Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review : Dynamic Ageing

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Devotional Thought : 2 Kings 3:27

Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land. 2 Kings 3:27

It was normal for a new king to have his authority challenged. So when Joram became king of Israel, following the death of his father Ahab, it was not surprising that Mesha, the king of Moab rebelled and resisted paying tribute (v.4-5). Joram's intention in attacking Moab was simply to subdue the Moabites so they would continue paying tribute to Israel and he could re-establish Israel's kingdom.

However the battle became so important to Mesha that he sacrificed his first born son, in the mistaken belief that the gods would look favourably upon him and enable him to win the battle. Instead of growing up to be king the child becomes a sacrificial victim. How sad when parents sacrifice their children because of selfish ambition for power and control.

Some do this today. They live vicariously through their children. Perhaps pressurizing them to obtain some sort of worldly achievement or success and use this to obtain status and prestige for themselves. Perhaps by insisting they become pastors or missionaries and thus satisfy a calling they could not or would not fulfil themselves. Perhaps by bulling them into a profession they are unsuited to or by not supporting their choices in sport or hobbies.

It is not God's intention that we ever sacrifice our children. He made them unique individuals with their own set of abilities and talents. Forcing them into our plans for their lives deprives them of God given opportunities. It also interferes with the plans God has for us which are far better than merely controlling the lives of our children.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Andre Rieu's 10th Anniversary Concert

Recently my husband and I went to the cinema to watch Andre Rieu 10th Anniversary Concert in Maastricht. It was very enjoyable. The musicians played smoothly and effortlessly which only comes from hours of practice.

It is interesting that when it comes to things like learning a musical instrument or becoming competent at a sport we recognize practice and training as an investment. However when it comes to writing we don't always see what we write as an investment unless it is being read.

When my daughter was six, she showed some interested in learning music and we organized for her to have piano lessons. However she expected me to sit and listen to her practice. With two other younger children this was not going to happen and the lessons were abandoned. Sometimes as writer we expect others to sit and read everything we write as if it is concert standard already.

Writing, like playing a musical instrument or professional sport, requires practice and sometime no one will read it, no one will see it, no one will hear it, yet if we keep on writing the investment will pay off.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review : Girl meets God

Girl meets God by Lauren Winner is Lauren's memoir of a spiritual quest. Lauren comes to Christian faith with a unique perspective as she was born to a Jewish father and a lapsed Baptist mother. Although she was brought up Jewish, she was not considered an Orthodox Jew until she chose to complete the rituals to become one and, for some Jews, not even then.

However it almost seems that in the process of becoming a Jew she found Christ, although the chronology is not entirely clear. The decision left her with a dilemma. What was she to tell her Jewish friends and the Jewish community to which she belonged? How could she explain her new found faith after committing her allegiance to Judaism?

Circumstances allowed her to spend some time in England where she was able to grow in her Christian faith and be baptised while being somewhat isolated from her Jewish roots. However on her return she realizes that her friends feel betrayed by her acceptance of Christianity.

The material is organised around the church calendar rather than strictly chronologically which is a little confusing but perhaps Lauren did this as a way of protecting the privacy of some of her family and friends or as a way of focussing on elements of faith rather than herself.

Girl Meets God takes you on a fascinating journey exploring Christianity from a Jewish mindset. I found it insightful and enjoyable to explore Jewish thought and perception from this perspective. Lauren writes honestly about her struggles and her ongoing quest for truth. Her background and her character provide an unusual slant on issues of faith and makes for an absorbing read.

A quote from the book is here.

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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Devotional Thought : 1 Kings 21:27-29

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son. 1 Kings 21:27-29

It is amazing that someone as evil as Ahab is capable of genuine repentance. The previous verses tell us just how evil Ahab was, "There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel" (v.25-26). Ahab not only sinned himself but caused Israel to sin by encouraging idol worship.

Furthermore Ahab was in Naboth's vineyard when Elijah came to him. Jezebel had arranged a mock court to have Naboth stoned to death because he would not sell his vineyard to Ahab. As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he went there to claim ownership of the vineyard (v.16).

Yet in spite of all this, he repented. What was in God's judgement that touched Ahab's heart? Was it guilt over Naboth's vineyard? Or that God was going to wipe out his descendants? Or that dogs would devour his wife?

It is difficult to know what the turning point was for Ahab, but God will allow disasters to befall if it leads to repentance and when Ahab finally repented, God noticed. It gives us such hope to know that God is so merciful that he even relents from sending disaster upon one such as Ahab.

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Blog Tour : A Jane Austen Encounter

This blog tour is for the novel: A Jane Austen Encounter by Donna Fletcher Crow. This book is part of a blog tour organized by Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance


4th - 8th August 2014


is introducing


(Stone House Ink February 2014)

by

Donna Fletcher Crow


About the Book:
Join Elizabeth and Richard on the Jane Austen trail. Visit all the sites so redolent of Jane and her characters in the beautiful city of Bath, stay in the Chawton House Library and visit the charming cottage where Jane's writing flowered and the nearby Steventon church where her father was rector and her own faith established, stand by her grave in Winchester Cathedral, and enjoy your time at the lovely country estate of Godmersham. But don't let your guard down. Evil lurks even in the genteel world of Jane Austen.


About the Author:
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

To read more about all of Donna's books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to: www.donnafletchercrow.com

You can follow her on Facebook at: http://ning.it/OHi0MY

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors by Sarah Webb provides an interesting insight into the friction that often exists between career women and stay at home mums. Both groups are somewhat self-focussed and have little tolerance of the different choices others have made.

The story focuses on Amy a young woman in a relationship but not ready for the obligations of children. She tries to stay in touch with her friends who are now married with children but finds this difficult, particularly when they show no empathy towards her situation.

The story moves through a few twists and reveals that neither group has the perfect life that they like to portray and that understanding and tolerance would go a long way to making for more peaceful relationships.

Behind Closed Doors is an interesting read and part of the Quick Reads series.

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