Book Review: Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God

Do we really trust God? I mean, really trust Him?

In Sheila Walsh’s newest book, Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God, she asks this question. In each chapter she discusses different people from the Bible who were

Book Cover

faced with the question of trusting God and she also weaves in her own story starting from when she left her 1-month stay in a psychiatric ward and through the last 14 years. She discusses Paul, Abraham, Hannah, Samson, Joseph and the list goes on for 13 chapters.

This book really spoke to my heart. It caused me to really question whether or not I truly trust God with every aspect of my life – whether it is the mundane day to day or the big stuff. Chapter 10, when she discusses the story of Joseph (Genesis 20-50), really stuck with me. On pages 145-6 she writes:

“We tend to think that if God is with us, things will fall into place in ways that make us feel comfortable and safe. That is what thrust in God procures, right?

Not at all. The logic is not: trust God and he will always keep you safe. Bad things – frightening things! – happen every day to those who love the Lord. The truth is: what makes us safe is the absolute truth that God is with us no matter what our circumstances.

Farther into Chapter 10, on page 149, she again writes (and this is something I am learning every day):

“Every trial is designed to show you something about yourself (good or bad) that you did not know.”

The main point I took away after reading this book is this: We can go through many trials during our walk with God but what matter more that the trial we go through is that we trust God is with us while we are going through the trial and we learn from our experience that God will always walk with us. No matter what the circumstance is.

Each person she talks about in her book had to learn, one way or another and sometimes the hard way, that we should always trust that God has our best interests at heart and that He is always with us – even when He is asking us to do something we do not necessarily want to do.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I express are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

See my personal disclosure policy here.


Doctrine of Satisfaction

Since the fall, our midweek service has been a teaching on the Tabernacle of Moses by Kelley Varner. (Brother Varner was a good friend of our pastor and our church. He passed away last June.) Last Thursday’s teaching was by my pastor’s son, Stephen.

He spoke on what Brother Varner called “The Doctrine of Satisfaction.” He writes, “The Doctrine of Satisfaction deals with man’s initial approach unto God. The Cross was the ONLY place where SATISFACTION was made with regard to the HOLINESS of God, Who justly demands that SIN be JUDGED and atoned for.”

The Doctrine of Satisfaction is about the sin offering of the Old Testament AND the offering of Jesus at the Cross. When the Israelites would bring their offerings to the brazen altar, they are to:

  1. Bring an animal from the herd or flock
  2. It is to be a male without blemish or defect
  3. He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord
  4. Lay his hand on its head (here he is transferring his sin to the animal)
  5. Then he is to slaughter the animal himself & the Levites are to sprinkle the blood on the altar
  6. He is to skin the animal & cut it into pieces & the priests are to arrange the pieces (the head and fat are to be put on the fire first)
  7. Before the inner parts and legs go on the altar, he is to wash them {Leviticus 1:2-9}

This is “an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” God enjoys the smell of burning flesh – of burning sin.

God is satisfied with the offering. The only catch is – the one who sinned has to supply the offering, kill it, skin it and wash it. The priest can not do it for him or God will not accept the offering.

The main point I got out of this teaching was this:

We can not bring our sin to our {insert your clergyman’s title here} and expect them to bring it to the brazen altar for us. They can not kill our sin for us. We must do that.

As a child of God, I must take responsibility for the things to say/do, how I act, my attitude toward situations, repent (which we all know means more than saying, “I’m sorry”. It means we must acknowledge our actions, be HONESTLY remorseful for them and then actively and purposefully make changes to our life. Ok, enough of that. I know I can be harsh sometimes) and make meaningful changes to become more like Him. God is always satisfied when we bring to Him the sweet savor, a pleasing aroma, of the death of our flesh, our sin.

I know I didn’t get it all in here. I’m just going by the notes I took during service.

If you want to see Brother Stephen’s teaching go here and then click on Multimedia and look for the video titled “Satisfaction Thursday 2-11-10” (about halfway down the page). (This past Sunday’s service will immediately start to play but just push the pause button to stop it.) Then come back and let me know what you think.

Change Your Perspective

The first time I heard this spoke directly to me was about a month ago at the Pioneer Valley House of Prayer. A pastor friend of mine, Mark, spoke it to me after I had mentioned that I was dealing with depression. (I’ve battled with depression since I was about 15 years old. I’ve been to 2 different therapists and on two different medications in the last 13 years. I’m not taking any medication now and I don’t foresee taking it in the future. Disclaimer: This is a personal choice. I do not promote medication for depression nor am I anti-medication for depression. I believe it is a personal decision to be made with the counsel of family, your pastor and your counselor.)

That wasn’t the last time that phrase has come across my path since then. It’s been in blogs, interviews with people, etc. I can’t remember all the places I’ve seen it except for today’s occurrence.

I happen to pick up the December copy of Prevention magazine. On the cover was the Season 5 Biggest Loser winner, Ali Vincent. She mentioned in the article her 7 “secrets of a healthy body and mind.” Number 2: Change Your Perspective. And this is what she said:

“Let’s say you have a job you don’t like, but you need it to pay your bills. Shift your mind-set: Learn to love the “why” of the job – you’re supporting your family! When my mom and I were eliminated from the show at the end of the fourth week, I could have thrown in the towel. Instead, I reframed the situation and decided I would become the unofficial Biggest Loser. Don’t focus on the reasons you can’t accomplish a goal – focus on ways you can.”

When Mark said it to me last month, he mentioned that God said the same thing to his wife, Jen, at a time when one of his kids was so sick that she had to be airlifted to another hospital. He said that at that point all he could see was the situation at hand. Not what God was doing in the situation. That was when God said to her to look out of the window of the helicopter to the earth below. What once seemed like a huge building before – the hospital – seemed so small at that point. At that moment, Jen saw the world how God sees the world. Not just what is in front of him at that moment in time but everything all at once.

Change your perspective.

Don’t just look at the situation how it is at that moment but the bigger picture. If you change your attitude, your outlook on the situation, the situation will change. Change how you pray about a situation. Maybe the reason why the situation hasn’t changed is because God needs you to change how you talk (pray) to him about it.

Change your prespective.

How has God been speaking to you lately? Is he looking for you to change your perspective, too?

My Love Story

Ahh… February… Valentine’s Day… All this love and talk of love stories…

My love story is different. It began before time but we have yet to meet. Like I mentioned in my post on praying for my husband, I love a man I’ve never met. Two, really. Jesus and my husband.

I didn’t always love them. I wasn’t always sure – I didn’t always believe – that I was deserving or worthy of the love of Jesus or a godly man who follows Jesus. I’ve done things in the past that I believed deemed me that way.

It wasn’t until I allowed Jesus into my life that I began to believe it.

He made a promise to me that He would not leave me lonely or alone, that He has a plan for my life, a husband set apart for me. (Me? Really? Are you sure God? His answer: Trust me. I know what I’m doing.)

Since then, I’ve waited. I’ve prayed. I’ve been disappointed, which turned in to bitterness. As I saw some of my closest friends fall in love and get married in the last few years, I began to allow myself to listen to the voice that told me (and I allowed myself to believe it) that I wasn’t worthy of the love of another. I allowed the depression that used to engulf me take over again.

That is, until about a month ago.

When my Pastor came to me and told me he had seen the disappointment. God saw my disappointment, too. And through the voice of two other pastors I know, who I call friends, He has not forgotten me.

I’ve been so concerned with my own perspective – how I see my situation – and I haven’t even asked God what His plan is. As my friend, Pastor Steve, said, “You have an assignment to complete.” (He didn’t go into much more detail. I have to ask God about that myself.")

In all of this, though, my love of my husband has not changed. It’s still there. God is working in both of us so that when we meet, when God has predestined for us to meet, we will be as ready as we can be.

Until then, I will continue to pray for him and for myself. I will seek God on where He needs me. I will still be overjoyed for my friends who are getting married in October, December and sometime next year. I am sooo excited for my two little ‘nieces’ who are joining us in May. And if you could, pray for me as well. I believe God is going to be changing a lot in my life this year. I will need the covering of the Body as I listen for His prompting.

March of Dimes March for Babies 2010

I’m sure you’ve noticed the new badge to right of this post. For the past 4 years, I have been participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies. The reason is my friends, Ron and Kelli. They have been married for almost 19 years. For the first 9 years of their marriage, they were unable to have children. They went through IVF to conceive their sons, Samuel and Gabriel. Samuel was born premature and Gabriel was born with a rare blood disorder. Although they are both healthy, active young boys, Ron and Kelli know what it is like to have both of their children spend time in the NICU at birth. So, I walk to raise money to help the March of Dimes help families and children.

If you would like to sponsor me and help our team continue to help this wonderful organization, please click on the banner below or to the right.


Beautiful Things

Here is a promo video for the next book I will be reviewing for BookSneeze but before that, I’ll be writing about my adventures in babysitting. Tonight I will be watching my friends’ daughters while they go out for the night. Stay tuned!

Book Review: The Hole In Our Gospel

book cover

For BookSneeze, the first book I read was The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision.

This book is a man’s call – and challenge – to the American Church to come to the aid of the poor, sick, hurting, and homeless here and around the world.

Mr. Stearns became the president of World Vision in 1998 after a long career in executive management with companies such as Parker Brothers and Lenox. He had achieved the American Dream twice and had also suffered from his own hardship as well. When the opportunity from World Vision came about, he wasn’t exactly jumping at the chance to take it but yet he heard God speaking to him through the process via a recruiter that World Vision hired to find the next president:

Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?”

That is the question Stearns asks. In The Hole In Our Gospel, Stearns challenges us to look beyond what the American Church has created the gospel to be. He is challenging us to take the WHOLE gospel to heart. Not just becoming saved and being able to spend eternity with Christ but by using what God has entrusted us with to help those who are not as fortunate as those of us who live in America.

One of the main themes of the book is the Great Commission:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” {Matthew 28:19,20}

This is what really hit me. This and when he discussed the Greatest Commandment. In Mark 12:28-34, one of the teachers of the law questioned Jesus on what the most important commandment was. Jesus answered him by saying:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” {Mark 12:29-31}

For me, this book was encouraging and challenging. It was encouraging in that I felt like I could relate to how Stearns views the American Church in how we could do more. I can do more. I may not be called to the mission field in another country long term but this country that I love is my mission field. If I am to try to change the world in anyway, I need to do something. I may not make a LOT of money, but I do make more than most people in the developing world.

I was challenged by what I read to do what I can to change this world, to change the world’s view of Christianity. I believe that this is the time for the Church to rise up and help those who are less fortunate. I believe we need to see everyone – believers and nonbelievers alike – as our neighbors. This world is groaning and travailing for the manifestation of the sons of God and as the Church, the Bride, we are to manifest His love for the world. We need to be faithful stewards of the things that God has entrusted us with.

I challenge other believers to read this book, to see those who are suffering as our neighbors – no matter how they look. This book will make you uncomfortable and it will challenge you in all the right ways.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

See my personal disclosure policy here.