faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

The Listening Road

I just finished this unusual memoir….

The Listening Road is about a special project that was a dream of one man, the author Neil Tomba.

He wanted to ride a bicycle across the country (USA) and talk to people about life and faith.

This simple idea grew into an ocean to ocean cross-country ride with two vans of support people, and 3 people who rode all the way — Neil, Wes, and Caroline.

Neil tells the story about their experiences riding through wind and rain and hot sun, and about all the people they met, and the interesting conversations they had. They talked with a wide array of people, and almost everyone had something interesting to say!

This was an interesting read. I really liked Neil’s attitude of listening to what people had to say, and not arguing with them. It’s a great way to make friends!

Hey, take a look at this book! –->The Listening Road

It’s an enjoyable summer read!

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Politics As Usual

I am frustrated with politics.  Are you?

Well I am even more frustrated now than before the last Presidential election! That’s when I wrote this post originally, but it holds true today.  I could use some encouragement and ideas on how to stay positive and make a difference in other people’s lives.  How about you?

There are so many lies and name calling and egos getting spread around.

So many false promises are being made.

The election is more than 1 year away, so we will only get more of this stuff!

What is the answer?

We can’t depend on Congress or the Supreme Court.

They haven’t done much to stop all the violence in our country in the last decade.

They haven’t done much to end poverty either.  Some things never change.

I want to focus more on what I can do.  What we can do!

We have a real chance to change things for the better.

We have more control over what gets done in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods than in national politics.

So, yeah, you say, but what can we actually do?

We can get neighbors together to talk about cleaning up the neighborhood.

We can ask neighbors to volunteer to help those who are sick or elderly or poor,

by painting their house, mowing their lawn, fixing a leak in their roof…

We can join a ministry at our church, to collect school supplies,

to collect new shoes for the homeless…

We can change hearts.  We can show people the love of Jesus.

Politics can’t do that!

So let’s forget all the empty political promises, and start doing things that Jesus wants us to do.

Let’s forget the empty political promises, and do things that Jesus wants us to do!

— Pray for those in need.  Love God with all your heart and mind and strength.

— Try not to be resentful, jealous, bitter or angry with every new political issue.

These were some of my own ideas, but I wanted more ideas,

 and I found this advice from a college student (very helpful)– 

–>15 Ways to Live with Compassion

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What do you think Hell is like?

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You might think like me, that Hell is a place of fire,

like the inside of a hot furnace…

But it is much worse than that!

Reading the book, “A Second Chance at Heaven”, was gripping.

I could not put it down.

Author Tamara Laroux tells us the truth about what happened to her…

after she attempted to kill herself.

She went to Hell, which she describes vividly!

BUT…

she prayed to God to send someone to tell people what Hell is like,

so no one else would be sent to Hell.  It was too awful!

God answered her prayer!

He sent Tamara to tell us about Hell.

God gave her a second chance.

This book teaches us about Hell, about God, and about second chances.

This book was scary.  It made me even more desperate to ensure my grandchildren choose to be baptized soon while they are still young. 

I don’t want anyone I know to go to Hell.

This is a book of truth that will focus you on saving those you love. 

Don’t wait to read it. 

(Today 11-7-18 the Kindle copy is on sale. I don’t know how long this sale will last.)

–> Get it now.

(I did receive a copy of this book from –>Netgalley.com , although I was not required to write this review.  I wanted to share it with you.)

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The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi

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The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi is a new book by Kathie Lee Gifford.

Kathie Lee has her usual easy conversation with her readers just as she does on her morning television show with her viewers.  She takes the reader on a tour of ancient Israel when Jesus walked those paths.  She writes this as an autobiography about her experiences on the tour and what she learned from it.

I found the color pictures in the book helpful.  I felt like I was actually there looking at the places on the tour.

I learned some things about Israel and the Jewish religion and Jesus too.  Kathie gives us some interesting information.  She talks about various places along the tour: Mount Carmel, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, and of course Jerusalem, and more.  Anyone familiar with the New Testament in the Bible will recognize these places as being important in the life of Jesus.

I did not like some of the commentary by the Rabbi Jason Sobel.  He discusses some things that are far-fetched explanations and theories, with numerical meanings.  For me that reduced the authenticity of this book.  I did find his insights on the practices of the Jewish religion helpful.  For example the Rabbi explains the Jewish Passover Seder.  He describes the four cups used and how they fit into the Last Supper with Jesus.  He also discusses the significance of the title “Christ” in the Jewish religion.

This book is also a bit of an advertisement for tours in Israel called “The Rock and Road Experience”.  I was put off by the sales job.  The testimonies for the tours were 15 pages at the end of the book.  You might want to skip over those, or read only a few.

Overall I think the book is worth reading, but it’s not a favorite.

–>Click here to get a copy of this book!

I did receive a free copy of this book from BookLookBloggers.  This is my honest review.

 

 

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Every Breath I Take

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Every breath I take could be my last.

When we are born we have no past,

God breathes new life into us.

Every breath we take from then to now,

always comes from God to us.

I don’t know when my last breath will be.

But God knows,

and He will be waiting for me.

Until that day I breathe earth’s air,

knowing no despair,

because God knows when to expect me there.

Every breath we take comes from God.

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White, Black, or Brown

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My Christian church is blessed to have a Black preacher.

We also have two White preachers. And if you know what I mean, only the Black preacher wants us to “talk back” to him when he preaches!  

In his sermons, our Black preacher often tells us that we are all from the same race — the human race.

He says that if you hold up a white piece of paper to your skin, you will see that no one is really white, but we are all different shades of brown.

That being said, we all have different family experiences and cultural backgrounds, so we are very different, but really we are much the same, too.
During one of his sermons, I wrote down my thoughts, and I am sharing them with you here —
Jesus’ blood made us all white as snow.
He covered us all in His righteousness.
He made us all holy and blameless in God’s sight.
We are all forgiven.
We are all loved.
So how are you better than someone else?
How is anyone else less than you?
We are all covered in His red blood,
yet we are white as snow.
Jesus makes us the same —
white as snow, forgiven, loved, and saved for eternity.

When you check a box on a form for race, your answer tells something about you,

but when you check the religion box, if you mark Christian, then that tells so much more about you!

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Unfriended Oh No

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Actually go ahead and unfriend me.  Whatever.

Never Unfriended” by Lisa-Jo Baker is an unusual book.  Right from the start, the author Lisa-Jo says that you don’t need to read the whole book!  She suggests you read the chapters that relate to you, and then read the last couple chapters that give you tips on how to be a good friend to yourself and others.

Since I was going to write a book review, I read the whole book.  Now I love to read books!  I love to learn new things!  This book, however, I did not like.  There were times I cringed at Lisa-Jo’s description of friendships.  The friendships she is telling us we need, are too icky-sticky for me! 

Some people could find this book helpful.  If you are familiar with the Christian Enneagram of 9 Personality Types, but even if not, you will probably recognize these personalities.

Women who would probably enjoy this book –

Peacemakers (9), Enthusiasts (7) who are spontaneous and adventurous, Romantics (4) who are creative and moody with over-sized feelings, and Helpers (2).  I suspect that at least some Loyalists would also (6).  I am not any of those personality types!  By the way, if you are a perfectionist, run from this book!  It will probably drive you crazy.  I am guessing that Lisa-Jo is a romantic (based on her stories about her life).  (See the description above.)  I could be wrong.  Me, I am an Investigator (5), which is why I love to read and write book reviews!

Interested in learning your personality type?  ->Take the free quiz!

Many of the chapters in the book had me thinking, ok been there, done that, all good.  I didn’t learn anything from those chapters.  I suspect that is because of my age.  I think this book is mostly relevant to women in their 30’s and 40’s.  I have already been through that stage.  It also seems that this book is mostly talking to women with kids under-21.  I don’t.

So, if you are similar to any of the personality types listed above, and are the right age, and have kids, or will soon, then you may enjoy this book, and get a lot from it! 

So if you are, and you want to read it (remember Lisa-Jo says you don’t have to read the whole book), –>Click HERE

I did get some good advice from the book, like “give friends the benefit of the doubt”.  There certainly are some good tips on friendship in the book.

I don’t think we all enjoy the same types of friends.  Some people like doing activities together.  Some people like just talking.  Others want to talk through all their emotional turmoil.  Some people want to party a lot.  Lisa-Jo seems to be saying, accept them all and realize you can’t have it your way. She says never unfriend them for any reason!   I’d rather have friends that I enjoy spending time with.  I like more boundaries than Lisa-Jo.  I want time limits, like Bible study 2 hours one evening each week.  How about an afternoon at the beach?  I don’t want somebody who is texting me in the middle of the night.  If it’s an emergency, and I can help, call me!  If it’s not an emergency and you just want to stress out, let me sleep.

So my apologies to Lisa-Jo, but your idea of friendship does not work for everybody.  I don’t agree that Jesus tells us to have friendships like you describe.  I think we are mostly supposed to run to Jesus with our stresses and problems first, not our friends.  If our every problem becomes our friend’s problem, you threaten the relationship.  Jesus never will leave us, and will never stop loving us.  Friends do sometimes.  It happens.  

->From Romans 8:38-39, “…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hey, if you disagree with me about friendship or about the book, leave your comments below.  I would love to listen!

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Falling

FallingFree

“Falling Free” by Shannan Martin is a book that made me think.  It challenged my thinking about what God expects us to do for other people.

Shannan and her husband had the life they always wanted, living in the country with a big house, big yard for the kids to play, good schools, good jobs.  Then they gave it all up.  They moved to the city to a neighborhood with small rundown houses, and needy neighbors with checkered pasts, low incomes, and less good schools.  

They used their new surroundings to change the way they responded to their neighbors’ needs.  They got to know their neighbors, and helped them in so many more ways than I had ever thought of doing.  This was a new context for me of “loving your neighbor as yourself”.  

They love their neighbors as part of their family.  I don’t think I am ready to do that.  Is that what God expects?  Read the book and see what you think.  Are they going overboard? Or are they on the right track?

>Click HERE to find the book.

>Go HERE to check out Shannan’s blog.

Thanks >to Kristin Taylor for having a giveaway for this book!

And I won! I so enjoyed reading it.  Sorry it took me so long to finish.

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Prayer Changes Things

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My motto is “Prayer changes things”. 

Having grown in my faith, and grown in my prayer life over the years, I see how they interplay.  As faith grows, we turn to prayer; as we receive answers to prayer, our faith grows.  They build on each other.

For several years I led the prayer ministry at a Christian church.  During that time I bought some books on prayer.  Two of them I still have on my bookshelf.  They were instrumental in my own prayer life, and in leading the prayer ministry.  I want to share with you why I am recommending these books.

One is a classic, “What Happens When Women Pray”

by Evelyn Christenson.

The other is a prayer powerhouse, “Let Prayer Change Your Life”

by Becky Tirabassi.

The subtitle of this one by Becky is “How You Can Release God’s Power”.  That summarizes this book quite well.

Evelyn’s book “What Happens When Women Pray”, covers topics you would expect in a classic on prayer.  Here are some of the chapters:

“Prayer is the answer”I love this chapter.  Some people make fun of people who say, “I will pray for you.” But I agree with Evelyn that prayer is THE answer to any problem!  I cherish the people who have prayed for me through Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, divorce, and cancer.  I am alive today and happily married because of those prayer warriors.

“Forgiven as we forgive”.

“Praying in One accord”.

 “How to pray in God’s Will”.

“God never makes a mistake”.

“Where, when, and to whom we pray”.

“Results”.

“Telephone prayer chains”.  I don’t know if you are familiar with prayer chains.  I’m not sure if churches are still using it.  To begin with the prayer ministry I led consisted of a telephone prayer chain with several groups of women on a list.  When a prayer request came in, one person was called in each group, and then she called the next person on her list.  In this way, many people were praying for the same prayer request the same hour, and even more during the rest of that day.  We were a small church, so this was effective for the few prayer requests we got. 

In addition, I had each group pray regularly for one of the ministers at the church and one of the elders.  Each group had a minister and an elder to pray for.  In that way, all the ministers and elders were prayed for throughout each week and each month, all year.  I also added an annual prayer retreat, and a 24-hour prayer sign-up for The National Day of Prayer.  Basically, I had led a classic prayer ministry.

Becky’s book, “Let Prayer Change Your Life”, ramped up my belief in prayer.  My eyes were opened to the power of God that is released through prayer! Please don’t let anyone tell you that prayer is not important.

For example, Becky tells a story about prayer that she experienced.  She was on her way to lead a prayer workshop The location was far enough away that she had to fly there.  At the airport she found out that the airport was shutting down for a couple hours because of construction on the runway.  She called to tell the host for the workshop that she would be arriving there a couple hours later than planned.  The person on the line prayed while they were on the phone.  Becky then went through security, and then heard that the construction was cleared and the plane would leave on time.  She then made a quick call to the host again and told her of the quick answer to her prayers.  Only later did she find out that the delay was not construction, but a bomb.  A local sheriff had decided to remove the bomb himself, instead of waiting for a bomb squad.  Talk about answered prayer!  Not only was the plane on time, but no one was injured by the bomb!

Please don’t ever let anyone tell you that prayer is not important!

Becky’s book chapters include these insights about Prayer:

“Prayer fuels faith”.

“Prayer teaches trust in God’s Plan and our purpose”.

“Prayer releases God’s power”.

And “Prayer unleashes love for God”.

And all that is in addition to the chapter “The Blessings and Benefits of Prayer”.

If that list doesn’t get you eager to read a book on prayer, then maybe I can encourage you by asking you to —

>click on one of the links below to read more about these two books.

Purchase one or both, or find them in your local library. They don’t cost much, and they could change your life, because I believe that “Prayer Changes Things”.

>“What Happens When Women Pray” at Barnes & Noble both new or used plus shipping.

>“What Happens When Women Pray” at Amazon both new with Prime free shipping and available used with shipping.

>“Let Prayer Change Your Life” at Barnes & Noble online only used for $1.99 plus shipping.

>“Let Prayer Change Your Life” at Amazon, available used with shipping.

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My Heart

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Julie Manning lived a normal life with her husband and young son.  She had gone back to school to become a nurse, and was working with children who had heart problems.

Then on the day she was to give birth to their second son, her life changed.  She found out that she had a very dangerous health condition – heart failure.  Her life and her family’s lives all changed on that day.

What is amazing is that this story is real.  This book reads like a drama, an intense fictional story, but it is a true story.  Julie Manning is living this story.

Reading this book is an awesome experience.  I feel like I did not breathe the whole time I was reading it.  It was hard to put down.  Julie tells her story so well, with so much honesty and emotion, that you can’t help but feel like a close friend worrying for her.

Not only does Julie accept her heart condition, but she lives it with courage and an amazing faith in God.  She does not close herself up in her house out of fear, no she bravely goes about living her life, and being a wife and mother.   I do not know how she can express herself with such calm focus.  I would not have been surprised if she was weeping out of grief, and screaming with fear or anger, and yelling at God, but she does none of those things.

Julie calmly picks up a pen and begins to journal her experiences, and to write letters to her two sons.  She shares some of these journal entries, and letters with us, so we can hear her thoughts about faith and purpose in God.  We hear her love for her sons, and her hopes for them.  I have never heard anyone express these thoughts before.  I never even thought of asking for these things that she is hoping and praying for her boys.  I cannot help but wish I knew her, but at least I learn a lot about her as she tells her story in this book.

I cannot say this to you strongly enough.  You really need to read this book I think it is urgent that you read this book.  Really, this book has the potential to change your life, and the lives of your current or future spouse and children for the better, so much better!  All you have to do is read this book, and use her life as an example of what your life could be.  You can have a life filled with love, hope, and purpose.  Yes you can!  Julie tells you how she does it.

I truly believe that if you read this book, and really listen to what Julie is saying to her sons, and to you, this book will knock your breath away!  This book could change the way you look at your daily life, and your relationship with your family, and with God.  Yes, this book is written that well.  Yes, this book contains an amazing true story, told with extreme honesty and vulnerability.

Julie Manning, I give you a standing ovation!  Your life is a role model for us.  I feel that in my life I missed so much love and purpose that could have been there if I had only known it was possible. 

I hope and pray that you younger women will read about Julie’s life, so you have the chance to know what your life can be, and be encouraged and inspired, to cultivate it in your own life. 

This book will astonish you!  This book will knock your socks off!

Just order this book, >Click HERE!   It will be available to ship on February 1, 2017.

On Amazon read part of the book now >Click HERE.

You can buy this book in book stores beginning February 1, 2017.

If you buy the book before February 28, 2017, you can submit a copy of your receipt to receive a special reward – a FREE prayer journal from Julie.  To submit your receipt >Click HERE, then click “Redeem Today” at the top of the My Heart website page.

Find out more about Julie’s life and the book, at her website >MyHeartBook.site

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