Where She Belongs – – Book Review

51mf2fndxilAll of us have had situations in our lives that make us want to walk away or start over or go back to a better place.  Often when we choose the latter we also have to face the memories that go along with it.  This delightful story of a lovely young widow encompasses a critically injured child…falling for the wrong guy…unknown (unremembered) circumstances from teenage years… life choices based on past experiences… a really crabby villain…

Things I liked about this story

  • The characters enter at just the right point to make the reader wonder what they have to do with the story.
  • Just the right amount of good and bad situations.
  • Bible verses interjected at just the right point

Great book for that summer afternoon, school break reading list.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

5 Ways To Improve Any Relationship

I often think about being the best wife, friend, teacher, worker… I can be.  Perhaps I can do more, be more, give more… Certainly all of the above but there are some very practical, down to earth ways we can show those around us they matter most.

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I believe the #1 way to improve friendship is to take yourself out of the running for 1st Place.  Narcissism destroys more relationships that any other personal characteristic.  Anytime we think we matter more, in any way, than the person we’re relating with ruins any chance of building up the other person.  Jesus said it best when He said, ‘love others’ in response to what is the greatest commandment.

Steven Covey, in his book First Things First, makes it clear that we must know the wants and needs of the other person to become successful.  In our relationships, we really need to know what another likes or dislikes.  Remember anything we might think is fun may not be enjoyable to someone else.  Get to know your friends, husbands, co-workers.  Talk to them.  Discover their hobbies and interests.  The best relationships take the desires of the other into account first.

When you’re building friendships and relationships don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  If it’s more than one-sided the other person is just as interested in you.  If your friend says let’s go see a dirt bike race and you really can’t stand the dust then tell them.  Remember, if your friend is truly interested in creating an awesome relationship they’ll find someone else to go with and both of you will discover something about the other.

That leads us to trust.  If a friend chooses to do something with another person do not put a guilt trip on them.  Building relationships with other people adds more to the friendships you already have.  Learning to trust others is a huge growth issue.  One does not need to know everything that their friend is doing every moment to build a strong relationship.

kindness-710209_960_720Last, but certainly not least, choose kindness.  In Aesop’s fable, The Lion and the Mouse, the moral is, a kindness is never wasted.  Perhaps something you’ve done in the past will lead to its reward in the future.  True kindness, like love, is based on wanting what is best for the other person.

 

Sometimes, when I read a list like this, I think I have to do everything.  Not so!  Even choosing one of these suggestions will make you a standout, awesome friend.  Go for it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Do Overs

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God is the God of second chances, third chances, fourth chances…  God gives ‘do-overs’.  Look at the number of people in the Bible who were given another chance, a do-over if you will.

David and Paul and Jael were murderers…

Noah and Lot were drunks…

Rahab was a prostitute…

Samson was a womanizer…

Jonah was hesitant, reluctant, and fearful…

Naomi and Martha were whiners…

Peter denied…

Elijah was suicidal…

All of them were given mercy.  Yes, a do-over.

David asked for forgiveness and God, in His great mercy, said I can still use you.  (Psalm 51)

Rahab followed through on her promise and God saved her and her family in the fall of Jericho and topped that off with giving her a place in the lineage of Christ.  (Joshua 6:22)

Jonah went the opposite direction to get away from God’s command, God sent a storm and whale to get him where he needed him… Jonah saved the people of an entire city.  (Jonah)

Jesus told Martha to quit whining and follow the example of her sister Mary. (Luke 10:38-42)

Peter did exactly what Jesus said he would.  But Jesus knew the rest of the story…Peter would be the Founding Father of His churches.  (Matthew 16:18)

Elijah was so afraid of what Jezebel would do to him that he ran and hid under a desert bush asking God to let him die.  God had other plans…  (1 Kings 19:4-14)

And he still does that today.  He knows we’re not perfect.  He knows we fall short.  Yet, He forgives over and over and lets us start over and over.

What a Mighty God we serve!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Come over and join Deb and I at Joys, Junk and Jesus on Facebook

Hannah’s Choice Book Review

Adulting is hard.  There’s no way around it.  In Hannah’s Choice, life choices abound.  In this book, you’ll find a little history, family issues, drama, sadness, great joy and more.

Although set in the mid 18oo’s the issues could easily be issues of 21st Century families.

The setting – Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

The time – right before the Civil War25795353-_sy180_

The choice – which of two young men will she marry, will she travel to an unknown part of the country or stay where she is

The book took several surprising twists and kept me very curious about what would happen next.  From a severely depressed mother to a sister who insisted on doing life her way to fleeing slaves…there’s a delightful mix of romance, history and making decisions.

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy Amish novels.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

God Breathed

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Can you imagine placing your hands on any page of your Bible and feeling His very breath on the page?   That is exactly what this verse is saying (to me).  This is how I see it – – if I can’t see Him face to face until I enter heaven then I’ll settle (hardly the right word) for experiencing His breath in the words I’m reading.

Think about the words of this beautiful chorus from the song “Ancient Words” by Lynn DeShazo.

Ancient words ever true, changing me and changing you; We have come with open hearts, oh, let the ancient words impart.

Friends, family, sisters, and brothers in Christ there is nothing more important than knowing God’s word.  In every action and situation of our lives we can draw on the Word and know without question it was written for that very purpose.

God did not leave us alone on this earth.  He is still breathing every word, in every verse, on every page of our Bibles.

Holy words long preserved for our walk in this world, they resound with God’s own heart; Oh, let the ancient words impart.

Ah, Lord, God thank You for every word, every phrase, every letter of Your Word.  Heavenly Father place a real hunger in our hearts to know Your words and use them for our lives.  Let us not only read them but let us use them.  Put teachers in our lives to help us understand them.  Drench us with the Holy Spirit as we read and learn how to apply them.  Make it so in Jesus name!

Monday Mewsings

I thoroughly enjoy having cats for pets and have often wondered what the Bible says regarding that.  So, I did some research.  Here goes…

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Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29, New Living Translation  God is aware of all of His creation, all of the time. With that thought in mind shouldn’t we be also?

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“O Lord, You preserve both man and beast.” Psalm 36:6  So, let’s think about this.  If God preserves (cares for) man and animal then we should be doing the same.

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“A righteous man regards the life of his animal.” Proverbs 12:10  Righteousness is making right choices.  The word regards reflects the idea of caring for animals in the best way possible.

There has been a great deal of research about how cats affect their humans.

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Need to work something out?  Talk to your cat. It doesn’t respond and when it looks at you with those beautiful eyes you know you’re the most important human ever.

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Dealing with stress and anxiety? That awesome ball of purring fur will eliminate stress faster than any pill.

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Are you a high risk for cardiovascular disease?  A recent study found a high significant statistical probability that those who own cats have less chance of death due to stroke or heart attack.  One study found that over a 10-year period cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke

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Do you love books and have a college degree?  Thank your cat.  According to Dr. Denise Guastello cat owners are introverted, open-minded, non-conformists, and score high on intelligence tests.

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Do you sleep with your cat?  Researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered that 41% of those who sleep with their cat report sleeping better.

Do you have a cat? A dog? Share it with us.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Insult

Have you ever given any thought to choosing a word you won’t be using as your Word for the Year?  That’s exactly what Holley Gerth addresses in her article, The Word I’m NOT Choosing This Year.  It’s certainly worth the read. Check it out!

As I thought about this concept it crossed my mind that 2016 was a very negative and insulting year. (I’m not just referring to the election.  That in itself was beyond anything I could have imagined.)  For me, there was little positive input and I endured insults that were both perceived and real.  So, with that thought in mind, the word I’m not choosing for the year is INSULT.  This picture sums it up:

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I know that attacks and insults are to be expected as a follower of Jesus.  I get it!  But I have decided for this year that I will not allow another’s words or actions to cloud my view and dirty my mind.

Matthew 7:1 gives us the famous words, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” I like it better the way Peterson says it in The Message, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment.”

My prayer for the year is this:

Heavenly Father, Abba, hear my prayer for a clean heart and uncluttered mind.  Give me wisdom and courage to deal with those who would use their words against me.  Help me to know when and if I should respond.  Let my response never be unkind or unforgiving.  I want to show the Face of Jesus and the Mind of Christ to those around me.  Yes, even those who are insulting, mean or unkind.  Make it so in Jesus name.

Befriend

I’ve often given thanks for the many friends God has placed in my life in this season.  Some younger, some older, some wiser, some funnier, some really awesome people who have made life so much more interesting.

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Until I read Befriend by Scott Sauls I really hadn’t thought of all the other possibilities for friendships.  Those who are bullies, minorities, poor, rich, vulnerable, strangers, refugees, disabled, dysfunctional …

God weeps over things gone wrong in this world (pg. 102). I’m sure He places mishandled, forgotten, ruined relationships among those things that have gone wrong.  He loves us more than we’ll ever know as long as we’re on this earth. He does not pick and choose among sinners and the righteous…He simply loves and He expects us to do the same.

Friendship is vulnerable and inviolable.  Friendship is risky and worth the risk.  Friendship is comforting and uncomfortable at times.

The following quote sums up the emphasis of this book:

Real friends not only agree but disagree;  real friends not only applaud each other’s strengths but challenge each other’s weaknesses;  real friends not only enjoy life together but struggle through life together;  real friends not only praise one another but apologize and forgive one another;  real friends not only rally around their points of agreement but love and learn from their points of disagreements… And when everybody matures and grows, everybody wins. (pgs. 4-5)

This is a very powerful, thought-provoking book.  I highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers as part of their Blog Network 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.”

 

Two Who Waited

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

 

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

 

     

 

 

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

 

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna  means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important to seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This post was written as part of Blogs By Christian Women Holiday Tour.  You will find several really excellent posts and blogs in the list below.

12/6/16 Michele Morin http://michelemorin.wordpress.com
12/6/16 Heather Olson http://grace-filledgifts.blogspot.com/
12/6/16 Sherri Autrey http://sherriautrey.com
12/7/16 Gwen Williams http://www.thejourneyofhealing.com
12/7/16 Marie Bungard http://asatisfiedspirit.com
12/7/16 Lottie Staggs https://www.lottiebrooke.com
12/8/16 Lee Felix https://www.likemindedmusings.com
12/8/16 Amanda Brown http://www.skgfun.com
12/8/16 Susan Bricker http://leanintothelord.com

A List For Life

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Are you a list maker?  I am!  I have lists for daily chores, lists for birthday and Christmas cards, address lists, grocery lists, and so on.  This morning I read 1 Thessalonians and came across what could be one of the most lengthy lists in the Bible of how to live this life with Jesus in command.  Are you ready for this?

There can be no hidden agendas in our lives.

We cannot use God’s Word or our own to create a ‘smoke screen’ that takes advantage of another Believer.

We are not to patronize or be condescending.  We are to simply love and encourage others with every word, action, and deed.

Honor God by taking care of yourself.  This verse is directed to the physical care of your body but I know God means every part of ourselves… physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We are to be as beautiful inside as we try to be outside.

Right in the middle of Chapter 4 Paul tells the Thessalonicans to stay calm, mind your own business, and do your own job. Why? So others will see Jesus in us and want that for themselves.

Be cheerful.  Be thankful.  Pray, all the time.

There are some don’ts in here also.  Most importantly (at least to me), we are not to believe everything we hear or read.  We’re to check it out, research it if necessary, and keep only the good.  When we’re in tune with the Spirit, He tells us when something isn’t right.  (It’s that uncomfortable feeling you get when something is said or done that isn’t quite right.) That’s when we go back to pray often.

There’s some really great stuff here…don’t you agree?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie