No Fear in Perfect Love

As I scroll through my social media accounts, I start feeling anxiety, frustration, and total disgust. In fact, a simple search of anxiety and social media brings up article after article describing the different types of anxiety and mental health problems that come from looking at our accounts over and over. Why is that? I mean, social media is not a nice place. It started out as a way to connect with far away loved ones, old high-school friends, and to see what your ex is up to and if you are still cooler than the person he is with now….Well, maybe that’s not what it was intended for. Who knows 🤷

The point is, it’s really none of those things now. It has become a source of shouting opinions the loudest, making others feel stupid for their opinions, and a breeding ground of fear over the things happening in this world. Is this at all healthy? I think that we can all agree that it is not. Probably each of us has been viciously assaulted by a post we thought as simple and witty while others couldn’t wait to make us feel shamed for our “insensitivity” or “lack of social awareness”.

“We need a new president!” “We need social justice!” “We need equality!” “We need freedom to make choices for ourselves!” “I need! I need! I need!” So many posts about equality and fairness for each person, yet there is no love behind it? There is judgement if we disagree on any point? There is cruelty and no compassion for those that make a mistake in your eyes?

What happened to giving others room to grow? Time to change? Freedom to have their own opinions? Love hopes all things. Love is patient. Love does not easily take offense. What about those things?

While social media is a breeding ground of fear and shame, many are disoriented and completely disillusioned in life. Everything looks bleak and hopeless. So, where does that leave us? Those of us that claim to have a God that protects us. We claim to have a God that brings us joy? We have a God that says to be anxious for NOTHING. Is that what others are seeing? How can we achieve that in our relationship with Him?

In fact, God goes as far as to say that there is no fear in love. It says that fear involves punishment and that if we fear, we are not perfected in love. What is He trying to tell us?

As always, it’s a matter of our hearts. Are we actually trusting Him? Do we trust that He created us and wants the very best for us? Of course, His best for us and what we think is best, may very well be different! God deserves glory in everything. So, do our lives of comfort and having every need met make us feel as if we need Him? Not usually. It’s all about the lens we are looking through as we live our lives.

Do I wish to bring Him glory in every, single thing that happens in my life? When I’m in pain, how do I bring Him glory? When my car breaks down, how do I bring Him glory? Is my first thought, “Poor me! I can’t deal with this right now!” Or, is my first thought, “God, what do you wish me to do in this situation? Wisdom, please.”

You know, I read the most amazing book a few years back and it’s completely stuck with me. Muslim women are very difficult to talk to because, often times, they are only allowed to speak with those whom their husbands have given them permission to speak to. Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh put their lives on the line to live in Iran and witness to these women. It proved to be almost impossible due to having no access. After some time, they were put in the worst of prisons. Raw sewage, rodents, bad food (if any). Their response? “Thank you, Lord! You have given us unprecedented and total access to share You with these women!” Because they didn’t think of themselves and ask God why He would have done such a thing to them when they were so faithful, the ministry they had was unfounded! They looked at it as the biggest opportunity to speak to these women, completely undeterred! They had a captive audience instead of seeing themselves as captives.

Can you even imagine how much glory they brought to God? Can you imagine their welcome when they get to Heaven and see Him and how proud He is of them? What a beautiful moment! What blessings!!!

It sounds scary to us to think of being in a situation like that. However, the truth is that we don’t have what we need to handle it because God hasn’t put us in that position. He gives us what we need to handle in our lives only when it is time. I might feel overwhelmed by a big day coming up. Does it help me to stay up all night worried? No. I don’t have what I need to get through it yet because it’s not here yet.

We can rest in the fact that we have a loving God that delights in us! He says, “indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” He is always with us through all things.

Yes, the world is a mess. Yes, we could be headed to persecution. Yes, we are turning away from God in our country. Yes, yes, yes. Does this cause me concern? I certainly don’t like it! Does it cause me anxiety? No. Not anymore. I know that God is truly in control. He has proved to me over and over again that He will provide for me what I need when I need it. He has showed me numerous times how He holds me through the difficulties. My only question?

How can I bring Him glory in all of it?

Jesus, Jihad and Peace

by Michael Youssef

I will tell you right now. Yes, I do believe I shall. This book opened my eyes and helped me to see. We sit here in America wondering “what in the world would possess these people to be so brutal, to be so intense, to be so focused, so hateful, so….fill in the blanks”??

Michael Youssef manages to get the balance right. He explains in great detail the workings of Islam and how it relates to Judaism and Christianity. He shows you how there is no hope of salvation, only hope that they did enough to please Allah. There were so many things that I didn’t understand that make perfect sense now. For instance, they cannot fathom how we could allow people to say His name in vain. They are floored that we would allow that kind of disrespect to the God of the universe. The God we say we love. They see how flippant we are in our belief and it disgusts them. I get that. It disgusts me too.

I also found it interesting that they can’t stand Christians because they believe we are polytheist. The trinity of God looks like we worship three Gods and they know that is wrong to worship more than one. It’s very interesting to see how many little things upset them and how some of it is true (we don’t stand up for God when people use His name in vain! That is wrong. I am guilty of standing by silently. Shame on me!!). Other parts are not true, just not translated correctly. They don’t understand that we see Him as One. That, coupled with their fear of doing enough to please an almost impossible “god” to please, lead them to become more and more frantic and dangerous.

There are so many things that you will find in this book. It truly helped me to understand and have more compassion for the people that hate us so much. Some of the book is pointing to the end times and what the world looks like now. I was more interested in learning the culture of Islam and understanding the hearts of the people.

So, pick up a copy of Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Bible Prophecy Says About World Events Today and take a look for yourself. This is the best book at breaking down their religion, thoughts, fears and goals that I have ever read.

Thanks, so much, Worthy Publishing (First Look), for giving me a copy of this book. As always, this is my honest review. Here’s to many more!

Dirty Faith

by David Z. Nowell

I am not one to give a long review or spend a lot of time going over the book. I usually like to give the reader a small taste and let them know what effect it had on me. However, there is so much in this book that needs to be brought out, you may just find yourself in my longest review yet! (There will also be quite a number of quotes!)

Dirty Faith

What is “dirty faith”? How do we relate to “the least of these”? God calls us to, but how? And what does that mean? The least of these. The person sitting alone on the street asking for money? The thousands of children in foster care and state homes? The homeless? The cashier at Wal-Mart? Your waiter at dinner last night?

YES!

It has become a habit of mine to listen to God as I am at a store checking out. I ask Him if this is a person I need to be praying for. If I get a “yes”, I will ask the cashier if there is anything going on in her life I could be praying for. Maybe 2% say “no”. An overwhelming amount will tell you yes and sometimes share some really big things that they are dealing with. Sometimes it’s just a simple “my family” with tears welling in their eyes.

dirty faith 3

So often, when we go on mission trips and even ask people how they are doing, we have this  “power and position, and you do not” attitude. “I have Jesus; you don’t. Unfortunately, I think it is precisely the perspective we often bring to our interaction with the poor, not just in spiritual matters, but in all things. The giver operates from a position of power and privilege. The recipient, by definition, is the inferior.”

David continues, “Relationship with others is integral to our relationship with God. Jesus’ indictment is that, if we are not capable of having a relationship with His brothers and sisters,  then we do not have a relationship with Him. Not a gray judgement here. It’s black and white. No relationship with my brothers and sisters in these circumstances, no relationship with me (Jesus). Determinate, not just indicator.” Dirty Faith

He also says, “I cannot begin to tell you how many times someone has said to me something along the lines of ‘It is such a wonderful work you are doing, but God just has not called me to that.’ Well, actually, yes, He has. Perhaps not to adopt, or even to foster, but He has called you to care for the orphan.”

I could continue to quote this book all day.

David Z. Nowell is the President of Hope Unlimited for Children. This is a refuge for children that are living on the streets, prostituting themselves out so they can survive (at VERY early ages), and doing whatever it takes to make it. This is a place where they can feel loved, learn about Jesus, and feel safe. Unfortunately, many children are more fearful of the unknown, so they are more comfortable living on the streets. David’s goal is to show Jesus to them. Not just for a week or two on a short term trip. He once asked a girl what she enjoyed about her mission trip and the young lady answered with the typical answer of showing them Jesus. His response was, “You were the face of God for them, and you left. You came back to your comfortable life, and those girls are still on the streets every night selling their bodies to strangers What did you really tell them about God?” dirty faith 5

He, in no way, is against short term missions, but the point of this book is that we love to write a check and not get our hands dirty. Jesus came here as an example of how to do EVERYTHING. We are to relate to others just as He did. He became a servant. Physically, not with money and well wishes. He got his hands dirty.

I hope you will take a look at Hope Unlimited. There are a few different things he is involved in that one is bound to speak to you. Check out this resource page and see where and how God is calling you.

dirty faith 4It is always scary to step out in faith, but look at everyone in the Bible that God called faithful. It was always the weak, the “least of these” and the ones that stumbled through life. The difference is, they got back up and asked God “what’s next?”.

Please pick up a copy of this book and then another one for a friend. It’s completely reasonable at $8.99.

Dirty Faith: Bringing the Love of Christ to the Least of These

 Thank you, so much, netgalley! I appreciate the book and, as always, this is my honest review. Here’s to many more!

Last Words of Jesus

by Stu Epperson, Jr.

I have never really thought too deeply into the last few phrases that Jesus spoke before his death on the cross. In this book, Stu details the words and their meanings. He shows us why they were so significant. Jesus never did anything that was of no significance. So, what are they? What did they mean?

Each chapter focuses on one of the seven phrases. It also includes discussion questions and some scriptural reflections with each chapter. I would imagine it is probably a great book to do with a small group. Reading on my own, I felt a little detached. I am not sure why. I felt like the information was a little scattered and I didn’t quite get all of the significant implications that he was trying to point out. Within a group setting, I believe it would be different.

I do think it is an important read because we don’t often think about His final words. So often, we gloss over the crucifixion with rhetoric we have heard our whole lives and we become disconnected with the power and raw affliction he bore to free us. To bestow His love on us and give us the promise of HIM for all of eternity.

I challenge you to spend some time reflecting on the last words of Christ as He took every ounce of persecution and discipline that we would have had if it were not for Him and His great love.

The Last Words of Jesus: First Steps To A Richer Life will be available on Feb. 24th. Please pick up a copy. You can find it by clicking the link here in the name, or on the pic of the book above.

Thank you, so much, Worthy Publishing, for sending me this book. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

The Accidental Empress

by Allison Pataki

When I first picked up The Accidental Empress, I didn’t know anything about Sisi. As I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It was very well written. The story is based on Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) of Austria and Hungary. While sticking very closely to the actual historical account, there are, obviously, small bits of fiction.

Sisi lived a very difficult life. She stole the heart of Emperor Franz Joseph I after her sister was betrothed to him. History shows that he passionately loved his wife and never wavered in his affection towards her. Sisi, however, struggled immensely. Having her children taken away from her and raised by her Aunt (the emperor’s mother), knowing her husband had other affairs (as was the right of a king or emperor) and being cut off from her family all led to her demise. She was a tortured soul.

My only reason for giving this book 4 out of 5 stars is because there were some MILDLY graphic portions. Nothing major, but a few insinuating acts and remarks. I definitely do, however, recommend this book. It is a very interesting read and historically spot on.

Thanks so much, netgalley, for giving me this book! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

— The reason for two covers is because, I am not sure which is the final choice for tomorrow’s release date! I personally prefer the first!!!

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑