Our Hope Endures

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This song, Our Hope Endures, by Natalie Grant, is special to me. It speaks to my heart. It brings back memories of when Mari sang it for a special in her church one day when I was there. It's my heart's cry.  Our hope endures the worst of conditions...

So many are hurting right now. A little boy named Casey, going through chemotherapy and his mama that walks each step with him. Friends getting over surgeries, others that live with chronic pain or looking for a diagnosis. Many with financial problems, hard decisions to make, young adults figuring out their future... So much. But God gives us hope and that hope helps us to endure it all. I honestly don't know what I would do without my faith in God.

"When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it." 

--2 Corinthians 1:7 (The Message)


Within My Heart, Bethany House Book Review

>> Saturday, October 9, 2010

I've just finished the last page of the book, Within My Heart, by Tamera Alexander, and the tears still fall.  Wow!  I think this is one of the best fiction Christian books I've read in awhile.

The book is about a young widowed mother of two boys trying to overcome the pain of her husband's death while taking care of their ranch in Timber Ridge, Colorado in 1877.  The book starts out a bit confusing but now that I'm finished, I see how cleverly she set up future scenes.

Rachel, thanks to her father, has extensive medical knowledge but because of his emotional abuse to her, she spurns any thoughts of becoming friends with the the young (single) physician in the small town - who, we learn, battles his own fears.

There is also an older couple, Ben and Lyda, who have their own struggles but cling to each other and God like there is no tomorrow.

Charlie Daggert helps Rachel on the ranch as much as he can while he helps out Ben in his shop and many other odd jobs.  This man is full of secrets and, as I read, was hoping they would be revealed, and they were.

This book is definitely a romance in every aspect of the word:  an older couple shows us how to love against all odds; a widower shows us how to love her boys and carry on after the death of her beloved husband; a young doctor shows us how to love God and give Him all the credit for his knowledge and accomplishments in his field of work; and it shows new love, full of fear but ready to keep loving the past yet love the future just as much or more.

What impressed me the most about this book was how the author tied up all the loose ends.  Not all at the end, either.  I followed her through each twist and turn and never quite had the path figured out, especially not the ending.  Wow!  Great book.  I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a good historical romance.  Her descriptions are a bit edgier than what I've read from other Christian romance authors but I liked it.  Very true to life.


City On Our Knees, by Toby Mac

>> Sunday, October 3, 2010

I have to say, "WOW!" I love this book, City On Our Knees, by Toby Mac.  Kids picked it up while it sat on my public high school desk, and marveled at its cover.  It is a pretty slick, hardbound book.  One kid even mentioned he loved that Toby Mac song.  It's awesome to see who the Christian kids are (and seeing them live out that Christian life.)

"If we gotta start somewhere why not here," on the front cover, says it all.  We are in this world - let's do something to make it better.  This book is a collection of short true stories of people - very young to old, from the past and current, who have or who are making a difference in our world.

As I read it, I wrote down page numbers of things I wanted to go back to write on. Page 129, I said, was my favorite.  I just now looked it up and it was the story of Charles Spurgeon and the orphanage he started.  One day he had no idea where the children's breakfast was coming from.  The kids all sat and they prayed at their empty plates.  Then someone at the door knocked....  I'll let you read that awesome story.  I'd heard it before but it still reminds me of the power of prayer.

"Prayer itself is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach us. Pray for prayer. Pray until you can really pray."  -- Charles Spurgeon
Another favorite, probably my most favorite of all, is about a woman during the Dwight L. Moody days.  She was sick and unable to go to church.  She prayed while homebound and her prayers blessed Pastor Moody in ways he didn't understand until he met her.  One thing this woman did was have a birthday book.  I think it was like a yearly calendar.  She had people's birthdays written in there that she wanted to pray for.  She said this, "Now, will you write your name on your birthday page, and let me pray for you until either you or I go home."  Wow!  That is a ministry.  This woman's name was Marianne Adlard.  What a powerful woman she was because she loved God and believed in the power of prayer!

These are all stories from the past but the ones in the present are awesome, too. I highly recommend this book.  It really is a quick read and it's set up much like a blog, very trendy.  It's great for all ages, tweens, teens, to us 'old people.'

The author has his own prayers scattered throughout, along with verses from the Bible that fit each story. I will end this review with his:

Prayer of Hope.

Dear loving God,
Help us to remember, when we begin to lose hope,
that all the darkness in the world
is just a speck in Your light,
a light that fills the universe.
when pain and confusion invade our lives,
Let us not rely on our own resources.
Instead, lead us to seek answers on our knees.
Lord, show us Your way,
Lord,lead us to Your destination.
We thank You for being our beacon of hope,
A beacon we can always see, if we will only look.


Dancing in the Minefields

>> Saturday, October 2, 2010

I watched a music video this morning that is awesome and I wanted to share it - Andrew Peterson's, Dancing in the Minefields.

Wow!  This song reminds me of many couples who have danced in the minefields, sailed in the storms, lived and are living through times that are harder than they ever dreamed they would live.

  • A pastor and his wife, living for God no matter what.  
  • Two different husbands going through physical hardships and both wives sticking close and making the most of each day.  
  • My parents are the ultimate example for me.  They married very young, at 16 and 17, had kids when they were still young, they brought us all up in the Christian faith, they had their own troubles but they stuck together.  Are sticking together.  Will forever stick together.  That is one thing I can know because God is in the center of their lives.  They've danced through their own minefields and have survived and have grown closer because of it.  

Jim and I both dance in our minefield.  Both struggle with some physical problems but are learning to cling together through it all.

I'm praying this Saturday will bind us closer together to the ones we love.  Maybe even have take some time to cheer on another couple facing hardships.  Praying for these couple friends of mine, that they will continue to dance, always together, through the storms that blow their way. Thank you for being an example when the world screams the answer - DIVORCE.   Is hard to dance alone, for sure.


We went dancing in the minefields 

We went sailing in the storm 

And it was harder than we dreamed 

But I believe that’s what the promise was for 

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words 

The beginning of the end 

But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin 

Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down 

And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found 

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