Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Max on Life

Max on Life
By:  Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

I have always enjoyed reading Mr. Lucado's books. He sees things from a different perspective, and is able to convey that "Oh, now I understand!" or "Why didn't I think of that?" thought to his readers.  When I read a book by Mr. Lucado, I feel as if I am sitting across the kitchen table from him, having a nice chat.  It's the same way in Max on Life.  "Hey, Mr. Lucado, I have a question!"

In this new book, Mr. Lucado answers questions on life, why we exist, relationships (home, work, etc.), what we have or don't have, and even about what comes after death.  All questions are answered openly and honestly, and all are biblical answers for modern situations. 
As a bonus, the end of the book includes thoughts from Mr. Lucado for writers.  How to write, what to write, when to write, how to LIVE before you right.

This is a very good book, one I will recommend to friends and family.
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unexpected Beauty

Normally I try to include a photo with my essay, but I think when you hear about this one, you'll agree that it was best I not take that photo! 

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to work.  As I was driving along our four lane road (with a left turn lane, which I was in) I looked to the left and saw growing out of the concrete median, right up at the drain culvert, a very small patch of clover (I told you I couldn't take that picture!!).  I happen to like clover.  Especially the kind that grows in my area here in the south.  The flower on this clover is a wonderful shade of reddish pink, and is oblong in shape, not the small round kind that grows where I used to live up north.  I thought, "thank you Lord, for this bit of color!"  Out of the ugly pavement was a beautiful blessing.  The ugliness of the pavement made the simple beauty of the clover more appealing to me.

Have you thought about the beauty that's to be seen when we go through rough, ugly, seemingly barren times in our lives?  What about the act of kindness someone offers, the unexpected smile?  I know I  always appreciate those things, but even more so when I am going through a rough time in my life.

Take it one step further:  What about God?  In the darkest of times, in the darkness of our sins, God gave His most beautiful, most precious gift to us.  Out of the ugliness of my sin, I can appreciate the gift of His Son.  Out of the ugliness of my sin, I realize that I NEED the gift of His Son!  The ugliness makes the beauty much more appealing.  For me, at least.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For by GRACE are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is a GIFT of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Also, John 3:16 says "For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son  that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  Jesus, the only Son He has, the most precious person or thing in the universe, was freely given to ME, so that I could have life with Him.  All I have to do is ACCEPT HIM (I've accepted Him, how about you?).  Out of the ugliness of the sin of this world, the darkness of our guilt, comes the beautiful love of God!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quiet Places

Do you ever find yourself in need of a quiet place?  Where do you go?  What do you do when you get there?  How do you feel when you leave? 

This past Sunday afternoon I found a quiet place in my own backyard.  I came home from church, and then in the middle of the afternoon I decided I wanted to go sit on the swing in the backyard and do some knitting.  The swing is in the back corner, where I can see my patio and all the flower beds I had worked hard in the day before.  A rose bush was in bloom beside the swing.  Birds were singing in the popcorn and sycamore trees surrounding me.  The quiet sounds of a lazy Sunday afternoon in the neighborhood soothed me.  The breeze blowing felt wonderful on my face.  I gently pushed the swing back and forth, enjoying the rocking motion, as I worked on my knitting.  The sun warmed my skin, until I had to move because it was directly in my eyes.  The peace and quiet were so wonderful!  I was relaxed and content...

Do quiet places and quiet times come before storms?  Do you think they are God's gift of peace to us?  Maybe a preparation for things to come? 

My storm came later that evening.   I was so upset I had to call a friend, who prayed with me and encouraged me.  I called my parents, who sympathized and counseled me.  I sent out requests for prayer a couple of days later, and received back wonderful words of promise, including a reminder from a great friend of the words from Psalms 121:1-8 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."

Last night after church I found the words of II Samuel 22:1-51 to be a great comfort.  Look at verses 47-51  "The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.  It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me.  And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.  Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.  He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore."

More importantly than finding a quiet place in my own backyard, I can find a quiet place, a refuge, a tower of strength in my Lord and Savior, at all times!