"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

STUMBLING INTO GRACE:Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman

written by Lisa Harper


STUMBLING INTO GRACE: 
Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman 
written by Lisa Harper

... seems to have had me "stumbling" through the pages for far too long of a time, relating to the stories of Lisa's life in a diary like devotional, humorously written or profoundly inspiring as she connects her life situations to Jesus' encounters in the New Testament in 3 parts: Real Life, Real Gifts and Real Growth. 

This is my first time reading any of Lisa Harper's books and I have not had the privilege to hear her speak in any Women of Faith Conference, but she writes in such a way that you feel like she's talking to you. One way that she does this is by opening each chapter with... "So, today I’ve been thinking about... " and after she walks us through the chapter, we enter the study part with a beautiful prayer that she calls "Living in Light of His Story" followed by wonderful personal reflection or discussion questions and a journal entry for us to write... "So, today I’ve been thinking about the ... " focus point of that chapter, helping us to apply this to our lives. 

In the REAL LIFE part, we look at scary things, binding things, fattening things, dangerous things and sweet things. First with a personal life story, then Jesus story, followed by a teaching on "the heart of His story", "the hope for our ongoing story" and ending with the above personal journal part. It's the sharing of Lisa's personal experience, Jesus' experience and then our own application to our experience with a study guide right in each chapter. I love that part! It had me going back and reading again just to be sure I didn't miss anything or because I was able to connect. Lisa makes it REAL!

The REAL GIFT is my favorite part and this is where I began to "stumble into grace"... and although Lisa continues in the same witty style, I am now ready to deepen my spiritual relationship and walk with Jesus and the gift of forgiveness, touch, good humor (which Lisa has plenty to share), community and rest. This is where Lisa's book becomes REAL to me. God's Word becomes alive and REAL!
She uses many scriptures and stories that we are familiar with and makes them relevant to our lives.

Finally, the difficult part and perhaps why it took me so long to "stumble" through this, besides my real life messing me up since I began reading this book... the part on REAL GROWTH allowed me to see God's aMazing Grace much more clearly and personally. As Lisa now takes us through chapters of seeing how Jesus helps us become less critical, more content, more honest, more dependent, more grateful!

And I am, for having had this opportunity to read "Stumbling into Grace ... " which Lisa sums up best in her honest, opening with this:

"God doesn’t just see us; He gazes adoringly at us. He doesn’t simply notice us; He moves heaven and earth on our behalf. That’s the thesis of Stumbling Into Grace."

Lisa Harper succeeds with doing what she sets out to do: "describe God's unconditional and miraculously accessible love for us through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ" and hers to us, as Lisa writes to empower us and help us "lean further into the strong, safe embrace of Our Redeemer". She wrote that this was an incredibly lofty goal to accomplish, but she hopes and prays that it may come close... for me, it does. Since I realize that I am a flawed sinner, saved by grace, with the scars from the many stumbles I've taken, and so blessed to be able to hold on to the Holy Spirit within, to stand up again and again, as Lisa wrote to "exemplify the redemptive power of His divine grace!" Lisa's words encourage me to get back up and keep walking in faith, no matter how many times I've stumbled or stumble, I'm on the winning side and "His Grace is sufficient".

The best way I know this, is as I daily stumble and share on a blog called "aMazing Grace ~ Mazes, Messes and Miracles", I have seen God reveal how miraculous and restorative His awesome love and amazing grace REALLY is in my life through His Holy Spirit. No matter how many times the enemy tries to discourage me or confront me or throw another glitch for me to stumble over my past failures and mistakes, to stop believing, to question, or give it up and quit sharing how good God is... I reach up and find myself able to take one more step with more confidence and perhaps a little less clumsy, closer to that final victory that Jesus already won. "So today I've been thinking about" that victory and looking forward to sharing this in a small group women's Bible study perhaps.

Disclosure of material connection:
I received this book free from the publisher Thomas P. Nelson through the BookSneeze.com book review blogger's 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
Thomas Nelson Product Page



Monday, August 8, 2011

STAIN GLASS HEARTS: Seeing Life From a Broken Perspective

"I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."
Isaiah 45:3

Has your life struggles skewed your perspective and caused you to have
a "Stained Glass Heart"?
Reading this may help the prism shine more brightly through you!



Book description from the publisher:
Much like stained glass, life’s broken pieces become the prism through which God’s grace shines most brightly and beautifully.
Life is no doubt full of difficulties, but it is also filled with promise and possibility,” says best-selling author and WOF speaker Patsy Clairmont. In Stained Glass Hearts Clairmont guides readers to view the difficult experiences of life through the lens of God’s grace. Using art as a theme, and likening people to stained glass windows, she shares that it’s when we’re surrounded by darkness that His healing light shines most brightly within us. Encouraging women to step back and see life from this new perspective, Patsy offers help and hope for the dark places of life.

Along with character studies of women in Scripture, and modern-day, relatable stories, each chapter includes:
Chalice-memorable quotes
Mosaic-recommended music
Spires-scriptures and readings
Litany-sample prayers


In "Stained Glass Hearts" Patsy Clairmont helps to remind us through stories and personal illustrations how God takes the broken pieces of our shattered hopes and dreams and makes them into a beautiful mosaic – like a stained glass window! Sometimes that's exactly how I feel like a shattered 'stained glass heart' so as Patsy  related stories to us, I was encouraged and comforted as she incorporated her warm sense of humor at just the right time, yet equally was able to be serious and deep in the places without light... that need God's light to shine through to heal and brighten our brokenness. I love how throughout this book, as in two others by Patsy, she is able to intertwine the spiritual concepts of Light and Redemption beautifully. 

Reading "Stained Glass Hearts" was very timely for me, because Patsy reveals her 'heart etched in by loss' from a more solemn side. But she incorporated the arts: like music and art works, nature's display of God's glory as we dig with her into Scripture and enhance our faith. That is just what she does! Here is the first quote in which Patsy captured my heart:

"Just as light does, redemption brings hope. Really, it’s hard to separate the two, for wherever redemption is, the light of revelation abounds. And when light pierces the darkness, it’s with the proclamation of God’s redeeming loveRedemption is the rescue of humanity from sin by a sacrificial Savior, the restoration of the human heart, the reclamation of our dignity, and the revival of our purpose." ~ Patsy Clairmont 

Patsy even takes the time to explain why she chose "Stained Glass Hearts" although you may clearly see the usefulness with brokenness, it goes so much deeper.  She inspires us as she writes and releases her story until 'light touches the dark'. Since each of our stories like hers, are artistically designed; broken, sanded and soldered, because naturally we "didn't fit the redemptive pattern without holy repairs" and need to allow the light to transform us into another one of God's Masterpieces.

As Patsy walks as through chapters from our "achy breaky hearts", enlarging them, reflecting our hearts condition, to singing... stained glass poetry, prayer, books, puzzles, nature, garden, Rock of Ages to the final chapter of Redemption, we can see our lives have gone through some ongoing repair and protection with many lessons learned, etching on the windows of our hearts, a story highlighted with all the Spirit was able to do as He guides, leads, transforms and empowers us with intention, peace, love and JOY! That's just what I read and needed to hear.

 As Patsy wants to be like the stately church in her hometown, to own her corner well, including the history laden bruises, with cathedral confidence colored with the Risen Christ... the Good Shepherd and the soon coming King, and she breathtakingly sings and proclaims "He's Alive!", 
I, too, am in a place where I gratefully can join her... and I pray that any part of my heart that is stained or shattered, now is transformed as His light not only shines but is reflected in full color to break through and help others with "Stained Glass Hearts"... to behold Christ in their lives and see that Jesus Christ is alive! 

I give Patsy Clairmont 4 stars for "Stained Glass Hearts" and recommend this book not just for the broken hearted but for the strong hearted that need to reach out to others or open their individual perspective. It's also has excellent resource ideas from Patsy's Art Gallery at the end of each chapter. 



Disclosure of material connection:
I received this book free from the publisher Thomas P. Nelson through the BookSneeze.com book review blogger's 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


Thursday, July 28, 2011

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME

Max Lucado reminds us that it's not about us, it's ALL about God. The world does not revolve around us nor are we the center of the universe. Misconceptions that we are taught by society throughout our lives. But the rest of the title " Rescue From The Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy" sets the premise for this non-fiction, once again wonderfully written book by Max Lucado. He has such a way with words and story telling with humor and wisdom combined. It's not hard to tell that he is one of my all time favorite authors, even if the last book I read of his was so long ago "He Chose the Nails"; I do receive his UpWords weekly and there is one available daily and MP3s of 1minute messages. So when the opportunity to select one of his books in e-book form came, it was a welcome and a blessing for me, which I read in one sitting. I have so many parts highlighted, I'm not sure where to best begin telling you what I like. Yet I will emphasize that this is a timely book for me and I boldly would say for YOU.


"It's Not about Me" is wisely divided into two parts: God Pondering and God Promoting. "We move through me-focus to God-focus by pondering Him. Witnessing Him. Following..." this centers us on a life that works: God centered and rescues us from the one that doesn't: self-centered, self-ish. Whatever "self" you want to add... works for us to leave this behind and behold God. 


I love how Max than distinguishes between "beholding" and "reflecting" God. This is even wisely carried over in the excellent, though provoking study guide included in the back, written by Steven Halliday. Each chapter is separated into two sections: Beholding and then Reflecting.


The reason these two words are important is because different translations accurately use this for "katoptrizo"... but you'll have to read his book to clearly understand.  Yet, I see that it is crucial
to know since it is our human job description to REFLECT GOD'S GLORY! This is summed up beautifully by Max in these words: "Beholding leads to becoming. Becoming leads to reflecting."
Then Max proceeds to show us that God's message we are to mirror through: our message, our salvation, our body, our struggles, our success - all proclaim God's glory. "God sends the message, we mirror it." This takes us through the God-promoting part with each of these mirrored parts toward upward thinking. We exist to give honor to God's Name and a cleverly written exchange of a discussion between him and a Jewish passenger with Max on a flight.


The ending brought a tear to my eyes and a sweet nod of HOPE preceded by this sound, BOLD statement that expresses the heart of many of us (I hope):


"MAY WE HAVE NO HIGHER GOAL THAN TO SEE SOMEONE THINK MORE HIGHLY OF OUR FATHER, OUR KING."


I strongly encourage you to get a hold of a copy of this book to BEHOLD HIM CHANGING US:
"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 
[we] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, 
even as by the Spirit of the Lord "
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

... and if at all possible, doing the study with a wonderful small group that will be blessed and changed in doing it together. I know that I'm considering it. Plus there is a bonus chapter of another one of Max's new books: "Outlive Your Life"... now I'm curious about that one, too... I can't get enough of Max Lucado's style of writing but you might of me reviewing his books. 


IT'S NOT ABOUT ME ~ It's ALL about HIM!!!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers 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.”


Thursday, July 21, 2011

GOD'S LOVE LETTERS TO YOU


I received "God's Love Letters To  You: A 40-Day Devotional Experience" by Dr. Larry Crabb  in E-Book format just in time to enjoy this summer, a refreshing look at God's Love for us, written and expressed in God's Word, the Bible and Dr. Crabb's heart through a unique conversation between him and God. I loved reading the "66 Love Letters" and could not wait to receive this by mail to read, so I was fortunate to get it in e-book format immediately to compare it to the full version of all 66 Love Letters.  Although as a devotional, it is only a morsel of the the other book, it whets your appetite enough for more of Dr. Crabb's enlightening way of questioning God, how each book in the Bible is God's LOVE letter and how it shows us or leads us toward understanding the bigger picture of God's story in a special and more clear focus. Since it is a 40 day devotional, it leaves out some of the 66 love letters but you do not miss so much that the  glimpse doesn't draw you to want more. Dr. Crabb entices you to read and examine your own story as you read God's story in the Bible. 

Since each devotional daily includes a title which captures your interest like this: "I HAVE A PLAN: TRUST ME" for Genesis; a well selected Scripture reading; a short devotional message, thought provoking questions and a closing prayer, it works perfectly for your daily quiet time. Since reading "66 Love Letters", I had been waiting for a study guide or something to accompany using this as a study and this works perfectly. This has given me a fresh, life changing encounter with God as I read His Word and apply this to my life. It has once again stirred a core within me, to desire to get more out of my reading of the Bible than just routinely reading it. Reading with Dr. Crabb's perspective, I am able to listen better to what God may be saying to me personally. Each chapter or book of the Bible, as a love letter, convicts and impacts you with a powerful message to think more deeply of your relationship with God with a new level of intimacy. I personally enjoyed having the prayer with each love letter to spur you into drawing closer to God and continuing the conversation. I would like to strongly recommend that you read this prayer as a sample of the heart of Dr. Larry Crabb's from the intro and allow God to speak words of life into you by adding this book along to your daily Bible reading:
"I pray that people across the world, people of every age,... will hear the love story God is telling us in words that reveal His heart, words that speak life into ours."
"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, mark us for life with Your words of life. Undo the power of every death word we’ve heard. Empower us to speak life into others by speaking life into us. Pour living water into our parched souls. Thrill us with the privilege of relating to others in a way that reveals Your heart to them and releases Your life into them through the words we speak. Thank You for speaking life into us. Open our hearts to hear Your words and to receive them. In Jesus’ name, amen. 
Since this is my 3rd book that I have read of Dr. Larry Crabb, I would recommend it for all ages, because the words do speak life into ours. I  found the complete book of "66 Love Letters" to be a better choice to add to your personal collection for study, whereas this one is ideal for a quick daily read. I am so glad that I have it in e-book form and know that I will go back to reading often when I am in that section of the Bible to hear God's voice in what I'm reading. I do believe that the insights of Dr. Larry Crabb will inspire you to hear or listen for God's voice and delight in reading "God's Love Letter to You", cherishing the message rather than struggling to study.  I found many of his ideas to challenge me and mine. Personally my favorite was "a Joy that frees you to endure hardship" for 2 Timothy. I now am looking forward once again to reading through the Bible with a refreshed attitude and response of a passionate longing to hear the Spirit speak and flood my heart with God's Love.


A personal note: I would also like to add a special request that we continue to pray for Dr. Larry Crabb and Rachael, his wife and family as Larry faces a 3 in 1 surgery the 1st week of August.
(from June New Way Ministries newsletter)





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers 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.”


I saw that Amazon is offering a good special combination price for both of these books 
66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story+God's Love Letters to You: A 40-Day Devotional Experience



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE SHELTER OF GOD'S PROMISES by Sheila Walsh



LORD
YOU ARE MY SHELTER

"So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie..."


In the "Shelter of God's Promises" by Sheila Walsh, she shares a key verse in each chapter of one of God's Promises in the Bible for Provision, Peace, Confidence, Love, Grace, Hope, Strength, and MORE plus Home! 

I have known Sheila Walsh, mostly as a singer or speaker with Women of Faith, so I was anxious to sit down and walk with her through this beautiful teaching of God's Shelter in His Promises. Sheila interweaves Biblical truths with her real life experiences of testimony of God meeting her or others in times and places of need of shelter. She is just as inspirational as an author as I find her to be as a singer and speaker, truly she is a woman of faith and lives it.

I received this book from Book Sneeze, just at the time that I needed God's Shelter and through each chapter, God revealed through Sheila's words and His, encouragement and inspiration to seek whatever God promises. Whatever you may be searching for, I highly recommend Shelia's book to build your faith, bring you comfort, and show you how to find "Shelter" in God's Promises. 

The highlight for me, is that you can use this individually or with a small group because of the addition of a wonderful study guide in the back of the book, that challenges you through each chapter with 4 categories to Discover, Believe, Live and Memorize. Either way, you can enjoy this book to strengthen and motivate you to live believing that God cannot lie and His promises are REAL!



"...Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us." Hebrews 6:18


Disclosure of material connection:
I received this book free from the publisher Thomas P. Nelson through the BookSneeze.com book review blogger's 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

THOMAS NELSON PRODUCT PAGE
BOOK DESCRIPTION
"In a world of uncertainty, pain, and struggle, 
where do you find solid assurance and unshakeable truth?..."
Have you read this book? 

Please share one highlight if you have in the comments
and 
if you have not
 which Bible verse (in the WFW) do you find SHELTER today?

Philippians 4:19
John 14:27
Romans 8:28
Romans 8:38-39
2 Corinthians 12:9
Hebrews 13:5-6
John 16:33
Matthew 7:7-8
John 14:2

PSALM 91 is my chosen scripture for this blog and for me this year 2011 with my WORD as JOY. I find my SHELTER in Psalm 91!

The images “shelter” and “the shadow” suggest a secure hiding place from the storms of life, much like the use of the umbrella from the rain or as here in Mexico, from the strong sun rays. We have a secure refuge in His hiding place. We have safety in the presence of the LORD.

The all-powerful God is our eternal refuge. The Almighty God is our protection. 
How often we go looking for security and safety in that which offers only a false security. The LORD God removes our false securities one by one until we trust in Him alone. Is He your hiding place? Have you learned how to find refuge in trusting in the abiding presence of the most powerful God? 

I pray that if you need Him in any of the areas that Sheila's book covers, that you will get a copy of this book and allow God to be your Shelter and Refuge. Seek and see that God does nor can He lie... He is TRUE to His Promises...

"Whatever God says, we can stake our lives on."
~ Sheila Walsh~
The Shelter of God's Promises

For more WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, visit Internet Cafe Devotions 

Friday, May 20, 2011

RAINBOW BRIDGE

This is in memory of my 
FAITHFUL FRIEND
 BRAVO
(who died one week ago today)

The song in this video is "Perhaps Love" being sung by John Denver and Placido Domingo
(you can go HERE for the lyrics)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoBO6kJCBvw

The original one I encountered was HERE
Movie by Terri Pike with music by Kerry Muzzey 

COMFORT FOR GRIEVING ANIMAL LOVERS

A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss 

... and I'd also like to dedicate this to
another blog friend
ozJane
and
her sweet friend
MOGGIE
"Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.


You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.


Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 
Author unknown...


RAINBOW BRIDGE 


I love this quote that the video shared:


"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France



APOLOGY

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging rather than edit each one. So if you clicked from somewhere and ended up here and the post was unavailable, I am sorry. It would be too much work for me to go back through each one and fix. I guess I'm still learning. I apologize also to anyone who subscribes that perhaps received many old ones in your email. There's somewhat of an explanation on 7/19/17.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

This blog is ALL about HIM, for HIM, not about me!
I hope that is what you see
this is why I am



To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!

DIOS TE BENDIGA
GOD BLESS YOU

always

Peggy