Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Renewed In Ministry

     I have to tell you something I remember I said when I was a little girl. I can still picture where I was at the exact moment I said it. I was eight years old in a tree I had climbed across the street from my house (one of my favorite things to do at the time). I was facing my house and talking to God. I told God, “I never want to marry a pastor or minister because I don’t want to have to go to church all the time.” 

     Can you believe I said that! I feel embarrassed and kind of laugh at myself now…I’ve been married to a man that has been in the ministry for ALL fifteen years of our marriage this July! And you know what, I love it! And, I do go to church all the time and am really thankful I do so. I love supporting my husband in what God has called him to do. Our lives and marriage have been blessed. God has spoken to me countless times during church services throughout all these years. God has done so much in and through my life because of church. 

     With that being said, there have been many joys and challenges with being married to a man in the ministry. I have tried to glean wisdom from books on the topic and pastor's wives that I personally know. One book that particularly blessed me was Renewal on the Run (Embracing the Privileges and Expectations of a Ministry Wife) by Jill Briscoe. Jill's wise and simple words brought a lot of encouragement and insight into ministry life. It helped me accept that my life and marriage in the ministry are unique, as well as my position as a pastor’s wife.

 Have you thought?

How do I keep going in ministry when I feel drained?
How do I support my husband? I feel like he's into it more than I am.
How do I handle people in the church criticizing my husband?
Do I have any real friends to hang out with and who I can be myself with?
Do people in the church expect me to act a certain way or do certain things?

 Then, this book would be good for you!

Best For:  Women married to a pastor or minister; HOWEVER, I do believe this book would be great for every Christian woman whether your husband is in some form of ministry or not. We are all ministering for the Gospel as Christian believers, and the key points that Jill shares are relevant to us all.

Overview:  Jill has been in the ministry for over forty years now and has compiled a book of advice and wisdom on her role as a pastor’s wife. She shares touching personal stories of the struggles and blessings of ministry life. Also, Jill encourages the pastor’s wife to be who God has created her to be with the unique gifts He’s blessed her with. "Be yourself," Jill would say. She also encourages the wife in ministry to put God first as her ultimate priority and to spend time with God for renewal. I love her lists at the end of the book on “Nine Practical Ways of Dealing with Criticism” and “Practical Ideas for Battling Busyness”.

A Few Quotes:
“According to one fact-finding group, too many pastors’ wives had no trusted friend, and many have no person they could go to for support or indeed have any support group at all. But guess how many of those women asked for help when they really needed it? One percent. Only one percent shouted, ‘Help!’ even though they were hanging on by their fingernails.”

“Therefore God must be at the center of our partnership. We must bank on His involvement. He is ‘for’ us. Then we need to operate under the assumption that we, too, are as committed to ministry as our husbands are. If not, we are going to have a miserable time in full-time service. It is from this source of commitment-His and ours-that we get the excitement and joy that accompany fruitful ministry.”

 “You see, you may be a ministry wife, but God never forgets that you and your family need ministering to as well. We think that we spend our lives serving others, but the Lord has a twofold plan. He wants us to learn how to serve others and become more like Him. And then He turns around our serving and our situations to heal us, to care for us, and to grow us up, often through the very people we have helped.”

“Looking back over fourteen years of missionary work and thirty five years as a pastor’s wife, I find that the things that knocked me off my feet more than anything else have been (and continue to be) the criticisms of other Christians. Living with disapproval can drain you of all your good resolves to put the King first.”

“Encouragement cannot harm people-a loving word from you will always help somehow, if even a little, if only for a moment. As ministry wives, our skills and callings are varied, but we can be unceasing encouragers.”

My Thoughts:
     I read Jill’s book a few months after I was struggling with what my purpose was in God. I was wrestling with a spirit of defeat, frustration and unrealistic expectations of myself and others-especially of being perfect. But, I realized I don’t have to be a perfect pastor’s wife. "So," I was asking God, "What do You want me to do?"

Some main points in Renewal on the Run that spoke to me and brought clarity to my role were:

1.       I need to live and use the gifts that God has given me whether I’m married to a pastor or not. God still created me for a purpose.

2.       I need to understand where my friendships lie in the diagram (below) Jill so accurately showed in her book. I love how she explains Jesus' friendships within this diagram. Jill stated that "Jesus Himself had friends: twelve good friends, three very good friends, and one best friend...[and] the seventy-Jesus' close acquaintances...Beyond that was the space representing the multitudes." Jill explained that Jesus had people that fit into each of these circles in His life. It helped me so much on my perspective on friendship. I asked myself, "Who are the people that fit into these circles in my life?" Also, I was encouraged that I can’t be dependent on my husband for my one and only friendship. That’s not realistic nor fair to him, too. I need people in my life that will nurture my walk with God, as well as friends that I can encourage.

3.       My perception of the 9-5 hour work day for my husband is unrealistic. I am called to obey God at all times and that may mean letting my husband go to a meeting during the week or counsel a marriage in the evening when I would want him home. God spoke to Jill that she can’t have hours like a post office-she and her family must be available at all times. Reading that freed me to expect to be available at any time, not just when it’s convenient for me and my family. After reading this book, what I thought were negatives, I now see as positives.

4.       My time with the Lord is KEY! I need times of refreshing-setting aside time to be in God’s presence, to hear His voice, and to listen to what He has to say. Jill says at the end of the book, “but remember that your resource for encouragement, courage, and strength is in the care and provision of God.” Everything I need can be found in JESUS!

    I am so thankful for the privilege of being married to a pastor. We have been so blessed to serve God’s church. I’m thankful for the encouragement along the journey. God is so good!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jesus Relates to Teachers

Then Jesus took his disciples up on the mountain and gathered them around him.
And he taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Blessed are the meek.  Blessed are the merciful.  Blessed are you who thirst for justice.  Blessed are you who are persecuted.  Blessed are the peacemakers.”
And Simon Peter said, “Do we have to write this stuff down?”
And Philip said, “Will this be on the test?”
And John said, “Could you repeat everything you just said?”
And Andrew said, “But John the Baptist doesn't make his disciples learn all this stuff?”
And Matthew said, “Huh?”
And Judas said, “What does this have to do with real life?”
Then one of the Pharisees, who was an expert in the law, said, “I don't see any of this in your syllabus.  Do you have a lesson plan?  Is there a summary?  Where is the student guide?  Will there be any follow-up assignments?  How will this affect the bell curve?
And Thomas, who had missed the sermon, came to Jesus privately and said,
“Did we do anything important yesterday?” 
And Jesus wept.
~Author  Unknown

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Knowing Yourself

1. What we want most.

2. What we think about most.

3. How we use our money.

4. What we do with our leisure time.

5. The company we enjoy.

6. Whom and what we admire.

7. What we laugh at.

~A.W. Tozer, as quoted in Lists to Live By

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quote from Merlin Carothers

 "God has a perfect plan for our lives, but he cannot move us to the next step until we joyfully accept our present situation as part of that plan."

~Merlin Carothers

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Impact of Attitude

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes."

~ Charles R. Swindoll

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I Read To My Kids

 Become a Soldier for Jesus

  I recently read a book to my three kids called, Teddy's Button By Amy Lefeuvre (a Lamplighter Book found at their website here). We sat down on our couch, all snuggled up together, and I read a few chapters aloud to them. The first day I started the book, my son, Marcus (my ten year old) was begging me to continue reading! He didn't want me to stop. He was enjoying it that much! Of course, this was music to my ears. I love to hear my kids wanting to listen to more books, and more of mommy reading to them.

 Teddy's Button is about the story of a young boy that gives his life to God. Before he did this, he was a mischievous, little boy that had a difficult time caring about others (especially a girl named Nancy). Teddy's most precious possession was the button from his dad's coat, who died as a soldier in the army. All Teddy wanted to be when he grew up was a soldier, too. However, the pastor spoke to him about being in God's army.   He told him that he could be one of God's soldiers right away if he gave his life to Him. Teddy contemplated the decision and decided to do it. He began to change and build better relationships with Nancy and others in the village. Teddy's goal changed so that all he wanted to do was encourage others to join God's army, too.

A Quote from the Book:

 “…I went to God and enlisted. I did it quite by myself in the wood. You can do it too, Bouncer-give yourself to God as His soldier, and He’ll take you and keep you. He gave His life for you, and now he wants you to give your life to Him.”

What my kids thought of this book:
  • They were so excited when I told them it was time for me to read Teddy's Button!
  • They always wanted me to keep reading and to not stop when I said it was time..."One more chapter!" they begged.
  • Marcus liked how Teddy enlisted to be God's soldier, and Rob liked that Teddy's friend, Nancy, enlisted as well.
  • Rob learned that God can build friendships like he did for Teddy and Nancy.
  • Marcus learned that each of us have an enemy, ourselves, and that God will never leave us.
  • Allie simply enjoyed listening to the book.


  A few of my thoughts on this book:
  • Some fancy language-even I had a hard time pronouncing a few words (written in the 1800s vernacular), yet I like to be challenged in my reading and vocabulary skills
  • I love the strong, moral issues it talks about (giving your life to God, self-control, respect, love)
  •  I love the main character. Teddy had such a heart to live for God. I desire my kids to read about and aspire to be like him.
  • The book is about kids, and I can relate the issues in the book to what my kids have experienced or might in the future (ie. I asked each of them, "Have you enlisted in God's army? What does that mean to you?) 
  • I loved the emphasis of the book on living for God and trying to love people as God does.

    At first, I had to summarize the book for Rob (my seven year old). Allie (my five year old) was not comprehending as much as the boys at first, but she did as I kept reading and talking about it with the kids.

     The website has some character comprehension quizzes and answer keys that are free for you to download (see here).  It's a great way to test their comprehension and talk about the story. There is a quiz & answer key for Teddy's Button, but unfortunately they don't have quizzes for every book yet.

*They also have INCREDIBLE audio series CDs available, too!
*I mention this company because my family has been so blessed by their resources, and I want you to be, too.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Quote from Barbara Johnson

    "It is better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember."

    ~Barbara Johnson

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Quote from Vince Pittman

    "The primary call on my life is not a call to ministry, it is a call to intimacy. Ministry is what He does out of the overflow of intimacy. Everything Jesus desires to do through my life He will do as the overflow of His love relationship with me."

    ~Vince Pittman

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Book Review: The Bait of Satan

    Free from Offenses
     In the beginning of this year, I read the book, The Bait of Satan (Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense) by John Bevere. It's one of the most powerful books I've read.

    Best For:  People that may be experiencing a wall in their relationship with God and not sure why; people that want to know how to deal with people and past situations that have offended them; people that want to develop healthy, loving relationships; people that want to grow in their walk with God

    Overview:  John Bevere shares how offenses are the breeding ground for the enemy. They entrap us. John powerfully reveals the truth of God in regards to offenses. He exposes how we fall in to this trap and also offers hope in how to avoid it. His last chapter focuses on the objective of reconciliation. We must deal with our offenses in order to move forward in our relationship with God and to have healthy, strong relationships with others. The book conveys John’s personal stories, those of others, and how God helped them release their offenses to God. As a result, great things happened in their lives. Every chapter has a testimony of how God used this book to help someone deal with a heart of unforgiveness. There is a thirty day devotional at the back of the book as well as a thirty minute DVD sermon by the author.

    Some of John Bevere’s points in the book are:
    • ·         What is an offense?
    • ·         The consequences of holding onto offenses
    •       How an offense leads to betrayal
    • ·         Dealing with offenses that come from our father and father figures
    • ·         The power of being rooted in the Word of God
    •           Reconciliation is our goal
    • ·         How trials in life serve to expose our hearts and either lead to our           growth or bitterness
    Few Quotes:

    “The truth remains: Only those you care about can hurt you.  You expect more from them-after all, you’ve given more of yourself to them. The higher the expectations, the greater the fall.”

    “A believer who chooses to delight in the Word of God in the midst of adversity will avoid being offended. That person will be like a tree whose roots search deep to where the Spirit provides strength and nourishment. He will draw from the well of God deep within his spirit. This will mature him to the point where adversity will now be the catalyst for fruit.”

     “One way the enemy keeps a person in an offended state is to keep the offense hidden, cloaked with pride.”

    “I often say that trials and tests locate a person. In other words, they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.”

     “It is unrighteous for us as children of God to avenge ourselves. But that is exactly what we are seeking when we refuse to forgive. We desire, seek, plan, and carry out revenge. We will not forgive until the debt is paid in full, and only we can determine the acceptable compensation. When we seek to correct the wrong done to us, we set ourselves up as judges.”

    My Application: I was reading this book and feeling pretty good about myself. No one was coming to mind that I was offended at. I was feeling pretty happy. Yes, I can get through this without having to deal with my heart. HA! That’s what I thought! When I read, I usually write down quotes and thoughts that stand out to me in a journal. After the page where I had taken some notes, I flipped it over in my journal, and I had written about the breakthrough that God gave me in an anger issue! The whole time I was reading the book, God was trying to soften the soil of my heart in order to expose the deeper issue. I thank God He did.
    My breakthrough? 

     Well, one day I was seething in anger over things that people close to me were not doing that they should be doing, or things that people were doing that they should not be doing. I was angry at myself for feeling anger towards people and circumstances, as well as feeling powerless to change myself. I could not take it!  So many things were bothering me. It built up, and I began to write down everything that I was angry about. My list came to 17 things in a matter of minutes! I wanted to be free from this bondage of anger and felt so powerless to get a breakthrough in it. I didn’t want to live with all these things tormenting me. I wanted to be a free, joyful person again. 

    Photo source:
    I prayed that God would help me. I called my pastor, who is also my father-in-law, and talked to him about this. I didn’t read him my list; I didn’t need to. He said something that rocked my world. 

    He said, “Usually we are angry at people because we do those very same things ourselves!”

    I knew that God wanted me to go down my list and repent of being angry at each issue I had written down on paper. But, after repenting for being angry with each one, I prayed that God would forgive me for having that same issue in my heart. For example, I prayed that God would forgive me for being angry for people not wanting God in their life. And then I repented for not wanting God in my life. Yes, there are times in my life where I feel tempted to want my own way and not God’s way. 

    This set me free from being angry with people and situations I was in. It did something powerful as well. God was able to give me compassion for each person and situation. It helped me to see that I am not perfect. I am a sinner. I need Jesus. I am messed up too. I need God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.

    In the book, John talks about being the “judge” over people when we are angry. I learned that I am not a good judge, and God does a much better job at it. I had to release people to God so that He could move in their life. It gave me compassion for these people.  I agree with John Bevere when he said, “A person who cannot forgive has forgotten the great debt for which they were forgiven. When you realize that Jesus delivered you from eternal death and torment, you will release others unconditionally.”

    My Thoughts: John Bevere’s book is the best one I have ever read on the topic of anger and offenses.  Hearing all the personal stories and testimonies brought so much hope to me. If God could help that person, surely He can help me if I allow Him to. John’s message could be summed up when he said, “…forgive as God does, without limits.” In conclusion, he summarized 3 steps to healing: 

    1) Recognize I’m hurt/offended.
    2) Pray for the person that offended you.
    3) Pray things for them you want God to do for YOU. 

    I pray you will get a copy of this book and read it. I believe this is one of THE MOST important books you could ever read. It will change your thinking. It will change your life. It changed mine.

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    A Poem for Parents

      When you thought I wasn't looking

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
    and I wanted to paint another one.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you feed a stray cat,
    and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
    and I knew that little things are special things.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I heard you say a prayer,
    and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I felt you kiss me goodnight,
    and I felt loved.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw tears come from your eyes,
    and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
    but it's alright to cry.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw that you cared,
    and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I looked....
    and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
    I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.
    ~Author Unknown

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Quote for Mothers

    "Children are natural mimics-they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners."


    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Book Review: "Don't Make Me Count to Three!"

    Discipline Directions For a Mother 
     Five summers ago my family was on a vacation together with my husband's immediate family. One afternoon I saw my mother-in-law reading, Don’t Make Me Count to Three!” by Ginger Plowman. She didn’t have any "young" children at the time, the youngest was eleven years old. Yet, she still read a parenting book. It inspired me because she wanted to be the best possible mother. Needless to say, I was taken with the book. I happily received it as a birthday gift from her a month later.

    Best For: Mothers to be reminded of their high calling to train their child(ren) in God’s ways; mothers who need practical steps to administer righteous discipline; mothers who have questions about discipline and getting their child(ren) to think like a Christian

    Overview:  Ginger encourages parents to train their child in righteousness by “work[ing] through what a biblical response should have been [in a situation]. Second, have the child follow through with it.” In the book, Ginger answers various questions parents may have: 
    What is discipline?
    What is the responsibility of the parent?
    What are the guidelines for verbally correcting my child?
    What are the world’s strategies to get our child to obey?
    How should my child obey?

     Few Quotes:
    “It is not difficult to train our children to act like Christians. We have really accomplished something when we have trained them to think like Christians. Thinking like a Christian will help them grow in wisdom and prepare them to govern their own behavior in a way that will glorify God.”

    “But don’t make the mistake that so many parents make and allow your desire for changed behavior to replace your desire for a changed heart. If you can reach the heart, the behavior will take care of itself. Keep in mind that it is possible to cause your child to change his irritating behavior to that which is acceptable without an actual heart change taking place.”

     “Most importantly, we are training them and preparing them to obey Jesus. Parents are often responsible for the habits of their children. We want them to be in the habit of obeying us the first time so that when they surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ they will find it easier to obey Him the first time. So before you begin your count to three, ask yourself, ‘Do I want my child to be in the habit of obeying God the first time, the second time, or the third time?'"

    “A secure child is a child that knows his boundaries and is consistently corrected when he oversteps them.”

    My Application:
    In the book, Ginger shared how when kids are manipulative they are "acting foolishly".  I appreciated that because it's true. It struck a chord with me because that's how the Bible describes sin in our children. Proverbs 22:15 says, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him." Our pastor, my father-in-law, taught us to use this word when our kids are foolish (disobey or sin). We tell them what they did was "foolish". We never tell our kids they are bad because they aren't. They are not bad kids. But, yes,  sometimes they are foolish. My husband and I do not want to speak it over them that they are bad, dumb, stupid, etc. In addition, we know our words hold life, and we speak life and truth over them.

     Also, I realized that most of my frustration as a parent happens when I have to repeat my instructions to my kids over and over again. But now, I look for opportunities to where I have stated an instruction, and I quickly respond if it is not obeyed the first time. I realized the hard truth that I am creating a pattern in my children and also in myself. In a way, I realized I have created my own frustration by not expecting them to obey the first time.

    My Thoughts:
    First, I love the way this book was written and the message communicated. As I read, it felt as if I was sitting down for a cup of coffee with another mother simply sharing about her personal experiences and how to reach the hearts of our children.

    I love the chapter dedicated to “Managing the Manipulator”. It was very good and convicting. I was encouraged to not respond to manipulating statements, attitudes, or questions, but as Ginger says, “to answer him as his folly deserves”. I can't give a foolish response to foolish behavior. I must respond in a way that directs them to the Bible and God.

    In addition, this book reminded me a lot of Lou Priolo’s book Teach Them Diligently that I wrote about here.

    Ginger was so encouraging in the book to remind mothers of the high calling of motherhood from the Lord. I love when Ginger shared that "being a  mom is more than being cook, chauffeur, maid, counselor, doctor, referee, disciplinarian, etc. (just to name a few). It’s about molding character, building confidence, nurturing, training, and guiding. There is nothing like the influence that a mother has on her child. A mother’s influence has enormous potential to shape the person a child becomes, for good or ill.”

    There were so many excellent points that Ginger made in regards to parenting.  She answered all of those questions listed above so well. It's a wonderful and very helpful resource for every parent. For my kids, fixing the outward behavior won't cut it, I have to  get a hold of their hearts.  If I don't, who will?

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Love At Home

    "If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
    but have not love, I am a housekeeper–not a homemaker.
    If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
    but have not love, my children learn cleanliness–not godliness.
    Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
    Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
    Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
    Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
    Love is present through the trials.
    Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
    Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child,
    then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
    Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart.
    Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
    Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.
    As a mother, there is much I must teach my child,
    but the greatest of all is love."

    ~Author Unknown

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Quote from William Law

    "The pious soul that eyes only God...can have no stop in its progress; light and darkness equally assist him. In the light he looks up to God. In the darkness he lays hold of God, and so they both do him the same good."

    ~William Law-1750 

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    A Call For You Poem

    Let none hear you idly saying,
         "There is nothing I can do,"
    For the souls of men are dying
         And the Master calls for you.
    Every talent yielded to Him,
         Every effort He will bless;
    Christ who gave His all for you
         Deserves your all-no less.
    Through His church he needs your service,
         Let His work your pleasure be;
    Answer quickly while He calleth,
         "Take me, Lord, use me."

    ~Author Unknown

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Quote from James Dobson

    Photo Source: istockphoto

     "God does not need our money. But, you and I 
    need the experience of giving it."

    ~James Dobson

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Book Review: Same Kind of Different as Me

    I received a Nook for Mother’s Day last year, and the first book I purchased was Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I heard it was a great book and wanted to read it for myself.  Also, I love true stories--they usually inspire me to change in some way and to be more like Jesus. 

    Best For: People that want to be reminded that God can do so much more with our lives if and when we surrender to Him completely; people desiring a fresh perspective on homeless people; people wanting to be reminded that we never know the power of our influence; people wanting to know that God sees each person as valuable

            Overview:   The book shares the story of how Deborah and Ron met, fell in love, and were married. It describes how they both gave their lives to Jesus and their marriage struggles. One thing that God showed Deborah was to go help at the Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth, Texas. When Ron joined her, she encouraged him to build a relationship with Denver, a homeless man that stayed at the mission. He described himself as a "nasty, homeless, in scrapes with the law, in Angola prison, and homeless again for a lotta years..." This is the story of the weaving of their lives and how it brought about an incredible, life changing friendship between these three people.

    Few Quotes:

    “I Woke Up!” (Denver's response when he was asked why he was so happy.)

    It so affected Ron and Deborah that Ron said,

    " 'We woke up!' were the first [words] to come out of our mouths, a tiny prayer of thanksgiving for something we'd always taken for granted, but that a derelict had had the wisdom to see as a blessing fundamental to all others."

    “Are you sure you own them [things], or does they own you?”
    (Denver asked Ron about all the keys on his keychain, wondering if he owned something for every one of the keys). 

    “Money can’t buy no blessing.”

    “Our limitation is God’s opportunity.”

    “People think they’re in control, but they ain’t. The truth is, that which must befall thee must befall thee. And that which must pass thee by must pass thee by.”

    My Thoughts:  This book challenged me to my core. Have you ever heard the saying that you can’t judge a book by the cover? It’s true. You can’t do that with people either. You have to get to know a person before you can make any type of assessment or know if they can be someone that will be a friend. 

         As I read the book, it took me back to my days living in Southern California. I lived close to the beach and frequently traveled a path along the ocean bluffs. It was a village of homeless people scattered around with make-shift homes. I admit I rarely took the time to serve the homeless there. Once in high school when I was a part of the Christian club, we made sack lunches for the homeless and handed them out. I think I was more concerned with doing my "good deed" than caring about who they were. I never really thought about their personal stories and how they ended up homeless.

         I realized by reading this book how hard and calloused my heart had become to homeless people or anyone "different" than me. It was a hard lesson to learn about myself. I did compare myself to Ron and Deborah Hall who so willingly stepped out in faith and obeyed God. I asked myself,
     “Would I do that?” 
    "Would I so willingly obey God and go serve the homeless at a shelter?" 
    The answer was "no". I learned that I had subtly shut myself into a bubble and didn’t want to break out of it. 

    Photo source:

    ·         I was challenged by how Ron and Deborah Hall lived out their Christianity. Ron said   
            of his wife, "She did have one other fear, though: missing the call of God."
    ·         I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and befriend someone different  
            than me (whether with a friendly smile or greeting).
    ·         I was challenged to try and see people through God’s eyes, and not my own.
    ·         I was challenged to not jump quickly to conclusions about people.
    ·         I was challenged to give of myself (time, money, prayer, possessions).
    ·         I was challenged to live with less "stuff".
    ·         I was challenged to ask God to use me, even if it was only to reach one person.

     I highly recommend this book and have given it away as a gift because of how deeply it impacted my heart. I don't want to be the same person I was before I read this book. I don't think I will be. My heart has softened. Compassion has grown in my heart. I needed a new perspective, a Godly perspective. I don't want to judge people by their appearances. As Ron Hall stated, "I have learned that even with my $500 European-designer bifocals, I cannot see into a person's heart to know his spiritual condition. All I can do is tell the jagged tale of my own spiritual journey and declare that my life has been the better for having followed Christ." I encourage you to read it. I don’t think you will regret it.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...