Discovering God’s Wonderful Design

I recently was given a review copy of Cassie and Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design by authors Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt.

I was very impressed with the way the authors packed so much real life detail into these short stories , but still kept a biblical perspective. This is probably a book more suited for Kindergarten age and older, seeing as how my 2 and three year old were a little hard to keep focused on the words of the story, but they certainly enjoyed the pictures and reading the Bible verses at the top of each story.

Here is a synopsis of the important points of this title from the back cover:

Through Twenty stories with engaging illustrations , followed by an interactive time between parent and child, your children will learn: •The creational principles that “god created man in his own image…male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) is extraordinary •Jesus is in all of Scripture. The Bible is not a collection of disconnected stories but one big story of the triune God redeeming his people. •God’s Word is our authority and His glory is our purpose. •When we belong to Jesus, we belong to His covenant family, the Church. •A biblical framework for living and thinking.

I also like that within the books these stories center on different family dynamics, that makes it seem all the more real to me. Such as the girls and Grandmother Grace cleaning up water. Then there are two parent families and single parent. It makes their stories ring even more true to our world and gives proof to those who may not feel God loves them because they are not part of a perfect situation as perceived through society. A lot to get out of a children’s book wouldn’t you say? I find it an appropriate way to illustrate God’s love to those who are adults as well. Maybe Susan and Richie should also look at writing a similar book for ESL adults or other important populations of our world who need help grasping the Word’s of God.

New Mercies daily ….Praise the Lord

Watching my oldest daughter interact with her great uncle and grandmother this morning was an emotional experience that just reminded me how AWESOME our God is and I wanted to share that with all of you!!

It is rare that I share my emotional responses and thoughts on prayer, but today opened my eyes to the amazing redemption that comes through our God. After a particularly stressful day yesterday his mercies rained down on me this morning by allowing my daughter and I to spend time outside taking in all the wonders of the world while she further bonded with family in a generation that may not be around to see her married and have children. It did amazing things to my heart and my faith.

I love the Lord,     because he listens to my prayers for help. He paid attention to me,     so I will call to him for help as long as I live. The ropes of death bound me,     and the fear of the grave took hold of me.     I was troubled and sad. Then I called out the name of the Lord.     I said, “Please, Lord, save me!”

The Lord is kind and does what is right;     our God is merciful. The Lord watches over the foolish;     when I was helpless, he saved me. I said to myself, “Relax,     because the Lord takes care of you.” Lord, you saved me from death.     You stopped my eyes from crying;     you kept me from being defeated.

Psalm 116:1-8 (NCV

When His People Pray

“When his People pray for help he listens and rescues them from their troubles. The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.” Psalm 34:17-18 (CEV)

“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken; you’ll find God right there; if you are kicked in the gut he will help you catch your breath.”

Psalm 34:17-18 (MSG)

 

These verses indicate to me the importance of prayer. You can look them up In  your own preferred translation of the Bible, I chose two that I found the easiest to read as I wanted to appeal to the largest audience possible.

In particular the verse from the MSG seems extremely appropriate for today, how many of us in this downed economy haven’t felt “kicked in the gut” a time or two? An unexpected bill or layoff to just name examples. I have been out of full time work for awhile, I have been blessed by Heaven above to have the chance to be at home to raise my children, but that has not been an easy task financially. Some how we have made it over the last three years. I’m guessing my daily prayers to God to make today sufficient for today might be the key.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today” Matthew 6:34 (CEV)

All of this says to me prayer should be our top priority. If we are unsure, angry, sad or just not sure how the day is going to turn out then seeking him for answers certainly won’t make the day any worse, even if we don’t find the perfect answer we as humans with free will would like to have.

 

Chocolate Please! What a treat of a read

I recently read Sisterchicks on the Loose.

Here are my impressions of the story!

It is certainly a decent read that is very realistic . I think we could all find
people in our own lives that we relate to like the characters. Most of us have
over the top friends like Penny. I’m more like Sharon who is more quiet and
doesn’t really question her position in life until she takes her trip of a
lifetime with Penny.

I thought the character of the grandmother (Gloria)
was slightly obnoxious though I know people like her as well. I think she was a
little over the top, I do realize this was a Christian fiction work , but I
don’t know that realistically Sharon would have been able to hold her tongue
every time Gloria attacked her, after all she is only human. But hey if we are
going to hope for something good we can hope people who get attacked like Sharon
are able to hold their tongues, that is what God would prefer. Most people like
Gloria’s character are hurting enough that they don’t need anyone else to react
to them out of anger anyway because that just adds to it.

I like how
Sharon’s eyes were opened when she took the trip with her dear friend
Penny.

This book was authentic in a way you don’t see much of anymore, I
mean sure a lot of us won’t take a trip of a lifetime with our best friends, but
we can at least relate and also dream of taking that trip. The Christianity in
the book was also nice, a subtle reminder that we all struggle with things in
our lives and that no one is perfect no matter what it might seem on the
outside.

My favorite section from the book was this:
“I’d grown up
with God the same way I’d grown up with Jeff and all the other steady
surroundings of Chinook Springs. When I was five years old and I prayed a simple
prayer one night with my sweet mother . I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I
never knew anything other than Christ’s forgiveness and God’s
provision.”

What a testament to faith for fiction writing!!

Disclaimer: I received this book as part of a free books for bloggers program from Waterbrook Multnomah . I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Divorce and Remarriage

This is a review on the book Divorce and Remarriage by Tony Evans.

 

Here is some information from the back cover of the book

” No subject in our churches today carries with it such far-reaching  emotional and spiritual implications”

A few questions that the author answers in his book:

  • Are there conditions under which divorce is permissible?
  • When is remarriage and option?
  • Can a second union truly be blessed by God?

My favorite quote from the book is below:

” A covenant is spiritually binding relationship between God and his people . It has legal status in the spiritual realm that includes certain agreements, conditions, benefits, and effects. In other words God operates by the rule of his covenant” (Evans,10,2012)

Because a spiritual covenant assumes God’s involvement I was able to tack down what I believe to be the problem in my first marriage. That is not a mistake I wish to repeat. We messed up by thinking human way was the right way and left God out in the cold, bad idea. I honestly think that if I had the tools I now have back then then I might have been able to give my marriage a little more fight instead of facing the denial or even laying down and accepting defeat instead of us just continuing to live separately and allowing him to engage in intimate acts with others. I also gave in far to easily to my ex husbands worldly view of what he thought he wanted and needed, and not wanting to further rock the boat I divorced him because I thought that if you loved someone you did what the asked no questions asked. We were suppose dot have done all things together, we were part of  a blessed covenant, that we originally put God in the middle of , but eventually pushed him back out. We were young and dumb.

I do believe Mr. Evans hit the nail on the head when he said ” Because people have a distorted and low view of marriage, divorce is an easy option.”

Seems to me that many of us who use the “easy option” Mr. Evans spoke of forge that God joined them together and let non one separate them. I believe that includes the judge down and the courthouse who issued my divorce decree.

It also seems to me that this makes being committed to seeing a marriage survive is difficult, especially if you feel like you are the only one.

Divorce is a concession because of sin (pg. 28), Way to pen my eyes again Tim Evans!

God recognizes people may not be able to live together and separate without biblical grounds. In these situations you are either to seek reconciliation or remain unmarried until or unless either begins a relationship with another (pg 41)

I particularly like how the author made this sometimes gray area of divorce understandable and backed it up biblically.

Also page 42 of this book reminds us what kills a covenant

God takes marriage seriously and you can’t dissolve a relationship until a death occurs, either physically or covenantal. Covenantal deaths come through adultery, abandonment, or unrepentant spiritual rebellion.

The author does a good job of describing the role of the church in the life of divorced persons. All in all I found this book an informational and enjoyable read. Unless you are going through a divorce or know someone who might be able to use the information (pastor couples group teacher etc.) I would read through this because it is a sad read on the state  of affairs of our human world and how we have skewed priorities today. Our priorities should include putting God in the correct place in our life more so than we do. In our personal lives and in our marriages.

When Hope seems lost there is Psalm 126

Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

When the Lord brought back the captives (who returned) to Zion, we were like those who dream (it seemed so unreal)

Then were our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.

The Lord has done great things for us! We are glad!

Turn to freedom our captivity and restore our fortunes, O Lord, as the streams in the South (the Negeb are restored by torrents)

They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.

He who goes forth bearing seed and weeping (at needing his precious supply of grain for sowing) shall doubtless come again with rejoicing ,b ring his sheaves with him.

 

Psalm 126 is how I feel when I have had the worst day imaginable and then there is a break through in my cloud of doom and I’m reminded that God does hear our prayers, even the ones I might have said three days ago sitting on the bathroom floor and crying because I was just overwhelmed with it all. Our God is merciful and amazing.

Matthew 5:9

 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – Matthew 5:9 http://bit.ly/RwTb4R

I really feel like there are many more people in this world who have this ability and it just hasn’t.been tapped into, or if they are aware that they have the gift of mediation they are afraid to step on toes and thus end up not offering help where there is a great need. Our world suffers a lot for things we feel we must do,be , or have instead of leaning on God’s understanding and finding contentment in basic life. The smile and giggle of a child , food to eat even when we haven’t had.money to go to the grocery store in two weeks.
We are God’s family and even though we don’t always act like the most obedient children he still has us wrapped in his loving arms , I can learn to be content with that for sure.

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry

Every Waking Moment is a novel by Chris Fabry.  I did enjoy this book though I felt it was a little slow to get into and that it was a little unnerving at the opening when it talked of the young girl and her mother at the ice cream shop, to me that was almost a dark introduction to what turned out to be a very precious gift that the main character Treha was able to give the elderly people she cared for. 

Here is a synopsis of the book from the back cover

Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility , sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. 

I think that is very clearly gives a nice opening to the story and draws the readers in by wanting to figure out what exactly it is that Treha possesses as a gift. 

This is a story that is hopeful, and certainly restored my faith in humankind. It is a feel good story once you get past the slightly disturbing opening portion. I felt like as a mother I was probably more disturbed by the opening than the author intended, but I feel like he could have started the story in a different way or even left that out and it would have still been a phenomenal story that showed how sacrificing for the good of others is honorable and Christ like. 

Finances —Friend and Foe

Let’s face it folks finances are our friends when we have money with a little to spare and our foe when we don’t have two nickels to rub together. I have been on each of these sides mulitple times as an adult, and tend to stay on the side of them being my foe.

A little background, my boyfriend and I have three children and he works shift work while I spend most of my days at home with the toddlers. If only we had the space for  me to make an enterprising living out of care of children, what a blessing that would be. For now however I take jobs at decent wage but are not even considered part time in the world of employment just so that I can feel I’m doing something and not portraying myself and worthless and lazy in the eyes of my children all though being at home with them has always been a dream fulfilled for me no matter how exhausted and cranky I may be on Monday-Friday.

Here are my thoughts on finances at the Biblical level (which as a Christian I should make it my mission to follow) 

The Lord owns the earth and all it contains. The world and all who live in it. -Psalm 24:1 

Well that is pretty straight forward, we are expected to do what God asks in all areas of our life because he is the Supreme King. 

There is danger in storing up treasures on earth (as talked about in Matthew 6) because we should be giving freely and because we want to, it should not be a task we feel that we need to make a big production out of. What good is it for us to hoard things here on Earth? We should be focusing our thoughts and deeds on the ultimate life in the here after. Another danger of being focused on our pursuit to have and make money is that we are all consumed by this, when in reality if we are meant to have it then God will provide it. I understand this consuming fear about money as I was a poor child growing up and the cycle is one that is hard to get out of us as it has continued for a few years here as an adult with children. 

So instead of worrying about money and making it feel so consuming to even talk about I am going to work on focusing my life on being content in the here and now with what has been provided through my faith in Our God. I hope that some of you are also helped in knowing that you aren’t alone in your feelings of fear and inadequacy in caring for your family. Praise God for the ability to spend one more day on Earth with your family. I pray for you my friends that he softens your heart to the contentment that can be found amid all the chaos of this materialistic world. 

God will equip us with our needs to care for his creation, our family. As stated in the Mom’s Bible (NCV). 

 

Then he said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
(Luke 12:15)