Review by Rayna: No Easy Jesus

No Easy Jesus:  How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life

No Easy Jesus is an honest look at the Jesus we have made Him out to be.  Many of us got to know Jesus and were excited about our relationship with Him years ago.  Things were great but then life happened and things did not go the way we expected so we began to feel a deep disappointment.

Eventually we reach a place where we began to feel that there must be more than this to the Christian life. 

Jason lays it out in what a life of a true follower of Christ looks like.  The true Jesus follower doesn’t do the easy stuff but rather the tough stuff that makes the best life possible.  Jesus held out the promise of a rich and satisfying life.

Discouragement, frustration and boredom are common among those who are serving the easy Jesus.  You do not have to be spiritually elite to experience a different life.

No Easy Jesus challenges you to take your faith to the next level.

Chapter 10 was my favorite.  Jason talks about how difficult it is to love others.  He sheds light on how our love often turns into demands.  He reminds us that love does not demand things of others.  When love has demands then resentment often follows.  Love can only exist in freedom.  Challenging words and something I’m still processing to be honest.

I recommend this somewhat quick read.  It will challenge you and help you better understand why you might be experiencing boredom or disappointment in your relationship with Jesus.

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Finding HOPE While Living with Loss

Finding HOPE While Living with Loss   

 Loss has visited close to home recently.  From a good friend who lost her mom to a dear friend who lost her battle with cancer.  Loss is difficult for everyone.

How do we find hope in the midst of loss is a difficult question to struggle with?  I have experienced hope during loss in a couple of different ways.

Sometimes there is hope even after loss when there is also new life.

The birth of my grandkids brought some hope even in the season of grieving the loss of my own children through miscarriage.

Their little lives brought joy and laughter even through the time of sadness.  I have also had a new a new dog bring hope and comfort when I have lost my best dog friend.

Most often I have experienced hope after loss through encounters with my Loving Father.  Some of the greatest losses in my life have been followed by hope filled experiences with God’s love.

When my mom passed away, though she had been sick for 12 years, it seemed like a shock.  I was not ready to let her go.

She died on a Saturday evening and the next morning while worshiping and grieving during church service, God blessed me with the reminder that Mom was worshiping that morning too.

She had been nonverbal for at least the last 8 years of her life (due to Alzheimer’s disease) so the thought of her standing at the feet of Jesus singing praises to Him face to face brought amazing comfort and joy.

The grief was made more bearable with the reminder of where she was that morning and for eternity yet to come.

The second time I experienced God’s great comfort was just a couple of years ago, when I was still struggling with the grief of losing my only children by miscarriage.

It was a difficult struggle for years, there were so many unanswered questions.  Why would the Lord let me get pregnant only to lose my children before they ever got to take their first breath and experience my love for them.

I had so many hopes and dreams.  Being a mom had been the desire of my heart for as long as I could remember.

Again, the Lord graciously reminded me that their death was not the end of their life.  They were safe with Him and my Mom in heaven.  When that truth came to me the overwhelming peace that followed was beyond description.

I had struggled for so long with questions and confusion regarding this loss but all of that became unimportant.  They were ok and I would meet them someday, peace & hope replaced all the anger and confusion that had just been there.

Today as I grieve the passing of my friend and grieve the disappearing of my dad, I find hope in the character of God.  I know that God is Good.

I know that God loves me no matter what happens in this life, and that truth motivates me to hold on to HOPE today and the many days to come.

 

How do you find Hope, even in the midst of grief?  

She Believes

she-believes-rrShe Believes challenges us to understand that what we believe affects every area of our lives.

She Believes is full of the most basic things of our faith and what God says about them. Debbie does a great job of breaking down the things of faith into everyday life. This faith thing is real and it impacts everything.

I appreciate Debbie’s transparency about life, relationships, marriage, failures, success, church and her walk with God. By being upfront and honest about life’s struggles her words bring a bigger impact on my heart.
The chapters are short and full of truth. I enjoyed reading a chapter each day to soak in all the wisdom in each chapter.
Some of my favorite chapters included:

Chapter 2: Your Reflection is beautiful. It is so hard to wrap our minds around how beautiful we are in the eyes of our God. The truth of this chapter resonated with me.

Chapter 6: Prayer a Difference Maker. This was a very encouraging chapter to me. Matthew 21:22. “Prayer, open honest, expectant conversation with God.” I love this definition of prayer.
Debbie’s reminder that God is waiting to have a personal and real relationship with us was very encouraging. I loved the way she broke down what prayer means and how to go about it.

Chapter 12: Big Girls Do Cry. Psalm 56:8 “There are some words only tears can speak.” Sometimes we just need to cry. I enjoyed her imaginary walk with God to review the warehouse full of our tears. He is such a personal God, I often don’t keep this in mind enough.

 

She Believes is a book that will help anyone both grow in their faith and firm it up without a doubt .

Take the time to read it and you will be encouraged and stronger!


 

How does what you believe change your everyday life?

How does what you believe change your everyday life?

Do you believe in Santa Claus?   Do you believe in happily ever after?   Do you believe in God’s word?

How you answer each of these questions will change the way you live. 

If you believe in Santa you will get better gifts, or so I hear.  If you believe in happily ever after you might work harder to invest your marriage so it is happy.  If you believe in God’s word you will know His character and how He feels about you and that will change everything.

Believe has two different definitions: one means to accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of something the second on is to hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose. Even how you believe something will change your life.

Believing something is truth versus an opinion are worlds apart. 

Sometimes experiencing hard times can mess with your believing.  Things have been difficult with Dad lately.

He is experiencing some new physical issues that have left him very tired and often even more confused.  Sadly, with those feelings he is very agitated and can be unkind.  My dad has always been a gentleman, kind and respectful.  It is very difficult to see him like this, not to mention being the person he is unkind to.

My heart has been saddened and heavy.  As I spilled my heart out to God about how hard this season with Dad is, He asked me, “Rayna, do you still believe I am good?”

This was a question I struggled with years ago when my first marriage came to an end.  It was so hard to understand how I could be experiencing this when it was the last thing I wanted.

How could God let this happen?Psalm 33:4-5

With this question came some exploring of God’s character.  Was it about Him letting this happen or was it really, could God still be good if this is His will for my life?

Struggling with this core belief has changed how I live.

Being rooted in the truth that God is Good helps me to respond to hard times with hope and peace.

When our house burned down, God is Good.

When my dog dies, God is Good.

When I get an, “I love you, Graham.” from Owen, God is Good.

When the harvest is abundant, God is Good.

When the crops are destroyed by flood, God is Good.

When my Dad is struggling and not nice, God is still Good.

What are you believing about God that needs a closer look?  How can you move your belief from opinion to truth?


If you are not sure where to start, I can help.  Coaching might be just what you need to make that shift.   Learn more about coaching here or contact me to talk about what coaching with me would look like for you!

 


“If you wish to know God, you must know his Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by his Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Review by Rayna: Wait and See

I don’t know about you but I don’t love to wait.  In fact, I’m not sure I know anyone who loves to wait. So I guess this means this book must be just what everyone needs.  The subtitle sums it up, Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans.

Wendy Pope created a wonderful journey of exploring David’s pathway from anointed King to reigning King.  We often think of David without really thinking about how long the journey was that the Bible takes us through.

Like David we are often called to wait.  Why is it so difficult to do that? Wendy is vulnerable and shares times in her life when she had to wait.  The key is she didn’t always wait well so she walks us through how to Find Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans.

 

Wendy’s writings are full of lots of great reasons for why the wait is so hard but the best news is her suggestions on how to make the wait worth it.

I really like the way Wait and See is setup with Chapter 10 being designed like a journal with questions to help us evaluate our current call to wait and really begin to put the new mindset and practices into place in a current situation right now.

One of my favorite chapters is When Waiting Messes with Your Mind.  The battle of our mindset can make or break our attitude, no doubt.  This chapter is full of great stories and truth.

I love that Wendy reminds us to keep our minds in the word which will keep the lies in check.  Often when we are waiting we begin to be more susceptible to the lies of Satan.

Biblical truth always kills the lies.  Wendy goes on to remind us that Peace from prayer fills us and makes the desire to quit lose its power.  The more we pray the stronger we become and the more able we are to take down the quit.

Finally, in that chapter she goes on to remind us that Praises have great power in the wait as well.  “Praise has a marvelously, mysterious aspect to it that slays defeat.”  The study of the Psalms really brings this truth to life.

Waiting on God isn’t wasting time; it’s training time.  So thankful for the truth of this statement!

I know if you take the time to really look at times of waiting in your life through the information provided by Wendy you will do it better and gleam more blessings from it than you have before.

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