Consistency in Character...

Worlds Collide by Alison Strobel

This fictional book was thoroughly enjoyable!  I felt a part of the story and could feel what the characters were feeling while I read.  I identified with moments where you battle your sinful flesh to either do and think selfishly (living for today), or selflessly (living for eternity).  I took away from the book that genuine consistency in our spiritual walk; what we say and do; is of utmost importance when desiring to display Christ in our lives to those around us.  I am thankful for that reminder!  I look forward to reading future books written by this author!

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Is He a stranger to you?

This book was excellent!

Although I am God’s child and am striving to be like Christ – this book had me taking a look at how I choose to spend each day.  Is Jesus a stranger, acquaintance, close friend, or savior to me?  Is the relationship level that I have with Jesus in need of a time adjustment?  A quality or quantity adjustment?  I think this book is a good reminder for Christians on their priorities and their daily choices.   I also think this book did a great job taking a man who did not have any relationship with Christ to a point of wanting that – for no other reason than because it is true, right, good, and what we were created for.  This book is simple and profound!  I would recommend this book to my friends and family!
I also really enjoyed this books website and all the provided resources!

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Prayer Walk by Janet Holm McHenry

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was practical, encouraging and motivating. I have struggled to be
intentional about fitting both the exercise of walking and importance of prayer into my daily routine and
never thought to combine them! I am looking forward to building this habit and eventually reflecting
back on how the application of prayer walking has caused spiritual growth in my life. The 30-day Prayer
Walk Challenge is such a blessing and really helps you to focus more on the bigger picture around you
and less on yourself. Amen to that! The Bible study questions were enjoyed and I desire to do this
as a Bible study with a group of ladies. I think it would be wonderful to encourage and motivate each
other to build this habit and then be able to share in the joy that we are experiencing because of it! I
definitely recommend this book!

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. 


Love & War Devotional for Couples

John and Stasi Eldredge do a great job of incorporating Bible passages and truths into each step of this devotional. They also provide exercises at the end of every week that are reasonable to accomplish but worth doing. They also did a great job of pointing us toward Christ for our ultimate satisfaction and completion. My husband and I appreciated this devotional and the reminders that it provided regarding our marriage team of myself, my spouse and God.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Sun Stand Still - By Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick does a great job challenging his readers to consider, and better understand the importance of sun stand still prayers.  His book is easy to understand but very challenging.  He is truthful in his use of scripture and is an excellent teacher who leaves you without excuse to add the mentality of sun stand still prayers to your spiritual journey!  I thoroughly enjoyed the level of understanding that Steven Furtick provided and the all around coverage of the topic that leaves no room for doubt or excuses for lack of application.  He stresses the importance that everything needs to ultimately be glorifiying to God. On page 99 of this book Steven talks about living “a life that can only be explained by the existence of a God who is infinitely great.”  This challenged me to examine my own life and how I am living out my faith.  Does my life reflect my creator?  This book caused me to also take a second look at the tough moments in my life through a lense of opportunity; a perspective that I need to make use of more often!  Steven Furtick calls us to know God better by knowing His word and His promises and then through Christ’s work in our lives be an amazing vessel for His use and His glory.  I highly recommend this book!

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Weighed Down to Weightless

It is often that I come to points within the different seasons of my life that I feel weighed down, burdened, and weary.  Too many things to do, too many responsibilities and too busy.  Too many thoughts to keep track of in my head.  Too many categories of topics and conversations to process.  As I was working on some plans for the next ladies luncheon at our church to which the theme will be "Beautiful Strength", I was soaking in the truth and encouragement from the theme verse;
Isaiah 40:31 "but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
The verse really can't be any more perfect to encourage those who are tired and in need of endurance to keep on going.  There is a bigger point though, to take careful note of in this verse.  It is speaking to those who wait for the Lord.  If you are waiting on God, then you will find your strength renewed and you will find endurance.  What does it mean to wait for the Lord?
The Hebrew word for "wait" is qavah, (kaw-vaw).  It means to bind together, by twisting. To collect, gather together, look patiently, tarry, wait.
I believe this passage indicates that to wait for the Lord, it is implying a coming together with the Lord - joining the Lord in a close relationship with Him.
As we invest in our relationship with Christ, we learn more and more to trust Him, and to wait on His guidance, and direction for our lives.  We wait on His timing for the things we desire and we trust that how He answers our prayers is in our best interest.  How can we know these things and trust so freely if we do not know in whom we are placing our trust?  Who bares their soul to a stranger or mere acquaintance?  Was their ever a time that someone asked you" what are you doing"; you replied "I am waiting"; and they asked "for what"; and you said "I don't know?"
I would hope not!  Most people do not wait for anything without reason.
In this passage we are challenged to invest in our relationship with God, to grow close to Him and wait on His guidance for our lives and in so doing we can confidently place our trust in Jesus Christ that He will renew our strength; He will give us endurance to continue "to run the race" without weariness and the ability to walk the journey of our lives without fainting.  Waiting on God is experiencing God; and when we experience God, we can experience a more weightless life.  A life that is like an eagle soaring on the winds above a storm - not escaping it, but overcoming it - and not apart from Christ!

For this gift today and many times over I am truly thankful!

Is there anything weighing you down and causing weariness that you could give to God today?

Have you given God your time, your trust, and your attention in regard to your relationship with Him?

May I encourage you to spend some time with God today and in exchange for that experience the truth that He provides strength and endurance for our lives when we are obedient to Him!



Lioness Arising - By Lisa Bevere

I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  The content of the book surprised me in a good way. I learned new things about the lioness as a creature made by God and also about characteristics and qualities that myself as a woman of God can learn from.  I was able to relate to the situations and circumstances that the author described which helped me see how applying the things I learned from this book could positively affect various areas of my life.   It was very comfortable for me to consider another perspective regarding things I have always been taught about women and their spiritual role in a family and in the church and dig into the scripture provided to learn about how I, specifically as a woman, can willingly submit to God for Him to use me as a vessel in ways that I would not have planned myself!  This book gave me some excitement to freely serve God in some new ways.   I would recommend this book to others!

FTC Disclaimer: "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"


A Willing Spirit, A Weak Body

For several months now I have been trying to grasp the difficulty of the fight between desiring to fulfill my goals and grow in my relationship with Christ  - and - the temptation to give in to what my body is telling me.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell about the time when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before His betrayal and the disciples were asked to watch out for him and pray.....but although they wanted to be obedient, their flesh was tired and weak and they fell asleep.  In Mark's passage verse 38 it says, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  Then later on in verse 41 it says, "And He came the third time and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  It is enough, the hour has come.  The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
This passage came to mind with a struggle I was having.  It was my desire to spend my personal devotional time with God every morning before work; rather than occasional mornings, or evenings, or lunch breaks which were not consistent or regular.  In the morning I would always have a reason as to why I needed that extra sleep instead of getting up early.  I rationed that I was up late the night before, or I have a long day ahead of me.  If I rest more today then I will better be able to get up early tomorrow, etc.  This went on for months and I began to feel frustrated that I could not do what I really wanted to do.
In a moment of God given wisdom, I realized I should ask God for His help!  I prayed that if He would wake me up, and have the spirit nudge me out of bed, I would get up and spend time with Him.  Guess what happened!  One morning, God woke me up!  I sat straight up in bed, turned off my alarm, felt the spirit nudging me.......and I shamefully chose to go back to sleep.  How could I?!  I just prayed for this, God answered my prayer, and I basically said "no" to Him!  Would I verbally say that sleep is more important to me than my relationship with God?  No.  However, my actions and choices that morning were reflecting that attitude.  I will say that I felt a sense of guilt all day that I had made that choice.  I felt like I had missed out on something.  I was sad that I had made the choice I had, knowing what it meant to me, but I also felt comfort knowing that God's love is unconditional and He would be ready to spend time with me the next time I took the opportunity.  That healthy dose of guilt led me to a place of humility that motivated me to have my actions in this situation reflect that which my heart desired.  I no longer wanted to sleep instead of spending my mornings with my Father.  It is pure joy to begin my day with Him!  Life is short, and in preparation for Christ's return I need to prioritize my relationship with Him!  That is most important!  It was time for me to decide that I had had enough of my choices, the season had come and I was ready, willing, and motivated to put God first in my life!

Lord, as I am changed by your grace, may these changes be lasting and honest and may my husband and others close to me be able to witness that my commitment is real.  May these changes and the resulting attitudes and actions in my life overflow to the lives of those around me...may they desire more of you as well!

What is an area of your life that you would like to experience growth in?
Would you be willing to ask God to help you experience that growth?
If He answers that prayer, would you hear Him?
Are you ready and willing to participate?

Make Every Moment Count!


Am I Ready? Am I Willing?

I am reading a book written by Anne Graham Lotz called The Magnificent Obsession.  The first chapter is about Genesis 12:1 - 13:4 and covers Abraham's choice to leave what is familiar to him and follow God to where He wanted to take him. Would you take a moment to read this passage and consider the decision that Abraham made so quickly to follow God to a place he had never been before! 
What is familiar to me is having people around me that extend grace to me, people who love me and have time for me, people who want to challenge me and help me learn more about God and desire to see me grow in my relationship with Christ.  I enjoy choosing the foods that I eat, I don't have to encounter animals I fear, I am comfortable in my home and my husband and I are able to pay our bills each month.  This all sounds nice, but where should I be?  I should be at a place that what I instead would describe as familiar to me is that I am 100% emotionally and physically dependent on God.  I should not rely on what I think is right, or what I have been taught is right....I should have a first impulse to read scripture - to look to the word of God that we have been given as a gift when seeking direction and answers!  I am surrounded by a quiet, careful, convenient culture; not a culture that would give everything away and leave family and friends easily.  My mind feels the pressure of the expectations to succeed; an expectation that I have assumed for myself or felt others had of me.  I push myself for success out of pride and an ingrained need to perform and I look for the same dedication in others toward what is valuable to them in their lives.  I would like to say that I desire any success I am allowed in life to be with God, BUT, really what I need to work on is pushing for God to reign successfully in my life.  Then possibly, if I am allowed any success in my life, I may not even realize it because my focus would be on Christ and Him receiving the glory!
Lord, help me to learn this well!

Growing up the impression I had of Christians was that we were to be good, be kind, participate in church activities and no one will question you.  I think this is a very dangerous place to be!

Shane Claiborne once said this bit in a video interview I watched of him. "And then I met Jesus and He wrecked my life..."

Do you feel like following what you know God is asking you to do will wreck your life?

When I ponder this thought I realize that I am stopping halfway with my desire to follow Christ.  Am I willing to respond to God's direction in my life as Abraham did?  Currently I am compromising my relationship with my Savior due to my chosen schedule, my desire for more sleep and my desire to keep my house clean and in order - but do these things have any eternal significance?  Am I willing and am I ready to let God "wreck" the life that I am building for myself in exchange for a life of following Christ?  Am I ready to surrender my schedule and trust God with my time, with my need for rest, and can I be okay with a house that isn't always clean and orderly?  Am I ready to experience the freedom that Abraham enjoyed in his obedient following of God to leave what was familiar to him and trust God with everything?

Lord, please stretch my faith and teach me to no longer compromise my relationship with You!

Are you ready?  Are you willing?



The Graceful Melody

My life is full, my time is shared among many people, things and responsibilities.  Sometimes I feel blessed to be a part of so many things, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and stressed that I have chosen to commit to so many things, and sometimes I even feel bothered by my full schedule and it frustrates me that I feel helpless to empty it some, to eliminate something from it.  So I sit down and look at my upcoming weeks, or the things that fill my time regularly with the hope of finding something I can remove from my schedule to create more open time..... and I find myself rationalizing why I should keep each item again and again.
Lately I have been in the overwhelmed category.  I am craving time for quite reflection, time to pray, time to tell God how I am feeling, what I am thinking and ask Him questions.  Time to study the message He has shared with us so that I may learn more about Him.  How do I find time for this relationship that is most important to me?  How do I make this regular so that I am able to minister with joy and with Christ's unconditional and seeking love, rather than my own limited and categorical love?

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
In this passage Christ was offering something different than what the Pharisees were offering those who came to the temple.  Christ was offering Himself as a gift rather than the rules and lists that the Pharisees burdened people with and that they themselves hid behind.
1. God is asking me to enjoy this gift and spend more time with Him.  
By making time for Christ in my life, I am finding that I am experiencing more natural time for the other things in my life that are honorable priorities....and the things that are unnecessary seem to become more obvious and easier to remove from my schedule.
2. God is asking me to accept and truly believe His perspective of life and trust His plan! 
Seeing things through Christ's perspective has given me the ability to recognize purpose in many of the things I am a part of and to recognize what things do not contain purpose in my life that I either need to change or eliminate.

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." 
God's peace isn't temporary or a quick "happy time" fix.  God offers lasting and eternal peace!
3. In spending time with God, He leaves me with His peace but I have to recognize it and accept it!
I am reminded so often that God is there ready and waiting with all that His love has to offer me, but I get caught up in life and have to go back and refresh myself with what Christ is offering me on a daily basis and to accept it and believe that it is real!
4. Trust is required! 
God can accomplish so much with a life that is willing to trust Him with the plans that He has for them!

I am reminded often that I need to lay the burden's that I try to carry alone a Christ's feet, making sure that I am no longer attached to them in any way.  I need to choose Christ's perspective on life and I need to choose to carry that yoke instead of the one that I fashioned for myself.  Each day will be much easier to bear because I will be bearing it with Christ!  I need to accept His peace in my life that each day will work out as it should.  He will provide me with the strength and endurance to get through each day with JOY as long as I am choosing to view life through Christ rather than my own eyes.  Lastly, I need to then TRUST Christ with my schedule, my commitments, and my responsibilities and TRUST that if I keep my focus on Him,...He will be able to accomplish much through me! 

Is there anything that is overwhelming, or stressful to you in your life right now?
How are you handling it?  
In what ways are you trying to manage it with your own strength, and how might you be able to give more of it to God?
Do you believe in the rest and peace and ease that Christ is offering you?  

As I pray about my own choices and circumstance; may I invite you to set aside some time to talk to God about what you answered to the above questions?

May God's rest and peace be a part of the main melody of your every day and not just the occasional harmony!