Mended — Book Review

Several weeks ago I received an invitation from Blythe Daniel to review and launch a book she and her mother had written. To be honest I was a bit hesitant because my own mother and I did not have a good relationship. (To be honest, we didn’t have a relationship.) My hesitancy came because I’ve really wanted to understand and forgive her and  I’ve not been able to do so. Plus, she passed away several years ago and it’s hard to rebuild a relationship with someone who isn’t here. But…

Through reading Mended I’ve come to understand a bit more of the person. This book contained some of the most healing words I’ve ever read. Most importantly, we are only responsible for the words we’ve said and the things we’ve done. We cannot and should not let ourselves think we can fix everything. Nor should we make ourselves totally responsible for the healing that must take place. We can only handle what is ours.

Forgiveness is a huge part of mending any relationship. We can always choose to forgive even if they don’t deserve it. Jesus did!

Verbal, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse was part of daily life for me. I was a hostage in a very controlling situation and truly felt I was the person at fault. It wasn’t until I left home for college and had very limited contact that I was able to put the situation into some sort of focus.  Through these words of Helen McIntosh I was able to reach a level of forgiveness that hadn’t been possible before: When we are the victim and need to forgive someone who has hurt and offended us… They may never even apologize or make amends. They may be deceased or in jail or another place you can’t reach them or oblivious to their offense. But we remain their prisoner until we let the offense go. pp.94 Letting the past go and committing to not dredging it up again has given me a kind of peace that has freed me from the pit of my mother’s words and actions and my own self-condemnation.

For me, this book was worth every word. Did I regress into the bad memories? Sometimes? Did I have moments of clarity when I started to understand? Yes! Can I move on and begin to understand the person behind words and actions? Yes! Can I forgive? I have to! There’s really no other choice.

Thank you, Blythe and Helen, for these incredible words! I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to rebuild (or build up) any relationship. It’s truly powerful and worth the time.

Consider these Words that are gems of light scattered throughout the book:

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

Words kill, words give; they’re either poison or fruit–you choose. Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harvest House Books and Blythe Daniel. 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.”

 

 

 

Breaking the Power of Negative Words

When I was in the eighth grade, planning my High School studies track, I overheard my guidance counselor tell the High School Principal, “Why are we letting Marie follow the College Prep course? She’ll never amount to anything.”  I remember the person, the place, the time, what my heartfelt…  Although I didn’t set out to disprove him that is exactly what I did. Those words have stuck in my mind for a very long time.  It has taken nearly 50 years to overcome the effect of those words.  Sometimes the impact is still there but there have been many wonderful people, events, and circumstances that have helped overturn their power.

Now, I’m not famous but there are some really great, high achieving people who have heard much the same thing.  Walt Disney was told he wasn’t creative or original. Einstein was told he’d never amount to much.  A music teacher said of Beethoven, “As a composer, he is hopeless.”

Were those words hurtful, harmful, hateful? Yes! Did they have an impact? Most certainly! So why do we hear and say those things? Here’s the thing, you and I speak and hear negative words on a regular, daily basis. So, then, how do we overcome the results?

Mary C. Busha, in her book Breaking the Power of Negative Words, gives much insight on the subject. From finding the perspective that helps us understand to getting to a place of freedom through forgiveness, her powerful writing gives us a more complete understanding of why negative words are spoken and how to overcome the results.

People say negative things.  We say negative things to ourselves. Those are facts but there are ways to overcome the impact and effects.  Busha suggests the following steps to freeing ourselves from the influence these comments have on our lives: Expect to be offended. Stand your ground. Have realistic expectations. Set healthy boundaries. Seek accountability. Forgive daily. (pp. 95-101)

One of the many things I like about Breaking the Power of Negative Words was each chapter ended with personal, probing questions. I was able to reach back into a lifetime of personal issues and reach some understanding of the situations.

I highly recommend this book and want to close with this quote:

I want to remind you that just as God in Christ has forgiven you, once forgiven, you are forgiven. He does not dredge up your past and hold it against you. He does not remind you of the sins you’ve committed. Therefore, do not allow yourself to dredge up the sins of others. (pp. 82)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Revell Books. 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.”

Character Carved In Stone — Book Review

From the compassion of Ulysses S. Grant to the heroism of Peter Wang ROTC (Granted posthumous admission to the West Point class of 2015. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.) I was held spellbound and captive as I read of the attributes and accomplishments of some of our country’s greatest heroes.

Between the covers of Character Carved in Stone by Pat Williams, you will find stories of West Point graduates whose lives personified the virtues of that institution.  The author then continues with ways to incorporate those some concepts into your own life.

 

These are my favorite quotes from each of the 12 Virtues:

“Leaders with authentic compassion are strong, courageous, honest, and direct.” p35

“Faith replaces fear with courage.” p51

“Live each day dedicated to the future.” p66

Determination means making up your mind that you will achieve your goal…expecting roadblocks and obstacles, but prepared to find a way over, around, or straight through them.” p77

Dignity is a priceless virtue–a virtue that is in danger of extinction in our society.” p92

“Success is the result of discipline, of repeatedly doing the things that lead to excellence.” p104

“A person of integrity is whole and complete–not divided or compartmentalized. A person of integrity will be the same person in public and in private. The inner reality will match the outward reputation.” p123

“Always stand up for your people. Always have their backs. If they are attacked or criticized, defend them… That is what loyalty demands of you.” p137

“Pray for the power to persevere. Never give in. Never give up. Never quit.” p153

“We don’t blame other people. We don’t blame circumstances. We don’t blame God. We accept full responsibility.” p167

“Throughout our nation’s history, generations of Americans have enjoyed freedom and prosperity because American soldiers have selflessly served their country.” p180

“When we trust one another, we can accomplish great things. Without trust, we are defeated before we begin.” p199

Who should read and use Character Carved in Stone? Everyone! Parents, preachers, politicians (especially), grandparents, teachers, teenagers, students, farmers, waiters… Everyone!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker 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.”

This post may contain affiliate links.  When you use them I receive a small commission that helps support the costs of maintaining this blog.

Running From Mercy – Book Review

Jonah didn’t get it.  Like us, Jonah thought he was in charge, he could control his life, he knew what was good or not so good for him.  What he didn’t realize was this was not about him. pp. 28

How many times have you read this story?  What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you see the name Jonah?  I’d bet it’s the fish.  But you know what? Jonah is not about the whale.  It’s not about what’s going on inside the fish.  It’s about what’s going on inside of Jonah.  Surprised at that?  I was.  We want it to be about the whale because we don’t want to face our own fickleness which is so much like Jonah’s.

Am I saying we’re fickle Believer’s?  Yes, I am.  When life is going as planned (by us) and we’ve achieved a measure of success (Jonah was a known prophet.) we can start believing we can control our own lives and destiny.  We can’t!  That’s part of what this story is about.  Jonah had to learn (the hard way) that once he committed to being God’s servant it was no longer about him.  It’s all about God’s mercy! ALL!  Even for someone as fickle as Jonah.  Someone who thought he had it all together.  Someone who knew God intimately, heard His voice, helped others understand Him.

What Jonah didn’t recognize in himself was his sinful nature.  He thought everyone else was sinful. (i.e., the Ninevites) He certainly didn’t want to be in contact with that kind of sin.  So he ran away.  He didn’t get that you can’t run away from God.  But he certainly tried.

We all know that God is the God of many chances.  When He sets His sights on one of us He never gives up.  That’s how I see the story of Jonah.  God would not give up!  From the pit (in the hold of the boat) to the prison (in the belly of the whale) to the palace (maybe the home of Shalmaneser lll) God pursued him.

I’ve studied the book of Jonah several times, with different authors, and let me say this is the first time I saw myself in this Old Testament parable.  I’ve never grown tired of this story and I hope I never will.  God will continue His pursuit of you and me.  My fervent prayer is we will hear Him and respond so we don’t end up in a giant fish.

Powerful words in Running from Mercy by Anthony J. Carter:

…He is not going to stop until He gets you.  Goodness and mercy shall pursue you all the days of your life (Ps. 23:6).  pp. 48

God keeps his appointments and has every intention of making sure we do too. pp. 57

If you have people in your life who love you enough to talk to you about your sin, don’t cut them off.  Don’t shut them down.  Don’t blame them.  They are the grace of God to you.  pp. 87

In every church gathered in this world today, people are either changing the gospel, or the gospel is changing them… We must not seek to change God’s Word but seek to be changed by it.  pp.106

I highly recommend this book.  It’s a life changer!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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

Who Sang The First Song – Book Review

Have you ever given thought to ‘Who Sang The First Song?’  Did you know there’s a constant sound in the universe?  That sound originates from the sun, neutron stars, black holes, and more.

From the beginning of time, there have been sounds all around.  God has not only put the beauty of sound everywhere but He has given each of His creation their own song.  Each song is individualized and determined for each one of us to use in furthering His Kingdom on Earth.

Now I recognize this is a bit ‘heavy’ for children. However, Ellie Holcomb, in her book Who Sang The First Song?, covers the concept in words and questions that children can understand.

After all, didn’t God tell us to make a joyful noise?  And what is more joyful than a song straight from the heart.

So, if you need a really great children’s gift, or want to enrich your home library, I highly recommend this delightful book.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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

The Beginner Bible — Book review

Do we read to much into the Bible?  Perhaps so.  It’s possible that we need to be reminded of the basic truths of God’s Word.  As I read through The Beginner’s Bible I was once again reminded of the simplicity of it all.

Through the eyes of a child these basic truths are evident:

  • God created us!
  • God chose us!
  • God loves us!
  • God wants us to love Him!

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Throughout this Bible, for children, the pictures tell more of the story allowing for deeper understanding.  For instance, in the story of Hannah, Eli, the priest sees her praying and wonder’s what she is so intense about.  The picture shows Eli with the Ephod that is decorated with the 12 stones.  What an opportunity to discuss what this is and means.

I particularly loved the beautiful rendition of Psalm 23.  The archaic words of the KJV may be how many of us memorized it, but it never hurts to look at His Word through other ‘transliterations’.  Check it out here:

Psalm 23 – This is one of King David’s songs about God:

The Lord is my shepherd.  He gives me everything I need. He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.  He leads me beside quiet waters. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths for the honor of His name.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid.  You, God, are with me.  Your shepherd’s rod and staff comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies.  You pour oil on my head.  My cup runs over.  I am sure Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.  And I will live in the house of the LORD forever. (pp. 190-193)

I know your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephew, friends will love this delightful rendition of God’s Word.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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

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.”

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.”