Friday, September 25, 2009

If God is Good...

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You Were Born For This!

Over the last few months I have heard several people mention their frustration with their life "calling". What I have mainly heard is something along the lines of "There has to be more...." More what? More to dream? More to accomplish? More to keep us occupied?

For me, it is more peoples lives to touch. I have always known that I was given a gift of compassion by my Creator. At times it makes life hard. I hurt for others, not to mention being wounded easily, whether the wounds were intentional or not, but I stray off subject....

God has more for each of us. What does he call us to besides utilizing our gifts and talents? Besides the Great Commission? Besides loving Him with all our hearts, minds and souls? How about becoming a miracle delivery agent?!!! You heard me right!

Wouldn't it be wonderful to point others to God by helping them experience His love firsthand?

I was so excited to read Bruce Wilkinson's newest book, You Were Born for This, 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles.

This book can help shift your mindset to make you expect divine appointments, to ask for them, to recognize God's "nudge", and to direct the credit back to Him. One of the most significant things that I have had to deal with is fear. Wilkinson points out that fear can actually be confirmation that we are doing the right thing and we need to overcome our fear with faith.

My only concern with the book is that it all seems a little formulaic. An all-powerful God doesn't need "Step one" to follow "Step two", etc. to prove Himself mighty. But don't get me wrong, this book is full of great keys and freeing concepts.

One of the world’s foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other bestsellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS, and poverty in Africa. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta.

David Kopp has collaborated with Bruce Wilkinson on over a dozen bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jabez. He is an editor and writer living in Colorado.

Buy it here.

Stray Affections winner!

Well, I only had 3 commenters (1 on FB) this time around and that greatly improves your odds, people! So, I had the Random number generator generate numbers 7 times and #1 came up 3 times. Once again, congrats to S from Temple Transformation. Look for a new review tomorrow!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Much too busy...

A lot of our 'busyness' is a way for us to avoid thinking about what is most important. There's a difference between being busy and being productive. ~ Kristen Lippincott

Busy, Busy, Busy. Every night of the week. Monday - soccer, Tuesday - football, Wednesday - church, Thursday - soccer, Friday - football, Saturday - soccer x2. Not to mention bible studies, choir practices, laundry, grocery shopping, supervising homework, cooking....whew! I'm tired just writing it all down. And that's not all of it either. I know some of not being defeated by all the "busyness" is attitude, and trusting God to show me the "best" and not just the "good". What's the difference between the two? Read this devotional from Joyce Meyer.

I once heard a speaker (I think it was probably Joyce) that talked about how we often wear our "busyness" as a badge. "Look how busy I am!" "I'm important because I'm busy."

The truth is that "busyness" as Martha showed us in Luke 10:38-42, can often be a huge distraction. A distraction to the point that we can't see past it to what is truly important. Not that we have to become hermits and live in caves and divorce ourselves from every activity and ministry that we are involved in, but that we focus on our God and what He has in store for us. We allow Him to order our day, show us what is important and rely on Him to help us.

We can still be "busy" and do this! Every soccer season I usually have a bad attitude about all the busyness. I am trying hard to stay away from the bad attitude this year! God knows what has to get done. I have laundry right now that needs to be folded. I have dishes in the sink, but yet I felt God speaking to my heart to rest.

I've had headaches on and off this last week. Had my neck adjusted, taken naps, taken meds, still suffering. Talking with someone today, they asked me what had changed this last week. I thought back, I had dental work, probably not the culprit. I added a storytime, 2 soccer practices, 1 football practice to my already busy life with 4 kids....Hmm! I had a check in my spirit...."you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about". The person I was talking with asked if I had relinquished it all to God. Yeah! Um...honestly....NO! I haven't. So, here goes, "God, you know my heart, and I am searching for yours, I want to be effective in my home, in my family, in my world. Please show me the "best" every day, help to pull me back on track when I start to go astray. Keep my heart tender to your voice and your urging. Make me stop to enjoy you, and what you have made, the people you have put in my life, and the comfort of your Holy Spirit. Thank you God for your great mercy and love and that no matter where I am you can lift me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon the Rock!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stray Affections review and giveaway

Some people talk about being a victim of circumstance. We all have met them. Every bad thing in their life is the fault of someone else or some past experience. They have allowed that experience to shape their person. But sometimes, we meet a person that has overcome their circumstances. Someone who understands that circumstances aren't everything and often, aren't even what they completely appear to be.

OR we meet someone who has in the past allowed these things to shape their life and then there is a single moment that changes them.

Cassandra Higgins is that person. A bad relationship with her mother, a busy life with four children and Cassandra has a moment that changes her life. She gains perspective and relationship.

Cassandra becomes infatuated with a one-of-a kind snowglobe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. The globe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange–flurrious, as Cassie deems it–moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.
With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites you to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.
“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”

Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

Charlene introduces you to her book here -

Buy it here. OR
You can leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy. Please comment by Wednesday, September 16!

Meltdown giveaway winner!

S at Temple Transformation! Congrats! (in case you are wondering, she is on facebook and I have my blog linked to facebook, she commented there.) I add the FB comments to these and number them consecutively.

I'll contact you to get it to you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Toddler sleeping delusions

Our last Saturday before soccer begins. No where to be, nothing pressing to do....Gray skies, cool weather makes for great sleeping in...

Except, we have a sweet toddler girl who would sleep until 7 or 7:30 on school days (yes that is sleeping in around here), but today has to awake before 6! Hubby went in and tried to reason with her! Yeah, that worked!!???!!

So I picked her up and brought her into our bed, with hopes of more visions of sugarplums. Yeah....not happenin....

First she struggled free from my arms and touched Dad's face. Dad rolled over and ignored her to which she began chanting, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" 10 million times.
I snuggled her, she kicked me.
I tried giving her some space, she grabbed my arm and pulled it back around her.
She kicked me and jumped on the bed.
She used the bed as a drum.
She talked. What's with all the repetition?
She has some kind of a secret conspiracy going on with the cat too. He was meowing and running all over the house.
Why did I think she would go back to sleep? She is 2, and a bundle of energy....

I gave in....and got up....took her down to which she said "Dark in here, mommy?!" and I very calmly stated, "That's because the sun is still sleeping and I wish we were too!"

Oh well, plenty of time to sleep later,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Girl struggles

For the past year or so I have struggled with some insecurity and worrying about what others think about me or "perceiving" disgruntlement, real or imagined. I have come to a point that I know that what truly matters is how God sees me.

I need to focus on Him, what His Word says about who I am in Him and what He thinks of me. Whether or not others want to be around me or not should be irrelevant, as long as I am listening and following His direction and calling on my life.

But, as a woman, we are easily wounded. I see this as my oldest daughter enters junior high age. She has just started 6th grade and is struggling a little with girl relationships. She isn't the popular one. She is the hard worker that does well in school. She is the one who everyone wants to be friends/partners with when a project is due, but is rarely invited over to "hang out" or sleep over. My heart aches for her and even as I type this I know that as much as I want for her to be "included", it is so much more important that she feels God is her source and not "others". Excuse me while I grab a tissue...

I think this hits particularly close because I was the same way and distinctly remember how much it hurts.....

In fact I still feel often like the same insecure girl on the periphery, trying too hard.... Actually, sometimes, it is easier to not try at all, because rejection hurts too much. UGH!