Tag Archives: grace

Book Review: Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering

Sure Mercies

40 stories. 40 witnesses for the work of God through Christ. Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering highlights figures from the pages of history as well as present-day martyrs. Why is this an important book? When you’re hurting, it is a lonely place to be. Suffering feels isolated. The testimonies of others who suffered help us to see we’re not alone. They were victorious through God’s strength and we can be, too.

I started in the back with the Study Guide, and immediately liked Megan Vance’s style of writing. Her voice is easy on the ear, yet polished and carries depth of character. She describes Sure Mercies from the viewpoint of a hurting girl who connected with the cries of a hurting boy in the book of Psalms. She says David didn’t just memorize the Scriptures as a religious exercise, “he believed what they told him about Jehovah.”

And so this work continues to unfold accounts of those who believed God at His word, and stood for Him in unthinkable circumstances. William Borden gave up his family wealth to pursue missions among the Muslims of China. He died of meningitis. Corrie ten Boom came from Dutch descent and suffered in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. Richard Wurmbrand spent years in solitary confinement in Communist prisons. Nate Saint and his friends were murdered deep in the jungle of Ecuador by Auca Indians. Yet, in all of these lives, and more, they resolved to follow Christ knowing a life spared would not be worth a witness sacrificed.

Sure Mercies is a compilation of short stories that are tall on inspiration. They tell the back story of those who are part of “God’s chain of grace” extended across time. And they bring hope! Ever wonder if you would be resolute under trial? Megan prays, “Lord, we need not fear our own inadequacy, but only behold Your Son and His finished work. Thank You that He works as we merely yield our lives to Him.”

The Meditation Prayers lead us to remember our future is not our own. The faithful testimony of those within these pages will encourage us to remain steadfast in difficult times. And, as she remarks about Gracie Parker Rosenberger, “Watching Gracie, it’s easier to believe impossibilities can create abundant possibilities.”

Bravo to Megan Vance on a thoroughly researched, well recorded progression of God’s Message over the ages. It is a timely dose of encouragement for us all!

Sally

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Bible Study Review: Grin with Grace

Grin with Grace

When suffering hits, the last thing I want to do is grin; rejoice; be content. But Kathy Carlton Willis contends we not only will do those things, but we will thank the Lord for the trials that grow us. Her book, Grin With Grace is a call to return to the Source of life, the One who can use all things for His good purposes.

Kathy is well versed in the suffering department. From health issues to the nitty gritty of living life, she knows the need for a dose of joy. Her goal is to help all of us who feel so far from the goal. Is it a lofty goal? I don’t think so, because the pursuit of wisdom brings us closer to the One who gives it freely to those who ask. And that’s a good place to be.

Grin With Grace is sectioned off into humorous real-life stories, Bible study, life-application steps, turning faith into ministry and challenging scenarios to consider. The sections invite journaling and that reflection invites action. Never does she leave us to sit on our discoveries, but pushes us to share them with others. Our women’s group found the conversation starters helpful and the personal approach to faith, endearing. We used the material as a springboard toward more transparency in our faith and encouragement of each other. The last chapter, especially, created an opportunity to voice our support through benediction, or blessing.

One of the ways Kathy teaches us about the dependability of Grace, is to cause us to look at the effects of our promises. Do we say what we mean, and mean what we say? She calls us to a higher accountability as we mirror the character of God. And such is the tough love found throughout the book; spoken with compassion, yet straight and to the point. She reminds us to seek the One who is enough, so that we won’t try to be sufficient in our own resources. And that is the power in Grin With Grace; truth cushioned with kindness and love.

Make time for this study on grace. It will open your worldview to the characteristics of a grace-filled life, and equip you to look for the touches of God in grace-filled moments!

Sally

Check out the Bible Study Expo, for an interview with Kathy Carlton Willis!

 

 


Justified by Varina Denman

Justified

Justified by Varina Denman

Reviewed by Sally Ferguson

Radiant Lit Blog Tours

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: David C. Cook

Release Date: June 1, 2015

“In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for the grace she has never been willing to bestow on others. Hope stirs when the local football coach offers gentle strength to help Fawn reawaken her heart and redeem her past.”

Justified begins with an unplanned pregnancy and the sting of judgmental attitudes. It exposes religious posturing that ignores compassionate responses. Through the power of a well-told story, Fawn expresses self-loathing as she works through her need for a man to provide for her, verses a man who will treat her with respect. Her thought processes lead us through the hormonal stages of pregnancy, the roller coaster of a low self-esteem and the dilemma of a victim mentality.

Do you know someone who feels she can never be forgiven for her actions? Give her the gift of a story that shows the power of grace.

Fawn finds important answers in her quest for peace and Denman takes the reader on an action-packed journey to find, in the end, God was big enough to handle life’s problems, after all.

Excellent job, handling matters of the heart!

“Varina Denman is a native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town. Now she lives near Fort Worth with her husband and her five mostly-grown children.

Justified is available for purchase here from Amazon.com.

Note: I received this book as part of the Justified blog tour from Radiant Lit. I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes. Review copy provided by the publisher for Radiant Lit Blog Tours.”

Sally


Fifty shades of grace

Guest post from James N. Watkins

Someone asked me, why am I so bent out of shape by the best-selling book and now major movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s certainly not because I hate sex. I’ve written three books celebrating sexuality and lifting up the sex act as the highest form of intimacy and pleasure on earth.

It’s because I am so pro-sex that I am so anti-Grey!

The apostle Paul writes: “As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:31-32).

Throughout the Bible, sexual intercourse has been used as a symbol for the unity and intimacy that God wants to have with himself and his people. (He used circumcision as a symbol of faithfulness to him! And called unfaithfulness to him “adultery.”) God is so pro-sex that the Bible devotes an entire book, The Song of Solomon, to the celebration of sexual pleasure—with some pretty graphic images!

I believe that’s why God gave us strict and detailed commandments on how sexuality is to be expressed. And that’s why I believe the enemy tries so hard to degrade, demean and devalue sex. We see it in porn, in child sex trade, sadomasochism, and many, many other perversions of God’s original design.

So, that’s why I’ve spoken out so strongly against Fifty Shades of Grey. (I suspect the sadistic main character’s name, Christian, is a not-so-subtle attempt to further sully the name of Christ—and sex.)

But here’s the good news! God’s grace has made a way for everyone—no matter his or her sexual past—to experience a relationship with him that far exceeds any earthly symbol. (Sex is just a pale preview of what pleasure awaits Christ’s followers in heaven.)

Click to learn how you can experience God’s love and fifty shades of grace!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins from www.jameswatkins.com