Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What I Know For Sure

"What I Know For Sure" by Oprah Winfrey

I used to be a big fan of Oprah's, I still like her but am not over the moon about her any more.  This book caught my eye at the library.  It's a book about things Oprah knows for sure, as the name states.  Things that she has learned throughout her life.  For the most part I agree with her although she does have a few askewed thoughts when it comes to God.  This is just a quick little book of a collection of good nuggets to keep in mind when you are walking this journey called life.  "Sometimes we get so focused on the difficulty of our climb that we lose sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb."  There is always something to be grateful for.  "When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it."  Where our focus lies is what becomes magnified so if our focus is on the good in our lives that is what becomes the greatest.  "You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more."  I love that.  We are to be more, keep growing and learning and loving.  "If I know nothing else for sure, I know that the big miracles we're waiting on are happening right in front of us, at every moment, with every breath."  It is just a matter of looking for them, of being open and aware and taking the time to notice.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Lost Boy

"The Lost Boy" by Mike Rossman

My friends husband wrote this book.  I've been waiting a while for its release.  First I'm so proud of this couple for sharing their story.  It's not an easy story and it took courage.  God is woven throughout their story though and they believe, as do I, that their story will be used to encourage others.  Mike is a testimony that God relentlessly pursues His children.  Mike was abused as a child and because of this lead a life of drinking to cover the pain.  He was determined to drink himself to death to end the pain he could not escape from.  After many years and many losses Mike finally found freedom in Jesus.  This story is hard and sad but our God is a good God and I have seen firsthand the blessings He has given Mike and his beautiful family.  "I wanted to be free, but I was convinced freedom would not be mine."  I have felt this, thought maybe healing was not for me in this life.  This is such a hopeless place to be.  "He reminded me of what my childhood should have been but never was."  Mike had a son and he desperatly wanted to be a good father but had too much pain to be able to be the father he wanted to be. His son was a reminder of all that he had lost.  "The dysfunction resulting from sexual abuse was consistent-shattered lives made worse through addiction, broken relationships, job loss, and incarceration."  Sexual abuse severs the soul and only God can repair it.  "Now I know when I find Jesus in it, He can use my story to bring freedom to others."  And Jesus is in all of our stories and He wants to use our hard stories to grow us and to bless others.  I can accept things in my life if I know that they will be used, don't let my struggles and pain be for none.  This is an amazing book of redemption and of God being faithful.  It is encouraging to those of us who have struggled from the pain of abuse.  God is there and He does care and He will take our pain and turn it for our God if we let Him.

Ragamuffin Gospel

"Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning

I know I'm about a decade behind in reading this book.  To me it wasn't as life changing as others have said but it was a good book.  The author writes about God's grace and how if we really believe in His grace, really believe it to our core, it will change how we do life.  We are but poor sinners and yet God loves us, loves us so much He died.  It is a truth that will transform you if you let it.  That someone could love us that much when we have failed and blown it too many times to count.  "When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes.  I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.  I am trusting and suspicious.  I am honest and I am still playing games.  To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark."  Christ died for the whole of you, not just the good parts.  "God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us."  His creation is designed to remind us how much He loves us.  I liked the reminder in this book that I can not do anything to make God love me more.  He loves me just the way that I am.  That can bring a lot of relief to a perfectionist.  If you are having a hard time grasping how much God loves you or understanding His grace this is a great book to pick up.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

"A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller

The author realizes that his life is very meaningful but that he has the power to change his story.  He figures out what makes a story powerful and uses that to edit his life to make it powerful.  We all have the power to make change happen.  We all have one beautiful life to live.  "These polar charges, these happy and sad things in life, are like colors God uses to draw the world."  "We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren't capable of remembering how we got here.  What I'm saying is I think life is staggering and we're just used to it.  We are all like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we're given-it's just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral."  How true, the things that are truly amazing, truly miraculous, become mundane.  The sun rising every morning is truly spectacular but it does it every morning so it looses it's coolness factor.  When we stop and actually think about these wonders they become wondrous to us again.  Stop and savor, stop taking for granted.  "People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.  But joy costs pain."  Because it does take work and the work is hard and long but in the end it is worth it.  "But fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life."  Fear stops us from really living.  "It made me think about the hard lives so many people have had, the sacrifices they've endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives."  The pain makes the beauty that much more beautiful.  "There is no conflict that man can endure that will not produce a blessing."  That is so encouraging, what we are going through has a reason, a blessing.  "After a tragedy, I think God gives us a period of numbing as a kind of grace."  "When we look back on our lives, what we will remember are the crazy things we did, the times we worked harder to make a day stand out."  Being willing to risk is what makes life worth living.  We can find beauty in the everyday but I think the memories are in the extraordinary.  "We don't know how much we are capable of loving until the people we love are being taken away, until a beautiful story is ending."  This book was an encouraging book to make your life matter, that we all with God's help can make our life meaningful.  It is when we give of ourselves that life finds meaning.

The Waiting

"The Waiting" by Cathy LaGrow with Cindy Coloma

This book is so good.  It is a must read.  It is an incredible story of a teenager who becomes pregnant due to being raped.  A teenager whose parents decide that the baby needs to be given up for adoption.  As the years pass that teenager, Minka, longs for her baby, never forgetting the few days they had together.  Minka feels like she has lost a part of herself and never stops praying for her baby girl.  When Minka is in her 90's an amazing gift is given to her, a miacle that she never gave up hoping for, she is reunited with her daughter.  This is such an inspiring and incredible story.  A story of never giving up hope.  An amazing story of redemption and the power of faith and love.  I highly reccomend it.  "She'd left her true home behind, in an upstairs room, in a bassinet, in the soft bundle she'd never hold again."  As the saying goes, home is where our heart is, and Minka's heart was with her child.  "They were children, after all, and children had to be encouraged toward good character-it didn't come without guidance."  Goodness isn't just in us, we have to be guided and encouraged to goodness.  "Minka had missed every second of it but she had waited, she had waited forever and she had kept her promise, she had never forgotten-and now, impossibly, her Betty Jane had been given back to her."  Never give up, never, ever give up on what the Lord can do.  "'The power of God...' Minka said, thinking of the decades of prayer that had led to this very moment."  She was so faithful, I am inspired by her faith.  "How could she understand it then-that one of her greatest blessings would come only through her greatest wound?  In her own life, the Lord had taken first.  And then, a lifetime later, the Lord had given back.  Blessed is the name of the Lord."   It is amazing how God turns our hurts into blessings.  He is faithful and always has a good plan.  It is so hard to see when we are in the midst of the pain but He turns our ashes into something beautiful.  

The Living Room

"The Living Room" by Robert Whitlow

Amy has vivid dreams at night, dreams that are starting to come true.  Her dreams begin to tell what is going to happen.  Amy doesn't want the responsibility that comes with this knowledge but she must take action.  Can she interpret them correctly?  What is God asking her to do?  Things start to get interesting when she starts having dreams regarding her work as a legal secretary.  I enjoyed reading this book.  It has a lot of twists that keep you on your toes.  The mix of dreams and reality keep the reader intrigued.  It is a good book that involves listening to God and having enough faith to follow what He is asking us to do.