Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Right Between the Eyes

Although this excerpt is from October 17th's reading of Jesus Calling, I just read it today. And I should probably read it every day from here on out.

Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without Me. So the best defense against worry is staying in communication with Me. When you turn your thoughts toward Me, you can think much more positively. Remember to listen, as well as to speak, making your thoughts a dialogue with Me.
If you must consider upcoming events, follow these rules: 1) Do not linger in the future, because anxieties sprout up like mushrooms when you wander there. 2) Remember the promise of My continual Presence; include Me in any imagery that comes to mind. This mental discipline does not come easily, because you are accustomed to being god of your fantasies. However, the reality of My Presence with you, now and forevermore, outshines any fantasy you could ever imagine.

Luke 12:22-26

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
 22 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?

Ephesians 3:20-21

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

I like to plan. I like to think ahead. But as a person who is prone to anxious thoughts, I need this reminder for me to always include the One who knows my future when anticipating my future. It's also a reminder of the potential waste of time some of my planning can be.

Is this thing on?

I can't believe it's been six months since I last posted something on my blog. This needs to change. I find that if I've gone a really long time without writing, that it's much harder for me to start back again. I think I get "backed up" (writer's constipation?) and then don't know where in the world to start. But I'm going to start again. And it will probably be random. Oh well. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: THE SEARCH: A Memoir of an Adopted Woman

I don't think I've ever read an entire book in one day, but that's what happened with this memoir. Titia Ellis tells the story of her years-long search for her biological parents, which didn't even begin until she was in the midst of a mid-life crisis. As you can imagine, her search took many ups, downs, turns, and detours--all while threatening to damage her relationship with her adoptive parents, though that was certainly never her intent.

Titia Ellis draws her audience in by effectively describing her inner turmoil and struggle with wanting to please her adoptive parents yet needing to know the truth about her biological family and herself. She is honest about her feelings of abandonment, confusion, anger, and sadness, though she confesses numerous times how well-loved and cared for she was by her adoptive parents and how very thankful she was for them. It's a hard balance but one that is quite understandable.

What I loved the most about this book is that Mrs. Ellis didn't feel the need to embellish the truth for the sake of drama. She simply told her story, and it captivated me. I felt as if I went through her roller-coaster days with her, joining her in her moments of both elation and despair. I very much wanted her to find the answers to all of her questions, and I imagined myself being in a similar state of mind, had I ever been in her situation.

I highly recommend reading The Search. Especially since I'm not going to tell you how it ends!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Smith Publicity, Inc. 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I confess that I am not always one to remember to pray for our country's leaders. I'm not proud of this. A lot of the time, it's because I have no idea how to pray for them.

What began as an evening of prayer among Charles Garriott a few of his close friends resulted in his book, Obama Prayer. Garriott, who is a minister in Washington, D.C., offers a guide for praying for the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book and was somewhat afraid that it would be more of a book on politics than prayer. But I was wrong.

Garriott beckons his readers to pray for specific aspects of our President's life and work: direction, wisdom, words, favor, family, truth, protection, justice, mercy, and friends.

"The call to pray for President Barack Obama and his administration," says Garriott, "is first of all a call to dependency on God. It is a call to respond to the work of grace within our lives. It is a reminder that in the political realm neither we nor the President are ultimately in charge. We pray, 'Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.'"

Through reading this book, I was humbled by the fact that I so often neglect to pray for our leaders. It's much easier to simply criticize them, right? But while we are not told to blindly agree with or never challenge those in authority over us, we are to respect them and pray for them.

Obama Prayer is a wonderful guide both for individuals and groups who are in prayer for the President. And though the title makes the content sound very specific, I believe that this is a useful tool in praying for any of our leaders, since the same principles apply to all of them. And I truly appreciate Charles Garriott for taking the time to write it.

I also appreciate his reminder to us: "Our hope is never in government, but in God."

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Peter Garriott. 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: SABBATH

Although I had not read any of Dan Allender's previous works, I knew of his reputation, and I both hoped for and expected great things from this book, Sabbath. I was not disappointed.

Reading this book really challenged my thinking on both the purpose and the pleasure of Sabbath. Allender encourages us to take delight in this God-created day, not to spend it in pious, legalistic solemnity. After all, God is pleased when we relish in Him and His creation.

"Sabbath is not about time off or a break in routine. It is not a minivacation to give us a respite so we are better prepared to go back to work. The Sabbath is far more than a diversion; it is meant to be an encounter with God's delight . . . [And we] will never know Sabbath delight unless God delivers us from drowning in the noise and grime of our soiled days," says Allender.

The "Sabbath Pillars," as Allender calls them, include Sensual Glory, Holy Time, Communal Feast, and Play Day, and he describes each of these in such simple yet pleasurable ways, encouraging us to consider and act upon what God bestows upon us that truly brings us pleasure. And as we indulge in and savor these gifts, we are ultimately bringing glory to God Himself.

Allender brings to light the fact that we often feel guilty for taking pleasure in things--that we somehow feel that we don't deserve to and that we should be working instead. I personally appreciate the reminder that it is actually God's command to us to rest and delight in the Sabbath--to keep it holy or set apart from all the other days. Why is this a commandment we feel okay about ignoring?

Sabbath is refreshing, encouraging, and exciting to read and then live out.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Book Review: ORPHANS AND THE FATHERLESS: Making Ourselves Known

There is a growing awareness around the globe--and particularly among Christians--of the enormous need to care for the millions of orphans in the world. In her book, Orphans and the Fatherless: Making Ourselves Known, Julie Chandler offers statistics, testimonies, Scripture, and personal insight to assist in this wake-up call for us to attend to the needs of the fatherless.

PhotobucketIt's a strange thing, I confess, to realize that we actually need a wake-up call for something so vitally important and widespread. But we do. It is not the fault of the children that they are without a mother and/or father. It is, however, a need that they have, and it is one that many of us can meet in one way or another.

Julie Chandler offers a variety of ways to minister to orphans and the fatherless. Since many people are unable (for various reasons) to actually adopt a child, Chandler is attentive in providing a plethora of ideas for caring for these children. And the ideas range in time, money, and energy required, so that just about anyone can latch onto at least one or two of the suggestions and make them happen.

I appreciated this book, although I was expecting a more in-depth, unified work. Instead, Chandler offers numerous brief chapters that can basically stand alone. There isn't much transition from one chapter to the next. This works to one's advantage, though, if you only have time to read in short spurts. It might also be good for a small group to go through together, particularly because of the call to action in which they could participate together.

I value Julie Chandler's passion and commitment to this widespread, saddening, problem. I pray that God uses her book to challenge people all over the world to care for the orphans and the fatherless.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Julie Chandler. 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

Denver Moore's Perspective

“Since I been visitin a lotta churches, I hear people talkin ‘bout how, after readin our story, they felt ‘led’ to help the homeless, to come alongside the down-and-out. But when it comes to helpin people that ain’t got much, God didn’t leave no room for feelin led.

"Jesus said God gon’ separate us based on what we did for folks that is hungry and thirsty, fellas that is prisoners in jail and folks that ain’t got no clothers and no place to live. What you gon’ do when you get to heaven and you ain’t done none a’ that? Stand in front of God and tell Him ‘I didn’t feel led’?”--Denver Moore, co-author of WHAT DIFFERENCE DO IT MAKE?