Following God One Step at a Time

Do you Believe?

My original poem:  “Prayer of Belief” written by Janet Kirk 11/29/15

(You may respond “I Do” and other responses in quotes, when they appear in the text.)

–Prayer of Belief–


Do you believe in God the Father, the Creator of the universe? “I Do.”

Do you believe in the Son of God, who died for all our sins? “I Do.”

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father to remind us of everything Jesus said? (John 14:26) “I Do.”

Do you believe in the Virgin Mary, who carried the Son of God in her womb, and who gave birth to the baby Jesus? “I Do.”

Do you believe Jesus Christ died on the Roman cross? “I Do.”

Do you believe that Jesus Christ arose from the grave in three days, and spoke to many of His disciples? “I Do.”

Do you believe that you are going to Heaven one day? “I Do.”

Do you believe that Jesus Christ will one day come again to Earth?  

“I Do.”

Do you know the significance of the words “I Do” that you have said today? “I Do.”

Do you recognize the words that a bride says to a groom, and the groom says to his bride? “I Do.”

Do you know that when Jesus returns, He will be coming for His bride, the Church, God’s people? (Revelation 19:7)“I Do.”

Are you ready for Jesus to return and claim His throne and gather all His people? “I am ready.”

Are you ready for Jesus to return condemning all evil to hell?

“I am ready. Come soon.”

Whether you are ready or not, Jesus is coming. 

If you are not ready, do you know what you need to do right now? 

All who are not ready, you must ask forgiveness, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 


Do you then believe you are saved from the eternal death of sin, by the blood of Jesus Christ, because you accept Him as your Lord and Savior?

And all believers in Jesus Christ the Son of God say, “I Do and Amen.”


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Book Review of It’s Not What You Think

This is my book review of, It’s Not What You Think by Jefferson Bethke.


I read his last book “Jesus > Religion”, and loved it, so I was eager to read this next book.

Jefferson tackles what most people think about Christianity, and looks to the deeper meanings.  There were times that tears came to my eyes, while reading this book.  The truth I was reading hit me deep in my heart.  The author says that Christianity is so much more than going to heaven when we die.  If you want to know about the “so much more”, you should read this book.

Jesus challenged the people of Jerusalem and neighboring towns, to look deeper into their religion.  Remember when He challenged people to love their enemies?  In Mathew 5:43-45, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…”

Jefferson challenges us to do similar things today.  Christians need to love God so much more than we are now.  Christians need to be more grateful, more loving.

He has a chapter on being a neighbor, on how to worship, on the Sabbath day, and on God’s Kingdom here on Earth.  He looks at wounds and scars, and points out that even after Jesus arose from the grave, He had scars from His life here on Earth. We know because Jesus showed them to Thomas. 

The author also looks at the importance of sitting at a table with people and eating a meal.  He points out that Jesus chose to have a last meal with His disciples.  I grew up eating dinner around the table with my family, and I raised my kids that way, too.  We had dinner together almost every night. Today, few families still do this.  Meals are often rushed, picked up to go, or eaten in front of the television.  Jefferson says we need to realize how important eating a meal together is.

I can see that although I have been growing as a Christian for several decades, I still have more to learn and more to do.  I am thinking I need to have people over for a meal more often.  I am thinking I need to worship God every day, not just on Sunday.  After reading this book, I am thinking more about it, which is a sign of a good book.  I won’t forget this book.  In fact, I am going to read it a second time and make notes about changes I want to make in the way I live my life, and in my spiritual practices.  This book challenges my thinking about being a Christian, and it touched my heart with truths about Jesus. 

My blog is about becoming a better Christian one step at a time.  This book took me several steps down that road.  I am thankful for the opportunity to read it.

To read a portion of it, or to buy it, go to Amazon.

(I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson, through in order to review it.  The opinions are mine alone, and are truthful.)


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What is Advent Anyway?

I had never heard of Advent until two years ago, when I read Ann Voskamp’s book “The Greatest Gift”.  I really enjoyed the book, and learned so much about Advent.  So thank you, Ann for teaching me about Advent.

Advent Candles
This year, I bought her book “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” so I can do something a little different for Advent this year. This book is written for families to read out loud. It is beautifully illustrated in full color. (You can read my review of the book here, along with a link to purchase it.)
So, back to the question, “What is Advent anyway?”
Well, it is really about preparing for Christmas. Advent gives more meaning to Christmas by reviewing the history behind the birth of Jesus. By participating in Advent, you will find yourself coming closer to God each day leading up to Christmas.
There are many different ways to celebrate Advent. Some people start on Dec 1, and have a different Scripture reading for each day, ending with the Christmas story on Christmas Day. Some people do 40 days of fasting, prayer, and reflection. Some churches start Advent on the 4th Sunday before Christmas, which would roughly be the Sunday closest to December 1. Then they have a different Scripture reading on each of those 4 Sundays. Some people use a different theme for the readings each Sunday. The ones I have seen are “Faith, Hope, Joy, and Love”.
Some people light a candle each day of Advent. Others light a candle each of the 4 Sundays and light another candle on Christmas Day. Some put the candles in a wreath that lays flat on a table. Some use a metal stand. However we choose to celebrate Advent, it is meant to prepare us for the coming of the Lord.
Advent is really about 2 comings. First it is about the birth of Jesus, and the long wait for the Messiah to come to save the world. Then it is also about the 2nd coming, when Jesus Christ will return and bring Heaven to Earth.
Advent is not taught in the Bible. It is not even a Jewish custom. It is a way that Christians and Catholics have found to help them prepare spiritually for Christmas, despite all the busyness of the season, baking and buying presents and having Christmas parties. Since the busyness of the Christmas season can give us no time to remember Jesus, the reason for the Season, Advent helps put the meaning back in Christmas. So you can celebrate Advent whatever way works for you, as long as it points you to Jesus.

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Book Review “Unwrapping The Greatest Gift”

This is my book review of “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” by Ann Voskamp.
This is a beautiful full-color book covering Advent, the 25 days leading up to Christmas.
I learned about Advent from Ann’s earlier book “The Greatest Gift”, which is the adult version for Advent. I enjoyed that book, and downloaded the free paper ornaments available with purchase of the book. I sent some of them to grandchildren to color for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading that book.

I decided to buy this newer book, because it is so beautifully illustrated in full color.  I decided to review this book, because of the quality of it. It is rare to find full color books anymore.
It is written so it can be read to children, but I enjoyed reading it myself.
I also can certainly read any part of it to grandchildren when they visit at Christmas. It helps give more meaning to the holiday.
Each day of December has a color picture, that also has an ornament for that picture. (The ornaments can be downloaded and printed free, or they are available for purchase.) There is a Scripture to be read for each day.

Day 1 is from Isaiah 11. “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot – yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him…”

Each day also has questions to discuss and suggested family activities. For day 1, it is suggested to plant grass seed and water it grow through Advent.
I plan to use this book for my Advent this year.
I did not grow up doing Advent, but it is so helpful in preparation for Christmas.

Advent starts December 1, so you still have time to buy the book.
“Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” is available at Lifeway.
“The Greatest Gift” is also available at Lifeway.

The ornaments can be purchased at Dayspring.

You can follow the author Ann Voskamp at

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How to Be Loved

Do you feel loved?  Right now?  This moment?

There are times in all our lives, when we don’t feel loved.

Maybe it is a lack of love you feel, because of your parents not loving you enough.

Maybe it is a lack of love you feel, because your spouse does not love you enough.

Maybe it is a lack of love you feel, because of a friend who disappointed you.

Maybe it is a lack of love you feel, because you are single and have not found someone to marry.

But no matter what lack of love you feel,

Jesus Christ loves you every day, every moment, no matter what!

There is no lack of love in Jesus. 

Any lack of love you feel is a wound.  Jesus can heal your wounds.

There is no love greater than the Love of Jesus.

No matter who has hurt you, Jesus can heal your wounded heart.

Jesus can heal your wounded body, and heal your wounded mind.

Let Him love you.  Let Him cover you in healing love, healing grace, and in His healing power.

I have seen many prayers of healing answered. –>

There is no need to worry but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6).

I know that “Prayer changes lives”!  I have seen it.

My life was changed by cancer, causing deadly damage to my body,

but I never lost hope.  I trusted God’s love, and He healed me of cancer.

(To read about how prayer healed me of cancer, click here.)

Open your heart to God.  Let Him in.  Trust His healing Love.

If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and your Savior, then you have His Love! –>

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:15-16)

No one and nothing can take the Love of Jesus away from us! –>

As Apostle Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

Jesus himself said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9) and “This is my command:  Love each other as I have loved you. “ (John 15:12) “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

This is the kind of love that is real true love.  Seek this in the people in your life, and love them with this same love. –>

 “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. “   (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

This is the Love Jesus has for you.  His love is endless and true.  His love is trust-worthy.

Love Jesus as He said Himself,”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

Love Jesus with true love, because that is how He loves you. 

He loves you always, every day, and forever.

What a blessing!


Book Review — The Christian Wallet

This is a book review of “The Christian Wallet:

Spending, Giving, and Living with a Conscience”, by Mike Slaughter.

The premise of this book, is that as Christians, we should spend our money better,

give more away, and live more simply with less.

The author says that how we use our money is a spiritual question.

This book will make you think about how you want to live, based on your Christianity,

instead of living to get more things based on our culture in America.

It will challenge you to make better use of your money and still live comfortably.

Problems happen when we consume excessively.

We run out of room to store all our stuff.

Then many of us pay to store it somewhere else.

We spend more time working to pay for all our stuff.

We want to be happy, but buying more stuff, will not make us happy.

Here are some ways the author shows we can change the way we spend money

to reflect our beliefs as Christians —

Last year, the average credit card debt for each family in America was $7,000.

What is your credit card debt right now?

How long will it take you to pay it off?

Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13:8,

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another”,

which is what Jesus told us to do.  Love one another.

In America, we have so much stuff, that we throw out tons of it every year.

What we throw away is wasted.

Couldn’t the money spent on what we throw out, be better spent?

Last year, more than one billion people in other countries, lived on $1.25/day,

(which is only $37.50 per month).

That does not provide enough food, or rent, or clothes or not even an 8th grade education.

Do you have all these things?

You probably have more than you need of all these things and more.

The author of this book says that we should ask ourself before we buy something —

“Do I really need this?”

One of the ways many people overspend is at restaurants.

We go to restaurants and eat too much,

and spend much more than if we cooked our own food at home.

Many of us have so many clothes, we never wear some of them.

The author says we need to budget our spending, and he explains how to do this.

He says that your budget shows what you value in your life.

Does your spending show you to be selfish? Wasteful? Greedy?

Or are you thrifty? Generous?

Jesus says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

 and “You cannot serve both God and money.”( from Matthew 6:24)

In what ways might we be selfish with our money?

Americans spend in total per year, $370 million on pet costumes.

Yep, that’s right, not pet food, pet costumes.

How can we justify that, when so many people in the world do not have enough food?

Maybe you haven’t bought clothes for your pet.

Americans also spend about $21 per week on fancy coffee drinks.

That adds up to $1,092 per person per year.

Or how about holiday spending?

Americans spend more than $2.5 billion on Halloween candy each year.

Do we need all that candy? We could use some of that money to donate to a food pantry.

Each year, $2 billion of gift cards purchased, go unused, wasted.

Do you have any unused gift cards?

Maybe you can re-gift them instead of buying a new present.

Maybe you can gather them up and sell them, and donate some of the money.

The author says that God owns everything in the world,

and God expects us to use it wisely, and be generous to the poor, orphans, and widows.

The author provides useful direction on how to pay off debt.

He also shares more ways to save money, using his own family as an example.

He also shares the stories of other people, and how they use their money.

These stories were very interesting,

and helped to explain the author’s ideas on how to relate our money to our religious beliefs.

This book could change the way you think about your money,

and the way you spend it.

The author would argue that spending your money more as God would spend it,

will make you a better Christian, and make you happier and healthier.

I plan to use some of his questions to guide my future spending,

and to use some of his ideas in order to give more donations.

This book does make me more grateful for what I have,

and makes me want to find ways I waste money, so I can spend that money more wisely.

For more information you can look at these sites referenced in the book:

(I did receive a free e-book copy of “The Christian Wallet” from the publisher, Westminster John Knox Press, through  The review contains my honest opinions of this book.)

In the comments below,

please share ways that you save money to give to the needy.

If you go to any of the 3 sites referenced above,

share your feedback in the comments section here. 

What do you think about spending your money to reflect your religious beliefs?

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Book Giveaway

I usually do book reviews on Fridays,

but today I am telling you about a great Bible study giveaway!

I didn’t want you to miss out on the chance to get it FREE.

OpenYourBible Pic2

Winners will be notified November 11.

I have read the 1st chapter of this Bible study so far,

and it is amazing!

I have done oodles of Bible studies, and this one looks like one of the really good ones.

If you haven’t done a Bible study in a while,

or maybe never,

you need to do THIS Bible study.

It is “Open Your Bible” by Raechel Myers and Amanda B. Williams.

The authors are giving away 10 copies!

Yep, I said 10!

And not only can you win the Bible study,

but if you win one, you will also get the notebook that goes with it.

Hey, even if you’re not sure you want to do a Bible study,

you aren’t out anything to register in the giveaway.

All you do to enter — Click the link below.  Fill out the form with your name, email address,

 and answer a couple questions, (you might need to scroll the form to see it)

then click “Submit”.

So what are you waiting for?

Here’s the link —

If you don’t win, you can still get something for free,

just purchase the Bible study, and

get the notebook free (until November 30).

They are just giving stuff away all over the place!

They like to share the joy,

and they are really joyful about this Bible study.

So if you don’t win a copy, you can head over there to get your free notebook

with purchase of the Bible study, “Open Your Bible”.

(Just click “Add to Cart” under the $14.99 price for the Bible study

and the free notebook will be added automatically.)

So do you think you don’t have time to read a Bible study?

We know you’re busy.

This is what the authors say – “Regularly approaching God’s Word begins with space and quiet. Sometimes that’s found in the sweet and sacred morning hours before the rest of the world wakes. Sometimes it’s when you arrive early in the school pick-up line or during a lunch hour at work. “

You know you really want to do it.

So here it is again.  To enter to win the Bible study and notebook for FREE!

Hey! Let me know if you win!


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Fall Back

What did you do with your 1 extra hour this weekend?

I started to think ahead of time,

what would be a good way to spend an extra hour Saturday night?

If I came up with a good idea, I could share it on my blog.

Maybe read a good book?  I have several I have started reading.

Clean the guest bathroom?   We have company coming next week.

Write a great blog post?  People might be awake looking for something to read.

Listen to some of my favorite music?  I haven’t played my Francesca Battistelli CD in a while.

Go for a walk?  I don’t walk enough.

(Of course, I wouldn’t do any of these things at 2am.  I would do them Saturday night, after changing the clocks back one hour, but before I go to bed.)

So what did I do?  None of these.

As I was trying to change the time on my alarm clock,

my husband said I didn’t need to do that, because it would change automatically at 2am.

Glad to know this, because I could not figure out how to change the time on my clock!

(Did you know that some clocks can only have the time changed when the year, month & date are updated first?  Crazy!  Who needs to change the year on their clock? Somehow I changed the year on my clock to 2027!)

So, just like every year, my husband and I went to sleep.  Yep.

I didn’t want to stay up until 2am to watch the clock change,

giving me my 1 precious extra hour.

Tiredness took over my decision,

making sleep the best choice.

I got into bed and after talking with my husband a short while, we promptly fell asleep.

After all, most of us don’t get enough sleep.

Maybe that really is the best way to spend our 1 extra hour each fall.

Or maybe you found a better way!

Would you share with us in comments, how you spent your extra hour this weekend?

We would love to know what you did.

(Please don’t tell me you ate all your kid’s Halloween candy!)

Also, just for kicks, how long did it take you to change all your clocks?

For us it was about 15 minutes. 

Some clocks we had to get out the owners’ manual to change the time.

(The next time we buy a clock, we really need to get one with a simple dial.

Simple really is better.)

So this morning, I do feel more rested and awake.

This makes me glad I opted for an extra hour of sleep.

So, how did you spend your extra hour?


Book Review “Audacious” by Beth Moore

Beth Moore gave a speech at Liberty University on the theme of this book.

After writing a vision statement on the subject of her speech, she decided to write this book.


Her vision statement is –

“To see all women come to know and audaciously love Jesus Christ.”

Then Beth proceeds to tell you about the love Jesus has for you, even beyond what you may think.

She tells you about her love for Jesus, which is amazingly audacious!

And she tells you how you can love Jesus audaciously, too.

After reading this book, I do actually love Jesus more.

And I am left with a desire to seek a more audacious love with Jesus.

This excerpt from the book explains what I mean —

There’s this fabulous scene in the Gospel of John where Jesus sends His disciples to town to grab some lunch, and He stays behind and meets a woman at a well. She’d been preoccupied for years, repeating the same relational cycle, filling up the same empty jar the same empty way, looking for the life she was longing for. We’re not told her name. It’s easier that way to give her ours. She had no idea that audacious love was staring her right in the face. He said four words to her that I think He wants to say to each of us: “If you only knew” (John 4:10a, NLT).  You. Not someone else you know. Not someone needier, less self-sufficient, gutsier or more religious. 

Jesus said, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10, NLT).

That’s what Jesus said. If you only knew what He has for you. 

Beth says, “If only you knew, your heart would be so swept up in audacious love that nothing could keep you from the life you were born to live.”

===> In my opinion, this is the best book ever written by Beth Moore!

(Note: I am not comparing to Bible studies, because that is a whole different type of writing. It would be hard to pick the best Bible study.  She has so many really good studies.)

You don’t want to miss this book!  Read “Audacious”!   

You could end up loving Jesus more than you ever thought possible.

This book is available for purchase from Lifeway and Amazon.

(Just so you know, I purchased this book myself.  I am choosing to do this review of the book, because I loved this book so much!  I was not required to write any review at all.  This is my gift to you, so you will know not to miss this book.  It could change your relationship with Jesus for the rest of your life!)

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Falling Down and Getting Up

Two weeks ago I fell getting up from my chair.

It jarred my spine and gave me a mild whiplash in my neck.

My husband had to help me up.

I spent several days with a bad headache.

I ended up going to the chiropractor twice, and had a massage.

Now, I finally feel good again.

I joked with the chiropractor that I should stop falling,

of course, it was funny, because no one tries to fall down on purpose.

Much of my life, I have struggled with emotionally feeling down.

I have had doubts, fear, suspicions, and judgement

that neither I nor anyone else is good enough for God.

Feeling down was not on purpose either.

The feelings of doubt, fear, and suspicion, started with Adam and Eve.

It was these same feelings that made them take a bite of the forbidden fruit.

They doubted God and were suspicious of why God told them not to eat that fruit.


Once they each took a bite,

people became less than God had hoped.

We have been letting God down ever since.

Thankfully, God has not left us alone.

He gave us Jesus Christ who offers to pick us up,

giving us His forgiveness and righteousness.

Ephesians 1:4 says, “For He chose us in Him, before the creation of the world,

to be holy and blameless in God’s sight.  In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship

through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”

God knew we would fall, and need to be picked up,

dusted off, healed and forgiven.

We need to know that He loves us enough,

to make us be enough in His eyes, through His son, Jesus Christ.

Feel better now?  I do too.



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