Friendships Are Vital Relationships–Book Review

In Dawn Camp’s recent book entitled “The Gift of Friendship”, friendship(s) is defined and explored through the various insights and perspectives of numerous women writers and advice is shared on how to be open to friendships that God brings our way (or we seek out) and what we should or should not do to keep these precious relationships.

Filled with words of advice and wisdom regarding the importance of friendships, the list of contributors share their own personal and inspirational stories which cover such topics as building friendships within our community; being a friend in order to make friends; how to pursue friendships; how and why we need to show hospitality; making friendships on purpose; what we can learn about friendships from our family; being vulnerable in relationships; making a difference in another person’s life; and re-connecting with old friends.

If you are desiring to develop truly vital relationships with others in your community and beyond or want to re-kindle older friendships–those who have perhaps moved to another city or across town–or if you are feeling lonely and just want to develop closer relationships with your friends, then this book will inspire you to reach out and connect with those whom God brings across your path and to re-connect with someone you have lost contact with.

I would encourage you to read this thought-provoking book on the “gift of friendship” which can be purchased through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other book stores and/or distributors.


Book Review: “Girl Meets Change” by Kristen Strong

Life happens and along with it, changes in our lives inevitably occur.

In Kristen Strong’s book, “Girl Meets Change”, she notes that although changes transpire throughout our lives–whether expected or unexpected–we can go through each one with God in control of the outcome. We just need to believe that whatever happens, God will see us through it.

Filled with personal stories of God’s faithfulness during turmoil and challenging situations that occurred in her own life, the author encourages all of us on how to embrace change and to try and see God’s purpose in everything that happens.

If there is a change or changes coming your way, I would encourage you to read Kristen Strong’s book and seek God’s guidance to help you through whatever life throws your way.


Are You in God’s Hands?

A couple of weeks ago as I was on my way home from church, I noticed a question written on the back of a white car as it was passing me: “Are you in good hands?” Allstate Insurance was also written underneath this question.

As I thought about these words, I began thinking about being in God’s hands. Jeremiah 18:5-6 says, “Then the word of the Lord came to me; ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” We are formed and shaped daily in the potter’s hands; created in His image and likeness.

There is a song by Kathy Troccoli entitled, “My Life Is In Your Hands” and the words of first verse and the chorus are as follows:

Life can be so good
Life can be so hard
Never knowing what each day
Will bring to where you are
Sometimes I forget
And sometimes I can’t see
That whatever comes my way
You’ll be with me

My Life is in Your hands
My heart is in your keeping
I’m never without hope
Not when my future is with You

What a wonderful testament to God’s faithfulness because our future is in the one who holds our hands in His.

Another insurance company’s slogan is a jingle: “Nationwide is on your side.” Along with being in God’s hands, we also have God on our side. He is our comforter, our protector, our healer, and our provider in our time(s) of need. His Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Just knowing that He is always with us as we go through various circumstances in our lives is comforting to the heart and soul. He is our hope, our joy, our peace, our confidant, our loving Father!

As we go throughout our day, let us remember that we are continually in God’s hands and that He is always on our side as long as we continue to trust in the promises in His Word.


Book Review: “Breathing Room” by LeeAna Tankersley

With so much stress in our lives today on a daily basis, LeeAna Tankersley, author of “Breathing Room”, emphasizes that we should not allow outside forces such as stress to control our lives, and that we need to take responsibility for ourselves.

With an upbeat and positive attitude, Ms. Tankersley shares that being at peace with your inner self and discovering your “soul voice” are very important components in finding your “true self.” Creativity is a big part of who we are; and when we are creative, it gives us a sense of being one with our mind, body, and spirit.

Straight forward, candid, and filled with personal stories of her own struggles from time to time on her journey in life, she encourages us to seek the Creator, the one who gives us grace throughout our life’s experiences.

“Breathing Room” is thought-provoking for anyone who struggles with feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacies. It is truly a breath of fresh air and a worth-while read.


Scriptures to Live by: Praise and Worship

Praise: “To say or write good things about (someone or something); to express approval of (someone or something); and to express thanks to or love and respect for (God).” Merriam-Webster

Worship: “The act of showing respect and love for a god, especially praying with other people who believe in the same god; the act of worshipping God or a god.” Merriam-Webster

Praise and worship go hand-in-hand and these terms have been used down through the ages and are still being used in our churches today. There are many ways to worship, such as:

On our knees or in our prayer closets;
With raised hands as we sing his praises, and/or
Sitting quietly before God listening for His still, small voice.

There is no right or wrong way to worship, but we are called to worship and praise God as shown in His Holy Word.

Exodus 23:25-26: “Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.”

Isaiah 25:1: “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”

John 4:24: “God is Spirit and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Psalm 68:4: “Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds–his name is the Lord–and rejoice before him.”

Psalm 71:8: “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.”

Psalm 150:1-6: “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet; praise him with the harp and lire; praise him with tambourine and dancing; praise him with the strings and flute; praise him with the clash of cymbals; praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Psalm 63:1: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Psalm 103:1-5: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion; who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Romans 14:11: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'”

Psalm 42:11: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

Let His praise continually be on our lips as we worship Him in Spirit and in truth.


ID Approved

A few weeks ago while my husband and I were eating at one of the local restaurants, I noticed the waitress ask for ID’s from two individuals at the table across from ours. She wanted to make sure that they were old enough to drink what they had ordered. This simple action made me think about how we as Christians might be identified by others, and would our actions “speak louder than words” in a positive or negative way.

What if we had to wear an ID around our necks to distinguish that we were Christians? Would our ID identify those virtues and attributes that we should possess, such as:

. Showing others the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives.
. Living to serve others.
. Helping those in need.
. Loving our neighbor as ourselves.

The Song, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” by Daniel W. Whittle expresses that…

1. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord…
2. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand…
3. We will work with each other, we will work side by side, and
4. All praise to the Father, from whom all things come.

They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
They’ll know we are Christians by our love.

God holds us responsible for our lives and what we do with them. He doesn’t want us to hide our talents and gifts from others. Will Christ give us His “stamp of approval” (ID approved) when we stand before Him one day, and will we hear Him say: “Well done thou good and faithful servant?” Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

May Christ find us faithful until He returns, may our lives be an example of His love, and may He be glorified and honored through us as we serve Him.


When We Just Have To Go Through It

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:2

When I was growing up, my brothers and sisters and I used to go to a summer camp where we would get to spend one whole week hiking, boating, swimming, making creative projects, etc. Did I say swimming? Ugh! Now that I have your attention, let me explain.

One summer while at camp, I met a girl who loved to swim (and joke). I thought she and I were having a great time in the camp pool, but she decided to float out into the deeper water with me holding onto the plastic raft. My heart began pounding because I did not tell her I “could not” swim. When you can’t swim and you are now in water way over your head (at least 9 feet), somehow one can panic and I did just that. She decided to take my hands off the raft and under the water I did go. I splashed and sputtered going deeper in my struggle to remain afloat. All of a sudden, I felt two hands pulling me up and dragging me over to the other side of the pool. It was the lifeguard. When I told her I could not swim and she assessed what had happened, my so-called friend was reprimanded and I was not allowed to go near the deep end of the pool for the rest of the week. She said she was sorry for taking me out into the deeper water. We still remained friends the rest of the week, just not at the pool.

When I look back at this frightening experience, I realized I could have drowned but I didn’t. God was with me, His hand was upon me, and the lifeguard’s quick actions saved me.

So many times we are tested and we have to go “through the waters” and even the fire, but we can be assured through faith that God is with us even during those times. He is the one who created us and redeemed us for His glory. May the words of Isaiah speak to our hearts and lives when we are fearful and feel alone.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:5

May the Lord bless you today and always.