Friday, July 30, 2010

Bible Study: As It Was In The Beginning - Genesis - Chapter 39


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Genesis. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.

Stacey


Take a few minutes to savor Genesis Chapter 39. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…




39 – stay on your toes.

Joseph endures temptation. So does Jesus. see Matthew 4:1-11.

Potiphar’s wife has no name of her own.

39:1 – Joseph would be about 17 or 18 years old, depending on how long the trip to Egypt took and how long before the Ishmaelites sold Joseph to Potiphar.

39:2 – Joseph prospered because the Lord was with him.

39:3-4 – Potiphar recognized the Lord’s hand upon Joseph.

39:4 – this was a good position. But as we will see, God allowed circumstances to remove Joseph from this good position – even through hardship – so that he would be in the proper place to accept the better position that God was preparing for him.

39:6-9 – Joseph recognized adultery as a sin against God.

39:8 – We should firmly reject temptation.

39:9 – We should concentrate on our blessings.

We should consider the impact of our sin on others.

We shouldn’t whitewash sin. Call it what it is!

We should realize who we’re actually sinning against: God.

39:10 – Potiphar’s wife propositioned Joseph DAILY!

39:11 – surround yourself with support. Do you have godly accountability partners? GET SOME!

Joseph apparently avoided being alone with her.

39:12 – Joseph ran from sin to escape it. See 1 Corinthians 10:13 – God will always provide a way of escape.

39:13-18 – that Hebrew – Potiphar’s wife calls the servants, putting the situation into a public forum and plays the “race” card to force her husband to punish the innocent Joseph.

39:15 – Joseph was falsely accused. So was Jesus. see Matthew 26:59-65.

39:19-20 – Potiphar’s anger must have burned at his wife for forcing him into this position – perhaps she’s done this before – because if he truly believed in Joseph’s guilt, he could have had him executed for the offense. Instead, he had him thrown in prison, and a good prison. And he and his household lost the blessing of the Lord that was upon Joseph.

39:20 – Joseph was imprisoned with two criminals. Jesus was crucified with them. see Mark 15:27-28.

39:21 – In spite of his circumstances, the Lord was with Joseph. What evidence do you have that God is with you in your present circumstances? Do you know that you can trust Him? How?


What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Winning in Troubled Times By Creflo Dollar

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Winning in Troubled Times: God's Solutions for Victory Over Life's Toughest Challenges

FaithWords (August 25, 2010)

***Special thanks to Valerie M. Russo, Senior Web Publicist, of the Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Dr. Creflo A. Dollar is a much-sought-after conference speaker, with books, CDs, audiotapes, and videotapes in worldwide distribution. Many of his works, including The Anointing to Live, Understanding God's Purpose for the Anointing, and The Divine Order of Faith, have been added to the curricula of Christian colleges across the United States. You can visit Creflo Dollar Ministries at

Visit the author's website.





Product Details:

List Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (August 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446553379
ISBN-13: 978-0446553377

PRESS THE BROWSE INSIDE BUTTON TO VIEW THE FIRST CHAPTER:





Here is my review of this encouraging book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Creflo Dollar and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Winning in Troubled Times" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Every time I have a conversation with my cousin, she tells me how much she likes Creflo Dollar. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to be able to review this book, I had to jump at the chance. After receiving such his praise from my cousin, I had to experience the man’s teaching for myself.

What I found within the pages of “Winning In Troubled Times: God’s Solutions For Victory Over Life’s Toughest Challenges” by Dr. Creflo Dollar was more than a mouthful of title. This book was filled with encouragement on a variety of topics such as finances and debt, relationships, emotions and addictions. Step-by-step techniques to overcome various trials were included – these pointers back to God and faith would be a good place to begin for those who are overwhelmed by their situation and unclear on what to do next. There is an abundance of good advice and the writing flows with terrific humor. This is an encouraging, informative and educational resource.

I’m glad my cousin recommended Creflo Dollar to me. I will certainly be recommending him to others.

So Over It by Stephanie Morrill


THE CONCLUDING BOOK IN THE REINVENTION OF SKYLAR HOYT SERIES
Senior year is over, and Skylar is ready for a break.
But will she really be able to leave her old life behind?



Teen readers have loved the debut series from author Stephanie Morrill, identifying deeply with high school student Skylar Hoyt and her struggle to discover who she really is. RT Book Reviews called this “a promising new series. Morrill introduces a strong, relatable character to root for.”

In So Over It, the final book of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Skylar has just finished up her senior year. She’s ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget. She wants a fresh start where people don't know about her past or her dysfunctional family. A place where she won't run into her ex-boyfriend every time she leaves the house. When she gets the opportunity to spend the summer in Hawaii with her grandparents, Skylar jumps at the chance to get out of town. But will she truly be able to leave her old life behind? And will she be strong enough to rise above the gossip and live the life God wants?

Here is my review of this wonderful teen novel:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Stephanie Morrill and her publisher for sending me a copy of "So Over It" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Stephanie Morrill has penned an engaging teen novel with her third book in “The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt” series. “So Over It” is the story of Skylar’s desire for a fresh start. I’d say this is a fairly universal desire for teens – and many adults I know. When an opportunity arises for Skylar to spend the summer in Hawaii with her grandparents, this seems like an ideal chance to make herself over. But she learns that no one can run away from their problems as Skylar deals with issues that I’m sad to learn are fairly typical for teens today.

This novel deals delicately with several serious topics and beautifully incorporates God and faith and church into teen life. I recommend this novel to moms and their teens to open lines of communication, bring about awareness of prevalent issues and assemble a timely prayer list for young people today.

“Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Warren Wiersbe – Bible Study Series – John

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: John: Get to Know the Living Savior

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s commentaries and his world-renowned knowledge of God’s Word can now be enjoyed in a format that allows everyone to enjoy spending time getting to know the Savior. David C Cook plans to release additional volumes in the Wiersbe Bible Study Series over the next few years.

Product Details:

List Price: $8.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765075
ISBN-13: 978-1434765079

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Lesson 1

God in the Flesh

(JOHN 1—2)

Before you begin …

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read John 1—2. This lesson references chapters 1–2 in Be Alive. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.


Getting Started


From the Commentary


Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1–3, Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

—Be Alive, page 20


1. As you read John 1:1–2, what stands out to you about the description of

“the Word”? What does it mean that the Word was “with” God? That the

Word “was” God? How does this opening contrast with that of the other

three gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? What does this tell us

about John, the writer of this gospel?


More to Consider: Why do you think John refers to Jesus as “the Son

of God” so many times in his gospel? (See John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25;

10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31.)


2. Choose one verse or phrase from John 1—2 that stands out to you.

This could be something you’re intrigued by, something that makes you

uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with

you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.


Going Deeper


From the Commentary


Life is a key theme in John’s gospel; it is used thirty-six times. What are the essentials for human life? There are at least four: light (if the sun went out, everything would die), air, water, and food. Jesus is all of these! He is the Light of Life and the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the “breath of life” (John 3:8; 20:22), as well as the Water of Life (John 4:10, 13–14; 7:37–39). Finally, Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6:35ff.). He not only has life and gives life, but He is life (John 14:6).

—Be Alive, page 22


3. As you go through the gospel of John, underline the references to “life.” Why do you think John’s gospel touches on this theme so frequently? How do the themes of “light” and “life” relate to one another in John 1?


From the Commentary


John the Baptist is one of the most important persons in the New Testament. He is mentioned at least eighty-nine times. John had the special privilege of introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel. He also had the difficult task of preparing the nation to receive its Messiah. He called them to repent of their sins and to prove that repentance by being baptized and then living changed lives. John summarized what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus Christ (John 1:15–18).

—Be Alive, page 24


4. What is significant about the gospel writer’s mention of John the Baptist (John 1:6–28)? Why would this have been important to the early believers?


From Today’s World


Although the skepticism of the modern age has diminished their impact, self-proclaimed modern “prophets” continue to speak about the end of the world (or other events) as if they have exclusive insight into “insider information” from a source they often claim is God Himself. Some gain a following as people clamor for wisdom about why the world is in its current state. Whether out of fear or frustration, they look to the so-called prophets for answers.


5. Why are people so fascinated (whether they agree or disagree) with modern prophets? Do you agree that people today are more skeptical about prophets and their reliability? Why or why not? How does today’s culture compare to the culture in which John the Baptist appeared? What does this suggest about the role of prophecy in modern Christianity?


From the Commentary


The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices. At Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. Those lambs were brought by people to people, but here is God’s Lamb, given by God to humankind! Those lambs could not take away sin, but the Lamb of God can take away sin. Those lambs were for Israel alone, but this Lamb would shed His blood for the whole world!

—Be Alive, pages 27–28


6. How might John’s Jewish followers have responded when he announced Jesus as the “Lamb of God”? Why is John the Baptist’s testimony important? How does John’s description of the “Spirit” compare to the coming of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts? What does this teach us about the Holy Spirit?


From the Commentary


“We have found the Messiah!” was the witness Andrew gave to Simon. Messiah is a Hebrew word that means “anointed,” and the Greek equivalent is “Christ.” To the Jews, it was the same as “Son of God” (see Matt. 26:63–64; Mark 14:61–62; Luke 22:67–70). In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed and thereby set apart for special service. Kings were especially called “God’s anointed” (1 Sam. 26:11; Ps. 89:20); so, when the Jews spoke about their Messiah, they were thinking of the king who would come to deliver them and establish the kingdom. There was some confusion among the Jewish teachers as to what the Messiah would do. Some saw Him as a suffering sacrifice (as in Isa. 53), while others saw a splendid king (as in Isa. 9 and 11). Jesus had to explain even to His own followers that the cross had to come before the crown, that He must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24:13–35).

—Be Alive, page 29


7. Why were the Jews expecting the Messiah to appear as a king? What does this tell us about the culture and circumstance of the Jews at the time? How might the Jewish leaders have received the pronouncement of Jesus as the Messiah? There had been others who claimed messiahship prior to Jesus’ arrival. What argument does John make in chapter 1 to support the fact that Jesus is the One they’ve been waiting for?


From the Commentary


“The third day” means three days after the call of Nathanael (John 1:45–51). Since that was the fourth day

of the week recorded in John (John 1:19, 29, 35, 43), the wedding took place on “the seventh day” of this “new creation week.” Throughout his gospel, John makes it clear that Jesus was on a divine schedule, obeying the will of the Father. Jewish tradition required that virgins be married on a Wednesday, while widows were married on a Thursday. Being the “seventh day” of John’s special week, Jesus would be expected to rest, just as God rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1–3). But sin had interrupted God’s Sabbath rest, and it was necessary for both the Father and the Son to work (John 5:17; 9:4). In fact, John recorded two specific miracles that Jesus deliberately performed on Sabbath days (John 5; 9). At this wedding, we see Jesus in three different roles: the Guest, the Son, and the Host.

—Be Alive, pages 35–36


8. Read John 2:1–11. Why do you think the Scriptures record this as Jesus’ first miracle? What is the significance of turning water into wine? Of the timing of the miracle?


More to Consider: Moses’ first miracle was a plague—turning water into blood (Ex. 7:19ff.), which speaks of judgment. How does Jesus’ first miracle speak of grace?


From the Commentary


Jesus revealed His zeal for God first of all by cleansing the temple (John 2:13–17). The priests had established a lucrative business of exchanging foreign money for Jewish currency and also selling the animals needed for the sacrifices. No doubt, this “religious market” began as a convenience for the Jews who came long distances to worship in the temple, but in due time the “convenience” became a business, not a ministry. The tragedy is that this business was carried on in the court of the Gentiles in the temple, the place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles and telling them about the one true God. Any Gentile searching for truth would not likely find it among the religious merchants in the temple.

—Be Alive, page 41


9. Why was Jesus so upset about the money changers? (See John 2:12–16.) What is significant about Jesus’ comment in verse 19? How does this foreshadowing help us to see God’s divine timetable for Jesus’ earthly work?


From the Commentary


While in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus performed miracles that are not given in detail in any of the Gospels. It must have been these signs that especially attracted Nicodemus (John 3:2). Because of the miracles, many people professed to believe in Him, but Jesus did not accept their profession. No matter what the people themselves said or others said about them. He did not accept human testimony.

—Be Alive, page 44


10. Why didn’t Jesus accept human testimony? What does John mean when he writes, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (2:25)? What does this say about Jesus’ feelings toward those who followed Him because of His miracles?


Looking Inward


Take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve explored thus far in this study of John 1—2. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.


Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don’t press for people to speak if they’re uncomfortable doing so.


11. How do you respond to the different descriptions of Jesus in John 1 (the Word, the Lamb, the Son of God)? In what ways does the father/son imagery connect with you? Why is it important for you to know Jesus was God’s Son and not just a prophet sent to preach good news?


12. In what ways do you see your own life as a “light” to those around you? How have others been light to you? What are some ways you’ve struggled to be a light to others? How can the picture of Jesus as the light inspire you to be a light to others?


13. What sort of “Messiah” do you think you’d be hoping for if you were among the Jewish people before and during Jesus’ time? In what ways might you have been pleasantly surprised by the way the Messiah arrived? In what ways might you have been disappointed? How do you see the Messiah’s role in your life today? In what ways is Jesus’ role like that of a king? Of a servant?


Going Forward


14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you’d like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don’t try). Do you want to know more about John’s description of Jesus as “the Word”? Do you want to better understand the Jews’ expectation about the Messiah? Be specific. Go back through John 1—2 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.


Real-Life Application Ideas: John the Baptist contrasts his method of baptism with Jesus’ in 1:26–34. How well do you know your church’s stance on water baptism? Learn what your church teaches on this

important topic. Consider what baptism has meant to you. Or, if you haven’t yet been baptized, consider talking with your pastor about being baptized.


Seeking Help


15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.


Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you’ve read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read John 3—4. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapters

3–4, “A Matter of Life and Death” and “The Bad Samaritan,” in Be Alive.



Here is my review of this terrific Bible study:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Warren Wiersbe and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Bible Study Series - John" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: John – Get To Know The Savior” by Dr. Warren Wiersbe is a valuable tool to use in the study of the gospel of John. This guide is comprised of 12 chapters – a perfect summer study – that takes you through more than one chapter of scripture with each lesson. It contains excerpts from Dr. Warren’s insightful commentaries on the gospel of John. The questions afford a deeper study and understanding of the Biblical text. They also provide a good starting point for small group discussion, and encourage a deepening of relationship with Jesus as they prompt the student to apply what they’ve learned. Each chapter ends with an opportunity to pray and record the prayer for future reference. I highly recommend this study as well as Dr. Wiersbe’s other resources for studying scripture.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Skin You're In: Discovering True Beauty by Nancy Rue

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Skin You’re In: Discovering True Beauty

Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband Jim have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.


Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310719992
ISBN-13: 978-0310719991

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:






Here's my review of this terrific beauty book for teens:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Nancy Rue and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Skin You're In: Discovering True Beauty" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“The Skin You’re In: Discovering True Beauty” by Nancy Rue is a wonderful book for tween and teen gals! It is packed with quizzes that lead to deep insight into self. Some of these would be fun to take with your friends during a spa night (chapter two) or sleepover! There are fun and creative ideas and terrific recipes for homemade treatments. There is good advice on products to use to improve hair, skin, feet, etc. And there is a bunch of information to help you decide on your overall style.

This is a terrific book to use with your daughter or let her use on her own. It’s also filled with spiritual insight that points young women to God through scripture and toward a healthy self-image. There is definitely a great need for that at this time. This is a well-written guide that encourages a daughter to interact with her mother and starts young women on a good path of caring for themselves.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweat, Blood & Tears by Xan Hood

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Sweat, Blood, and Tears: What God Uses to Make a Man

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Xan Hood is an author and speaker ministering to young men between the ages of 18 and 25. He is the co-founder and co-director of Training Ground in Colorado Springs where he disciples young men through their program in work, wilderness, and worship (www.trainingground.com). He has also written for New Man magazine and Discipleship Journal. Xan began working with young men in Tennessee and in youth groups in Nashville and Knoxville. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with their first child.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766810
ISBN-13: 978-1434766816

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


GEAR

You would be amused to see me, broad sombrero hat, fringe and beaded buckskin shirt, horse hide chaparajos or riding trousers, and cowhide boots, with braided bridle and silver spurs.

Theodore Roosevelt


I had always heard that Theodore Roosevelt was a tough, hardy “man’s man” sort of guy: a hunter, outdoorsman, activist, soldier, explorer, naturalist, and “rough rider.” But it wasn’t always so. Much like me, he was raised a refined, tame city boy, a member of a wealthy, powerful family with political influence. He was a sickly, asthmatic youngster who at the age of twenty-three still appeared boyish and underdeveloped. Both the press and his fellow New York state

assemblymen made light of his high-pitched voice and “dandified” clothing, calling him names like “Jane-Dandy” and “Punkin-Lily.”2 He was what we now refer to as a “pretty boy.”


It seems Theodore knew he needed to escape the confines of the city, to be tested and initiated beyond his Jane-Dandy world. There was only one direction to go: west.


“At age twenty-five, on his "first trip to the Dakota badlands in 1883, Roosevelt purchased a ranch, bought a herd of cattle, hired ranch hands, and, spending considerable time there, began to develop his Western image.”4 It is said he took rides “of seventy miles or more in a day, hunting hikes of fourteen to sixteen hours, stretches in the saddle in roundups of as long as forty hours,” pushing himself physically and mentally.5


Within two weeks of moving to Colorado, I drove up alone to the Orvis store in Denver to purchase a complete set of official Orvis gear: waders, boots, vest, and a fly rod. I had come to the West to bond with earth, wind, and rivers that I could fly-fish—and to find God. The fishing needed to be done in official Orvis gear—only the best.


You see, coming from a town of status and wealth, the type of gear you chose was very important. It needed to function, but it also needed to make you look good so you could feel good while looking good.


In my eyes Orvis was the status symbol of real and serious fly fishermen, the hallmark of class. I stocked up on floatant, little boxes, nippers, and line—all Orvis products and logos, of course. I paid with a new credit card and walked out.


While Theodore would become a great, brave man, his first attempts out West were about as comical as my own. It is written that he “began to construct a new physical image around appropriately virile Western decorations and settings.” These photographs show him posing “in a fringed buckskin outfit, complete with hunting cap, moccasins, cartridge belt, silver dagger, and rifle.”6 In a letter to his sister back East, he bragged, “I now look like a regular cowboy dandy, with all my equipments finished in the most expensive style.”


Though he looks like a young man in a Halloween costume, something much deeper than child’s play was occurring. A rich city boy was exploring another side of himself. The costumes, however foolish they appeared at the time, were a part of this becoming and would, in time, become him.


I was also searching for a new image, one more closely connected with nature. In his book Iron John, Robert Bly writes, “Some say that the man’s task in the first half of his life is to become bonded to matter: to learn a craft, become friends with wood, earth, wind, or fire.”8 I had yet to experience that. Ralph Lauren Polo shirts and a posh lifestyle were simply not enough. And while it’s likely that neither of us could have verbalized it at the time, Theodore and I were learning that a man had to find something away from all of it. I think his fringed buckskin and my Orvis gear were safe compromises between the worlds we were straddling.


A week after I bought my Orvis gear, I drove about an hour away to the South Platte River. An Internet search revealed that I could quickly access it from the road. On my way I stopped at a little fly shop in Woodland Park, Colorado. A retired-looking man had blessed my obvious naïveté but left the teaching to a sheet of paper, diagrammed for a nymph-dropper rig. He made a few fly suggestions and sent me on my way with the paper and a pat on the back. It was time to become Brad Pitt: Orvis-endorsed, perched on a rock, waiting for a fish.


I arrived on the water’s edge at about 2 p.m. Like a warrior dressing for battle, I donned my Orvis gear and set to work on the nymph-dropper rig. About an hour later, after clamping on weights, indicator, and tying two flies onto the razor-thin line, it looked like I’d tied my grandmother’s collection of jewelry to a string. I stood in the middle of the river, flung the line out, and whipped it back and forth, feeling good and enjoying the four count rhythm.


Though I filled the hours with flipping and whipping, I could not seem to hook a fish. Were they in the rapids? The calm water? Should I cast upstream or downstream? The paper didn’t say. It didn’t help that every few minutes I would get caught on a branch, or grass or algae would get on the flies, tangling them with knots. It was getting dark, and I was getting lonely and frustrated at Orvis, God, and myself.



But there came a last minute hope: I remembered Dan Allender telling a story at a leadership conference about going fly-fishing with his son. As an unsuccessful day of fishing came to a close, he told his son they needed to call it a day. But his son kept fishing, and then, on the fifth and final cast, as all hope was fading like the sun—BAM!—a massive trout on his fly rod. It was a miracle. Dan concluded his speech with this lesson: “God is the God of the fifth cast … He comes through in the end.”


And so I began my count. Okay, Lord, I prayed. This is for You. Help me fish. Catch me a trout. One cast … nothing. Second cast … nothing. Third cast … nothing. Cast again … nothing. God of the fifth cast … not for me. Eleventh? Nope. I kept going. God of the seventeenth cast … God of the twenty-second cast …


Before long, darkness covered me, and I could no longer see my orange indicator. It was over. There would be no fish that day.


I stood all alone in the middle of the river, holding my empty net. There wasn’t a soul in sight—not a fish, not even God. It was haunting. I demanded an explanation. Where are the fish? Where are You? Just one, God. All I wanted was one. One simple fish would have made this day worth it.


Would God not give a man dressed in Orvis a fish if he asked?



Here is my review of this insightful book about manhood:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Xan Hood and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Sweat, Blood & Tears" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

When I requested a reviewer copy of “Sweat, Blood and Tears: What God Uses To Make A Man” by Xan Hood, I hoped to discover the secret key to understanding my husband. I want to know what makes my man tick…what motivates him…what encourages him…because, on my own, I do such a terrific job of bringing him down.

What I found in the pages of this book were one-word chapter titles that intrigued me and prompted me to read the book out of order. I found bold and frank writing about what makes a man – from God to life experience. I found pools of wisdom and insight, offerings of logic for understanding my man. This book provoked my thinking and entertained me immensely.

This book makes me want to encourage the wildness in my husband rather than the tame, socially acceptable – and wholly unnatural – idea of manhood. But how will I do that? I’ll get my husband to read the book and tell me what he thinks. I’ll ask him how I can encourage him to be everything he can be. Sounds like an interesting date night.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rise UP & Sing by Lex Buckley

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:

Lex Buckley

and the book:


Rise Up and Sing: Equipping the Female Worship Leader

David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Lex Buckley has worked for Soul Survivor Ministries in the UK as one of their worship pastors, alongside Tim Hughes and Ben Cantelon. She has sung on albums such as Matt Redman’s Facedown and Soul Survivor’s live albums We Must Go and Love Came Down and has released an EP with Survivor Records, Through the Valley. Lex and her husband Paul now live in Jacksonville, Florida, where they head up the worship department at River City Church. They recently became the proud parents of Bella and Finn.


Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700585
ISBN-13: 978-1434700582

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The call to lead


Do you ever look around you and wonder where all the female worship leaders are? I don’t know about you, but I predominantly see men leading worship. In many cases this is because women have not been encouraged to step into any church leadership roles. But amidst this reality is one thing that excites me more than anything:Through all the arguments for and against women in leadership roles, we see in the Bible that God does use women to lead His people in worship.


The book of Exodus tells us about the life of Miriam. We don’t know too much about Miriam, but we do know she was a prophetess and one of the leaders of Israel alongside her brother Aaron (they both led under the authority of Moses). She was also a worshipper. In Exodus 15:20–21, after God had parted

the Red Sea and the Israelites had escaped the Egyptians, it says, “Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.’”


The word sing in Hebrew used here is shiru, which is a masculine, plural command. This means that Miriam is addressing men and women in verse 21. The natural reading of the Hebrew is that Miriam leads a group of women who become her backing vocalists (so to speak) as she leads the whole community in worship. Some might question that she actually led them in worship because it says she sang to them.


But throughout the Psalms, we see the psalmists write songs like this, encouraging others to worship God (Psalm 30:4, Psalm 33:1–3). The psalmists wrote songs to God, about God, and to the Israelites encouraging them to worship God, just as many worship songs do today.


Miriam’s response to what God had done was to worship Him and then encourage the people of Israel to worship Him with her. At the end of the day, a worship leader is a passionate worshipper who through their voice and instrument encourages others to worship God as they seek to worship Him themselves. And this is what Miriam did. She was a worshipper whom God used to lead His people in worship for His glory.


So now that we know that God does use women to lead worship, the question is whether He is calling you to lead. Here are some general questions you might want to ask yourself to begin the process of finding your answer.


Are you a passionate worshipper?


The most obvious and important question is, do you love to worship God? More than anything a worship leader must be a worshipper. Genuine worshippers are people who are just as passionate about pouring out their praise to God when they are on their own as when they are at church. As Mike Pilavachi, leader of Soul Survivor Ministries in the UK, always says, “You can’t lead people somewhere you haven’t been yourself.” Our first passion must always be to worship God, and it’s only out of our passion to worship Him that He will call us to lead others.


Do you have the practical skills required to lead worship?


Another important factor is skill. Can you sing in tune? Are you musical? You don’t have to have an incredible voice to lead worship, but if you can’t sing in tune, leading sung worship might not be your

gift. Not everyone who starts out leading worship has a fantastic voice or is an incredible musician (and not all worship leaders lead on an instrument), but if you’re called to lead worship, usually those in leadership over you will see your potential, and it will be clear to them that you are someone to invest in.


Have others confirmed that you are called to lead worship?


If you are called to lead worship, usually those around you will be in agreement. But if leading worship is something that you’re passionate about and you have not been encouraged to step out in it yet, ask your pastor, ask your friends, ask those around you who will be honest with you. Make sure you aren’t just asking your mother though! Mine thinks I should try out for Australian Idol, and although I am so grateful that she totally believes in me, I know full well that I am not gifted enough to do well in a competition like that! You’ve got to trust that if you are called to lead worship and it’s the right time for you to step out, those around you will encourage you to do so.


Are you being given opportunities to lead worship?


If you are called to lead worship, opportunities will arise for you to do so. I never had to try to push doors open myself—God opened them in His timing. First, I began singing backing vocals at church. Then I led worship in my small group for a season. Later I began coleading at church, and after six months of coleading, I finally began leading on my own. I know it might seem more appealing to just start leading up front at church straightaway, but the journey that God took me on totally prepared me for what was

ahead. Leading a band, trying to remember the lyrics, melody, and chords for the songs, and arranging the band are all pretty tough sometimes, especially while trying to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow where He is leading. I would not have been ready to lead on my own at church if I had been thrown into it without all those years of worshipping on my own and leading in small groups. So value every opportunity given to you, because every opportunity enables you to learn and grow.


You may not be able to fully answer all these questions yet, but if you feel passionate about leading worship, keep worshipping God. Keep growing in the practical aspects of leading worship, and trust that He will give you confirmation and will open the doors for you to lead if that is something He has created you to do.



Here is my review of this incredibly insightful book on leading worship:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Lex Buckley and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Rise Up & Sing" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
“Rise Up and Sing: Equipping the Female Worship Leader” is an insightful book by Lex Buckley. It is geared toward women who intend to go into the ministry of leading worship. But it is also useful for women who serve in other ministries, leadership capacities or engage in worship. This book is thoroughly uplifting. It equips leaders and worshipers to engage those calls. There is distinct help for developing a style of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. There is also help on other aspects of leading worship such as songwriting.

Although Bible passages were quoted, I would have liked to see more scripture referenced throughout the work. But this book is a critical read in the area of communication. The author has obviously dealt quite a bit in this area of ministry and has provided valuable insight and wisdom to help the reader communicate better.

Bible Study: As It Was In The Beginning - Genesis - Chapter 38


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Genesis. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.

Stacey


Take a few minutes to savor Genesis Chapters 38 & 39. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…



38 – Sex isn’t to be used for manipulation.

38:1 – Did Judah leave because of Jacob’s sadness and his part in Joseph’s disappearance? Probably. See 37:35. He saved Joseph’s life in 36:26-27, but left when Israel couldn’t be comforted. Notice that Judah left home voluntarily whereas Joseph was forced to leave.

38:2 – Judah married a Canaanite woman. That’s a “no no”. So, he didn’t leave home to get alone with God. His heart is still not right, and will probably be turned further from God by his heathen bride.

38:5 – Kezib means deception. (NIVSB) That’s a common theme in this family.

38:8-10 – Onan sinned by refusing to produce an heir for Er (HAHAHA!) So, God put Him to death and allowed his “claim to fame” to be “onanism” – a form of birth control where semen is spilled on the ground.

38:12 – after a long time – Tamar knew Judah didn’t intend to give her to Shelah as his wife.

Judah had sheep. Had he prospered in Canaan?

Judah was still friends with Hirah the Adullamite. See 38:1.

38:13-19 – an elaborate deception involving a disguise. Sound like anyone else we know? Jacob. See 27:14-29.

38:20 – Hirah was entrusted with the responsibility to pay the prostitute and get Judah’s pledges back. This is a trusted friend, but not a trustworthy one. A true friend would have encouraged Judah to do the right thing in the first place.

38:23 – Judah didn’t pursue getting back his pledges because he didn’t want to be a laughingstock. Then maybe he shouldn’t have slept with a shrine prostitute.

38:24 – Ooh. Judah is quick to condemn Tamar’s actions when he himself is guilty. Sounds like one of his descendants. See 2 Samuel 12:1-6. (Do you think maybe David’s daughter, Tamar, got her name from this lady?)

38:25 – Judah recognizes his error. Was this the turning point for repentance in his life?

38:27-30 – Ooh, look, twins! Sound familiar? Once again, the first to appear will be a lesser character in future stories.

38:29 – Perez is Christ’s ancestor.



What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

“The Faith Dare” by Debbie Alsdorf



Here is my review of this amazing devotional book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Debbie Alsdorf and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Faith Dare" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Debbie Alsdorf’s book “The Faith Dare: 30 Days to Live Your Life to the Fullest” found me at the perfect time. I started reading this beautiful devotional when I found a lump in my breast and began the process of having it diagnosed. The daily readings, encouragement and challenges bolstered my faith and reminded me that God is not frivolous – He is determinedly purposeful.

I read the daily verses aloud as an act of praise when I was unable to think straight. I was encouraged by the supporting scripture and the author’s commentary explaining the daily concept and its life application. I even accepted a few of the “dares” that were provided as a step of faith to apply that day’s reading to my life. The book also contains an area for journaling – usually where healing begins for me. The prayers to recite were wonderful primers for my faulty prayer pump that got me really talking to God in many cases.

This would be a great resource to use alone or with a group for accountability. It is completely centered in the Word of God with great practical application. Whether you’re going through the best or worst of times, this book will encourage you to build your faith.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz


Caught between the wilderness and civilization, Morrow Little must find her way to true love.

Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men--ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable--vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones--and garner suspicion from her friends--by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love?

This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop you as it takes you from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness of the West.



Here's my review of this wonderful romantic adventure:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Laura Frantz and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Courting Morrow Little" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Laura Frantz’ “Courting Morrow Little” is an inspiring novel of life on the Kentucke frontier in the mid-to-late 1700s. Morrow witnessed the aftermath of an Indian attack on her family at the age of five. Her mother and sister murdered, her brother kidnapped, she was left to be raised alone by her father. Thirteen years later, when she returns to her father after living with relatives for a time up north, she finds her true love in the most unlikely of places.

This is a beautifully written, sweeping novel that ties nicely to Frantz’ first novel of the Kentucke frontier: “The Frontiersman’s Daughter”. I look forward to more novels by this author. She knows this time and place well enough to transport the reader completely through her writing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

God Knows My Name by Beth Redman

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved

David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Beth Redman is an evangelist, songwriter, singer, and author of several books, including Soul Sister and Beautiful. She is also the co-author, along with her husband Matt, of the book Blessed Be Your Name. Recently, Beth and Matt received the Dove Award for the Worship Song of the Year for “Blessed Be Your Name,” which they wrote together. Their combined song-writing skills also produced the popular worship songs “Let My Words Be Few,” “Facedown,” and “You Never Let Go.” The Redmans and their five children live in Atlanta where they serve as part of a team leading Passion City Church with pastors Louie and Shelley Giglio.




Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403650
ISBN-13: 978-0781403658

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Our parents are often broken people wearing big learner’s plates, like drivers in training, when we arrive in their world. We shouldn’t judge them harshly, but sometimes the parents we need to love us the most can hurt us and let us down.


As a mum, I take it very personally and get a little feisty when my daughter, Maisey-Ella, is bullied or mistreated. I consider it outrageous when I know someone has hurt her, and I find it hard not to intervene.

My husband has told me on many occasions, “You can’t give little girls evil looks, Beth!” My daughter is, quite simply, utterly gorgeous inside and out. Of course she is not perfect, but the problem all of us face is that the world is not going to like us, love us, or be on our side all of the time. Some days we will be misunderstood, blamed, and rejected. But in our home, when Maisey-Ella returns from a miserable day at school, two pairs of loving arms wait for her. Arms that without question are available to wipe away any tear, and hearts of love that speak gentle words of acceptance, reassurance, and a promise that no matter what … we love you, beautiful girl, and we are for you.


Every single human being needs the comfort and reassurance that on the days the tears fall—even if the “world” rejects us—the people who really know us (warts and all) will be there for us. Those people are our parents, our family. Sometimes, though, our family isn’t there.


However, God is an ever-present, all-loving, all-forgiving, amazing Father in heaven. He can override imperfect parenting, soothe any broken spirit, and free any bound-up heart.


I want to tell you my story.


I want to share an amazing story of restoration, a story of the hope that we all have and the truth that I pray will fill you with joy, freedom, and power! I’m not pointing the finger at anyone or trying to make anyone look bad. I simply want to shout out that God heals, restores, has plans for you, and utterly adores you! If we can truly breathe in that truth, we become free to live, free to give, and free to love and accept both others and ourselves. Then, as you breathe that truth out into a hurting and broken world that desperately needs this message of God the Father’s heart for us, God is glorified, and lives are changed and transformed by Him.


My mum was a true saint when I was growing up, and my closest friend. She brought me to church and taught me about God. In public my dad seemed the perfect father, but in private he struggled with anger … and we suffered terrible violence. In my very late teens my parents separated. I don’t think we should place our parents’ mistakes or faults under the microscope and blame them for all our problems and baggage. God teaches us to forgive, and He gives us the grace to do so. He enables us to rise above the harshest of circumstances and to begin again. He rewrites generations of brokenness to give us an incredible hope and future with Jesus.


But I want to tell this story because I believe in a God who restores, and through His power I have seen reconciliation and healing occur in the most broken of families. I know it is possible, and I have always prayed for that with my own father. However, it takes more than just a miracle for that to happen—it also requires the openness and humility of all involved. Since my parents divorced, my dad and I have had sporadic contact. Throughout that time I found it impossible and even destructive to have a normal father-daughter relationship, so I have walked carefully and lived my adult life without him.



During my pregnancy with our third child, I began to have some worrying symptoms, and after the baby’s birth, doctors began to test me for suspected liver disease. The specialist I was seeing told me that, before my liver biopsy, he needed to know as much about my medical background as possible. He asked me to contact all my living relatives and find out if anyone in the family had ever had liver problems. I contacted each family member and very nervously sent an email to my dad. He wrote back immediately, and still to this day I cannot believe his parting words.


He wrote that, yes, there was liver disease in the family, and also cancer, and he hoped I had both.


“Beth,” he wrote, “you deserve to suffer, because suffering would make someone as egotistical and vile as you a better person.”


Wow.


He also threw in some awful comments about Matt and our children that need not be repeated. The email ended with him telling me I was cut out of his will and he had instructed his solicitor never to disclose his death or where he would be buried. While I was waiting for news of my liver condition, my earthly father had just cursed me and condemned my life.


God made us to love and to be loved. My earthly dad knew me, rejected me, and also detested me. Could anything be more painful?


I could hardly breathe. I phoned Matt and read him the email. I called my mum and my best friend, Anna. Inside I was crying out, Someone tell me I am loved! Please take away the pain of this horrific rejection—the words had gone so deep it felt as though my inmost parts were bleeding. I was desperate for a deeper love, validation, and acceptance. No human words could soothe me.


I put down the phone and gasped for air.


I cried out to my God … my true, amazing Father, my heavenly, forever Father, the One who knows all my failures and shortcomings and yet has never ever rejected me. He wrote my name on the palms of His hands and He stretched out His arms, and as He was viciously nailed to a cross, He separated me from my sin forever and loved me enough to die unjustly. He walked a journey of horrific agony—pleading, being taunted—and He carried my cross, my death, my past, and my sin. His love was enough as He cried out, “It is finished!” So now death and pain, brokenness and rejection, where are your sting? Everything I ever need in life is now accessible and available to me through His death.


Our God is a God who saves and who accepts and who can heal us completely. His love outweighed the words of a wounded man whose own life was so broken that he knew only how to crush others. I faced up to the pain of the situation, but at the same time knew a beautiful and powerful revelation that spoke louder than all of those other words: Though my father may forsake me, my God will never reject me. Though my earthly dad may try to erase me from his life, I shall never be forgotten. In that moment I knew a deep and permanent truth covering over the whole of my life: that God knows my name.


My Father in heaven adores me, has plans to prosper me and supernatural arms to hold me. He is with me by His Spirit every time a situation threatens to overwhelm and whenever I want to hide away and give in to the insecure, evil thoughts that come knocking. My God would never reject or forget me. He did not forget me in my time of need. From heaven He called out to me reminding me that I am His! Because He made me, He knows me, and He loves me! I am His forever. God spoke to me powerfully from His Word:


Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and

have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See,

I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

(Isa. 49:15–16)


You are known by name by the Living God, the loving heavenly Father. He made you, He redeemed you, He hears you, and never ever will He forget you. Hallelujah!


In this book I want to share with you some of the powerful ways that God helped me overrule such a massive rejection with His glorious eternal truth. I hope this can help you in your own life and enable you to help others.


Isaiah 43:1–4 says this:


But now, this is what the LORD says—

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.


When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.


For I am the LORD, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.…


Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you.”


In this passage, there are several truths for us to grasp, which I want to break down and look at one by one in this chapter.


God Knows Your Name


“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isa. 43:1)


A name is given and considered. A name imparts meaning, value, identity, and significance. Your name was chosen specifically, and especially, for you. A name gives both humanity and dignity to a person. The Enemy would have you live a nameless existence—feeling anonymous, illegitimate, unknown, unimportant, inglorious, and unfit to be named. Nineteenth-century London was a time of such material, emotional, and spiritual poverty that “children were so utterly uncared for that some were even without names, and were known to each other by nicknames.”


In direct contrast, God says that He has a name for us. Where we feel worthless and insignificant He bestows worth and significance upon us when He calls us by name and chooses us for His glory.


Anyone expecting a child has flipped through baby-name books, looking at the meanings and origins of names and thinking about how they sound. I’ve found names I loved and then been dismayed to find out they meant something like harlot, wench, or crooked nose!


Someone recently told me of a child who had been named Jezebel Harlot! That’s a pretty negative connotation to speak over a child every time she is called. Ideally, a name needs to suit the person carrying it. When my husband suggested that we name our third child “Rocco Redman,” I thought he had gone a bit mad! Normally my husband’s track record in making decisions is spot on. There really is no point arguing with Mr. Matthew Redman because over the years I have found he is nearly always right. However, on this occasion, I wasn’t so sure.


I wanted our third child to be called Benjamin, but Matt got the older children on board—and in the end I came to peace with the fact that if he was anything like his dad and his brother and sister, he would easily live up to something as strong and bold as Rocco! The name means “rest,” and so far he has turned out to be the most relaxed, peaceful, deep-sleeping, and gentle-spirited boy… and he has the confidence and joy required to be Rocco Redman. In new environments, his name still causes a little reaction, but it is so perfect for him, and I love that every time I write or call him by his full name, Rocco Benjamin Courage, I am affirming and speaking rest, sonship, bravery, and boldness over him.


In the same way, your Father God named you as precious, chosen, and beloved. You may not be named Rocco, but when God calls you, He speaks over you His truth, freedom, and life. Your part is to make a good choice—to continually believe and live under those things He named you and never to seek to hide behind another name. Many of us each day live under other labels that the Enemy has given us from past or present experiences—unwanted, failure, doubter, ugly, unlovely, needy, drama queen, mistake, disgrace, shamed, forgotten, and many more lies.


Those thoughts and feelings cannot possibly originate from God—for He is the giver of good and perfect gifts, and the God of all comfort. Those negative impressions of yourself and the words my own dad wrote in his email to me originate from the Enemy—who we know to be a dirty liar.


Perhaps you think your problems and insecurities are too great to overcome. By the kindness and mercy of God in my own life, I can assure you that this is not the case. I was abused physically, put down verbally, and rejected. I suffered humiliation many times and sadly began to act out how I felt about myself. In public I felt wretchedly insecure. I couldn’t go out with friends without feeling self-conscious and unimportant. I hated myself inside and out.


Then Jesus called my name. And everything changed. I hardly recognize the person I was back then. Our names may conjure up memories, but not always truth. I know that ultimately I am defined not by what others think of me when they hear my name, or what my earthly father says about me. Instead, the authority and compassion of the God who called my name define me. He loves, He shapes, He convicts, and He lavishes us with affirmation.


It’s time we heard His voice the loudest.


God Made Me


This is what the LORD says—

He who created you, O Jacob,

He who formed you, O Israel. (Isa. 43:1)



Part of understanding the depths of God’s knowledge of us lies in grasping the importance of the fact that He made us.


Psalm 139:13–14 puts it beautifully:


For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.


I praise you because I am fearfully and

wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.


The phrase inmost being is literally translated “kidneys.” In Hebrew idiom this meant the innermost center of the emotions and the moral sensitivity of a person’s heart.2 Here we see that God does not just know us as a casual acquaintance or simply acknowledge our existence, marvelous though that would be for the God of heaven to do such a thing. Rather, He knows who we are right down to the final detail. God knows how you work, how you think, what makes you happy, what makes you sad. He knows the last time you cried, and what you cried about. He knows what you would like for your birthday, and He actually cares about it too. The amazing thing is you don’t actually have to tell Him all of this. He just knows, because He made you, He sees you, He hears you, and He loves you. He knows you better than you know yourself.


He knows what you need before a word is even spoken from your mouth or articulated in your heart.


God Speaks Worth Over Me


“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” (Isa. 43:4)


The first thing God said when He looked at His creation was, “It is good.” The very fact that God made you means you are wonderful!


The psalmist declares: “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:14). Yet God didn’t just make you, then say, “What a great job,” and leave you on a shelf. No, He pursues a relationship

with you, He gives His life for you, that He may know you daily, deeply, and eternally.


Just before we were married, Matt received an invitation from Buckingham Palace. When Matt read the guest list he was a little intimidated. Top sports personalities, journalists, and film stars— and my fiancé! When he eventually met the Queen, along with Prince Charles, Matt performed a fumbled bow and stood back in shock. That was the Queen!


He couldn’t believe he had been chosen to hold out his hand and meet her majesty face-to-face. Somehow Matt had been deemed worthy of a moment with the Queen and her son, and he felt truly humbled. What a privilege!


Yet the truth is that there is a higher honor—a more amazing invitation that lies open for all of us. God in heaven; the Lord of all creation; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of your pastor and your friends who are missionaries abroad; the God of Corrie ten Boom and Martin Luther; the Author of life; the Beginning and the End—He extends the hand of friendship to you! Just as Matt was invited to stand alongside celebrities and dignitaries before the Queen at Buckingham Palace, so too are we invited to stand before the God of heaven and earth as an equal alongside great heroes of the faith … and not just to meet Him but to know Him! He speaks His love and your worth loudly over you today.


Listen closely: Isaiah 61:3 says that He bestows on us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” and Psalm 103:4 says that God “redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”


Anyone wearing a crown holds her head up high. She does not have an identity problem. She has been given honor and dignity.


God speaks worth over you. He declares His love for you. You are precious in His sight. Just like when I speak rest, sonship, and courage over my child, every time God calls your name He speaks worth and

value over you. He knows you intimately because He made you, and He loves you completely.


God Hears Me


“I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isa. 43:3)


It is a fundamental human need to be heard and understood. In fact, if we feel that we are not heard, we feel a vast sense of loneliness and emptiness. If we are not heard, we do not feel understood, and if

we do not feel understood, we will not feel known. The whole point about God knowing our names, and about Him making us, is that He knows us. When we discover that we are known and understood by a friend, it can be profoundly moving. Sometimes a really good friend may understand us better than we understand ourselves.


Tom Marshall, in his book Right Relationships, says that no one can survive for long unless “we feel that somebody understands us, somebody knows what we are feeling and somebody appreciates our real desires and intentions.”3 And yet, however powerful being known and understood by a friend or your partner can be, no one can know you better or understand you more than God Himself.


Psalm 139:1–4 puts it magnificently:


O LORD, you have searched me

and you know me.


You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.


You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.


Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.



Some people might find this depth of understanding quite frightening—and indeed there is always a risk attached to loving and being loved, knowing and being known. God knows us completely and utterly. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are an open book to God. He sees what we do, and He hears what we say even before we say it, or even when we’re not talking to Him! He knows what you are doing and why you are doing it. More importantly, He knows your dreams, your ambitions, and your longings. But how can we know for ourselves that God really knows us in our inmost being, completely and utterly?


We know that we are known because He hears us.


When we know that God hears us, it transforms us from being fearful, doubting God’s love, mercy, and goodness, into people who can be certain of His love for us. When God spoke to me through that song on my iPod, through the beautiful words of Isaiah 49, I knew that He had heard my cry—and He stepped in very powerfully at that moment, speaking His Word of life over me.


God was faithful to me through His real, tangible words of truth. I had a choice. I knew I did not have to believe my earthly father’s words. My heavenly Father had seen my pain and had answered me in a deeply personal way from His Word.


God Has Not Forgotten Me


“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isa. 43:2)


Sometimes we can know the truth of God in our minds, but not let it sink into our hearts. Or perhaps we have experienced a time of spiritual dryness, a time of suffering, or a time of God’s silence. During these times, it can feel like God has forgotten us. This can be frightening and even cause us to question the truth and reality of God.


A friend recently told me that her current situation makes her feel as though she was five years old again and her father has forgotten to pick her up from school. That is a very real and deeply unsettling feeling, and it can shake our faith and our trust in God to the core. My situation is telling me You are not here and You are not coming. Where are You, God? Yet the true extent of God’s care and concern for us is breathtaking:


“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7)


God is not like your earthly father. Difficult circumstances do not mean He has failed or abandoned you. He has not left you at the school gate. God does not forget the child He made. He has not put you to one side while He is busy with other people. He is not bored with you, and He did not leave you midproject. He adores you. In fact, He promises (and God is incapable of breaking a promise) in

Joshua 1:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He continually watches over you. “He [takes] great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).


God is continually at pains to remind us not to be afraid, because He is with us. If He is with us, how can He forget us?


If you feel forgotten, I want to encourage you to believe the Word of God when He says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).


Call out to the Lord, and He will answer you. Wait patiently for the Lord, for He will turn to you and hear your cry. God loves you, He hears you, He speaks to you, and He will rescue you. Amen!


©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. God Knows My Name by Beth Redman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.



Here's my review of this terrific worshipful book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Beth Redman and her publisher for sending me a copy of "God Knows My Name" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Beloved songwriter, Beth Redman, has penned a wonderful book: “God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved”. The eight short chapters are laced with scripture and encouragement for the battles we face in life. Redman offers valuable advice to keep the reader who puts this into practice from becoming “spiritually flabby”.

My favorite part is the study guide that’s included in the back of the book. It contains scripture readings and discussion questions that would be appropriate for use with a small study group or as a solo quiet time.