Heartbroken, then Mended

Review: When God Breaks Your Heart

                                                              By Ed Underwood       

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Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were willing to do almost anything to get it?

How about praying for something you really desired, but it has not come yet?

Have you ever questioned if God has really heard your prayers?

Like most of us, if not all, we have had these questions in the back of our mind, yet we look for that glimpse of hope. We understand that life happens and how we deal with the changes result in a good or bad outcome.

Well according to the author, “this is a book to help you or someone you love through the darkest days and nights.”  The author uses a specific story from the Bible, one that is quite relevant to his testimony. The story of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, and the test they went through. As the author shares his story and the season of sickness, he used with intensity examples of overcoming pain and obstacles relating to Martha and Mary highs and lows of emotions after sending for Jesus when their brother was ill.

The author puts it this way….If your physical or emotional turmoil is stealing your confidence in God, I want to share these comforting truths about Jesus’ love and care for you and give you every assurance that you are God’s child (pg, 27).  However, the fact remains that you have been praying and praying and praying, wondering if God will answer you or when He will answer you. The author reminds us that we, too, can fall into a cry out to Jesus….. “Lord, if you had been here…”   We all want that quick relief from that lasting pain and misery, but sometimes it seems as if it take decades to come to us.

The author mentions the first lesson God taught him through his affliction was regarding prayer: He taught him the difference between a request and a report. While the lesson was uncomfortable, it requires a shift in theology and in teaching.  The author shares a few things to encourage you:

  • God will never do anything contrary to His sovereign will.
  • When God does respond to prayer, it is never because we demand our answer according to some formula or with enough faith that forces His hand.
  • God loves His children and delights in caring for them.

In Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

The Scripture is true and reminds us that as we continue to love and trust in God, all things will work out for our good. The author encourage us with this:  you may not fully understand all of the reasons for what seems like Jesus’ undue delay and what all of this means, but you can be sure of what it doesn’t mean: It does not mean that He doesn’t love you. If your pain had caused you to wonder if Jesus’ love for you has diminished or even stopped altogether, read that sentence again in the present tense with your name written into it instead of Martha’s and Mary’s: “Now Jesus loves.”

The author shared so much of his testimony and it is a reminder of how we too, can forget how much Jesus loves us while we are going through tragedy and suffering.  But we have to hold on to those Scriptures that strengthen and heal, no matter what; we have to fight the good fight of faith. This book is to give that hope when their faith is failing them.  Just like Martha and Mary, their faith was failing them because Jesus didn’t save their brother, but when Jesus came He call forth Lazarus and brought him back. Jesus just wanted them to have faith in Him.

In spite of what we may be going through Jesus want us to have faith in Him, in His ability and power to bring us through. Yes I know it hurts very badly and it seems like the suffering is never-ending, but everything has its season. The author story has shown us just that and the lessons he had to learn through this process. It won’t feel good all the time, but there is one who loves you and will care for you even in the midst of the storm. Your prayers are not in vain, God hears your cries and will send you an answer according to His timing. The author leaves us with this: Friend, don’t let your broken heart define your life. God has so much more for you. Every tomorrow can be a day of glory….if you believe. Remember that Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Amazing testimony and I highly recommend this book to encourage, inspire, and uplift those who are in need. This book has been a blessing and a reminder of no matter what we are dealing with, we are not alone.

 

 

 

 

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Holy Spirit…..Is Speaking?

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THE SPIRIT WHO SPEAKS

By Peter H. Lawrence

This book is speaking in regard towards the Holy Spirit the one who speaks. The author shares countless experiences of being led by the Holy Spirit. The author gives numerous of biblical scriptures that validate his experiences. During his experience he understands that it’s not by his might or his strength but by the Creator that uses him in full capacity. The author says “God is God who speaks! Just as I am a man who eats God is God who speaks.” The author clearly takes no credit for his own, it all belongs to God.

The author makes some valuate points:

  • God is perfect, incorruptible, and totally consistent.
  • He always reveal His true Character in everything He does
  • He does all things correctly and on His timing.
  • God still speaks to us even in this day and age.

In Psalms 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Therefore, before mankind the heavens were already declaring God speaks; as soon as mankind appears God speaks to them. The author noted that if anyone who says God heals, God loves or God forgives know the powerful truth of these statements. “A God who creates us for fellowship- and calls us back into fellowship through repentance and faith-is a God who loves to communicate with His children.

In order to hear from God it requires you spending time, by reading the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to you through God’s Word; not only through reading the Bible, but through signs and wonders. According to the author, Biblical Christianity is about being sons and daughters of the King, being the bride of Christ, having communion with God, knowing God, and being known by Him.”

Acts 2:39 “For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (HCSB). Peter promises that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for all. Therefore, we know that the Holy Spirit is for us to communicate with, to be guided by, to bring Scriptures back to our remembrance, and to aid us in prayer when we cannot utter prayer.

We are encouraged to speak to God in all seasons and throughout the roller coasters of life. This is how we build a personal relationship with God. The Bible even tells us in Ephesians 4:30 “And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.”  Jesus left us a model of living in righteousness, “if we have faith in Jesus we will do what He did” (John 14:12).  The author states, I believe in the Bible. I believe God speaks to us today through the Scriptures. I believe God also speaks to us today by His Holy Spirit. The author is firm in his foundation and isn’t afraid to share the gospel. The author uses his experiences/testimonies to witness Jesus Christ to others.

The author recognizes that many non-believers, of course will doubt that believers hear from the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit will, can, and is able to speak to you.  “One of the reason the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture was for the purposes of doctrine and teaching, especially the way of salvation through faith in Jesus” (Lawrence, P). One thing is certain; the Word of God is still powerful and authentic, enabling Christians to fulfill the commandments of the Scriptures.

Now with just a word Creation of Life, Earth, and the Universe existed. With just a word the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hears, and the dead lives. With just a word being sent a child was healed. “Through the Bible God speaks about the way to be saved and to live as Christians, and through His Spirit, God applies that truth to the right person in the right place at the right time” (Lawrence, P). It was never a coincident, but it’s all in God’s timing and being obedient to Him is predicated by you fully trusting Him and His Word.

The author knows that anytime God gives a Word there is always confirmation of His word. Therefore when the Spirit speaks it is always a guarantee with a divine assurance in God. In Isaiah 55:11 “so shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth, it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (NKJV). The author noted that we are not all going to get words from God for other people, and certainly not every day, but we should expect to be in communication with the Spirit more and more as we attune our own spiritual ears to His voice.

We can agree that through the reading of God’s Holy Word and prayer, we develop a bond in our relationship with the Triune Spirit. This is how we stay connect to the Holy Spirit, how we grow and build our faith, we are establishing a firm foundation and there by taking every Word of God as truth. Proverbs 30:5 says “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him”.  The author reminds us that whenever we ask the Holy Spirit to come to do whatever He wants to do we run the risk that God will bring to the surface that which is hidden in darkness.

The author states that hearing the Spirit speak can sometimes help us to discern the presence of demons. A direct word from the Spirit may reveal the entry point through which demons enter, enabling us to reopen the gate and drive them out. Hearing the Spirit speaks points us to the right way to minister through Scripture, discernment, and listening to the Spirit of God. The Spirit warns of dangers and traps the enemy sets before us.  The author remind us that the Holy Spirit was not given to all believers under the old covenant, but when God gave the gift of prophecy, those who spoke did so with unquestioned authority and accuracy. In contrast, when we turn to the New Testament, the certainty found under the old covenant is no longer there.

According to the Bible, we have the right to test the spirit, a word from the Lord can be very helpful to a church, but everything needs to be tested, as Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica: “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything” (1 Thess. 5:19-21).  The Spirit who speaks is a phenomenal and is guarantee to have you thinking and viewing the Holy Spirit in a different perspective.

I highly recommend this book and give the author kudos in listening to the Spirit in writing this remarkable book. It is on Amazon.com for purchase.

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Review: Jesus Called He Wants His Church Back
By Ray Johnston

Jesus Is Calling-This book goes deep into the depths of Christians and American Church ministries. The author starts the book off by acknowledging that Jesus is popular in America- true. After two thousand years, he is still a global favorite and sits at the top of the US polls. He’s more popular than Beyoncé, Frank Sinatra, or Mozart. He is quoted more often than Winston Churchill, Woody Allen, or Forrest Gump’s mom.
The author states that the people that left Christianity were those who called themselves Christians, but did not live the life. They’re finally given up the pretense. Christians in America faith should be breaking records with all the resources: World-class buildings, corporate level leadership, Technology, and etc. So the question is “Why aren’t we? Why nobody wants to go to church anymore?”
In part 1 of the read it begins with this title “A World without Jesus.” The very thought of it should bring you to your knees, but think about it for a moment. Where were you when Jesus called your name? Did you answer the call swiftly, steady, or slowly? If you haven’t accepted the call, isn’t the title befitting for your choice. What if the title was “Living on The Opposite Side of the Fence?” With a sub-topic who is watching over you if not Jesus….hmmm.
The writer says this “the greatest need of any Christians is to reconnect and rediscover the power unleashed by connecting with and actually following Jesus. While we look at the changes America has embodied, they left out the most direct component-Jesus.
The seven things that changed Americans are:
 Americans lost Innocence (1950)
 Americans lost Authority (1960)
 Americans lost Love (1970)
 Americans lost Values (1980)
 Americans lost Faith (1990)
 Americans lost Security (2000)
 Americans lost Hope (2010)
The past seven decades have shaken America and not fully grasping the real problem that something is missing. Recognizing that in each decade Americans have lost one thing that is essential for emotional, relational, and spiritual health.
It is impossible to be emotionally healthy…..
It is impossible to be relationally healthy….
It is impossible to be spiritually healthy….
Without innocence, authority, love, values, faith, security, and hope.
The author began to impress upon us some heartfelt logic to really consider:
 Try raising good kids without innocence…or values….or authority
 Try leading a team, business, or country without respect for authority
 Try building a healthy marriage without love….or values…or faith
 Try building a better future without faith and hope
 Try being emotionally healthy without security or hope
 Try being happy without hope
These would be completely impossible without Jesus; Jesus showed us innocence, authority, love, values, faith, security, and hope. It takes a firm foundation and that take time to build a foundation. “Everyone wants a solid foundation for their homes, their marriages, for their kids’ values, and for their future”, but without the groundwork being laid the foundation will not stand. Many have used church as a money-making avenue and trying to get people to basically buy salvation….to buy a blessing….to buy a miracle or sign. Last I check Jesus didn’t need or want that type of help. Jesus is the ONLY One that can save, heal, and deliver. You definitely can’t buy your way into Heaven….the devil lied to you all if you thought you could.
If you truly read your Bible, the church is a body of believers in Christ Jesus that meet at a designated place to worship, prayer, and read scriptures. So many have been misled, misunderstood, and misguided by what others feel is right in their own thinking in regards to the church. The Bible has been misdiagnosed by many only taking bits and pieces out of it like a kiddie meal, instead of taking the full contents of the Bible for growth and maturity.

When under fire people get misconstrued of the season, thinking you did something wrong or something in your life is out of order; why couldn’t it be that God is refining that person for a new season or preparing them for something. “Life happens in seasons. Ecclesiastes says there’s a time for everything. Everything has a season. Good seasons. Bad seasons. Productive seasons. Growth seasons. And seasons of decline. Seasons of mourning. Grief. Seasons of laughter. Jubilee. Seasons where there are more obstacles than opportunities. Often followed by seasons where we can’t seem to find time for all the opportunities. There are seasons of stretching, where God seems to shape something new in our hearts. And we often don’t know what that new is until we enter another season.
Seasons of passionate, growing love. And tough seasons, where love is tested. Seasons you’re more the leader and seasons where you’re more being led. Seasons of blessings. And seasons of wondering where are all those blessings others seem to be experiencing” (Edmondson, R).
Just remember that Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves and if we try to say differently, we are lying to ourselves. Therefore, at some point we have to recognize that without Jesus it is impossible to live a healthy stable life. Many churches may fall by the wayside, but know that not all churches are spotted; there are some that truly serve God and want to honor the Father commandments. Too many of us try to play it safe and use television as a way to get the word, but what about fellowship with others of the same faith. Didn’t Jesus fellowship with others from town to town? Didn’t Jesus sat and talked with others?
Believe it or not the Christian Community can grow in a capacity to which Christ is calling us too. A Community takes care of one another, a community provide for the community, a community builds and not tear down, a community teaches other how to build, a community strive as the connection is being bonded and branded and a community thrust out negative people that would destroy the community.
The author states that “every Christian is called. Every Christian is gifted. If you are a Christ follower, then you are called to serve.” Life is too short to waste and you cannot get a do over, so why not do what you have been called to do and follow Christ. If you are called to it, then you were equipped to do it. Christians are called to be believers, but we’re also called to be belongers. You will never be the type of believer God wants you to be until you get rooted in a local church.

This was defining an interesting read, full of details, and nuggets for one to really chew on. I would recommend this book based on the in-depth information and concern for the church. Too many have lost their way back to Christ’s heart and replace that void with worldly things. Jesus wants His church back!

Trust in God Matters

Trusting God

     In reviewing this book, “Trusting God: Why His Plan is Better Than Ours” speaks volumes of trusting God in spite of the seasons we’re in, we must continue to trust in Him.

The author reminds us that “we as Christians need to understand the importance of trust and all that it entails. This means learning both the requirements and ramifications of fully committing to God.” The author made an interesting point, if we truly want to experience the strength of God, we must first embrace our weakness. He says “it takes more strength to allow yourself to be weak than to pretend that you are strong.”

We as Christians don’t really like showing our weakness in fear of being scolded, talked about, rejected, and cast aside. We tend to take pain as an unbearable emotion that

However, by embracing our weaknesses, we are allowing God to show us His strength.        2 Corinthians 12:10 (HCSB) “So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The author put it this way: the door to strength in the kingdom is weakness. This really does get you to thinking, especially verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 12 “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  When you are suffering and beg the Lord to remove this cup, the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfected in weakness. How awesome to know that you don’t have to be strong all the time. When you’re at your weakest moment God’s power will strengthen you, just trust Him.

“When tribulation and persecution comes, we can lean on him and not just endure, but prosper under His strength. However, being rooted and grounded in Christ, you will not fall, but if you are not rooted in the Lord, you will straightway stumble (Reimer). Mark 4:17 (AMP) And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.

Remember that through it all His grace is more than enough to sustain us. His strength is enough to make us strong and we will not just endure, but thrive!

Hebrews 11.1(HCSB) “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”  The author says faith is actually required, and it doesn’t come when the water is still.  My commentary is: faith is required when the waters are troubled and the test comes in like a flood. Your faith is either going to be activated or in default. Your faith is either going to take you higher or keep you stagnates in your current position.

The author hit the nail on the head, trusting God means letting go of worry, and letting go of control. The last one is major because we want to control everything, it’s when we can’t control everything we become anxious; wondering if it’s going to turn out right­­—God’s Got it!

The author shares a few things with us that we should always remember:

  1. You can never hide from God.
  2. God doesn’t hold a grudge.
  3. God will always welcome you with open arms.
  4. When you hurt, God hurts.

The author states: you build trust with God the same way you would build trust with anyone: by spending time with them and developing an intimate relationship. Simply put: crave out some time, eliminate distractions, and be honest. If you can’t be vulnerable to God than what will become of you; God isn’t into condoning, but He’s into redevelopment and reconstruction.

This book was very inspiring and refreshing; it even had me doing some evaluations of my walk. I highly recommend this book to ALL whose walk, faith, and life have been tested. This young man has learned some key points and has shared them with the world to grab hold and continue to trust God.

 

Marriage in Abundance

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This week’s review is dealing with Marriage, the way God intended it to be-Superabundant. I found this book to be quite interesting and fully detailed with figures, statistics, and etc. However, for me the reading was a bit overwhelming to say the least, but there are some trinkets hidden inside.

The author starts off the first chapter with a question: “Is it possible to be truly happily married?” The answers vary, of course to some, while others are still trying to answer the question truthfully. Many are confronted with this question at a time in their lives where it is living in an unpleasant state. As the author goes in further by sharing his own experience of him announcing his engagement to his fellow peers, their reaction was as cold as ice per say.  He was shocked nonetheless, that many of them are unhappy in their marriage.

So the next question might as well be: “What went wrong? Or Why?”  For some they are not quite sure or have a clue as to what went wrong. The next question should be: “When was God replace in your marriage?”  In Ecclesiastes4:12 “And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”  This scripture says it all, that if we want our marriage to survive, we need God in it.

For some marriages, it starts off real good, however later down the years something happens and the marriages stale and lifeless. The romance is gone and needs a lifeline; as the old song goes “The Thrill is gone”, but why?  The author uses a scientific approach in discussing marriage, God and Paradise. The author provide statistics on marriages and approximately 40% of all first marriages in the United States will end in divorce, 20% of first marriages end within 10 years,  and the second marriages percentage is even higher. This is why we shouldn’t look to statistic to define how long we will stay married. Let God be the coordinator and director, He will lead you to happiness.

The perfect union (Adam and Eve) was damaged by evil and now marriage is fighting to get back into that Paradise affect.  The author puts it this way, “The marriage vow requires bridegroom and bride to remain faithful to each other regardless of their personal circumstances relative to happiness, health, and wealth.”  The author did mention prayer in marriage and the importance of prayer.

My commentary: Marriage without God is bound to fail; there is no substance to hold it together. Starting your marriage with a firm foundation can withhold anything as long as God is in. Keep God first and everything else will fall into place. I am not telling you what I know but what I heard and experience through God. The Main Source for everything!

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I had the pleasure of reviewing this book titled: “The Sweet Side of Suffering”.  In reviewing this book the author share some of her most painful moments. In sharing her experience of suffering she bring out validate points in regards to finding that sweet spot while suffering.

The authors’ Introduction notes that “Suffering is a reality that demands our full attention.” While nobody wants to suffer, we’re all bound to experience some type of suffering at some point or another in our lives. The many highs and lows of emotions that suffering brings, make you even question your own purpose in life. However, God’s timing is always on time and He never miss the mark.  Galatians 3:4 says, “Have you suffered so much for nothing?” The writer puts the scripture this way, “Have you suffered so much without experiencing the sweet side?” Then she asked “why waste suffering?”

Suffering can bring into play unwanted attacks if you’re not careful into whose hands it’s in. Another question that is often asked, “Why God allows suffering?”  Suffering came as a result of the Fall of Man and everything on the earth will experience it unwillingly. However, the great thing about suffering is, we don’t have to waddle in it we have a great Shepherd that experienced every need that we went through. The song writer puts it best this way, “Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free.  No, there’s a cross for everyone, there is a cross for you and me.”

The author is aware that “often suffering catches us by surprise,” but it is by the power of prayer that will get you through the rough seasons. Therefore, we can meditate on Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  In Matthew 5:45 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the just and on the unjust.” So you see no one is exempt from suffering, but we do have a place of refuge. The author details intricate steps that we can take to obtain the sweet side of suffering. She discusses hearing the voice of God and knowing God ; which is vital to obtaining the sweet side  of suffering.  “

When we are facing times of confusion in our suffering, when we are confused by God’s ways, our human nature often tends to withdraw from God.” The enemy delights in the abatement of our faith in God. The worse thing about this is, it displeases God when we heed the voice of the enemy and not His. We are reminded that we can always communicate with God. He wants us to come to Him, to talk to Him and fellowship with Him. In Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest [I will ease and relieve and refresh your soul] (AMP).”

Max Lucado quote: “A season of suffering is a small price to pay for a close view of God.”  In spite of the season of suffering, it’s important that you know the Master Creator. The author reminds us that even in biblical days, the chosen ones even dealt with peer pressure, bullying, backstabbers, murderers, embezzlement, conspiracy, and various issues that we deal with today.  Nonetheless, God is able to still keep you in all things and in all seasons.

The author talked about shared suffering, you’re not in it by yourself. 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you, but  rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”  Suffering  makes us keenly aware that we need God  and there is no getting around this fact. The sweet side is “God will keep us in perfect peace when our minds is stayed or focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Our hope and future relies on us pressing forward, regardless of the situation, we can and will overcome. We are VICTORIOUS!!!!

Yes, I recommend this book for those who are entering a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm. There is a sweet side to all the hardship we endure in life, the One to whom we can take rest in and renew strength.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sweet-Side-Suffering-Recognizing/dp/1572937459