Saturday, October 29, 2016

Be a World Changer.

I know, I know... No post all last week. So sorry about that! I'm here today with a post, though. I hope you enjoy. :) 

Do you ever look at the world around you and feel a compelling urge to do something about it? Like you're supposed to be doing something – anything – to change it? To make a difference? To shine Christ's light? 

I know I do. 

And we are supposed to be doing something. As Christians, each of us have a job to do for God's eternal kingdom. Spreading the Gospel. Winning souls. 

Yet it often angers me to see it all – the evil and wickedness in this lost, dark, dying world. It's wrong. It's dishonoring to God. If those people (I'm very bad to categorize) can be so blatantly sinful, why should they be offered the chance of salvation? 

But God reminds me that I'm a sinner too. And just as bad of one as anyone else. No sin is 'better' or 'worse' than any other. (I'm almost off this rabbit trail. Promise.) We're all sinners, but there is a difference in some of us. 

Those of us who have been bought with blood, redeemed through Jesus' sacrifice, have an advantage. Namely, to live eternally in the presence of our Lord, to dance and sing praise 'round His throne.

But that isn't where it ends. After salvation, we have a job to do. A duty to fulfill. Jesus' love needs to be spread. His light needs to be shone into the darkest of places. His beautiful gift of salvation needs to be made known to everyone. 

Sure, it won't be easy. We live in a world that has been 'going downhill' since the fall of man. There are a lot of people who aren't going to want to hear about Him – aren't going to want to even listen to what you have to say. 

But maybe sometimes we don't even have to speak. How we live, the words we say, and how we conduct our day-to-day lives, should be shining examples of Christ-likeness for the world to see. 

Don't left people's unconcern, shrug-offs, and negative replies put a damper on your faith or your ministry. We don't have to be oppressed by the evil of this world or its wicked power. Jesus has already overcome Satan. 

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 KJV

I was looking up something in the book of Acts early today, and a certain verse just jumped out at me. (Yes, I'm just now getting to the cause of this whole post.) The heading/subtitle on this part of chapter 17 read 'Thessalonica: "Turned the World Upside Down"'.

“And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”
Acts 17:6 KJV

Stop and think about that for a second. These people, these early Christian were risking their lives, yet it was then that God blessed their efforts. It was then that souls were saved and lives changed. 

I believe it's safe to say that America could use a good dose of 'being turned upside down'. Are we in agreement? 

Join me in praying and making it your conscious, daily desire to let His light shine. Let's turn America into a Thessalonica. <3

Have a blessed week! Go out into your Thessalonica and be a world changer for Christ... 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Wish by Beverly Lewis {Book Review}

~ Description
Leona Speicher got the "sister" she'd always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County Amish farmland. The Arkansas newcomers seem to be everything a devout Plain family should be, and Leona can't help comparing Gloria's engaging young parents to her own. 
Leona's cousin shows a romantic interest in Gloria around the same time as Gloria's older brother expresses his fondness for Leona--it seems likely the two young women will marry into each other's families, remaining close friends for life. Thus, Leona is shocked when the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear after being expelled from the church for reasons no one will discuss. Despite Leona's pleas, Gloria goes with them, leaving more than one broken heart behind. 
When Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona after a silence of several years, Leona makes up her mind to persuade her friend to return to Lancaster County and the Amish ways. Leona's new beau, the deacon's son, is alarmed when Leona decides to go after Gloria. Will Leona's dearest wish lead to her own undoing? 

~ My Rating
5 of 5 stars 

~ My Review
Ahh, this was such a satisfying read. :) I hadn't read any Amish fiction since...February? So it was great to be back in the world of Pennsylvania Dutch, horse drawn buggies, and simplistic living. I read the majority of it in three or four days, but if I hadn't had other things to keep up with I could have (and would have!) settled down and read it all at once. :) It had an engaging plot line, lovable characters, and an ending that allowed me to breathe a sigh of contentment and go to bed without a headful of questions. 

I know a lot of people think 'romance' when they hear Amish fiction, but this one really wasn't centered on that. Sure, there was mentions of a courtship and a sweet moment or two, but that was really all. :) 

> Leona was such a sweet, innocent girl! I enjoyed reading her POV and her loving concern for her friend Gloria made her so endearing. :) 
> Gloria was an interesting character. I wasn't sure what to make of her at first, but in the end I loved her too. :) Her struggle with what she wanted with her life was very realistic, and I appreciated how she didn't just wake up one morning and suddenly know what she was going to do – as seems to happen too often in books. 
> Tom was a super sweet guy character in the book. I loved he and Leona's courtship!! <3 And while I'm talking about Tom, I just have to mention Danny – Tom's younger, deaf brother. He was a minor character, only mentioned a handful of times, but I really enjoyed his parts. :) (By the way, I would totally love a sequel or a short spin-off story with him and Linda...just sayin'... ;)) 
> Orchard John... Oh goodness, where do I begin?! How he pined over *her* all those years shows how sincere his heart, and he was just such a great guy! I loved his name too. I mean, who doesn't want a cousin named Orchard John who takes walks with his girl and loans books? ;) 
And lastly, I just have to say that I loved the character of Dawdi Benuel. Such a sweet grandpa! <3 

Overall, this was an amazing book. I would heartily recommend it! :)

**I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Same Dress, Different Day by Juliet Van Heerden {Book Review}

People affected by a loved one's addiction suffer silently in church pews. I was one of them. I'm Juliet. Sometimes I wish I could be someone else, with another name altogether, someone whose life is more comedy than tragedy. During the twelve years I was married to a cocaine-addicted Christian, I was overwhelmed with isolation and shame as I sat next to my ex-husband in church week after week. No one fathomed our family skeletons. How could I tell anyone? God stirred my spirit to seek personal healing and give voice to my reality. Through Him, I found freedom from silence and redemption for the life dreams I thought were forever lost. Same Dress, Different Day: A Spiritual Memoir of Addiction and Redemption chronicles my journey from victim to victor as I struggled to break free from codependency's suffocating cycle. I learned to see my Savior as the soul mate and provider my chemically dependent spouse could never be. God's healing grace is not only for the addicted, but also for the broken ones who love them. 

~ My Rating 
3.5 of 5 stars 

My Review 

(Well, this is a new experience for me. Reviewing a memoir. We'll see how it go. ;)) 

Through the lens of Juliet's charming first person writing, the reader accompanies her on a journey from a failed relationship in her teens-20s, to her first marriage and on through the ups and downs of her husband's addiction to illegal drugs (mostly cocaine). She supports him wholeheartedly as multiple times he goes through detox and rehab, only to relapse again and again. I do not believe in divorce in the typical sense, but I also don't think God expected her to stay in that abusive situation (not physical, but it's still abuse). I was totally cheering for Juliet when she packed up her belongings and handed him those divorce papers. 

As Juliet recounts the heartbreak surrounding her first marriage, she also shares how God's mighty hand was shown through those difficult years. She tells of friends who stood by her and Jon (her husband) no matter what, and she tells of people who turned away once they learned of his addiction. 

Although this was a good book – amazing story of God's unfailing love and grace – it just wasn't for me. After taking forever to read the first half, I ended up skimming much of the 50%–70% of the book. But then from about 75% through out (surprise of surprises!), I enjoyed it. :) Especially the last chapter!! <3 Juliet and AndrĂ© are such a sweet couple! :) 

There were a few reasons that interfered with my enjoyment of this book – I didn't agree with several of the authors religious views. For one, ghosts. Mini rant here, but there is no such thing as ghosts. Only the Holy Ghost and I'm pretty sure He didn't try to suffocate her with a pillow... Just sayin'. 
There was also a reference that the devil had 'won back Jon's soul'. Um...this is not possible. Either he never was truly saved, or he still is. Salvation cannot be lost. 

All that said, I did end up enjoying parts of the book more than I at times thought I would. :) I would recommend this book to those who enjoy this sort of memoir, and certainly to anyone who has experienced addiction or codependency.

**A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, through BookCrash.** 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sisters in Christ ~ Blessing Counter ~ October 2016

Hey everyone! This is the seventh part of Sisters in Christ. I can hardly believe it! Are you enjoying this as much as I am? :D 

This month, our special guest is Blessing Counter from Counting Your Blessing One by One. Be sure to check out her blog! :) (Cool fact here, Blessing and I are in the same online ASL class this year! We had no idea until the first week of class. How awesome is that?! XD) 

Welcome to the blog, Blessing! Go ahead and introduce yourself. :) 

I’m an ordinary 16 year old, country girl with an extraordinary view on life :) I’m a Christian saved by grace, a daughter of the King. I also have a great love for books, cameras, and music, and I am homeschooled with my 6 other siblings. Oh yeah, and my friends consider me an English nerd ;P 

Since we're here because we met through blogging, let's chat about that. What inspired you to start a blog? 
Well, my desire to start a blog first started after I discovered that amazing thing called photography. Pictures started collecting and I really wanted to do something with it :) I also wanted to be able to share about my family, though it ended up in a slightly disguised way ;) 

*whispers* And her photography is AMAZING. ;)

Did you read other blogs before starting your own, or was starting a blog what thrust you into this amazing world we call The Blogosphere? ;) 
Yes, I most certainly did! I kinda crept into the Blogosphere to be honest. Didn’t comment much, but I was certainly there reading the posts ;) 

I think I did that some too. ;) How did you find my blog(s)? 
think it was after you commented on one of my posts. Had a habit of clicking on people’s names after they commented; so when I clicked on yours, I found that you had a story blog and voila! found ‘em :D 

And I'm so glad you did! Since we are sister in Christ, what's your favorite Bible verse, chapter, and book? Why? 

My favourite Bible verse, also the most commonly remembered, is John 3:16. I’ve known this verse pretty much ever since I could talk. But it was only a few years ago that I was able to more fully grasp exactly what the verse was saying. This verse isn’t just something little children recite for church or camp. It tells how our great and caring Father sent His one and only Son for us. Humans stained in sin and unworthy of such a precious gift. God’s love for us is so special, and we can’t just take advantage of it. 
Favourite chapter…hmmm, probably Romans 5. After the first four chapters in Romans describing the fallen state of man, it’s a comfort to read of God’s gift of justification and salvation. 
And favourite book. Either Ruth, Esther, or Revelation. Reading the story of those two women has always been inspirational to me, and reading about Jesus’ return - well, who doesn’t like reading about that? :) 

What Bible verses have really helped you through some rough times? 
Philippians 4:4 ~ Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 
Psalm 27:1 ~ The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 
Romans 3:23-24 ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (emphasis added. A lot of the time, when people say Romans 3:23, they forget to add verse 24, which I think is one of the most important parts of this small passage!) 

Wow. I know I've read Romans 3:24 sometime, but I'd always paid more attention to verse 23! :) 

What is one event in your life that really strengthened your Christian walk? 
Oh, there are so many events that have happened! Some small, some big, but all equally important in my Christian walk. One of the more recent ones was only two, three weeks ago. It was only a couple weeks before camp started and I had become very stressed out about the way things were going. My family and I had developed a rather nasty cough, I couldn’t hear out of one ear, and though it was time, I hadn’t had - uh - something. There was going to be a water day at camp and I didn’t want to miss it because of - well, you girls know what I mean *blushes* Anyway, I started praying really hard that God would make everything alright by the time camp rolled around. As the time drew nearer, I was getting even more desperate. But then during one of my ‘prayers’ it suddenly hit me what I was doing. I was praying for things that wanted, not what God might want. I was treating my Heavenly Father, who gave HIS ONLY SON to save me from my sins, as some fairy godmother or genie who was subject to my every wish! And I was abusing the special privilege that God had given me to be able to talk to Him. Oh, the guilt that washed over me! *shudders*. It was horrible. I repented and from then on, my prayers, though still far from perfect, changed for the better. They were no longer solely focused on just myself, and my words changed from “You have to make everything work out!” to “If it’s your will, Lord” 
So there! That’s one event that really made me do a 180 in my walk with Jesus. I still struggle with it, but I’m glad that God showed me the wrong in what I was doing there :) 

Absolutely beautiful. :) Thanks for sharing! (And yes, I totally get it. ;))

Any Bible reading tips? 
Dedicate this time to God. Even if your day is crammed full of things to do, sit yourself down in the morning, open your Bible and just read. Even if it’s just a chapter, still concentrate on what you’re reading. Try not to let your mind wander away to your to-do list, or friends, or other books. You’ll still have time later on for those things. For the moment, just concentrate on the Bible and it’s message for you. It’s special. Don’t waste it. (and I’m only saying this because I am sooo guilty of it myself! It’s what I’ve been working on the past few months :)) 

Speaking of other books, let's move on to reading/writing. On a scale of 1-10, how much of a reader would you consider yourself? 
What about a writer? 
A reader, 10. Definitely. A writer …. well, maybe a 5? Even a 4, maybe. Though I enjoy writing, I don’t do it as often as I read. 

(But when she does write it's SO GOOD. ;)) 

Where's your favorite place to read and/or write? 
My bed! It’s not the best place for my spine and eyes - but it IS the most comfortable. 

What's your favorite author(s)? Favorite books by them? 
NO. You did not just ask that. Faith!!!! At least you made it plural xD Louisa May Alcott, Rebekah Morris, Enid Blyton, Elisabeth Elliot, C.S. Lewis, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Melanie Dickerson….and others ;) Their books? An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, Little Women, Little Men; TCR, Gift from the Storm, Graham Quartet and the Mysterious Stranger; Famous Five and Secret Seven, Through Gates of Splendour, Passion and Purity; The Chronicles of Narnia; Little House series; The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, The Golden Braid, The Healer’s Apprentice. 
Really, this list could go on waaayyy longer, but I’ll spare you all ;) 

I recognize some of those – so great! 

What are some books that really impacted your young life? 
Probably George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Corrie ten Boom, Jim Elliot, Gladys Aylward (Christian Heroes: Then and Now) And of course, the Bible! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe helped me understand the salvation story better, and the Little House series, though it may not have impacted me per se, probably did help shape my personality ;) 

Let's do a few random questions before we have to depart... :P If you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would it be? 
Ummm….. thoughtful? And I don’t mean just thinking about others, I mean like thinking about pretty much everything! Thinking about a book, thinking about what that person said, thinking about what to do, thinking about people, just lots of thinking ;) 

I would say you're thoughtful in either sense of the word. :)

Any pet peeves? 
When people consider comic books as reading. ‘Cause really, in my opinion, it ain’t!!!! 
Oh yes, and inconsistent authors. It gets annoying when a girl starts out with golden hair and then at the end of the book she all of a sudden has dark brown hair! Or when a boy has his eighteenth birthday, and then in the very next book it starts out as “Jeff, though only seventeen, had been made a sergeant.” *sigh* 

Haha, same for me! Inconsistencies in books drive me INSANE. XD

Favorite songs? 
Uh, yeah, probably not going to be able to list them all here xD But I’ll give you a ‘few’: Come With Me, Heaven, Sadie (The Willis Clan), We Are the Reason (Avalon), How Can It Be, Light of the World, Loyal (Lauren Daigle), Set the World on Fire, You, The Lost Get Found (Britt Nicole), My Lighthouse (Rend Collective), Hope in Front of Me (Danny Gokey), and Blessings (Laura Story). 

Anything else to add? Goals for this year? 
Well, I actually don’t have a lot of goals this year. Just one, really :) 

Survive Grade 11. I may or may not have bitten off more than I can chew :P This year, I’ve got British Literature, Chemistry, ASL, Fiddle, Piano, Baking, Careers, and very possibly Gr. 12 Math and Biology. So. We’ll have to see what happens ;) 

And something I’m REALLY looking forward to is meeting my new baby brother or sister! Only a few more months to go!!!! :D 

Best of luck with school! Aww, yes, new sibling! <3

Thank you so much for having me, Faith! I really enjoyed doing this, and you’re genius to have come up with such an amazing link-up! ;) 

Thank you for joining us, Blessing!! :D 


Everyone, be sure to check out out Blessing's blog and come back next month for our chat with Rebekah Eddy from Rebekah's Remarks and Simply Stories. :)


**All photos from Pinterest.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

One Step Away ~ Casting Crowns

Hey everyone! :) I know what you're thinking...I forgot Saturday's post? Or maybe you didn't even notice? :P 

We shall stop here to admire my beautiful post graphic... Yes, I doodled that myself. ;P

Anyhow, here's a quick something I wanted to share with you all. A song that has truly touched my heart and been such a blessing. One Step Away by Casting Crowns. :) 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”   ~ Hebrews 4:16 KJV

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”    ~ Ezekiel 11:19 KJV

Have you heard this song? Do you like it? Also, I'm adding a poll to the sidebar and y'all can let me know which post you would most like to see here. (I'll probably do them all at some point in time. :P)