Gospelbound – Book Review

I had just spoken to one of my ESL students who said she has little or no hope for the world in which we live. Her vocal tone was almost a monotone and she rarely smiles. I am not sure how I can help this beautiful young woman. I want to help. I want everyone to understand that they were put on earth, at just this time and place, because God has a plan and purpose for their lives. Then I came across this book – Gospel Bound by Collin Hansen and Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra.

The authors of this book suggest that the key to living a hopeful and rewarding life is ‘to think big and small at the same time.’  What does that mean? Thinking big for me means trusting God for everything. Thinking small means helping others. Buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk and take it to the young mother who commented she didn’t have any. Call the friend who is making some tough decisions and simply listen to her talk. Giving what I can when I can is often just a little thing but it makes a God-sized difference in someone else’s life.

One of the problems in the US right now is that we do not understand or perhaps even recognize the amount of suffering that is going on around us. We have isolated our thoughts and actions to our own small group of people and rarely reach out to others. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The question becomes – is what I’m doing making any difference at all?  Gospel Bound suggests that it’s rare to be able to change someone else’s habits. But we must keep on helping others. Some will eventually see the Light. Others will go on as they always have. The Bible doesn’t say each endeavor will be successful, it just says do it! (Be obedient!) We are not asked to do miracles, that’s God’s job anyway, we’re asked to use what we have been given and get on with it.

How do we show God’s love in this topsy-turvy world? Here are a few examples from the book:

God’s Word is and must be our guide.

Live and work with integrity.

Give the best we have in all circumstances.

Show hospitality by sitting with newcomers in worship.

Volunteer in ways we never thought we could.

GET INVOLVED. Don’t just sit back when you see a need.

Be holy, godly, diligent, at peace (2 Peter 3:11,14).

Work while we wait because our minds are set on heaven.

Invest your love (of Jesus) in all your relationships. Take the focus off yourself.

Visit the lonely, feed the hungry, care for the sick.

Do what’s right even when you don’t want to. Even if no one notices. In other words, live with honor. Romans 12:17

Plant a church.

Pray through all your decisions and then stick with them.

Favorite Quote: “When billionaires like Bill Gates give away their fortunes to fight diseases and help the world’s poorest people, we recognize God’s provision, even if Gates does not recognize God.”

Although I recognized the value of this book I was a bit disturbed by some vulgar language and way too much explicit description of sexual activity. I simply want to warn you with this statement. I hope it doesn’t keep you from reading it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This book will be published on April 6, 2021

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Net Galley/Walter Brook & Multnomah Press. 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.”

 

Disappointment God’s Way

Have you found yourself in a state of disappointment at times during this unusual season? Are events and normal daily occurrences being postponed or rescheduled starting wear on you? Me, too! So how should we deal with this?

First, and foremost, stay connected to God. How? Read His Word. Pray. Talk to other Believers by calling, writing to them, videos, podcasts… Enjoy His creation by walking, biking, just getting out in some way and focusing on Him.

Are there things happening that you cannot control which lead to a sense of disappointment? Of course there are. Stop trying! Make a list of what is in your control. Be creative! The things I can control, with God’s help are:

  • My thoughts – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
  • My words – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
  • My actions –“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:37-38

Above all focus on how much God loves you! Commit this verse to memory!

“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us.” Romans 5:5 

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Always We Begin Again – – Book Review

I’ve been enjoying reading through a devotional that really isn’t a devotional.  Does that make sense? Not really, but yes, it does.  Always We Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley is a series of short essays on the many ways we start over every day of our lives. They’re not only relatable short stories but they include a guided writing prompt that can help each reader deal with their own beginnings.

Here’s what I’ve learned, am learning or have found to be true:

  • The profound yet simple concept that we are constantly starting over is part of daily life.
  • God speaks to us in many ways during our stressful, busy days. Focusing on the issue of the moment, with God as our partner, until we discover the way through, will help calm our minds and lead to a solution.
  • We are held securely in God’s arms. No matter the circumstances He keeps holding on.
  • There are multiple opportunities in our days and lives to begin again, to start over. Just as the sun rises new each day it also sets and gives us the opportunity to rest and reflect.
  • We are all addicts of some sort. Here’s the thing, we can’t pretend to have conquered the problem. Whether we eat, drink, spend, talk, criticize, complain… too much or too little, it can be controlled through God’s grace and our willingness to take each day as it is.

One of the things I really liked about this book is each short essay/story is simply numbered but not dated.  That way if I don’t read it each day I don’t have the pressure of being behind or having to catch up.

This collection is relatable and encouraging. It is reassuring and supportive. There is hope woven throughout its pages. Thank you, Leeana Tankersley, for writing and sharing.

Best quote from the book: “Growth and healing start by giving ourselves the permission to pursue them. If we aren’t willing to show up and participate, then chances are, our souls will be lost on some level. And chances are, it will affect the people who want to share life with us.” (pg. 210)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revel, a division of 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.”