Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Book Review : Rebecca's Dream

This book is being featured on the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance this week. Information about the author and more details about the book can be found here.

In Rebecca's Dream, Carol Preston not only provides us with a good story but also a fascinating insight into the difficulties of life on the land between 1870 and 1890, plus a brief look at life in Sydney during this time. This is a well researched story with historical tit bits enriching the story

Mostly life was hard at this time in Australia's history as people contended with drought, fire, hot summers and cold winters with none of the modern conveniences. For women there was the added burden of giving birth to lots of children, many of whom were taken by various illnesses in their infancy.

Rebecca's Dream tells the story of one woman who was determined to have a different future to the one her friends and family expected and wanted for her. Her passion for women to have more choices in their lives caused much tension in her family and community. Rebecca's plans were fraught with more obstacles than seem possible for one person to have to endue.

Carol cleverly weaves lots of interesting themes into the story which are not altogether obvious such as the value of counselling and how forgiveness enables a person to move on with their life rather than being tied to their past.

Overall an absorbing and informative read.

Thanks to Even Before Publishing for providing a free book for review

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Devotional Thought : 2 Kings 5:13

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 2 Kings 5:13

So often we want God to give us something important to do, something that others will notice, something that will impressed others. Or we want God to use us to heal someone in an obvious way rather than have our prayers answered by a gradual improvement over time. Or we want God to use our prayers to intervene in a dramatic way rather than in small increments. Instead we find God asking us to do the small, unimportant, unnoticed tasks – a prayer here, a helping hand there, without any noticeable miracles.

The problem is that we don't see these small tasks as significant. They don't appear to make a difference so we are reluctant to complete them. We don't see the bigger picture that God has in mind. In Exodus God told the Israelites that they would drive out the enemy "little by little" and in the process they would grow (23:30). This is what God is looking for – spiritual growth.

Naaman couldn't see the big picture. God wasn't just interested in healing his body but wanted him to grow spiritually. God sees humility is a valuable fruit in a person's life and God may put people through difficult situations to see it produced. It might mean being placed in a humbling circumstance like Naaman, where there is no audience, no applause or fanfare.

What will our attitude be to the small insignificant tasks that God asks us to fulfil? Are we grateful for God's help however it comes to us? Or are we more concern about outward appearances?

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Random thoughts on prayer

Sometimes I'm like the Israelites in Exodus 20:19 where they say to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

I become content with second hand messages from God. I am afraid of being intimate with God, afraid of being alone in God’s presence. I don’t know what area of my life God will bring to my attention. He may challenge me to be more generous, to be more gracious, or to be more humble. Maybe he will really take me out of my comfort zone by asking to do something I haven’t done before. In God’s presence nothing is out of bounds and I am reminded of the Jean Church quote: "God is changeless. He will be unusual, He won't strike an average anywhere. He will get out of bounds and meet us on any level with His patience and His love and His bounty."

Yes, there are days when I am tempted to keep God at arm’s length, but I find when I do, my faith becomes dull, boring, and hard work.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review : Humble Pie

Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay is an autobiographical account of Ramsay's rise to a celebrity chef and restaurateur.

It begins with an honest and disturbing account of growing up in a home where domestic violence was viewed as acceptable. Ramsay's family moved often due to his father's irresponsibility which disrupted Gordon's schooling as well as being emotionally difficult.

Ramsay had a promising future playing football but this was curtailed by injury. Instead he managed to gain entry into a catering college. On completion he quickly obtained work in various restaurants and gained experience working under a number of chefs. He was 32 when he opened his first restaurant. His strong work ethic, persistence and determination are very apparent.

Ramsay is well known for his bad language and quick temper. This is also obvious in his book but is more forgivable when you read of his father's abuse and neglect.

Humble Pie is part of the Quick Reads series and an interesting portrayal of Ramsay's life.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Devotional Thought : 2 Kings 4:6

When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 2 Kings 4:6

Although the widow collected as many jars as possible, in accordance with Elisha's directive, eventually they were all full. The implication is, if she could have found more jars, there would have been more oil.

It provides a picture of the Christian. The more emptiness we have the more God is able to fill us but if our lives are cluttered, overly busy and distracted then there is less room for God.

In the parable of the seed we read: "but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful" (Mark 4:19).

It lists three things which prevent God from working in our lives: the worries of this life; the deceitfulness of wealth; and the desires for other things. If we are overly consumed with the concerns of everyday life or if we think money is the answer to our problems or if we are focussed on what we do not have then we prevent God from making our life a blessing.

God looks for the heart where there is a willingness to put aside our busyness, a desire that is beyond material blessings and an emptiness that we know we cannot fill ourselves. In this heart God can nurture his seed so it grows fruitfully to maturity.

Often we don't want to experience this kind of emptiness, where we feel inadequate and vulnerable. Yet it is this very humility that is attractive to God as it is an honest assessment of our spiritual state.

God's filling is dependant on our emptiness.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog Tour : Dynamic Ageing

This blog tour is for the non-fiction book: Dynamic Ageing by Ray Hawkins. This book is part of a blog tour organized by Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

My book review can be found here.


18th – 22nd August 2014


is introducing


(Even Before Publishing, 1 February 2014)

by

Ray Hawkins

About the Book:
Discover how to make the ageing experience into an adventure. Join the Lord's plan for ageing dynamically. Understand why God's seniors are priceless. God's grace for dynamic ageing more than compensates for physical limitations.

About the Author: Ray Hawkins, retired after over 40 years as a Churches of Christ minister, enjoys sharing themes from the Scriptures through Devotional writing. Married to Mary, multi-published inspirational romance author, they have three children and five grandchildren. Ray shares his insights in his first two books on Marriage and Children with more ideas to come about ministry and much more. Living in Beauty Point Tasmania Ray heads up a new Christian Fellowship as well as doing relief preaching, community work and writing.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review : Dynamic Ageing

This book is being featured on the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance this week. Information about the author and more details about the book can be found here.

I have now read several of Ray's devotional books and this one has quickly become my favourite. Possibly because it is the one I most relate to as my husband is planning to go into semi-retirement in the near future so Ray's thoughts on this stage of life were very helpful.

Ray covers a range of issues associated with ageing: health, leisure, spiritual activities etc. He provides beneficial insights and a spiritual perspective on this phase of life. He quotes from a large range of Scriptures which are relevant and reinforces that God has a lot to say about our later years. Ray is also very encouraging about God's plan and purpose and reminds us that we never retire from worshipping and serving the Lord though the format of these things will change.

Overall a very encouraging and helpful book that I'm sure to visit again in the coming years.

Thanks to Even Before Publishing for providing a free book for review.

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