Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Sweet Side of Suffering": A Book Review


Have you ever had a book come at the precise moment the message is needed? 
This has been happening to me a lot lately.

Here lately my books for review have a running theme: 

SUFFERING

Each book has dealt with suffering and how we should react when...
Notice I didn't state "IF" suffering happens.   

"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, 
but also to suffer for His sake" Philippians 1:29

Esther Lovejoy bared her heart and struggles in her own times of suffering throughout the book. 

"I've gotten to know God through my own times of struggle is that sometimes He will withhold what we think we must have for life in order to give us what He knows we MUST have for godliness. It is not always a comfortable exchange, but it is always a worthwhile one."---Esther Lovejoy (emphasis mine)

Lovejoy, a pastor's wife for nearly 30 years, who was active in church activities and preparing for her leadership roles realized "she had better start reading the Bible not to prepare and give out" would be her greatest need in her own life. As one who has been in leadership, this resonated with me. 

Many times when in leadership, we fall into the belief that preparing to teach and lead counts as our own time in the Word. It is only when we realize preparing is not spending our own time with God and His Word. Each one of us needs our own time in His Word. 

"For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps..." 1 Peter 2:21

Only through suffering with Christ can we comprehend and experience the fellowship of suffering with our Lord and Saviour. Lovejoy expounds, "It's not enough to just know about Christ's suffering. We need to....fellowship in His sufferings."

However, we must make the conscious decision to "allow our pain to identify" with Jesus.

Therefore, "Sweet Side of Suffering" shows the reader how to find the proper attitude and understanding of suffering in one's life. The thing this blogger likes is Lovejoy does not only focus on how one can find the 'sweet' side of suffering, but how our suffering will "overflow onto the pain of others, we can truly offer them the sweetness of shared suffering~the gift of efu."

I discussed 'efu' and how the church of today is failing this concept here.

**The publisher provided a preview copy of the book in return for an unbiased review of the book**

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Walk in your healing....

I originally wrote the following blog post in August 2010. With all the commotion and excitement of my parent's home rebuild, I have been quite busy. I have made a couple revisions to the original post. May each of you have a blessed week.  


This is what it looked like on Monday

On Tuesday it was like this...

On Wednesday, funny thing when I left I shut the front door :-)

Church: What does it mean to you?
The Lord gave me an acronym for the Church. The interesting thing is He gave me the beginning of it in 2002 but didn’t finish it until the early hours of the morning today. Here is the Acronym:

  C: Christ
    H: Healing
   U: Unruly
        R: Rebellious
     C: Children
H: Here  

The interesting thing to me is I have been waiting 8 years for the last part of that acronym. Then as plain as day my Loving Heavenly Father told me that is what His Church should be doing walking in our healing HERE.

We all have been unruly, rebellious children. Yet, Christ has set us free. Yes, 
  some of us are still being pretty unruly and rebellious...
that will be a blog for another day. 

Why are we not walking in our healing here today? 

We have bought into the lie that our healing will not happen until heaven.

What is this Healing?
 ~It is Healing from being separated from God. 
~Healing from the world
~ Healing from bondage (emotionally, spiritually, and mentally)

However, we are used to being in bondage. 
We literally don't know how to walk in the freedom and healing
 that Christ has provided.

 A Pastor friend's son broke his leg. The Dr. stressed to the family how important it would be for him to use his leg once the cast came off.  The Dr explained his leg had been bound for so long his body and leg became use to it being bound. If the young man didn’t use his leg, the leg would become nonfunctional. 
The initial moving of the leg would be painful but vital. The family would be responsible for reminding him of the TRUTH about his leg.
It was HEALED! 

Just like this young man's broken leg,  
each of us have areas in our lives where we are bound. 
Some have been bound so long that even when Christ heals us, 
we are resistant to walking. 
We must retrain yourselves to understand we are not bound any longer.  
We need walk in the freedom our Savior Jesus Christ has given. 

Will it be painful? Yes, at times for we will have opposition. 
This opposition will be from both inside and outside. 
Our own minds, will oppose the new thinking of walking in freedom. Remember the broken leg of the Pastor's son. We are comfortable being bound. Nobody wants to admit this truth. Being bound is comfortable, walking in freedom and healing is uncharted territory and scary territory. 

Are you walking in your Christ given Freedom? Or are you still living bound? Are we reminding one another of your healing? 

Make the decision today to walk in your freedom. 
Remind someone today of their healing.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Excuse me did you say 'efu'...

Photo Credit: Dew Photography VA
I want to give a forewarning. This blog will be seen controversial by some. My intent in writing came from seeing a deficiency in our ranks. How can we search for an answer if we don't see the problem? Only when our eyes are opened can we go to our Loving Savior and seek His Face on how to become more Christ-like. 

The idea and birth of this post came while reading Esther Lovejoy's book, "The Sweet Side of Suffering" and her discussion of the concept of 'efu'. 

EFU??? What is EFU???

Lovejoy explains 'efu' as "shared suffering, an act of expressing concern and empathy for a person who is dealing with something".  Sounds really nice doesn't it? My thoughts unfortunately didn't travel to how nice and sweet 'efu' is. No, instead my thoughts kept wandering to the fact that in today's church and society, we see a different mindset...
one of 'FU' instead of 'efu'. 

Sure, in the beginning of hard times, people in your community, church and circle of friends (Our C's) are usually kind and polite. Think Job's friends sitting with him in silence for seven days. A true display of 'efu'. 

Yet, if the issues goes on the kindness and politeness start to slip away. Our C's will start to look more like Job's friends. After seven days of silence, Job's friends began their dissertations and reasons for Job's issues. This is when 'efu' began a downward slide to 'FU' Then, if the problem, illness or situation goes on longer...

Then 'efu' turns into full-blown 'FU'

I don't believe Our C's do this intentionally. We have failed as a whole. None of us have been taught how to deal with issues for longer than a short period of time. Who determines how long PTSD, Depression, Family Conflicts, or even a Mental Breakdown should last? According to the majority of our society, if it can't be resolved within a few weeks then we must not want to have a real remedy. 



 Once again, I say all of this not to condemn the church, community or circle of friends. My reason for sharing is because we can't change if we don't understand there is a problem. 

The next time healing doesn't come within our time frame...

Remember God has called us to 'efu' and don't fall into a mindset of 'FU'

It is your turn. Have you ever felt like Our C's (community, church, or circle of friends) have either intentionally or unintentionally shown you  'FU' instead of 'efu'? Do you have an example of 'efu' to share? 






Friday, February 15, 2013

The Irresistible Table: A Book Review


Mary Demuth's latest offering became available today. This cookbook has some sweet recipes in it. 
When Mary gave me the cookbook, as a preview, her only request would be to make a recipe or two and give a review. 

Sweetie got to be the recipient of the Espresso brownies. I did adapt the recipe to be gluten free for my Sweetie. His review...

"These are awesome. They were good."

HE ATE THREE BROWNIES IN ONE SETTING.

He did say that because I made them gluten free they were more of a cake-type brownie.



In all honesty, I will probably use the cookbook mainly for the dessert recipes. 
However, I will adapt them to be gluten free for my Sweetie.

Even if the buyer only made the dessert recipes from the cookbook; which I am sure most people will use more than this one section, the book would be worth the price.

Treats in the book that aren't recipes:

~ Mary sharing why she loves to cook
~ Mary sharing her favorite cookbooks and why she likes them

Overall, "The Irresistible Table" is a great buy.

You can purchase the book today over at Amazon.




Disclaimer:  This is an affiliate link. However, I do not endorse books that I myself would not purchase. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Letting God Have Control...


Father: Thank you for bringing me to this point in my life. A point where my desire to have more of You each day grows stronger. For You to be in control of every aspect of my life. Am I there yet? Letting You have complete control...How I wish the answer could be a definitive, 'Yes', but we both know that would be a lie. 

Someone makes a comment...it gets in my crawl, rubs me the wrong way. I want to not let it bother me. God is the one in control and His opinion of me needs to be the only one that mattters to me.Yet, almost a week later and my mind still wanders to a person's off-hand comment. Who is in control? 

Help me Jesus.  

“When we willingly accept our lot in life, welcoming all that God is trying to teach us through it, we lose the drive to over control, to micromanage in an all-out attempt to appear perfect and ensure everything is “just so."" Pg 54 "Let It Go" 



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Gospel of Yes....A Book Review


"The Gospel of Yes" by Mike Glenn kept popping up. Online friends were doing bible studies, others were reviewing it. However, I kept avoiding it. My thought: "the bandwagon for the title just wasn't my cup of tea." Initially, I had judged the book on title alone. The title screamed, "Name it and claim it" or "cotton candy" theology. Neither of which interest this blogger. 

Then the day came. Upon entering one of the sites where I obtain books to review, only a few titles were available to me. "Gospel of Yes" received its day of being downloaded to my Kindle. 

My decision became to read with an open mind. Then deal with the review when the time came. Here is the kicker...the book so far is not what I thought. I am still reading but have not seen anything along the lines of theology that I had suspected. Instead, the author has been discussing how God has gifted each of us with certain gifts. We need to take time to understand what they are and to limit our "yes" to the things within our gifts. Don't be a person who says 'yes' to everything which looks good for good does not mean God designed us to be the person for that thing. 

My one thing learned...

Don't judge a book by its title.


Disclaimer: I received this book for free for review. However, all reviews are the opinions of blogger and not influenced by the publisher.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Disconnected in a Connected World...

I absolutely love how God works things out for us. 
Today's guest poster, Tammy Karasek wrote the perfect post for the "Let It Go" Blog Hop. 
The amazing part is she just wrote what God put on her heart, not knowing (to my knowledge) about the blog hop. 

Photo Credit: Dew Photography VA

How Can We Be So Disconnected in Such a Connected World?


            Have you ever given much thought to how many ways we are “connected” to people these days? Think about it. If we can’t walk over to someone’s house, we can drive. If we can’t drive, we can call. If we can’t call we can text. If we can’t text, we can write a note. If we can’t write a note, we can send an email. It’s enough to make you dizzy thinking of the many ways we can reach out and connect.
           
            Yet, sometimes even though we can do something, doesn’t always mean we do. Often someone will come to my mind and I think, “Oh, I need to call her.” Then I realize I can’t call right now because I don’t have time to talk long. So I’ll think, “I’ll just run upstairs, fire up the computer and send her an email.” But I will remember that I have to do X-Y-Z before I run out the door. I’ll just have to do it tonight when I get back in.

            And it never happens that night. Or the next, for that matter.

            Last year, I was feeling very overwhelmed of all the “doing” I was attempting and never quite feeling like I was accomplishing a thing. It was as if every time I crossed one thing off of my list, three were added before the ink was dry. I kept meaning to slow down and reconnect with friends. Really, I did.

            As the year continued on, the same scripture verse kept re-appearing boldly and in places I would not expect. Whether written on a painting, a sermon on the radio or even someone sharing it in a Bible study.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
                                        Psalm 46:10a (ESV)

            Time went on and it became more and more evident that there was no way I was going to be able to “Be still, and know…” with all of the noise in the world. I kept thinking of people I wanted to connect with and trying to figure out how to squeeze it in. But I was so hooked on my electronic gizmos and gadgets, that there was no possible way I would ever be able to “Be still, and know…” Then it dawned on me. I was not connecting with the very One who craved my fellowship most.
           
            There was a huge decision to be made, something iHad to do and soon. It was that iHad to turn off the iPod, iPad, iPhone and iMac and turn on the Word of God. I needed to have communication with Him. It was “the” one that I was neglecting the most.

            To be able to re-connect with Him, I needed to return to praying. Not just praying every now and then when I remembered, but continually praying. The kind of communication that Paul tells us to do in I Thessalonians:

“pray without ceasing,”
                                                       I Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
            Since praying is how we communicate and connect with God, how in the world did I expect to be doing so when my mind was always preoccupied with all of my electronic devices sucking the life out of my brain and the time out of my day.
           
            Do I have it down perfect? No. Am I striving to fill more time with a sweet communion with God? You bet. My prayer for you is that you re-arrange your day around your electronic communication gadgets and let God take first place in communication and sweet fellowship.  And I’m working on re-connecting with friends face to face as well!

Meet Tammy: 


You can find Tammy seeing humor and laughter in every aspect of life and then telling all about it on her blog: http://tickledpinktammy.com.  Tammy’s rough childhood as a lonely, only-child who received much criticism from family is the driving force of her passion to always encourage others and make them smile.  She is a Christian who resides in Ohio with her husband of 31+ years, Larry.  They have a grown daughter, Kristen.   You can also connect with Tammy on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/tammy.karasek), twitter @tickledpinktam or e-mail: tickledpinktammy@gmail.com
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