Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: Good God, Lousy World & Me by Burkhalter

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This was an interesting conversion story. It is always interesting to hear other people's stories of how they came to know the Lord. God does use all things in our life to move us closer to Him and this book is just a testament to that.

The author is involved in work with IJM so  that was interesting to read as well. I love how God moved in her heart through this organization as well. If you like reading conversion stories this is one of those.

With all that said, this book was not my favorite. Maybe because of the language used here and there which caught me off guard. Also some of the theology was weak. However, everyone has their own standards regarding this kind of thing so it was not a huge deal but noteworthy enough to add.

If you want to get a copy of this book from Amazon go here.

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

Am I Radical or Just Walking Out Obedience?

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Living out what Jesus commands from in the Bible in our everyday life is not radical; it is living the life that He gives. It is living the life He purchased for us by a great and precious price. It is the only life lived on our behalf that He deserves. He deserves nothing but our all. I want to be all in in this life for Him.

Yet it seems when how you live starts to make others uncomfortable you get labeled as radical. You get labeled as strange. It can hurt terribly when that criticism comes but He is worth it. He is standing with you and He experienced all of this hurt and pain already. 

It is only because of Him and what He has already finished I can be strong and press forward. Remember, believer that He chose you. He loved you so much He paid the ultimate price to rescue you from your sin. He made all things right forever for you. He is love.

It is only because of that love that I can press forward. You, believer are so loved that in remembering that love you can press forward and do the hard things. Because of His love. When you are loved fully it makes you want to do your very best. Because of this, it makes me assume that I am living among many who do not know how fully loved they are. I pray that this changes.

God gave everything to redeem us. He gave everything to make us His. His death and resurrection should prove this to us, but also there is the word of God which states this love over and over. The overall picture of the Bible in general is a rescuing love of a stubborn people. God does not expect perfection, He was perfection on our behalf.

If we, believer, can focus on His given perfection to us, on His sacrifice because of His love, we will be able to stop striving for our own perfection, we will stop looking around to what others are doing, and instead live hard for Him alone. Let us look to Him. Let us walk out a life lived well for the one who loves us the most.

When you live what the Bible says to live you are not radical, you are simply an obedient servant who lives a life because you know you are fully loved, as you are. I pray we are examples of that living love before a watching world, before our children so they will know that same love and live lives that shine brightly for Him.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Used to Wish I Was Jewish

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Our son was adopted into our family last June. This process helped me to understand more fully my adoption into the family of God. I am so thankful for this deeper understanding.

I used to wish I was Jewish because more than anything I wanted to have the same family background as Jesus. It literally hurt my heart to think I was far from His nationality being my German/French/English background self.

Then I realized that His choice and His decision was to adopt me. Adoption means that the adoptee gets all the benefits of the family he or she is adopted into. They get the heritage as well. This just blows me away. So, I am as Jewish as Jesus is by my identity and adoption into His family. I love that.

Let me share how I realized this. We recently had a family reunion. There were shirts and hats printed up with our family name on them. My son, through adoption has our family name legally now but I was fearful that he would not be accepted as one of the family by all of the family.

I watched as the family embraced him as their own. He was never excluded or shunned or made to feel less than. He was a true member of the clan. He got to share in our craziness and heritage like it was actually his own. My heart delighted in this sight and it was through watching this that God showed me that Jesus family line IS my family line. I may look different on the outside but it is indeed my family line by adoption and that makes my heart full.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Review: Move On by Vicki Courtney

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I have loved Vicki Courtney since I read her book years ago titled, Your Girl. I have since followed her blog from time to time and was even featured on her teen blog back in 2009 here. I have to confess I am a bit biased. Of course when I saw this book I was very excited to get to review it.

 I loved this book. It was grace packed testimony upon testimony. It was very encouraging in my walk and I know it will be yours as well. It focuses primarily on areas we, as Christians, have the tendency to get stuck in our walks with the Lord.

It is only with transparency and a move away from legalism to grace that we will grow and move forward. We need to give ourselves grace and others around us. But not cheap grace, love infused grace as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Great Grace Giver.

The author tackles topics like shame, people pleasing, legalism and the like. It is very relevant to our daily lives in this world and very balanced. It is packed with Scripture and over all a helpful read. I do recommend this book.

You can get a copy from Amazon here.

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

Book Review: A Vine-Ripened Life by Gale

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This was a great read on the Fruit of the Spirit. On every page it directs you to Christ over and over again. It was convicting yet restoring. It broke down each component of the fruit of the Spirit and discussed what they look like one by one. Over all the arching topic to making these fruit flourish is keeping oneself connected to the Vine, which is Jesus.

In order for this fruit to grow, we must stay connected to Christ which requires a dying to self and looking to Him. I was encouraged by this book and I believe it would be helpful to anyone desiring to grow in fruitfulness. We cannot just make fruit happen because that is God's work but we can certainly chose to go along with Him and stay connected to Him intentionally. It is a book that will help you see if you are growing in grace.

One interesting aspect of the book was the section on will-power vs. self-control. So many people assert will-power over things but it eventually fails because it is law and in our strength where as self-control is dependent fully on the Holy Spirit in our lives so it looks completely different. There is a peace to that type of living, a freedom, where will-power is law. This section helped me think through a few things in this area of my life.

I do recommend this book. You can get a copy from Amazon here.

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

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School Unity

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I love the ministry of Heart of the Matter. I am honored to guest post there monthly and today I am over there. Here is an article preview:

I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:23).

A desire for unity among Christian brothers and sisters is recorded as one of Jesus last prayers before He went to the cross. He knew the cross was coming and as He was praying, He was praying for us to have unity.

Now to me, this is powerful. Unity must be important to Jesus. If I were the one about to face a horrible torture I would probably be praying for it to be quick, pain to not linger, or various things of the self-focused nature but I am not Jesus. It is important to remember He was fully man and fully God so He struggled with the same temptations that we do, yet He prayed for future believer’s unity.
Now this may be something hard to swallow for some but READ MORE (full article is at Heart of the Matter Online.)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rejection from Unexpected Places

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The pain of rejection can be earth shattering especially when the people who you believe would unconditionally cheer you on most will not. There are dreams that we have, good dreams, eternity rocking dreams but we are not supported by those we desire support from the most. What do we do with that pain and hurt?

When you birth a child you have many hopes and dreams but it is reality to realize that your dreams and hopes for that child may not be the same as what that child itself has for their life. It is important to love them unconditionally as the perfect Father loves us. Not for what we do or don't do but because He chose us and delights in us as we are. I could do many things with my life and no matter what, I have the delight of my Father in Heaven. I love that. I need to remember that because ultimately He is all we need. I want to pour that same love and support onto my children when they figure out what they want to do with their lives. After all God places those desires there in their hearts and He knows our children best of all. He has given us this gift of raising them with loose hands, not holding too tightly, in order to let them go and fly free wherever He has in mind. Even if it is hard places.

I cannot wait to see the plans He has for them. I need to be reminded to hold them loosely for they are His. I need to remember to support their crazy dreams because though I cannot imagine myself doing some of the things they desire, I am for them. No matter what. I need to resolve to be their greatest cheer leader. That is how our Heavenly Father is toward us. That is how we should in turn be toward them.

If you are scared or worried, commit to pray, He will give you peace.
If you can't catch their vision, pray God's will be done.
If you can't understand, talk like adults should talk together to try to grasp some understanding and don't shame or make them feel like they cannot talk to you about their lives. Don't chase them away.

Ultimately children, no matter the age, desire their parents approval. Sadly, in this life some of us may never get it. Yet ultimately I am accountable to my Heavenly Father and in Him I am fully approved. That has to be enough. Lord please make it enough. And in that perfect love I can forgive and be free despite the pain. I press on in Him.
 
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