"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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"FOR THE LOVE ..."


For the Love



"... Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards"


by Jen Hatmaker


Being that this is the first time for me to read a book written by Jen Hatmaker, I just had to take a little longer soaking in "For the Love ..." to grasp all that "... Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards" might have to say and why Jen is so popular and so "loved" by many. It did not take long for me to discover that clearly her gift is her humor and frank honesty of being REAL in her writing and world. Jen Hatmaker, recent release of "For the Love", is filled with her passion and compassion for the loves in her life, her family and others. Distinguished and known even on the back cover of this book as ... 


"The popular writer, blogger, and television personality reveals with humor and style how Jesus' extravagant grace is the key to dealing with life's biggest challenge: people.
The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning first with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, live for, go to church with, don't like, don't understand, fear, struggle with, compare ourselves to, and judge. People are the best and worst thing about the human life.Jen Hatmaker knows this all too well, and so she reveals how to practice kindness, grace, truthfulness, vision, and love to ourselves and those around us. By doing this, "For the Love" leads our generation to re-imagine Jesus' grace as a way of life, and it does it in a funny yet profound manner that Christian readers will love. Along the way, Hatmaker shows readers how to reclaim their prophetic voices and become Good News again to a hurting, polarized world." 


Jen Hatmaker has raised the bar on "impossible standards", in my humble opinion. She clearly is a "people person" and she stretches herself to the limits in loving and invites us to do the same: "love others", yourself and God! She relates to the reader in a comfortable, conversational way with practical and spiritual truths without ever sounding preachy. Expanding throughout "For the Love" with GRACE: first for your very own self; next for "all these people who live in your house" (namely family); then going beyond to friends, neighbors, strangers and enemies and finally the Church: "Church people, Not church people, and God". Each of these 4 parts has 5-7 chapters and ends with hilarious "thanks you notes". "For the Love" covers a wide range of topics: from marriage, family issues, schooling to fashion, Haitian moms, supper clubs, poverty, even social media. Her 10 points of marital insights to "dear darling lamb wife" (new wives and moms) certainly had some endearing truths delivered with her wit. 


I was pretty sure that the chapter on "Dear Kids" was my personal favorite ... until I read on and found each chapter more and more love-able! So then the one that spoke most to me had to be "Poverty Tourism". Oh my, what profound points and wisdom Jen Hatmaker makes as regards "short term missions", the church, the community, the outreach. She hits the nail on the head with her perceptive, excellent questions for every missional conversation, beginning with local leaders, local families, local perspectives ... "when the minority voices say the same things, those with privileges should listen." She bars no holds as she shares what she's learned from the mission field from missionaries and her own. I appreciate her direct words and insights that inspire us to "indeed help instead of hurt ... a noble, necessary work". Awesome, heartfelt expressions throughout even when surrounded by humor, Jen Hatmaker is sure to convict and deliver a real substance message of giving and receiving Grace. Jen has the capacity to deepen the conversation in minutes from humor to serious. You will laugh and love this best-selling author and understand much better how to:

  • " Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest life. 
  • Learn to engage our culture’s controversial issues with a grace-first approach. 
  • Be liberated to love and release the burden of always being right. Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in, know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway friendships. 
  • Escape our impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of “mostly good.” Laugh your butt off.


"For the Love ..." by Jen Hatmaker, will actually make you want to do better and stand up and shout as we press forward and "...fight for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards" where we can join Jen Hatmaker saying:
"I hope the world sees a community with wide-open arms, which comforts and welcomes and seems determined to build one another up. I hope they find us kind and generous, committed and loyal. The church raised me, held me tight, and continues to be my steadfast family; and I haven’t the slightest idea where I would be without her. May we show love in big and small ways, and may that love reach people accustomed to being shamed or ignored. The bright stars shouldn’t get all the attention; let’s search for those whose lights are dimmed, because we are not a tribe of supernovas but of steady, collective light. ... May the world see a thankful, committed family who loves their God, adores their Savior, and can’t get enough of one another. This is a story that saves, a story that heals, and the right story to tell. ... You are writing a good story for your children. Your community and church need you, your neighbors and family need you ... Our generation will cross the finish line having loved God and people with all our might. We’ll have imperfect lives to offer, sure, but I dream of heaven, seeing millions of folks loved by our hands, where hopefully we’ll hear: “Well done, good and faithful servants. You sure were fun to watch.” ... I hope our community is marked by grace and affirmation instead of defensiveness and exclusivity. Sure, some wander down paths we don’t understand, but there is room in the neighborhood for all of us."
Wise-JenHatmaker

So many wise quotes from my highlights of "For the Love...", which defines love through every facet of Jen's fabulous fight for Grace beyond her own life into the world. "...Let’s fulfill the good work we’ve been commissioned to. Silence any voice that whispers “not enough” and stand in truth as an approved worker. You are. Jesus made you so." More than enough encouragement and so much appreciation exemplified by Jen. If you love humor and God's truth, I highly recommend you add this as a finishing touch to your summer reads! 

You'll laugh, learn and love so much more. Thanks Jen!

Jen Hatmaker quote from her new book For the Love
[image credit]

Thanks Book Look Bloggers for making this book available in ADE for me to read & review!

Disclosure of material connection: I received this book free from the publisher Thomas P. Nelson through their 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

GO HERE
for an added
BONUS
of 
Faith Gateway's
BOOK CLUB
for
just 4 weeks
with
JEN HATMAKER
and
"FOR THE LOVE"

{perfect timing-this was in my email today-yeah}

Like I wrote --- Fun way to finish off the summer with Friends



Monday, August 17, 2015

"WAITING ON GOD ..."

Waiting on God books

... What to Do When God does Nothing" 
by Wayne Stiles

I could not wait to launch into reading the new release by Wayne Stiles: "Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing" because I truly loved reading his wonderful devotional of "Going Places with God" - a real adventure through the Bible and the Land of the Bible which he made come alive through his knowledge of both and I felt like I was actually there as I read for the 90 days. So I was sure that I'd receive the same knowledge and wonderful writing on a topic that each of us face in our lives' journey both spiritually and physically: waiting. I began reading right away enthusiastically wanting a solution to my waiting and why it seems to us as mere mortals that sometimes while we are waiting, it really does seem like God isn't doing anything, especially as regards answers to prayers that we wait and wait, ask and ask, to see God respond and work on behalf of our prayer requests {mine happen to be "waiting" on the salvation of a loved one, but I'm certain we all have prayers that we are waiting for God to answer - any answer, any sign}. After reading Wayne's other book, I was confident that he would have good spiritual insights and inspiration for me to keep on "waiting", and this book does not disappoint.

I totally delighted in Wayne's retelling of the well-known Biblical story of "Joseph" with his wisdom, wit and knowledge of the Bible and its land that far exceeds any other I've read. Wayne divides "Waiting On God..." into 3 parts: (1) Leaving Home (2) Letting God and (3) Coming Home with 4 or 5 chapters in the first two parts and then finishing in the last part with 2 wonderful chapters that bring it all home. The refreshing insights in each chapter stand alone and also bring hope as we wait on God for "whatever" as we see the character of Joseph also had to do in a huge gap of twenty-two years of waiting. The Lord took a long, long time to bring about a joyful reconciliation and resolution for Joseph with the relationships that had hurt Joseph so deeply, as He will and can with ours. "In the midst of those years, God refined Joseph ..." as He does with us and others in our lives. However, I appreciate this that Wayne points out: "waiting on God for someone else to change makes for long days." "In the long gap before the resolution, we really cannot presume God's only work will show itself in the other's heart and attitude..." meaning that there's a work going on in us as well with something for us to learn in the "waiting". 

Waiting is hard. It goes completely against our human nature and tendencies. "Waiting on God, as a believer, is a profound expression of trust in God's sovereignty rather than our lack of faith." God will give us the desires of our hearts but sometimes He has us wait so we must be still and confidently trust that God is working while we wait. God wants us to wait patiently but also expectantly (as Psalm 130 tells us). Wayne reveals so many truths and vivid insights through Joseph and applies them to our own lives while sharing with candor from his own life's experiences. Wayne writes with much wisdom yet humbly giving us encouragement as we wait with never giving up. This is one of the many highlights that stand out from Wayne's wisdom:


"We walk a journey of discovery and its end is glorious. For some of us, the resolutions we yearn for will only come at the very end - in glory. Ultimately, that's what we're waiting on God for." Wayne Stiles


I have read two other exceptional books with the title "Waiting On God": one by Cherie Hill and the other by Andrew Murray, and this one by Wayne Stiles ranks right up there with these with profound, practical perspectives on "waiting"; with his brilliant study of Joseph and the lessons he portrays for us as he writes:


"Where did Joseph get the wisdom to wait on God
versus grabbing what seems expedient?"

this and so much more like this
challenges us as readers and believers while reading
"Waiting On God - What to Do When God does Nothing"
changing our own thinking and life
learning lessons on the how and going deeper with our
"waiting"
knowing that God is at work even in the gaps
as we wait
we will grow and live
"with continual hope of promises we don't yet see"
with an eager expectation
take the limits off our perspectives for God's perspective
in our waiting

Of course, my favorite part, was watching
Wayne weave God's Grace
throughout every part of
"Waiting"
whether it was Joseph or our own

"Whatever it is you're waiting on God for,
remember the fulfillment of all your longings 
is ultimately found in Jesus."
and 
affirmed in the last words in the Bible of what we're really
waiting for:

Revelation 22:20

"...Come Lord Jesus."
waiting-sea-graphic
Special Note: If you WAIT until August 18th to get this book, the author has a great deal for you 
HERE. Oh, and I actually don't agree with that last part of Wayne's title, nor does his book seem to; because even when we don't SEE God DOING anything, He really is ... and that's what faith is all about as Wayne Stiles wrote. I really don't think God ever does NOTHING because even His Nothing is something for us. The key for me may be: "I'm not waiting on God, He's waiting on me." {from one of my daily devotional readings today}

Disclosure of material connection:
I received this book free from the publisher and as part of the author's launch team. 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


And I could not help but think of this song as my best conclusion and response:




and 
my new favorite 
"Here Waiting"
as my prayer
with
Cindy Cruse Ratcliff at Lakewood Church


"Oh Lord would You come close
Everything else can wait
I am here for You alone
This is the time and place

Don't be far from me
I'm here waiting on You
God, I'm not moving
I'm here waiting on You"


Monday, August 10, 2015

"FERVENT ..."

FerVent
"... a Woman's Battle Plan for Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer"
by
Priscilla Shirer



Every Christian needs a strategic warfare plan of PRAYER against the enemy who has a personalized attack against each of us which is bent on destroying us and knows our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, so this battle plan written so tactically from the wisdom and best selling author, speaker and teacher, Priscilla Shirer is a guide that we all need. I highly recommend for everyone because we all need to get serious and busy on our knees in prayer and have a warfare plan with "serious, specific and strategic prayer" as outlined by one who really seems to know and applies what she preaches and teaches so well. I chose this book purposefully and waited for it to become available in a digital copy because I knew that I most definitely need the practical approach and clear information that Priscilla shares on prayer as I've been reading and listening to her present on the Armor of God at her blog with "Going Beyond Ministries" through her #WFA Summer Series (W=War Room, F=Fervent ... A=Armor of God). 

{It's been so helpful and quite refreshing each week. And I can't wait to see Priscilla and Beth Moore in the upcoming movie "War Room" (which will be released August 28th, 2015) which this book and others like it are related to this movie by the Kendrick Brothers.}

Blog_Banner - NS - Final - 3
{Of course, since I'm reviewing Priscilla's Fervent book, I consider this one my favorite and the best but they all look good and the journal too. Can't wait to see the movie.}


The Introduction to "FerVent" begins with "This Means War" followed by "Opening in Prayer" ... with a quote leading into this from "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" in a dialog between Theoden and Aragorn, who states:

"Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not."

And so it is, "because this is war", "the fight of your life", a "very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you, assaulting you, coming after your emotions, your mind, ... your future" ... "but his reign of terror stops here", "stops now", ... "he won't have victory anymore" "because it all starts failing when we start praying" ... these are fighting words that we need in our daily battles and prayers with mindsets filled by the Holy Spirit to confront and out do our enemy with know how and tactics ... strategies. 



This is not just a book about "prayer", to merely talk about prayer or think about praying, it's a practical book to pray specifically and strategically in a plan we develop to our own personal needs and life ... as we go along learning that "praying with precision is key" and that's exactly what Priscilla does as she guides us chapter by chapter in Strategies as we practice implementing the incredible power tool of prayer ... as Priscilla so beautifully puts this ... "Prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth" {WOW, love that!}

At the end of each chapter in this book, Priscilla leads us "to compose a strategy of prayer in regard to our own life in that particular area", which I found extremely valuable to do. So you develop your own personal prayer strategies as you continue through each chapter of 10 Prayer Strategies (explained well on pages 15-17 with a Scripture for each one from the compilation of a poll and these as the most common categories from the responses): against 1) your passion, 2) your focus, 3) your identity, 4) your family, 5) your confidence, 6) your calling, 7) your purity, 8) your rest and contentment, 9) your heart and 10) your relationships. I most certainly need a strategy in every one of these areas and I'm sure that you do also. But of course, there are more ... this is just to get us started designing our own prayer room with strategies, prayer plans, and PRAYERS. I can't get enough of Priscilla's solid Biblical & practical teaching.

Each chapter includes at the end "A Call to Prayer" which supplies Scriptures for that area. I love how each chapter begins with "If I were your enemy, ..." and then gives us a realistic viewpoint of how the enemy sees this area as a way to attack ... or how ... the descriptions are ever so clever and accurate. Priscilla is very good about interweaving Bible teaching throughout this book as she shows us God's Promises and examples in His Word. This definitely arms us with ways to fight back because "FerVent Prayer is fueled by passion" ... "FerVent Prayer relies on Focus" ... "because FerVent Prayer keeps your true identity in focus, reminding us of who we really are and taps into the power we really have in Christ" ... and on and on through each strategy, showing us and calling us to pray fervently for our families, our children, our spouses, our pasts, our fears, our pressures, our hurts, our purity, our relationships ... our future and our world, our very lives depend on us praying.

I've read and respect Stormie Omartian and her many books on "Praying..." but this one from Priscilla is a definite go-to-book, a "Must Read" and Apply these practical strategies to be effective in striking back with a God given weapon that works! This is a hands-on warfare manual teaching us God's plan and promises to have victory in our prayers that I know I will return to often as a tool to enhance my PRAYER as a winning weapon! After all, James 5:16 confirms that "the effective, fervent prayer avails much ..." so we all need to become more effective and praying fervently will avail and prevail God results in our lives. We all need this book as a unified body of Christ saying "Amen" ... and let it be so! 


Disclosure of material connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Net Galley. 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



* I really have so much more that I want to express about Priscilla's Fervent book but don't want to reveal more of this excellent tool to aid us. However, I'd like to make further note of following along with Priscilla at her #WFA Summer Series (maybe you'll win a copy of her book or other giveaways) or checking out more of the resources at the War Room site and also a Book Club I found that is doing this book really well each week finishing before the movie releases with Darlene on her blog

Fervent

I have so much PASSION when it comes to
FERVENT PRAYER
and 
this book gives me better strategies
to be an effective warrior


Here are added video blessings with Priscilla on our ARMOR ... 
*another great Bible study by her! {the "A" in her WFA Summer Series}

"Begin the Battle on Your Knees"
{great 7 minute clip to fuel your passion}

Promo
{57 seconds of a powerful invitation to join}

Armor of God
Session 2 
Session 4 
Session 6

{fantastic 7 session study}

"All day, every day, an invisible war rages around you — unseen, unheard, yet felt throughout every aspect of your life. A devoted, devilish enemy seeks to wreak havoc on everything that matters to you: your heart, your mind, your marriage, your children, your relationships, your resilience, your dreams, your destiny."

Learn How the Enemy Always Fails When He Meets a Woman Dressed for the Occasion" ~ Priscilla Shirer

OK, so let's suit up and fight!

Let's
BE
FERVENT
in our
prayers




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.
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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