Warfare and Orphans…
We were cleaning out storerooms in the US, and I came across a box of books. Dressed to Kill was a gift given to me at least 10 years ago. I put it on a shelf, and never read it. However, having just come through an incredible season of spiritual warfare in South Africa, my desire to learn was significant. WOW!!! I cannot recommend this book enough. It is biblical, practical and very insightful with pictured illustrations of the Roman armor that Paul saw everyday while writing Ephesians 6 about the armor of God. An incredible tool! Here’s a brief description…
“Rick Renner’s book Dressed To Kill is considered by many to be a true classic on the subject of scriptural warfare. The original version, which sold more than 400,000 copies, is a curriculum staple in Bible schools worldwide. Now, in this new, beautifully bound hardback volume you will find: * 512 pages of reedited text * 16 pages of full-color illustrations (exclusively available in the print version. Not available in eBook). * Questions at the end of each chapter to guide you into deeper study In Dressed To Kill, Rick explains with exacting detail the purpose and function of each piece of Roman armor. In the process, he describes the significance of our spiritual armor not only to withstand the onslaughts of the enemy and but also to overturn the tendencies of the carnal mind. Furthermore, Rick delivers a clear, scriptural presentation on the biblical definition of spiritual warfare – what it is and what it is not. He stresses, “Your unbroken, ongoing fellowship with God is your absolute guarantee that you are constantly and habitually dressed in the whole armor of God.” When you walk with God in deliberate, continual fellowship, He will enrobe you with Himself. Armed with the knowledge of who you are in Him, you will be dressed and dangerous to the works of darkness, unflinching in the face of conflict, and fully equipped to take the offensive and gain mastery over any opposition from your spiritual foe.”
I have a shelf of “favorites”–books that have impacted my life that I want to reread from time to time. The Autobiography of George Muller is one of those. His faith and perseverance demonstrated over YEARS while working with orphans as well as other kingdom endeavors is truly mind-blowing. I was inspired all over again to trust my Father, to walk by faith, and to believe and ask Him for BIG things. Another highly recommended read. Here’s a brief description…
“What can be accomplished in an ordinary man who trusts in an extraordinary God? George Müller discovered the endless possibilities!
These excerpts from his diary allow Müller to tell his own story. Join him on his journey from a life of sin and rebellion to his glorious conversion. Share his struggles and triumphs as he establishes orphan homes to care for thousands of English children, depending on God’s response to his prayer of faith to supply all things. You will learn how to:
- Pray in faith and receive answers
- Seek God for direction
- Find the ultimate purpose for your life
- Rest in God’s loving care
George Müller’s unwavering, childlike dependence upon his heavenly Father will inspire you to confidently trust the God of the impossible in every area of your life.”
Negotiations…at home…at work…
If you are like me, you might think that this book has very little to do with you, but…we might want to think again!
My husband (who is in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions) has been reading this book and talking about it for months, and after watching his enthusiasm, I finally decided to pick it up.
I’ve only just started the book, but I’m already hooked.
Starting with real stories of an incredible FBI hostage negotiator, the book unpacks how to truly understand people in order to enter into effective negotiations (or discussions about things that need mutual agreement)–at home or at work.
Worth a read 😀…
Blessing to Share?
During my time at Master Works Foundation while visiting leaders all over the world, I quickly learned that leadership is lonely and tough. It’s a high and challenging calling, especially the way Jesus asks us to do it.
Because the life of a leader always determines the life of a ministry/organization, the emotional, spiritual and relational health of any leader is vital. To cultivate personal vibrancy as a leader takes time and intentionality.
The heart of En Gedi Blessing is to facilitate the use of beautiful private vacation homes for leaders to create, explore, refresh and dream–building into healthy leaders who in turn can lead healthy organizations.
Nike and Rethinking Sexuality
I always enjoy passing along resources that have inspired or impacted me. These two books are recent reads, and they did both!
Shoe Dog is an AMAZING business tale–the true story of Phil Knight and his business journey with Nike. A hard core and determined entrepreneur, Phil Knight shares the joys, sorrows, challenges, failures of starting Nike as well as poignant end of life reflections in a down-to-earth and inspirational way.
Rethinking Sexuality by Juli Slattery is a book about sexual discipleship in the church. One of the BEST books I have ever seen or encountered on the subject. Full of truth and full of grace–a rare combination around the explosive topics facing us today in regards to sexuality. Whether you are a parent, a discipler, a person needing healing, a learner, or a curious person, this book is SOLID and such a breath of fresh air! I highly recommend it.
Russians and Intimate Relationships…
What in the world Russians have to do with intimate relationships? Well, not much, except that they have them! 😀
I enjoy passing along resources that have inspired or impacted me. These two books are recent reads, and they did both!
Red Notice is a book of business intrigue, unbelievable corruption and amazing perseverance, and not only that, it reads like a first class novel, but it’s all TRUE! Higly recommend it!
Scary Close challenges treasured paradigms of relationships and self-protection. His style may be a stretch for some at first, but it is well worth persevering! Don’s vulnerability inspires others to take a closer look at the things that may hinder the type of relationship(s) we so desire. If you are a couple, you might want to consider reading it together as it is worth discussing.
I always love to pass on things that have been transformational for me, and this is one of them!
I have never been a “prayer list” person, as it just feels a bit like a straight jacket, but this prayer app has been such a GIFT….
A friend of mine told me about this app, and at first I was a bit skeptical…well, maybe ALOT skeptical. I am not a techie type person, especially when it comes to spiritual activities. So, it took me awhile to actually try it out. However, when I finally did, I was immediately intrigued.
The initial setup was the hardest part, but as I got into it I loved the options. I could create categories and tell the app how many items I wanted to pray for each time as well as how many items I wanted per prayer time in each category (I chose 15 per time with anything form 1 to 4 items per category, but you can set it up for any number that suits you).
Just to give you an example, my categories are:
Biblical prayers, My walk with God, My family, My friends, my Church, Unbelievers, World Mission and My Work
Under each category individual requests can be entered. The World Mission section allows me to import the prayer requests from certain missions’ organizations if I want to. The App also allows me to import or pick from scriptural prayers that I would like to pray for specific things.
I can take notes on each individual prayer item, which I often do–dates with specific things the Lord gave while praying. It has been such a blessing to go back and read some of those. I can also “archive” requests that have been answered and that I am no longer praying for. That allows me to review answers to prayer from time to time.
Though I don’t pray with this method every day, I do so often and I love thinking and praying for people and things that I care about in such an intentional way.
This has been SUCH a blessing to me, and I hope it will be the same for some of you as well!!
Fred Smith’s Blog: In the Bosom of Fools
I rarely make comments on political matters, as my brother Eric can heartily attest too (and he would also add it is “for good reason.” 🙂 However, Fred Smith, the president of the Gathering, wrote a blog that I believe is worth making note of in this season, both in the US and in South Africa.
This blog is not partisan but more a commentary on our engagement with political and other matters.
It is called The Bosom of Fools.
Fred’s blogs are thought-provoking, interesting and stretching–worth a read. If you would like to sign up to receive them every Thursday, you can do so here, toward the bottom of the page.
For more of Fred Smith’s blogs: read more
The Death of Heroes…Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth Elliot…I never met her, but she deeply impacted my life and slowly became one of my heroes.
I started reading her books while in the Philippines on a Teen Missions trip in high school–Passion and Purity was my first read. I then moved on to In the Shadow of the Almighty and These Strange Ashes, among others, in college and throughout my 20’s. These books marked me.
I have a shelf of books that are worth rereading no matter what season of life I am in… books that have touched me deeply once, and most likely will do so again with a re-reading. Several books on that shelf are written by Elizabeth Elliot.
She went home to be with Jesus last week. Her passionate pursuit of Jesus and her unwavering faith were and still will be a source of life, nourishment and encouragement in my own journey. She walked His mysteries of suffering, grief, work that went up in flames for seemingly no purpose and unfulfilled longings and desires, and yet she stood firm…in faith, in hope and in love of Christ.
She’s a hero of faith for me. Heroes are rare, and I celebrate her life, as I know our Father does too. She finished well…fighting the fight and keeping the faith.
Elizabeth Elliot is human, just like the rest of us, so, though I didn’t get to see them firsthand, I’m sure there were areas of failure and weakness in her. We all have them. Even with those, she showed me parts of Jesus and His character as she journeyed.
I desire, in and through my own weaknesses, to reflect the same Jesus that lived and breathed in Elizabeth Elliot!
Faith…from the classroom to the field
Faith…BELIEVING God for who He is, what He says, and what He does.
A new favorite faith song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YJ4vddbJJo
I have been in “school” learning about faith recently, and this class has been a tough graduate level course. Having known and walked with Jesus since I was 5 years old, I thought my “faith” education was pretty well-rounded, but I was moved from the classroom to “the field” in this last season. Here are some of my lessons–some new insights along with some known truths that have been under “divine review,” as I like to call it.
- Is grown in the darkness of no “sight.” “…Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” Isaiah 50:10 “We live by faith, not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7
- Waits…ALOT and often for a LONG time. Hebrews 11 has many accounts of waiting. Not a favorite for me.
- Is in some way foundational to my healing and the answering of my requests. “Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” Matthew 9:22
- Is proved genuine through suffering. “These [suffering of grief in trials] have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine…” I Peter 1:7
- Is a mystery. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Heb. 11:1
- Is not legitimized by the “outcome” but by the process of faith itself. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised….”
- Is NOT the same as reason and often isn’t “reasonable”: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead…and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God…” Rom. 4:18-21
- Is a HUGE weapon in times of battle–a shield. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
- Is VERY pleasing to God. In fact, “without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” “…But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” Heb. 11:6 and Heb. 10:38
- Is ultimately in the person of Jesus Christ and for His glory. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23, I Peter 1:7
His love and commitment to teaching me is amazing and persistent. I’m thankful for my Father’s “hands-on” classroom, even though it’s often “pain that brings gain.”
A Grace Disguised
This book was suggested to me by at least three different people over the last 3 months, and on the third occasion, I decided that the Lord may be trying to give me a gift, so I picked it up! Every page seemed to hold something for me, even though Jerry’s story includes greater losses than I can even fathom. Several people told me it’s the best book on grief and loss they have ever read. He deals with catastrophic loss including “terminal illness, disability, divorce, rape, emotional abuse, physical and sexual abuse, chronic unemployment, crushing disappointment, mental illness, and ultimately death.” He says, “If normal, natural, reversible loss is like a broken limb, then catastrophic loss is like an amputation.”
Here are a few quotes from the book just to give you a taste of what you will receive in reading Jerry’s honest and transparent journey through grief and loss:
“It is not, therefore, the experience of loss that becomes the defining moment of our lives, for that is as inevitable as death, which is the last loss awaiting us all. It is how we respond to loss that matters. That response will largely determine the quality, the direction and the impact of our lives.”
“…[T]he quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise…. I chose to turn toward the pain, however falteringly, and to yield to the loss, though I had no idea at the time what that would mean.”
“If we face loss squarely and respond to it wisely, we will actually become healthier people, even as we draw closer to physical death. We will find our souls healed, as they can only be healed through suffering.”
“Loss deprives us of control. Cancer ravages, violence erupts, divorce devastates, unemployment frustrates, and death strikes–often with little warning. Suddenly we are forced to face our limitations squarely. Our expectations blow up in our face. We wonder what has gone wrong.”
“People in denial refuse to see loss for what it is, something terrible that cannot be reversed. They dodge pain rather than confront it. But their unwillingness to face pain comes at a price. Ultimately it diminishes the capacity of their souls to grow bigger in response to pain…. In the end denial leads to a greater loss.”
“Many people form addictions after they experience loss…. So they watch television every moment they can, work sixty hours a week, drink too much alcohol, go on a sexual rampage, eat constantly, or spend their money carelessly. In so doing, they hold suffering at a distance.”
“Sorrow never entirely leaves the soul of those who have suffered a severe loss. If anything, it may keep going deeper. But this depth of sorrow is the sign of a healthy soul, not a sick soul. ”
“Loss forces us to see the dominant role our environment plays in determining our happiness.”
“The death that comes through loss of spouse, children, parents, health, job marriage, childhood or any other kind is not the worst kind of death there is. Worse still is the death of spirit, the death that comes through guilt, regret, bitterness, hatred, immorality and despair.”
“Regret keeps the wounds of loss from healing, putting us in a perpetual state of guilt…. People with regrets can be redeemed, but they cannot reverse the loss that gave rise to the regrets.”
“Despite the fact that I had been a Christian for many years before the accident, since then God has become a living reality to me as never before. My confidence in God is somehow quieter but stronger…. I have slowly learned where God belongs and have allowed him to assume that place–at the center of life rather than at the periphery.”
“Yet a worse state still, far exceeding even sorrow or guilt, is the absence of all feeling, for that means that the soul is dead.”
“Forgiving people give up the right to punish and instead wish wrongdoers well, whether they are starting a new marriage after a divorce or a new life after serving time in prison or a new relationship with God. Forgiveness hopes that wrongdoers experience a good life, which is full of the mercy of God.”
“I knew I had to make peace with God’s sovereignty, reject God altogether, or settle for a lesser God who lacked the power or desire to prevent the accident.”
“No matter how deep the pit into which I descend, I keep finding God there. He is not aloof from my suffering but draws near to me when I suffer.”
“The risk of further loss, therefore, poses a dilemma. The problem of choosing to love again is that the choice to love means living under the constant threat of further loss. But the problem of choosing not to love is that the choice to turn from love means imperiling the life of the soul, for the soul thrives in an environment of love.”
“Loss is a universal experience…But loss is also a solitary experience…But loss does not have to isolate us or make us feel lonely. Though it is a solitary experience we must face alone, loss is also a common experience that can lead us to community.”