Friday, November 20, 2015

You Make Me Brave

Psalm 119:95-96(MSG) The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with Your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain Your commands!

That's worth retyping.....and reading slowly...
"I'm only concerned with Your plans for me...I see the limits to everything human.."

This verse is so powerful it almost blew me out of my chair. Specifically, the words made me think of some beautiful lives that I have had the privilege to watch, either from afar, or close up. These folks have taken the stand to focus on God during the worst storms of their lives and to acknowledge that we as humans really do have limits. Watching these people makes me brave.

The horizons can't contain Your commands!
This is the story of my friend Kim. She is one of those people who make me brave! Read Kim's story at 7 Billion Ones by clicking here. I promise if you are scared right now, her story will give you courage!!

Oh Lord...
You are our light and our salvation- whom shall we fear? You are the stronghold of our lives- of whom shall we be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 in my words.)
I am so thankful for Kim and the strength that she has modeled as she has chosen to accept Your plan for her life. Please give us Your courage to live each day for You!
In Christ's name~

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Review: 7 WOMEN And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

Psalm 119:94(MSG)
Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for Your words of wisdom.

Publisher's Description:

In his eagerly anticipated follow-up to the enormously successful Seven MenNew York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas gives us seven captivating portraits of some of history’s greatest women, each of whom changed the course of history by following God’s call upon their lives—as women.

This book is a collection of brave stories
of conviction, strength, and faith
experienced through the lives of seven
seemingly ordinary women.
Each of the world-changing figures who stride across these pages—Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks—is an exemplary model of true womanhood. Teenage Joan of Arc followed God’s call and liberated her country, dying a heroic martyr’s death. Susanna Wesley had nineteen children and gave the world its most significant evangelist and its greatest hymn-writer, her sons John and Charles. Corrie ten Boom, arrested for hiding Dutch Jews from the Nazis, survived the horrors of a concentration camp to astonish the world by forgiving her tormentors. And Rosa Parks’ deep sense of justice and unshakable dignity and faith helped launch the twentieth-century’s greatest social movement.
Writing in his trademark conversational and engaging style, Eric Metaxas reveals how the other extraordinary women in this book achieved their greatness, inspiring readers to lives shaped by the truth of the gospel.

My Personal Review:

Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas is an inspiring and motivating book. The seven brief biographies of Godly women included within this work will serve to ignite your dedication and determination to follow hard after the call God has placed on your life. 

Seven Women  by Eric Metaxas provides a spring board of encouragement that will grow the reader's faith. Reading the detailed stories of each of these faith filled women as they took a stand for what they believed in, despite staring into the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and adversity is more than just compelling, it's inspiring. After completing the book, I found myself searching my own heart for what God might be asking of me. 

I chose to read this particular book, because I read Metaxas' book: 7 Men and The Secret Of Their Greatness and found it quite fascinating. I was delighted when I heard the author was working on a similar book about women. I have a great admiration for Corrie Ten Boom as well, so when I discovered she was one of the women to be included in the book, I knew it must be on my "reading list."

The fact that each of these women were empowered by a deep trust in God to fulfill very specific, albeit quite different callings across time, makes this one of the most captivating books I have ever read! The author's choice to illuminate the women's successes and failures plus their tenacity and weaknesses made this work all the more meaningful. The common denominator in each of these ladies lives seemed to be an uncanny ability to not only receive the Lord's direction in their lives, but to follow the voice of God. Literally, Joan of Arc heard audible instructions from God, while the other women seemed to receive their guidance more subtly through God's written words, music, a pressing vision, or a strong sense of injustice. Whatever the means by which God supplied His directives, these women intuitively followed Him. 

Each life represented on the pages of 7 Women have been frozen in time and can now be utilized as role models for generations of young women. Their memoirs of selflessness and dedication to God serve as a reminder that what we etch on our heart will most surely be lived out in our lives. I plan to make this book a "required read" for my high school daughter, as I think it will be an invaluable tool to assist with growing her confidence in God as she reads how He has spoken into these women's lives. I am hoping that after reading 7 Women by Eric Metaxas, she will answer an unequivocal "yes" to Mother Teresa's famous question.... "Would you like to do something beautiful for God?" I am praying that the same "determination to live in complete reliance on Him" that was at the root of Mother Teresa's actions will find it's way into my heart and home. 

I appreciated each of the lives sketched out in this book. I am amazed and in awe at: the persistence and tenacity of Mother Teresa; the bravery and courage of Joan of Arc; the forgiveness of Corrie Ten Boom; the sensitivity toward injustice of Rosa Parks; the determination, organization and family dedication of Susanna Wesley; the morality, writing skills and perception of marriage as an "institution to advance the kingdom of God" of Hannah More; and finally the authenticity, devotion and servant-hood of  Maria Skobtsova. 7 Women by Eric Metaxas reveals that the Lord has a gift for each one of us, if we are willing to hear and respond to His voice!

I would like to thank Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. for this review copy of 7Women by Eric Metaxas provided to me through BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a favorable review. The opinions within this review are strictly my own.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don't Second Guess God

Psalm 119:93(MSG)
But I'll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words.

Oh my goodness...this verse! 

I have been thinking a great deal as of late, about where I would be in my life without the comforting and wise words of the Lord. Yesterday, I mulled over the simple nuggets of counsel that I found in Proverbs chapters 30 & 31. It's such a gift to have the words of a sage scrolled succinctly across the page; timeless advice inspired by God that is as applicable today as it was when it was penned.

SweeTango Apple (Photo credit to SweeTango)
After reading today's headlines and reviewing last night's presidential debate, I found the words of Proverbs to be even more comforting. Why? Because it seems that the human condition is not new. We humanoids have always struggled. Ever since Eve took that tiny bite of a SweeTango apple, (my favorite apple on planet earth...but I digress) we have been burdened with the temptations of our flesh. 

The difference maker in every situation, however, appears to be in how we respond to the challenges that are laid before us. Will we react in anger when provoked? Will we cower down in the corner when the road looks uphill and rocky? Will we repeat the good and bad parts of history...or understand and learn from the bad decisions that have been made in the past and imitate those choices that have brought life to our lives? Will we "Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!" as it states in Proverbs 31:8-9.

This is my sister (right) and I after completing some gardening
on her beautiful property this past summer.
Good stuff to ponder, eh? Here's the good news~better news~best news: The pressure is off of us; We don't have to bear it; Thankfully, it's not in our own strength to handle this messy life, but in the power of Christ as we seek Him and put Him first in every situation. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? It is easy...until the healing doesn't come. Or the child is taken from you. Or the husband leaves you alone with children and bills. Or the boss fires you. Or...(fill in the blank). 

After fifty years of life, it has become increasingly difficult to understand the ways of God. I do not have the answers, I only have the trust and faith that my Lord is real and very much seated at the right hand of God today....interceding on behalf of each one of His children. I believe that He is washing away our dirty sins and preparing us for a "Wonderful Life" (my favorite movie...but I digress again) with Him in our eternal home. 

So, in closing...I leave you with the words of Agur Ben Jakeh, the writer of Proverbs 30. Chapters 30 and 31 of the book of Proverbs are considered to be prophecies and because they were canonized it is assumed that they are indeed the inspired words of God Himself. These very verses really do have the potential to "save lives", as Psalm 119:93 states. It is my prayer that I will never second guess my God....on any matter. I pray I will never turn from His hand of direction. I am begging Christ to shine His love through my life, so that I will always bring honor and glory to His Holy name.

Proverbs 30:1-6(MSG)

The skeptic swore, "There is no God! No God! I can do anything I want! I'm more animal than human; so-called human intelligence escapes me. I flunked 'wisdom.' I see no evidence of a holy God. Has anyone ever seen Anyone climb into Heaven and take charge? Grab the winds and control them? Gather the rains in His bucket? Stake out the ends of the earth? Just tell me his name, tell me the names of his sons. Come on now-tell me!"

The believer replied, "Every promise of God proves true; He protects everyone who runs to Him for help. So don't second guess Him."