October 23, 2012
October 18, 2012
For some reason I thought this book was non-fiction, but it's actually a moving work of fiction. Written and set in the late 19th century, it took me a bit of time to get used to the language style and way of life.
Most of the main characters are wealthy men and women who attend a prominent church in the city of Raymond. They do all the 'politically correct' Christian things like giving to charity, reading their Bibles and being polite.
But then one day the pastor encounters a beggar at his door and decides to turn him away. Later the man shows up at the church during one of his services.
Convicted by the Holy Spirit, the pastor then takes the man into his home. After great thought and prayer the pastor challenges his congregation to live like Jesus and not to make any life decisions without asking 'what would Jesus do?'
What happens to the people who choose to go through with this pledge and the circumstances they face are so inspiring. Giving their lives over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and learning to obey, even if that means being ostracized, losing their business or the comfort and luxuries of their station.
There were several powerful scenes where the characters bowed their heads and cried out to God, these scenes really got to me. To envision a man weeping before God asking Him for guidance and strength is so beautiful, it made me think of David, a man after God's own heart.
"A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You."
"And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will."
Sometimes when we obey the Spirit of God's leading we may be precieved as fanatics, but we can't let that keep us for obeying. I can recall many times in my life where I obeyed and been ostracized for it, and sadly many times I didn't obey and had to ask God to forgive my lack of faith.
In some ways the theme of this book reminded me of David Platt's book 'Radical' A book which encourages us to not just live for Jesus but to suffer with Him, to imitate Him.
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,
just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."
1Corinthians 10:31-33 & 11:1
Here's a challenging quote from the last chapter of the book:
'Jesus, I my cross have taken
All to leave and follow Thee?'
"If we can sing that truly, then we may claim discipleship. But if our definition of being a Christian is simple to enjoy the privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and by comfortable things, live respectably and at the same time avoid the world's great stress of sin and trouble because it is too much pain to bear it - if this is our definition of Christianity, surely we are a long way from following the steps of Him who trod the way with groans and tears and sobs of anguish for a lost humanity; who sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, who cried out on the unreared cross, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
Are we ready to make and live a new discipleship? Are we ready to reconsider our definition of a Christian? What is it to be a Christian? It is to imitate Jesus. It is to do as He would do. It is to walk in His steps."
I recently started watching a BBC show called 'Call the Midwife' which is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth and set in East London during the 1950's. It is one of the most beautiful shows I've ever seen. One that holds life precious.
Here I found 2 wonderful examples of suffering with Christ:
A young nurse goes to help an old man with ulcers on his legs. She doesn't just go and do her job and leave, but makes an effort to spend time with this lonely man and get to know him. Later he is forced out of his home due to bad living conditions and forms gangrene in his legs. Both have to be amputated. The young nurse comes to visit him in the hospital and weeps by his bedside for him. I think that's what suffering with Christ looks like. It's putting someone's pain ahead of yourself and sharing in it with them. I know this is what Jesus would do.
An older woman in her 40's finds out she is pregnant. Her husband is over the moon with excitement. He is even older than she. They met late in life after her first husband past away and though she didn't love him at first, she married for comfort. When she goes into labor she is terrified because she worries the baby may be black. She had had a one night stand and fears abandonment from her husband. When she delivers, the baby is in fact black, but when her husband comes into see them he falls in love with this beautiful little bundle and never says a thing. It's obvious he knows but his love for his wife and her child out weight it and he forgives and calls the little one his son. I know this is what Jesus would do.
God, please help us be real Christians. Help us not to just follow You, but imitate You.
Buy it HERE on Amazon
October 15, 2012
I've never read anything by Josh McDowell before but have heard of many people who have be touched by his books.
'More than a Carpenter' is one of his better known, which I recently picked up at a used book store.
"Josh McDowell thought Christians must be "out of their minds." He put them down. He argued against their faith. But eventually he saw that his arguments wouldn't stand up. Jesus Christ really was God in human flesh.
In More Than a Carpenter, Josh focuses upon the person who changed his life--Jesus Christ. It is a hard-headed book for people who are skeptical about Jesus' deity, his resurrection, his claims on their lives. Why is it that you can talk about God and nobody gets upset, but as soon as you mention Jesus, people often want to stop the conversation? Why have men and women down through the ages been divided over the question, "Who is Jesus?"
Have you ever listened to the album 'The Story?' It's a two disc album, filled with moving songs from the perspective of people from the old and new testaments of the Bible. People like Adam and Eve, Moses, Esther, Joshua, Jesus, Paul and many others. The songs are all sung by Christian artists such as Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns and Matthew West.
I LOVE this album! Nicole co-wrote all of these songs. So when I heard about this book, I knew I'd want to read it. Goodreads describes it here:
"Love Story is an exquisite narrative that exposes the emotional and human underside of major biblical events, including Adam and Eve’s dramatic fall in the Garden of Eden, Sarah and Abraham’s struggle to have a child, Mary’s surprise at being pregnant with Jesus, Paul’s trauma on the road to Damascus, and concludes with a triumphant picture of the second coming of Christ. This book is a dramatic connecting point for all readers, inspiring them to grasp the poignant nature of God’s immense, all-consuming love."
After reading To Die For: A novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Bryd, I was interested to read more about her. In Sandra's afterwords she included several helpful books she used for research, and this was one of them.
Was Anne the conniving marriage wrecker the world sees her as? Or was she a woman used by others for their own gains. I've always wondered this about her. Did her growing interest in the things of God have anything to do with her later execution? Did she find Christ and suffer for it?
The back cover says:
"In this well-researched look at Anne, Colin Hamer sets her in her context as a young woman who had come to true faith in Christ, and shows the impact for good she made from her position of influence, an impact we still benefit from today."
I love Christmas! It's a time to remember the birth of Christ and be thankful for God's gift of salvation through Him. I love that we have the freedom to celebrate this!
This book looks so interesting. It's an A to Z guide on all sorts of traditions handed down through the centuries. Here's a description:
"Throughout the centuries, so many traditions have woven themselves into the celebration of Christmas that it's difficult to understand just what the season of Christ's birth is all about. Now beloved writer Warren W. Wiersbe and his son, fellow pastor David W. Wiersbe give adults their very own A to Z Christmas primer, cutting through the wrapping paper and pretty bows to expose and explain the backgrounds and reasons for our various symbols and traditions. From angels and Bethlehem to yuletide and Zechariah, the information in this unique collection is sure to enlighten. Anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of Christmas will love this insightful resource."
I've heard and read so many wonderful things about this book, things like, "Absolutely moving, lingered on my mind and gripped my heartstrings."
Set in the Appalachian mountains, Lonnie and Gideon are forced into a marriage neither wants because of one simple kiss. She is shy with a quiet faith, he a ladies man who resents her.
"What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?"
October 8, 2012
Just where you stand in the conflict,
There is your place.
Just where you think you are useless,
Hide not your face.
God placed you there for a purpose,
Whate'er it be;
Think He has chosen you for it;
Put on your armor! Be faithful
At toil or rest!
Whate'er it be, never doubting
God's way is best.
Out in the fight or on lookout,
Stand firm and true;
This is the work that your Master
Gives you to do.
A Selection from 'Streams in the Desert' Devotional
October 1, 2012
It's 1785 and Eden, (love that name!), is part of a messed up family. Liege Lee, a blacksmith father who drinks to much, a sister, Elspeth, who is conniving and down right mean, a sweet little brother and a mother who is just trying to survive them all.
Then enters Silas, the new apprentice to her father.
According to tradition the apprentice is to marry one of the daughters of his master.
Eden is a gentle spirit, while her sister is used to getting what she wants.
Eden is selfless and has a strong desire to know the Lord and His Word, which has been made difficult by her fathers distaste for the church and his ban of the Bible in their home.
Elspeth on the other hand is self-centered and vengeful. As the story progressed I disliked her more and more! I loved that the book ends on a cliff hanger in regards to her though! What will she do next?
Within the novel, a beautiful love story unfolds, but not without tragedy and heart-wrenching pain. I could easily see this on the big screen. Oh how I would love to see this story on the big screen! : )
The author, Laura Frantz, starts each chapter with a quote. I love this! Liz Curtis Higgs does this as well and it always amazes me, the thought and research they put into each one and how it relates to the chapter. As a quote lover, I so appreciate this.
Here's a few I especially loved. They will give you a little glimpse of what's to come in their proceeding chapters.
"Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul."
"Fear not for the future, weep not for the past."
Percy Bysshe Shelley
"One sickly sheep infects the flock. and poisons all the rest."
"Change indeed is painful; yet ever needful."
"And then comes a mist and a weeping rain, and life is never the same again."
"The music in my heart I bore. Long after it was heard no more."
"Never think that God's delays are God's denials."
Comte De Buffon
This was the beginning of a beautifully moving saga and I don't know how I'm going to wait till next fall to read the next instalment. I can't wait to learn more of the tales of this family!
Buy it HERE on Amazon