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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Heaven Changes Everything

www.momofmany.wordpress.comIn the book Heaven Is For Real, 4-year old Colton Burpo told his parents that when he died, he experienced Heaven before he was revived. In this book, Heaven Changes Everything by Todd and Sonja Burpo, his family expounds on their experiences that came after the first book and how Colton’s story affected all of their lives.

They share more personal experiences and thoughts including Colton’s mother’s reaction to it all. The biggest encouragement in the book is to parents who have lost a child. She gives comfort and hope through her own perspective. The Burpo’s faith is woven throughout the book with encouragement toward making Christ the foundation in any life scenario.

Though not as interesting as their first book, I can see how it might be an encouragement to someone looking for answers, needing hope for their future because of a loss.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson through their Booksneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

A Kingsbury Collection

A Kingsbury CollectionKaren Kingsbury, though a good writer, presented these stories in a more negative way than I enjoy. Yes, life can be hard, discouraging and unfair, but I’m not anxious to read about it when I pick up a book. I prefer interesting stories without emotional drama that I desire to avoid in real life.

The first book is Where Yesterday Lives. The main character, Ellen, has to deal with her dysfunctional family after the sudden death of her father. She had issues with her four siblings in the past, and the death of her father just made things worse between them. Her mother was caught in the middle and just wanted them all to put things behind them and help her deal with her own loss. Adding to the drama, Ellen’s marriage was falling apart. Basically it’s about the Ellen’s struggles and efforts to make things right in her family.

I had a hard time getting into the book because of all the negativity. The book makes the point that the past highly affects the future and it is always better to deal with things as they come up rather than putting them off. Half way through I had to put it down just to give myself a breather from the story.

When Joy Comes to Stay is the story of Maggie, a woman who seems to have it all together but really is struggling with depression and anxiety. Between her mental/emotional struggles, marriage problems and dealings with two foster children, she comes face to face with her past. Because of past mistakes and difficult decisions she has had to make, Maggie finds her life beginning to fall apart, forcing her to rethink the past and make amends with those she has hurt.

The third book, On Every Side, tells the story of a town, Bethany, and a human rights group trying to remove a statue of Jesus from the park, citing Separation of Church and State as the back drop of their petition. Two old friends on opposing sides find that their past relationship causes more complications than they know how to deal with because their personal experiences and emotions get in the way. We see one woman’s faith tested and how it eventually helps her stand for what is right.

It is obvious this book was written to bring up some very important societal problems. Though I like to apply spiritual truths in every day situations, sometimes it is tiring when authors write books to make a statement rather than to entertain the reader. This seems to be the case here.

I received free copies of these books from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. My review is my own and I appreciate the opportunity.

By Faith, Not by Sight


By Faith, Not by Sight is the life story of Scott MacIntyre, a young man who from early on had an amazing gift for music, both in singing and playing instruments. He came from a musical family and was accomplished in his art early on, as early as 14 when he won a scholarship to study in London.

The amazing thing is that he was born legally blind and for a time during his advancement into the music industry he also suffered kidney failure, nearly losing his life in the middle of it all. Throughout the book, as the reader travels with him through each challenging stage in his life, his unfailing faith is obvious and it not only draws the reader in, but explains how MacIntyre did more than just survive; he thrived spiritually as he fought his way up the daunting ladder of musical success.  It is obvious his faith is personal and practical, even exceptional for one so young.

I found the book interesting, especially the parts that give an up close look at the life of someone struggling with blindness and kidney disease, how his family supported him, and how perseverance through dark times can be capped off with amazing success. The book did seem a little self-promoting, but the tone can be overlooked if the reader looks for the genuineness of a young man who obviously gives God the glory for his accomplishments, even if he doesn’t convey it fully in his writing.

I did come away with a sense of admiration for the young man and a greater understanding of how people can have peace through a serious illness.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

This Year: Dream Bigger, Start Smaller By Steven Furtick

greaterword-2I’ve met a lot of people who knew what it was to burn plows and set out to live for God but didn’t know what to do next. They prayed, they made a commitment—and they got stuck. As a pastor, I’ve seen it over and over again. As a man trying to live for God, I’ve experienced it over and over again.

I’m guessing you’ve made plenty of resolutions about stuff you needed to start doing or stop doing. Maybe you were going to start praying or reading your Bible more.

Or maybe you were going to stop smoking or boycott carbohydrates or stop looking at pornography or stop saying mean things about family members behind their backs. Maybe you decided to break away from a relationship you knew was unhealthy for you.

The way I see it, there are two major reasons why well-intentioned people like us get stuck after we burn our plows.

One, we don’t think big enough. Two, we don’t start small enough.

I’m not trying to talk like Yoda here. Thinking big enough and starting small enough are two sides of the same coin. So I not only want to motivate you to dream bigger dreams for your life. I also want to challenge you to take realistic steps of obedience that can actually make God’s vision come to pass.

After all, our God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). It is true that we often settle for dreams and visions that are far less than those God has for us. And He wants us to experience much more. If I didn’t believe that, the title of this book would be Samer.

So of course God wants you to believe big—it’s in His very nature. I’ve devoted my whole ministry to inspiring people with this truth. Preacher Dwight L. Moody made a statement that I love: “If God is your partner, make your plans big.” That way of thinking makes my heart race.

But we’re not going to see God’s bigger vision fulfilled in our lives just because we spend more time thinking transcendent thoughts. We don’t attain greater things simply by lying on the couch and concentrating on the possibilities of a better life. Alas, sitting for thousands of hours with my headphones on listening to Guns N’ Roses and imagining I was Axl Rose didn’t translate into my being the lead singer of the world’s most dangerous rock’n’roll band.

You do have to be willing to think big. But the active ingredient of God’s greater work through us is our willingness to start small.

I want to show you an incredible image in one of the first main-stage miracles Elisha performs after Elijah departs and leaves the ministry in his successor’s hands. It demonstrates the principle that small steps and hard work precipitate a move of God. That human action prepares the way for supernatural favor.

It comes from 2 Kings 3, and it goes like this:

King Joram is ruling over Israel during the years when the kingdom is divided. When the king of Moab rebels against him, the frightened king enlists King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom to help him. Their combined military force should be fearsome against the Moabites —but they almost immediately run out of water for their armies and animals. Now they are preparing to face a terrifying foe while facing an even more terrifying fate: dying of thirst.

Par for the course in Israel’s history, the crisis drives King Joram to look for divine help. He isn’t desperate for God, but he is desperate for a solution. King Jehoshaphat asks if there is a prophet who could consult God for them. A servant reminds him of Elisha, the artist formerly known as Mr. Plow. So the three kings and their entourages go looking for Elisha.

Elisha confirms to the kings that water will flow from Edom by the time the sun comes up the next morning. Their armies and their animals will have plenty to drink. The drought is almost over. God is going to deliver Moab to His people just as they prayed for. Hallelujah, somebody?

But he tells the kings to take a small, ludicrous step first.

This is what the Lord says: Make this valley full of ditches. (verse 16)

Why would anybody in their right mind dig ditches to hold rain that isn’t even in the forecast?

Because that’s the way faith works. When you know God has promised you greater things, you don’t wait for a sign to appear before you respond. The kings wanted a miracle. They would get their miracle. But first they got a work order: This is no time for the power of positive thinking. Tie a bandanna around your head and pick up a shovel.

It would have been great if all the army had to do was sit around thinking hydration-related thoughts or had a few guided exercises to help them visualize the water. But that’s not how God operates.

It’s as if God says, “If you really believe I’m going to do what I told you I would do, get busy. Show Me your faith, and then I’ll show you My faithfulness. Do your part. If you will do what I asked you to do, I will be faithful to My word.

“If you’ll dig the ditches, I’ll send the rain.”

The entire nation must have pitched in and dug all night, because they got it done. The next morning the water arrived. As promised. As always. The newly installed ditches were full of water, the armies and animals were refreshed, and the joint army easily overtook the Moabites.

I think Elisha used the process of ditch digging to teach Israel this important paradox of great faith:

Only God can send the rain. But He expects you to dig the ditches.

It really comes down to this: What small steps and practical preparations is God asking you to make for the greater life He wants you to live? What ditches is He asking you to dig?

You can’t expect God to entrust you with a big dream if He can’t trust you to make a small start.

You can’t have the apostle Paul’s walk with God overnight. Big dream.

But you can pray ten minutes a day beginning tomorrow. Small start.

You can’t entirely mend a broken relationship overnight. Big dream.

But you can have a conversation and open the door, write the letter, make the call, say, “I’m sorry.” Small start.

If your kid is far from God, you can’t bring him back overnight. Big dream.

But you could start praying for him every day. Small start.

Notice what Elisha doesn’t say; he doesn’t tell the kings to dig one ditch. No singular ditch digging on this prophet’s watch.

Instead, make this valley full of ditches. Plural.

Believe that God is going to send a lot of rain.

If we really believe God is an abundant God, ready and willing to bless our lives in greater ways than we could ever imagine, we ought to be digging all kinds of ditches. In our relationships. In our careers. In our ministries. In every area of our lives, there ought to be heavy-duty equipment on site. Moving dirt. Making preparation.

And we ought to dig ditches using every means available. We can dig ditches with our words. With our prayers. With our expectations. Even with our thoughts.

How many ditches are you willing to dig? How deep will you dig them? You’re not digging alone. And it’s not in vain. God has a downpour scheduled in your near future. The deeper you dig, the greater the rainfall has the potential to be.

Adapted from Greater by Steven Furtick with permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sent from my HTC Inspire™ 4G on AT&T


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Tangled Ashes

Tangled Ashes, by Michele Phoenix, is a Christian fiction novel that tells the historical story of a castle in Lamorlaye, France that was once used by the Nazis as Hitler’s baby factory during their occupation of France in, along with a modern story of the castle’s renovation.

In the modern day scenes, an American architect named Becker had been called in to renovate the Lamorlaye castle. He was a functioning alcoholic for years who struggled with a failed marriage that crippled him emotionally.  Because of his attraction to the owner’s nanny, Jade, he toyed with the idea of getting sober throughout the entire story. Alongside “Beck” we were introduced to a squatter named Jojo and the project designer, Terese along with the boss, Fuller and his family – the key players in the modern day plot.

Interwoven with the story of the modern day characters and their rocky on again off again relationships is the story of the castle’s former function as the headquarters of the Nazi officials and the baby factory that employed two maids, Marie and Elise.  This part of the book was interesting as it delved into the actual history of the castle, using the fictional story to bring out the historical value of Meunier manor, the same structure that Becker the architect is renovating in the modern day story. This part of the book didn’t resolve itself until the end of the modern day part of the book. It all came together quickly and left the reader hanging – to the point where it was obvious it was written with plans of a sequel, a sort of cliff hanger that fell flat.

Unfortunately I didn’t feel pulled into the lives of any of the modern day characters, though there seemed to be a possibility of that happening in the beginning of the historical account. I would have liked to have seen the characters in the WW2 part of the story more developed and the WW2 story to have been given a bigger part in the book. That was where I found the reading enjoyable. The book would have been a hit if it solely dealt with the WW2 baby factory/Nazi headquarters and the characters involved in the historical account.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review by Handlebar Publishing.

The Fourth Fisherman

ImageThe Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack is a true story about 3 fishermen who nearly lost their lives while lost at sea and a man who after telling their story, discovered what real life was all about.  After Joe had pursued a life of fame and fortune for many years, he became empty and depressed, not really understanding why his career success didn’t provide satisfaction in life. Kissack’s tale of The Fourth Fisherman contrasts the Mexican fisherman’s sage with his own, intertwining each of the men’s stories showing how each man chose to live his life and the results of those choices.

Salvador maintained his unwavering faith in dire circumstances because it was based on a belief that his God was in charge of every single detail and could be trusted to work out the present for God’s glory and his good. He was the stabilizing force in the boat that was lost at sea with four other men, Jesus, Lucio, Juan and Farsero. Joe on the other hand lived for himself and pursued the temporal rather than the eternal. He had everything, yet despaired of his life as if he had nothing. He found no satisfaction in the fancy cars, recognition or disposable money – a direct contrast to the fishermen in their tiny boat lost at sea.

This book shows the reader that a relationship with God that includes love for others brings much more satisfaction than a life lived for oneself. I recommend this book to those who may be searching for satisfaction in life and relationships. Joe’s salvation experience alone is worth the read. Both Joe Kissack’s and the fishermen’s stories show what the truly sold out Christian life is like – rewarding and full of adventure.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated for writing this review.