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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Book Review of The Spiritual Gifts Handbook

I just finished reading The Spiritual Gifts Handbooks by Randy Clark and Mary Healy.

if you are like me and think of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as being: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Faithfulness, Self-Control, Gentleness, Goodness and Kindness this book will be eye opening.

In using scripture and testimonies from past and present the authors discuss words of knowledge, healing, prophecy, tongues and miracles. They say that these aren't just happening in places like Mozambique or by saints, but by anyone who is baptized by the Holy Spirit.

The authors then tell us how to activate those gifts.

A very interesting read! 

I was given this book by Chosen Books for my honest review.

 The Spiritual Gifts Handbook by Randy Clark and Mary Healy

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Review of The Road Home

I just finished reading the book The Road Home by Beverly Lewis.

I was interested in the book because I heard the author speak at our library. And I've never read a novel with Amish characters before.

I enjoyed learning about their culture which was weaved into the story line. And I especially enjoyed how the characters talked about God with each other. He was obviously the priority of their lives.

A sweet story with wonderful characters!


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Book Review of 936 Pennies

I just finished reading 936 Pennies - Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting by Eryn Lynum.

I don't have little children anymore, but after reading this book I'm passing it along to my daughter who has a two-year-old.

The author Eryn Lynum is raising her boys exactly how I wish I had raised my child. With her time and presence, setting a good example with her own priorities and especially her focus on God.

The 936 pennies represent 1 penny for each week we have our children from birth until they are 18. As a mother of a grown child I know how fast those weeks pass and also how you can't get them back.

I highly recommend this book to all moms and grandmothers!

*I was given this book by Bethany House for my truthful review.


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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Book Review of Singing the Scriptures by Julie Meyer

I was at a party once when the host put on a TV theme song album (yes it was a long time ago!) and everyone started singing the songs word for word, even though the shows had been off the air for years. So, I get what Julie Meyer is saying in his book "Singing the Scriptures: How All Believers Can Experience Breakthrough, Hope and Healing". If we sing the scriptures, we'll remember them. I just think she could have done it in less chapters. Even with the testimonies scattered in it seemed like she was repeating herself a lot.

After each chapter she suggested the reader go to her You Tube channel which is what you really need to see how to do it.

I gave it 3 stars for the idea, but I had to force myself to keep reading it because of its redundancy.

This book was given to me by the publisher for my honest review.

 Singing the Scriptures...


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Sunday, April 01, 2018

A Review of The Kremlin Conspiracy


If you follow Bible prophecy or listen to Bible prophecy teachers like Dr. Jimmy deYoung you know Russia is on the church radar right now. This book is extremely timely!

This was my first work by Joel Rosenberg and I had trouble putting it down. A series of very short chapters, it took several to develop a character in Russia, then suddenly jumped to the USA and spent the next several chapters developing another character in such a different environment that the expectation that the two must at some point come together was little more than a tease.  Rosenberg successfully leads you through at least half the book until that hunch is satisfied, but then only briefly at first.

One of the most entertaining aspects of this book was that it so closely mirrors what is going on the world right now. At times, I caught myself somewhat mixing current events with the developments in his novel.

The main characters were very easy to identify with, and I found it an exciting read.  I found myself often on the edge and Rosenberg has a knack for dragging the suspense out for several more pages once you think you know what is going to happen next. I plan on picking up a couple more of Rosenberg’s works.



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A Review of "In Places Hidden" by Tracie Peterson


In Places Hidden is set in San Francisco in the year 1905. While reading this book I feel like I really saw what it was like to live there at that time. The women characters were a mixture of the main character who was for women’s rights and education and her new friends who were more old school. Times were just beginning to change in that area.

You also saw the corruption in the politics of the era and this stood out against the Christian values of the main characters who freely talked about God and His will. The author, Tracie Peterson, did this very well. She was able to make it seem natural and I appreciate reading books with a Christian foundation.

On top of that – it was a good story.





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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Jesus' Prayer for us

This prayer is also an announcement of Jesus’ finished work and a revelation of His glory with God.

John 17:1-5 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus prays that the time of His passion may prove to be the decisive means by which He glorifies his Father and God glorifies Him. He basically reports that the work given to Him by God is finished. Finally He prays that God will give Him, as man, the original glory that He had in equality with God before the foundation of the world and before His incarnation.

Jesus is also praying that He reveal God’s character and person in suffering on the cross, in victory over death at the Resurrection and in power at the Ascension that through Him the world will see God’s glory and therefore, glorify His name in repenting and receiving eternal life.

When Jesus became man, it wasn’t only so that humanity could see the person and character of God perfectly revealed in a human being. It wasn’t only to show, by example, how a fully human man could, by dependence on God, fully obey God on earth against every opposition and hindrance that every man faces on earth. He came to earth not only to show people how to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. He came to earth to give people eternal life.

Eternal life is a gift and Jesus Christ is the only one with the authority to give it. It is more than a mere decision one makes. It’s more than mere membership in church. It’s more than an intellectual knowledge of the Bible. Eternal life consists in a person-to-person relationship with God, where we are convinced we are accepted by Him and He communicates with us and we communicate with Him.

John 17:6-19 6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus’ prayer in this part is specific to His disciples. He says, “they accepted” “they believe” “now they know.” Later He prays for the world’s forgiveness and conversion.

Jesus values the disciples because they are God’s gift to Him. They came to Jesus because God drew their hearts toward Him. They chose to respond to this drawing. And He loves them for God’s sake, as one loves the gift because of one’s love for the giver. We should be able to see ourselves as of infinite value to Jesus for the same reason!

Jesus revealed God’s full character to these men. He also gave them God’s words. And the men chose to believe them. They believed that God had sent Jesus to them personally.

Next to God Himself there is nothing greater than the words that reveal God. The Bible is a precious gift to us! The New Testament is the only record we have of both the life and words of Christ. Unbelievers don’t understand the Word. But those who reject it will be judged by it on the last day.

Those who love Him will keep His Word, meaning to constantly read them with a view to living by them.

The disciples were also valued by Jesus because He was glorified in them. They represented the fruit of the Lord’s labor. The fulfillment and glory of Christ’s work on earth is that He has achieved the purpose for which He came. Through the testimony of the eleven, in every age a great harvest of people whom God has drawn to Jesus to receive eternal life and to be conformed to His image continues to be reaped.

Verse 11 records Christ’s particular petitions for His disciples in the light of His experiences on earth, in the light of all He knew about them and in the light of all that was before them when His bodily presence would be removed to heaven at His ascension.

 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

So, “I will remain in the world no longer.” Until now Jesus had lived with them. He was their Light, Comforter, Companion, Leader, Counselor and constant Help. He was always there for them taking complete responsibility for them. But very soon, no more.

“But they are still in the world.” Why did Jesus leave the disciples behind? Why does He leave Christians here instead of taking them straight to Heaven the minute they become believers?

For one thing – believers are the light of the world. God loves the world still. He wants more people brought to Him and the way that happens is through His disciples.

Secondly, we are left in the world for our transformation and perfection of our Christian character. We are to suffer the same trials as the world yet discover by experience how to overcome them.

Thirdly we are left in the world for the honor of His name – that God through us may manifest His character toward us and be glorified. Every time we come through a trial giving God thanks for His help we glorify Him.

Every time we say no to the devil we glorify God.

“And I am coming to you.” Jesus’ time on earth was over and He was going back to the Father. He was going where no enemy could follow Him, no weariness distress Him, no temptation – but the enemies, the weariness, the temptation was all still in the world and while He would take His victory, wear His crown, ascend to the throne and accept the praises and obedience of countless hosts of angels – His loved ones would stay behind, caught up in the struggles and battle.

Jesus sounded like He was leaving His heart behind. We can take comfort in knowing that He’s watching US from Heaven – deeply feeling for us as He sees us going through trials and pains. He loves us and He cares!
You could almost change this verse to, “Father, keep them, for I come to You, but my heart is there with them.”

“Protect them by the power of Your name.” God’s name is all His attributes. He has sufficient power, wisdom and love to remove us out of this world if it were for our good. Another reason He has left us in this world is to prove His power to keep us faithful to Him, to keep our faith, to keep us from evil.

1 Peter 1:5 says we “through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

So, we are assured not only of God’s love for us and our value in His sight, but of His keeping power and our future inheritance in Christ and with Him.

“That they may be one as we are one.” This oneness is the theme of the entire chapter. First Jesus prays for oneness with God and Himself. There can be no oneness with God or with Christ when a person does not believe that Jesus is equal with God or that God’s purpose in sending Jesus was to redeem us from our sins by His sacrifice on the cross. One cannot be one with God and with Jesus if one doesn’t believe that Jesus ascended into heaven in His human body. And one can’t experience oneness if one doesn’t share the same eternal life dwelling in Jesus through the same Holy Spirit.

And secondly, there can only be an inward oneness with one another as each person is one with Jesus and God. Paul describes this in Ephesians 4: where he writes about one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord (Jesus Christ), one God and Father of all. Think about that – we are to be one with God – admitted into their innermost fellowship!

“The world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

The only thing that can truly harm us and spoil our oneness is sin, and Jesus is praying that His disciples will be protected. He wants us to be holy. God’s name is Holy. Jesus just called Him Holy Father, His Word is the Holy Bible, His spirit the Holy Spirit, His people, the Hebrews, were known as the holy nation and God’s temple is called a holy temple.

It is more important that we be holy persons in God’s sight (and therefore before others) than to make our sole concentration to win people to Christ. What did Jesus come for but to save us from our sins? His name means that! So, Jesus prays for His own to be kept from evil before He prays concerning their commission to the world.

I wonder if when we get to Heaven we’ll know how many times God kept us from evil?

It’s not just the devil himself trying to tempt us, but people who are consciously or unconsciously his instruments. Even the entire world system of which Satan is prince. We couldn’t do it without God!

In verse 17 He says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." To sanctify is not only to become more holy, but to be set apart. And in this case to be set apart for God’s use. And that was to be sent out into the world.

And to sanctify them by the truth – again, God’s Word is truth and God’s Word is the Bible. We can never win people to Christ except through the truth revealed in the Bible. Although an unprejudiced open mind will recognize the existence of God through nature and his interventions in history, almost everything we know about God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit is obtained only though the Bible. All of Jesus’ words are in there!

John 17:20-26 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

We are one with every believer who has ever lived. We speak the same heart language!

In verse 24 Jesus emphatically says I WANT those You’ve given Me to be with Me and see My glory.

Thy will be done! 😊

The last two verses of the prayer are especially beautiful. The world does not and never did know God before Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way to God. By contrast Jesus knows God intimately. Now those disciples know God, too, because Jesus has fully declared who God is and they have received the revelation.

We can’t even begin to imagine what the love between the Father and Son is like, yet Jesus is asking for that to be between them and believers too! Ephesians 3:16-20 promises that the Holy Spirit alone can enable us to comprehend “the width, the length, the depth, the height of this love and to know this love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”

This awareness of God’s love and fullness of joy through the Holy Spirit is the highest answer to this prayer of Jesus for us.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Jesus' Prayer for His Followers

The next and last chapter is where Jesus prays for His own. To understand this prayer, you must re-read John 16: 32-33 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So, in His last conversation with the disciples He told them times of trial would come. Repeatedly He had warned them of the awfulness of this particular time that was now immediately before them. And also about the future.

But this warning was not the last word. He continued by promising them that, just as He had peace in the midst of trial, so in Him they would also experience peace. And His VERY last words were triumphant “But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

He spoke in faith (which sees God’s promise as already accomplished) because actually He still had the cross before Him. We must remember that although Jesus was and is God’s Son, He overcame as the Son of Man on a human level by His personal faith in God’s promises. He therefore encourages the disciples to experience peace in the midst of trouble, to overcome the world, and to rejoice in the assurance of the outcome with the same faith that He would demonstrate for them as a human being.

He exercised this human faith when “for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame.” He believed God would glorify Him after the cross and He would bring many to God.

This is the faith we are called to exercise today. It is the kind of human trust in God His Father that Jesus chose to exercise on the cross when as man He must have been tempted to not go. He was coming up to the point where He would struggle with the devil. The pressure would be so great that the blood would somehow force itself out through the pores of His skin.

It was a determined choice He made and that’s the kind of choice we must make in our faith. We choose to believe God’s promises!

John 17 is sometimes called the “Holy of Holies” of the entire Bible. In this prayer the disciples who represent believers of all ages, are admitted to the most intimate circle of Jesus’ friends. The disciples are even allowed to hear the words of the communion of the Son to His Father on their behalf.

There was a reason He did this. Jesus, as God, had no reason to pray for Himself. Therefore, it is Jesus as representative of man who prays here. As God, Jesus had glory with the Father before this world came into being. The added glory that would be His at His ascension would be the glory of the first man of the new humanity in heaven. Jesus is now in heaven for men, seated at the right hand of God, enthroned in glory. Even when the prayer seems to be for Himself only “Father….Glorify Your Son” it actually includes those who believe; for it was only after Jesus was glorified that the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers permanently.

This prayer is often called “Christ’s High Priestly Prayer.” Just as the high priest of the Old Testament carried the names of all the tribes of Israel upon his heart when he entered God’s presence, so Jesus here carries all who believed then, who believe now, and all who are yet to believe, on His heart in His prayer for those He calls His own, whom God has given Him.

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that “Jesus always lives to intercede.” He is our High Priest today, in Heaven continually praying for each one of us.

But it is in this prayer more than any other that we see Jesus’ desires for us. As we choose to cooperate with Him and pray this prayer after Him from our heart, nothing can hinder the complete fulfillment of His purpose, for Jesus has been given “authority over all people”.

Several words and phrases are repeated so often in John 17 that they clearly denote themes that are uppermost in Jesus’ mind as He prays for us.

Glory.  The word glory or glorify is used seven times in the prayer. Sometimes this word means the manifestation of perfected character. Sometimes it means the praise and open approval of God. Sometimes it points to being raised to an exalted position of honor and authority. It often means honoring (glorifying) another by one’s actions or words. And the word glory is sometimes used to indicate the place of heaven itself.

The deepest desire of the Lord was to glorify His Father. His mission on earth was first to reveal the glory of the Person of God. In other words, the perfection of His character, for God’s glory is the manifestation of what God is. Jesus revealed this glory in Himself by being a perfect man.

Secondly His mission was to cause people to participate in the divine nature (through the Cross and the sending of the Holy Spirit) so that believers themselves could be conformed to Christ’s glorious image. So, God is glorified by men who are transformed into Christ’s likeness. This is the deep prayer of Jesus from which all other desires proceed.

Another word that shows up often in the prayer is world. 19 times. It’s used as a place: earth. Or as a society of fallen people who reject or ignore Christ.
He calls us out of the world (to be different), but also into the world (to share the good news.)

And it’s also used in the thought that the world is the enemy of believers. Christ prays in this prayer for God’s supernatural keeping power over us.

A phrase used more than once in the prayer is “those whom you gave me.” He is stating that every one of us who believes and belongs to Him was actually given to Him by His Father. Jesus cherishes believers as the greatest proof of His Father’s love to Him, even as the Holy Spirit teaches us to value the gift of Christ as the greatest proof of our Heavenly Father’s love for us.

This is a great phrase! It guarantees God’s love for us, our value in His sight, His keeping power, and our future inheritance in Christ and with Him.

The word one is used four times and gives the thought of unity or oneness. And there are three kinds of oneness: Christ’s oneness with His Father, the believer’s oneness with Christ and God, and the believer’s oneness with other believers.

And lastly the phrase “I gave them”. The thought of Jesus giving to His disciples what God has given Him is repeated throughout this prayer. Along with the main emphasis upon the oneness of Jesus with His own, who are God’s love gift to Himself, we find in this prayer that Jesus gives gifts to His own. These disciples whom Jesus called His friends are also said to be “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”.

Some of the things Jesus gives His followers are: eternal life, God’s revelation, His Words, His joy, His separation from the world, his commission to the world, His sanctification, His glory and His love.

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