faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Book Review of a Kid’s book

I don’t usually review kid’s books,

but this one looked really good!

Janet ThePlansIHave cover

It has great illustrations with bright colors!

I really enjoyed the book,

and I think children about 3 to 7 would enjoy it,

even 2 year-olds would enjoy looking at the pictures!

It’s “The Plans I Have For You” by Amy Parker,

and illustrated beautifully by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

The premise of the book is that God has a plan for each of us.

It is based on Jeremiah 29:11″For I know the plans I have for you…”

Many different occupations are illustrated as possibilities,

like a doctor or zoo keeper, or dancer or chef, and more.

I definitely recommend this book for kids!

It will be available September 18, 2015, but can be preordered here!

(I am required to let you know I got a free copy of this book from the publisher, through BookLook Bloggers.  The opinions are entirely my own.)

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Book Review Walking With God

I have plenty of books to read.

I get free ones from publishers to review.

I check out books from the library.

I download free books to my Kindle.

Last weekend, I was at church, and I had some time to wait for my husband.

 I decided to wait in the church library,

although I really didn’t need a book to read.

People donate books to the church library,

and anyone can borrow one and return it when they are done reading it,

or they can keep it and donate another book.

I browsed the shelves and found a gem –

“Walking with God” by John Eldredge.

Cover WalkingWithGod

I was familiar with this author,

so his name in a red banner across the top of the book got my attention.

The title made me bring the book home –

Walking with God.

I am not quite finished reading it,

but I just had to tell you about it!

This book is not new, but the subject is timeless.

It is about returning to the relationship that Adam and Eve originally had with God.

They walked with Him, and talked with Him, in the Garden.

We were meant to have this relationship with God.

Wouldn’t you like to walk and talk with God?

Sin has put distance between us and God.

We try to hide our faults from God and from other people.

We might be able to fool some people,

but God knows where we are, and who we are, and

He loves us anyway.

This book is the real deal.

It really tells you how to walk and talk with God.

As soon as I started to read the book,

I whooped with joy!

I grabbed it and started to pray.

The author says that there is no single one solution to life’s problems,

except for Jesus.

Isn’t one solution better than all those To Do lists and New Year resolutions?

I have so many lists I can’t find them anymore.

I do know Jesus.  I can always find Him.

I pray to Him now, but I am still learning to walk with Him.

Another important point the author tells us,

is that when we walk with God, we need to follow Jesus,

and let Him lead.

We can’t run ahead of Him, looking back to see if He is following.

We must let Him lead, and we follow Him.

This makes more sense if you picture yourself as one of His sheep.

Sheep can get into trouble if they wander ahead of the shepherd.

Evil is lurking, waiting to grab a sheep wandering by itself.

The safest place for sheep, is next to the shepherd.

I am using this truth from the book,

to encourage me to pray each morning before breakfast.

If I am going to follow Jesus,

 it makes sense to start the conversation with Him first thing in the morning,

 at the start of my day in prayer.

Another issue the author points out is that talking to God

is supposed to be a two-way conversation.

This means not only do we pray,

but we listen for God’s voice.

We anticipate His answer to our prayers.

The author explains how to listen to God.

He gives examples from his own life about how he talks with God.

Maybe you can tell by now,

that this book is worth reading.

You might even find it at the library.

If not, you can get it at the author’s website, Ransomed Heart.

or it is also available at Amazon.

I hope you enjoy reading the book,

and end up walking and talking with God.

See you there!

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Win — Win!

Today I have a great example of a Win — Win project!

There are over 60 newish women writers, who have each written a story for a new book.

These are true stories, intended to encourage other moms.

TheMomQuilt cover

This book is brand new, out this past Monday, 8/10/2015.

All the money made by the sale of this book, will be used to build a clean water well in Kenya!

The well will be built at the site of a home for single moms in Kenya, called Mercy House.

Pretty cool, right?

Moms and Dads who read the book, will be encouraged and find lots of tips about raising kids.

So did I say Win — Win?

I guess I should have said, Win — Win — Win — Win,

and if you add in all the kids who will benefit from the well,

and from their parents learning great tips from the book,

then it will be literally thousands of Wins!

I am in on this Win too, because I wrote one of the stories,

“Each Child is Unique”, which starts on page 100 of the book.

I hope you get to read my story about my two kids.

So, if you want to order a book,

or read more of the details about the well,

go to their official site The Mom Quilt.

This official site belongs to Paula Rollo,

who is one of the moms who thought up this great book idea!

The credit also goes to  Becky Mansfield and Jodi Kern Durr.

All three of them worked hard to get this book done.

They chose the stories from all those submitted,

and they compiled all the stories into a book,

then Brannan Sirratt did the editing.

Monday, August 10 it went on sale!

The book is available in e-book form only (PDF format).

It costs $9.99, but you can increase that amount when you order,

if you want to donate more to the well project.

They need $40,000 to build the well.

After 2 days, they reached $2,000,

so they only need 38 more days like that!

TheMomQuilt BuyButton

Remember it’s to help single moms and their kids living in Kenya at Mercy House.

Right now their water is being trucked in, so they really need this well.

So buy a book, and add a donation too if you can.

You can pay by Paypal or credit card.

All of the moms who contributed to this book thank you for your purchase.

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Book Review on Anything

This is a book review of “Anything”.

That does sound weird right?

A review about what?  “Anything.”

Anything means “fill in the blank”, right?

Well the book’s name is “Anything”,

and it is about promising God that we would do anything,

which means that God gets to “fill in the blank”, not us.

Janet PicLookForLight AnnV

I just finished reading this book.

Actually I just finished reading, studying, and praying this book.

This book is a bit different from most books.

This book can change your life.

It can change the way you pray.

It can link you up with a network, a movement,

of other people who promised God to do “anything”.

The author of “Anything” is Jennie Allen,

and she promised God she would do anything.

She had an extra bedroom in her home,

and she said “God, you can do anything with that bedroom”.

God said, “Adopt a boy from Rwanda.”

So she did.

See how that fill in the blank part works?

See how that could change your life?

This book is more than a story about Jennie Allen’s life.

This book is an invitation to change your life.

This book is an invitation to join the ranks of the risk takers,

those who pray the “anything” prayer.

This book is an invitation to give God control over your life.

Scary, right?

The book walks you through all that.

Each chapter gives you another piece that you need,

like how to abandon shame, abandon fear, abandon the need for approval,

and overcoming doubts, how to fight brave, finding freedom…

Step by step, Jennie walks you through the process, and shows you how to do this.

She talks about how this process looked in her life,

but she takes you in her hands, a little bird with a fast beating heart,

and she comforts you,

and encourages you,

points you in the right direction,

and then she lifts you into the air so you can fly!

Do you want to fly?

Then you need to read this book, and work through the steps,

and by the end, you will be soaring!

God won’t let you down.

He knows the best way to fill in the blank for you.

You were meant to do so much more than what you are doing today.

If you want to see what “anything” God filled in for other people,

go to www.WhatIsYourAnything.com

If you finish the book, and pray “I promise anything, God”,

then you can leave your story on that website, too,

so you can encourage others to do the same.

My anything is still unfolding,

but right now I am planning a prayer event at my local church.

God is telling me to pray.

What will God tell you to do?

It could be “anything”.

Go for it!

For links to places you can buy the book,

Go to www.whatisyouranything.com

To see more about it on twitter, check out  #WhatIsYourAnything

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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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