Saying Yes When No Is Easier

Joni Eareckson Tada is no stranger to pain and difficulty.  Following a diving accident, she became a quadriplegic.  She did not let that stop her and founded Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates  Christian outreach in the disability community.  This organization provides practical and spiritual support to special needs families worldwide.  Tada is also a world renowned author of numerous books including a Gold Medallion Award winner.

One such book is A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining Through Me Every Day a devotional that to help you “embrace your eternal purpose.”  Tada uses both simple and beautiful language to connect with the reader.  Her daily selections help the reader to both discover how to show God’s glory and how to say “yes” even in the face of difficulties when you want to say “no.”  I loved reading the encouragement that she and her fellow author, Larry Libby, used in the daily selections.  Each day also includes a short prayer and Scripture so you can use this book in your quiet time with God.  You will not only grow closer to God, but increase your own faith as you read and journal each day’s entry.

I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing.  I receive no compensation for a positive review.

Joni and Friends

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Touches of Tenderness

Books are words linked into sentences that make up a paragraph which form pages but they are also the thoughts, experiences, and lessons of the author. Sometimes a book is hard to get interested in making it difficult to truly become a book that you can embrace. Other times, a book is interesting but not one you would recommend to friends or family. Then there are the books that grab you and become the impetus to change you. Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry is such a book! I am not going to give a spoiler alert but I will tell you that this book is about the ways that others can effect you and affect changes. Treha is the unassuming main character that soon fills up your mind and heart as you want to stand in defense for her as well as cheer her on in her search for her mother along with the answers to her past. Miriam is her greatest cheerleader and protector but there are other great characters who intersect in the lives of both of them that shape the story into an outstanding book!

Chris Fabry, a West Virginia native, has written several books, of which two won Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, and he hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. His style of writing draws you in and invites you to drop whatever you are doing for a long visit amidst the pages of his books. I have never read his other books, but I was very impressed with this one which makes me excited to find others. I encourage you to pick up a copy today! I received this book free for review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Author Q & A

Sneak Peak – Chapter 1

Author’s Web Site

Faithgateway Devotional

Freedom: Remember His Marvelous Works by Dr. Richard Lee

Remember His marvelous works which He has done. — Psalm 105:5

On July 3, 1776, following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams reflected on that important day:

“The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States.Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not.”

* * Patriot’s Prayer * *

Thank You, Lord, for the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom of the republic in which we live today. Help me to be as bold and brave as they were when it is my turn to protect this land.

* * Patriot’s Promise * *

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. — Psalm 34:17

Your Turn

As Americans celebrate our freedom and our nation’s birthday, we are reminded that Jesus came to set us free that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Thank You, Lord! What freedom has God brought that you are celebrating today? Please share a comment on our blog! Happy Independence Day to our readers in the U.S.A.!

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Recopied from faithgateway.com.

A Letter From God – Inspired Devotional

Friday, June 21, 2013
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no more Hindus left in India.” This great leader was fascinated at the thought of knowing Christ. But when he met Christians, he felt let down. The world is filled with people who feel the same. They are intrigued by the claims of Christ, but they shrink back because of disappointment with His offspring.

“Don’t look at people,” we might protest. “Look at Jesus.” But while that may be true, the sobering truth remains: Whether we like it or not, we’re the only Jesus some will ever see. Dwight L. Moody put it this way: “Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.”

“You are a letter from Christ…,” Paul reminded the Christians at Corinth, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stones but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV 1984)

The same is true of us today. We are God’s love letter to the world. We were set apart for a purpose—to communicate his glory to a lost and dying world.

Excerpted from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Daily Reflection: How have you been communicating God’s love lately?

Reprinted from the Inspired Devotional by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Meaning Follows Surrender

“Meaning follows surrender,” that is what Rebekah Lyons discovered when she faced a kink in her preplanned life path.  That kink was debilitating panic attacks and anxiety.  Here is how Rebekah describes one such attack, “The anxiety reached a crescendo on Thanksgiving Day.  How I wish I had anticipated this scenario….we were taking the kids to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade…we had big expectations, and even the craziest throngs of people would not stop us…These veteran Macy’s paraders were not going to let me and my three tykes push through to Daddy.  Cell service was gone.  The crowds even suppressed text messages.  I had no way to communicate as I helplessly stood two hundred feet away.  Finally my call to Gabe went through, and my frantic voice screamed above the noise, ‘I can’t do it!  If you want the kids to see this, you will have to come get them!’  Tears fell as my kids bore witness to my weakness once more. I didn’t have what it took to push through.  Not the strength.  Not the ability.  Not the will.  Who was I becoming?  The Rebekah I once knew was fearless and aggressive….Gabe wormed his way to us and grabbed Pierce and Kennedy’s hands.  I tugged Cade to the back of the crowd – he’d be no match for this moment.  I hailed a taxi to head home to baste my turkey and lick my wounds.  I’d watch the parade from the comfort of my living room like every other sensible American.”  Anyone who has suffered from panic attacks and anxiety understands completely what she was describing.  You might even be shaking your head while reading this excerpt.  However, Rebekah did not stop there in her book.  That is the beginning of her journey that she calls Freefall to Fly A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning.

Lyons’s book is poignant and revealing. Readers can understand where she started and where she eventually ended up as she began to understand the meaning behind surrendering to God. The freefall does no lead to a devastating ending but rather an ability to fly and soar above the storm clouds. In another excerpt, she writes, “For seven months, I’d been consumed by panic attacks and letdowns, loneliness and change. But I saw it now. God was telling a story. A specific kind of story. A daunting, frightful story. He was revealing meaning to me. In the midst of my own blizzard, light was shining through. I needed only to open my eyes to His tinkering and intervention. I was searching desperately to find meaning in my life, unaware that God had been leading me the entire time. I was in an uncontrollable freefall, but God wanted me to learn to fly. Perhaps this painful season of transition was closing for me.”

I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and would highly recommend this book for your bookshelf!

Rebekah Lyons website


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Love Lessons

Beth Wiseman is a well-known Amish fiction writer as well as a Christian fiction writer.  I was lucky to have been able to review Wiseman’s book His Love Endures Forever which is the story of an English girl who is friends with an Amish young man, Levi, and  is also pregnant by another Amish man, Matthew.  Danielle, the young pregnant girl, learns about love in this book.  She has been living with an older couple after her mother is abusive toward her.  She is lost and falls in love with an Amish young man who has dreams of something more beyond the boundaries of his Amish village and Amish church.

Wiseman’s book, the third book in her A Land of Canaan series, is a journey of reflection and lessons of love – true, unconditional love.  Not only does Danielle learn about the unconditional love of God, but Levi’s mother learns about unconditional love for others.  Daniells’s mother learns about seeking forgiveness and Danielle learns to forgive.  Danielle, Levi, and Matthew all learn about themselves in this coming of age story.

This is an excellent story of love – the love of family, the love of others, the love of God – and it is a story of forgiveness and learning.  I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.

Author’s Web Site

Faith Seekers Amidst Doubt

Joseph Loconte, author of The Searchers A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt, uses literature, film, philosphy, history, and politics to examine the story of the Emmaus walk when two friends meet a stranger and begin the search for the truth in a world of madness, hatred, and doubt.  Loconte challenges the reader to thoroughly investigate his/her beliefs by pushing him/her to analyze Scripture in a manner that is fully immersed.  No more can the reader hold onto beliefs that have not been fully investigated and analyzed.  In our world of confusing and unsettling violence, many question God and His allowance of this evil.  However, Loconte uses all of the genres to push the reader to come to a better understanding of who God is and why He allows the evil.

Christianity Today states “This is a good book to give to someone who is looking at faith from the outside, but it will also be helpful to believers who have been led to expect tidy answers and neat resolutions and have come up hard against disappointment, absurdity, and loss.”  I would have to agree with that analysis.  Pick up a copy for yourself (put it on the coffee table after you read it!) and one for a friend or neighbor!

I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.

Questions and Lessons on Faith

In my lifeftime, I have had questions about faith, God, His will for my life, and the big one – why does God allow suffering in the world.  It is hard to reconcile the loving God with the violence, starvation, hatred, and desperation found around the world.  I, as well as many others, question how can God allow this to happen and yet expect me to only believe in His love and blessing.  Andrea Palpant Dilley, author of Faith and Other Flat Tires: AMemoir Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt, travelled this path as well.  Dilley had been born into a missionary family who served as Quaker medical missionaries in East Africa during the first six years of her life.  By age twenty-one, Dilley was facing that road of doubt over the dysfunctionality of the church, the perceived silence of God, and the age-old question of suffering.

Faith+and+Other+Flat+Tires+Sample+Chapter

This story is her story.  Her story of doubt, questions, searching, and her journey of being a Christian refugee.  Her journey is similar to many others including myself.  She pushed the limits of what she had held sacred, she clung to the fleeting security of men, and she questioned everyone about their faith.  This story is also about her journey back to the security of God and the outpouring of His blessings.  I found her book to be truthful and upfront about the struggles of many to reconcile the church, God, and the world – especially the younger generation.  Her chapters are not too long and keep the reader interested in the next marker on her journey – whether that marker be an obstacle or an insight.

If you are facing that rough road of doubt, or know someone who is, then this book is for you.  I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and I would like to offer it free to a reader of my blog.  Please leave a comment on my blog and I will choose a winner using Random.org.

Author’s Web Site

Let Us Not Forget

I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me.  I climb upon my soapbox every time something  breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy.  Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear.  The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting.  Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing.  Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.

In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life?  The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure.  Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover.  Good things, all.  Inspiring and helpful and memorable.  But life changing?  Yet truly life-changing events do occur.  Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life.  Between despair and hope.  Between ignorance and understanding.  Between death and life.”  I can tell you that this book IS life changing!

Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out.  However that is not what Jesus called us to do.  Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed.  Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken.  Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision

The Art of Waiting

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, waiting means to look forward expectantly.  Psalm 27:14 tells us to, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  However waiting on the Lord can be hard because we relate waiting with being still and inactive, to be wasting our time even sometimes.  Taryn Hutchison learned and exhibited valuable lessons about waiting in We Wait You Waiting on God in Eastern Europe. Taryn was a missionary serving with Campus Crusades in Eastern Europe – Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, etc. during the last ten years of the 90s.

Hutchison began her journey with a year-long commitment and ended up falling in love with the country and peoples of Eastern Europe. She began her journey in Austria at a hostel prior to receiving her assignment. Hutchison explains that the one place that she feared going to the most was the one place that God sent her and she cried out to Him for strength and grace. What she received was a group of friends and guardians that turned her one-year assignment into a life-long love of the country and peoples as well as a ten-year commitment.

Hutchison’s journey was not an easy coast. She was robbed several times, stalked by an admirer, detained by officials, and experienced difficulties when moving from Romania to Hungary and again from Hungary to the United States. Waiting on God to provide what she needed each day opened up opportunies to see the people that He loved and sent her to to demonstrate His love. She also saw the patience and acceptance of people who had waited 45 years for the United States to save them from the harshness and depravity of the Communist Regime.

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program and would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about Campus Crusades, missionary work, or Eastern Europe.

Author’s Website