Lessons from Whom? “Dear Mary” Book-Review

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know I enjoy reviewing books. I’ve recently received a free copy of Sarah Jakes’ latest from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

The title is “Dear Mary: Lessons from the Mother of Jesus for the Modern Mom”, but as I read, I wondered whose life I was supposed to be learning from. The author seems to spend the majority of the book discussing her own life and family-situation. Before you’re 2 chapters in, she’s telling you about the memoir she’s already written, should you want to study her life in even greater detail!

I did like some of the thoughts she shared on parenthood and on the life of Christ, but if you’re expecting to learn something new about Jesus’ mother, “Dear Mary” is the wrong place to go.

5-Minute Friday: Doubt

5-Minute Friday’s here again, just writing for approx. 5 minutes without worrying whether it’s just right. This week’s prompt is: Doubt, and if you want to read some of the other offerings, you can visit http://katemotaung.com or follow the #FMFParty hatchtag on Twitter.

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Doubt has always seemed such a negative word. Someone believes something is true, but then they have doubts. You discern something that makes you feel uneasy, but you’re encouraged to give the person the benefit of the doubt – questioning your own judgment. The more we walk down the path of doubt, the further away we are from the path of faith.

John the Baptist started to make his way down the doubt-path as he languished in prison. God had told him the one His Spirit rested on would be the Messiah, but John’s preaching of what was right had landed him in a cell. Surely any Messiah, and especially a relative of his, would give him freedom. That thought must have been like the mouse in the corner, gnawing and gnawing at him, until finally he sent some to ask Jesus: Was He the One or should they expect someone else? Scepticism at its most sceptical, but Jesus knows what John needs: He needs another taste of the world outside, a fresh look at what’s going on. The lame walk! The deaf hear! Good news is preached to the poor!

Relief must have flooded John as he heard the news, but shame at the same time. He had doubted; what would Jesus think of him now? But Jesus complimented him in the hearing of the crowd, and gave him hope that he would be blessed if Jesus wasn’t an offence to him.

Unexpected Treasure: “The Chase” Book-Review

From the foreword by Karen Kingsbury – a doting mum who prayed for her children and their future spouses before they were even born, I expected this to be a difficult read, but take my advice: Don’t dismiss it till you’ve read chapter 1, because from chapter 1 onwards I was hooked. I love their storytelling, the lessons from those around them, and that each chapter has a section from Kelsey and from Kyle, so you get the girl’s and the guy’s perspective. Kyle’s a songwriter like me, which adds to the book’s appeal.

It’s definitely addressed to girls/women, but far from just being for singles in the church, there are reminders here we could all do with revisiting from time to time – Kyle’s thoughts on TV-shows, for example, or the brilliant section in chapter 8 on hearts being compatible.

Kyle and Kelsey are engaging writers who’ve found their happiness together, but I’ve a feeling had they stayed single, their message would have been the same. I’m surprised, in a good way, to be able to say The Chase is one of the best books on relationships I’ve read.

A Special Week

I hope everyone had a good weekend. This week is a special one for Kristen, who blogs at Chasing Blue Skies. She’s one of those bloggers/writers you read, and you think of them as your friend (even though you’ve never met). Do you know any writers like that?

Anyway, Kristen’s written a book! (She’s already written a 31-day devotional for military wives, but this is a full-length, 10-chapter book for absolutely anyone.) And if you’re in the US, the paperback version releases today. I’ve been on the launch team and had the privilege of reading “Girl Meets Change” before its official release, and I’ve really looked forward to sharing it with you.

It’s a book about adapting to change, and includes personal and Biblical examples of people who’ve had to do just that. Perhaps you’ll learn something new about a story you’re already familiar with; I know I learnt something about the story of Lazarus when I read chapter 3.

You can go to this page if you want to read more about the book before you purchase, and why not send Kristen a message of congratulations on its release? While it’ll be an exciting time, we obviously don’t all have the same taste in books, but wouldn’t it be great if she had more positive feedback than negative? Let’s pray for Kristen and her family especially this week as her hard work finally hits the shelves.

Pulling out all the Stops

I don’t know how to add photos to this blog, but if I could, I’d put one of me on my 18th birthday with Joan and Carol – 2 special people who helped me when I was at school. I attended schools for the blind for the majority of my education, but the last 2 years I spent at my local school. Joan and Carol were the ones who supported me and made sure I could access textbooks, diagrams etc. The diagrams I used in science lessons were basically black lines drawn on special paper, then put into a machine called a Ricoh Fuser, which raised the lines and made them tactile. Because Joan and Carol are both fully-sighted, I’d sometimes find the odd Braille page in a book upside-down and we’d have a laugh about it, but really they were brilliant. I’m always thankful I had the opportunity to go to my local school; I only wish I’d done it sooner.

It must be very different for children in Compassion’s centres. There was someone to make sure I had what I needed for my studies, but a Compassion-child may not even have a textbook of their own. I know how much effort went into producing my books, and I wonder if you might do something to help someone on the other side of the world have that same privilege. Will you donate to Compassion’s textbook fund?

If you’re not in a position to give financially, how about giving your time and your prayers? Compassion works in 26 countries. Why not go to their website, pick one, and pray for children in that country as they return to school? You’ll make a real difference.