Book Review: What’s It Like To Be Married to Me? by Linda Dillow

We have a guest blogger this week. I asked Mary Catherine Fowler, from Radius Church, to read and review Linda Dillow’s new book, What’s It Like To Be Married to Me? Her Review is below…..and it is fantastic. (royb)

clip_image002In her thought provoking book, What’s It Like to be Married to Me?, Linda Dillow encourages wives to look in the mirror and ask themselves this dangerous and challenging question. It is a fantastic workout that causes women to examine the influence that a wife has to the happiness of her marriage, to evaluate how she is living up to her responsibility to her husband and the Lord in marriage, and to challenge herself to work toward the goal of deepening the intimacy and oneness with her husband in marriage.

Although the husband is the head of the home, it is the wife who controls the thermostat of the house and dictates the mood and atmosphere of the marriage. Linda thoughtfully encourages wives to change their heart’s attitude in the way they approach their responsibilities as a wife and gives great practical advice to apply in their marriages to bring about positive change and growth. She uses convicting examples from real women that serve the purpose of holding up a mirror to the reader, forcing them to ask themselves, “What kind of wife am I? and “What would my husband have to say about me?” Her book causes the reader to take the focus off of self and redirect it to understanding her husband as an individual and appreciating marriage as a holy and privileged gift from God.

Linda’s delightful message is one that needs to be shared with all wives in every walk of life. Her encouragement and advice is rich in scripture and truth that has the power to transform any marriage into a beautiful relationship that glorifies the Lord. I would highly recommend this book to wives in every season of marriage, from a new wife just home from her honeymoon to a seasoned veteran who has been married for forty years!

You can purchase the book at  http://www.amazon.com/

–Mary Catherine Fowler

I was given a copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah to read and review.

Linda Dillow is no stranger to publishing and adventure. She’s the author of Creative Counterpart, Calm My Anxious Heart, The Blessings Book, Satisfy My Thirsty Soul, and co-author of the Best-Selling book Intimate Issues. Linda and her husband Jody lived in Europe and Asia for 17 years training Christian leaders in closed countries with Biblical Education by Extension, during this time, Linda traveled extensively in Romania, Russia, Hungary, Poland and Asia. She taught women and helped them launch women’s ministries. She is a mother of four children, as well as a grandmother.

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Two of My Favorite Pictures

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There are times when we take pictures just for the fun of it. Times where we take them to remember a moment. Times where we take pictures to make a statement. And then there are some pictures we take that we don’t even realize the importance until later.

This top picture is of my (then) 3-year old on our trip to Peru in 2008.We were visiting friends of ours who were serving the people of Peru through a missionary organization. On one of the days we had the privilege of visiting a community they were working in; a very poor community as you could imagine. We were simply there observing and learning about the ministry, but we had the opportunity to help as well –in the form of handing out food to the many, many kids who had come. Robbie (the 3 year-old) wanted to help hand out food, and as you can see from the picture, he did a great job.

Why does this picture mean so much? I was proud of my little buddy for helping but it was more than that.  It is a reminder of my role as a parent and my kid’s capacity for learning. Even at 3 years of age Robbie knew there was something to this helping thing. Of course he didn’t fully understand why he was doing it but there was a seed planted in his head and, more importantly, in his heart; a seed that hopefully will keep growing along with him.

My role as a parent (along with my wife, Heidi) is to continue to give he and his siblings opportunities to serve and to learn. We can’t make our children be compassionate, but we can try to a) show them what it means to serve people and b) put them in environments where they can be active participants.

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This second picture was taken in Nicaragua just a few weeks ago, on a trip with Radius Church. The team was split into two parts: a construction team and a medical team.

This particular day I was with the medical team helping to translate. (stop laughing). The doctor was having to put stitches very close to a teenage boy’s eye, with the boy lying on a picnic table, and another team member, we’ll call him Michael, was holding his hand and doing his best to keep him calm.

You can see ‘Michael’ in the picture with the boy. I specifically left off the boy’s head because I realized that because of ‘Michael’s heart for people, his compassion for children, and God’s grace that flows out of every pore of his body, any child could be sitting on that table and Michael would hold their hand all the way through it.

Luckily no one was paying any attention to me because I actually had to leave and go to another section of our little clinic to avoid the tears in my eyes being seen. Why the tears? Because I was picturing one of my children on that table and I know with out a shadow of a doubt that if I needed him to, ‘Michael’ would do the same thing for them……and for yours as well.

During that trip, I saw many people step up and do what God has called them to do. ‘Michael’ wasn’t the only one. But in that moment, it felt like one of God’s purposes in ‘Michael’s’ life was coming to fruition and I was able to be a witness to it and bring back a tiny snapshot of it.

royb

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You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me

On a very busy Saturday at the car wash I saw something that made me just stop and look. There are times in life when it is really hard to understand how people can be so greedy and selfish. This was one of those times.

This couple parked right in the middle and took up both sides while cars waited in line to use them. I shouldn’t have blurred the licence plate…



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Cycling Devotion: “Oh Crap!”

Sorry if the title offends you but it is a quote from a fellow rider. The scenario was this: 40 of us are cruising along –I’m fourth in line— and the two guys pulling up front pealed off, leaving the lady in front me in the lead and her words were (and I quote), “Oh Crap! I hate being up front.”

Normally, if you are third then you have someone in front of you to pull if the leader needs a break and then you can decide whether or not to say there and take a turn or move back further down the line. But, both people in front of her moved out at the same time and the job of pulling was thrust upon here whether she wanted it or not. And by her reaction, she didn’t.

I know the lady who said this and she is a pretty strong rider; so it wasn’t the physical part of pulling that she hated it was the mental, or intangible, part. You see, if a rider is riding behind someone –or a lot of someones—all they have to do is ride and keep from hitting the wheel in front of them. But, when you are leading your responsibilities go up. You now are responsible for making sure everyone is going the right way and for the speed (you don’t want to slow the group down –too much at least). It can be a little daunting, for someone who isn’t used to it, when you look back and there are 50+ people right on your wheel following you.

Alright, now picture this: You are in a small group setting with 10-15 friends from church and everyone is talking and discussing the book that the group is reading and the leader looks at you and says, “Hey, can you lead us in prayer?” OH CRAP!

Or how about this one: Your Sunday School teacher finishes up with the class for the day and then says to the group that she’ll be out for a couple weeks. She then looks at you and says, “Hey, can you lead this group while I’m gone?” OH CRAP!

More than likely it isn’t the Bible knowledge that scares you. It isn’t having to study and prepare that scares you. It is probably the fact that you feel like you’ll have 4 or 5 or 20 people looking at you assuming you have all the answers and that you are there to lead them on this fantastic voyage of perfect and exact knowledge. But the problem is you aren’t perfect and you may even stutter or forget what you are saying or you may say something stupid or wrong. Join the club.

We all know who Moses is right? The always-eloquent, all-knowing, never-doubting, wonderful leader who lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. Read Exodus Chapter 3 and 4 when you get a chance and you’ll find a man just like the rest of us.

Let me set this up for you: Moses is busy tending the sheep when God says to him, “…I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt…” (Exodus 3:1-10) So, we have Moses who, like the cyclist, is just cruising along and all of a sudden BOOM a leadership position is thrust upon him and a decision has to be made. Does he say yes or no? Here is his answer:

1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me… (Exodus 4:1)

10 Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

When asked to lead, Moses said he couldn’t because he didn’t feel like the Egyptians would believe him and that he wasn’t confident in his ability to communicate effectively. Isn’t that what scares us when we are asked to step out in a spiritual application –whether it be praying or leading a Bible Study. “What if they don’t believe me?” What if I sound like an idiot and no one understands what I’m saying?” What did God say to Moses after Moses responded that he didn’t feel like he was the right communicator for the job?

“…What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. (Exodus 4:14-15)

My favorite line is, “He (his brother Aaron) is already on his way to meet you…” How awesome is that. God knew what Moses’ objection was going to be and he had the remedy already in place. Moses was the right man for the job the whole time and God knew what he would need in order to get it done. God never asked Moses to do something he couldn’t handle. WE will never be asked to do something we can’t handle –with God’s help and provision. However, we may not see all of the answers at once. Moses didn’t know his brother was on the way when God asked him to lead the people.

Whatever it is that God is asking you to do, remember he won’t ask you to do it alone. He will always provide the tools you need to get the job done and done right. But, you may have to wait for your “brother” to arrive sometimes. Be patient and trusting of an almighty God.

royb

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Grace Does Not Come by Obedience…or Does It?

While riding down a fairly big highway in West Columbia, SC, I saw a sign out front of a church and it read, “Grace Only Comes by Obedience Gal 5:4”. I put it in quotes because that is exactly what it said –I wrote it down. I’ve read Galatians. I’ve read and made notes on Galatians 5. I’ve studied and taught parts of it at various times. To my knowledge, nowhere in Galatians –or the Bible as a whole—does it say, “Grace comes by Obedience.” I’ll put the verse, and the surrounding verses, –for context— below. Read them….then re-read them.

Galatians 5:1-6

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Unless I’m missing something, the two verses following Galatians 5:4 actually give the answer to the question of how we get anything at all…….FAITH.

And to further make the point, Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9,

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Abraham was credited righteousness even though there wasn’t even a law to follow yet. How? Faith. Read Hebrews or Genesis, it’s all there.

For some reason this has really bothered me. I saw the sign about 4 1/2 hours ago and I can’t get it out of my head. I think the reason is because of what that first verse up there says (Galatians 5:1). “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” He did not set us free to go back into a different kind of slavery. We are not to trade one type for another, which is what some churches try to do to people. Read the second half of verse 1, “…and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Paul was writing this letter to the believers in Galatia because “Christian” leaders were trying to attach all kinds of rules and regulations to the people’s salvation: Faith + ______.

Paul wrote Galatians to put the kibosh on this teaching. That is deceitful and manipulative teaching, and churches have been using that tactic for thousands of years. I pray that we as believers can truly live in freedom. God did not just save us from something bad. He saved us to something better. God did not just deliver the Israelites and leave them in the desert to rot. He delivered them from slavery to the promise land. Please don’t let anyone put a yoke of slavery back on you. Or, like Paul fears in Galatians 4:11, someone wasted time in preaching salvation to you to begin with.

Back to the church sign. Maybe the church sign was simply a conversation starter: put there to get the drivers-by to ask questions. Somehow I doubt it. I pray that it will change here soon back to something less controversial…..to me at least.

Please comment on what you’ve read here. If you agree or disagree, let me know why. I’d love the feedback.

royb

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Irony or Providence?

Four or Five years ago I, subconsciously, picked up a tune that I kept playing over and over. It was a short riff that I began playing whenever I was leading worship or playing at a prayer service. Over the last few years I’ve played this tune hundreds of times but couldn’t ever remember where I had heard it. I searched my brain forever trying to remember the song and eventually just gave in to the fact that I’d probably never know.

But….

Last night, while playing at the Hispanic ministry I help with, someone heard me playing that song (during prayer time) and asked me if that was such and such a song? He said it sounded like one he knew, and in fact, he had the chord sheet and words for it with him. After seeing the title and thinking back, it was the song. I played the song a couple of times years back when we were preparing to go to Panama for a Missions trip.

The song?  “Yo Te Busco”, which means I Search for You.

Irony or Divine Providence?

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A $50 Lesson

This was written in a chat room by Ringostar123. I don’t know anything about this person, but I thought this was really good.

Ringostar123

A $50 Lesson

I recently asked my friends’ little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, ‘If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?’

She replied, ‘I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.’
Her parents beamed with pride.

‘Wow…what a worthy goal.’ I told her, ‘But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.’

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, ‘Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?’

I said, ‘Welcome to the Republican Party.’

Her parents still aren’t speaking to me.

That is the difference.

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Book Review: Tea With Hezbollah by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis

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Tea With Hezbollah, by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis, was a book (non-fiction)that stretched me to the limits. The authors set out on a journey to find the “Good Samaritan” talked about by Jesus, in His famous parable. They traveled through the Middle East interviewing Muslim leaders from Hezbollah, Hamas and others, asking hard questions about Jesus’ teachings concerning loving our enemies.

I’ve traveled through Israel and I’ve had conversations with Christians, Jews and Arabs, both living in Israel and Palestine, so this book was fascinating to me. I’ve walked places where Jesus walked and sat on the hillside where Jesus gave the famous “Sermon on the Mount.” His teachings concerning loving our neighbors as ourselves and loving our enemies was just as revolutionary then as it is now. But it is just as hard. Imagine, in Jesus’ time, Samaritans were looked at by the Jews much the same way Muslims are looked at by Christians today. Are we, as believers in Christ, capable of loving our enemies? Tea with Hezbollah posed that same question to the Muslim leaders, and the answers were eye opening.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who can read with their eyes opened. What I mean is that you have to be willing to learn what people are thinking, whether or not you agree with them. Just because you hear them out doesn’t mean you are condoning what they do.

–royb

Click here to buy this book at Random House.

In the honor of full disclosure, I was given a copy of this book by the Publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah, to read and review.

Summary:

Is it really possible to love one’s enemies?
That’s the question that sparked a fascinating and, at times, terrifying journey into the heart of the Middle East during the summer of 2008. It was a trip that began in Egypt, passed beneath the steel and glass high rises of Saudi Arabia, then wound through the bullet- pocked alleyways of Beirut and dusty streets of Damascus, before ending at the cradle of the world’s three major religions: Jerusalem.

Tea with Hezbollah
combines nail-biting narrative with the texture of rich historical background, as readers join novelist Ted Dekker and his co-author and Middle East expert, Carl Medearis, on a hair-raising journey. They are with them in every rocky cab ride, late-night border crossing, and back-room conversation as they sit down one-on-one with some of the most notorious leaders of the Arab world. These candid discussions with leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas, with muftis, sheikhs, and ayatollahs, with Osama bin Laden’s brothers, reveal these men to be real people with emotions, fears, and hopes of their own. Along the way, Dekker and Medearis discover surprising answers and even more surprising questions that they could not have anticipated—questions that lead straight to the heart of Middle Eastern conflict.
Through powerful narrative Tea With Hezbollah will draw the West into a completely fresh understanding of those we call our enemies and the teaching that dares us to love them. A must read for all who see the looming threat rising in the Middle East.

Author Bios:

Ted Dekker is the author of many nationally bestselling novels, including Bone Man’s Daughters, The Circle Trilogy, Thr3e, and House, which was coauthored by Frank Peretti. His unique style of storytelling has captured the attention of millions worldwide. Visit him at TedDekker.com.

Carl Medearis is the founder and president of International Initiatives, LLC, an organization that promotes cultural, educational, and commercial exchange between the East and the West. He is an advisor on Arab affairs to the members of the U.S. Congress and leaders in international business.

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Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson

I’ve read Mark Batterson’s other two books, and his newest book, Primal, is a masterpiece as well. Batterson has a remarkable way of communicating a deep truth in a way that we can all identify.

His passion is infectious and his insight is incredible. In Primal, Mark Batterson takes us on a journey back to the beginning of the Christian Faith:

Over the last two thousand years, Christianity has evolved in lots of ways. We’ve come out of the catacombs and built majestic cathedrals with all the bells and steeples. Theologians have given us creeds and canons. Churches have added pews and pulpits, hymnals and organs, committees and liturgies. And the IRS has given us 501(c)(3) status. And there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. But none of those things is primal. And almost like the Roman effect of building things on top of things, I wonder if the accumulated layers of Christian traditions and institutions have unintentionally obscured what lies beneath.

…When all of the superficialities are stripped away, what is
the primal essence of Christianity?

In the pages that follow, I want to descend that flight of stairs with you. I want
us to go underground. I want us to go back in time. Think of it as a quest for the
lost soul of Christianity. And by the time you reach the last page, I hope you will
have done more than rediscover Christianity in its most primal form. I hope you will
have gone back to the primal faith you once had. Or more accurately, the primal faith
that once had you.

Mark Batterson challenges us to get back to the roots of our faith. What is it that Christianity is all about? What do we really believe and why? What are we passionate about?

This book will absolutely challenge you to evaluate your faith, and will ultimately help facilitate a revolution in your life.

–royb

You can buy it here, at Amazon.com.

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Book Review: Angels by Dr. David Jeremiah

clip_image002What are angels? What is their role in God’s plan? Are they present? Do they appear? Do they give us personal insight about our work, our worship?

Many contemporary beliefs about angels are based on misconception and myth. Dr. David Jeremiah uses scripture to unveil the remarkable truth about these agents of heaven, and their role and work in our world—and lives.

More than 60,000 units of this powerful book have sold in two past editions. This repackage of the original 1996 paperback will surely capture the attention of readers of all ages who seek a broad and thorough survey of scripture that clearly separates fact from fiction as it relates to angels. The book will appeal to the thousands who follow Dr. Jeremiah’s books, and radio and TV broadcasts.

Relevant, little known biblical facts help readers sharpen their knowledge and sensitivities toward the spiritual reality of angels. Dr. Jeremiah’s enlightening findings are supported with illustrations and insights from Billy Graham, Corrie ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, and more.

Dr. David Jeremiah is senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego, and founder of Turning Point Radio and TV Ministries. His radio program is carried on over 2,500 stations worldwide, while the TV broadcast is received by 500 million homes via cable and satellite. The recipient of numerous awards for broadcast excellence, his books have garnered Gold Medallion awards and become bestsellers with The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times. He is a sought-after conference speaker by organizations nationwide.

I have a copy of the book to give away. Leave a comment saying why you would like to read it and I’ll pick one to receive the book –Good Luck.

Click here to purchase this book at Random House.

royb

In honor of full disclosure, I received this book free from Random House to review.

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