Love’s Fortune By Laura Frantz

Rowena Ballantyne had lived in Kentucky from the time she was born. Now it was just her father, as her mother had died. She was content with her home, enjoying the beautiful country side and helping her father make violins and bows. Wren, her nickname, was passionate about music and playing the violin. It brought her great joy. Their lives were simple and unfettered by the trappings of the world. She knew her father came from a very wealthy family, but it mattered nothing to her.
That is until he is summoned to family home by his father, Silas Ballantyne. Never having left her home, she is overwhelmed by the trip on a Ballantyne steam boat named after her, “The Rowena”. While the journey was trying for her, she was nowhere near prepared what she would face when they reached the family estate.. She is not only thrown into living with her family she never met, but also all the expectations and entrapments of high society. Her father makes the change with ease, stepping back into the life he once had. Thinking this is simply a visit, Wren soon learns that this is her new home.
She attempts to meet her new family’s expectations and adapt to their ways, but she is a simple girl at heart. All the finery and airs are a burden. Her grandparents were both very sweet and unpretentious, unlike Silas’s haughty, overbearing sister Andra. Her Uncle Jack and Aunt Ellie’s big family and home were a welcome respite, especially her cousin Izzannah that was near her age. Andra is determined transform Wren into one of the aristocracy. Her purpose is to secure Wren a wealthy suitor to save their family’s business and lavish lifestyle. Wren’s wants nothing of it and yearns to be with James Sackett, a dear family friend and steamboat pilot. Along the way she learns of many secrets and dangers she must face. Will she yield to her aunt’s wishes or follow her heart?
I have not read the other 2 books in this series but now I certainly want to! This book stood alone. Each character was distinct and well developed. I learned so much about the wealthy during this time. I knew they had balls and were rather, what can I say, fake, but I never dreamed high society was so rigid and detailed to the point it was ridiculous. I loved the descriptions of Wren’s attire and lavish gowns. I too felt weary as I read about all she was expected to do not only in dress, but also manners, conversation, and endless social events. I could feel her frustration with the senselessness of it all.
Wren was such a beautiful character. Even in the midst of such lavishness, she maintained her character and she was not swayed nor impressed my all the pomp and glitter. Her values remained intact. Wren’s compassion and concern for people no matter where they were on the social ladder was foremost. This book was well written and a very enjoyable read!
I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thirty Days in 1 Corinthians 13 By Pam Forster

My children are grown, but this Bible study was perfect for me too! Pam Forster is the QUEEN of Bible study! I so wish she would write a book just for that. (hint hint). It is put together for busy mother’s (and grandmothers!) to spend anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes a day. You will find yourself wanting to study much longer!
While they study is not complicated or difficult to follow, it is very in depth! For me it was definitely a springboard to a much deeper study. Her methods are enjoyable and interesting. She uses symbols and highlighting to mark certain words to help better understand the scripture. She asks questions that really make you meditate on the Word and look at yourself.
I liked the part entitled “For Your Children” included in each day’s study. There were so many creative and fun ideas to capture a child’s attention and encourage learning the scripture. This way your children will be studying what you do daily but in a way they can grasp it. There are instructions to make charts to compare things you are learning. Some lessons instruct you to look up synonyms, antonyms and their meanings. I have used this method before and I learned so much! My in-depth study became a bottomless one!
1 Corinthians 13 is such an important chapter in the Bible because it teaches us what true love is. After finishing this book you will have a totally different view of love. I cannot praise this book enough. Ms. Forster has an incredible talent for making Bible studies life changing!
Be sure to go to the author’s website and learn about more of her books. Www.doorposts.com
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Animal Wise By Virginia Morell

This book really caught my eye because I love animals, fish, birds, reptiles, any living creatures! (And the picture of the cute dog on the front helped too!) I can’t get enough of learning about them in every way!
Ms. Morell did extensive research for this book. She went to those scientists that have given their careers to study about one animal or type of animal. Their research is extreme and some go to drastic measures to learn about their subjects. She talked to them and actually observed demonstrations of their findings. It was fascinating!
Far too many people that have no interest in animals, simply mark them off as . . . well, JUST animals. This book shows that they are far more than simply having a heartbeat, a brain, and an unconscious, robotic life. While they may not have the same level of intelligence and emotional responses we do, each has their own unique sensitivity. Beyond a doubt these living creatures experience pain, have memoires, grieve the loss of companions, teach each other, solve problems and more.
I enjoyed the book not only for all the intriguing new information I learned, but also for the humor in it. We expect some mental and/or emotional depth from chimpanzees, dogs and dolphins, but ants, birds, fish, rats? Yes rats, they actually laugh when tickled! Before reading this book I had a general knowledge and a few in depth facts about the creatures discussed, but I learned so many new things!
There are some very detailed scientific explanations that can be slow reading, but it is worth it. The only thing I did not agree with the author was her belief in evolution. This book is an amazing read! It will definitely change the way you look at the animals we share our world with!
I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books <http://bloggingforbooks.org, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

The Last Bride By Beverly Lewis

Being the baby of five in an Amish family of all girls and the last to marry, Tessie Miller was in a hurry to start a new life. She had just the beau in mind. She was head over heels in love with Marcus King. For some reason Tessie’s father is adamantly against her marrying him, but won’t ever tell her why. She obstinately refuses to allow him to pick her spouse, as her sister’s match was not a happy one.
Marcus and Tessie decide to elope and hide their marriage. They want to wait till the right time and when they reveal it to her parents, hopefully they will accept their union. The couple meets secretly every chance they can get. Before they can share the news with her parents, Marcus dies tragically in an accident. Not long after Tessie find’s out she is expecting. She hides her pregnancy as long as possible. When she confesses her condition and tells of her marriage no one believes her. Her marriage certificate has disappeared and she has no way of proving she is telling the truth. Tessie is shocked when she accidently finds out that her father was not just being stubborn and controlling. There was a very serious and legitimate reason he did not want them marrying, and rightfully so. During that time a kind and gentle Amish man named Levi Smucker becomes interested in her and begins asking her out. When he finds out she is pregnant will he still want to court her? Will any Amish man ever want her?
This book carries a strong message about taking things into our own hands and acting under the cloak of deceit. It also reveals that the painful consequences we face will not only affect us but all those who love and care about us. There is no escaping it. We will have to pay the price and sometimes at greater cost than we ever imagined. While it is a story of mistakes and regrets, it also beautifully shows forgiveness, true love, and courage to take responsibility for one’s mistakes. I enjoyed this book very much!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Where Courage Calls By Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Beth Thatcher was a beautiful young woman who had grown up in an extremely wealthy family. She had been very sheltered all her life from the world. All the pomp and splendor of high society did not interest her. Her parents wanted her to marry well and take her place as among the elite. Beth had other plans; she wanted to do a great work for God. She loved Him with all her heart.
Being young and believing there was nothing she could not do, she jumped at the chance to serve as a teacher in a very remote region in Western Canada. Her mother is very against her going as Beth has always been sickly. Her father supported her desire and understood.
She was understandably nervous about this venture, but nothing prepared her for what she found when she arrived. Coal Valley was the direct opposite of her home in Toronto. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing. The houses were battered and sparsely furnished. It never came to her mind that these things would be missing. The town was mostly widows due to a terrible accident at the mine. These poor women had given of the little they had a paid to have Beth come as their children’s teacher for a year. So much rode on her succeeding: proving to her family and those back home that she was capable, carrying out the mission God had sent her on, and not letting the women down that had sacrificially brought her there. While her confidence was shaken, she was determined to keep her commitment no matter what.
She moved into Molly’s boarding house, where she paid for her room and meals. Molly was a loving, wise, and simple woman that treated Beth as a daughter. Beth relied on her in many ways. Both were women of great faith. I loved Molly’s wisdom and scripture applications to life. I learned from her too!
There was no school house or supplies! The children and their families broke her heart with the poverty they lived in. This was no straight forward teaching job! She began organizing ways to meet the children’s needs both physical and spiritual. While at first some of her efforts were met with misgiving and opposition, gradually she began to make a difference in the lives of everyone in the town.
Beth faced many problems involving things she never dealt with nor even knew existed. She may cry and feel like a failure but she never quit and always looked to God for the answers. She also faced the challenge of unexpected romance as she had had no interest in marrying. This involved two handsome Mounties vying for her affection. One was a family friend from her childhood that she always found annoying and the other she met through Molly. She surprised herself by developing feelings for both of them.
The story was incredibly entertaining and well written. I was inspired by Beth’s dedication and faith. There were so many surprises that I found the book to be a real page turner. You always know it will be a good book if it is by Janet Oke!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Light in the Wilderness By Jane Kirkpatrick

Every time I read a book by Ms. Kirkpatrick, I always say the same thing, “I love it!” Her books are so amazing, and if it is even possible it seems she continues to outdo herself with each new one! I had a couple sleepless nights because of this book; I couldn’t put it down!
The author is a master at writing historical fiction. Letitia and many other characters are real people that Ms. Kirkpatrick intensely researched. It makes the book even more enjoyable knowing these people really existed. As with her other books, the story seems as if it was written by the characters. I found myself forgetting many of the details are fiction.
Letitia is a black woman that has been freed by her master. She treasured and guarded the parchment paper that declared her legally a free woman. The word freedom she knew was used loosely as there were still many dangers, prejudices, and restrictions imposed by society. Not everyone acknowledged her as free, and certainly not an equal with a white person.
Her family was gone and her cow Charity was her prized possession. She took great pride in the fact she had paid for her, but also Charity was more than that. She was the only living breathing thing that Letitia could love and draw comfort from.
In 1842 she leaves front Kentucky, heading to Missouri with the Bowman family as a paid employee. Mrs. Bowman still treated her like a slave in most ways. They were heading to Oregon and Letitia had heard it was a state that wanted to join the Free states. She hoped to start a life of her own there. A large group of people are gathering in Missouri to go in groups with special guides to help them make the difficult journey.
There an Irish immigrant named Davey Carson took her in to work for him after she lost her job at the hotel. He was a man of compassion and loved Letitia. He asked her to be his wife and she accepted. Whites could not legally marry blacks then, so both being Christians they had their own ceremony before the Lord. Their relationship is definitely rocky at times.
I saw through her eyes the life of a freed black woman of that time. It wasn’t a pretty picture. People were so cruel and condescending; it is hard to imagine anyone treating another person that way. She found a true friend in Nancy Hawkins who was also heading to Oregon with her large family. Nancy and her husband Zach, a doctor, accepted Letitia as a person and saw her value.
As if being black was not enough of a challenge, the trip to Oregon was arduous, exhausting and grueling. Just surviving was extremely difficult without adding the unexpected problems that arose. It took a huge amount of faith, courage, and perseverance to make the journey. Many died but there was no time to grieve for their loved one as they had to bury them and move on. I was shocked at how hard daily existence was on the trail. All she had to do to simply cook, bath, wash clothes, try to sleep, take care of her family when they were sick, exhausted me just reading it. All this done in the wilderness in or around a wagon!
The spitefulness and rejection of the other women was unreal. There wasn’t even simple kindness. I remember one part where they ladies spread their skirts and turned their backs so they could take turns getting in the middle of the circle and use the bathroom unexposed. Poor Letitia had to go out away into bushes alone, risking being attacked by a wild animal or Indians!! It really made me think about the conditions the settlers endured. I can’t imagine having to use the bathroom like that and many women gave birth while on the trail!
More adversities and suffering met them in Oregon. There a Kalapuya Indian grandmother, named Betsy, and her grandson befriended Letitia. Giving her not only friendship but helping her when she had no one. Betsy understood the condemning attitude from society because the Indians were look down upon as were the blacks.
Letitia’s remarkable strength in facing anything life dealt her really made an impression on me. She never gave up or backed down in spite of disappointment, pain, or setbacks. Knowing she really lived such a life was inspiring. I thought of how easily we give up now. This is an amazing, amazing story! It is constantly moving and developing with such intensity and many surprises. You WILL want to read it! Thank you Jane Kirkpatrick for another incredible book!
I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days: 52 Encouraging Truths to Hold On To By Holley Gerth

When I saw this book had 52 devotionals I thought, “Oh one for each week of the year.” Well when I started reading it was more like 3 or 4 a day! They were like potato chips, I couldn’t stop with just one!! I have been having many hard days since the death of my husband and all life’s “extra’s” to face alone. I truly found this book very encouraging.
Each devotional draws its encouragement from a scripture in Psalms. The Bible is the true source of all of our encouragement. The titles of every one of them spoke to my heart. They were worded perfectly to catch my attention. I found them to be exactly the thought or questions I might be consciously or unconsciously thinking about my situation. Holley’s stories and thoughts that followed helped me look outside of my “hard day” and focus on my loving Heavenly Father and His Word. I know sometimes when I have dealing with difficulties I tend to concentrate on the problem looming before and forget to give all my attention to the Lord. I found myself thinking, “Yes! I am not alone. God has this under control. I can make it with Him!
The devotionals are only 2 to 3 pages each. I appreciated this because when I am troubled I find myself having difficulty concentrating on things for a prolonged length of time. There is also a prayer at the end of the devotional and a place to write down how God spoke to you. This is special to me because then I can refer back again and again to His comfort and guidance. I also liked the contents at the front of the book. It made it easy to skim the titles and find just the one I needed at that moment. The book is the perfect size to fit in a purse, or backpack, and easily fits in your hand when you are reading. You will want to have one for you and several to give to friends who are struggling with “hard days”.
I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

ATTENTION! FINAL NOTICE! by Narita Roady

I recently received my 15th “LAST” notice from Fingerhut warning me that without an order I would not receive any more catalogs. The notice read, “We’re sorry, but unless you order something, this could be the last catalog we send you. Don’t take a chance!”
I throw away my “last” catalog and go on. As sure as night follows day, another one comes in the mail. I have yet to be taken off the mailing list! Have you ever stopped to think, what would we do if God sent us a final notice concerning certain matters in our lives? How many of us would treat it as I do my catalog, toss it in the trash, and proceed with life as usual? What would you do if God sent you a final notice? I can think of several areas people commonly neglect and take for granted.
One of the most important is our relationship with Christ. Do you claim to know Christ as your Savior but in your heart you know you are lost? Maybe you have always had doubts about your salvation, but you push those concerns aside and never make sure your eternal destiny. Have you felt the Holy Spirit convicting you of your need to be saved, but continue to put it off until tomorrow? Let’s say tomorrow you received a letter from God that read, “I’m sorry, but unless you accept Christ right now, this could be the last time you ever can. Don’t take a chance!” For those who are unsaved each moment they are alive may be their last chance to be saved. Death may come or Christ may break the Eastern sky. None of us know when either will occur. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2
Perhaps your salvation is sure, but God has laid someone on your heart that you need to go witness to. Has fear of rejection or indifference prevented you from obeying now? Most would profess, “Boy, a letter like that would sure get my attention! I’d take care of it right away!”
I’m sorry but I don’t believe you would. You see, God has already sent notices in His Word sharing His good news with others and you’re disregarding them.” And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23
Let’s think about a few other notices we might receive as Christians. What if your notice read:
“This could be your last chance to pray!” Who and what would you pray for? For forgiveness, wisdom, protection, friends, family, the lost? How frightening to think of having no way to speak to God and have Him hear us! Prayer is a privilege and a gift that we cast aside so carelessly. If prayer was so important to Jesus, it should be just as important to us. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” Isaiah 55:6
“This could be your last chance to read your Bible!” Where would you begin? What verses would you read? Would you frantically attempt to memorize large portions? This is not so far-fetched, just ask Christians in those countries who have no Bibles. We of all people across time and even in the present have unequaled access to owning and reading all of God’s Word. He has faithfully protected His inspired Word throughout the ages for us to have, yet we frequently disregard it. Other reading material such as novels, magazines, newspapers, and internet articles take the place of the Bible. Have you ever thought about spending an equal amount of time reading the Scriptures as you do other things?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
“This could be your last chance to attend church!” Here is another condition that is not as outlandish as it sounds. It is reality in much of the world and becoming even more so as time goes on. Everyone wants a good Bible believing church to attend, support them, and call upon in times of need, request prayer, and fellowship with. Then why do members treat worship attendance as a hobby instead of an honor and command of God? In America, countless churches close each year due to indifference. It’s one of those things we will not realize the importance of what we have until we lose it. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25)
What other “last chance” notices might God send? Truly take time to stop and think – Your last time to: obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit, use one of your talents in His service, teach your children about Jesus. Try making your own list to search your heart and priorities.
The realization that something is going to be taken away always creates urgency, or a deadline, that motivates us to action. It also brings to light the value of what we have taken for granted. Sadly, if finality is all that opens our eyes to the importance of what we have neglected, we may be too late. Don’t wait for your final notice, act now!
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, September 2014

VISITATION KARATE by Narita Roady

Most of the time when you think of convents, you picture sedate nuns, reciting prayers or chants in quite, peaceful surroundings. In India, a passerby might be shocked at the sounds wafting over a convent wall in Madras. They would hear deep-throated grunts that usually accompany a fight, and the whack of calloused hands splitting bricks! This convent puts its nuns through a 45 day karate class before they go out to visit and work for their church! This bizarre training began after several nuns were threatened, harassed, some even raped, murdered, and beaten when visiting in nearby villages. The oldest nun to take the course was 66!
This is no course for wimps! Nuns are also taught to counter knife attackers and throw strategic punches to their assailants. So serious are they about their training that they even form a line on the ground, face down, while a jeep rolls over their outstretched hands to toughen them!! These ladies willingly endure all this, just to journey out and fulfill what they believe is a work for the Lord! Think about it!. . . Women, many of them elderly, facing rigorous training, confronting hostile people, hazarding dangerous situations, and risking their lives for God, when they aren’t even leading lost people to the saving knowledge of Christ! In contrast, most of our churches cannot get a handful out each week to visitation and sometimes even church services!
Some of the excuses that are heard from Christians are: “I’m afraid to visit people! I wouldn’t know what to say! I couldn’t handle it if someone slammed a door in my face! I don’t want to make people angry! I just don’t visit! I have don’t have time! I’m too tired after working all day!” You could probably add many more excuses, maybe some of your own! Keep in mind; these are usually supplied just for being asked to invite people to church! Fewer folks even consider witnessing!
I can just see the Sunday bulletin note now:
VISITATION
THURSDAY NIGHT 6:00 P.M.
This week the pastor will have everyone lay on the ground while he rolls over their fingers with his car. Afterwards we will each split a few bricks. We will then have prayer asking God’s protection from murder and beatings, before going on visitation. Everyone come and do a work for the Lord!
How many would show up for visitation then?! Can the number really get much less? We should be ashamed of ourselves! As saved people, Christ lives in us, and we have the Gospel to share with others that they might be spared an eternity of suffering! Someone cared enough to share it with us! If these nuns can endure such pain, and face real dangers, why can’t we go out once a week to visit and witness?!
So what if someone gets angry or shuts a door in our face?! These occurrences are rare anyway. No, we don’t need karate training. We need “heart training” in commitment, a love for lost souls, obedience to God’s Word, and a true desire to serve Christ. We need to “toughen” ourselves against worldly living, worldly thinking, selfishness, laziness, and hearts that are cold toward God.
You may say, “Well my church doesn’t have visitation.” That doesn’t let any of us off the hook. We all go to the stores, the gas station, the doctor, and multiple other places where we come in contact with people every day. Those are opportunities to share Christ and what He has done for you, and to invite others to church. Visitation isn’t limited to a church scheduled time or date. It should be a part of our daily lives!
If you’re saved, you’re not too young (teens this includes you), nor too old to fulfill your responsibility to reach the lost for Christ and invite others to His House.
And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 15:23
We need to get onto the “highways” where the people are and get off the dirt roads. We need to get out into the “hedges” where things might be a little uncomfortable and thorny, and quit sitting among the daisies! With all the events in the news it is clear Christ’s coming is VERY near! Once He returns, those we are neglecting and could reach will not have another chance, just an eternity of torment in Hell. You notice the Lord’s words begin with an action verb, “Go”. That means it is a command from Him, not an option!
Our churches are definitely not full. Have you been neglecting visiting and witnessing? Ask God to forgive you and guide you. Ask Him to send you those searching for Him and for an answer to their life’s struggles. Ask Him to make you strongly aware of those moments so you will not pass them by. Our fears come from Satan to discourage us in obeying the Lord and delivering the lost from his clutches. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
God will give you the courage and words to say, all you must do is obey the Great Commission. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:19
WON’T YOU COMMIT YOUR HEART AND TIME TO REGULARLY SEEKING THE LOST AND WITNESSING…. STARTING THIS WEEK?
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, August 2014

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW by Narita Roady

I have mixed emotions about snow. It is peacefully beautiful to look at, but it has an ugly side too. Let me explain. Several years ago, we lived 15 miles out in the country, but attended church in town. It was a bitterly cold day and heavy snow had been predicted. By the time church services were out, snow flurries were quickly covering the ground. We lingered in town and ate lunch.
About 2:00 p.m. we decided we should head home as the snowfall was increasing. By the time we turned down the country road about, 2 miles from our house, the drifts were incredibly deep, and it was snowing extremely hard. All went well until we started up a hill and it quickly became evident; there was no way we could make it! Jerry decided he would walk to a neighbor’s house about ½ a mile away and borrow his tractor to pull us up the hill. He bundled up, left the van running, and admonished us to stay inside and keep warm.
Time seemed to stand still. I pictured my poor husband trudging through the steep drifts in his suit and dress coat, and then having to ride back down in the frigid weather on a tractor.
A brilliant idea flashed through my brain! I would get the van unstuck, drive to Ralph’s house, and surprise him! Visions of Jerry’s astonished face flashed across my mind, his overwhelming pride at his wife’s problem solving ability, and his gratitude for being spared all that hard, cold walk. Yes! I knew I could do it! I had no doubt! I told the girls to bow their heads, and we would pray for the Lord’s guidance and help. All the time they were whimpering, “Oh no Mommy! Please listen to Daddy! Please don’t do anything!” Their pleading aggravated me but it wasn’t without cause, they had been with me on similar missions before!
I took a deep breath, sure of my victory, and began our rescue efforts. I had seen Jerry go in forward and reverse rocking the van to free it. “Piece of cake” I thought, “we’ll be outta here in no time!” By now the girls were sobbing and pleading. Back and forth, back and forth I rocked the van, over and over, turning the wheel and trying different angles. Yep! In no time at all….we were stuck fast and the engine died. There we sat, snuggly “secure” in the snow and now with no heater! The children’s imploring faces were replaced by grim expressions carved in stone. I flashed them the “hairy eyeball” and that kept any comments at bay, but I could still feel their menacing looks boring through the back of my head.
Our fingers and toes went numb from the cold. Finally Jerry and Ralph arrived with the tractor. I was right, boy was he surprised! But the emotions that showed on his face weren’t pride and gratitude! My rescue effort had formed a 3 foot snow bank in front of the van. Snow was literally packed up into the motor where the belt couldn’t turn, and the back end had slid off the road. The tractor couldn’t even budge it, little lone pull it up the hill. The sun had sat by now and it was bitter cold. Two at a time we mounted each side of Ralph’s tractor (Sunday dresses and shoes), and held on as he drove us the 1 ½ miles home. It took 3 trips to get all of us, a total of 7 ½ miles! When we were safely home, the biting cold outside didn’t even compare with the icy glares of my family. I was so intimidated; I didn’t even jostle for my position in front of the wall heater! As they stood there in a shivering group, the girls scowling at me, Jerry finally spoke. “Sweetheart, next time you decide to help me, PLEASE DON’T!”
I wonder, how many times has God said those exact same words to me? He created the heavens and the earth, the human race, all plants and animals; parted the Red Sea, turned water into wine, and saved my soul from hell; how could I think He needs my help?! Having full knowledge of these facts, I still find times when I step in to “help” God. Just like my winter rescue mission, my efforts end in disaster, leaving God with a lot of “clean up” work to fix the mess I made.
How can we know if God is prompting us to act in a certain situation, or we are just jumping in to “run the show” for Him? Here are a few lessons I learned:
Keep a close relationship with the Lord.
The sheep can’t hear the shepherds voice if the wander too far. Keep a close walk with Him. When we neglect prayer and Bible reading, we tend to drift from His side. We wander too far away to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27
Satan will be able to creep in and put thoughts into our minds, making us think it is our own idea. “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
1 Chronicles 21:1
God always gives clear direction.
The Lord never fails to give us clear direction in what He would have us do. He promises us His guidance. It is our own desires and temptations that often cloud our vision from seeing His leadership clearly. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalms 32:8
God want us to succeed. He is on our side! He doesn’t play games or speak to us in riddles. His guidance is easy to understand. The problem comes when we don’t trust Him or try to make His leading match our desires. This again opens the door for the devil to get us off track and on his course. When confusion enters the situation, KNOW it is NOT God. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints”. 1 Corinthians 14:33
Obey Him in the things you know are His will.
Most Christians know without a doubt, basic principles that God wants us to obey. (If you don’t find someone who does and start studying!) We often by pass them because of their simplicity. We are fueled by our own desires. If we don’t do what we do know, how can He show us more? We wouldn’t be able to apply the new information. God doesn’t make things hard, we do! Start with what you do know and He will light your way. “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” Jeremiah 7:23
So next time you want to help God “fix things” PLEASE DON’T! He can handle everything fine all by Himself!
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, July 2014