Book Review: You Were Born for More by Harry Jackson Jr.

It took  me a while to slog through this book…and not in many way because it was bad, but because I would read and then would have to really think about what Mr. Jackson was asking of me.

You Were Born for More makes you take an in-depth look at your life and ask those hard questions.

I liked the fact that Mr. Jackson breaks things down and goes through them step by step, using Biblical references to help you look at how you can change your life through Divine Grace and providence.  And not by using God, but making those changes in your life that will positively impact all areas of your life.

He does not sugar coat things.  There will always be a bad health report.  The kids may or may not be doing good in school.  The job you were depending on may fall through.  But, as children of God, it is dependent on us, to take these moments and delve into our faith fully, wholly and unrepentantly.  Mr. Jackson recounts his own personal experiences with illness and strife to show how things came out for the better, even when the situation seemed impossible.  It brings to mind something a televangelist has said many times, “In the natural it doesn’t seem like it can happen.  But in the supernatural, God is always working for us, with us and through us to make those things work.”  Of course, I am paraphrasing here, but you get the point, Gentle Reader.

Change is not easy.  It takes a while and it take deliberate actions to do so.  Mr. Jackson gives us a thorough way in which we can do this through the promises God has given us in His word.  As. Mr. Jackson explains, You Were Born for More.

I was sent this book by Chosen Books, a subsidiary of Baker Publishing Group for review.  I am under no obligation to give it a favorable review, but I have because I liked it.

Blessings Be on you today, Gentle Reader.

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Book Review: King by RJ Larson

King by RJ Larson was a fantastic 3rd book in the Books of the Infinite Trilogy.

The third book follows the decisions that the king or Akabe is making.  Akabe is frustrated because the Infinite is silent and so instead of waiting in patience, Akabe starts making decisions based on what he thinks the Infinite wants…not on what the Infinite actually wants.  Akabe flounders and makes tons of mistakes.  There’s a lot of espionage afoot, assassination attempts and general unrest in may different areas of his life and Akabe feels alone.

We can see the direct parallels between Akabe and how the Kings of the Bible must have felt and their trials and tribulations.  Rebuilding when everything has been destroyed with enemies at all sides, it’s no wonder they sometimes made huge blunders!  I sometimes have a hard time deciding what we are going to have for supper…so I cannot imagine the magnitude of pressure these great men must have gone through.  Whole nations rested on their shoulders.

RJ Larson introduces us to a new character, Akabes Queen, who at times I feel equal parts pity and anger.  She irritates me because she is steadfast in her ignorance.  But then after reading about her life with her family, her mistrust is understandable.  I don’t actually get to like her until the very end.

The plot is fast-moving and I would say the only challenge a reader would have is that if they did not read either Prophet (Book 1) or Judge (Book 2) they might get a little lost.  A lot of the book comes from prior knowledge of what happened in the first two books.  I don’t think it would be necessary to read the first two books, though I highly recommend it, to be able to get the gist of the story, but if you were to pick up this book without prior knowledge, I think the reader would get a little lost.

Ella and Kein are perfect in their own way.  Kein has matured so much and would be a person I would like to call friend.  He exemplifies meekness and humility while Ella is the picture of pure obedience, even though she doesn’t want to she does.  I can totally commiserate with Ella.  And even in fear, she rests in the Creator, the Infinite to get her through.

All in all, King was a well written end to an amazing trilogy.  It was fast paced, action packed and exciting.  There are things that made me happy (FINALLY!!! but I won’t tell you Gentle Reader what happens) and there are things that made me irritated with the wilfulness of the characters.

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers and I am not required to give a favorable review, but I liked it, so I did.

Book Review: Angels by My Side by Betty Malz

Angels by My Side by Betty Malz is a short and sweet little book  that gives us mere mortals an “insiders” view of Angels at work in our lives.

Betty Malz experienced a near-death experience when her appendix ruptured and she was clinically dead for 28 minutes.  Her time in heaven was a pivotal moment in her life and she went on to tell about her experience and impact other people’s lives.

The book is a great way to open the doors to our minds to believe that Angels are real and that they are sent by our heavenly Father to protect us, watch over us and keep us safe.  But, please do not mistake that they are there to command or expect to do things for us.  That is not their duty.  Their duty is to obey God’s commands and help us mere mortals.  It is comforting to know that God has helpers attending to us when we are in our deepest need.

Malz winds scripture and real life stories from other believers who have had amazing encounters with Angels.  She shows why calling on the name of Jesus is so important and how God really does care for all of his people.

This book would be a great pick me up for a friend down in the doldrums or even a pick me up for yourself.

I was given this book by Chosen Books and I am not required to give it a favorable review but I did because I liked it.

Book Review: Happy, Happy, Happy–My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander by Phil Robertson

A few weeks ago, I finished Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson.  And let me tell you, Jack, it was a great read.

Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the Robertson clan out of Monroe, LA.  He started Duck Commander back in the 70’s and we all know it because of the the hit A&E show “Duck Dynasty”.

Phil’s book talks a lot about his faith, his family and hunting.  It’s an in your face look at his life and how he has succeeded because of the Grace of God.

We see Phil today and he seems like a stern man.  And he is.  And we love him for it.  He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy.  Work hard and play hard and love the Lord your God with all of your heart.

But it wasn’t always that way for Phil, Ms. Kay and the Robertson boys.

Phil was a boozer.  As he says he was into, “Sex, drugs and rock and roll.”  He lost his livelihood, his wife and his boys.  He almost lost his life several times.  But he came back.  He went to the Lord and he worked it out.  And I believe things have worked out quite well for him since.

Phil talks about coming to the Lord at age 28.  Which is interesting, because I recently had a conversation with a man I greatly admire for his faith in the Lord and we talked about how men don’t really become men until the age of 28 or 29.  That this is when they finally decide to make a living, stop messing around and get on with their lives; and how they come into their own with their faith.  (This is a generalization and not how things are done…it was just an interesting coincidence that I read this and had spoken about the same thing.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading about the Robertson clan and how Phil came to learn to love the Lord.  It’s a great story on how anyone, no matter how far down the path to ruin and destruction, can turn their lives around with the help of God and a good woman! 😉

The only part of this book that did not interest me…and I must say, I did a little speed reading, was the chapter on duck calls.  I am not a hunter.  I do not claim to be.  So, this section of the book was skimmed.  I do admire the fact that he listened to the ducks and made actual calls based on their sounds.  That takes a lot of perseverance.

If you want to know more about the Robertson’s, how they got started and where they are headed, then this book is a great read.  It is full of what this country needs:  hard word, enterprise, love, family and FAITH!!!

I Thought You Were A Religious Type…

Seriously.  I heard these words recently.  Said.To.My.Face.

And I am not proud to admit, it was because I dropped the F-bomb in conversation while talking about a certain line from a Hank Williams Jr. song where the audience yells back at the singer during the refrain.  I have actively worked at getting myself to stop cussing.  It has been a truly hard habit to break.  I believe I set the example for my girls and my boy, and I don’t want them walking around cursing and cussing and sounding like pint-sized truckers.

I also truly believe that when we actively cuss or curse…we ARE cursing that very thing which we are talking to.  I have cussed at my parents (behind their backs), my friends, my husband, my children…my job.  I used to cuss ALL.THE.TIME.  Is it any wonder why bad things happen???  Especially when our words over those very things are an act of cursing?

Curse: as per Google.com Search results

Noun
A solemn utterance to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.
Verb
Invoke or use a curse against: “the family had been cursed”.
Synonyms
noun. imprecation – oath – malediction – cuss – anathema
verb. swear – imprecate – execrate – anathematize

So then the person who overheard me say this word looked at me, a kind of sly smile in their eyes…”I thought you were a religious type and didn’t say stuff like that.”

Whoa, whoa, WHOA!  Back THAT truck up.  Whoever said I was a religious type?  Just because I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?  Because I will pray over you…no matter when or where?  Because I love God?  Because I regularly attend church…now that makes me a religious type?  (Gentle reader, how can I pray for you today?)  Because I want my children to grow up knowing that their heavenly father (and earthly one too) loves them beyond measure?

I am not quite sure how I managed to give out the impression that I am “religious” but I thought it was funny…and aggravating.  But really?  I asked myself why I had such an issue with this label.

And I suppose it’s because their version of “religious” and my version of “religious” are two completely separate things.

First off: I don’t even like the term religious because to me it denotes something bad.  It’s a preconceived notion that you are better than everyone, that your poop don’t stink…and that you have the right, the authority to judge everyone and everything.  Religious to me means hypocrite.

Second: It means goody two shoes.  Which I am not and have never claimed to be. (Crap! Now I have that song by Adam Ant stuck in my head…)

Third: It just frustrates me.  I mean, my love of God and Christ personifies me as this untouchable…non human?  Sigh, gentle read, sigh.

An Extremist?

While talking about this with my husband he dropped a little word of knowledge; he recently read an article from blogger Peter Kirsanow from the National Review Online.  Kirsanow writes that a slide from a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training states that all religious types are extremists, including Catholics and Evangelicals.  Here’s what Kirsanow posted:

The Archdiocese for the Military Services notes with concern that a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief lists Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity as examples of “religious extremism” alongside such violent groups as al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the KKK (no word on whether the Department of Homeland Security concurs).

The Army states that the training was an isolated incident. No explanation as to how this allegedly isolated incident could have occurred in the first place.

 

Wow.  Beyond words.  Just.Wow.

If we are handing out labels…

I think the better term would be “churched”.  I don’t know if that is a term already, and if so, then I am stealing it from someone and giving it another meaning altogether.  (Churched does has a meaning.)

Churched: noun…A person whose faith is grounded in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Who believes that there is only 1 True God who made the universe.  Who studies the Bible and believes it to be the Word of God.  Who attends church, any denomination.  Tithes faithfully.  Gives selflessly.  Prays over you anytime and anywhere.  Ah, gentle reader, the list could go on and on.  I am sure if I gave it even more thought, I could make it into a verb, adjective and adverb.

So, I think the next time someone calls me “religious” I am going to tell them to call me what I really am…at least according to my government… an extremist.  Or maybe I should ask them to define religious.  Or maybe…I should tell them “Yes, yes I am.”  I am sure that will go over like a fart in church.

Blessings be on you gentle, reader.

Love, the extremist!

Psalm 118, a Hymn of Thanksgiving

It’s good.  Really good.

You should read it gentle reader.

A few years ago I read a blog about “Life Verses” and I didn’t understand what that really meant.  This wonderful writer was talking about how her pastor talked about “life verses” and how they could positively impact our lives.  Those verses from the Bible which speak to our heart of hearts.

Then, funny enough… I looked around my house and there were life verses everywhere.

In my foyer, I have John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

In my living room, I have 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud

These words, these vows…my husband and I spoke over each other years ago…for which I did not remember until I viewed my wedding video again after 14 years.  Sigh.

In the basement, I have Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

Something I have told my husband and children for years without thinking about it.  It was just habit to do so.

Oh dear and gentle reader…I do have life verses.  Amazing.  Who’da thunk it, right?

Do you have a life verse?  I bet if you look hard enough…it’s there.

Blessings be on you today, gentle reader.  Blessings be!

Going into Business

So…yeah.

I’m trying to decide if I should once again go into business for myself.

I have my studio set up.  My sound is good.  My experience is there.

I have resources up the wazoo…but…

It’s the getting started that scares the Bejesus out of me.

What if I fail?  What if it’s a whole lot of money invested…for a whole lot of nothing?

I am confident in my abilities.  I am good with my surroundings.

Sigh.  Making decisions is never easy.  Spending money is never easy.

Plus, this whole sequestration and losing 40% of our pay is starting to wear on me.  Like, really.

Yesterday, I was in a bad mood.  No reason.  Just in a bad mood.  And I could not get out of it.  It really sucked.

Today is a better day…but I am struggling with thoughts of pay and money…and feeling like I HAVE TO GET SOMETHING IN PLACE BEFORE OUR PAY GETS CUT!!!!!

Gentle reader…we are looking at losing over $2000.00 per month.  With reducing some things, I can cut out about $800.00 from our budget.  (Getting rid of Dish Network and getting rid of our savings…sigh.)  But that still leaves us with a $1200.00 short fall.

Sigh.  My husband has worked hard to get where he’s at and works hard everyday.  I know we are blessed with what we have…and I am SOOOOO thankful we can still give where we feel we can!  Praise the Lord for that!

And I am not being facetious, gentle reader.  We will continue to give.  It’s not our money anyway.  It’s His.  We are where we are because of Him.  All the glory and honor go to Him.

So, that being said…to Him I will continue to turn my countenance.  Look for His face in all things.  And once again cling tight to the promise given us in Jeremiah 29:11. (paraphrasing gentle reader)

For I know the plans I have for you, Plans to prosper you and not harm you…

Amen and Amen for those words.