Sunday Psalms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LORD, I cannot bear Your anger with me.  Your displeasure is more than I can handle.

Have mercy on me. I am hurting into the marrow of my bones.  When will You heal my soul?

LORD, where are You?  I need to know Your merciful presence.  How can I say thanks?

I can’t sleep.  I cry all night.  My eyes are sore.  I am so discouraged!

Sinners and enemies get out of my house.  God is listening to me.  He has heard my prayer.

This is Psalm 6 in my own words.  Psalm 123, 4  and are also posted.  Check them out by clicking on the number.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Becoming Gertrude — Book Review

I have a beautiful, wonderful, friend.  She’s someone for whom I had looked for many years.  I have another beautiful, wonderful, friend who has been my friend for more than 40 years.  Both of these women speak caring, acceptance, service, hospitality, and encouragement into my life.  Both of them do friendship in their own way and I can trust them, love them, cry with them, be silent with them, and they know they can do the same with me.

Becoming Gertrude is the crowning touch of a life of relationships and good friendships that have shaped the faith of Janice Peterson.  The pages of this delightful, small book are full of stories that help the reader see how important friendship is in the life of a Christian woman.  Using the character traits mentioned above (caring, acceptance, service, hospitality, and encouragement) Mrs. Peterson shares how her life has been enriched by other women.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

  • Good friends challenge us in the areas where we are weak and encourage us forward.  pp.xxvii
  • Caring for someone isn’t about you–it’s about the other person. pp. 23
  • We must learn to navigate disagreements and life differences with grace, understanding that friendship is more important than being right all the time.  pp. 32
  • Some of us are called in certain ways to serve, but we are all called to be servants, whatever our gifts are.  No one’s gift is more significant than anyone else’s! pp. 47
  • Friendship grows best in intentionality, and hospitality is the warmest kind of intentionality there is.
  • Our friends can be those who fill us up, who build encouragement into our lives so that we can then do the same in theirs and others’.

Bible verses from the Message by Eugene Peterson that support strong friendships:

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.   Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Romans 12:2

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.  Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.  Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up.  Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.  Romans 12:14-16

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. 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.”

Found Coins

I recently came across this unique story of finding lost coins.  Imagine the change in this world if we all stopped to acknowledge our God when we see or pick up any coin.

A woman of modest means and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. The boss was very wealthy, with an estate home and several cars costing more than the average house.

The woman delighted to experience first hand the life of the extremely wealthy. The boss indulged his guests both at home on his estate as well as out as exclusive dining establishments.

On one occasion as they were about to enter an exclusive restaurant, the boss was walking slightly ahead of them. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.

An awkward silence followed. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, a few cigarette butts and assorted litter. Quietly, the rich man reached down and picked up the penny.

He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have of a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the penny bothered her. Finally, she casually mentioned that her son once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been rare.

A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see.

Look at it. He said. Read what it says. She read the words the United States of America.

No, not that; read further.

One cent? No, keep reading.

In God we Trust? Yes! And?

And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it!

God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by?

When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

The author of this spiritual story is unknown and greatly appreciated. If you know who wrote this or can provide a source that I can cite then please contact me and let me know!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Sunday Psalms

Psalm 5

O LORD, each morning I send my prayers to You and You only.  Hear me!

You take no pleasure in wickedness or evil of any kind.  The proud, liars, murderers, and deceivers will not stand in Your presence.

Because You love me I am welcome to worship in Your temple.  Lead me, LORD!

Let those who speak against me, even those who flatter me, be counted as guilty.  

On the other hand, let those who are protected by Your shield REJOICE!

Let all who love You BE JOYFUL!

This is Psalm 5 in my own words.  Psalm 1, 2, 3  and 4 are also posted.  Check them out by clicking on the number.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Stumbling Toward Wholeness – – Book Review

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one the most well-known stories (parables) that Jesus told.  Most of us can see ourselves in the self-centered, wayward son.  In Stumbling Toward Wholeness, author, Andrew Bauman, delves deeper into the characters and proposes that we are actually all the characters.  At different points in our lives, we model the characteristics of the Loving Father, the jealous, frustrated Older Son, and the wayward, selfish, Prodigal Son.

Personal change begins when we see ourselves accurately and are willing to dig into the stories of our lives to become the person we were meant to be.  There has to be a willingness to see clearly the different people we are in different parts of the stories of our lives.  We also have to include others in the search for our purpose in life.  (The author makes a great point in saying we must be careful who we include in working through our story because there is always the potential for damaging relationships.)

The book is divided into three sections.  The Runaway Son deals with that part of us that deals with shame, self-contempt, and considering ourselves the victim.  The Entitled Older Brother looks at contempt (of others) and betrayal.  The Welcoming Father helps us understand the need to grieve our mistakes and being kind to ourselves.  Each chapter ends with questions that dig deeper into our own life experiences to draw us closer to understanding ourselves.  Questions like, what purpose has been served by your own pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of pain?  Or, reflect on a time when you felt shamed by another person.  And, identify some ways you have been resistant to kindness.

My favorite quotes include:

  • pg. 47  “To journey toward change, we must first make a commitment to be on our own teams.”
  • pg. 78  “Jesus continually calls us to look at ourselves in the mirror and tell the truth about what we see.”
  • pg. 125  “…no matter how hectic our lives or crazy our mental states, we can be still and know God (Psalm 46:10).  He is always available, even when we are not.”
  • pg. 152  “…superficial standards of perfection have no actual relation to personal piety or spiritual maturity.  If we have no safe places to bring our real struggles, doubts, and heartache, we are likely to stray further from the truth and deeper underground with our pain.”

If you really want to take a close, personal look at the person you are I highly recommend reading this book and truthfully answering the questions.  In fact, find a friend who you can trust and work through it with them by your side.  I guarantee, it will be worth it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. 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.”

Sunday Psalms

 

Hear my prayer, Righteous God, and have mercy on me.

There are so many who want to turn away, who love lies and worship what the world has to offer.

LORD, You have set me apart for Yourself.  I know You hear when I call out.

In your prayers search your inner self and be still.

Trust God!

Shine Your light on us!

When others are finding joy in shopping sprees and worldly gain give me joy.

As the day ends let me sleep in the safety of You.

 

This is Psalm 4 in my own words.  Psalm 1, 2, and 3 are also finished.  Check them out by clicking on the number.

Blessings to you and Yours!

Marie

Brick Builders Illustrated Bible For Children – Review

I have just spent a delightful two hours reading through God’s story.  As the Word always has and always will, this version of the Bible speaks the simple, yet profound, truth in the language of children.

Storytelling is the favored method of Bible writers to point the way to the truth, particularly in the New Testament in the many parables used by Jesus.  In this collection of Old and New Testament stories, by Emily Dammer, the same thing is accomplished in the language of children.

I’m sure young children will love this ‘Bible’.  The illustrations, by Antony Evans, use brick-like figures to illustrate each story.  Each page colorful and eye-catching.

The building blocks at the end of each chapter give life applications in children’s language.  For instance, in the story of Moses God keeps His promises and He will keep you safe are the takeaways.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Brick Builders and can imagine parents and children reading the stories to one another over and over.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Volcanic Momentum – Book Review

How are you spending your time?  Do you have a plan, a goal? Where is your focus?  What is most important to you?  Can you honestly say you are totally aware of the moments you have on this earth?

Volcanic Momentum answers these questions, and more, with valuable words of wisdom from author Jordan Ring.  I found this book to be one of the most usable and sometimes profound books I have read this year.  I’m going to order it in paperback just so I can have this valuable resource at my fingertips.  I know I’ll be reading it again and yes, maybe again.

One of the things I do each year is to select One Word to focus on.  I was delighted to find that recommendation straight away.  One word, one focus, one idea, one goal…  If we don’t know what we’re looking for (i.e., our focus), we have little chance of growth and change.

Being a person who loves lists and being aware of where I am in whatever process I’m involved in, I was delighted with the ones that are in this book.  Some are prompts to get the thought process moving, others are questions to put concepts and goals into focus.   (However, this is not a book of lists.)

Being still, sitting quietly, getting away, whatever you call it is necessary to the creative process.  Our busy world will rush in and take over if we’re not careful.  Sometimes we waste time by being so busy we’ve lost our direction in life.  Finding, actually making, time to know and plan out our direction is hugely important to success and well-being.

One of the most important sections in this book is about being mentored.  Mr. Ring suggests that we meet every week with a mentor.  Interestingly, he makes the point that a mentor doesn’t have to be a live person.  It can be in the pages of a book (Daily Bible reading is mentoring from God.), videos on YouTue or CDs of a favorite speaker, TED talks…  Anything or anyone that encourages you is necessary to your personal growth and needs to be deliberately pursued.

As I commented before, this book is worth the time to read more than once and use as a continuing resource.  Well done, Jordan!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author.  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.”

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Gifts – Book Review

SPIRITUAL GIFTS, WHAT THEY ARE & WHY THEY MATTER

This book was not at all what I expected.  That is not a bad thing because it caused me to think about a concept that is outside my box.  However, I must say, right up front,  this book is not for everyone.  By that I mean if you don’t already have a strong grasp of the Word, and believe it to be totally inerrant, this book is not for you.

Thomas R. Schreiner, the author of Spiritual Gifts, makes a strong case for nuanced (gradual) cessationism (ceasing or stopping) of said gifts.  What does that mean?  He makes the case that there are some gifts that are no longer necessary to the church and therefore, are no longer given to the members.

Prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing, and miracles are those Mr. Schreiner proposes have passed away.  He believes prophecy was needed and necessary while the apostles were alive because the prophets were the foundation of the church.  The words they spoke were directly from God. There are no prophets today because Word has been given and all that’s left is the interpretation of it which is the job of those gifted with preaching/teaching.

He makes a very strong case that speaking in tongues, as practiced by those who believe that various and spontaneous utterances constitute this gift, is not what was meant by the Word and is no longer a gift that is needed by the Church.   He determines that this gift was actually the supernaturally given ability to speak in the languages of those who would be listening.  With the ability to instantly translate any language using cell phones and the internet I would suggest that he’s right on target.

As for miracles and healing, he suggests that people no longer perform in this capacity.  Through prayer and confidence in God’s ability to do all, they are accomplished.

In my opinion, these are the types of discussions that Paul warns us against in Titus 3:9.  No matter where you stand on this issue let me say with total confidence that God is who He says He is and God can do what He says He can do.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B & H Publishing Group. 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.”