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Monday, January 9, 2017

A Spectacle of Glory

After nearly 50 years of living as a quadriplegic, and dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis, Joni has learned firsthand the importance of glorifying God through the toughest of situations. Through this devotional, Joni will help you discover how to put God’s glory on display—how to say no to complaining and say yes to daily following God down even the most difficult paths. 

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada helps us to explore the purpose of why God created us (to glorify Him) and how to do so, even when it is the toughest choice. 

I read once that people aren't able to see the goodness of God through us until His joy is truly in us. That made me pause for several moments because as much as we, as Christians, may proclaim to love and serve Him, we have to truly know Him deep in our hearts. That involves lots of prayer, devotion, and doing the hardest thing of all - picking up our cross and following Him daily. This devotion shows us how to be a stage for His goodness.

While I've scanned ahead slightly so I could honestly review this, I've studied the nine days into the month that we are and am enjoying Tada's insight. For example, today's devotion is about rough edges.

Know anyone with "rough edges"? Maybe that describes you. Perhaps you've been told that you sometimes come across a little harsh, a little impatient. Today's Scripture (Philippians 4:5) has good advice for us all. "Let your gentleness be evident to all." The Greek word gentleness implies an appropriate response to the people in your life. It speaks of moderation in choice of words and tone of voice, with a healthy dose of patience.

    How do we manage such a thing? The answer is in the very next phrase: "The Lord is near." In other words, He's listening to every conversation. He's sitting with your family at supper. He's in the car when you are on the phone. He is near. And that's why we should be gentle in our words and actions. Think before you speak. Consider before you hit send. Jesus holds us accountable for our words and the intentions behind them. 

A short but powerful devotion to start off the day. One that will hopefully lead you to watch your words more carefully that day and realize that Jesus is near and only we are accountable for our words and actions. Each devotion leaves me pondering the words for that day and I look forward to learning how God's light can shine through me every day.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Grace for the Moment

You all know how much I love my devotionals. I feel that you need to spend time with God and His word daily in order to have  a relationship with Him. 

When my copy of Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado arrived I immediately knew I had to review it before Christmas as it would make a wonderful gift for any Christian in your life, especially the easy-to-read comfort-size print edition which I received, which has a leather flex cover and a ribbon marker - it is absolutely beautiful! I was looking for a gift for my Bible Study Advent Prayer partner and knew this devotional would fit them perfectly.

This is literally a book of daily inspiration, perfect to keep on your bed stand to read before rising each morning or before your head hits the pillow each night. Lucado has a way of making you think about a Bible verse truly turn it into a life lesson.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The City Baker's Guide

I've rarely listened to books on audio, I can actually count on one hand the amount of books I have. But when I mistakenly ordered this as an audio book instead of a hardcover I decided to go ahead and "read" it that way. The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is right up my alley, with a main character who is a pastry chef who messes up at her job in Boston so moves to an idyllic town in Vermont.

This is a great story for those who love chick-lit, baking, and a book with wonderful descriptions; you feel like you can taste the desserts and really visualize the town and characters. I love a story that you can "see" while reading (or hearing!).  

A delicious story all around!

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

All the Pretty Things

We are all products of our environment, so I love hearing people's life stories and digesting what shaped them into who they are. Some rise above their situation and some follow in the footsteps of their parents. Each story is as original as the person. All the Pretty Things by Edit Wadsworth is the story of a child born into extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, with an alcoholic father. You can see right from the very beginning that Wadsworth's father was a product of his family, who all struggled with poverty, addiction, and criminal behavior.

It was heartbreaking to see how even when her father let her down Edie still idolized him. It made me mad at him for putting himself first always, but showed Edie's own compassion and how she was able to separate her dad from his addiction. 

Wadsworth took a different path and rose above her circumstances and was one of the first in her line of relatives to finish high school. She then went on to become a doctor. 


The book was fascinating but I felt it begin to rush over things towards the middle and left several big holes. I know part of the issue is that Wadsworth omitted some names and parts of the story to protect the people she loves, but that left very stale descriptions of her first marriage and her motherhood journey. I learned very little about her first husband or why their marriage was doomed from the start. I didn't have any idea of where the kids were as she studied and graduated medical school or while she practically lived at the hospital during her days as a medical student. It took a lot away from the story and I found myself distracted.

In the end Wadsworth tells us how she found God. On page 134 she writes: "the painful parts of our lives are often the very things that God will use as gifts to bless and change us and the people we meet" which basically boils down to what this book is about. Our pain often has a purpose and it's up to us to figure out how to use our pain for good.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Falling Free

I expected to thoroughly enjoy Falling Free by Shannan Martin. She writes about being "rescued from the life I always wanted", in an essence, doing what they feel God lead them to do instead of living the life they wanted. 

I started this book over three weeks ago and have only gotten to page 50 and just can not get into the book. I can't even explain why, as the writing is good and story could be fascinating. I did feel as though there were too many cliche sayings thrown in. While Martin's writing is good, she reminds me a bit of Voskamp, who takes just a bit too long to get to the point. 

I did mark this sentence on page 16: "We so often say we believe that there is no safer place than the center of God's will, but we refuse to believe he would ever lead us to the places of brokenness or danger." 

Isn't this where all our stories truly start? Where we not only allow God to lead us to these places but trust enough to actually follow Him through those places?

So while I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't finish this book due to lack of interest in the book, judging from other reviews I see that people may have found this book to be Martin's own story of following God blindly and seeing His light throughout her life.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Girl Talk

What better way to dispel some of the teenage angst than with a daily meditation and devotion? Girl Talk by Lois Walfrid Johnson is a book of weekly devotions, with daily questions and thoughts to ponder. 

What makes this devotional different than other teen devotionals is that each week you will read a story about a girl who may have situations, thoughts, and feelings just like you. You will then learn ways to process those feelings, the best ways to react, and how to follow God's word in these situations. 

We found that these real life situations make this devotional more relative and easier for pre-teens/teens to apply the week's lesson to their own life. I've decided that this will be part of our religious ed lessons.

This book was given to us by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Monday, October 3, 2016

R E S P E C T

October is Respect Life month. It's a month before elections and a good time to bring up these issues. What I've come to realize is that debating the issue does not help. You are either on one side or the other and someone telling you their opinion doesn't typically change your own.

It was only 2 days into the month when on Facebook I saw someone complaining about a group holding up pro-life signs at the side of the road. The comments below got heated fast: some people agreeing with the pro-life activists and others telling them they should mind their own business...that abortion is a choice. It's ironic that they didn't see that it is also a choice to be against abortion and that these protesters have just as much a right to stand up for their convictions as pro-choicers do for theirs.

It became disheartening on how quickly it became vile - insults being thrown, crude language, horrible judgements - on both sides. 

It's ironic that in a month that is for respecting life, debating the issue showed little respect for others. 

October is also infant and pregnancy awareness loss. It was sorrowful to see people arguing whether a baby was just cells and not human yet and then seeing other posts where women were sharing their pain with the loss of their pregnancies/infants. That was ironic in the most dismal way. Our words have power and we need to think before we speak (type).

So what can we do if we feel strongly about something that we feel is wrong/right? I once heard, "If you can't change something, you need to stay neutral." I think there is very little, if anything, that we can't change in this world.  


 It's important to stand for something, because those that don't fall for anything.  There ARE things that should be fought for, there are things in life that need to be changed. If you are pro-life you should be fighting for what you believe in and if you are pro-choice so should you.

I don't mean fight in the literal sense. It's not okay to verbally attack someone who has a different view than you. All it does is alienate you and your cause. 


THIS is what I've found works the best. If you're against abortion - pray, donate to crisis pregnancy centers, support the mothers who do decide to keep or put their child up for adoption, and go ahead and picket but do it in a non-hostile way. If you're pro-choice donate to organizations that provide birth control, vote, and hold your own picketing in a non-hostile way.

In the end, we aren't going to change everyone's mind but we can do our part to support what we feel is right. In a respectful way.
   

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