Tuesday, November 26, 2013

He Rejoices Over Me by Nicholas J. Skula Jr.

He Rejoices Over Me is a heart-felt book written to commemorate the life of Crystal Marie Skula and point to the source of her hope, Jesus Christ. 

The story is written by Nicholas Skula Jr. as he remembers his thirteen year old daughter who lost her battle with brain cancer.

From the start of the book, readers fall in love with Crystal Skula, a spunky little girl built by the hand of God and packed full of courage.

Whether facing an opponent in her martial arts class or the adversary  himself as she faced the threat of death, Crystal's faith could not be shaken. 

He Rejoices Over Me could be a strength zapping, heart wrenching, grab the kleenex kind of story. Though I freely admit to crying at parts, the overall story of Crystal's life, her family and her faith are not devoid of hope. 

You'll find God all over Crystal's story and it's the family's hope that others in their shoes would be encouraged to face their grief with, and not apart from, God's amazing comfort. 

Every chapter reflects something that mattered to Crystal, life lessons they uncovered as a family and things that linger in a father's memory after he's laid his baby girl to rest.

I appreciated the gentle and natural tone in Nicholas' writing. Though wracked with loss, the family made a beautiful and sincere decision to honor Crystal's memory and they have certainly done that within the pages of this book. 

Pick it up. Grab a kleenex, but cry for joy. Crystal's story doesn't end here and someday, we believers will get to meet this little firecracker of faith.   

Purchase your copy of He Rejoices Over Me directly from the author or through Amazon.

Pieces of Me: Life of A Recovering Dysfunctional by Diana Lynn

Diana Lynn is like so many of us. She made a few choices that didn't go the way she planned and filled a suitcase full of regrets. Yet in spite of her choices, God still reached out and provided a way to learn and grow. He taught her the hard way and brought her to maturity. Diana's transparency is a beautiful testimony to God's work in her life. She is a recovering dysfunctional and we can be too.

Pieces of me is a 114 page book full of personal stories and raw honesty. The author shares significant events that shaped her.

Dysfunctional sounds like a strong word, but Diana explains through her first memory how she came to feel this way. 

She writes: A tragic thing happens to a little girl when her father leaves. She's left with the unspoken message: "You're not worth it."

She shares her story with great honesty, explaining how she came to God. Stories also express her struggle through feelings of shame as a divorced, single Mom; the emotional toll of losing her own mother, battling a need for love and finding it in the wrong places, and making powerful changes that are anything but easy and so much more than rewarding. 

In reading this book only one of Diana’s many stories concerned me. One of the stories in Pieces of Me describes how she, as a new believer facing the loss of her Mom, makes a decision to consult a psychic. This is not a decision I would personally ever support. I believe the Bible is very clear about psychics. 

However, I have lost loved ones and felt the pang of wanting and needing their imput on my life. Because I've lost crucial people myself, I understand what would drive someone to seek a psychic in times of loss. I hate that a Christian woman wasn't active in her life at the time, providing needed comfort and pointing her to God for healing. 

Rather than reading this story with a disapproving air of pride, I hope believers will see it as a cautionary tale showing the importance of supporting the brokenhearted through their grief so they are not enticed by the strategies of the enemy. I would still recommend the book for this reason. 

How do we fix our flaws as a church? How we reach out to new believers in meaningful ways? How can we mentor them if we don't examine the experiences of a new believer? Diana shares something valuable,  a glimpse into a life in process. Read Pieces of Me and recognize the changes that can occur in a life surrendered to God.

You can purchase Pieces of Me on Amazon.

Listen here to a radio interview with Diana Lynn on My Journey of Faith.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mind the Gap!

I was 16 when I traveled to England on a youth missions trip. They have an audio message that plays in the London Underground warning passengers of the gap between the train door and the platform. The recording says "Mind the gap". If you don't mind the gap you could be in serious physical danger.

Today I am thinking of Ezekiel 22:30 when God could find no one who would stand in the gap for a nation desperately in need of a wake up call.

While the subway warning would urge us to mind the gap by getting out of the way, we should be pulled by a spiritual call to mind the gap which is very opposite.

This spiritual call urges us to get in the way! Block the attacks of the enemy. Stand firm and don't budge. When the enemy throws a train at you and it's so close you can see your guts on the track don't budge. The life of another is on the line. Mind the gap.

When your leadership is floundering- Mind the gap!
When your marriage is on the rocks- Mind the gap!
When your children are forsaking the faith you raised them in- Mind the gap!
When illness steals your energy- Mind the gap!
When fear crouches at the door- Mind the gap!

Will you stand in the gap? Are you committed enough to put yourself in danger for the safety of another?

Will you lay down your life (your agenda, your finances, your very existence) for a friend? It's something to think about.

Abba, Father, I will stand and intercede on behalf of the unsteady, broken, spiritually blind, weak and terrified. Help me to stand for the things I cannot see in this world, in this country, in this city, and in my home. I will (by faith) call those things as if they were. Help me to stand in this gap of danger for my loved ones, friends and those who I have never met but hold a special place in your heart. 

I ask for wisdom for our leaders. Prepare them for what you are doing. Make them strong in the right ways that they would bend their knees to you and protect those they serve. Help them to never bow to the schemes of distraction. 

I ask for protection on the family unit. That the leaders in the home would be united with one purpose and one heart. 

I pray for the children to be inspired and their faith to be awakened. Make them confident in what they have been taught, a generation that cannot be deterred. 

I pray for health, both physical and spiritual. Heal our nation inside and out. Pour your spirit out like a salve to repair the illness and teach us to be strong. 

Shoo away fear, sweep it from our porch. Let your peace rest in its place. Equip your people with soldier's hearts that we would mind the gap and stand in for the sake of those too weak or foolish to call on you. 

I pray that we would hold nothing back which could save one. Make us bold. Help us to love deeply, beyond our needs, ambitions. Make us in tune with others. Expose their needs so that we can fill the void with faith. See us. When you look for a people willing to stand. Find us. Hold back your anger. Pour out your grace. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Day To Forget

I should be working. I should be doing any number of tasks that flood my everyday, cuddling my children, running my company, making dinner. I should be, but I'm not. Instead, I have spent most of today paralyzed with fear and boiling with anger.

My day didn't begin this way. I had a migraine and had to cancel Caibry's therapy appointment because he had a bad cough all night. I had some errands to do still, but only a couple and all very close to home.

I ran to my doctor's first and dropped off a request order for a tens unit that my physical therapist needs him to sign.

Then we hit the library and picked up my daughter's next assigned book for school, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.

Then we hit the post office. I had a letter waiting. I ran in and grabbed it and this is when my day stopped being pleasant.

Let's flash back. Spin with me. Whooosh.

We're now in late August. My son's new psychiatrist changed his medications. He was miserable. He was screaming and crying, completely not himself at all. He was panicking and couldn't breath. I paged the doctor in off hours. She said to cut the pill in half. I tried.  Day two on this medicine was terrible. I called and left a message. No response. I sent an email with a video of my son having horrible fits, threatening himself and others. I needed help. No response. 6 days later they finally call and tell me to take him off the medicines. By then I'd already reached out to his primary doctor and sought advice there. Her first direction was to stop that medicine. They also wanted to schedule an "emergency appointment". By then he was under control, safe and regulated.  They scheduled it for Sept.4th and I explained that that day was not good for me because I homeschool and could not get a babysitter. The receptionist said "no problem bring them, it's an emergency appointment so he needs to be here".  For some reason, her tone or something, I heard it like a threat.

We all arrive Sept. 4th. We wait in the waiting room an hour and 15 minutes past the appointment time.  We read through two Highlight magazines from cover to cover and we had resorted to playing a game called "rock". I say "rock" and they curl up in a ball. Then I say "shape of . . .worm" and they wiggle around like worms then back to rock again and so on.

The office manager comes out. She stares at them like they are infected with some lethal poison or something and says "What are you doing?" I'm sitting there thinking really? you're asking me about a game? try getting the doctor to do her job but instead I answer calmly "waiting on the doctor."  She says "but what are they doing?" I say "we're waiting on the doctor" but I'm thinking really lady, is it so hard to comprehend? The appointment was 75 minutes ago. Again she says "What are they doing?" I give up and sweetly explain the game and show her how my children pretend to be roadkill armadillos on command (it really is kind of adorable). She looks at us with disgust (c'mon lady they are kids!) and says "Okay I asked wrong, Why are they here?" I answer, "We are here for my son's appointment". She says. "Well what are you going to do with them? They can't go back it's against policy"

"What policy?"

"The one you signed"

"I've never signed a policy saying my children can't come here and the receptionist said it was okay because of the situation. This is an emergency appointment (now I'm throwing their words back at them)."

"Well they can't go back there. It's only your son's appointment. Are you homeschoolers?" She talks really slow like I can't understand English and must not understand that she is in effect kicking us out.  Okay, so I admit, I hadn't actually gone that far ahead in my mind and put that reality to work yet. I was still stuck on the "Are you homeschoolers" line.

She shakes her head, hands on hips and suggests disapprovingly that my oldest daughter could watch them in the lobby. I won't agree because, in Oklahoma, it is actually illegal for an 11 year old to be responsible for another child. She suggests the receptionist (that'd be the person who couldn't even do her job and return my call for 6 day, no thanks). This woman will not budge. She's aggressively standing over us with her hands on her hips. Finally I stand and tell the kids to get their stuff. I shuffle them out saying "I'm done. I'll find another doctor."

I step outside make sure everyone is accounted for stuff in tow and I think for a minute, actually consider and make the choice to slam the door. Their picture window doesn't even budge though I actually will it to shatter into a billion pieces. I'm angry but I'm under control. I head straight for the primary doctor and tell them everything. She's horrified that I was treated this way and can't apologize enough, even though I was the foolish one who hand picked the psychiatrist for her Christian practice.

His doctor is great. She gets us through and he has a new psychiatrist and counselor by the next day.

Somehow I knew it wasn't over.

Whirl with me we're going back to today.

I'm holding a certified letter in my hands. Something that will be on my child's medical record forever and you know what it says? It says the psychiatrist I fired over a month ago is accusing me of making verbal and physical threats against staff or physicians. It says there is a signed copy of the almighty policy attached but nothing is attached. There aren't even holes from a stapler or the crinkle from a paperclip.

She implies that I am a threat and yet she let me walk out with four children that day. She makes insinuations in the letter that I'm unstable and may be a danger to myself or others, but she let me walk out. If I'm so unbalanced why didn't they call for help?

Because I'm not unbalanced. I'm attentive. They knew I had accurate and detailed records of every call they ignored, videos of my child battling for help while the doctor was unavailable. They knew they were wrong.

September 4th I was angry. I was frustrated. I was emotional but I was also under control. I chose to slam a door. I felt the pressure I applied and even felt dissatisfied with myself for tempering my one obvious act of annoyance by not slamming it very hard.

It came down to the reality that I'm vulnerable. I'm a homeschooler. I have no letters behind my name, no college degree, no value to this woman. I'm something to be squashed.

I felt September 4th that they would try something. Everyone I told looked at me like I was paranoid. I hold a letter in my hand now and I still don't think it's over. They aren't done and I don't understand why. I can't understand anyone's motive to destroy someone or to slander them leaving them helpless.

This is why I asked for prayer today.

No one is dying, but I'm shaking inside. No one has touched me but I'm bruised and hurting. I'm literally dumbfounded.

There is one thing I'm sure of though. God hears and answers prayer.

All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 
Though you search for your enemies,you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you. ~ Isaiah 41:11-13

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Review of James Revoir's Priceless Stones: 42 Days of Hebrew Promises for Kingdom Living

Priceless Stones: 42 Days of Hebrew Promises for Kingdom Living by James Revoir is a 42 day devotional which explores the Hebrew root words for scriptures. Each devotion begins with the Hebrew word and its English pronunciation. This is followed by a scripture and then a devotional explaining the root word and how it effects the context and depth of the passage. Each day's devotion concludes with a prayer, declaration and questions. The very back of the book contains a glossary of all the Hebrew words used in the study. There are 145 Hebrew words taught in this book. That's not bad for only 42 days of reading!

I am currently studying Hebrew with my family. The language is so full and rich in meaning. James Revoir did a beautiful job of capturing the importance of the language and how knowing it (even the slightest bit) can greatly expound your understanding of scripture.

My favorite devotions are for Day 34 and 38. In Day 34 Revoir quotes Joshua 1:5 and expounds on the word raphah (spelled in Hebrew רָפָה). meaning "to sink or relax". He explains how this verse is telling us (in Yahweh's own voice) that he won't abandoned post and go enjoy a nap while you are facing a trail. He doesn't drop the ball but is consistently with us without fail.

On Day 38 the author tackled one on my big pet peeves and made me want to shout "Amen!". On page 163 Revoir writes, "Jesus bore all of our sorrows. He did not simply declare them to be gone by the word of His mouth, though He could easily have chosen to do so." Many believers (especially in Oklahoma near the biggest name it claim it denomination) can learn from this observation which is pure fact. You know what? I can learn from it too. We all say we want to reflect God, to follow his example in our corrupted world. Yet me miss this. He could have named and claimed his own healing and ultimately our healing but instead he took the pain. Why? Think about it. It's so much harder to just say your pain or the pain of your friend is gone in Jesus name. It's much harder to carry the burden of their illness and loving them and carrying their pain for them (whether it means making a meal, interceding on their behalf, or changing their bandages). This is what I gleaned from one day's study alone. 

There was one thing that was odd to me. In a book that focused on Hebrew the author still uses the word Jesus which is known to be a poor transliteration that leans more to the Greek than Hebrew rather than his Hebrew name, Yeshua. I do understand why he made this choice, but felt Messiah might have been a better choice. 

In either case, there is still so much food of thought contained in Priceless Stones that it is a very worthy purchase.

You can order yourself a copy from the publisher here for $13.88.  If you prefer reading on a kindle, this book is available in that format for $2.99 on Amazon.  

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of BookCrash.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Christian Marriage Book Bundle Launches August 19th!

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Are you working on improving your marriage? If so, you don't miss this amazing deal! 

This bundle features 5 Great Christian Marriage books, written with a Christian viewpoint and designed to spice up your marriage, for just $7.40!

Included in this bundle are:

1. The Wife Life by Marla Taviano (kindle version valued at $2.99).

The Wife Life description:

Other people's marriages look perfect. Yours doesn't. And you've only been married 27 days!

For years, you dreamed about meeting Mr. Right, and finally you found him. Next came romantic dates, then a beautiful wedding, and now…reality!

Is married life a little different than you thought it would be--or maybe a lot different? Do you wonder if something is wrong, if other people feel the same way about their new marriages? Are you sometimes intimidated by wives who seem to have it all together?

Marla Taviano has been there. She knows what it's like to adjust from unrealistic expectations to real life. With tons of humor and the sensitivity of someone who's been in your shoes, she offers hope and encouragement.

Relax. You're not alone.

2. 31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila Ray Gregoire (kindle version valued at $4.99)

31 Days to Great Sex description:

These 31 days of readings and challenges will help married couples rebuild intimacy, rediscover fun, and achieve great fireworks.

The first few days are devoted to seeing sex in a positive way, and talking through your baggage and insecurities. Then we spend a few days on building emotional intimacy (your friendship), a few days on building physical intimacy (the fireworks, making sex feel wonderful!), a few days on spiritual intimacy (the oneness), and a few days putting habits in place so that you can keep the momentum going once you're done.

Sex is so important in a marriage, and yet often we lose hope. It becomes blah. We wonder if we can ever recapture that spark--or if we can ever light that spark in the first place.

This series takes you step by step in the process of building a fun and intimate sex life. It doesn't only focus on the mechanics of sex--though there certainly are posts that will help you in that department. It also focuses on building friendship, experiencing real intimacy, and learning to have fun again, just the way God intended.

Any two bodies can work together sexually. When we have problems in the bedroom, it's often not because of our bodies. It's usually because we aren't communicating well, or we feel distant from each other, or we're just nervous. The big benefit of this 31 days is that you'll actually TALK and communicate about this important part of your life. Talking about it is difficult to do, but the prompts and the posts make it much easier. That's often when breakthroughs happen!

Who will benefit from this book?

Newlyweds who want to start off well!
Couples for whom life has become blah and too routine
Couples who have almost given up hope that sex can become great
Couples in conflict because one spouse wants sex more frequently than the other

In other words--just about every married couple. It doesn't matter where you are in your marriage, the 31 Days to Great Sex will help you talk about sex more, think about intimacy more, and feel much closer together.

3. Rekindling Romance

4. The Irresistible Husband by Jason Gratehouse (Kindle version valued at $4.99)

The Irresistible Husband description:
Are you ready to restore the passion back into your marriage? In The Irresistible Husband, you will learn time-honored, Biblical principles for doing so – straight from the lips of Jesus. You will also learn three essential keys to winning your wife’s heart, the importance of pursuing her, the art of chivalry, how to put the “sizzle” back into your marriage, and so much more.

The Irresistible Husband was written to help every husband live up to his potential to be irresistible to his wife. This book is simple, practical and easy-to-read, and if you will learn the principles within it, they will help you have the marriage that you and your wife have always dreamed of. If your marriage has reached a plateau, or is even in a state of decline, this book could be the spark to rekindle the flame.

Be the husband that she simply can’t resist!

5. Romance on A Budget

 The Christian Marriage Bundle goes live on Monday (August 19th) at 8 am EST, 
and will stay live until the following Monday (August 26th). 

click the banner at the top of this post or the one in my sidebar to purchase.

I am a member of the BundleoftheWeek affiliate program. Their site is owned by Christians and only bundles great, wholesome books at bargain prices. If you purchase through my links I will be compensated monetarily. You will benefit intellectually through the value and content of each book purchased. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Clothed With Thunder: A Review

Are you familiar with the Sonrise Stable Series yet?
If not, you need to be.

Sonrise Stable is a fantastic series for both boys and girls. Follow the adventures of Rosie and Carrie as they embrace their love of horses and draw closer to God through the careful and wise influence of their Grandmother.

In book three, Clothed With Thunder, readers will learn all about the proposed evolution of the horse and how to argue a creationist worldview from an educated and convincing position.

There are several things I love about this book but I'll mention just a few:

First, Rosie and Carrie are homeschooled. This is rare in children's fiction and certainly appreciated. As a result, these girls really dig into the issue of evolution with the skill of true researchers. They examine both sides of the argument through careful study and organic life experience. Children will learn so much about creation versus the evolution argument while exploring the art of research.

Second, I am continually amazed by the covers and illustrations in this series as they seem to improve with every book. The covers are stunning. Horse lovers will truly be drawn to these books.

Third, Vicki Watson has really created so much more than meaningful fiction. She has developed a world for her books. Her website includes behind the scenes looks at the author and illustrator. You'll also find a link to The Christian Cowgirl Site featuring a forum for horse lovers, games, puzzles, devotions and more.

Vicki merges her loves horses and her love of God into wholesome fiction that children, girls especially, will treasure.

You can order your copy of Clothed With Thunder Here.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am a part of The CWA Review Crew.

A Book Review: Are You Playing By House Rules?

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing one of the most thought provoking books I've ever held in my hands. My belief system was challenged and a desire to know more about our constitution, written law and social security numbers was formed. 

Are You Playing By House Rules? by Darren and Cara Grant is one of those extremely rare treasures that educates and entertains, illuminates and inspires. It's a wonderful read. 

Joe Smith is a new believer who has just faced a major tragedy. Flooded with test after test, Joe struggles to stand in the face of such monumental trials.

It all begins with an accident in which his estranged wife, Mary, is injured. In the hospital, Joe's prayers for help and guidance are answered by the presence of Robert Forbes, a large Scottish man with equally large ideas. 

If Joe's world wasn't shaken enough by the aftermath of the accident, Robert Forbes stirs it up even more by challenging Joe's long held beliefs and equipping him with the information to make positive changes that will effect his future and the futures of those around him. 

This story is laced with a powerful agenda and packed with relevant research to engage and inform readers. 

When my kindle battery died four pages from the end I wanted to cry. I was that bonded to the story. 

The characters are believable and their motivations so clearly described that you would swear you've met these people in real life. 

Are You Playing By House Rules? is a powerful story with rich writing; a book functioning as a true conduit for change.  This is truly fiction at its best.

You can purchase this book on Amazon.

I also recommend stopping by the author's website at http://www.realarkministries.org/_/Real_Ark_Ministries.html to test your worldview.

 I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am a part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Freebie- Layered Paper Heart

Check out these great freebies!
They make great Party Favors or Decorations! Easy and fun to make!

                     For complete assembly instructions  Click Here
                                 Available free until July 28.

I Am A Disobedient Fraud

Well, maybe I should say I was a disobedient fraud.

It all started about a month ago, maybe more. God asked me to do something and I ran.

Now I had a reason for running, and I though it was a pretty good one. I guess Jonah did too.

He asked me to fast. He didn't give a time frame, didn't say "Behold, thou must fasteth for three years" or something ridiculous like that. He simply said "fast".

No time frame, no deep directions or King James lingo. Just "fast".

That doesn't seem too hard, right? You might fast all the time and wonder why I would rebel from something so silly.

Let me explain.

I have a past. We all do, right? My past includes near hospitalization at 16 because I was determined to be 72 lbs. No clue why I was fixated on that number, but I was. I wouldn't eat much. I'd pick. I'd throw up. Now I'm not hear to coach you on how to form an eating disorder, so that's the end of my descriptions. What I want to tell you about isn't so much the physical aspects of this problem, but the spiritual.

By adulthood I'd conquered this demon I thought. I reached a whopping 90 lbs (laugh with me). I got married and eventually became pregnant. After the baby was born I wasn't 90 lbs anymore. I couldn't wear the clothes I'd worn since High School. I had a womanly shape now and it terrified me. I began to struggle again and my doctor insisted I see a specialist. I was frustrated and defeated but also very determined to be that frail 90 lbs again. I wasn't seeing clearly.

It took a lot of work to fight this battle. Counselors and a church friend (who had fought this battle and won) helped me through it. Since I'm already being honest, I'll go one more . . . since my recovery, I really believed it was only the reality that my daughters were watching me that kept me on the right path this long.

When God said fast, he stirred up fear in me. Just like Jonah was afraid of the vicious Ninevites,  I was afraid of the violence I might commit against my own body. I feared another relapse. I didn't trust His healing touch.

This is where I was fraud. All the while rebelling against God, I continued to encourage others to listen to Him. I tried to ignore the conflict and persist in my disobedience.

I was sick this past week. I couldn't keep food down. Couldn't eat anything. You know what? I didn't relapse. As soon as I could stomach food again, I ate. God used this illness to open my eyes to the reality that His request did not put me in danger at all.

In fact it might result in healing.

I confessed all of this inner wrestling with my Mom and she simply said "Obey God". So I decided I would. Did you catch that? Obedience is a decision. I had been making the wrong one for far too long.

Since God didn't give me a time frame, I decided to do a one day fast. 24 hours. My fast is over now or I would not be discussing it with you. You know what? I survived. Not only that, but God fed me on His Word all through the night and day when food wasn't on my plate.

I learned that my fear of failure had been bigger than my trust in God. I learned that perfect love drives out fear and His love was shooing mine away with every meal I skipped.

Here's what I am not saying: I'm not telling someone actively struggling with an eating disorder to fast.

Instead, I'm saying that if God asks you to do something, anything . . .obey. Disobedience may delay your healing.

Am I healed in one day of fasting? Yes. We humans make it so much harder then it has to be. We doubt ourselves. We doubt Him. It's safe to trust. It's safe to believe that He will protect me. I can relax.

And on that realization I'm not a disobedient fraud any longer.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hosanna! Oh Save Me!

We all know the scriptures where Jesus is entering Jerusalem and people shout “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"

The first time I heard the word hosanna I was just a little kid. Hose Anna? Who was Anna and why do we have to hose her down? Wait! When they say we need to get on fire do they mean real fire? Is that why we have to hose poor Anna down?

As I grew I understood there was no Anna in need of hosing. Hosanna was a word and it had an important meaning. I just didn’t understand it completely. Actually, until this morning, I always thought Hosanna meant “Blessed is the one”, or something like that.

Last night God laid it on my heart to study this word so I began my study first thing this morning.
Today I began by searching Wikipedia. 

They say “The word hosanna (Latin osanna, Greek ὡσαννά, hōsanná) is from Hebrew הושיעה־נא, הושיעה נא hôšâ‘-nā’ which is short for hôšî‘â-nā’ from Aramaic הושע נא meaning "save, rescue" (possibly "savior").

Hmmm, interesting. 

I looked up hosanna in Strong’s concordance too (because, after all, one should not trust Wikipedia as the final authority on anything, right?). Strong’s listed all references to the word as tied to #5614 which defines the word “oh save!”. So Wikipedia was actually right this time. This isn’t just some shout for joy it’s a plea for help. I went back to Wikipedia and saw that they referenced Psalm 118:25 in their discussion. I opened up The Word and put my finger on the verse. It reads: “Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.” Sounds an awful lot like hosanna, but you know what . . .I kept reading and I found something interesting. Verse 26 reads: “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.”

Hey, now it sounds like those verses when He entered Jerusalem and people said Hosanna (Oh Save!). Blessed is the one (He) who comes in the name of the Lord.

I wasn’t through. I looked up the word in the dictionary. You know what I got? “—used as a cry of acclamation and adoration.”

It’s part of the picture but not the whole thing. If we look at hosanna as just a word for help we fall short of its meaning. If we see it as just adoration, then we miss something too.

Hosanna is both a cry for help and a blessing on the one who answers the need.  Read Psalms 18:6 and Psalm 40:1. (I’ll let you do that yourself). 

Now, let that sink in and (as it does), think about prayer.

How often do we cry for help (oh save me from this or that problem, rescue me from______ ) but we fail to bless him for who He is? Oh, let’s never skip this step again!  Let’s always remember He is our answer. He hears us cry hosanna, (oh Save me!), and He acts.  

The point: Always remember He is your Savior and bless Him for who He is.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Christian Mom's Idea Book

The Christian Mom's Idea Book

Eighty-two women contributed advice and ideas.  Packed full of their collective wisdom and paired with a solid scriptural foundation, The Christian Mom's Idea Book is a phenomenal resource for all moms.

The book begins with an acrostic of Motherhood that can be read in one sitting or spread out in tiny new-mom sized snippets like a brief devotional.

In part two the advice is dished out courtesy of contributors who've been there and done that.

Find tips on how to handle separation anxiety, make time for God's Word, plan a birthday party to remember, expose children to good books, manage a schedule, survive a road trip, discipline, chores and a host of other truly relevant topics.

There are about 40 topics total and 500 fantastic ideas recorded. Each idea is part of a bulleted list under the topic it covers.  The reader can browse a topic of interest and get advice from several moms all at once. After all this information is absorbed  it's easier to formulate your own effective plan. You get to pick and choose what you use.

The Christian Mom's Idea Book is an essential handbook resource, the kind of parenting guide we all fantasized about but never expected to experience.

This book is loaded with truly relevant suggestions, making it the perfect gift for moms.

About the author: Ellen Banks Elwell is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and the American Conservatory of Music. She and her husband, Jim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three grown sons and one daughter-in-law. Elwell has authored several books for women, including The Christian Mom’s Idea Book,One Year Devotions for Moms, and When There’s Not Enough of Me to Go Around.

You can order your copy at Crossway for $11.25.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am a part of Crossway's Homeschool Book Review Program.