faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Book Review — Finding Roses in the Dust

This is my book review of “Finding Roses in the Dust” by Erin Brynn.
RosesInTheDust

This book was so interesting I did not want to stop reading.

Yet, this book had deep insights about different cultures, and about Christians and Muslims,

how they are different, and how they are similar.

The author, her husband and two of her children left the United States

to live in Afghanistan for one year.

This is a wonderfully interesting book about the people of Afghanistan!

If you want to know the truth about Afghanistan’s people, then read this book!

Erin tells us how the people think, dress, live each day, and how they celebrate.

This book was eye opening to me.  I learned so much about Afghanistan’s culture and beliefs! 

I also learned how war has changed the people.

They live in fear and distrust, and many of the buildings have been severely damaged.

They need peace, and they need to be taught new ways,

which is why Erin’s husband was there,

to teach doctors and hospitals new and better ways to do their jobs.

If you want to know about the life of missionaries living in a poor Muslim country,

then you also will find much interesting information in this book,

although technically Erin’s family are not missionaries. 

Erin’s husband was there to work as a doctor, and Erin did some teaching.

Their children went to school there.

They influenced people only as co-workers and neighbors and friends.

While living in Afghanistan, Erin’s family experienced so many different events,

and had many problems, and some successes.

They experienced an Afghan wedding, and the shock of bombings,

the atmosphere of fear with armed guards, and shopping at the local markets.

She tells their story in the most interesting way,

as writing letters to a dear friend. 

This makes the book very readable, and gives so much personal insight to each event. 

She also explains the plight of the Afghan people,

and why they desperately need our help.

If you are a Christian, and want to grow in your faith,

then this book will be amazing for you! 

I was excited by what I learned about being a Christian,

and how to help people from other countries.

I definitely will be more involved in helping with missionaries and mission trips.

The only person, who should not read this book,

is one with a closed mind, who does not want to learn new things. 

This book will definitely change the way you see the world,

and especially how you feel about Afghanistan’s people.

With this book, Erin made me want to become friends with her,

so I could learn more.  I think she would be very interesting to talk with,

and she would be a good friend to challenge me to do more as a Christian.

Near the end of this book, she left me, the reader,

with a challenge, and I think it is why God showed me this book to read. 

She tells about her experience with prayers that change lives.

She challenges me, and other Christians (including Catholics), or anyone who prays,

to pray for countries like Afghanistan, and their people, to find the truth of Jesus.  

She explained that it is very hard for anyone from a country like the U.S.,

to go to a country like Afghanistan. 

Their religion is very protective,

and does not want other teachings and influences to come into the country. 

— Prayer, however, can go anywhere! —

I will be praying like she describes in her book.

I will not ignore her plea for prayers,

and I hope after you read this book, you will not ignore her message either. 

Yes, roses do grow in Afghanistan!

See Amazon to purchase the book, or read a portion for free.

(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, through booklook bloggers, but
my opinions are my own.)

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God vs ISIS

ISIS is breeding fear, evil, destruction, murder, and chaos in the world.

Who can battle all that?

America is bombing ISIS.  Turkey is bombing them.

Also Iraq, Australia, and Canada are bombing ISIS.

The U.S. Senate authorized military force against ISIS,

(but it prohibits U.S. combat troops on the ground, except to rescue U.S. soldiers).

Still ISIS marches on.  They are growing in number, and in violence.

Who can stop ISIS?

Only God.

It is time for us to take this fight to God, with prayer!

We may feel helpless to stop the evil of ISIS.

(Even Americans and British citizens are joining ISIS.)

If we pray, then we are not helpless.

(James 4:2) —

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but cannot get what you want. You fight and war.

Yet you do not have because you do not ask God. —

So ask in prayer!

Pray to God to stop the murders.

Pray to stop the destruction of neighborhoods and towns.

God, please stop people from joining ISIS.

Change their hearts and minds to stop the violence.

Oh God, only you know their weaknesses.

Only you, God have the power to defeat them.

We are crying out for your help, God!

Don’t let us fight this battle alone.

Send your warrior angels, LORD!

Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Send your Son back to Earth to usher in His justice and peace.

(Matthew 16:27) —

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels,

and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.

(Isaiah 9:6) —

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Oh, Holy Spirit, bring the people to pray.

Remind them to pray when they wake each morning.

Remind them to pray when they hear news of more killings.

Give them compassion to pray for aid for those being persecuted by ISIS,

and also to pray for those lost in the violence of terrorism,

to have a change of heart,

to bring peace to all of us.

Thank you, God for hearing our prayers.

Amen.

——— Here is a great new idea!  ———————

Could you use a reminder to pray each morning?

I have found a new app for our mobile phones.

I have already downloaded it.

The app has an alarm to wake you and show you a Scripture.

Then you can pray to God, and give Him thanks.

It’s a great way to start each morning,

and it could change your whole outlook on life.

I prayed every morning before breakfast,

but I have gotten out of the habit.

I am hoping this app will help me get back to praying every morning.

Right now the app is free, but I don’t know for how long.

Go to First5.org to download the app.

Let me know if you like it.

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Prayer Should Not Be Boring

Prayer should not be boring!

If your prayers are boring,

or if you don’t take time to pray, because you think prayer is boring –

Read this! –

Prayer changes our lives.

I firmly believe this.

Why?

Because I have seen how God answers prayers,

beyond what we asked or even imagined!

How?

Finding my husband-to-be in a most unlikely place, after praying for months,

and he was everything I prayed for, and more!

We have been happily married for 15 years now.

Finding a group of ladies in a Christian Bible study group 1,000 miles away,

after praying for Christian friends for several years,

and I am still in that group 10 years later, and have been greatly blessed

through their prayers and friendship.

Finding a home in 1 day, when a hurricane was approaching,

in a new town 1,000 miles away,

and we rode out our 1st hurricane safely and completely dry inside,

because God knew from our prayers that we needed a place to live, now!

Finding a specialist doctor who wanted to go for a cure,

after my current doctor had given up on me,

after praying for healing ,

and now I am cancer free for 4 years!

There is more I could tell you about prayers answered for me,

and for family, for friends,

and ministers at our church where we are members.

Prayer changes lives!

If you haven’t seen this in your life,

then you need to give your prayer life some power!

I highly recommend you read the book by Mark Batterson,

 The Circle Maker.

I found it at the public library, but today, until July 20,

you can get the paperback copy for only $5!

the link to buy it –

Circle Maker at Faith Gateway

I pray that you see this post soon enough to get this book at this greatly discounted price,

or you can find it at a library, or a second hand store. I pray that you will read this book.

This book will show you how to pray with faith, and with boldness,

to get answers that will change your life!

Mark Batterson says that God loves showing up in unexpected ways at unexpected times!

Mark says — It may seem like God is nowhere to be seen, but maybe God is setting the stage for a miracle.       This I know for sure: He’s ready to make His grand entrance.   All He is waiting for is your prayer.

Don’t wait to change your life.

Read this book.  Then pray like you have never prayed before!

I get absolutely nothing from recommending this book,

except spreading the information about praying boldly,

For God’s glory!

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Intended

Is today going as you intended?

Have you checked off more than 1 thing on your “To Do list”?

Or has your day been a bunch of distractions and wanderings?

Have you wasted time gabbing on the phone,

or watching videos on YouTube or Facebook?

At the end of each day, have you felt disappointed?

Do you wonder “where did the day go”?

I have!

So, I am trying to bring myself back to what I intended to do.

My intention for this year, was to start each day with prayer.

I did fine at first, but after a few months,

I found myself near the end of the day,

and I had not prayed, more than a sentence or two all day.

My intention for this year, was to be encouraging to people.

I started out encouraging a lot!

I was really enjoying it,

because I found that by encouraging others,

I felt encouraged too, and that gave me joy!

You would think that since being encouraging to others is a win-win kind of thing,

that I would find that one easy to continue.

Nope.  I gradually lost motivation, and stopped.

Well, except for a nice blog comment here and there.

So, ½-way through the year,

I am now trying to turn myself around,

back to my original intent for this year.

I could moan about it already being ½-way through the year,

and feeling like I haven’t accomplished much,

but I have actually accomplished a lot,

just not what I intended.

I am doing the Bible study “Anything” by Jennie Allen.

I have read several good Christian books,

like “Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen,

and “The Day I Met Jesus” by Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth.

I took a trip home, ½-way across the country, to visit family.

I have done some good things,

I just haven’t done everything I intended.

My intentions are good, I just have a follow through problem.

Going to Webster’s Dictionary, I find part of my problem.

I don’t really understand what “intended” means.

“Intended” means to be planned for the future, not actually doing it.

I thought it was something I wanted to do now, today.

“Intend” means to have a plan in mind.

Now that is more what I was thinking,

having a plan in mind, and following it.

“Intention” means the plan of action.

I think I forgot to make a plan of action.

This would explain how my plan got lost along the way.

“Intent” is the purpose or goal.

So, my “To Do list” was my list of goals.

I had a plan in mind, such as I intend to pray each morning,

and I intend to be encouraging.

Then, since I “intended” them to be done in some future time during this year,

I never wrote a plan of action, a way to accomplish my goals.

I left it up to mood, or whimsy, or nudges of guilt.

So now I know that I need an “intention” for each goal,

which would be my “plan of action”.

I wish I would have realized this 6 months ago,

but I can’t go back and do it,

so I just need to go forward from here.

My next step on reaching my goals,

is writing a plan of action.

That will have to wait for another day,

since this blog post is too long already.

How about you?

Do you need a plan of action for your goals?

(If you want more information on the books I mentioned in this post, the links are below.)

Anything by Jennie Allen

The Day I Met Jesus by Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth

Unoffendable by Brant Hansen and Unoffendable 2nd link

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Book Review of “Unoffendable”

This is my book review of “Unoffendable”, by Brant Hansen.

I agree with the premise of this author,

that Christians should not get offended.

Being offended causes anger.

As James says in Chapter 1:19-20, “…everyone should be quick to listen,

slow to speak and slow to become angry, because our anger

does not produce the righteousness that God desires”.

The author says that he used to think that Christians were supposed to get offended.

When Christians would get angry about certain offensive actions by others,

we called it “righteous anger”.

The author points out that, we are not capable of righteousness,

only God is truly righteous.

Now Mr. Hansen says he believes that Christians should NOT be offended.

In fact, he says that Christians should DECIDE NOT to get offended.

We actually show a more Christian attitude by not getting offended.

Instead of anger, we should show forgiveness, love, and patience.

Why does he say this?  His reason is that we all sin and make mistakes.

If we are offended by someone’s lie, we also have lied at one time or another.

He refers to when Jesus tells an angry crowd,

“Let him without sin, throw the first stone.”

No stones are thrown that day. (Refer to John 8:7-11.)

Now the title of this book, “Unoffendable”, is not even a word.

I could get offended by that, because it makes Christians appear stupid,

and I could complain to him by email and rant about it on Facebook,

but I choose not to get offended.

I like not getting offended.

It gives me peace and calmness, and helps me think more clearly.

Brant Hansen says that if we get angry, that does not change the other person’s behavior.

We can only change people through love and forgiveness,

and I would add education.

The author also points out, that if we get offended and angry a lot,

we use up a lot of time and energy.

We could use that time and energy for better things,

like helping the poor, or going to a Bible study, or doing fun things with our family.

In fact, we can get a lot more good Christian things done,

If we choose NOT to get offended.

This book will challenge your thinking,

and you just might find yourself getting angry less often.

Now that is a good reason to read a book!

(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers,

so I could write a review.  The opinions are my own.)

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Summer Vacation

What are you doing this summer?

Are you taking a vacation?

I took a “vacation” with my husband to visit our families,

who live in three towns.

We drove over 2,000 miles.

When we got back home,

we were exhausted, and I felt sick for several days.

Is that how you feel after a vacation?

It’s important to visit family, and visit interesting places,

but it’s also important to take time off to rest.

Many of us don’t rest on vacation.

Vacation is supposed to be a break from work and stress.

If summer vacation isn’t being used to take a break and refresh us, what is?

My answer is to take a Sabbath rest each week.

Some Christians think we no longer need a Sabbath day of rest,

but I believe we still should follow the ten commandments.

We can still benefit from following God’s command

to “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy”. (Exodus 20:8)

There are groups that encourage Christians to take a Sabbath rest each week,

and there are books about taking a Sabbath rest.

I have been practicing Sabbath rest for about one year.

I am still working out what I should do on the Sabbath day,

and what I should not do.

The main focus, is rest, but I also like to honor God.

Most of us work 5 days, and get two days off.

I always looked forward to those days off,

but are they really days off?

Usually those days are spent running errands,

grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom,

taking kids to sports games or practices, and making lunch and dinner.

Does this sound like rest to you?

Even if we squeeze in an hour at church,

we don’t get any rest.

When you get to church, are you ready to rest?

Or ready to scream in frustration?

For many families, getting ready for church on Sunday morning is a stressful mess!

So what if you try doing what I do?

Take just one day each week, and label it “Sabbath Day”.

On that day, you can only do things that are restful to you.

On your “Sabbath Day”, you cannot do laundry or dishes or cleaning.

You cannot run errands.

You cannot rush around.

You cannot do anything stressful.

My Sabbath Day is spent reading or watching a movie,

and going to church because I find church refreshing and encouraging,

(since I don’t have to get anyone else ready for church but myself).

Many times my husband and I will take a walk together.

Whatever you enjoy doing, that is not stressful, and not against God,

can be done on “Sabbath Day”.

Yes, you can take a bath, or take a nap.

Yes, you can sit on your deck and drink iced tea.

I don’t do the same thing every week,

but I try to focus my “Sabbath Day” on rest.

This is a good way for me to feel refreshed, and revive my energy.

It is also a good way to feel closer to God.

When I rest, I think, and I pray.  I also like to sing.

By the end of the day, I feel pretty good about God,

and about how I spent my “Sabbath Day”.

If you want to know more about keeping a “Sabbath Day”,

Go to Sabbath Society led by Shelly Miller at http://redemptionsbeauty.com/sabbath-society/

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Choose to Follow Him

John 10:14 (Jesus said) “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  

Following Jesus is an adventure!

Are you in an adventure with Jesus?

If not, listen to His voice.  Follow Him.

One friend and her husband have followed Him,

through giving up almost everything they own,

and followed His voice to a new ministry in London.

My husband and I followed His voice to Florida,

and followed Him through illness, to healing,

and now we are ministering to others in our home.

Another friend of mine is following Jesus,

ministering to 3 children she adopted.

Three very different adventures!

I could not go on the London adventure,

or the adoption adventure,

because I have been prepared by God,

to follow Jesus here, right where I am.

No one else could tell us,

that she and her husband should go to London and minister there,

and my husband and I should go to Florida and buy a house to minister in,

and she should adopt 3 children —

because no one else would know.

Only Jesus knows the path each of us should take!

Listen to His voice,

and choose to follow Him.

Do you think you can’t hear His voice?

You can, if you believe in Jesus and what He said.

John 10:3b-4 (Jesus said) “…He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When He has brought out all His own, He goes ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.”

People may have different ways to hear His voice.

I use prayer.  I focus on God.  I recite Scripture that is meaningful to me.

Then I ask Jesus to speak to me, because I want to follow Him.

Following Him can be risky, can be scary, can be challenging,

but it will help others, and He goes ahead of you.

You do not go alone, Jesus is leading the way.

Much of my life, I did not follow Him.

Over time I made the effort to hear His voice,

and read Scripture, studied it, and learned from it,

so now it is easier to hear His voice.

Following Jesus is a very intimate relationship.

Trust Him with all your heart.

Following Jesus will always be an adventure.

Where is He leading you?

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A Book Review — Angel In My Room

Today I am reviewing the book, “Angel in My Room” by Betty Collier.

This is a book on the life of Lillie Hopkins.

AngelInMyRoom

The author describes Lillie’s life as told to her by Lillie.

Although the writing style is 3rd person narrative, and sometimes awkward,

I found this book interesting.

I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens to Lillie.

This is a short book, with very little description or details.

Lillie had a dream to marry, have children, and live a happy life,

but this dream was not to be.  Her life had a few unexpected twists.

Eventually, Lillie came to enjoy God’s plan for her life,

even though it was so different from her own dream for her life.

Lillie helped many people find Jesus, including the author.

Most of the time Lillie’s part stayed in the background,

while she just did what God wanted her to do.

Although she did not raise her own children,

she did “mother” many people, including her brother,

who was a missionary in Africa, and a preacher.

If you want a quick read, and enjoy hearing true stories about other peoples’ lives,

give this one a try.

The author wants to share the testimonies of other people.

This book is the second one in her series of testimonies.

If you want to find out more about the author and her books, go to

her facebook page, Betty Collier.,

or to see her list of books available go to Amazon.com

I did receive a free copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers,

but the opinions are my own.

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Call to Prayer

I was planning to do another book review today,

but with headlines about more killing by ISIS,

I have decided to make a call to prayer instead.

— ISIS has taken over 2 more major cities, Palmyra in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq. —

More than 30 thousand people have fled,

but they have nowhere to go.

In Palmyra, ISIS murdered 400 people in the street,

most of them women and children.

ISIS is purposefully destroying the towns and villages they attack.

ISIS wants to leave only destruction and death behind them.

Only God can stop ISIS, so we need to pray for that.

We can help people who have fled looking for safety,

most of them with only the clothes on their back.

We can pray for God to have mercy,

and protect the people fleeing for their lives.

We can also give money to bring aid to those who flee.

You can give to the Internation Rescue Committee, who are very well respected,

and work efficiently to help the most people.

You can give to Doctors Without Borders, who go wherever their help is needed.

Another good charity to give to is the Christian Aid Mission,

and give to (IGE) Cradle of Christianity Fund,

(part of the Institute of Global Engagement).

Pick 1 or 2 organizations to give money.

Then pray.

Here is my prayer —

“Oh Lord, so many people are fleeing the evil called ISIS.

They have no homes to go back to, because ISIS destroys them.

Many of the men are killed, leaving mothers and children to fend for themselves.

ISIS has no mercy, Lord, for they even rape and murder children.

I know that you are in sorrow over what is happening in this beautiful world you created.

Have mercy on us.  

Have mercy on these families who have nowhere safe to go.

Lead them to shelter.  Bring them the food and water they need to survive.

Help them find a new life somewhere, somehow.

We feel powerless to help, but they feel hopeless and scared.

Give them hope, Lord.

Take whatever money we can give, and multiply it.  

Make it cover all the needs of these people fleeing for their lives.

Rally your angels, Lord, to help these people,

and to stop ISIS.

This will not end as long as ISIS is still spreading their evil.

Several countries, including the U.S., are fighting ISIS,

but they are losing ground to ISIS.

ISIS continues to take over and destroy more cities.

There are so many people needing help,

that we feel overwhelmed.

Guide us to make the right decisions to help them.

Lord, put it in the heart of each person reading about ISIS,

to give money to good charities who are helping.

Move each person who hears about ISIS to pray.

Lord, God, only you can stop ISIS,

and help the people fleeing from them.

We cry out to you, Lord.

The people of Iraq and Syria are crying out to you Lord!

Hear them!  Help them!

We thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers.

We know you will answer.

You, God, are blessing us today.

We thank you, in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Please stop and donate to one of the charities I listed above,

or one of your own choosing,

then pray your own prayer to help the people fleeing from ISIS,

and to stop ISIS from spreading evil.

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The Gift of Righteousness

Most of us know that Jesus forgave all our sins, and we are so grateful for that.

Jesus gave us even more!

(Reading a blog Bible study at IF:Equip), I was inspired to write about  another gift –

Righteousness!

The Gift of Righteousness means we no longer need to follow the laws of the Old Testament.

We don’t have to perform blood sacrifices, or avoid certain food like pork.

In Romans 3:19, Scripture says,

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law…”

And the next verse (20) says,

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law…”

No one!

So how do we get righteousness?

Verse 22 – “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

So it is not by keeping the law, and following the rules, that we get righteousness,

it is solely through our faith in Jesus Christ!

Why is this gift of righteousness so important?

In Matthew 13:40-50, Scripture says, “This is how it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them (the wicked) into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The righteous are those who have faith in Jesus Christ.

They will be saved from the blazing furnace of Hell.

The wicked have no righteousness.

Who are the wicked?

The wicked are all those people who do not have faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

They will be thrown into Hell.

That makes me really glad that Jesus gave us righteousness,

because otherwise, we would all go to Hell.

Remember, no one can be righteous by obeying the law.

We aren’t that good at obeying!

If you want to read some of the Bible Study posts that inspired me to write this post,

go to IF:Equip Sermon on the Mount.

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