Monday, June 29, 2015

That's Not My Name



"Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." (Rev. 2:17 NLT)
Have you ever been so attacked in mind and spirit over past failures that you felt you just couldn't go on? Have you ever felt the enemy of your soul was calling you names and they certainly weren't the type you hear in church? Have you ever been so ashamed, of being so lost and so numb and remembering a time in your life that you weren't even yourself? Can Jesus redeem you from the names you hear in your mind? Can He really make all things new with you? Hasn't that been the promise preached from most pulpits and isn't that why you, yourself decided to follow him?
And yet, those names...
At Zumba I heard a song called, "That's Not My Name." It's a catchy tune, I can't figure out all the words, and I think some versions have different ones that are off-color. But it stuck in my head and my mind because I felt the Lord was trying to tell me something. I felt like He was trying to say, "Daughter, that's not your name." You are not loser, abuser, unloved, friendless, forgotten, unloving, those are not your names. Who would want me to think of myself as such? Surely not my Father in heaven. Surely not any of my true friends and family; the ones who really know me. But an enemy of my destiny and soul, yeah that's the one who wants to disrupt family, destiny, love and more. You know the one whose voice is so deceptive and evil and so very, very constant unless you are combatting it with the words of love from our heavenly Father. Unless you are putting a new song into your heart and mind. And I love when the Lord does that, when he shows me a way that is greater. I love when I find a song of hope and happiness. Enjoy this song today as we remember that's not our name but maybe something from this song is. Something like forgiven, unashamed, uncondemned, holy, righteous and redeemed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0ItnPk3t2Y
Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don't you know that's not you're name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I'm not right
But that's alright
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There'll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed
Every time I fall
There'll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that's OK
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
(He's Greater, He's Greater)
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter.


Read more: Mercy Me - Greater Lyrics | MetroLyrics 
PS I took one of those name quizzes and this is what it said: "River; You are a free spirit who knows what you want. You are a child of the universe and you are truly one with nature. You love everything and everyone around you."

I'm really looking forward to the new name that the Lord will give me, though.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No-Homework Women’s Bible Study: Group Hug; Great Idea for a Bible Study from Christine Tate


Christine Tate did a great job on her book, The No-Homework Women’s Bible Study: Group Hug. First I must say, I loved the title and that would hook me as I don’t think anyone likes homework, even adults. If a Bible teacher starts saying homework, I feel like I have enough work to do at home and start thinking of ways to leave. I do my own personal Bible study work as I feel led. There are optional personal challenges but they seemed doable without a lot of stress.

The book starts off with a group contact phone and email address page which I thought was very handy. Then Christine describes how to use this study book.

The format is as follows:
*15 Minute Ice Breaker
* 10 Minute Lesson
* 30 Minute Discussion Questions
* 5 Minute Closing Prayer

The ground rules are very important and “what’s shared in group, stays in group” is important. I’ve found that rule in many groups that I belong to and it is comforting to have privacy with personal matters that you may be praying for together.

There are other similar titles such as Group Hug 11, 111, Holidays, Marriage which look interesting as ending up with Week Eight Financial Help, left me feeling a lack of closure for something as personal as a Group Hug. I was looking for something more to end with, I think, maybe some words of affirmation and encouragement.

But all in all after it’s finished, I say, consider yourself hugged. Thanks Christine Tate for a job well done.
I give it five stars as an easy Bible study guide. I received a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/The-No-Homework-Womens-Bible-Study-ebook/dp/B00EI3WZFI/ref=cm_cr_pr_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8


Friday, June 12, 2015

Open up Poema in me, Jesus.

I often look around at all the different looking, complex looking, awesome looking people that our Lord has created. I can see something beautiful in most everyone although they may be different shades of color, families or even nationalities. I think about how God loved each one and how to Him they are His unique creation. Some, I even think "Wow!" He must be very happy to have created that one and must so enjoy when that special one loves Him back as they were created to do before the foundation of the world.
The Greek word “Poema”* simply means “that which is made… or creation, the world.”  It means “work of art,” a poem, or perhaps it even means...you.
I have read a lot of poetry and wrote a little here and there. A poem seems to be God-sent, straight from the heart, not something that we contrive ourselves. Poema is a beautiful word and it sounds like poetry in itself to me. I like it. I like various types of poems also and am so happy that our Word Weavers Volusia has started having a poetry revival in the past year.
When we come in, stressed perhaps from the burden of life, a poem can make you smile, it can make you weep. It can remind you of someone and also soothe your heart. O that the Lord would open up poema in me. O that the Lord would open up poema in you.
This is probably one of my all-time favorite sermons by Pastor Ray Dubois of Family Worship Center, Port Orange, FL.
I encourage everyone to listen to it, if you need a word to send life into your soul. He introduced me to the Greek word, Poema; it is such a neat, awesome, inspiring and beautiful word. I may even be inspired to write this week:)
The Word to confess is: I am (You are) God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works; I am salt and light to my world.

*Poema/Etymology

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Books, songs and a blog that I recommend.

Two books helped me this morning, first Dan Walsh's,“Perfect Peace: in Imperfect Times,” a devotional that I am rereading. Day 6 about tearing down imaginary walls focusing on 2 Corinthians 10:4-5(ESV) was awesome.
 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” This is a verse that I already used in prayer every morning for years concerning my family.
Day 7 called The Slippery Slope of Anxious Thoughts also spoke to me as it starts out “Negative thoughts can be quite powerful if they hit you at just the right time.” (Dan Walsh)
He talks about the pattern of our thoughts, where they may or may not come from, and the armor needed to combat them.
Sometimes, I feel that when there has been hurt, pain, lack of affirmation it may suddenly flavor a reaction we have to a small thing and then unless we have put on the armor of God, a blow-up may occur.
I also love this from Mary DeMuth’s book, “Not Marked,” her take on something she calls, The Next.
An Epic to Anticipate
Pastor Mark Buchanan sat with a woman like me who had a similar story. After he heard it, he threw a desperate prayer heavenward, not knowing what to say. “And then God slipped me an insight, timely as manna dropped from the sky. He showed that her past was beyond repair, at least on my watch. If there was any good thing there was to salvage, I knew not how. But in the same instant God showed me she still had her future.  And it was vast, unbroken, pristine, radiant. Her past was a tragedy to lament. But her future was an epic to anticipate.”
That’s our story too. We cannot alter the past, but we have the power, through Jesus, to anticipate The Next.
Have you ever felt like sexual abuse is your exile? That it’s set you in a place you’d rather not be? A place not of your choosing? A mindset that haunts you? God spoke to the Israelites in their exile, encouraging those exiles to change their thinking or they would miss the great thing He planned to do. If we stay locked in the isolation of our minds, always rehashing the old, story, preferring the place of exile, we will not be able to perceive or see the cool thing God will do.
I am proof that God hews rivers in dry riverbeds, pathways through thorny thickets. He does the impossible. (Mary DeMuth from Not Marked, Pg.160)
When times are hard and the mind is a battlefield, I find that focusing on some good words from good books is a real help.

When you get right down to it the lyrics of this song is what will help you make it through the day:
Happy Sunday, pray the words, sing the words and keep singing.
Words from a friend that struck my heart this week:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Get Your Southern Fix with Every Bride Needs a Groom!


"Every Bride Needs a Groom" is Book one of the “Brides With Style” novel series by Janice Thompson.

From the first Southern chapter with things like Peach Queen, sweet tea, buffets, Dairy Queen dates, WOP=pers (you’ll have to read the book to find out what they are) small towns and more, I thought I was in Georgia instead of Texas. Now I know they are pretty Southern out there or “over yonder” as my granny might say.
Names like Jasper, Beau, Dewey, Lori-Lou, Queenie, Aunt Alva, Gilly, Madge had me LOL or laughing out loud and yes, smiling, as I thought I was watching a rerun of Hee-Haw in my head. So many other reviewers have touched on the essay contest, breakup, Bridal Store, football hero who turns out to be the perfect Christian example of manliness for Katie, that I won’t go there. Except to say it was a very engaging story and makes me want to read more in the future. Especially when I take my annual “fiction vacations” in the summer when I’ll reread this.

The only thing that seems a bit off was the cover picture as it wasn’t what I would’ve thought a Loretta Lynn wedding gown would look like as described in the book. But it did look a lot like the gown I bought my daughter Amber, who already had a groom by the way. I’ll give it five stars and look forward to reading more from Janet Thompson.
Thanks to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This review is also at http://www.amazon.com/review/RNCQ660DPIWMD?ref_=pe_584750_33951330

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reading Between the Lines

Thank you, Eddie Jones and Christian Devotions for posting me today on Amber's birthday!


I edited an old devo to make it more like I was talking to someone:

http://www.christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/314


Hope y'all like it! Praying every day in every way:)

If you don't feel like clicking the link, here it is:

I wept as I read the words on the closed Facebook page. I felt like they were so searing hot that if they were etched on paper it would be scorched. The mom wrote about soul torture, family chaos, and hopelessness over the way her children have turned out. The thief of addiction had ripped another family to shreds, and I could relate. I had walked in her shoes for way too many years. To say our children had gone astray was an understatement.
Moms who read this, I write to you. I write to the storm-tossed one who cannot sleep because of worry about the son or daughter on the streets. I know tears soak your pillow. You’re devastated by the abuse your child has done to themselves through addiction. You want to die.
I write to you as you pray they will call, yet at the same time you dread the next phone call. One mother cries, “Oh no, he’s in jail.” Another says, “I wish my child were in jail. At least I’d know where he was.” Stories are similar with one common thread—the mother’s love. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy, and it hurts to be in the midst of his attacks.
Mom, I write to you so you will know you’re not alone in your pain and sorrow. Although the thief of addiction has killed your hopes, stolen your child, and destroyed your dreams, hang on to the last part of this verse: I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Lord, I ask that You help us read between the lines of the words from hurting mothers and reach out to them in a comforting way. My child’s life changed just when I was about to give up.
Hold on to the hope that can be yours through Christ.

Donna Collins Tinsley

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What if we lived as if Romans 8:28 were true?


Sometimes in conversations we hear these words:

What if?...
I regret...
If only...
Life as we know it can be full of regrets and pain.
"What if someone had reached out to me as they did to her?" one says.
"I regret that I wasn't what you needed me to be," says another.
"If only I'd had more resources at that time of my life," is a common saying. Or if only I had a better mother or another father, or a car or a college fund, or someone would leave me a house or an inheritance.
"I'm too young to live with this kind of physical pain!"
"Wow! that woman has never gone through half the pain that I have and look at her whine."

What if...
I regret...
If only...
What if Jesus arrives with comfort that only He can bring?
What if He turns our regrets into healing for another person?
If only.... we truly learn acceptance is a path to a fuller, more grateful life and look for that Romans 28 moment when He turns all things into good for us who love Him.
These three scriptures are awesome to me: "For I," says the Lord, "will be to her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her." Zechariah 2:5  I am adding this to my life-verses, the first being Romans 8:28. And of course my new favorite: “He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won't disregard the small and insignificant, but he'll steadily and firmly set things right.” Isaiah 42:3 The Message
I discovered this song this week and love the lyrics.
A song for your heart by Andrew Peterson
When I look at you,
I can see the road that lies ahead
I can see the love and the sorrow

Bright fields of joy
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed
I want to go with you, but I can’t follow

So keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way

Your first kiss, your first crush
The first time you know you’re not enough
The first time there’s no one there to hold you

The first time you pack it all up
And drive alone across America
Please remember the words that I told you

Keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way

If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home

And I know you'll be scared when you take up that cross
And I know it'll hurt, 'cause I know what it costs
And I love you so much and it's so hard to watch
But you're gonna grow up and you're gonna get lost
Just go back, go back

Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on,  whatever you do
To the hope that's taken hold of you
And you'll find your way
You'll find your way
If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fast Freddie is a Winner



Fast Freddie by Lee Ann Mancini is a delightful book with wonderful illustrations that will appeal to the pre-K to first grade age child.
In this day and age that we live in, we need good reading material that gives life lessons to our children and grandchildren. This book teaches compassion when we encounter those who might look different or be different. It is true and sadly so, that children can be cruel to their classmates. But as the Fast Freddie  book so beautifully shows they can change their minds and be encouraging to the one that is different. They may find out that they may have things in common.
Part of the proceeds of this book goes to charities that minister to the needs of children. I like that. The author and illustrator are both very well qualified and did a wonderful collaboration.
The last page was my favorite with the encouragement to say your prayers and also the little game that will cause the reader to go back through the book for something that I entirely missed first reading.
I give Fast Freddie five stars.
I received a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Tragedy


Dates of Pain
On the Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Dates stand out in our minds sometimes. We remember birth dates, anniversaries and events that make us happy. But some dates will forever be ingrained into our hearts of life-changing events. There may be calendar dates that started out happy and joyful and in the matter of moments turned into dates of pain.

For many who attended and those who ran the Boston marathon in 2013, April 15th will stand out as a tragic date. From the normal sounds of a happy crowd of people to something that sounded like a war zone this date will be seared in the minds of so many people in our nation.

It is said that two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm and killed three people and injured hundreds. It is sad to think that two brothers would contrive to bring harm to so many. It makes you wonder what was going on in their heads, what their background was, what belief systems were in place that they would want to hurt people?

Yet the Bible tells us, “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. (Jeremiah 17:9 MSG)

We can’t figure out in our own minds why bad things happen. We can’t figure out why God allows people to be hurt and killed and why families have to suffer as happened at the Boston Marathon that year. This is a puzzle beyond comprehension.

We know that He does promise to work all things for our good, though, and we lean on this promise. We have to realize that the Lord can always bring light out of the darkness of a heart that is deceitful and gone astray.

Americans are a resilient people; just Google “happy outcomes of the Boston Marathon tragedy 2013” and you will agree with me. From moms saying they will run again to the story of a proposal at the finish line, we can find hope. You will find poignant pictures also there.

On this sad anniversary date let us remember to pray for the families of those who have passed from this life to their reward early and also for those who are survivors. Pray, pray and pray some more that the date of running the Boston Marathon race can become a happy date again.

Donna Collins Tinsley, wife, mother and grandmother, lives in Port Orange, Florida and has been included in several magazines and book compilations. She is a member of Coastland Agape and Word Weavers International. You can email her at thornrose7@aol.com. Please sign up to follow her blog A Sister Among You at http://thornrose7.blogspot.com/ or join Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/119408188089314/

Thursday, April 2, 2015

From The Dance to The Legacy, it doesn't get better than this!



 
I have always said that Dan Walsh really knows how to end a book and in this case a series of books. He and Gary Smalley still make me wish that they would continue this series as the characters are so compelling. I was gripped and became a fan from the very first book and actually feel that The Legacy is a book that I can give to the younger generation as a stand-alone book; a book most college age people can really relate to. Using examples of social media that is so popular among the young was something new for this series but it fit real well.

I really had no idea where they would go with a book whose main character was Doug as he seemed to be a minor character in the previous books.  I was very satisfied with exploring his journey and also Christina's. The side stories and the drama was all very emotional and kept me reading when I didn't even have time to read. But that is always the case with the books in this series.

From the back cover:
One young man is about to discover the true cost of independence!"For years, Doug Anderson has been drifting slowly but steadily away from both his family and his faith. His parents have been trying to reach him before he falls too far."


This scenario is happening to families every day and many parents are finding support groups and their small group studies at church as a way to cope.

I would've liked for Uncle Henry's character to be in the book more, as he reminds me of a wonderful dad, the kind I wish I had growing up. His advice to the family to basically "let go and let God," isn't always easy to do but wins in the end. Uncle Henry in my mind is Gary Smalley and as always Dan's interview at the end of the book with Gary gives a lot of wisdom. I've always bought some of Gary's nonfiction books as companions to this series and have really learned a lot.

I was given a copy of this novel by Dan Walsh and also a complimentary copy of the book through Revell as I am on their book review team. In return I was delighted to give an honest review of the book.

I give The Legacy five stars and hope that this isn't the end of a beautiful partnership between two gifted and compelling writers.