Think On This – – Noah

What was happening while Noah was building the ark? The people of the known world were going crazy. Sin was rampant.

Did Moses ‘just’ build the ark or was he also busy trying to get the mockers and scoffers to believe and understand?

Are we destroying ourselves again? Chaos, sin, violence, corruption, perversion…

Save our sons and daughters, friends and neighbors… Come quickly, Jesus!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Read more in When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams by Jill Eileen Smith

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.”

 

 

 

A Praying Marriage

Do you want the best possible relationship you can have with your spouse? Try praying for and with them.  So, how do you do that?

Set aside part of your daily prayer time to intercede.  To know and name his/her struggles you’re going to have to communicate those to one another.  Talk about what your goals are as individuals and as a couple.  Find out what challenges they’re experiencing.

In your prayer thank God for them. Thank God for the person they are, for their provision, for their love.

Ask God to show Himself in and through them.  Support them in their daily walk.

Be willing to change so that they can grow.  If you’re part of a problem they’re having give it to God.  Humble yourself!

So, what happens when you pray for your spouse?  It connects both of you with and to  God.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

Little Things and Small Stuff

Yes, the little things and the small stuff do matter!  Years ago, it was recommended to me that I meet with my mentor on a regular basis and work through a then-popular book. I did and let me tell you it was very difficult for me to do.  I have never believed the ‘little things’ simply don’t matter.

Suppose you’re given a job to do that requires many small steps but you choose to jump right to the finish.  Tell ya what… it doesn’t work that way.  Quite often it’s because something gets left out that was very necessary to the ongoing process.

For example, I have committed to a healthy eating program.  I eat only those things that are healthy for my body.  Since I have a sensitivity to wheat I am very careful about not eating it.  Refined sugar is an outright no-no.  By eating foods as close to nature as possible I am able to think more clearly, have more energy, and yes, lose weight.  Eliminating wheat and sugar, eating only foods close to nature, exercising, positive thinking, and sharing my journey with ‘helpers’ are all part of the ‘small steps’ in the journey.

As you know, I review books on a regular basis on this blog.  I do not cut corners in this process.  Reading just the title, author, first paragraph, and last paragraph would not allow for a fair review.  I definitely take the long route, read the book, take notes and then share my thoughts.  Many times it’s the little things in the narrative that create a lasting impression.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32) is a really good example of how much the ‘small stuff’ matters. Planting a very small seed and allowing it to grow creates a tree that provides shelter and food (more small seeds).  Jesus used these words to help people understand that in the small stuff (the seed) is provision (food and shelter) for all those who take refuge in it.  Yes, the little things matter!!!

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.”

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