Thursday, November 8, 2018

Book Review: Aching Joy by Hague

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 This book was gold. I highly recommend it. It is about having dreams, expectations, and prayers that are too high for our situations. When I say prayers that are too high I am not saying God cannot work miracles and healings. He still does that today. However, often he also chooses to say no or not yet when we pray for things. This book takes you on a journey through that land of waiting.

Reading it you will be challenged. You will understand how to adjust your view of trials. You will see God more clearly as a good Father who does take care of us even in the desperately hard times.

Much of the journey in this book was about a father and his son with autism, however, it can be applicable to most any life that is dealing with disappointment.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon here.
I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Book Review: Better than Eden by Guthrie

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This book was fantastic. Maybe it's because there are just certain times in your life when you are in a certain place that a book really speaks to you? I have no idea but this one lands in my top ten of all time favorite books and for you, that means I strongly urge you to pick it up and read it.

This book not only takes a great look at the overarching story of the Bible but it focuses a lot on restoration. I haven't heard much taught on this topic so this book was intriguing but sound. It encouraged me to worship God as I viewed Him more fully. When the big picture of restoration is more fully known your worship for God and His goodness increases.

This book helped me grow in the Lord and in sanctification. I do recommend it for all Christians to read because we need the hope of what is to come. We live in hard times and often lose the focus of what is to come. This book helps you focus and run your race with endurance.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the sake of review.

You can get a copy of this book at Amazon.com here.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pretense

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Pretense is a mind prison. It's the hiding behind the costuming of the mask. Many live there. Some by choice and some unassumingly. For some it's a false sense of protection and others it's ignorance. The hiding behind the costuming of the mask creates a person who is more like a wall of stone than human.

The authentic life breaks them free, removing the mask, but people are afraid. Someone needs to take that first step so they know how to obtain liberty.

For now, the majority remain imprisoned. It's more comfortable to sit in the dark damp place behind the mask. Though the smell is murky it's just too familiar; dare I say comfortable? Light seems to be too much; too overwhelming. Familiar seems safe, why take the risk?

The one with hope looks longingly at the brightness knowing there is something beautiful, something more, but unless the mask comes off, they remain in the cell. The memory of beauty quickly fades.

Community is key to freedom. Genuine people helping each other along the journey to perfect freedom but that's exactly the problem, it takes brave faith and that step of faith takes risk.

Yet, we can look to our Savior. The One who left perfection and entered into a broken world. He came to us; mask free. Dear friend let us be brave because we "keep our eyes on Jesus, the source of and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" Hebrews 12:2, CSB.

Be brave friend. Lay down that mask because your eyes are on the perfect One. There is no longer need to fear others for it is He that we live for alone and He made you uniquely special the way you are, quirks and all. Live fully for Him. Lay down that mask. Befriend people without masks and help those who are ready to shed theirs by walking alongside them and pointing them to Jesus.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Seasons of Community in Family Difficulty

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Pain slowly started taking the vibrancy out of my daughter. Little by little her head started making it hard for her to think and interact. Slowly she started having to stay in a dark, quiet place while withdrawing from the family. The pain in her head was too difficult to bear in a group setting. Though she craved community, the noise of it was too much.

Eight days.

It’s been eight long days since we’ve gathered around the table together because of this. This has rocked our world. I’ve let my worries about her get in the way of connecting with the others in the family. You don’t miss this connection time until it’s gone. The absence of it is heart-breaking.

Breaking bread together as family is the highlight of our day. It’s a time for safety, fellowship, and connecting. But eight days ago, when my daughter took a turn for the worst everything changed. When illness hits unexpectedly, it changes the family dynamic. The mysterious unknown presses on the hearts of everyone involved.

When hearts are pressed by painful events, it exposes what is truly in them. Some of that is ugly. We are tempted towards fear, worry, and ungodly anger in this time of grief. During these times, it is especially important for a family to come together. So tonight, we will gather. Not as our normal five but as four. Instead of avoiding the family connecting we will share openly and honestly our concerns about this difficult time of unknown illness. Then, we will get back to serving the one who is weak and needs us one on one.

This is our new normal for however long God allows. We must come together and talk about it. It will take adjusting and it will not be easy. However, for now, it is our new normal. Connection is important for a family to stick closely together. For us, that may look a little different in this time of the unknown.

Connection can look different for each family. Some get to eat together every night. Some have weekly scheduled meetings. Some have morning devotions. Every family is different. The important part is making intentional times of connection a priority. This new normal has reminded me that there will be seasons of change in all families. Each season will look different. The family will have to adjust to these changes. Change is not a bad thing. We must be open to it and work toward connection in each new stage of life.

When hard things happen unexpectedly, like in our family, it’s important to talk. We must fight for that connection in the midst of grief. It’s more important than ever, otherwise, we will continue to slowly drift apart. Whatever this connection time looks like for your family. Don’t forsake it. The time flies by way too fast and soon enough your children will leave. Hold them close as long as you can. Listen to them. Love them. Give them a safe place to be themselves and connect.

Home is to be a safe place where our kids can be themselves. They need to have access to us so they can discuss anything on their mind. If we are not there the world will fill our place but don’t we want to be the one speaking truth into their lives? They want answers and if we don’t give it to them, they will find them somewhere else. So whatever season you are in, make it a priority to connect. You will not regret it. And time is short. Take advantage of every moment given. It’s worth it. For we are not guaranteed tomorrow.


There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Book Review: Made for Friendship by Hunter

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This was an amazing book on friendship. I highly recommend it for all Christians. We really don't do friendship well if we actually sit and think about it. It's a rare gift. Sure we have lots of acquaintances but how many true friends? It has opened my eyes.

Jesus knew and understood friendship. We can learn from His example and many practical tips that this book provides. The book explains why we ache for friendship, why it's important, and how to cultivate it. It is written in a very practical manner that is easy to understand and implement.

I found this book to be beneficial to my understanding of friendship. It is also challenging because these instructions now need to be put into practice. What beauty there would be if God's people learned to be good friends!

The book includes questions to help facilitate group discussion. Reading this with a group would be helpful in implementation.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.

You can get a copy of this book on Amazon.com here.

Book Review: 7 Deadly Friendships by DeMuth

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Mary has written a lot of books. All of the ones I've had the privilege of reading have blessed me. When given the opportunity to help launch this book I was thrilled.  The topic also intrigued me. I continually have a hard time understanding godly friendship so I knew this book would be instructive.

With vulnerability, honesty, and wit Mary shares helpful stories and practical wisdom. The characters that make up the "7 deadly" come from Proverbs 6:16-19 which states;

"There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
A false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family."

Each chapter takes a detailed look at these kinds of friends and what to do if you have them or if you are one. It gives practical application which is helpful and healing. Once the author identifies each kind of deadly friendship, she takes us to the example of Joseph and finally Jesus. 

Ultimately Jesus is our only hope in navigating difficult relationships. He is the perfect example for us to follow because He befriended us.

This book was encouraging, challenging, and sanctifying. It was well worth the read because it was helpful. It will grow you in Christian friendship.

I received a copy of this book free of charge for the sake of review.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon on October 2nd but pre-order now here.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation by Fitzpatrick

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It's important to realize that the story of the Bible is an overarching love story about Jesus and His bride. This book helps explain that concept. It does that by doing an overview of the entire Bible that helps the reader connect how the entire Bible is really about Jesus. It helps you practically see this then gives you helps to practice doing that yourself. It has a little study section after each chapter/section. This is helpful and would make it perfect to study with a group.

I found the book interesting to read and helpful in aiding careful study of the Bible.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany publishers for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon.com here.
 
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