joy in God and His good commandments.”

Aimee Byrd, author of Housewife Theologian and cohost of the Mortification of Spin podcast, writes, “Discovering Delight focuses on a timely subject, the relationship a Christian has with God’s law, in an accessible way. If you like the idea of daily devotionals but wish they went a little deeper, this is the book for you. Glenda Mathes offers a commendable style of commentary-meets-personal-devotional. She provides the context, meaning, and personal application of Scripture that will lead the reader to greater pleasure and true joy in God’s law.”

I’m thankful for those terrific endorsements, and I’m thankful to share with others the joy of finding delight in God and his word. Discovering Delight truly was a delight to write. May it ignite your delight in the Lord to his glory!

A Month of Sundays in print!

My publisher, Reformation Heritage Books, reports that printed copies of my devotional, A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in Godarrived yesterday!

You can order it here from Reformation Heritage Books for only $7.50!

You can also order it here from Amazon for $10.

Publisher’s Product Description

In today’s hectic and distressing world, demands and distractions agitate our spirits. Disasters trigger anxiety. Diseases generate pain. Despair creeps into our hearts. These influences displace our peace and keep us from resting daily in Christ and His Word. How can we recapture the concept of daily rest?

In A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations for Daily Rest, author Glenda Mathes encourages us to pause our spinning thoughts and calm our fluctuating feelings as she helps us to see that we must be true Sabbath keepers, understanding that God has called us to develop daily the attitudes of worship and rest we enjoy on Sunday. With a recommended Scripture reading, a focus verse (or verses), a meditation, and questions aimed at stimulating personal reflection, each devotion guides us to experience a “month of Sundays,” as we experience a greater enjoyment of God’s gift of daily rest while we anticipate His guarantee of eternal rest.

Endorsements  

Glenda Mathes has written an uplifting series of meditations on the subject of rest for the weary.  Starting with the premise of sabbath rest as a model for how God wishes his children to live, Glenda weaves a wide-ranging tapestry of how Christians can follow God’s mandate to rest in him both now and eternally.  The book is filled with great texts from the Bible, accompanied by interspersed quotations from the Heidelberg Catechism and personal reflections and recollections of the author.  This is a great book for all who labor and are heavy laden, and who want to obey God’s command to rest.  People for whom Sunday observance is important, as well as those who love the Heidelberg Catechism, will especially resonate with this book.

Leland Rykenprofessor of English, Wheaton College

‘Rest’ is a topic often overlooked in our hectic schedules, but Glenda Mathes shows it is essential to a Christian life. Not as another thing ‘to do,’ but as part of our calling. A Month of Sundays invites us to overcome our distractions and fears and seek the one true source of rest, Christ Himself.

Janie B. Cheaneycolumnist for WORLD Magazine, and a contributing editor at RedeemedReader.com

My perspective on promotion and marketing is based on this concluding question and answer from my 2006 Christian Renewal  interview with Larry Woiwode:

Glenda Mathes – 

What can Christians and churches do to support and promote the creative expressions of artists who have a biblical worldview?

Larry Woiwode – 

The answer to that’s simple. Buy their work. Encourage others in the Church and the larger community to buy their work. When a plumber does work, you expect a bill. Writers for some reason are supposed to do almost everything for free. The only aspect of the material world that is absolutely free, however, is the invitation to enter the supernatural world of God through Jesus in the Gospel.