Author Archives: Grace and Grit

Book Review: The James Code

The James Code by O. S. Hawkins is a devotional gem.  He provides 52 Scripture Principles for Putting Your Faith Into Action, which can be read as a weekly devotional.  At the end of each section is a Just Do It application or challenge to put the principles learned into action._240_360_Book.1776.cover

The Book Of James is becoming one of my favorite books of the Bible and I found this book to be very valuable in my study of these practical passages. O.S. Hawkins points out that “in these 108 verses is a sort of code – a James Code- that outlines how we can put our faith into action in the normal traffic patterns of everyday life.”  He focuses on object lessons, commentary and practical steps that make the wisdom of the book of James very relevant to a Christian’s walk today.  The author states the goal of this book is to move the message of James ” from your heart to your hands, to move you from merely hearing God’s commands to actually doing them.”  As a Christian desiring to put my faith in to action that makes a difference in the world around me, I found this book to be a wonderfully inspiring resource.  The book is also beautifully designed, with a textured imitation leather cover that makes it an attractive book to display or give as a gift.
Rating: 5/5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: NIV Bible For Teen Girls

The NIV Bible for Teen Girls is a true delight!image

This Bible is a hardcover book with a beautiful trendy cover.  The pages also boast contrasting feminine colors of black print with hot pink captions.  The translation is New International Version which is a version that is easy for even young teenage girls to read and understand.  Each Book of the Bible is introduced with the following topics: When Did This Happen?, Who Is In This Book?, and Verses You Might Recognize.  Throughout the pages of this Bible are over 300 devotionals designed to engage your teenager to reflect more on the passages being read.  The devotionals focus on the theme of Growing In Faith, Hope, and Love.  There are also feature pages on the Women of The Bible.  There are footnotes provided on each page for additional study information or clarity of meaning. At the end of this Bible are the following additional features:  a Table of Weights and Measures, a Topical Index, an Index of Women of the Bible, an Index of Devotions, and also a Concordance.

Although my daughter is 11 and not quite a teenager,  I wanted to review this Bible to see if it would meet her needs.  She had been expressing an interest in having a more “grown up” Bible, but she wanted to make sure it would be a Bible that she could enjoy reading and would understand.  This Bible proved to be exactly what she wanted and our combined review gives the NIV Bible for Teen Girls a 5/5 star rating.  I think this Bible would make an excellent gift for that teenage girl on your Christmas list who you want to encourage to study and learn from God’s Word.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: What Keeps You Up At Night?

We all have fears!   These fears can be paralyzing and keep us from fully living life and fulfilling the plans God wants us to fulfill. _240_360_Book.1584.cover What Keeps You Up At Night by Pete Wilson is a book for all Christians who want to know how to put fears in to the right perspective.   I found this book well written, and full of very practical advice.  The author states ” I encourage you to think of this book as a field guide to ruthlessly trusting God’s plan – even in the face of difficulty and uncertainty.”  There are 12 chapters to this book and each chapter has a summary of the main points at the end, as well as Reflective Questions for further thought or discussion.  

I found that I benefited from reading this book and would likely recommend or provide copies of this book to friends who struggle with fears, concerns, and anxieties and need to refocus on God.  The author encourages just that, to make the choice to focus not on the problems but on the One who is bigger than the problems and able to help us and provide the resources we need.  He states that ” the object is not to fear less; it’s learning to trust God more.  I found the illustrations from the Bible and modern times to be encouraging and supportive of the author’s perspective.  I found that he offered very practical applications for each Christian to use in having a more God-focused, victorious life in the midst of trials and challenges.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

TRUST

TRUST is: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.IMG_0072

If you have suffered through other people disappointing you, and not being consistently dependable, then you likely have trust issues.  I have trust issues.  In fact, I tend to be very private and non-disclosing until I really get opportunity to know that a person is trust worthy.  I also tend to just rely on myself- too much.  The problem with trusting in yourself is that you have limitations, and fears, and inadequacies.  You need other people.  God made you for relationship with others, and most importantly, He made you to be dependent on Him. God wants you to trust Him.  To move forward in the Christian faith, requires just that ….faith.  In fact, leaps of faith, and to leap in to the unknown requires trust in something/someone bigger than yourself….TRUST IN GOD! Read the rest of this entry

Book Review – Divided: When The Head and The Heart Don’t Agree

Divided: When The Head and The Heart Don’t Agree by Bill Delvaux  is a book that explores a great divide that resides in many Christians lives. _225_350_Book.1522.cover It is described as “the gulf between the human head and the human heart. It’s the split between what we say we believe in our minds and what we really believe in our hearts.  This book is divided into 3 parts.  The first section takes a view of what the divide looks like and how it manifests in our lives, with modern examples and Biblical history/examples as well.  The 2nd section explores how to tackle the Divide to “expose the lies we have swallowed.”  It emphasizes the importance of self-examination to reveal lies we think, believe and act upon in our daily lives that keep us from embracing the truths that God wants us to build our lives on.  The third section discusses how to close the Divide. This section does not provide a cookie cutter magic formula for feeling more connected to God, but rather warns that we may initially feel more disconnected from God as old ways of thinking and acting have to die.  God ultimately has to do the work of closing the Divide and the author states ” the way Jesus comes to make His home inside of us is as unique as our stories, as different as our fingerprints.”

I enjoyed reading this book because currently there are many fragmented, confusing changes going on in the personal circumstances of my life.  What a comfort to know that other God seeking Christians struggle with this inner conflict between head and heart as well.  It is helpful to think about the causes of our disconnect from God and to have the hope of God working within us to knit us closer as He desires to be connected to each of us.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Book Look Bloggers at booklookbloggers.com.  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

Book Review: Simply Open: A Guide To Experiencing God In The Everyday

Simply Open is written by Greg Paul, a pastor who works with an inner city ministry that provides a Sanctuary community to some of the most hurting and excluded people in the city. _225_350_Book.1455.cover He lives out each day what it means to love perhaps even those considered unlovable, and He says he has learned to love like this by being open to God.

In his book Simply Open: A Guide To Experiencing God In The Everyday. he shares how we can experience more of God by being more open in our awareness of how God is revealing himself to us daily through our 5 senses.  “No matter where we are, no matter what we’re doing, no matter how busy we get, our senses are engaged – even when we are largely unconscious of them. Scripture makes it abundantly clear, as does personal experience at some level for almost everyone. that our five  senses, along with our minds and hearts, provide a path deeper into the great mystery of God.”  He spends time in each chapter discussing a different sense as it is experienced through our eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, mind, and heart.  He provides a simple prayer to be prayed for God to open us to more awareness through each of our senses and provides beautiful illustrations and reflections about each sense and how it can connect us to a more intimate experience of God.

I enjoyed reading this book and highlighted many parts for further reflection.  This book seemed in many ways an elaboration of the meaning behind such timeless sayings as “Stop and smell the roses.”    I agree with the author that God longs to connect with us in many ways and through all of our senses.  It made me more aware of how much more open I could be in my daily life to all the simple ways God may be trying to connect to me. The mystery of God is revealed uniquely to each of us, just as we uniquely learn and experience through our senses and interpret these experiences differently.  This is definitely a book worth reading if you are at that point in your spiritual walk with God where you want to be taken to a new level of experiencing His spiritual mystery and feeling more intimately connected to Him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Book Look Bloggers at booklookbloggers.com.  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

 

Love That Endures

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things.   1 Corinthians 13:735616925_s

Most of us are familiar with the passages in 1 Corinthians where love is defined.  We tend to remember the “Love is Kind” and “Love is Patient” bits.  But in this season of my life, I am focused more on vs 7 that talks about the love that endures, hopes and believes.  This is the kind of love that makes sacrifices, and doesn’t crumble in the winds of life’s storms.  Instead, this is a love that finds an anchor and holds strong because of eternal perspectives. It clings to hope in an amazing God who is bigger than the weaknesses and imperfections of 2 sinners trying to merge into one.  This is the kind of love that I am having to hold on to, and the kind of love that I am trying to be faithful to.
This Valentine’s Day marks the last holiday that my family will ever be living under the same roof and experiencing what we consider “normal existence.”  In 3 days my husband leaves, to go 7 hours drive away to start a new job and a new life.  I will remain with my 2 daughters until the end of the school year and the house can be sold.  At that time, I will leave the house I love, the yards I enjoy walking with my husband when there is fair weather, the job and co-workers I have known for the past 18 years, the town I grew up in and the relatives that remain here.  My 10 year old daughter will be going with me, but my 21 year old is in college and just recently got engaged. She will be remaining.  

To say this is hard would be an understatement.  This is a gut wrenching, life turned upside down sacrifice. But it is a love that I must be faithful to.  It is a love that trusts God as its foundation.  I have to trust that God will help me to give this kind of love and support to my husband.
A love that bears all things….(leaving the comfort of what is familiar, as well as my daughter whom I am very close to)
A love that believes all things…(believes all the things that God’s word promises to those who seek His will)
A love that hopes….(hopes for God to make something beautiful of this sacrifice and to strengthen our marriage even more)
A love that endures all….(I can endure all things through him who gives me strength  Phil 4:13)

This Valentine’s Day… I wish you the love of the Father in your heart,  and I wish you the kind of love that endures, believes, and hopes even in the midst of life’s trials and challenges.

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Join the Jubilee Journey!

The T2 Women Ministry is reading through the Bible in a year, and proclaiming this year to be a Jubilee Year.  

Brief history lesson:  The year of Jubilee was declared about every 50 years.  All unpaid debts were wiped clean and land/property lost because of unpaid debts was returned.  All slaves were set free, and the farmed land was given a year of rest.  God set the captives free, wiped all debts away, and proclaimed rest, just like He does for us with Salvation.  3 crosses

Within my heart, Lord,
Make all things new
As you teach me Lord,
What is true.
This year shall be
My jubilee!
As I learn to rest,
Dear Lord, in thee.

You’re invited to join Women In the Word as part of the T2 Women Ministry.  We’ve been going strong in our first week, sharing daily on our group FB page, and many of us are doing creative journaling.  This is an amazing group of women who will encourage you, pray for you, and welcome your insights and discoveries as we journey together to know God more intimately.

For a wrap-up of Week One, the reading plan for Week Two, and links at the bottom so that you too can join our journey:  Visit the T2 Women Blog today!

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Image Above: 123rf.com

Book Review: Beloved Dust

I just finished reading Beloved Dust: Drawing Closer To God By Discovering The Truth About Yourself. _225_350_Book.1370.cover This book was co-written by Jamin Goggen and Kyle Strobel.   As a pastor and theology professor. these men are very involved in studying and teaching God’s word.  The book resulted from their own realizations that many Christians share a common lack of finding rest and true abiding in God.  This book is to encourage Christians, that although self-help strategies and personal resolutions may fail to draw you closer to God….Jesus will not.  By recognizing that we are dust, but not any dust….His Beloved Dust….we can embrace a different process of allowing Christ to draw us and knit us closer to God.

I give this book 5/5 stars because of the applicable truths contained.  Like so many who seek “something more” in relationship to God, I have chosen tactics of trying to draw nearer to God vs just learning to abide in God.  To see yourself as dust, your raw being, and to then recognize that no matter how broken or flawed you may be in your sin…..you are beloved, is freeing.  I learned more about what God’s idea of “rest” should be and how to truly abide and rest in HIm.  I also valued the impact this book made on my perspective about prayer.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Book Look Bloggers at booklookbloggers.com.  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

I Gave You My Heart

Christmas is a reminder that God gave the ultimate gift to us…the greatest gift of love….Jesus.34433903_s
And with Jesus….he gave us New Life!

1 John 4:9  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

Through HIM……what an awesome way to live.  The little baby in the stable manger brought to us an amazing relationship wih the Father.  We can know Him intimately now, and seek His face anew each morning.  We can hear him speak into our lives, guiding us, teaching us, transforming our hearts.  

When our hearts are channels of God’s love, we can reach out and share the wonder of this gift with others.  Far beyond the joy of giving and unwrapping material gifts this Christmas, our hearts should be focused on sharing the gift of His love to a lonely, needy world.   Be sure to add to your Christmas list this year……

GIVE THE FOLLOWING GIFTS:

To your enemy . . .forgiveness,
To your opponent . . .tolerance.
To a friend . . . your heart.
To a customer . . . service.
To all men . . .charity.
To every child . . . a good example
To yourself . . .respect

-Author Unknown

PRAYER FOR YOU:  May you remember that God gave us His heart, and he longs for our hearts to reflect this love to others.  May you find an abundance of Christmas blessing this season as you allow Him to continue to renew and transform your heart.

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54492-265-6A0E91FAAA98A10B8E677D1E3201C9E8

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