Before I Saw You – – Book Review

Sometimes I read for the pure joy of immersing myself in a good story on a quiet afternoon.  At least, that’s what I thought I was going to do when I picked up Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells.  Guess what?  Not so!  The power of grace is so prevalent in these words that I was amazed at how easy it was to include it in a fiction story.

Life is hard!  God is good!  Life is about letting go and letting God.  Cliches? Yes (and no, they are not used in the book).

If anything, life is about choices.  Some easy. Some hard. Some based on what we know. Some based on what we don’t.  We always have a choice.  Throughout the book, the main character is reminded to trust God for the answers.

Life is about decisions that often affect more than the person making them.  It’s evident throughout the story here and about life in general, for everyone.

Now, I know I’m being quite vague in this review but, I’m trying to keep from spoiling this great read for you.

Relationships are really what life is about and this book is full of the twists and turns, good and bad, that all relationships take.  A drug-addicted mother, a woman-child who hasn’t had the benefit of a good life, a sickly baby, a bully boyfriend, an unplanned pregnancy, an unexpected turn of events, and choices, so many choices…

I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list.  It’s definitely worth your time!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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

5 Thoughts On Developing A Lasting Marriage

June is the month of weddings and I wanted to give a little advice.  Here are my five thoughts on developing a long-lasting marriage.

  • Don’t expect your spouse to be the same year after year.  We all grow and change.  I’ve been married to the same man for over 40 years.  Neither of us is the same as we were then.  It’s been rather fun to meet a new person, who shares my bed and house, every few years.
  • Never stop talking, laughing and crying, together!  Life is tough.  There’s no way around that. Weathering the storms and celebrating the high points is all part of it.
  • Always (!!!) support one another.  Let no one say anything about your spouse that is demeaning, degrading or discrediting.  Stand up for one another!
  • Marriage is not a game!  Scorekeeping is unacceptable.  If you’re feeling that your spouse is not keeping up their end of the bargain.  Tell them.  Talk it out.  None of us have billboards on our foreheads that tell the other what we’re thinking.  Most of the time all you have to do is ask.  Try it!
  • Be kind, thoughtful, forgiving and loving.  Long marriages sometimes evolve into taking advantage of the love you have for one another.  We’re all going to do and say dumb things from time to time.  Get over it and get on with it.

Here’s a then and now picture.  Enjoy!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Recently, this post was sent to me on my FB page.  It is so true of our marriage and I hope of yours, too!

For all of you so eager to call it quits and throw in the towel on your relationships because everything isn’t “perfect”…here is some food for thought. Lifelong commitment is not what most people think it is. It’s not waking up every morning to make breakfast and eat together. It’s not cuddling in bed until both of you fall asleep, peacefully, at night. It’s not a clean home filled with laughter and lovemaking, every day. It’s someone who steals all the covers (and snores!). It’s slammed doors and a few harsh words, at times. It’s stubbornly disagreeing and giving each other the silent treatment until your hearts heal…and, then…FORGIVENESS! It’s coming home to the same person, every day, that you know LOVES and CARES about you in spite of (and because of) who you are. It’s laughing about the one time you accidentally did something stupid. It’s about dirty laundry and unmade beds WITHOUT finger pointing. It’s about helping each other with the hard work of life! It’s about swallowing the nagging words instead of saying them out loud. It’s about eating the cheapest and easiest meal you can make and sitting down together late to eat because you both had a crazy day. It’s when you have an emotional breakdown and your Love lays with you and holds you and tells you everything is going to be okay…and you BELIEVE them. It’s about still loving someone even though, sometimes, you make them absolutely insane. Living with the person you love is not perfect
…sometimes it’s hard, but it’s amazing and comforting and one of the BEST things you’ll ever experience!

(This article is from Hopewell Baptist Church page on Facebook.)

 

 

The Full Armor of God – – Book Review

Are you starting your day fully dressed or …?  Do you consider these verses in Ephesians 6 when you’re selecting from your wardrobe, or are they the furthest thing from your mind?  Christa Crawford, in The Full Armor of God, suggests we really need to be more mindful of these six parts of our wardrobe.  After all, satan is.  He watches and loves it when we are not conscious of what we’ve left out of our selections.  

Here are some truths I discovered while reading through this excellent book:

  • We are to wear the belt of Truth because the evil one constantly bombards us with lies.  “Satan can’t stand that God loves us.  He hates God and wants to hurt Him, so he attacks those He loves: you and me.” (Quote from page 27)
  • The breastplate of Righteousness is directly related to what we know about the sinless character of God.  It covers the most vulnerable and valuable part of our body and soul, the heart.  The more we know of who Jesus is and what He wants us to be the better protected we are.
  • The shoes of Peace are designed to keep moving us forward.  “We aren’t meant to perish in the storms (of life) but to learn dependence on His abilities to see us through.” (Quote from page 57)
  • Ms. Crawford’s words on the shield of Faith remind us that we are not alone or unprotected in this battle.  “If life’s hurts get to a point we can no longer hold up our own shield, we should ask those with faith to encircle us like the Roman soldiers and create a wall until our strength is restored.  Our Father didn’t leave us without protection.  He gave us His Son, and He gave us each other.”  Check out Ecclesiastes 4:19-12 (Quote from page 68)
  • The helmet of Salvation is all about what Jesus did for us.  He is our Savior.  For Jesus, there was no half-way.  It was either all or nothing.  When we consciously put on the ‘hat’ that matches the outfit we’re saying look out evil, I’ve got this and you can’t take that away from me.
  • The sword of the Spirit is the only weapon we’ll ever need.  His weapon of choice?  A book.  Not just any book.  The one He’s breathed His words into.  Every answer we’ll ever need is there for us.  It’s so simple.  Just read it!!!

So let’s take action!  Make it a part of your daily dressing routine to put on the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, the shoes of Peace, the shield of Faith, the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.  I guarantee, it will change your day!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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

Inclusive Or Exclusive

 

God’s Word is very clear about this subject.  Just as God includes everyone we are to do the same.  It does not matter whether we are male/female, rich/poor, educated, beautiful, young/old …

Look at James 2.  It’s really clear on the issue.  We are to welcome and love everyone who enters our ‘meeting’.  We are to be inclusive, not exclusive.

God loves us all the same.  So, if we’re truly trying to become more like Him, then, we are going to stop the favoritism game.  There’s a great song out right now by Mandisa, We All Bleed The Same, that says it all.  “…if we’re going to shout, let love be the cry.”

And so, in response to all he has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good. (Hebrews 10:24) 

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Sharing this post with many other awesome bloggers at  5-Minute Friday.

Words of Grace – Book Review

This is certainly not just another devotional.  It’s better than that.  It’s full of thoughtful, inspiring articles that drew me closer to my God.  It led me to a deeper level of thought on what the Word is trying to say.

Best of all, I can pick it up or put it down at any point.  Meaning, it’s not dated so I didn’t feel pressured to read a certain part on a certain day.  I can open it anywhere and read something important about my walk with Jesus any time I want.

It is thoughtfully divided into three categories.  Who God is, how He works in our lives, and how we are to respond to Him.

Here are a few quotes that really spoke to me:

  • “In the realm of morality and money, family and friends, work and play, God has a will and a way for us to live.”  (pg. 13)
  • “What is the message of Good News? God’s favor is on all mankind.” (pg. 25)
  • “We must know, feel, and acknowledge our sin before we will turn to Christ for salvation.  We must turn to Christ for salvation before we will have freedom from our sin.” (pg. 51)
  • Regarding the truth of Romans 8:1 – “You don’t have to justify yourself to others.  Imagine relating to others without being defensive.  You are not condemned, and no one can condemn you before God, so when you interact with others you can focus on truth, love, and edification.” (pg. 87)

I had only one drawback as I read through.  Scott Patty is a deep thinker and with that came sentence structure that was sometimes difficult to read.  But then, that forced me to think more deeply on God’s Word.

I’m sure I’ll be keeping this devotional in my book basket for months/years to come.

What a blessing!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Broadman and Holman 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.”

20 Ways To Practice Lifestyle Evangelism

 

Are you looking for creative ways to show Whose you are?  Here are a few I’ve used.  Add your suggestions in the comments.

Wear a piece of jewelry that invites discussion.

Take a glass of something cold to your neighbor, or the person doing lawn work, etc.

Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home that doesn’t get visitors.

Call to say I’m thinking of you.

Volunteer!

Invite the person who is sitting alone (in church, in a restaurant) to sit with you.

When someone’s name pops into your mind send them an ‘I’m thinking of you’  note.

Follow through when you’ve said you would do something.  If you said I’ll call, then call.

Don’t hesitate to pray anywhere and anytime you’re asked. 

Be sincere in your compliments.  People can always tell when you’re ‘just sayin’.

Ask someone you don’t know (while at the doctors, grocery, or other public places) if you can pray for them.  Do it right there.

Hand write notes to a new member, someone who is ill, recently baptized, …

Choose a missionary to stay in touch with.

Give rides to those who don’t have a way to get to the doctor, grocery store, …

Use your craftiness to help others.  Crochet an afghan, quilt a lapgan, embroider a favorite Bible verse, …

Prayer-walk your neighborhood.  Pray for every home even if you don’t know the person living there.

When you get ready to get rid of your Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary cards put them in a box and keep them in your ‘prayer spot’.  Take one out each day and pray for that person.  Let them know you prayed with a call or a card/note.

Keep a Jar of Joys.  Put little slips of paper in it that tell about good things that have happened through the year. Go through it at the end of the year and give thanks for the joy and delight God has put in your life.

Invite someone who may be all alone to family dinners like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…

Take a picture frame that you aren’t using.  Put a sheet of blank paper behind the glass.  Write the names of those you want to pray for regularly.  Hang it in a place you see every day.  Mine is above my home/office desk.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

The Kremlin Conspiracy – – Book Review

Intrigue and lies at the upper levels of world leadership…  Men and women killed senselessly…  Life choices…  God’s presence…

I don’t usually like books of this genre.  But The Kremlin Conspiracy had me from the first chapter.  With well-developed characters and a storyline that simply doesn’t slow down, I couldn’t wait to turn the pages.  From the mountains of Colorado to Russia’s Red Square the action continually transports one into the lives of the characters.

Political upheaval is caused by two presidents, a world apart.  One weak and inexperienced, the other over-confident and mentally unbalanced, put the world on edge with the threat of nuclear war.

This quote from The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky sums up the motive behind the story.  “Above all, don’t lie to yourself.  The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and he loses all respect for himself and for others – and having no respect he ceases to love.”

If you like fast moving, action-packed reading, you’ll love this book!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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

Weekend Wanderings

Here are a few of my favorites from this weeks posts.  Enjoy!

THE DAY GOD GAVE ME MORE THAN I COULD HANDLE  God will give us more than we can handle because He wants us to remember that we are never in it alone.

HOW TO RESPOND TO THE GROWN-UP MEAN GIRL   Bullies and ‘mean girls’ are all around us.  Yes, but how should we respond?  Jennifer has the answer.

SECRETS, STRUGGLES AND THE SCANDALOUS LOVE OF GOD    These words of Holley’s are ones that we should always keep in mind, “Whatever we did yesterday, whatever we’re battling today, whatever we may face tomorrow, the love of God for us and the grace of God toward us will never, ever change.”

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Who Are The Other People?

My thoughts and ponderings on this word led me to who are the ‘other’ people in our society?  In a social climate that prides itself on equality, we have certain ‘other’ people that are not counted among the equal.  People of color, any color actually, white, black, olive, pink… women, elderly, poor, rich, educated, homeless.  Every one of us fits in an ‘other’ category.

When I looked up the definition here’s what it said: used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about.  

What, then, does God say about it?

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.  Luke 6:31 (I can still hear my mother’s voice… Do unto others as you would have them do to you.)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4 (I don’t think this verse would even be necessary if we would stop being all about ourselves.)

So, isn’t it time to start making the ‘other’ people in our lives more important than we are?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I’m sharing this with a group of writers who set aside 5 minutes each week to write about one word.  Why don’t you join us?  Five Minute Friday

Wisdom Whispers Review

I am delighted to be part of the Launch Team for Wisdom Whispers.  It is thought-provoking and easy to read.  It gave me much new insight into one of God’s chosen.

Sarah writes in such a way that the words get into your mind and heart.  Wisdom (and understanding) grows with each days lesson.

I have a new appreciation of King Solomon and his writings thanks to Wisdom Whispers. As I completed each day of this study I was struck with how much he was like a real person, with real struggles, just like me. Even though Solomon was incredibly blessed by God he fell into the trap of great riches and power not recognizing his blessings were from God and not of his own making. This resulted in life choices that changed him from a devoted man of God to a contriving man of the world. (i.e., 700 wives of whom many were princesses of other realms married for political purposes.)

Whether you go through this study alone or invite a group of people into your home you will find the time spent in this segment of God’s word worth it.

I hope you’ll check it out.  IT’S FREE! You won’t regret it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie