Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers


I chose to review this book because I received one previously that I just adored, however this one was not like that. It was an okay book but the wording on the pages was too much to keep the attention of my five year old. The lessons in this one were not as concise either. I was just not as impressed with it as I was with the other three I read.

It is still entertaining and a good book for children compared to others. The pictures were very well done and did help to keep attention of my child. He does have happy feelings about Berenstain Bears so I just hope the next one we try will be better for us.

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

You can get a copy from Amazon here.

Book Review: Dirty Faith by Nowell


This book was what I would describe as a call to action to believers to help those who are considered the least of these. It discusses stories that the author specifically experienced in the country of Brazil. Stories that are sad. Stories that may be prevented if everyone did their share in helping.

It is thought provoking and gives the reader much to think about regarding where they can be helpful. It also discusses poor ways to help because just because we think something may help does not mean it always does. It helps us explore our motivations as well.

I think it was a good read. It will spurn the reader on to take action because they have the ability to do so but take action with wisdom.

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

You can get a copy of it on Amazon here.

The Highly Sensitive Child as Special Needs


I love the ministry Comfort in the Midst of Chaos toward the special needs community and their Christ centeredness and I am honored to be posting over there today. Here is a preview:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29). 

Today I went to the grocery store and like always I dreaded the check out process (unless it is the self-checkout). I also dread that question at the end of the bagging when they ask if they can help me out to my car. There have been times when my groceries ended up in two carts forcing me to need help to my car. Then the panic ensues.

I love people. I like to get to know people yet these kind of encounters I dread terribly. Today I was pushing my cart out and was spooked by the really nice man coming back in because he asked if I needed help. Why do I feel this way? READ MORE. (The full article is at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Good News for Weary Women by Fitzpatrick


To experience this book you have to imagine a grace grenade disengaging and then opening a book to capture it all. When you read this, it will pour grace out all over you. It is a deeply needed book for women today. Women are weary and feel pressure to be "super" all the time. We are inundated with this pressure through the media, other women, and even from ourselves.

This book is very freeing to the soul and rooted deeply in Scripture. Anyone who picks it up to read will be better off for doing it. It is refreshing to the heart and soul and I highly recommend it. It is for any woman who desires to be free in Christ.

For me personally this book came at just the right time because it is easy to struggle with grace. We don't feel like we deserve it so we want to justify ourselves by some way of earning it. This is not gospel. Jesus took everything for us, we do not have to measure up. He chose us because He loved us first. This is astonishing truth we need to be reminded of daily. This book is just another useful tool in that arsenal.

To see an except of this book you can go here.

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

To get a copy of this book from Amazon you can go here. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grief - It is Okay to Not be Okay


Grief is horribly hard. There are layers to grief that I am discovering little by little. These layers are multifaceted and complicated, they invade and attack in various areas of life. The layers do not play fair because they come out swinging and hit you like a brick when you least expect it. Tears flow unexpectedly and then you find it just flat out hard to function.

When one thing sets the grief off the other layers of it rise up to the surface. It is like a muddy pool filled with muck and mire. You try to get up and rinse it off but something pulls you back in and you are struggling through the muck yet again.

It is like waves overturning you in the ocean. You are in the riptide so there is no use struggling, it will just pull you deeper in; you will suffocate in the fight. You are forced to rest in it with the hope that you will eventually come out of it.

It smashes idols and perceived areas of control. It is unforgiving and in turn you respond in kind. You lash out, you run from people, you just want it to end; now.

You feel guilt because you reason you should not feel this out of control. It has been long enough you say, and unsympathetic others agree with you. You are pulled into the temptation of hopelessness.

Grief has become my friend and we have a love/hate relationship. I know the Father holds me and that is my only source of hope. He is all. He is enough. He must be. There is no where else to go. This is a good place to be, I tell myself, but I am so tempted to run from even this place of safety. Yet He holds me. He loves me; even in my wretchedness. I am His and He is mine. I am beloved; despite how I feel.

I am ugly these days; more than usual. I am not doing okay. I cannot even respond with that fake response when others ask. I feel alone. I want people to enter this mess with me but I cannot pursue anyone in order to subject them to this mess.

I think I am discovering why I don't let many people in. I fear they will leave when they see just how emotional, or weird, or crazy I can be. It is easier to just not open up. I am terrified of it.

I know in my head that God is enough. I know I will get through this eventually. I know this pain will pass. I know all these things in my head but they have not yet moved to my heart. I can only think that Jesus endured all of this desperate pain, which I feel will kill me, on the cross. He did not only carry my pain but all pain and sin. I look to Him. He holds me and is very near to my broken-heart. And I am thankful for this fire because He is ok with me not being ok. I don't have to pull it together for Him so I will not pull it together for anyone else, it is too exhausting. I rest myself fully in Him who will not let this fiery trial burn me. And just maybe my faith will come out tested and stronger. This is my hope.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Help Women in Nepal


It has been a while since I featured a Trades of Hope artisan group so here is one appropriate for fall. Since school is starting, these notebooks would be perfect to help women in Nepal and spread the word about fair trade purchases. Any purchase you make from my link below also helps us reach our mission fund goal.

You can purchase these here. *ad

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When You Are Left Behind - Missions


As long as I can remember I have been drawn toward people who were different than me. I love diversity. God has placed that love in my heart. I remember as a teen how I loved going to the airport because it was the gateway to all nations and peoples. I loved watching and studying different people, always intrigued by how they lived. I had a sense that there were bigger things than me. I feel most at home around those who are different -- A glimpse of Heaven.

When I was young, probably 10 or 11 years old, I heard the Scriptures read from Isaiah 6 that recounted Isaiah's call. I remember His response, "Here I am. Send me." My heart burned within me. I cried that same prayer out to God to please send me. I did not know what that meant then but I prayed it again and again.

God has been growing me and preparing me to go alongside my family. Growing and preparing all of us to go. In that wait period from that early time I have studied, learned, and prayed much about other people. God has been getting us ready. I have longed to go, ached really, for years. But the time is not yet.

Now today I sit and watch a family fulfill their next steps in their call to go. I envy it but rejoice in it. God has chosen already the exact times and places we should go (Acts 17:26). He knows when it is time for us so we wait for it but as we wait we watch others go and we rejoice with them. We pray for them. We serve faithfully where we are planted. We do this because wherever God has chosen to place your feet each moment is a moment of His divine will. Spread the aroma of Christ around you right where you are planted.

I am realizing that there are so many around us, even in the Bible belt, who need the love of Christ to envelop them. We must not waste any moment. We must embrace where we are placed and love well, share the gospel truth of that love of Christ who came down to us to rescue us from ourselves, who lived the life we could not live, who died the worst possible death taking all the wrath we deserve, then being resurrected to new life. That is the best news that the world could hear. In Him we get this new unstained life.

We are in the ministry of reconciling people to God and one another. That is what mission is. Sharing the good news with all peoples in all places. It is an urgent mission because our time draws short then eternity with God or apart from God. I want as many with God as possible. How can they know unless someone goes and shares with them? There are brothers and sisters in Christ out there who need you to go and tell them this truth. Brothers and sisters who need to know this great, pursuing, rescuing love. Will you share? Right where He has placed you? Will you love? Christ said we would be known by our love.

Then be prepared when someone asks your reason for hope. Share with boldness, gentleness, and respect but above all love. Then pray. Trust God with the fruit. He is the one who does whatever He does with that seed. He is patient and long-suffering. He is love. Look to Him as you wait. Look to Him as you do your everyday activities. Be a light. Remind others what He has done. And pray. Prayer is the fertilizer that moves things into place and prepares the ground of the heart and the places He has for us to go. Prayer is probably the most important part of the entire Christian walk. Don't neglect it. God delights in you going boldly before His throne of grace.

As I watch my friends sent out on this next step, I have the privilege and opportunity to pray them forward. I am so excited for them. I know they will be exactly where God has them for such a time as this. Will you say a prayer for them too?

Book Review: To the Ends of the Earth by Haykin and Robinson


I really enjoyed this title. This book is missions focused and written much like a biography focusing primarily on Calvin's missional influence over time. Apparently those who are referred to as Calvinist's are wrongly regarded as people who do not believe in missions. This book records accurate history to show that this is not the case.

I found myself encouraged to read the accounts of each of these mission's focused people. Those who have gone before us should encourage and embolden us to move forward in our faith and this book helped shine that brightly. It encouraged me to pray more fervently for missions, to be more bold in going forth and to support those who go to the ends of the earth.

I love that this book also cleared up the fact that those who are referred to as Calvinist do have a passion for missionary work. Believing in God's sovereign will and Him choosing a people for Himself does not mean we are to disobey a primary command given by Jesus Himself for us to go forth and make disciples of all nations. This should not be a source of division in the body of Christ when looking to those who are reformed in their faith.

This is a good read and if you are interested in missions and history of the reformed faith then I think you will enjoy this title. It was not a complicated read and flowed easily from one thought to the next.

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

You can get a copy from Amazon here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: Speak by Weiseth


This was a great book on the power of story. We all have a story. God is writing a bigger story that we are part of and our stories within the bigger story are full of meaning and have great significance. God works through and in our stories to encourage and influence others that we come in contact with. This is what this book was about.

This book was an easy read. I read it on a road trip over the weekend. I enjoyed it and was intrigued by the stories within it. Stories that encourage and build me up. Stories that just make me sit and praise God for how amazing and personal He is to each of us who belong to Him.

I was strengthened through reading this because often the best influence we can have on others and the best  chance to have their attention is through our stories. It may be hard for someone to just believe God by sharing truth but when you apply it along with your personal God stories then it moves people more deeply and challenges them.

I think we have all been enthralled by different stories we have heard throughout our lives. This book is just another way of saying that. Jesus was the master storyteller so we can learn much from Him. I enjoyed all the things the author had to say. This book was like sitting with a friend and listening. It was helpful.

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

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

Book Review: How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ludwig


I really enjoyed this title. This book is an extensive look into several works of Shakespeare and some into his life and times. The book helps assist you in teaching this difficult topic with much ease. I often find myself having a hard time understanding the writing's of Shakespeare but this book did a great job explaining them to me. In turn, I can teach them to my children easily so that they too can understand.

This book focused on the importance of memorizing works like Shakespeare. It looked at an approach that would help the reader help their children memorize some of this poetry bit by bit. It was good to see this approach and I loved the helpful aids it gave in this.

The author is very passionate about the works of Shakespeare. Reading this helped me catch this passion as well. Honestly when I picked this book up I was not certain I could be excited about teaching Shakespeare but this book helped me not only see the importance of it but also gave me an excitement to do that very thing. We can tackle portions of this in our schooling this year. It is easy enough and learning it will only enrich my students.

If you want to get a copy of this book for yourself you can from Amazon here. 

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