Tag Archives: prayer

Book Review: Whisper by Mark Batterson

Has noise consumed your world? Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God will help you rethink your addiction to distractions. The author says, “When our lives get loud… we lose our sense of being.”
With descriptions of the vastness of the solar system, to the infiniteness of the inner ear, Mark Batterson goes to great lengths to reveal how much God wants to have a relationship with you.
Mark Batterson is an author and a pastor who believes, “If you aren’t willing to listen to everything God has to say, you eventually won’t hear anything He has to say.”
Whisper is filled with insights that unlock Bible passages and bring clarity to what God is saying through His Word. Batterson suggests starting a Bible reading plan and developing a holy curiosity, because we’ll only have something to say that is worth hearing when we listen to God.
Batterson says, “Creation is God’s symphony,” and shows how the natural phenomena of our world gets our attention, so that we will listen when God whispers to us. Helen Keller says, “The only thing worse than blindness is having sight but no vision.” And Batterson provides the “wow factor,” where so many illustrations of God’s bigness lead us to our knees in submission to the One who loves us immeasurably.
Get a copy of Whisper. In it, you’ll find Keys to Hearing, 3 Traits that should Define us as Christ Followers, and 5 Tests for Discerning the Will of God. But most of all, you’ll find a nudge to lean in closer to the voice of God.

Similar to Batterson’s book, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, you’ll be encouraged to pursue dreams that are too big for you to tackle in your own power. He says, “Nothing keeps us on our knees like God-sized dreams. They force us to live in raw dependence upon God. Without Him, the dream cannot be realized.”
Are you ready to fully rely on God? He’s ready to seize the opportunity and turn it into a defining moment!
Sally
P.S. Each person who leaves a comment on my blog will also receive a free pdf, “Your Declaration of Faith,” from Whisper, by Mark Batterson!
FTC disclaimer: “I received an Advance Copy of Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Book Review: Rooted, The Hidden Places Where God Develops You by Banning Liebscher

 

Rooted

Is it possible to eliminate confusion, give affirmation and recognize God at work? Banning Liebscher says it is, and we can, in his book, Rooted. In fact, Liebscher says it’s his goal, and used the life of David to flesh out three different types of soil God used to root David’s deep trust in Him.

Banning Liebscher is the founding pastor of Jesus Culture Sacramento, and tells the story of the growth of a movement, but, more importantly, the growth of individuals who allow God’s Word to become rooted in their hearts.

I had to read the book twice, because

  • I wanted to make sure I didn’t misinterpret what was being said.
  • I wanted to soak in the truths laid out.

One such area I misunderstood, the statement was made that we are all made for greatness. The second time through, it clarified, greatness is expressed through humility, love and service to others. What a difference in thought! The first sounded like entitlement. The second? Like Jesus! And Jesus served. He didn’t act entitled, but led by serving.

Liebscher gives examples from his own experiences to illustrate how God developed his character in the hidden places; those times of digging into Scripture and prayer. And the book is a clarion call to both. As Christians, we are admonished to let God take His time to shape us, before we step out to lead others. He says, “The small things are preparation as you move toward what God has called you to do.”

Liebscher invites us to run hard after Jesus, so that we will finish strong. His book lays out tools for that race, and encouragement for the runners. I heartily recommend it to all who would “build their house, fulfill God’s vision, bear fruit, make an impact and step into who The Lord created us to be.”

Sally

Disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

When All You Can Do Is Pray

Praying woman hands
Praying woman hands

Ever feel so helpless that you can think of nothing else to do to help a situation, except to pray? I’m task-oriented, and that means a task gives me purpose. But, what if my greatest purpose is to pray? Prayer is hard work. It is a discipline that harnesses the mind and will and channels it to seek God’s will. So, instead of prayer being the last resort, it becomes my first choice. 

Scripture is a great tool for prayer. It mobilizes and empowers prayers. For example, which prayers are more effective?
A. “Lord, bless Nate today.”
B. “Lord, enable Nate to know how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
A. “Lord, be with Kenzie today.”
B. “Lord, may Kenzie know the truth of Your Word today and be reminded that You will never leave her or forsake her.” (Hebrews 13:5b)
A. “Lord, protect Anna today.”
B. “Lord, may Anna find refuge in You today. Carry her safely in Your everlasting arms. Destroy any evil intended for her.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
In every A example, I am asking good things for my family. But the B examples help me to feel I’ve really been specific and gone to bat for them. One of the places I learned to be very specific in prayer was through Moms In Prayer, International. Moms In Prayer organizes moms to pray for their children and schools. And they have equipped countless families to build a strong foundation in God’s Word. It helped ours through some tough times, as well. Check out their website for more prayer tips.
As author, Mary DeMuth prompts, May I pray for you today?
“May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19a) Amen.             In the comments section (located under the title), tell me what Scripture you will use to infuse your prayers today!
Sally


Book Review: Hope Crossing

Hope Crossing

Lovers of Amish novels are in for a treat from Cindy Woodsmall; Hope Crossing includes three books in one. This Ada’s House Trilogy weaves a story that includes turmoil and triumph. It’s nice to have the trilogy bound into one volume, in order to continue the relationship built with characters. Indeed, it feels like they’ve become fast friends and I found myself almost blurting out at the supper table, “You won’t believe what Cara said now…” Realizing, of course, I was about to speak of them as real people. But, when we read good fiction, fiction that really works, we learn something of ourselves and our response to the world around us.

Here’s one: “It pained her to watch him struggle. If he could just let go of trying to make life fit inside his understanding, his hands would be free to grasp the richness around him.” (p. 105)

Don’t we all struggle to put life in a box, into our comfort zone, so that we can figure things out? And in the process, miss what is right under our noses?

Here’s another good one: “What had made her be someone who never trusted her own thoughts or desires or dreams? Why had she feared being wrong so much that she let others be wrong for her?” (p. 254)

Yep, that sounds like perfectionist tendencies to me.

How about this one? “No one… can decide what’s right for everyone else… But if everyone’s willing to listen, they can talk things out and find a compromise.” (p. 997)

I like to orchestrate things around me. Others might see it as manipulate. The last story in the trilogy points out how damaging it can be, no matter what you call it!

And fiction is a tool to teach us about faith:

”Feeling gratitude is much like a prayer all on its own. If you thank Him for those things, it becomes a prayer.” (p. 729)

“How can you talk to me as if we’re doomed because we may have serious problems to face? Life dishes out what only God can get us through.” (p. 850)

I love this phrase about Deborah’s grieving: “They’d taken the grandfather clock with them, so she didn’t know what time it was. But it didn’t matter. It was somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow.” (p. 297)

Anyone who has dealt with heartbreak can relate to the way all time comes to a stop.

Fiction is like that, though. It draws you into another world and then reveals something you hadn’t realized before.

Woodsmall skillfully develops believable characters with a storyline that caries momentum, then packs it with truth that nudges you in real life.

Come on, isn’t it time to escape into a good book?

Sally

 Disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

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Book Review: The Stress Cure: Praying Your Way to Personal Peace

Stress Cure

Do you think The Stress Cure: Praying Your Way to Personal Peace might be an unrealistic premise? Anytime you use a hook and promise a “cure,” you set the bar high. Can Shepherd deliver?

Linda Evans Shepherd “is the author of over thirty books, including How to Pray through Hard Times (which won the 2012 Selah Christian Life Award), Experiencing God’s Presence, When You Don’t Know What to Pray, and When You Need a Miracle (which won the 2013 Selah Christian Life Award).” But her qualifications are born in the school of suffering, where she struggled with the questions of life’s fairness in her eighteen-month-old daughter’s injurious car accident.

There are gems sprinkled throughout the book:

“Building a bridge to peace involves gaining a better understanding of God and the tools he’s given us, which include prayer and God’s Word.” (p. 15)

“Having (God’s) Spirit inside us doesn’t necessarily mean we know how to yield to him. And this yielding could very well be the key to experiencing less stress in our lives.” (p. 31)

“If everything always went our way, how would we ever discover that God can flip our difficulties into good…?” (p. 38)

“The best way to develop a grateful heart is to learn how to walk in step with God.” (p. 66)

“Jesus changes our hearts from a slum to a palace fit for his presence.” (p. 94)

“If you are caught up in situations beyond your control, the solution is not figuring out how God can save you; it’s trusting that he will.” (p. 97)

“When our negative attitude comes because we don’t like where we are or what we have, we need to do a ‘will’ check: God’s will versus our will.” (p. 137)

Shepherd is a gifted storyteller, weaving details of Scripture in narrative form in order to clearly illustrate God’s truths. She’s so good at the craft, in the middle of a story, she turns the point back home to point out personal application. So much so, that you don’t see it coming!

But the biggest “ah ha” for me, came in the stories of her own battles surrounding her infant daughter’s car accident, coma and resulting disabilities. Shepherd clearly understands the need for stress relief in its many forms, and her narrative is a reminder of the power of story to connect a reader to the greater truths of God’s love, care and compassion.

This is an important book, because Shepherd brings hope. She reminds each one that “God is with you. He’s at work in your circumstances now.” (p. 77)

Is there anyone who does not experience stress in some form today? This book is a must-read for all. It provides space to stop reading in order to write out a personal application, as well as modeling steps of prayer to process the change needed. It provides fresh insight into troublesome stories in the Bible and reminds us of our calling to love and be loved.

Could Shepherd deliver on her promise to bring a stress cure? Yes, she did! The illustrations, Scripture passages and written-out prayers all served as a stress reliever, ushering in the peace of Christ!

Sally

Disclaimer: I received this book as a contest giveaway in The Book Club Network, Inc.