New York, 1776
New York, 2016
Two women. One intertwined story.
Have the tissues ready.
That's really all I want to give you.
I have to admit this book took me by surprise. I had really no idea what it was about going into it. It had been several weeks since I had requested the novel for the review program so I could not even remember what it was about. It would not have mattered. The back description gives you really no idea what you are in for. I read the first two lines of the Acknowledgements page and decided not to continue but to move on to the novel itself.
I am glad I did.
There were small spoilers on those pages.
My review will not contain any spoilers. I simply want to encourage you to read the novel.
It is well-written.
It is a tear-jerker.
It is scary at times...the struggle of the two women and how they mirror my own fears.
It is quietly encouraging.
It is not a feel-good read.
It is not an easy read.
It is not a bubbly romance.
But, it is good. Very good.
I first read This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti as a young pastor's wife and mother. In fact, we were serving in our first pastorate and I was still nursing my first child, the actual owner of this blog! The things my eyes were opened to at that church were...many to say the least. I made a wonderful older lady friend while living in that small town and it was she that introduced me to Peretti's Darkness books. Although I think that Peretti did a wonderful job of writing his books in a timeless fashion, The Delusion feels like a fresh, new, young, and more hip version of those books. I can see a whole new generation being open and aware of the spiritual realm through this series.
I really don't want to give anything away, so I am going to keep this review simple.
The main character, Owen, through an odd encounter, has his eyes open to the spiritual world around him. Owen, in his naivety, uses names such as Creeper and Watchmen to describe some of what he sees. Though not a Christian himself, he is befriended by one named Ray Anne. Ray Anne tries to support and help Owen as he navigates the craziness he is witnessing and in the end takes everyone by surprise.
Although I may not agree with everything this author wrote, I did overall. The were several aspects of the spiritual world that I really enjoyed how they were handled. I enjoyed the book very much and highly recommend it especially to the young adult group. It is an easy read (word wise) but a difficult read for content. Proceed with caution.
The Delusion is the first in a series by author Laura Gallier. This book was provided free of charge as part of the blogger program.
"Adults and children are not just bodies to be fed, but also minds to be challenged,
hearts that depend on emotional input to survive and to grow as healthy human beings,
and spirits that long for connection with God and purpose in life."
Let me start out by saying that I am really struggling with this review. It is not so much that I didn't like the content of the book, because I whole-heartedly agree with it. It is not the writing style of the author, because she is very descriptive with her words and does a wonderful job of painting a picture in your mind. As I was discussing this review with my hubby and daughter (the actual blog's author) I finally came up with a summary of my problem with the book:
It is too upper middle class.
I think our society, at least the part that is portrayed in most media outlets, is too upper middle class.
Of course, I probably think this because I am NOT upper middle-class. Hubby and I have made some choices in our life (leaving his "steady income" job due to theological principles, me staying home to homeschool our children, having a large family as opposed to a smaller one, etc...) that have designated us as much more "lower" income than even the average "middle-class."
Most days I am ok with this. But not always.
When I watch an episode of some home improvement/design show and my house does not even begin to look like that...
Not a good day for acceptance of the place where I am at.
When I see my children, three of the four grown to adulthood, still enjoying to come home and be with hubby and I and each other...
That's a good day for acceptance of the place where I am at.
I really think the author of The Life-Giving Table has a heart for families and wanted to challenge others to invest time together...intentional time together around the table, feasting on food and each other and especially the LORD. However, I just couldn't get past the "upper middle classness" (sorry, I just can't find a better word to describe it) in order to actually enjoy the book.
And I hated that because I was looking forward to reading it.
I DO support the topic completely. But to be honest, I got bored with the book in places simply because it wasn't anything "new" for me since Hubby and I have tried to incorporate these ideas for many, many years now. But it was more than that.
I just kept imagining myself at a younger age, when my kiddos were small and we were self-supporting missionaries. If I had been reading this book as a newbie to the idea at that stage of my life, I would have cried.
Cried that I couldn't fulfill the topic the way her word pictures were drawing it in my mind.
Lack of money. Plain and simple.
As I read the book, the feeling that things had to be so "upper middle classish" just kept coming through.
I am sure the author did not mean this. In fact, there were moments she tried to stress the fact that it did not have to be a certain way. However, it just didn't feel that way as a reader.
Sorry, but that is just how I felt.
So, although I really like the topic, and the author was very sincere in her portrayal, I just can't give it above 3 stars.
Can I ask you a question?
"Is God all He says He is?"
If you're anything like me, a home-grown church kid, that question is pretty easy. "Yeah of course, He's GOD!". That's what we're suppose to say right?
Ok, so can I ask you another question then?
"Do you believe you are the amazing person you say you are?"
(Think about that real hard before you answer)
What if I told you that the answer you gave for the first question affects the way you answer the second? You're probably confused so let me explain myself.
Lots of times the way we view GOD can affect the way we view ourselves. If we believe GOD is an awesome being Who created all things and called them good (Genesis 1:31), then we'll believe that we are HIS good creations because HE made all things "good". But if we don't believe that GOD makes things "good" then we'll view ourselves as a mistake.
About a year ago, GOD started bringing to my attention a lie I had believed about myself my whole life. It's the one statement that almost all my insecurities hang on. The lie was:
"I am GOD's one exception"
I knew GOD was an amazing God who created all things good and that HE loved us beyond measure. But for some reason I believed that HE made an exception when it came to me.
GOD loves everyone unconditionally but me
GOD forgives everyone but me
GOD has a purpose for everyone but me
Do you see a pattern here? And the sad thing was, I lived it out! I would tell people all the time that GOD loves them and has a purpose for their life, all the while silently adding to myself "everyone but me that is".
One day, I can't remember exactly what I was doing, but I remember GOD spoke to me and said:
"Susan, if you believe that you are MY one exception in life, then you believe I have contradicted MY Word."
In The Bible in the book of John, Jesus is talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 emphasis added are mine). Jesus said GOD loved the whole world. Not just parts of it, not just a certain select few, the WHOLE WORLD. He also goes on to say that "The one who believes in Him is not condemned; but whoever does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not put his trust in the name of the one and only Ben-Elohim [Hebrew for Son of God]." (vs 18 brackets are mine)
GOD revealed to me that when I believed that I was HIS one exception, in reality I was believing that GOD repudiated what HE said in the Bible. If I was going to preach to others that GOD loved them and that GOD had a plan for their life, I had to believe the same thing in regards to myself and stop condemning myself when HE already loves and forgave me.
I'm telling you this because ever since that moment I have discovered that all my insecurities are secret lies about GOD that the Devil has told me. When I stopped trying to fix myself with all the "self-help" rules I had learned, I began to see that all this was truly about GOD and HIS image, not mine.
Think about it, Who is the Devil's enemy?
Who is GOD's beloved?
If you had an enemy and you wanted to destroy them, you could do it one of two ways:
Attack them directly,
attack the things/people they love.
The devil can not directly attack GOD. HE is The Almighty and has already beat the devil in the ultimate battle against death (John 12:31-33) . So instead he'll attack those GOD loves because by causing us pain, he causes GOD's heart to break (Isaiah 63:9). He does this in many ways but one way is by telling us lies about ourselves which cause us to unconsciously doubt aspects about GOD, in turn, causing us to not believe HIM and ultimately turn away from HIM. Think about some of the lies we believe about ourselves and how they affect our thinking of Who GOD is:
I am not loved. GOD doesn't love.
I am useless. GOD makes useless things.
I am ugly. If we are made in HIS image, then GOD must be ugly.
Now, I am not saying that you are irrelevant and that your insecurities have nothing to do with you. Your fears and insecurities are very real and important to you and how you walk through life. I'm just suggesting that we're looking at this all wrong. Instead of focusing on how we feel, we should be asking ourselves "what is the ultimate battle here?"
So here's what I propose: pray that GOD would reveal to you one of the insecurities you have and ask HIM to reveal to you what that lie says about HIMSELF. Even if you feel like you don't have any insecurities, you still may be believing a lie about GOD that you don't realize you believe. It will be scary, asking GOD to reveal the truth about HIMSELF, maybe a truth you don't even realize. Believe me I know! But at the same time, when GOD reveals Who HE really and truly is, lives are changed and the devil flees (James 4:1-10)! Try it, and see what happens. Here are some suggestions on ways you can do that:
Spend time listening
Pray and ask GOD to reveal HIMSELF to you and then spend some time just listening. The Bible says that those who wait on The LORD will not be ashamed (Psalms 25). It will be a challenge, quieting your mind, but it will be rewarding.
Be alert and patient
GOD will answer you in HIS timing. It may not be immediate but it may be. GOD is not a god to be controlled or swayed. He will answer you in the way and time HE wants to answer you in. This may mean waiting a little bit so you can get to a point where you are truly listening, or so HE can answer you in a way that you'll know it was HIM speaking to you. Just be alert and patient. HE will answer if you're truly seeking (Deuteronomy 4:29). Which brings me to my next suggestion:
Don't expect a certain answer to be delivered a certain way
GOD does not always answer us in a booming voice from the heavens. Sometimes HE allows other things or people to speak for HIM. I remember one time GOD revealed a lie I had been believing by letting me literally speak it out loud! I was talking with a friend (and by talking, I mean I was talking she was simply listening not saying a word) and before I even knew what I was saying I heard myself say the lie I had believed and why I had even believed it! So don't expect an answer in a specific way. GOD sometimes likes to surprise HIS children!
Have some accountability
You can do this by asking someone, or a group of people, to pray for you and keep up with you during your time of searching. I would like to encourage you to leave a comment in this post so that I and others reading this can pray for you. You don't have to say anything specific, just that you've accepted the challenge. Also I encourage you to comment on other people's posts encouraging and praying for them! Please remember though that there are real people behind those comments and treat them with the kindness, love, and respect that Jesus offers to us all.
Are you ready? Nervous? Excited? Feeling a little bit of a lot of different emotions? Me too. I know the lie I'll be working on this week is "GOD can't fulfill me in my everyday longings and desires". Doesn't that sound selfish? So be praying that GOD will reveal to me how HE is the only Messiah and I am not. I'll be praying for you all too!
Blessings on your epic quest!
In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community
fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then,
Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters
long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder,
who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive
and has now joined a local militia. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide
between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?
***WARNING! THIS ENTIRE REVIEW IS A SPOILER ALERT!***
If you have not read The Alliance, please do so before reading my review.
I completely enjoyed The Alliance and recommend it highly.
When I first found this book as a choice to review for the month of May, I had never heard of the author or the first book in this duo. So, after requesting the book for review, I purchased a used copy of The Alliance to read while waiting for The Divide to arrive. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the first book
and eagerly awaited the conclusion.
I was slightly disappointed.
Not in the book as a whole, but in the ending.
Upon finishing The Alliance I really was ok with the main character, Leora, ending up with either of the love interests, Jabil or Moses.
Cause, honestly, it's a Christian romance. You know she's gonna end up with one of them
by the end of the book.
And she did.
It just wasn't the one I was rooting for.
***STRONG SPOILER ALERT***
Let's get something straight. I use to love the old movie An Affair To Remember starring
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
Ah, Cary Grant. I love him. Funny. Handsome. Romantic. Funny. Romantic. Funny.
BUT....However....I met my hubby and watched the movie with him.
He RUINED it for me.
Hubby could not get over how Kerr ended up with Grant. He kept talking about how Richard Denning's character should have gotten the girl. Denning stood by Kerr through everything even knowing how she felt about Grant. He never left her.
And yes, Grant didn't know Kerr was hurt so technically he didn't leave or abandon her.
But, Denning chose to love Kerr despite the fact that he might never be loved in return.
RUINED. THE. MOVIE. FOR. ME. FOREVER.
That is how I now look at movies and books. That "Young And In Love" girl of 20-something has matured
into a 45 year old woman. And I see my hubby's point.
Thus, I was not necessarily pleased with the ending to this book.
I liked Jabil.
He loved Leora despite not being loved in return.
Much like our Messiah does with us.
***END OF SPOILER ALERTS***
Overall, I really enjoyed The Alliance and The Divide. It was a refreshing change of topic to mix
the Amish craze with the "End of the World as We Know It" craze in today's literature.
The book bounces back and forth between the character's point of view
and if I was really getting into a chapter,
I got a little confused because I didn't read the heading for who was talking.
Not the author's fault.
Just my "got to read this now" mentality.
The book was very clean. No sexual problems for younger readers in my opinion.
However, there are some deaths and violence so beware of that part. Not gruesome, but sad.
I highly recommend the series for a pleasant change of pace to the norm.
This book will ask you to make tough choices.
Because what if the easy life isn't always the best life?
What if living a truly full life means so much more
than just "believing" in Jesus--and what if
He promised you it would be worth it?
This book review is long overdue. A part of blog reviewing is that you agree to try to get your reviews published within a month. Let's just say I am running late on this one. Partly due to "sharing the computer with everyone else issues" and partly due to my own slackness.
When I first read the description of No Easy Jesus on Tyndale's website I knew I NEEDED to read the book. But, I am not a non-fiction gal. I LOVE to read just not books about real life. So, venturing into this book was going to be a challenge. But even more than that, this book was calling me to face some issues that had crept into my life over the last several years.
Those of you that know me know some of the struggles our family has faced over the last five or six years. Those of you that don't, probably don't need to. But suffice it to say, I had chosen to take the "Easy Jesus" path because frankly, the Hard Jesus was just too hard. I was tired of it. I was let down by Him. I was disappointed and frustrated with what He had asked of me and my family.
However, I knew I was not happy. I knew I needed something more than Easy Jesus. Which is why I requested Jason Mitchell's book to review.
Did I like the book? Yes.
Did I enjoy reading it? Yes and No
Who likes being chastised after all? (although this was NOT done in a harsh way!)
Would I recommend the book? Whole-Heartedly
My struggle is not over. This chapter in my life is still being written, edited, and rewritten. But the reminder that Jason Mitchell gave me of the necessity of following a No Easy Jesus is penetrating my heart and encouraging me to be willing to risk again. I hope it will do the same for you.
As usual, this book was provided free by the publisher, but the review is in no way influenced by that fact.
About a week ago I started getting ready for Passover, Pesach, 2017.
I know, I know.
It's still 2 months away, but, I'm not the only one out there doing this so early.
I received an email the other day from a very prominent lady in the Messianic community and in her video she was talking about how NOW is the time to start planning for Passover.
Justified in my craziness.
All from a YouTube video message.
Last year we led 2 different seders. One was at our home (photos in this blog post are from that one) and one at our local Bible Study Group/Congregation. It seems like either my hubby or I "rewrite" a Haggadah every year to fit where we are and what we've learned lately. Last year was no exception. The home haggadah was strictly based on scripture. I got the idea from Kevin Geoffrey at Perfect Word Ministries. He has a wonderful little Haggadah that only uses the elements we see given in the original Passover account in Exodus. I expanded a little on his idea and came up with probably one of my favorite Haggadahs. If you are a stickler about tradition, then Kevin's book is not for you. But if you are ok with stepping outside the box, or if you are just new to this whole Passover idea, then I highly suggest Behold the Lamb Hagaddah. You won't find an Afikomen or Dayenu there, but there is still lots of scripture and sound Biblical teaching.
a Jewish ritual service and ceremonial dinner for the first night or first two nights of Passover.
Above is me getting the table all set for the seder meal. Notice the blurred hands. That's me being frantic.
Our second seder (although I think that one actually took place first...) was beautiful too in its own way. Most everything was disposable but elegant, I thought. However, as usual, I forgot to get anyone to take pictures.
The story of my life.
If it wasn't for my sister, Rie, I probably wouldn't have very many photos of my children growing up. Especially ones at any family function.
I would, however, have plenty of photos like these because I love to sneak into my children's rooms at night to get them:
But I'm getting off topic.
I loved the flowers Susan and I found for the center piece.
Notice the blurred hand with the sparkling grape juice bottle...the children got a little silly
trying to divide up the last of the yummy juice!
Two really neat things Susan and I did for the first time last year was an edible 10 Plagues plate and a little sacrificial lamb.
The edible plagues were Susan's idea...probably spurred on by something on Pinterest. I do know that we came up with our own ideas for each plague because I very well remember scouring the internet for exactly what we were looking for. We wanted them to be something that wouldn't be necessarily "delicious." Overall, we were very pleased with the edible plagues but do plan to tweak them a little this year.
This photo combines our plagues with the horseradish for the seder elements.
Don't you just LOVE my seder plate?
My whole color scheme last year revolved around getting to use it for the first time.
You can find it here, but don't judge me for spending so much on it.
It is one of the few splurges Chris and I have done in a REALLY long time.
Frogs: see below
Bugs/Gnats/Lice: shredded coconut
Flies: black olives with slits cut for sliced almonds to be inserted as wings
Disease on Livestock: cow gummies (Stonyfield Farms or Annie's Organics)
Boils: shredded cheese melted to a crisp on matzah crackers
Hail/Fire: crushed ice
Locust: green pea crisps
Darkness: dark unsweetened chocolate squares
Death of the Firstborn: mummied baby carrots
We heated strips of white cheese laid over baby carrots to "mummify" our first-born baby carrots.
Then Susan painted little eyes on the carrots with ranch dressing.
The frog was a bit more difficult and I am working on a new idea for this year's edible plagues. Stay tuned for that. But for now, I'll try to explain what we did. Try to ignore that one of the eyeballs had fallen out in the photo.
We used a large dill pickle for the body and baby gershwins for the legs. I don't know if you can tell but Susan cut the ends to make it look like webbed feet. The eyes were the ends of Peperoncini peppers and inserted with a toothpick into the dill pickle. The eyeballs are whole cloves. When it came time to eat the frog plague we just all took a piece of the legs to eat.
A side note on the cow gummies: I looked for the Stonyfield ones since they are all cows but could not find them in my area. We ended up buying the Annie Bernie's Farm Fruit Snacks. They were DELICIOUS but only one or two out of every pack was a cow so we almost didn't have enough for our family seder. I am hoping to find the all cow ones this year.
Also, I suggest making the flies at the last minute. We made them early that morning and by the time the seder came around the olives had softened the almonds significantly.
The second neat thing we incorporated last year was this little sacrificial lamb. If you purchase the Behold the Lamb Hagaddah from Perfect Word Ministries there are instructions to how to make it. I do not want to spoil the awesomeness of this project but trust me when I say that it was the highlight of the evening. The photo below is a little hint to why...
A big thank you to my mother-in-law for letting me borrow plates, goblets, and extra silverware to add to my wedding china set. Of course, I couldn't have done it all without my sons helping me with the cleaning and Susan being my right hand lady with most everything else! And definitely my hubby for being patient with my crazy planning.
Well, now that I have revisited last years Passover Seder, I can move onto finishing my plans for this year. I've already been working on tweaking my frog plague, choosing a color scheme, and menu ideas. I know we will be repeating the lamb again this year, even if it did leave a small stain on my tablecloth. Kinda reminds me of a song. I'll end the post with that.
With my job requiring more and more of my time lately, I was afraid I would have to give up my book reviews. Thankfully, my mama has taken on the role of book reviewer for a little while. Seasons come and seasons go...books will be back in my life again soon, I hope!
Seeing Jesus is a small book measuring only 6.5" x 4.5" x .5" and is adapted from the longer The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament also by Nancy Guthrie. It is really nice in appearance...tan leather cover with gold embossed title...a perfect little gift for someone special. There are 60 short devotionals contained within, each about 4 pages long. Each "lesson" or "devotional" begins with a scripture reference from both the Old and the New Testaments and has several more sprinkled throughout the text. (These scriptures are in the New Living Translation unless otherwise indicated.)
I choose this book because, being Messianic in faith, I enjoy finding something to read that emphasizes the importance of the OLD and the NEW Testaments together. Neither are complete without the other and it is wonderful to come across something that points out this fact. I would like to have seen more coverage for the topics, however, I do realize that it is difficult to pour a lot of depth into such a short writing. And for someone not previously attuned to this idea, it would probably be just the right amount to wet his appetite to study more.
One problem I did have with this book is one I have with many others. I am not a fan of taking a single scripture or even a part of a scripture reference to make a point in a devotional. (I do admit to having done this myself before, sadly.) I noticed that Ms. Guthrie does this in some of her "lessons" and while the practice may result in a correct presentation, things can be twisted when given out of context. Scripture, in my opinion, needs to be read in context of, at a minimum of several verses, an entire chapter for better understanding, or best of all, the entire book! Once again, I realize that the size of the entries limits how much coverage can be given to a topic.
Overall, I think the book is a nice presentation of an underutilized topic. No one book, outside of The Bible (the Holy Scriptures themselves) will ever be perfect. Keeping that in mind, I believe this could be a handy reference and quick encouragement for many people.
I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.
We started off the week with a baptism at Brighton Beach. There were three people to be baptized, one man and two ladies one of whom is Jewish. It was amazing to be standing on the beach singing and worshiping GOD with my fellow brothers and sisters in Messiah whom I had never met before and welcoming yet new siblings into the family of GOD! I felt so connected to these people that are so different from me, but yet we all share the same Heavenly Father and the same love and gratitude for HIM. And the joy to watch these three new believers announce publicly to the world what GOD had done for them and their decision to follow HIM for the rest of their lives was something I really can't describe to you. But if you are a Christian, you know what I'm talking about.
(each person being baptized gave a short version of their testimony beforehand)
Everyday started off with a worship service and devotional. We had training all morning and headed out to the streets in the afternoon. There were about 34 participants in Shalom Brooklyn and we were divided into teams of 5 to 8 with a Chosen People staff member as our leader. The teams would rotate between sites throughout the week so there was a new team at the same location through the entire week (which proved to be very helpful in many ways). At the sites (usually a park) we would set up a book table with some Biblical literature and Bibles to give out. While 2 people would man the table the other team members would break off into pairs and walk the park doing a one-page spiritual questionnaire to try to get people in conversations about their beliefs.
If you will notice our shirts say Isaiah53.com on them. The main book we handed out at the tables was the book Isaiah 53 Explained. This book goes through Isaiah chapter 53 (also known as the Suffering Servant passage) and breaks the passage down explaining how Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah. We would ask people if they had ever read Isaiah 53 and if they had who they thought the person in the passage was.
You will also notice in the picture above that the sign on the table asks the question "Does God Exist?". Another way we got people to stop by the booth was to pose a question on a white board and ask people's opinion on the question. Some of the questions the Shalom Brooklyn group thought of included "Was Jesus really the Messiah?" "Have you found peace with God?" and "Who or what is god in your life?".
It was interesting to hear the answers people had. One guy stopped by the booth that I was at with the question "Does God exist?" on it and checked "yes" in the boxes we drew below the question. When I asked him why he checked "yes" and who he thought God was he said that he didn't know who or what it was but he knew that all this (meaning creation) didn't just happen but chance that something, or someone, had to have made it. It was amazing to see that no one taught this man that knowledge, GOD revealed HIMSELF to this man. I always felt like it was MY responsibility to tell people about GOD, that if I didn't tell people they would never know about HIM. But that day GOD taught me that it was not my responsibility to save people. HE saved people, it was just my responsibility to obey HIM as HIS disciple.
In the months leading up this mission trip I had really been struggling with having a Messiah complex (meaning I felt like I was responsible to save people). Through this trip GOD showed me that HE was orchestrating plans that I didn't know about to draw people to HIMSELF and that when I, in my human disadvantage, could not fulfill or finish a task HE would and that nothing was slipping by HIM. Every person is precious to HIM and HE desires that ALL come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, 2 Peter 3:15) and, while HE wants us to choose HIM of our own free will, HE will do the drawing.
Which leads me into my next story.
On the fifth day we were in NY we set up our booth in a part of Central Park (actually right next to the Trump campaign headquarters). There I met who I'll refer to as Pigeon Man. Pigeon Man was feeding pigeons (thus the name) and had drawn the attention of me and two other young people because the pigeons where eating right out of his hands (literally!). The particular tracts I was handing out that day were advertising a website called I Found Shalom where several Jewish people share there testimonies. I mentioned that he seemed to have found shalom because he obviously seemed to be at peace and asked him if he'd share how he found it. Apparently this man has looked at every major religion of the world and has picked out the "common threads" in them to be his religion. This man also believed strongly in free will and that the purpose of life is to choose righteousness and that if you don't choose righteousness in this life, you will come back again and again until you do. I tried pointing out to him that you can not say that you believe in free will if life's ultimate goal is to choose righteousness.
Let me explain what I mean by that:
Free will is the ability to choose your own path in life and how you will walk that path. In order for free will to work, the choices you or I make must be honored. If I want to choose to follow a Jewish Rabbi my choice to do so must be honored by letting me follow this Jewish Teacher. And if I want to choose to be evil and not choose righteousness in order for free will to work I should be allowed to pursue evilness. But what this man was saying is that while I could choose to be evil, at the end of the day (or the end of one of my many lives) I must choose to be righteous in order to move on. Otherwise I would be stuck and unable to proceed in life. But if free will is the ability to choose ones' own life, how can we make our own choices if at the end of the day we MUST choose to be one certain way?
I tried to be respectful in presenting my case, as Pigeon Man was in presenting his. But in the end we had to part ways because neither of us could agree with the other. We talked for a good hour on this subject and many others before he had to leave. Honestly I would have finished the conversation sooner but remember the two young people I mentioned earlier who were watching the pigeons with me? They were hanging on every word Pigeon Man and I said. So I stuck around because I knew they were listening and when we parted ways they walked off with Pigeon Man asking him more questions.
Watching them walk off I literally began to weep knowing just how blind this man was and here he was making disciples. It was so heartbreaking to see an intelligent man who has genuinely studied be so blind to one simple truth. It was hard to walk away from that meeting not knowing if I made a difference and feeling like I had not.
But you know what? GOD gave me a peace about it. No, I didn't feel like I presented my case in the best way and that Pigeon Man got back to his house, fell on his knees, and gave his life to Messiah. But, I had defended my Savior in the best way I could, and even if those people didn't listen, I shared The Truth with them and GOD was going to handle the rest.
I've got more stories coming up so stay tuned!
This is the Mother again. Susan and I are working on getting some of these made to have for sale. Let us know if you would like to order one or have a specific color family you are interested in. These photos are some that have already been given to my sweet great niece and nephew but some of the styles can be reproduced.
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