faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Is Good Friday really that good?

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In a nutshell, this is why Good Friday is very good to me —

Good Friday is the day Jesus Christ died on a cross.

That doesn’t sound good, but it is very good for us!

When Jesus Christ died, all our sins were forgiven. 

Everybody’s sins!

Now that is super good!

This is a holy turning point for all humanity! 

Without the death of Jesus Christ we would have no hope,

only darkness.

The forgiveness of our sins clears away the darkness.

Easter Sunday, makes Good Friday even better!

Easter is the day that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God came alive again!

Jesus Christ was buried, but He overcame death and darkness.

That is good for us, because now we can go to Heaven one day! 

We can believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and be baptized.

Easter is my favorite holiday, but I start celebrating on Good Friday —

 Without Good Friday, there could be no Easter!

 

And …

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you,

in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   (Acts 2:38)

 

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Finding Peace with Trouble

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Lately I have been overwhelmed with troubles.  

(bank mistakes on my loan, need more documents for the DMV, family member is asking for money again, IBS triggered, my mom fell and tore her ACL…)

When I feel overwhelmed, I am grumpy and lose my patience.

I don’t like feeling that way.  And I guess the people around me don’t like me much when I’m grumpy and impatient either.

But trouble just keeps coming, so I am trying a new solution —

I have recently read about using a “mindset”.

A “mindset” can help us look at circumstances in a better light.

A “mindset” can be a motto, or a Bible verse, or a belief.

So this is the “mindset” I am trying to use when trouble comes —

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I belong to God.  I am His daughter.

I have peace with Him,

no matter what goes wrong around me.

God still loves me, and is holding me in His arms.

That never changes.

I can find peace with Him, by calling on His name.

“Lord, help me find peace in your love.”

And the Lord always responds, “My peace I give to you”. (from John 14:27)

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The Scripture I remember to help me strengthen this “mindset”  —

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life (troubles come), neither angels nor demons (more troubles), neither our fears (troubles) for today nor our worries about tomorrow (troubles again) –not even the powers of hell (awful troubles) can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38-39 New Living Translation) (I added the troubles in parentheses.)

So now when I am frustrated, grumbling, and annoyed,

I can say, “Lord God, I know nothing can separate me from your love.  You love me no matter all my troubles that make me crazy.  Please give me your peace!”

And He says, “My peace I give to you.” (from John 14:27)

“Thank you God!”

I hope by sharing this it helps someone deal with troubles.  We all have them.

May God bless you today and tomorrow.

 

 

 

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50 Women of faith

50Women

I loved this book!

50 Women Every Christian Should Know by Michelle DeRusha

Actually anyone who believes in God or wants proof of God, should read this book!

Reading this book shows how God was at work in each woman’s life.  Their lives were very different, but God shined through in each one.  The women persevered through doubts, fears, illnesses, and disasters, but their faith remained, and God blessed the people around them who were helped and inspired by these women.

Even today, these women are inspiring to me!

Michelle DeRusha gives the history and accomplishments of each woman honored in this book.  I learned so much history of important, brave women.  These women are finally given the attention they deserve. Some were missionaries or preachers, writers or teachers, even anti-slavery activists.  Many of these women selflessly helped the poor.

I applaud all these women! And I say thank you to the author, Michelle DeRusha for doing the research needed to write this book. She made these women real to me.

Even after reading about all 50 women, I did not want to stop reading!

More! I want to read more stories of women of faith!

Start reading this book, click –>50 Women.

 

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Rebekah’s Treasure

I want to share about this book, Rebekah’s Treasure by Sylvia Bambola.

It is a historical fiction book taken from Bible history around the time of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem (30-70 AD). 

This book is filled with interesting characters that have different view points living  in and around Jerusalem.  There are people who worship other gods.  There are Jews, and there are Jewish Christians.  They all live together in communities, but they don’t get along.  It is a dangerous time in Jerusalem. 

Jerusalem is under attack, and several men are given the task to save the temple treasure.  There are some who stay to defend Jerusalem.  There are many who run to other villages to seek safety.  But is there safety anywhere?

Another treasure in the story is the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.  Rebekah has the cup and tries to protect it.  There are many people who want the cup for different reasons.

There are several different story lines happening at the same time.  I was deeply interested to find out what would happen.  This book helped me understand this part of Jewish and Christian history.  I enjoy books like this that make the Bible more real to me.  Now when I read the Bible, I understand the history behind it.

Click –> to read Rebekah’s Treasure!

Other Biblical fiction books I recommend —

–>Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

–>The Day I Met Jesus by Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth

 

 

 

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Disappointed in your church?

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Are you disappointed in the church you attend now?

Thinking of leaving?

Me too.

But this is what has worked better for me —

 1. Pray about the problems you have with the church.  Give those problems to God to solve His way, which is always better than we could imagine.

2. Follow Jesus.  Do what Jesus said to do.

Sometimes a church will emphasize pet projects, like mission trips.  Maybe you can’t go on mission trips, or maybe you just don’t want to go.  That’s ok.  I have not gone on a mission trip, and I am fine with that. 

The highest priority is to have a good relationship with Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus tell us to do? 

             –> He said to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

             –> He said to love each other (believers), and love your neighbor as yourself.

             –> He said to keep the 10 Commandments.

3. Continue to attend church each week.  Use this time for worship, prayer,                 communion, and giving money.

Even if you are disappointed with some things about your church, there are still many good things going on there.  At a recent worship service, God pointed out to me several amazing things at my church — Two church leaders I respect, who have been very encouraging to me.  Awesome worship music!  Also the church supports several important missions in poor countries. 

I can be thankful for the good things at my church.

— One exception, if your health or safety is in jeopardy at this church, then do leave and find a different one.

Is there a problem about your church that you would like to share below? 

I will  gladly pray about it.  I know it is difficult to continue to worship at a church when you are discouraged and disappointed.

 

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Breaking Cover

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This is a very unusual book!

Not only is it about danger, terrorists, Christians helping Christians, but it is also about a woman in the CIA working in the Middle East.  This book is a nail-biter!

The author of Breaking Cover, Michele Rigby Assad, believes God sent her to the CIA, so she could get the training and experience she needed to then save  persecuted Christians.

The author tells her story of entering the CIA and becoming a counter-terrorist expert.  She worked for the CIA for 10 years. Then she left the CIA with her husband to become consultants for charities or companies working in the Middle East.

Her story begins with a mission trip to Egypt.  Then her life completely changes!

I learned a lot about the CIA, the Middle East, and the horrors people face when ISIS or other terrorists take over their town.

Michele Assad has learned the hard way that —

 fear gets you nowhere, but faith takes you where you never imagined!

To read this book, click –>Breaking Cover.

This book was published by Tyndale House in 2018.

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I LOVE Beach Stories

This is a new author to me, Mary Alice Monroe.

I tried the book because of the title – –>The Beach House.

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This is an awesome read!  There are so many interesting charactersCara Rutledge, the daughter who left home and moved to Chicago; Olivia Rutledge (mom) who lives in the beach house;  the son who stayed in Charleston, South Carolina, and his wife and kids; various neighbors and friends; a pregnant teen; and Brett, the local ecologist.

This book was made into a Hallmark movie, but it is NOT like most romance books! (I refuse to read romance books, because they all sound the same.) This book has so much more! There are family relationships, serious illness, a hurricane, financial problems, lots of beach scenes, and water ecology… I loved learning so much about sea turtles!

I found out there is a sequel, actually 3 more books in the series, which makes this book even better, because now I can read more about the Rutledge family from Charleston, SC. Yay!

So I will be reading these too:  –>Swimming Lessons

                                                         Beach House For Rent

                                                         Beach House Reunion

The author is very good, but don’t just take my word for it.  

She has received numerous awards, including several Readers’ Choice Awards,  the Girls Scouts of America Woman of Distinction Award, the 2015 Florida Book Festival Distinguished Author Award, and in 2018 Mary Alice Monroe was inducted into the South Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Mary!

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Of Fire and Lions

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If you can’t wait for warmer weather, read this book. It will make time fly by… 

“The Book of Daniel” in the Bible is a dramatic story, so it is a perfect pick for the author Mesu Andrews to fictionalize in her new book Of Fire and Lions.

This book is a page-turner, but you need to pay attention as you read it. There are many characters and time periods to keep track of.  Remember with BC dates, the higher the number the older the time period.  That tip might help you.  Also note the dates which are shown at the beginning of chapters that change to a different time period. These tips will help prevent reader whip lash.

I am very familiar with the “Book of Daniel”.  It is a fascinating story, but Mesu Andrews steps up the drama even more with her fictionalized story of Daniel, his wife, their children, the various Kings that reigned, and Daniel’s friends and enemies.  The author does a great job of following the Bible’s “Book of Daniel” for Biblical accuracy.

For me, the first 2 chapters were confusing, because I did not know the fictional characters in this book, and it seemed to have jumped to the middle of a story.  I stopped and looked to see if this was a sequel, but it is not.  The first 2 chapters start with Daniel being in his 70s, with a wife, children, and grandchildren.  If you get too confused, I suggest don’t stop reading the book, just skip the first 2 chapters.  You can always read them later after you finish the book.

This is the first time I have read a book by Mesu Andrews. 

I will be reading more of her books soon! 

Click to read –>Of Fire and Lions

If you have a favorite Mesu Andrews book, please tell me about it.

I did receive an early reader’s copy of this book from the publisher, so I could tell people about the book.

 

 

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Private Letters and Diaries

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Are there certain people you would love to find out what they think and how they live day to day?  Do you want to know what their secrets are? Maybe someone famous.  Maybe someone who lived an amazingly courageous life.

Whose diary would you like to read?

Well today I want to tell you about a new book which includes the private letters and diary (journal) entries of 2 amazing missionaries –Jim and Elisabeth Elliot!

The book is written after their deaths, by their only daughter, Valerie Elliot Shepard.  Her mother, Elisabeth gave her the letters and journals that she had, and Valerie was able to get most of her father’s journals and letters that he kept. 

Their daughter wrote a very personal, first person account of her parents, titled   —  Devotedly.

Because this book contains their own words, letters, and journal entries, we can understand just how devoted these missionaries were to God and to each other!

I found this book captivating!

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You might remember that Jim Elliot died (1956) along with four other missionaries at the hands of an Indian tribe in Ecuador.  His wife Elisabeth continued to work as a missionary in Ecuador, and eventually wrote books about her husband and the work they did together.  She also wrote books about faith and following God.  She died in 2015.

The details  revealed in this new book, cover six years of Jim and Elisabeth’s lives. I was fascinated by their story, and amazed at their faith and commitment to follow God’s will.  Such powerful faith!  

Devotedly also reveals how their relationship grew over those six years, from their first meetings, to their eventual marriage 5 1/2 years later in Ecuador.  They both were missionaries individually before they married and began working together as husband and wife.

At the end of this book, they are both alive, married, working together as missionaries in Ecuador.  The book tells how they lived in Ecuador, including 5 months in a tent.  There are pictures of their home they built in Ecuador, and pictures of them over the 6 years.

Having finished this book, I know I will read more about the Elliots!

I want to know how Elisabeth lived after her husband’s death.  I want to know how she coped.  I want to know how she kept her faith.  

 

So first I recommend you read DevotedlyClick –>here

Then look over the many books by Elisabeth Elliot, and plan which of her books you will read next

Look –>here at Elisabeth’s books.

Before you go, tell me which book you will read after Devotedly.  Or tell me a book by Elisabeth Elliot that you recommend.  You can help me pick which one to read next…

(I did receive the book Devotedly from Lifeway, so I could read it and share with others.  I chose to share it with you on my blog here.)

 

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The Way of the Warrior

Warrior

I am not familiar with the author Erwin Raphael McManus.  The title of his new book, however, interested me — The Way of the Warrior: An Ancient Path to Inner Peace

This author is very confident of his beliefs, maybe even brazen.  I found the book intriguing, but somewhat puzzling.

The author says that we are warriors, and that Jesus is a warrior.  I don’t really relate to the warrior label.  This idea may appeal to men more than women. 

Although the author believes we are warriors, he says that we are seeking peace.  He says that any war against someone should never have been fought! 

We do not need wealth or fame, and should not seek it.  We need peace. We need to fight for people, and against injustice and poverty.

Our world has much violence, but our strength comes from inner peace.

To sum up, the author says that you are a warrior of light, hope, faith, love, and peace; so do not fear.

By now, either you are not interested, or the book intrigues you…

If it intrigues you, then click –>The Way of the Warrior.

 

  Maybe you would like to read one of this author’s other books:

The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life

The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art

Wide Awake: The Future is Waiting Within You

Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit

Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul

To find out about these books, Click on the –>author page.

How did I not hear of this author? He has written so many books!

Have you ever read any of this author’s books? 

I would love to know what you thought about it.  Please comment below.

 

I received an early proof of the book from the publisher, so I could read it.  I shared my thoughts here with you.

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