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The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: JOHN: Get to Know the Living Savior by Dr. Warren Wiersbe

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s commentaries and his world-renowned knowledge of God’s Word can now be enjoyed in a format that allows everyone to enjoy spending time getting to know the Savior. David C Cook plans to release additional volumes in the Wiersbe Bible Study Series over the next few years.

Product Details:

List Price: $8.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765075
ISBN-13: 978-1434765079

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Lesson 1

God in the Flesh

(JOHN 1—2)

Before you begin …

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read John 1—2. This lesson references chapters 1–2 in Be Alive. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.


Getting Started


From the Commentary


Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word”  to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1–3, Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

—Be Alive, page 20


1. As you read John 1:1–2, what stands out to you about the description of

“the Word”? What does it mean that the Word was “with” God? That the

Word “was” God? How does this opening contrast with that of the other

three gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? What does this tell us

about John, the writer of this gospel?


More to Consider: Why do you think John refers to Jesus as “the Son

of God”  so many times in his gospel? (See John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25;

10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31.)


2. Choose one verse or phrase from John 1—2 that stands out to you.

This could be something you’re intrigued by, something that makes you

uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with

you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.


Going Deeper


From the Commentary


Life is a key theme in John’s gospel; it is used thirty-six times. What are the essentials for human life? There are at least four: light (if the sun went out, everything would die), air, water, and food. Jesus is all of these! He is the Light of Life and the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the “breath of life” (John 3:8; 20:22), as well as the Water of Life (John 4:10, 13–14; 7:37–39). Finally, Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6:35ff.). He not only has life and gives life, but He is life (John 14:6).

—Be Alive, page 22


3. As you go through the gospel of John, underline the references to “life.” Why do you think John’s gospel touches on this theme so frequently? How do the themes of “light” and “life” relate to one another in John 1?


From the Commentary


John the Baptist is one of the most important persons in the New Testament. He is mentioned at least eighty-nine times. John had the special privilege of introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel. He also had the difficult task of preparing the nation to receive its Messiah. He called them to repent of their sins and to prove that repentance by being baptized and then living changed lives. John summarized what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus Christ (John 1:15–18).

—Be Alive, page 24


4. What is significant about the gospel writer’s mention of John the Baptist (John 1:6–28)? Why would this have been important to the early believers?


From Today’s World


Although the skepticism of the modern age has diminished their impact, self-proclaimed modern “prophets” continue to speak about the end of the world (or other events) as if they have exclusive insight into “insider information”  from a source they often claim is God Himself. Some gain a following as people clamor for wisdom about why the world is in its current state. Whether out of fear or frustration, they look to the so-called prophets for answers.


5. Why are people so fascinated (whether they agree or disagree) with modern prophets? Do you agree that people today are more skeptical about prophets and their reliability? Why or why not? How does today’s culture compare to the culture in which John the Baptist appeared? What does this suggest about the role of prophecy in modern Christianity?


From the Commentary


The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices. At Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. Those lambs were brought by people to people, but here is God’s Lamb, given by God to humankind! Those lambs could not take away sin, but the Lamb of God can take away sin. Those lambs were for Israel alone, but this Lamb would shed His blood for the whole world!

—Be Alive, pages 27–28


6. How might John’s Jewish followers have responded when he announced Jesus as the “Lamb of God”? Why is John the Baptist’s testimony important? How does John’s description of the “Spirit” compare to the coming of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts? What does this teach us about the Holy Spirit?


From the Commentary


“We have found the Messiah!” was the witness Andrew gave to Simon. Messiah is a Hebrew word that means “anointed,” and the Greek equivalent is “Christ.” To the Jews, it was the same as “Son of God” (see Matt. 26:63–64; Mark 14:61–62; Luke 22:67–70). In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed and thereby set apart for special service. Kings were especially called “God’s anointed” (1 Sam. 26:11; Ps. 89:20); so, when the Jews spoke about their Messiah, they were thinking of the king who would come to deliver them and establish the kingdom. There was some confusion among the Jewish teachers as to what the Messiah would do. Some saw Him as a suffering sacrifice (as in Isa. 53), while others saw a splendid king (as in Isa. 9 and 11). Jesus had to explain even to His own followers that the cross had to come before the crown, that He must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24:13–35).

—Be Alive, page 29


7. Why were the Jews expecting the Messiah to appear as a king? What does this tell us about the culture and circumstance of the Jews at the time? How might the Jewish leaders have received the pronouncement of Jesus as the Messiah? There had been others who claimed messiahship prior to Jesus’ arrival. What argument does John make in chapter 1 to support the fact that Jesus is the One they’ve been waiting for?


From the Commentary


“The third day” means three days after the call of Nathanael (John 1:45–51). Since that was the fourth day

of the week recorded in John (John 1:19, 29, 35, 43), the wedding took place on “the seventh day” of this “new creation week.” Throughout his gospel, John makes it clear that Jesus was on a divine schedule, obeying the will of the Father. Jewish tradition required that virgins be married on a Wednesday, while widows were married on a Thursday. Being the “seventh day” of John’s special week, Jesus would be expected to rest, just as God rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1–3). But sin had interrupted God’s Sabbath rest, and it was necessary for both the Father and the Son to work (John 5:17; 9:4). In fact, John recorded two specific miracles that Jesus deliberately performed on Sabbath days (John 5; 9). At this wedding, we see Jesus in three different roles: the Guest, the Son, and the Host.

—Be Alive, pages 35–36


8. Read John 2:1–11. Why do you think the Scriptures record this as Jesus’ first miracle? What is the significance of turning water into wine? Of the timing of the miracle?


More to Consider: Moses’  first miracle was a plague—turning water into blood (Ex. 7:19ff.), which speaks of judgment. How does Jesus’  first miracle speak of grace?


From the Commentary


Jesus revealed His zeal for God first of all by cleansing the temple (John 2:13–17). The priests had established a lucrative business of exchanging foreign money for Jewish currency and also selling the animals needed for the sacrifices. No doubt, this “religious market” began as a convenience for the Jews who came long distances to worship in the temple, but in due time the “convenience” became a business, not a ministry. The tragedy is that this business was carried on in the court of the Gentiles in the temple, the place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles and telling them about the one true God. Any Gentile searching for truth would not likely find it among the religious merchants in the temple.

—Be Alive, page 41


9. Why was Jesus so upset about the money changers? (See John 2:12–16.) What is significant about Jesus’ comment in verse 19? How does this foreshadowing help us to see God’s divine timetable for Jesus’ earthly work?


From the Commentary


While in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus performed miracles that are not given in detail in any of the Gospels. It must have been these signs that especially attracted Nicodemus (John 3:2). Because of the miracles, many people professed to believe in Him, but Jesus did not accept their profession. No matter what the people themselves said or others said about them. He did not accept human testimony.

—Be Alive, page 44


10. Why didn’t Jesus accept human testimony? What does John mean when he writes, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (2:25)? What does this say about Jesus’ feelings toward those who followed Him because of His miracles?


Looking Inward


Take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve explored thus far in this study of John 1—2. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.


Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don’t press for people to speak if they’re uncomfortable doing so.


11. How do you respond to the different descriptions of Jesus in John 1 (the Word, the Lamb, the Son of God)? In what ways does the father/son imagery connect with you? Why is it important for you to know Jesus was God’s Son and not just a prophet sent to preach good news?


12. In what ways do you see your own life as a “light” to those around you? How have others been light to you? What are some ways you’ve struggled to be a light to others? How can the picture of Jesus as the light inspire you to be a light to others?


13. What sort of “Messiah”  do you think you’d be hoping for if you were among the Jewish people before and during Jesus’ time? In what ways might you have been pleasantly surprised by the way the Messiah arrived? In what ways might you have been disappointed? How do you see the Messiah’s role in your life today? In what ways is Jesus’ role like that of a king? Of a servant?


Going Forward


14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you’d like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don’t try). Do you want to know more about John’s description of Jesus as “the Word”? Do you want to better understand the Jews’ expectation about the Messiah? Be specific. Go back through John 1—2 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.


Real-Life Application Ideas: John the Baptist contrasts his method of baptism with Jesus’ in 1:26–34. How well do you know your church’s stance on water baptism? Learn what your church teaches on this

important topic. Consider what baptism has meant to you. Or, if you haven’t yet been baptized, consider talking with your pastor about being baptized.


Seeking Help


15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.


Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you’ve read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read John 3—4. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapters

3–4, “A Matter of Life and Death”  and “The Bad Samaritan,” in Be Alive.



MY REVIEW
In my opinion, the book of John is one of the most informational books in the whole Bible when it comes to knowing about Jesus as Savior and Man. That is why I was so excited to see what Dr. Warren had to say.

Each chapter in Dr. Warren's study includes a chapter or two of the book of John. He goes through each  event and applies it to our lives today.

He begins each chapter encouraging you to pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal new things to you as you study. He then gives you the scriptures to read.

I've enjoyed the other commentaries and books that Dr. Warren quotes in this study. I feel like I am walking away knowing a bit more about the one I call Savior.


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SuperMom's Ramblings: Laundry, Shopping, Dishes...Oh My!

Most of you only know me as "SuperMom"... what is behind the name, how did I get that name and what do I do to live up to that name.

Well, saddle up ladies... for the ride through a day in the life of SuperMom!!!

First, I am by no means a perfect mother, I do not claim to be but I will gladly accept the name given to me by my husband and kids: SuperMom.

How did this name come to be? ell, honestly, it started with my awesome husband. He would brag about how I homeschool our kids, chase toddle twin boys and am crafty. He'd tell friends and strangers alike about me and tell them that I was a super wife and mom.

My kids then begin to call me "The SuperMom who could not keep up her kitchen", later they shortened it to just SuperMom... which is nice, seeming how trying to call out "SuperMom who can't keep up her kitchen" is a little long winded!

I try my best to live up to that name that I feel honored to have. I try to keep up with my kitchen, though washing dishes for 7 people is hard especially when we homeschool so 6 of us eat all three meals plus two snacks at home each day. Figuring it, I wash about 130 plates or bowls a week... sometimes running the dishwasher twice a day!

I make sure that my kids get the perfect twin beds that coordinate with the toddler beds that the twins just grew into. I searched hard and long online to make sure we got the right price and the right color, style and quality! I searched many online stores and recently just learned about one that I sadly did not search and boy am I sure sad I missed the prices from CSNstores.com.

I try my best to cook healthy meals. Again relying on the wonderful world wide web to help me find new recipes to try with the stuff hidden in the back of the pantry that is about to expire! My favorite site being allrecipes.com.

I make sure that the kids not only have clean laundry, but that they are learning to DO their own laundry! (Yes! My 3 year old twins help sort, wash and put away their own laundry... I do not think of it as child abuse, I think of it as responsible parenting as it is my job to prepare them to one day leave the nest!)

I have taught my 8 year old how to plan a menu for the week and to make a grocery list of needed items. My 7 year old daughter can measure and prepare her own mac  cheese (though I cook the noodles) and my 5 year old son feeds our pet parakeets all by himself!

Why do I do what I do? Why do I teach my kids at such a young age? Why do I give them chores that I can easily do myself? Because I know that I will not be around to take care of them for forever! I will go to heaven at some point, whether that be tomorrow or in 50 years- but whenever it is, my kids will know how to do somethings all for themselves. I could easily wash the kitchen table, sweep the kitchen floor, empty the dishwasher, do all the laundry in the house... but what does that teach me kids? What will they grow up seeing and learning? What example is that to my boys? Go get a wife, she'll do it all... NO! Even my boys are learning how to care for a house, by doing and by example. My husband has taken on the bathrooms each week and he washes all of our clothes. My boys see that their dad isn't afraid to help around the house, that it is not 'just a women's job'. 


I have given my kids age-approtiate chores that they can accomplish easily without help. This helps them to not only be independent, but it builds self-esteem. They know that they can accomplish a task and though some days they really don't feel like doing their chores (just like us as adults having our days of not wanting to work) they can feel good that they are:

  1. helping Mom around the house. They are carrying some of the load of having a big family.
  2. big kids. They are able and capable of doing 'big kid' chores.
  3. learning. They will understand how a household works and that for a house to run smoothly and for mom to not be suer stressed out, everyone needs to do their part.
I think that as "SuperMom" my job is more than just doing, doing, doing... it is about loving, teaching and raising kids that will be ready to raise families of their own someday. Though it may be years and years away (try 15 years AT LEAST!) a habit taught young will stick with them for years to come!





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When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty by Jackie M. Johnson


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Losing a hope-filled dating relationship is a stressful and painful event.  And when it seems to occur again, again, and again, is Ben & Jerry the only refuge for a Christian single?

As one who has walked this road before, author Jackie Johnson says an emphatic "no!"

While most books for singles tell readers how to get the next guy, When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty encourages a healthy healing process.  Practical and biblically based, each chapter guides the reader through a metaphorical day of restoration.  Twilight recognizes and deals with endings, night validates and grieves the loss, dawn awakens hope, and day is the new beginning based on the solid assurance of Christ.

Chapters conclude with discussions questions for individual or group study, helpful Bible verses, and a prayer.





 ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Jackie M. Johnson is an accomplished author and freelance writer who has a passion for helping people who’ve experienced brokenness. Her first book, “Power Prayers for Women” (Barbour Publishing) has sold nearly 200,000 copies.


A Milwaukee native and graduate of Trinity International University, Jackie lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.









MY REVIEW
This is a great resource for those who are have been hurt and need healing from a recent breakup. For those who have chosen the dating scene, heartache comes with the territory, Jackie gives practical, biblical advice on how to heal from the pain.

This is not a 'pick-yourself-up, dust-yourself-off and get-the-next-guy kinda book. Jackie leads you through the healing process and helps you get your heart fixed so that you cannot only move forward in your next boyfriend relationship, but with Him also.


Check out more stops in Jackie's book tour and see what others have to say about it!

When Love Ends





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 The Legal Stuff: This book was provided by Pump Up Your Book media tours.

God Knows My Name by Beth Redman

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Beth Redman is an evangelist, songwriter, singer, and author of several books, including Soul Sister and Beautiful. She is also the co-author, along with her husband Matt, of the book Blessed Be Your Name. Recently, Beth and Matt received the Dove Award for the Worship Song of the Year for “Blessed Be Your Name,” which they wrote together. Their combined song-writing skills also produced the popular worship songs “Let My Words Be Few,” “Facedown,” and “You Never Let Go.” The Redmans and their five children live in Atlanta where they serve as part of a team leading Passion City Church with pastors Louie and Shelley Giglio.




Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403650
ISBN-13: 978-0781403658

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Our parents are often broken people wearing big learner’s plates, like drivers in training, when we arrive in their world. We shouldn’t judge them harshly, but sometimes the parents we need to love us the most can hurt us and let us down.


As a mum, I take it very personally and get a little feisty when my daughter, Maisey-Ella, is bullied or mistreated. I consider it outrageous when I know someone has hurt her, and I find it hard not to intervene.

My husband has told me on many occasions, “You can’t give little girls evil looks, Beth!” My daughter is, quite simply, utterly gorgeous inside and out. Of course she is not perfect, but the problem all of us face is that the world is not going to like us, love us, or be on our side all of the time. Some days we will be misunderstood, blamed, and rejected. But in our home, when Maisey-Ella returns from a miserable day at school, two pairs of loving arms wait for her. Arms that without question are available to wipe away any tear, and hearts of love that speak gentle words of acceptance, reassurance, and a promise that no matter what … we love you, beautiful girl, and we are for you.


Every single human being needs the comfort and reassurance that on the days the tears fall—even if the “world” rejects us—the people who really know us (warts and all) will be there for us. Those people are our parents, our family. Sometimes, though, our family isn’t there.


However, God is an ever-present, all-loving, all-forgiving, amazing Father in heaven. He can override imperfect parenting, soothe any broken spirit, and free any bound-up heart.


I want to tell you my story.


I want to share an amazing story of restoration, a story of the hope that we all have and the truth that I pray will fill you with joy, freedom, and power! I’m not pointing the finger at anyone or trying to make anyone look bad. I simply want to shout out that God heals, restores, has plans for you, and utterly adores you! If we can truly breathe in that truth, we become free to live, free to give, and free to love and accept both others and ourselves. Then, as you breathe that truth out into a hurting and broken world that desperately needs this message of God the Father’s heart for us, God is glorified, and lives are changed and transformed by Him.


My mum was a true saint when I was growing up, and my closest friend. She brought me to church and taught me about God. In public my dad seemed the perfect father, but in private he struggled with anger … and we suffered terrible violence. In my very late teens my parents separated. I don’t think we should place our parents’ mistakes or faults under the microscope and blame them for all our problems and baggage. God teaches us to forgive, and He gives us the grace to do so. He enables us to rise above the harshest of circumstances and to begin again. He rewrites generations of brokenness to give us an incredible hope and future with Jesus.


But I want to tell this story because I believe in a God who restores, and through His power I have seen reconciliation and healing occur in the most broken of families. I know it is possible, and I have always prayed for that with my own father. However, it takes more than just a miracle for that to happen—it also requires the openness and humility of all involved. Since my parents divorced, my dad and I have had sporadic contact. Throughout that time I found it impossible and even destructive to have a normal father-daughter relationship, so I have walked carefully and lived my adult life without him.



During my pregnancy with our third child, I began to have some worrying symptoms, and after the baby’s birth, doctors began to test me for suspected liver disease. The specialist I was seeing told me that, before my liver biopsy, he needed to know as much about my medical background as possible. He asked me to contact all my living relatives and find out if anyone in the family had ever had liver problems. I contacted each family member and very nervously sent an email to my dad. He wrote back immediately, and still to this day I cannot believe his parting words.


He wrote that, yes, there was liver disease in the family, and also cancer, and he hoped I had both.


“Beth,” he wrote, “you deserve to suffer, because suffering would make someone as egotistical and vile as you a better person.”


Wow.


He also threw in some awful comments about Matt and our children that need not be repeated. The email ended with him telling me I was cut out of his will and he had instructed his solicitor never to disclose his death or where he would be buried. While I was waiting for news of my liver condition, my earthly father had just cursed me and condemned my life.


God made us to love and to be loved. My earthly dad knew me, rejected me, and also detested me. Could anything be more painful?


I could hardly breathe. I phoned Matt and read him the email. I called my mum and my best friend, Anna. Inside I was crying out, Someone tell me I am loved! Please take away the pain of this horrific rejection—the words had gone so deep it felt as though my inmost parts were bleeding. I was desperate for a deeper love, validation, and acceptance. No human words could soothe me.


I put down the phone and gasped for air.


I cried out to my God … my true, amazing Father, my heavenly, forever Father, the One who knows all my failures and shortcomings and yet has never ever rejected me. He wrote my name on the palms of His hands and He stretched out His arms, and as He was viciously nailed to a cross, He separated me from my sin forever and loved me enough to die unjustly. He walked a journey of horrific agony—pleading, being taunted—and He carried my cross, my death, my past, and my sin. His love was enough as He cried out, “It is finished!” So now death and pain, brokenness and rejection, where are your sting? Everything I ever need in life is now accessible and available to me through His death.


Our God is a God who saves and who accepts and who can heal us completely. His love outweighed the words of a wounded man whose own life was so broken that he knew only how to crush others. I faced up to the pain of the situation, but at the same time knew a beautiful and powerful revelation that spoke louder than all of those other words: Though my father may forsake me, my God will never reject me. Though my earthly dad may try to erase me from his life, I shall never be forgotten. In that moment I knew a deep and permanent truth covering over the whole of my life: that God knows my name.


My Father in heaven adores me, has plans to prosper me and supernatural arms to hold me. He is with me by His Spirit every time a situation threatens to overwhelm and whenever I want to hide away and give in to the insecure, evil thoughts that come knocking. My God would never reject or forget me. He did not forget me in my time of need. From heaven He called out to me reminding me that I am His! Because He made me, He knows me, and He loves me! I am His forever. God spoke to me powerfully from His Word:


Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and

have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See,

I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

(Isa. 49:15–16)


You are known by name by the Living God, the loving heavenly Father. He made you, He redeemed you, He hears you, and never ever will He forget you. Hallelujah!


In this book I want to share with you some of the powerful ways that God helped me overrule such a massive rejection with His glorious eternal truth. I hope this can help you in your own life and enable you to help others.


Isaiah 43:1–4 says this:


But now, this is what the LORD says—

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.


When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.


For I am the LORD, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.…


Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you.”


In this passage, there are several truths for us to grasp, which I want to break down and look at one by one in this chapter.


God Knows Your Name


“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isa. 43:1)


A name is given and considered. A name imparts meaning, value, identity, and significance. Your name was chosen specifically, and especially, for you. A name gives both humanity and dignity to a person. The Enemy would have you live a nameless existence—feeling anonymous, illegitimate, unknown, unimportant, inglorious, and unfit to be named. Nineteenth-century London was a time of such material, emotional, and spiritual poverty that “children were so utterly uncared for that some were even without names, and were known to each other by nicknames.”


In direct contrast, God says that He has a name for us. Where we feel worthless and insignificant He bestows worth and significance upon us when He calls us by name and chooses us for His glory.


Anyone expecting a child has flipped through baby-name books, looking at the meanings and origins of names and thinking about how they sound. I’ve found names I loved and then been dismayed to find out they meant something like harlot, wench, or crooked nose!


Someone recently told me of a child who had been named Jezebel Harlot! That’s a pretty negative connotation to speak over a child every time she is called. Ideally, a name needs to suit the person carrying it. When my husband suggested that we name our third child “Rocco Redman,” I thought he had gone a bit mad! Normally my husband’s track record in making decisions is spot on. There really is no point arguing with Mr. Matthew Redman because over the years I have found he is nearly always right. However, on this occasion, I wasn’t so sure.


I wanted our third child to be called Benjamin, but Matt got the older children on board—and in the end I came to peace with the fact that if he was anything like his dad and his brother and sister, he would easily live up to something as strong and bold as Rocco! The name means “rest,” and so far he has turned out to be the most relaxed, peaceful, deep-sleeping, and gentle-spirited boy… and he has the confidence and joy required to be Rocco Redman. In new environments, his name still causes a little reaction, but it is so perfect for him, and I love that every time I write or call him by his full name, Rocco Benjamin Courage, I am affirming and speaking rest, sonship, bravery, and boldness over him.


In the same way, your Father God named you as precious, chosen, and beloved. You may not be named Rocco, but when God calls you, He speaks over you His truth, freedom, and life. Your part is to make a good choice—to continually believe and live under those things He named you and never to seek to hide behind another name. Many of us each day live under other labels that the Enemy has given us from past or present experiences—unwanted, failure, doubter, ugly, unlovely, needy, drama queen, mistake, disgrace, shamed, forgotten, and many more lies.


Those thoughts and feelings cannot possibly originate from God—for He is the giver of good and perfect gifts, and the God of all comfort. Those negative impressions of yourself and the words my own dad wrote in his email to me originate from the Enemy—who we know to be a dirty liar.


Perhaps you think your problems and insecurities are too great to overcome. By the kindness and mercy of God in my own life, I can assure you that this is not the case. I was abused physically, put down verbally, and rejected. I suffered humiliation many times and sadly began to act out how I felt about myself. In public I felt wretchedly insecure. I couldn’t go out with friends without feeling self-conscious and unimportant. I hated myself inside and out.


Then Jesus called my name. And everything changed. I hardly recognize the person I was back then. Our names may conjure up memories, but not always truth. I know that ultimately I am defined not by what others think of me when they hear my name, or what my earthly father says about me. Instead, the authority and compassion of the God who called my name define me. He loves, He shapes, He convicts, and He lavishes us with affirmation.


It’s time we heard His voice the loudest.


God Made Me


This is what the LORD says—

He who created you, O Jacob,

He who formed you, O Israel. (Isa. 43:1)



Part of understanding the depths of God’s knowledge of us lies in grasping the importance of the fact that He made us.


Psalm 139:13–14 puts it beautifully:


For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.


I praise you because I am fearfully and

wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.


The phrase inmost being is literally translated “kidneys.” In Hebrew idiom this meant the innermost center of the emotions and the moral sensitivity of a person’s heart.2 Here we see that God does not just know us as a casual acquaintance or simply acknowledge our existence, marvelous though that would be for the God of heaven to do such a thing. Rather, He knows who we are right down to the final detail. God knows how you work, how you think, what makes you happy, what makes you sad. He knows the last time you cried, and what you cried about. He knows what you would like for your birthday, and He actually cares about it too. The amazing thing is you don’t actually have to tell Him all of this. He just knows, because He made you, He sees you, He hears you, and He loves you. He knows you better than you know yourself.


He knows what you need before a word is even spoken from your mouth or articulated in your heart.


God Speaks Worth Over Me


“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” (Isa. 43:4)


The first thing God said when He looked at His creation was, “It is good.” The very fact that God made you means you are wonderful!


The psalmist declares: “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:14). Yet God didn’t just make you, then say, “What a great job,” and leave you on a shelf. No, He pursues a relationship

with you, He gives His life for you, that He may know you daily, deeply, and eternally.


Just before we were married, Matt received an invitation from Buckingham Palace. When Matt read the guest list he was a little intimidated. Top sports personalities, journalists, and film stars— and my fiancĂ©! When he eventually met the Queen, along with Prince Charles, Matt performed a fumbled bow and stood back in shock. That was the Queen!


He couldn’t believe he had been chosen to hold out his hand and meet her majesty face-to-face. Somehow Matt had been deemed worthy of a moment with the Queen and her son, and he felt truly humbled. What a privilege!


Yet the truth is that there is a higher honor—a more amazing invitation that lies open for all of us. God in heaven; the Lord of all creation; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of your pastor and your friends who are missionaries abroad; the God of Corrie ten Boom and Martin Luther; the Author of life; the Beginning and the End—He extends the hand of friendship to you! Just as Matt was invited to stand alongside celebrities and dignitaries before the Queen at Buckingham Palace, so too are we invited to stand before the God of heaven and earth as an equal alongside great heroes of the faith … and not just to meet Him but to know Him! He speaks His love and your worth loudly over you today.


Listen closely: Isaiah 61:3 says that He bestows on us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” and Psalm 103:4 says that God “redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”


Anyone wearing a crown holds her head up high. She does not have an identity problem. She has been given honor and dignity.


God speaks worth over you. He declares His love for you. You are precious in His sight. Just like when I speak rest, sonship, and courage over my child, every time God calls your name He speaks worth and

value over you. He knows you intimately because He made you, and He loves you completely.


God Hears Me


“I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isa. 43:3)


It is a fundamental human need to be heard and understood. In fact, if we feel that we are not heard, we feel a vast sense of loneliness and emptiness. If we are not heard, we do not feel understood, and if

we do not feel understood, we will not feel known. The whole point about God knowing our names, and about Him making us, is that He knows us. When we discover that we are known and understood by a friend, it can be profoundly moving. Sometimes a really good friend may understand us better than we understand ourselves.


Tom Marshall, in his book Right Relationships, says that no one can survive for long unless “we feel that somebody understands us, somebody knows what we are feeling and somebody appreciates our real desires and intentions.”3 And yet, however powerful being known and understood by a friend or your partner can be, no one can know you better or understand you more than God Himself.


Psalm 139:1–4 puts it magnificently:


O LORD, you have searched me

and you know me.


You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.


You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.


Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.



Some people might find this depth of understanding quite frightening—and indeed there is always a risk attached to loving and being loved, knowing and being known. God knows us completely and utterly. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are an open book to God. He sees what we do, and He hears what we say even before we say it, or even when we’re not talking to Him! He knows what you are doing and why you are doing it. More importantly, He knows your dreams, your ambitions, and your longings. But how can we know for ourselves that God really knows us in our inmost being, completely and utterly?


We know that we are known because He hears us.


When we know that God hears us, it transforms us from being fearful, doubting God’s love, mercy, and goodness, into people who can be certain of His love for us. When God spoke to me through that song on my iPod, through the beautiful words of Isaiah 49, I knew that He had heard my cry—and He stepped in very powerfully at that moment, speaking His Word of life over me.


God was faithful to me through His real, tangible words of truth. I had a choice. I knew I did not have to believe my earthly father’s words. My heavenly Father had seen my pain and had answered me in a deeply personal way from His Word.


God Has Not Forgotten Me


“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isa. 43:2)


Sometimes we can know the truth of God in our minds, but not let it sink into our hearts. Or perhaps we have experienced a time of spiritual dryness, a time of suffering, or a time of God’s silence. During these times, it can feel like God has forgotten us. This can be frightening and even cause us to question the truth and reality of God.


A friend recently told me that her current situation makes her feel as though she was five years old again and her father has forgotten to pick her up from school. That is a very real and deeply unsettling feeling, and it can shake our faith and our trust in God to the core. My situation is telling me You are not here and You are not coming. Where are You, God? Yet the true extent of God’s care and concern for us is breathtaking:


“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7)


God is not like your earthly father. Difficult circumstances do not mean He has failed or abandoned you. He has not left you at the school gate. God does not forget the child He made. He has not put you to one side while He is busy with other people. He is not bored with you, and He did not leave you midproject. He adores you. In fact, He promises (and God is incapable of breaking a promise) in

Joshua 1:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He continually watches over you. “He [takes] great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).


God is continually at pains to remind us not to be afraid, because He is with us. If He is with us, how can He forget us?


If you feel forgotten, I want to encourage you to believe the Word of God when He says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).


Call out to the Lord, and He will answer you. Wait patiently for the Lord, for He will turn to you and hear your cry. God loves you, He hears you, He speaks to you, and He will rescue you. Amen!


©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. God Knows My Name by Beth Redman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.



MY REVIEW
Beth is so real! She lays life out just like it really is- hard, vulnerable and overwhelming at times. Beth shares her heart and experiences in hope that you can see God. That you can be reminded that God knows YOUR name.

I was completely able to relate to this book and Redman's words. She has reminded me that I am important in God's eyes. He knows me, sees me and loves me.


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Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Shades of Morning: A Novel



PRODUCT DESCRIPTION 


Marnie didn’t know much about miracles.
Mistakes maybe. Accidents. And monstrous mess-ups. She knew a lot about those.
But miracles? Those were for other people.



Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned.
            As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
marlophoto


Marlo Schalesky is the award winning author of seven books, including her latest novel, Shades of Morning, which combines a love story with a surprise ending twist to create a new type of novel that she hopes will impact readers at their deepest levels.
Marlo’s other books include If Tomorrow Never ComesBeyond the NightVeil of Fire, a novel about finding hope in the fires of life,Empty Womb, Aching Heart- Hope and Help for Those Struggling with Infertility, and Cry Freedom.

She’s had over 600 articles published in various Christian magazines, including Focus on the FamilyToday’s Christian WomanDecisionMoody Magazine, and Discipleship Journal. She has contributed to Dr. Dobson’s Night Light Devotional for Couples, Tyndale’s Book of Devotions for Kids #3, and Discipleship Journal’s 101 Small Group Ideas.
She is a speaker and a regular columnist for Power for Living.
Marlo is also a California native, a small business owner, and a graduate of Stanford University (with a B.S. in Chemistry!). In addition, she has earned her Masters in Theology, with an emphasis in Biblical Studies, from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Marlo lives with her husband and five young children in a log home in Central California.
When she’s not changing diapers, doing laundry, or writing books, Marlo loves Starbucks white mochas, reading the New Testament in Greek, and speaking to groups about finding the deep places of God in the disappointments of life.





Marlo is hosting a BOOKS AND BREW Contest on her blog. 
Go here to enter!


MY REVIEW
I loved this book and will pass it on!

I was captivated with this story and Marlo's writing style and was amazed with the ending of this story! That was a twist I was so not expecting!

I love this story and will truly read more of Marlo's books.

Two thumbs up from me!


Must read fro everyone!!!

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 The Legal Stuff: This book was provided by WaterBrook publishers.

What the Bible is All About for Moms: Interview with Kathy Pride


Product Description
Renowned Bible teacher Henrietta Mears had a dream: to make the Bible accessible to everyone. What the Bible Is All About realizes her dream, and that book has become an essential companion for students of the Bible for more than 50 years. What the Bible Is All About for Moms is the second devotional based on Dr. Mears classic study guide. These 66 readings, one for each book of the Bible, will bring God's Word into the homes and hearts of moms of all ages. Each chapter includes mom-specific excerpts from Henrietta's original text, suggested Scripture reading for daily or weekly study, a devotional reading to connect the days verses to the everyday lives of mothers, a few ideas about applying God's Word to the reader's life and a suggested thought or question for further reflection. Moms are in the Bible from beginning to end, and now the Bible can be in the hearts and minds of moms!


About the Author

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m trying to decide how to introduce myself… I have lots of energy (although I feel tired a lot), am decidedly middle aged (although I still seem to think I am in my twenties) and wage a losing battle with wanting to drop ten to fifteen pounds which have settled between my naval and my knees.

I worship at Community Mennonite Fellowship in Milton, Pennsylvania where I serve as the Director of the Missions/Outreach Ministry. I accepted Christ the very first day I showed up at this church on June 10, 2001 and am privileged to serve as part of the church with a group of p



eople who walk the talk.

I grew up in New York City and now I live in a small town in Pennsylvania where I moved with my husband, Howie, in 1986. We chose Danville, PA because there is a large medical center and it is where my husband completed his residencies and now practices as a pediatric dermatologist.

Howie and I met at Brown University, where he graduated in 1980, and I graduated in 1982. I did not study English, journalism, or writing, (a question I am frequently asked) but majored in Health and Society. When we moved to Pennsylvania I continued my education, earning my BSN from Bloomsburg University and have spent over twenty years teaching huff and puff (childbirth education) classes.

We have four children, two big boys (OK, young men) in their twenties, and two daughters in elementary school. The quip is that we missed our generation completely, having our first two children as young fools, and our second two as old fogies. Our older daughter is Vietnamese, joining our family when she was five months old. Our other three children are birth children, our second son and second daughter red headed look a-likes.

My writing journey started in 2002 when we were in the midst of struggles with our son and I felt compelled to share a hand of hope and healing to other families who were struggling with substance abuse. The directive to share was very clear, as if I had heard an audible voice. I ended up writing the book I needed to read Winning the Drug War at Home. And that was the beginning of my writing life, which I love and find myself knee-deep in it.

What else can I tell you about myself? In an attempt to get rid of those nagging extra ten pounds I love to exercise but need a goal to keep me motivated. So my husband and I recently decided to join the world of short distance triathlons. I used to be quite competitive (swam at the National Level) but now my goal is simply to finish.

I love to travel and we have gone to Honduras on Medical Mission trips. Recently I did a high ropes course, and all I have to say is it really is a good thing I only had a vague idea of what I was getting myself into. I have never participated in sky diving (although our son Matt has; he also went down in a cage to visit with sharks and want to get his Avalanche certification…) but I have gone paragliding in the Swiss Alps.



Now... for the interview with Kathy!


First, a little bit about me and how this book came to be…

So, let’s chat.  I love chatting! And meeting new people, especially moms.  
I am a mom, I have a mom, and I have worked with moms for years as a childbirth educator. And my writing style is much like my teaching style, telling things like they are with truth, humor and transparency.
I hated it when the instructor told me in Lamaze class that the contractions wouldn’t hurt.  That was simply not true.  And I vowed then and there that everything I did in life had to be truthful, but that sometimes the truth hurts so humor tempers lots.
Anyway, I have four kids, two adult sons, 28 and 25 and two younger daughters, eleven and thirteen, and for those who wonder about the gap, our third child was actually the only one truly, truly planned for the time she arrived, as she was adopted and brought home from Vietnam at five months of age.
My husband and I have been married for almost thirty years and met in college and have hung in and on ever since. We live in a small town in Central PA where he is a physician and I spend most of my time after three pm in the car.
The opportunity to write this book came to be as a result of a totally divine happenstance conversation I had with editor extraordinaire and grace dispenser Kim Bangs who invited me to submit a concept sheet and then proposal for this book.
Well, what about that soft spot for moms?

Moms have a tough job, don’t you think? 
We do have the Bible, and not to minimize that as an instruction manual in right living by any stretch of the imagination, but it tends to come in after friends and family and all their free advice, that can be pretty costly…
So the question arose, how can we take Biblical wisdom and stories, role models and examples, and weave them into relevant (and funny) stories to encourage moms? I know I need encouragement! Everyone else’s kids may be perfect, but mine are NOT. And, shocker, neither am I.  But guess what?  Neither were many of the moms, ok, all of the moms in the Bible. Remember, Jesus has the corner on the market in the perfection department, so God has provided lots of examples of moms and how they dealt with different situations, similar to what current day moms deal with. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.  But, the story of the Bible is one of redemption, and moms need to remember that.
So, the opening story for Genesis, is titled, “E is for Eve and Epidurals.”
So, tell us a little bit about how the book is laid out, and who is Henrietta Mears?

The book is inspired by the writing of Henrietta Mears, renowned Bible Teacher from Hollywood Presbyterian Church in the 1940’s and on. She believed in making the Bible accessible to everyone, and wrote her hallmark publication, What the Bible is All About, and was the founder of Gospel Light Publishing, Regal’s (the publisher of this book) parent company.  So Regal has now published two devotionals inspired by her writing.
The book is comprised of 66 chapters, one for each book of the Bible, each one bit sized for busy moms.
Each chapter starts off with a brief section entitled “Snapshot from Henrietta” which serves as a basic overview for that particular book of the Bible. It is then followed by selected Scriptures, also inspired by the writing of Miss Mears, with one specific Scripture from among her selections highlighted. This Scripture is one that has particular relevance to moms.
A short one sentence synopsis precedes each story under the heading, “Momento” and then is followed by the story under the heading, “Mama Mia” which focuses on a mom or mom theme. 
Each story is followed by an encouragement, “Lightening the Mother Load” and then closes with questions for reflection under “Musings for Moms.”

Tell us a little about the stories; some of these titles make me laugh.
I am so glad they make you laugh. Every mom who has gone through labor can relate to labor pain. Well, it says there right in the Bible, women will experience pain in childbirth, so E is for Eve (the grande dame mama) and epidurals…
Then there are others, like, “Bath”-Is That for Bathing or Bathsheba? (Being noticed and admired…); “White Teeth and Plastic Surgery” (paying attention to appearances); “Mean Girls 101” (raising great daughters); and “Too Much Idling Will Ruin Your Engine” (Gossiping).
But the stories are relevant, honest, and will result in many nods of recognition. I am simply the scribe (oh, and experiencer of most of the stories, which are all true, although some names have been changed….)
But aren’t Moms too busy to read?

I will be the first mom to admit that we are busy…and I often fall asleep at night, sometimes drooling, while trying to read. But these chapters are bite sized, uplifting and include lots of Scripture, and can be read on the go. They are great for the car or purse. Plus, with the Bible overview, if you have friends who don’t think the Bible is particularly relevant, or not for them, this is perfect to introduce them to the Bible as the real deal!
Is this for all moms, or just young moms?

The challenges that moms face are really universal throughout their lifetime. It may be a different story, but ultimately it is the same script.  It may be sleepless nights with a colicky baby, but problems and not understanding what is wrong continues with your kids through a lifetime (sorry, if you have young kids you probably didn’t just want to read this…)
It includes single moms, young moms, older moms, and moms who aren’t yet moms. There are struggles in yearning to be a mom and God’s answers and timing that are also written about with bittersweet honesty.
Have you had experience with tough times in parenting?

Absolutely. But because God is in the grand business of redemption, while it doesn’t condone wrongs, He will use mistakes to help us reach out to others. I have experienced crisis pregnancy, pregnancy loss, infertility, adoption and motherhood as a young fool, and older fogie…remember, we have seventeen years between number one and four. Our adult sons have had struggles (one son’s struggle with substance abuse is what paved the way to my relationship with Christ) and just real life issues, which would make it into my annual Christmas letter, and is why I no longer write one (no, I write a book instead…)
How has this book been redemptive to you?

That’s a great question, because the first draft of this manuscript was, well, a little let’s just say, sharp (ok, downright caustic in some places) and that showed me, through the eyes of another, that I still had significant healing to go through in my relationship with my own mother.  And it is amazing how God has accomplished that, through allowing me to write, re write and then learn from Him through the writing of this book.
What kind of feedback have you had so far?

You know, it’s been really encouraging. Moms are relieved that they are not alone, that there is someone else who will acknowledge that they don’t have it all together (and don’t drive a clean car, either…) I have had so many women remark that they felt like I was just chatting with them over coffee, that the stories are so real to life. And that’s what we need isn’t it? Encouragement from others that we journey through life together, God loves us, will redeem our mistakes, and then enable us to share with the next sojourner on the journey of life.
What else would you like to share?

I would love for people to join the conversation, come stop by for a visit at my web site:  www.kathypride.com, also known as The Mennonite Diva. Friend me on Facebook, although there I listed my “full” name for some unknown reason, Katherine Pride (so formal) follow my blog on the home page of my website, and just hang out.
Wait just one minute…did you say Mennonite Diva? Tell me about that.

Sure. First of all, my message of encouragement to women is that they all need to release their Inner Diva’s. They are Divinely Chosen, Inspiring, Valued and Amazing. I worship at a Mennonite Church where I also serve as the Outreach and Missions Director, and I love pink and having fun. So please drop by!

MY REVIEW
As a mom, I try to soak up anything I can get m hands on that applies to moms, wives, women... I love to see other's perspective on God's word as it applies to the areas in my life that are my main focus.

I loved reading Kathy's book because it was not only the normal scriptures that were applied to my life as a mom (Phil 4:13 etc) she covered the entire bible... every book in the Bible has a point that applies to my life and I never thought of many of these as applicable to me!

My favorite was Hosea. Kathy talks about love, reconciliation and reputations... she asks a questions that made me stop and really think about my past, "Does a woman's reputation matter when a man is choosing a wife?"

I apply this to my life because I have been thinking alot of my past and all the things I wish I would have avoided... many of which have affected and infected my marriage.

Kathy has a great book here that every mom can relate to... pick up a copy for yourself, your BFF and your grown mom daughters!


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 The Legal Stuff: This book was provided by Christian Speakers Services.
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