Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore

My Review:
I collect devotionals! I enjoy reading Beth Moore's books. Therefore, I'm quite pleased to add this beautiful book to my devotional collection :). Whispers of Hope covers a variety of topics that help readers grow in their walk with God and their prayer life. I agree with what Beth Moore says in the introduction of the book, "Prayerful lives are powerful lives!" Is your prayer life dry or unmotivated? Be refreshed by this book. There are 70 devotionals altogether. Each one starts with Bible verses and a Scripture Reading assignment. Each devotional is only one page long (short but engaging and impactful) and is followed by 2 journal pages where readers can write out their P.R.A.I.S.E. (Praise, Repentance, Acknowledgment, Intercession, Supplication for Self, and Equipping). Check out this insightful and encouraging read! It will help you focus on God. Be still and listen to God's whispers of hope! Spend much time in devotional prayer and enjoy the sweet intimacy with God!

"To really live we need passion for Jesus and purpose to serve Him...We represent hope to people who may have given up on finding real life. We are stones rolled away, giving them a glance into the empty tomb. We provide evidence that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life...Share what God is doing in your life and commit to be a living stone before your friend." (p. 23)

"When we extend goodness to those who hate us, we give them a taste of the goodness of One far greater. Many will never 'taste' God until their appetites have been whetted by the goodness of one of His more palatable ambassadors...Our job is to offer people a taste so they will want the main course." (p. 175)

"To appreciate God's work in our lives through pleasure and pain, we must understand that He thinks in terms of the whole. Of completeness. Of pieces that finally fit together as one...Look at each piece of your life as part of a whole. Has God been faithful? Then treasure these things. And ponder them in your heart." (p. 184)


~I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Expressions of Thanks

- God will abundantly reward those who give generously. This is spiritual enrichment so that we can be generous on every occasion. We are blessed so that we will be a blessing to others. God gives us resources to use and invest for Him/His kingdom work, not to hide or to hoard for ourselves. When we give and invest what God has given us in His work, He will provide us with even more to give, to share, and to serve Him.
- Our generosity/giving for the needs of others produces many thanksgivings to God. Those who receive our gifts will be helped and will praise God.
- May our lives be overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God! Generous giving. Selfless service. Faithful obedience. Unceasing prayer. Joyful praise and worship. Wholehearted devotion.

Friday's Fave Five #89

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My Fave Five this week:
1. Lamb curry and chicken samosas with cilantro chutney. We enjoyed our Indian theme dinner last night.

2. A great quote from Oswald Chambers, "We are not meant to be seen as God's perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace."  


3.  This week I had a few "Wow! Thank You, Lord, for that!" moments. He cares even about the little details of my days. Praise Yahweh Rohi (The Lord Is My Shepherd)! He leads me, guides me, and refreshes my soul. His presence makes all the difference in the world! I can and I will testify of His goodness, faithfulness, power, love, grace, and mercy forever. The more I know God, the more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him. The more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him, the more I want to know Him and to make Him known.

4.
Isaiah (12) and I had lots of fun building tracks and playing with hot wheels. We also had fun playing with bean bags. Simple joys are the best! Glad he still enjoys spending time with Mom and enjoys his innocent childhood :)!

5.
You can watch Bible Bee 2013 live online today and tomorrow. Register for free at https://www.biblebee.org/_pages/webcast.php .

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! By the way, I've been participating in Good Morning Girls' Thanksgiving Study these past two weeks. I've posted my thoughts each day on this blog. Check them out if you're interested :)!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Come Before Him With Thanksgiving

- This is an invitation to worship God. Sing. Rejoice. Give thanks.
- He is the Rock of our salvation. We can and should always praise and thank God for our salvation if nothing else.
- I'm thankful for God's gift of music. Music can be powerful, meani
ngful, worshipful, insightful, inspiring, encouraging, or soul-stirring. It can trigger our memories, speak to our heart, cheer us up, make us want to dance, refresh us, remind us of God's goodness, etc. And music is used for expressing our thanksgiving to God and worshiping Him. I'm thankful that God cares about the heart of His worshipers, not the voice . I love to sing to the Lord. "Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds." (1 Chronicles 16:9)
- God wants us to have a thankful & joyful heart and extol (praise lavishly) Him with music and song. Please join me in singing this song to the Lord.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Prayer with Thanksgiving

- Prayer with gratitude is the cure for anxiety. We should thank God for what He has already done before we make any new requests.
- God's peace is different from the world's peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." ~Jesus (John 14:27) This inner peace is the tranquility of spirit that only God can give. It's not found in positive thinking or in absence of conflict. It comes from knowing that our God is in control and putting our trust in Him completely. Calmness in our heart in the midst of chaos :)!
- "Transcends all understanding"--God's peace surpasses all our reasons and circumstances. It's unexplainable and unfathomable. The presence of Christ, the Prince of Peace, makes all the difference in the world. He is our Peace (Yahweh Shalom)!
- When I fix my thoughts on the power of God, the promises of God, & the purposes of God and give thanks continually for His presence, provision, & protection, His peace guards my heart and mind. I pray. I trust. I rest.
- "Guard"--protect from harm, not letting anything penetrate, watch over, shield, defend
- To sum up this passage: Want God's peace? Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Overflowing Thanksgiving

- We can learn much from Paul. Paul had faced sufferings, trials, and hardship as he preached the Good News about Jesus Christ. But he knew that one day these would all be over and he would obtain God's rest and rewards. Eternal perspective is the key. No matter what happens to us in this life, we have the assurance of eternal life when all sufferings will end and all sorrow will be no more. What a glorious hope!
- When we realize that there are purposes and benefits in our sufferings, it helps us live above the pain, discomfort, and difficulties and focus more on our finish line. Some of the benefits include reminding us of Christ's suffering for us, keeping us from pride and self-reliance, causing us to look beyond this brief and temporary life, proving our faith genuine, and providing opportunities for God to demonstrate His power and faithfulness.
- I'm thankful for the gift of God's unconditional, undeserved, and unending grace. I am daily dependent on God's grace and it still amazes me. His grace is always sufficient for you and me. I'm forever grateful that I've been saved not by works but by His grace alone. May we never cease to be amazed at God's grace and may grace continue to cause our thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God! "But He (Jesus) said to me (Paul), 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
- I want to share this song with you. I hope it encourages you all :).

Monday, November 18, 2013

We Give You Thanks

- David acknowledged God for Who He is (His attributes) and for what He has done. He realized that everything belongs to the Lord. God is the Head over all and Ruler of all things.
- What should be our response to God's greatness, power, glory, majesty, splendor, kingdom, provision of wealth, honor, and strength? We are to give thanks to Him, exalt Him, and praise His glorious Name. Praise Him from Whom all our blessings flow!
- Prayer: Lord, please make my life be a thank-You card for all to see and an endless praise song to You for all to hear.

Book Review: Knowing God by Name


 Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Mary Southerland, and Gwen Smith

I had always wanted to study the names of God in depth. I was thrilled when I received this book. I totally soaked it all in :). Knowing God by Name was written by three gifted writers. It's an eight-week devotional that covers 40 names of God. In the Bible, names are very important. They often reflect the characteristic attributes about the persons. Even more so, God reveals His character by referring to Himself by different Names. He wants us to know and understand Who He is, what He does, and how we should relate to Him.

Who is God to you? Elohim (The Creator). El Shaddai (The All-Sufficient One). Adonai (Lord and Master). Abba (Father). You may be familiar with these. But God is so much more! He is also the Jealous God, the God Who Sees, the Lord Our Peace, the Lord Who Heals, the Lord Our Righteousness, the Lord My Restorer, and more. For most of the names, the authors include the original Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek words. The book is divided into 8 weeks and each week consists of 5 different names. Day 6 of each week is "Now It's Your Turn"--the section which includes questions to help readers ponder each of the five names/attributes covered in that week more deeply and personally, suggestions for digging deeper into God's Word and into worship, and journaling pages for readers to write down their thoughts and/or prayers. At the beginning of each day's devotion, you will find a Bible verse in which the name is used. Each devotion concludes with a prayer.

I enjoyed all the Biblical truths, practical insights, and personal stories shared in this book very much. I learned a lot. I also appreciate the pronunciation guide for God’s Hebrew and Greek names :). This book is a gem; I highly recommend it! It can be used for personal study or for small groups. Prepare to discover about God in fresh ways, grow closer to Him, and experience Him more intimately! It will enrich your understanding of Who God is, will strengthen your faith in Him, and will deepen your relationship with Him. The more I know God, the more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him. The more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him, the more I want to know Him and to make Him known.

You can watch their free online videos for this study at http://www.girlfriendsingod.com/knowinggodbyname/. You can read Chapter One here.

One of the names covered in the book is Yahweh Rohi (The Lord Is My Shepherd). I really like what Mary Southerland shares, "The certainty that we are loved fosters peace and eliminates stress. Sheep don't come across as stressed-out creatures. In fact, they seem almost oblivious to danger. Sheep don't worry about where their next meal is coming from, if they will have a place to sleep each night, when the next enemy or thief will attack, or even what the next day holds. When sheep are sick or in need, they simply turn to their shepherd, instinctively knowing he or she will take care of and comfort them." (p. 125)


~I received a copy of this for free via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Be Thankful and Worship God with Reverence and Awe

Eventually the world and everything in it will vanish; only God's kingdom will last for eternity. Christ's followers are part of this unshakable kingdom. Our future is built on a solid foundation that cannot be destroyed. That's an amazing reason enough for us to be thankful, to gladly serve God, and to worship Him with reverence and awe. We are eternally secure in Christ! Praise God for that! We're royal children, heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ. Live accordingly :)!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Give Thanks In All Circumstances

- "Rejoice always"--our joy is not dampened by affliction or other difficult situations because it's rooted in our relationship with Christ. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10b) In fact, joy may even thrive in trials when we discern the glorious purposes of God and trust in His love, grace, faithfulness, sovereignty, and promises (see James 1:2-4, 12). Such joy is not self-manufactured, but is the fruit of the Spirit.
- "Pray continually"--it's possible to have a prayerful attitude at all times. This attitude encompasses acknowledging our dependence on God 24/7, being aware of His omnipresence and His presence within us, and determining to trust and obey Him fully. It then becomes natural for us to have a constant communion with our God throughout the day by praying frequent, spontaneous, short prayers (in addition to our prayer time/quiet time with Him). 

- "Give thanks in all circumstances"--Paul was not telling us that we should thank God for all circumstances that take place (evil things done in this world are from Satan and depraved sinners, not from God), but in all circumstances. Even in hardships, we can still be thankful for God's presence and for the good He will bring about according to His purposes.
- "For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"--"This"/God's will includes constant joy, continual prayer, and boundless thanks, made possible in Christ Jesus. Want to do God's will? Be joyful, be prayerful, and be thankful!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Be Thankful; Christ Rules!

- Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts! That peace He talks about in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Our hearts are the center of conflict in our desires and feelings. We must surrender all to Christ and let His peace that surpasses all understanding take control over our hearts.
- We must diligently study God's Word. The indwelling Word (message) of Christ has a transforming influence on believers' lives. Teach and admonish one another with God's Word. It's the source of all wisdom.
- Although the early Christians had access to the Old Testament, they did not yet have the New Testament. Their stories and teachings about Christ were memorized and passed on from person to person. Sometimes the teachings were set to music ("through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit"); therefore, music was an important part of Christian worship and education.
- Doing "all in the name of the Lord Jesus" means bringing honor to our Lord Jesus Christ in every aspect and activity of our daily living. As Christ's followers, we represent Christ at all times--whatever we say and whatever we do.
- In essence, to live in the name of the Lord Jesus is to surrender all to Him/to His Lordship and to live as Jesus Christ's representatives (His ambassadors: 2 Cor. 5:20). Christ's Lordship of our lives changes not only our behaviors but also our attitudes and motives. Our attitudes become conscious reflections upon the will of Christ and our actions become acts of thanksgiving to Christ. We desire to do it all for the glory of Christ. External rules, even when good, are not adequate for every situation; the "rule" (Lordship) of the indwelling Christ is the only sufficient guide. "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh...if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." Galatians 5:16, 18
- This passage mentions about thankfulness three times! "And be thankful." "Singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." "Giving thanks to God the Father through Him." What a wonderful reminder for us to be thankful to God always...to give thanks in everything...to have gratitude (grateful attitude) in our hearts at all times!
To ponder: What impression do people have of Christ when they talk or interact with us? What changes would you and I make in our lives in order to honor Christ? Do we remember to give thanks to God in everything/in all circumstances?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving!

- God alone is worthy of being worshiped. Let's enter joyfully into God's presence with thanksgiving and praise.
- It's so important for us to remember God's goodness, love, and faithfulness. God is good all the time. His loves endures forever. His fai
thfulness/dependability never fails and extends through all generations.
- Thank You, Lord, the Giver of Good Gifts! Thank You, the God of Love! Thank You for Your agape (unconditional love) for us...for loving us with an everlasting love. Praise El Hanne'eman (The Faithful God)!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Give Thanks to the Lord, Call on His Name!

- "Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name (proclaim His Name)"--this means a lot to me right now since I have been studying and reflecting on the names of God. The more I know God (His attributes/ character), the more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him. The more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him, the more I want to know Him and to make Him known.
- One of the keys to having a thankful heart is to remember what God has done in us, for us, and through us. One of the Israelites' problems (that caused them to often complain) was that they were forgetful of all that the Lord had done for them.
- If we're truly thankful, our lives will show it. We can't help but sing praise to God and tell others of all His wonderful acts. In addition, we will use our time, talents, and treasures to honor and glorify His Holy Name. When we glorify God, we're giving a reflection of His character. To magnify God is to make Him easy for all to see.
- Gratitude in the hearts of those who seek the Lord will be expressed in rejoicing...in indescribable joy (regardless of any circumstances).
- "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always"--our focus should always be on our Lord (fix your eyes on Jesus). Seek Him first and always. He should be our Priority and we should relentlessly pursue Him. Remember that He is our Strength and He Who has us in His hands is all powerful and mighty. Do we look to people and things for satisfaction/fulfillment? God wants us to look to Him, rely/depend on Him alone! Looking to the Lord & His strength and continually giving thanks to Him take our mind off our problems and needs.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jehovah Jireh


This upbeat song encourages my heart and is perfect for me right now :). I've been studying and reflecting on the names of God. One of them is Yahweh Yireh/Jehovah Jireh "Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means 'the Lord will provide'). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: 'On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.'" Genesis 22:14

As a parent, it's always difficult for me to imagine being in Abraham's shoes when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, the promised son Abraham waited for 25 years to receive. I really admire Abraham's faith and obedience. He obeyed God (he did what God told him to do without even questioning God for details or reasons at all). He was willing to surrender all (even if it meant his one and only son) to God. He demonstrated extreme trust and confidence in God when he said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." (Genesis 22:5) "We" not just "I"! How did he have such confidence? Abraham completely believed God's promises to him (before Isaac was born, God promised Abraham that countless descendants would come through his son) and knew God would fulfill His promises. Besides, Abraham "reasoned that God could even raise the dead" (Hebrews 11:19a). God did provide a ram in a nearby thicket for a substitute sacrifice for Isaac.

To ponder: Are we willing to surrender all to God and trust Him for our every need/every situation?
                  Are we walking in faith and in obedience? Notice that God's provision came after Abraham's obedience, not before. Step out in a childlike faith even when you cannot understand it all.
                  Do we remember to thank God for His provision...for being our faithful Provider?
                  Do we have such confidence in God as Abraham did? If not, let's pray for that :)!
                 
God will provide for what we need (needs are not the same as wants). He already provided for our greatest need, the need for a substitute to pay the penalty for our sin and die in our place. He provided His one and only Son, Jesus Christ! "If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, how can we not trust Him to provide for the "little" things of life?" (M.E.Howard) God loves you and He will provide for what you need when you need it. "My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8).



This post is linked up with
Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music, Faithful Friday @SimplyHelpingHim, Fellowship Fridays @Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith-filled Friday @Missional Women, Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates with God at The Wellspring, "Hear It, Use It", The Weekend Brew @My Freshly Brewed Life, and Inspire Me Monday @Create With Joy.

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