I have discovered over the years, that life can be challenging. God desires to sustain us as we look for "splashes of His grace" every day. My desire is that through posts, or book reviews, you may find something that points you to the grace of God, and that He ultimately will make a difference in your life.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dreams and Visions by Tom Doyle

Living in America, I don't believe we can fully comprehend the difficulty people encounter when trying to share the gospel in countries where the gospel is not welcomed. Persecution of Christians around the world is a very real thing.  Sharing the good news about Jesus in these countries can cost you your life. It can be dangerous and at times, seemingly impossible, to get the gospel to people who are living in spiritual darkness. But what seems impossible to do by human standards, God can make possible.

Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World, is a captivating book by Tom Doyle with Greg Webster, which recounts what Muslims in the Middle East are experiencing through dreams and visions they have been having.  Jesus, Himself, has been appearing to them in dreams, sometimes in multiple dreams over days or weeks. Jesus reaches out to them in love and it's something they cannot ignore.  Doyle emphasizes that as he has gathered information from missionaries there, "no one says a dream recipient goes to sleep a Muslim and wakes up a Christian."  They still have to understand "that Jesus died for their sins and that this requires they repent and follow Christ for life."  How is this possible when people cannot freely share about their faith. It was fascinating to read how after a person would have a dream, God had already prepared someone to share the truth about Jesus with him or her. At great risk, these believers share the truth about Jesus to these "seekers".

Dreams and visions are found in both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible, so I do not hesitate to believe that God can still work in and through them today. If a person cannot go into these places easily, He is going Himself -- bringing Light into extremely dark places. The word "Muslim" can conger up fear in some people's minds, but Muslims are people God loves, and He is doing a mighty work in the Middle East, bringing them to faith in Jesus Christ through this unusual means.

I was humbled and in awe of the great commitment and risk these believers take in an effort to share their faith with people they come in contact with. They have been so impacted by Jesus, they are willing to die for Him, and as the people who are having dreams come to understand who Jesus is, they too are willing to face being disowned, beaten, jailed, or even killed for becoming a Christian.

I would highly recommend this book. May it open our eyes and give us courage to share about Jesus where we live.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the BookSneeze blogger program in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life

Luci Swindoll’s book, Simple Secrets to a Happy Life, is truly a delightful read. In the hectic and complicated day in which we live, it is refreshing to be reminded that true happiness can be found by doing simple things and enjoying everyday moments. This book transports the reader, in a sense, back to a simpler time. Luci Swindoll looks back and reflects on things her parents taught her, and things she learned through the years, and encourages her readers to put those things into practice.

The book is divided into five parts each containing ten, 2-3 page chapters:

                                   Part One: Beginning with the Basics
                                   Part Two: Developing Your Style
                                   Part Three: Achieving Balance
                                   Part Four: Living a Good Life
                                   Part Five: Staying Connected

The author's love of life, adventure, laughter, and people are evident in her writing. Though much of the book seems like common sense to me, a 51 year old woman, I wonder how much of our present generation knows and understands these things. We have been so indoctrinated with the concepts of “me first,” “accumulate much,” “instant gratification,” and “impersonal or surface connections with people,” that I fear we often miss out on those “simple things” that truly can bring a deep sense of joy and happiness. So if you need to be reminded to learn to organize your stuff, treat other people with kindness, value the things you have, allow yourself to be sad, engage people in fun conversation, thank others for their efforts, fight resentment before it festers, listen with your whole heart, or invite someone into your home, then you’ve only begun to discover some of the Simple Secrets to a Happy Life!

I received a complementary copy of this book through Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Delight yourself in the Lord

How often do you use the word "delight"?  It's kind of a fun word to me.  The word itself sounds free, light, and enjoyable when you say it!  It actually means to have or take great pleasure in something.  What delights you?  What do you delight in?

A couple of years ago I found myself going through an unexpected and difficult time. "Delight" was far from what I was experiencing, and yet the theme of "delight" kept popping up in the Scriptures I read, sermons I heard, and even in a Christmas gift I received from my sister-in-law.  She gave me a wooden plaque with the simple word "Delight" on it along with a verse from Zephaniah.  Tears welled up in my eyes when I opened it, and I had to explain to her that I really DID love her gift!  She had no idea what I had been dealing with God about that year, but God did.  Her gift to me was just one more confirmation from God that HE delights in me and wants me to delight in Him, even in the hard times.

When I had the opportunity to receive a beautiful tote from DaySpring, the "Delight Yourself in the Lord" tote jumped out to me.  Once again, it was a reminder of God's desire for me to delight in Him -- to take great pleasure in Him.  The Scripture on the tote, Psam 37:4 says:  "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  At first that may seem like a "blank" check!  But what I have come to understand is that when we truly take great pleasure in the Lord, the desires of our heart change.  It is then that the Lord is free to give us the desires of our heart, because our desires line up with His.

The tote is a beautiful white oil-cloth (leather-like) bag with a floral print and the verse, Psalm 37:4, printed on both sides.  The sides and bottom are an elegant black and white checkered design that just adds another dimension to the bag.  I like the long black handles too.  It makes carrying the tote on your shoulder very comfortable. 

Inside is a bright and "happy" pink lining.  There is a zippered pocket on one side, and a couple other organization pockets on the other side for your cell phone and other smaller things you may need quicker access to.  The tote is held closed by a magnetic closure which seems to hold securely. I think would be a wonderful travel bag for any trip or outing. It would also be great if you have children and need to have a handy tote for their books, extra set of clothes, and toys. The uses are limitless!  It's not only attractive and useful, but can serve as a way to share God's Word!

I also received a second tote to share with someone.  It is made out of jute (similar to burlap), and it has Phillippians 4:8 as it's theme. It lists those things that we should think about -- things that are true, noble, right pure lovely admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.  I'm thinking about giving this one to my daughter who is a school teacher.  It would be a wonderful way for her to carry her lesson plans, and supplies, and school things, back and forth from the classroom.  It could also serve as a reminder to her, that in times when she feels stressed or overwhelmed, the Lord desires for her "think and dwell" on these things instead.


  If you are in need of a tote for yourself or for a gift, now would be a great time to get one.  DaySpring is having a great Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale.  This includes both regular price and clearance totes.  You can find them by clicking here.  While at DaySpring.com, why not check out the other wonderful things they have to offer!

Disclosure:  I received these totes from DaySpring in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Christian Writer's Market Guide 2012 -- by Jerry B. Jenkins

Have you every dreamed about having your Chrisitan writings published, but didn't know how to go about doing that?  The Christian Writer's Market Guide is a resource that will help you do just that. The book is divided into four parts which list book publishers, periodical publishers, specialty markets (poetry, greeting cards, photography, music, short stories and more), and helps for writers.  As you search the lists of publishers you can find exactly which types of work they usually publish, thus narrowing down potential companies to send your book, article, etc. to give you better chances in having your work published.

Information about the publishers vary, but generally, most publishers list their physical address, email address, website if they have one, how many submissions they usually accept annually, the percentage of first time authors they publish, the subjects/types of books or articles they publish, the amount of royalites or advances they provide, how to submit your work, and much more.

The last part, "Helps for Writers," includes Christian Writers' Conferences and Workshops and Editorial Services both listed by state.  It also includes information about Christian Literary Agents that you can get in touch with if a publisher you desire to use requires an agent.  There are also a list of writing contests that you may want to enter!

Overall this book seems like a wonderful and comprehensive resource to get you well on your way to being published.

I received a complementary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my personal review.