Saturday, March 15, 2014

Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

"The voice you believe will determine the future you experience"
 - Steven Furtick

In my opinion, Crash the Chatterbox is Steven Furtick's best book to date.  Why?  It's very transparent and something everyone can relate to.  The four main issues discussed are insecurity, fear, condemnation, and discouragement.  I think we all struggle with these issues from time to time, if not daily.  Pastor Steven courageously shares his struggles with these issues and the mindsets and strategies he has found useful in overcoming them. 

As someone who faithfully tunes in to listen to Pastor Steven's sermons, I would compare this book to a Greatest Hits album.  I have marked up this book, underlining ideas that I have heard in past sermons and have put into practice.  What's more - they really do make a difference!  It encourages me to hear that I'm not alone in the battles I face inside my head every day.  I like having a resource that I can go back to and re-read whenever I need to gain a better perspective and remember what's true. 

Pastor Steven admits that reading this book and putting these strategies into practice "doesn't mean the chatter will end.  It just means that we'll have something stronger - and louder - to override it every time it starts."  We live in the middle of a spiritual battle and there is no way to escape getting involved.  In fact, "the more you grow in Christ and the closer you get to fulfilling the things He put you on the earth to do, the more intense the battle with your chatter becomes."  Haven't you found this to be true?  If there's gonna be chatter, I want to be as prepared as possible to handle it.

I highly recommend reading this book.  But don't forget to grab a pen or highlighter when you sit down to read will find truths and encouragement that you'll want to remember in the days ahead! 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Latest Download

I recently heard the song "I Will Look Up" by Elevation Worship.  I fell in love with the chorus because it is so visual.  As I envision myself standing and looking in all directions, the lyrics remind me how to set my focus.

I WILL LOOK UP, for there is none above you.

He alone is God.  Looking up makes me aware that there is more to this life than what I can see or understand.  It reminds me to thank God for who He is. 

I WILL BOW DOWN, to tell you that I need you.

Bowing down is an act of submission.  Admitting to God that I can't do it alone, but that I believe His grace will be sufficient for me.

I WILL LOOK BACK, and see that you are faithful.

We're told not to look back in the same way Lot's wife did - yearning for our former way of life.  But we do need to look back to remember God's faithfulness.  He has brought me thus far, and therefore I can trust him with my future.

I LOOK AHEAD, believing you are able.

Walking forward, head held high, confidently believing that God is able to use me to accomplish something great. (easier said than done!) Looking ahead makes me more aware of other people and recognize opportunities I have to bless them.

The only other direction I would add is to LOOK BESIDE.  Standing beside me are my friends and family - the ones who support and encourage me on this journey. 

So now that I've given you a peek at the song, why not listen to it for yourself?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tribute to Bella

A few summers ago, my husband found this little stray kitten in our neighborhood.  Normally not being fond of cats, I was surprised when he asked if we should take her in.  Of course once my boys laid eyes on her the decision was made... Bella became ours.

She was covered in fleas, yet too young for flea meds.  The first few weeks were very interesting trying to keep a kitten isolated to the kitchen (she was a great climber) and brushing fleas out of her fur multiple times a day.  But we managed and Bella was soon given freedom to explore her new home.

As she grew, it became clear that Bella was not a lap cat.  She liked to be in the room, but usually stayed at a distance.  The main exception was with our oldest son, Jacob.  She would sleep in his room and every morning would jump on his chest and purr when he pet her.  She also liked to lick our legs when we got out of the shower (weird, I know).

Bella's favorite toys were the plastic rings that come off of milk jugs.  She would bat those around until they got lost under a door or under our appliances. (I'm sure there is quite the collection under our stove!) She would chase balls like a dog in the backyard, but of course could never return them.  When our boys would lay on the ground and make "snow angels" on the carpet, she would pounce on their arms and legs, making them squeal with delight (and sometimes pain!)
Christmas was Bella's favorite season.  That first year she liked to pretend she was an ornament on the tree.  The next year she just decided to see how many ornaments she could knock off!

Our time with Bella was cut short due to her swallowing a string and having complications.  She did not live long after the surgery, which was what we had been told to expect.

Yesterday I had to tell my boys that their kitty was not coming home. That to me is the worst part of losing a pet...watching my boys grieve.  I had put together a slideshow of the pictures we had with Bella, and we watched home videos and talked about the good memories we had made. 

In many ways I am glad not to have a cat anymore.  No more litter box, scratched up doorposts, or fur to clean up.  Yet she was a part of our family, and her presence will be missed.

(And yes, I know that the formatting is off, but Blogger has frustrated me enough for the day...I give up trying to fix it!)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's a God Thing by Don Jacobson and K-Love

This book is exactly what it proclaims to be...a collection of stories from everyday people sharing how they have seen God work in their lives.  There is no teaching concerning what the Bible has to say about miracles, or reference to biblical stories.  It is simply people sharing their personal experience....witnessing to the fact that miracles still happen today.

Some of the miracles in this book are small.  They are events that some may look at and say "oh, that's just a coincidence".  It could be a coincidence that when someone goes to pull a gun from a safe with the intent of suicide that the safe gets jammed.  It could be a coincidence that a check shows up in the mail at just the right time or that someone gets the urge to pray for a friend who is in danger at that exact moment.  However, when you think about all these occurrences one after the other, it becomes easier to believe that maybe "it's a god thing."

Other miracles in this book are not so easy to deny.  When a baby is given a 1 to 2 percent chance of survival, and 4 years later is thriving.  When a woman scheduled for a D&C is suddenly found to have a healthy baby growing inside her womb.  When a blood clot in a baby's brain suddenly disappears.  These miracles have medical documentation to back them up! 

The beauty of this book is its simplicity.  If we can all share ways that we have seen God moving in our lives, then it becomes easier to see how God is still actively at work in our world...sometimes through big miracles and sometimes in the small details.  Reading these stories may open a person's eyes to recognize the ways in which God still works.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.