Monday, March 31, 2014

New Book Release! Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Furman


My friend, Gloria Furman, releases her second book today. I just loved her first book, Glimpses of Grace, and recommend you read it if you have not yet but this second release looks just as great! I have not had a chance to read this title yet but did get to read the first chapter and it looks like a great book on gospel grace and motherhood.

You can get a free study guide of the book from Crossway here.

I know you will love this book because mothers need more encouragement in Christ instead of guilt. Gloria writes with that beautifully balanced gospel centeredness of grace and truth. Even reading a little at a time will keep your eyes fixed on HIM which is where our true joy is birthed. Get your copy from Amazon HERE

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: A Godward Heart by John Piper


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

It is probably no secret that I am a huge fan of John Piper. You can just tell that he is in love with the Lord, so naturally, all that I have read that he has written exudes the exalting love of Christ. He is exactly like this in all I have heard him speak as well. He is just the real deal and I highly respect this man. Of course I jumped at the chance of reviewing something of his. I knew it would not disappoint and it did not fall short.

This book is a simple title from Piper. I love it because it is an easy to read devotional book. It includes 50 meditations of treasuring Christ and how that relates to everyday life. Each meditation points you clearly to Christ and helps you focus on Him which is helpful because we need help as to how to live the gospel daily.

In this top speed, hectic world, it is so easy to lose the focus of Christ as the center of our lives. We live with so many distractions today. This book is great to just take along with you to help your refocusing efforts. Also, it would be an excellent gift book for someone. It would also be great if more of these were published.

I highly recommend it for anyone. Anything that points you to the beauty of Christ is worth the read. Get this one, you will not regret it! You can get a copy from AMAZON HERE.

Book Review: Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider


I did not know anything about the author before I picked up this book. What initially drew me to it was what I had heard others say about it. I then liked the idea of "living intentionally in a chaotic world" since I try to live this way so reading a book about it was only natural.

This book is made up of mostly of little stories from the authors life. She weaves these stories through the topic of living less hectic, simple lives. She has an interesting life so it makes these stories interesting. It is an easy read. It reads like you are listening to a friend over coffee. It tackles common areas of normal life.

I liked the book okay. It was interesting to read another person's story. If you want a light read for the beach with  Christian worldview then this may be your book. It also includes discussion questions in the back so perhaps it could be a light summer read with friends. Overall the author does make you think and evaluate your own life (toward simplicity) in different areas like food, money, school, work and entertainment. The topics from the book would also make good conversation starters as you talk with others about these things. You can get a copy from Amazon here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Things Not to Say to Those in Affliction if You Truly Want to be Loving


Strange things are said about physical affliction. People are always trying to run away from pain. However, God has a bigger plan with affliction in which we should not be afraid. He speaks of it all throughout the Bible. A reading in context will show you that you do not need to run from it. Let us be slow to speak about these things unless it is for encouragement or love through listening and caring for the weak.

As I have suffered over the past fourteen years with my own personal health affliction, these are some common things I have heard.

1-But you are such a good person, why would this happen to you?
First, I am not good. There is no one good except Jesus Christ.

Mark 10:18 states it this way,
"So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. "

Romans 3:23,
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

2-You do so much for God, why is He allowing suffering?
Suffering should be no surprise for the believer. If you are a Bible reading Christian you know this is not true. No one is immune to suffering, just follow the life of Christ or Paul as two examples.

 First Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

1 Peter 4:12-13 states, "
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

3-You must have some hidden sin in your life you need to confess.
Honestly this one just makes my blood boil. We all have sin we need to confess. We all sin, all the time, the harshness I had in tone toward my children, yep that is sin. The choice I made for me-time over listening to my husband venting about his day, yep that is sin. Any thought word or deed that is not loving is sin. We all sin, all the time, yet we try to justify "little sins." But no sin is little, Jesus had to die for them all! That should be enough for us to worship. And we cannot look down on those who suffer as if it is their fault. God is in control and we must trust His plan even in affliction.

Romans 3:10 states, "There is no one righteous, not even one."

4-You just don't have enough faith to be healed.
This again, is a crazy statement because I do not believe many would chose pain or sickness. This statement is a slap in their face. First, you are denying God's work in their life through suffering. Second, if I could just wish or believe myself well, don't you think I would? But God has a bigger plan through suffering which is to make us more and more like Him as we die more and more to our selves. And the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11 did not even get to see what they hoped for. Healing is not always health. Christ has bigger things in store. The only way that Jesus can increase is for us to decrease and only trial can cause us to decrease.

Hebrews 11:39, "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised."

John 12:24, "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

One lady told me she is waiting for her healing to come when a healer visits her church. Her entire hope is in this visitor. Oh that we would not be deceived by this. If God sees it fit for us to suffer the rest of our lives may we cherish His beauty over anything He could give. May our hope be in Him not what He can do or give. May the end of our joy be in relationship with Him not in healing. Now, He can heal and does heal but that is not the focus. The focus is Him and being more like Him.

This life, this story we are living, is not about you! You are guaranteed nothing but given everything in Christ! This should make us become the most thankful people no matter our circumstances.

God is sovereign. God is good. God is in control. Jesus took it all. Our home is Heaven. We are only on pilgrimage toward home, this is not the place to be most comfortable. Jesus is the end of all things.

The supreme goal is Christ glorified and magnified. Stop living for comfort, and prosperity Christian. Live to die for it is only in dying that you can truly live.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Help Guatemalan Women Through Trades of Hope



There are some really great products but here is one I will feature,

To purchase this product and help Guatemalan women go HERE.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Pups of the Spirit by Jill Gorey and Nancy Haller


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

This book is listed as a book geared toward 4-8 year olds. I thought maybe 3-5 year olds was more accurate because though very cute it was very basic in concepts.

This book was okay. I have read it several times. I have read it to my five year old. His reaction to it was what I expected. He liked the cute dogs and their sweet traits. There are cute dogs on each page. These dogs have sweet traits that correspond with the fruit of the Spirit. It is an interesting concept but hinges mostly on morality. I do want my child to learn the fruit of the Spirit and how it should look in his life, however, I also want him to know this is impossible to live out apart from Christ and the gospel.

An example is how the book ends, it is written in cute rhyme all the way through but ends saying this, "Nine gifts that will keep us from losing our way, and help us to be more like him (God) every day." Here something could be said about looking to Jesus for this. Instead it focuses more on the kid being like these dogs. And the behaviors explained one by one are not complete. Overall it is a cute book and has good pictures but not a book that will promote life change making one more like Christ. I did not hate it but don't think it is a great add to our collection.

You can check it out here on Amazon.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Movie Review: Son of God


I received free tickets for this film in exchange for an honest review thanks to compassion bloggers.

I first must preface with two statements true to me that will influence my opinion:
1-I rarely like films made about the Bible or people of the Bible.
2-I rarely like a film more than a book.

With those things said, I was not greatly impressed with this film. First, it is a huge undertaking to take my most treasured book, that is alive and active and means more to me than anything, and do justice by making it into a screen film. The Bible is different from other books because it is the very word of God. It is inspired by Him. With that said alone, this film was a huge and challenging undertaking. The Bible is the book I study more than any other so it is very easy for me to see where they get things wrong, though it may be minor, it is hard for me to swallow and because it is the Bible, I do not like deviations or creative license regarding it.

Jesus. He is everything to me. When portrayed on the big screen it is very hard to even get close to what He would be like, look like, etc. Again, I do not think they portrayed Him the way He would have been if we were with Him in real life in Israel 2000 years ago. They seemed to try and did okay. It is just hard to get Jesus right. How can you rightly depict the visible image of the invisible God in the flesh?

I was not surprised by my reaction to this film. I was hesitant to even see it because I knew I would not like it as much as I wanted to. However, with those things said, I do think it does give people a decent picture of Jesus. I do think they made it clear that Jesus was the Son of God. I do think they focused on the importance of the death and resurrection of Christ which is the great news of the gospel. Is more conversation needed regarding this? Yes. But it is a starting point.

With all this said, should you see the movie? If you are going to see a movie anyway, yes, because it is better than the other things in the theater now. It challenges you to study the Bible for yourself to judge for accuracy. It is good for starting conversations with those who do not know much about Jesus. I also think it is a good film for someone to see who is just interested in who Jesus is. God can use it to open the eyes of those who belong to Him.

Have you seen it? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Help Children in India While Wearing a Great Product


Today's Trades of Hope Feature Product comes from India. I personally have this necklace and love it! Not only is it a beautiful accessory but it also helps children get an education and provides clean water.
To get yours SHOP HERE.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Because Sometimes God Calls You To Go


Because God loves us and because He tells us to preach the gospel in all places, we feel compelled to do that as a family. The facts are that 90% of the people sharing the good news are located in North America. That leaves only 10% around the rest of the world and seriously the rest of the world contains more people (eternal souls) than those in North America alone. People need to be willing to go.

I write this to say that as a family we are feeling compelled and called to go. Here, in the city we have come to love and call home, the gospel is saturated. There are churches on every corner; literally. I pass more than a handful on the way to my church. Christ is evident here but there are many places where His good news has never been heard. This is where we are feeling called to go.

I am not writing this to make anyone else feel like they should go. God has specific plans for each of our lives and they are not all the same, however I do think each person should question where they should be and how they are reaching their neighbors and the nations. Sometimes we do get so comfortable that we ignore God's call. Don't do that either. We must be an intentional people who intentionally share the love and news of Christ with whoever God puts around us. Where you do this is between you and God.

Because our family is unique in make up there are only a few specific places, in this season, we believe are appropriate for us. God will show us how this will work and will pave the way. As we wait on Him to show us the final plans and confirm things for us we prepare to get ourselves in position to go. We are just a regular family who will be moving to a new place getting jobs there so we can live like we do here but being able to share life with those who have not heard the good news.

As we wait we love and share with those who God has placed before us. We help strengthen the church. We help believers grow in Him. We do what He puts before us. We all should be doing this. Not because it earns us anything but because He loves us so, He gave so much for us, from the response of His love we serve, we pour our lives out. We do this together little by little. It is a blessing to be a part of the body of Christ in this way, working together for His glory.

Will you pray for us as we move through this transitional phase of our lives? We would appreciate your prayers. We need perseverance because getting into position to be ready to go is not easy because it challenges our American attitude of excess and success. Pray for our fears regarding changes. Pray for our boldness in sharing. Pray we will be a blessing to whomever God allows us to partner with. Pray we will be united as a family in this. Pray we will love well. If you want more specific details on this just send me an email. This is an exciting and crazy time for us but we are all in.

Book Review: Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabwile


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

I loved this title. It is especially a great book to get now in this season because it focuses specifically on Jesus' death and resurrection. A perfect book to reflect upon during the Lenten season. However, this topic is great to meditate on all year around. Anytime we reflect upon Christ we grow in Him. 

I personally have grown to love Anyabwile. This is the second book I have read by him and I really like his easy to read writing style. Also, I love his humility. I have heard him speak on several occasions and have always been moved. I always say, anything that will aid in your walk with Christ and point you to Him is worth the time. This title is worth the time. In the Christian walk, nothing is more important than Jesus' death and resurrection. Each chapter in this book focuses the reader there.

The book is short. The five chapters are:
1. Is There No Other Way? 
2. Why Have You Forsaken Me?
3. Where, O Death, Is Your Victory? 
4. Why Do You Seek the Living among the Dead? 
5. Do You Not Know These Things?

You can see the book trailer here.

You can get a copy from Amazon here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

When You Secretly Wish You Could Run


***Not sure who to credit with this photo. It was going around Facebook today...

Sometimes when I see people running and training for things, it makes my heart sad. I really want to rejoice with them and for them and I do, but the consequence of it is seeing my own deficiency. It really should not be a big deal yet I fight back tears every. single. time.

I used to be an athlete. I used to be a competitive dancer and runner. I used to be in great shape and I loved every step that came with dance. I loved how I felt like I could fly. I also especially loved running when I was angry. There is something about the thrill of hashing out problems in your mind while your feet crush the pavement below that is exhilarating. Especially on black asphalt, that is the best. The sound and smell of it even now delights my soul.

However, that is of the past; At least for now. I know God can heal but sometimes He chooses not to. That is my reality. It is okay most days. I can walk along and live my life to the very fullest capacity. I can walk my race toward Him boldly and confidently but then I look around and I stumble some because there are so many runners. These runners are fast and in great shape. They have the strength of Samson, I often feel like Job in the dust, sitting feeling like I have nothing to offer.

But it is not true, I am not sitting, I am walking, sometimes I get a burst of strength to run, sometimes I crawl. Often I crawl. I will fight with all of my strength to move toward Him. I am on a journey home. My body, just like yours, is meant to die on the Earth. It will give out one day. No one lives here forever but in Heaven our bodies will be amazing! I cannot wait! Yet it spurns an urgency in my heart because too many people are running but not knowing where they are going. Too many are seeking gifts but not the Giver. Too many people are lost with out a Savior. As I sit, I pray.

In whatever strength He gives you, serve. Serve well, love well. Don't forget to help the weak. Don't make them feel in the way or like a dead weight. Don't make them feel less because God has not healed them. Love them. Learn from them. We are all on this journey together. All we get is a blip of time to live well for Him.

Because of the invisible illness I live with is so controversial, it is not certain how it will turn out. Doctors cannot even agree on it. I am only one of many living with Chronic Lyme Disease. However, many would say that Chronic Lyme does not even exist. That statement alone makes it hurt even worse. The manifestation of my Lyme mimics MS for me and as I write, scary things are happening to my body. They do randomly and without warning. But I refuse to live in fear! God is the remover of my fear. I will trudge on and will serve in the strength that He has given me.

Runners, do not take the ability to run free for granted because at any moment you could lose it. Health is not a guaranteed gift. Weakness is not either, as soon as weakness comes it can lift. Either stage God allows you in, live it to the fullest for Him. He is the goal. He is all that matters. Use each stage to be mindful of Him.

In weakness praise Him for being your strength. In strength praise Him for the gift. Don't take anything for granted. Run, walk or crawl your race but by all means keep going! Press through the pain. It is worth it! I promise. Maybe one day crawling will look as cool as running. You never know.
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