Christian Book Reviews hosteb by Bring It On! communications

April 9, 2013—Hello bloggers, reviewers, and book lovers!

We know-this site is looking a little rusty. We had to set aside our book reviews for several months in 2012, but we are back and hoping that you will join us!

In the weeks to come, many new reviews will be rolling in and when they do, we will be posting them to our new site which is nearly ready to launch. You can visit us at www.TellUsTheTruthReviews.com

So....out with the old.....in with the new! Thank you for being a fan of books! We love what you have to say!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Key to the Kingdom Book - review (And a giveaway)

"Every locked door holds something behind it . . ."

http://www.keytothekingdombook.com/

About the Author: (From the website)

Jeff Dixon was raised in Florida and has always been fascinated with the man Walt Disney and the theme park he created. Dixon feels that any guest who would take the time to look would discover a story that will never be completed. It is against this canvas that Dixon paints this mystery, adventure, and thriller. The epic drama carries the reader across the state of Florida to discover details that most people have missed. Each discovery and revelation will have the reader wondering if they are reading fact or fiction. In a quickening pace, the characters find themselves on a collision course with an unthinkable outcome! Fans of Walt Disney will love the history and tourists will find a travel guide that takes them on a trip most guests never get to take.

About the Book: (From the website)

Grayson Hawkes learns how imaginative and elaborate Walt Disney World is when he accepts an invitation one sunny day from a trusted friend landing him in a world he never knew existed. Barely escaping a late night encounter, he finds himself desperately trying to solve a mysterious disappearance while trying to stay ahead of those who are chasing him. He navigates through the kingdom where knowledge of seemingly unimportant Disney facts and some divine help are the only way he can discover the lock that can only be opened by an ancient key. His world becomes even more complicated when he is captivated by mysterious woman, causing him to make a series of choices that takes his faith to the brink. Within the walls of Walt Disney World is more mystery than one imagination can contain. Here Disney Trivia is not a game; and the ancient key is the only way out!

My review:

We are avid Disney fans, who visit often, I enjoyed following the search in the book, knowing exactly where they were in the parks (this really made me want to go back!)  As I tried to unravel the clues and solve the mystery! Other than the fact that the main character  is a pastor, there is little spiritual content. The story is suitable for most ages and contains no graphic violence or offensive language.  I love that Disney trivia was woven throughout the book, even as a seasoned Disney veteran, I learned a few cool tidbits.

You do not have to be a Disney fan to enjoy A Key to the Kingdom book, if you are a fan of mysteries this is a great book for you. You will follow "Hawk"  as he tries not to be found by people chasing him,  meets a mysterious woman, find out who is a friend or foe…and must solve a puzzle at the same time! You will get sucked in, and won't want to put it down. 
Buy it:

You can pick the book up at amazon for $10.87
 
Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Midnight Rising: Warning Signs for This Generation

I recently had the great opportunity to review "Midnight Rising: Warning Signs for This Generation" by William Anderson Simpson.


I have been somewhat fascinated with the coming times and the promise of salvation for quite some time now.  I've read most of the Left Behind books and tried to read Revelations - simply needing a formal bible study on that one to understand all of the analogies!

This book is provocative and a great source of reading about the coming Rapture, with evidenced proof with paralleled scripture.  Insights into the book of Daniel and Revelations opens our eyes to the possibility of the End Times being much closer than we may anticipate.

Revelation describes the Nation of the Beast and Anderson argues that this nation is none other than the United States of America.  Anderson reveals quite interesting arguments in a layman's manner and challenges us to be open to the Word and its promises to us.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the prophesies of the end times in the Bible and the role that the U.S. stands in it.

Bravo!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sand to Pearls
About the Book:
"Do you wish that you had a blueprint for a rich, fulfilling life? Many of us mistakenly think that if we were prettier, smarter, had less obligations or a fulfilling romantic relationship we would, at last, be joyful and content.

Chasing after false illusions of success can propel us to make unwise and detrimental choices. Often we remain stuck in our uncertain reality because we don't know how to move forward. Blinded by our insecurity, we forget that God has the potential and power to intervene and guide us toward wiser, fulfilling choices for our future.

International speaker and author of Beauty Unleashed, Heidi McLaughlin shares from her personal discoveries about how God can turn resentment into freedom, regrets into rejoicing, and shame into radiance."

About the Author:
"For over two decades, Heidi McLaughlin, international speaker and author...has been teaching, mentoring, and inspiring women to discover their most valuable, unexpected gift: the endowment of their genuine, beautiful self. This passion emerged through her personal discovery of how God restores all our brokenness and then helps us to unleash our full potential and beauty. Her favorite activity is sitting across from a woman over a freshly brewed cup of coffee and exchanging heart connection stories."

You can follow Heidi on Twitter and become her friend on Facebook.

My Take:
Sand to Pearls is a wonderful book about personal growth through allowing God into our lives. It teaches about what things we think that are irrational and lead to fulfillment, resentment and even depression. And then it shows how to get past that by asking God for His help.

This is a book geared toward Christian living, but as I've said before, religious Christian and religious Jewish morals tend to be very similar. Even passages from the New Testament can help a Jewish person with moral guidance, since the ideas presented there are similar to ones you would find in the Torah.

I love how Heidi begins each chapter by presenting what it is we have all been doing wrong while giving personal accounts of how she went wrong...and then turned onto the correct path. Then, she gives us choices that are meant to enrich our lives. For example, in chapter 5 (Resentment or Sweet Reasonableness - which happens to be the chapter that most spoke to me) one of these choices is "Your husband forgot to take out the garbage - again. Choose to overlook it; the world will not come to an end." This can apply to so many things. No one is perfect, so overlooking the small errors that a spouse makes can lead to a much happier marriage.

After the choices, she shows us how to "Stop and ask God to help...change sand to pearls." She uses the acronym of STOP - Scripture, Thanksgiving, Observation and Prayer - to guide a person through the way to change. For example, in chapter 5, you begin by asking "God, what resolved hurt is causing me to feel resentment?" Then, you go through the STOP steps to obtain His help.

Sand to Pearls is a very helpful book on practical living and how to become a better, more "bold" person. Choosing a path that leads to your own inner happiness while walking with God.

Cost: You can buy Sand to Pearls for $11.04 from Amazon.com ($$$)

Overall: We give Sand to Pearls a 9/10!

We were sent Sand to Pearls free of charge for the sole purpose of this review; no other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.

This is a MamaBuzz review. The product was provided by Heidi McLaughlin for this review.

Book Review and Giveaway: Sand to Pearls by Heidi McLaughlin

Synopsis: Illusions of success and instant pleasure can seduce us into making poor choices. We long for fulfillment but are haggard from life’s trials and overwhelmed by what the future holds. Broken, we feel unworthy to ask God to intervene in our lives. Blinded by it all, we often overlook that God has the potential to use everything in our lives--whether good or bad.

It's time to S.T.O.P. and let God help us make bold choices to enrich our lives with freedom, fulfillment and incredible beauty!

McLaughlin shares from her personal discoveries how God heals and restores all failures and pain. If God can take a tiny grain of sand and turn it into a gorgeous pearl, then He certainly can turn our worst decisions and biggest mistakes into a magnificent new beginning!

About the Author: Heidi is the author of Beauty Unleashed ... Transforming a Woman's Soul. This is her second book. Heidi is married to Jack, a pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, BC. She is a mom and step-mom of five children and grandmother of seven. Besides her speaking engagements and writing, she is the Controller at a VW/Audi Dealership.You can find her at writing at her blog, Hear's Connection, on Twitter and on Facebook!

Review: This book is for anyone who is in need of personal growth, be it from getting out of a bad relationship/divorce, fighting with parents/siblings, or trying to make changes in the personal lives. I wasn't too sure of it when I started reading it, but while it has Christian beliefs and prayer in it, most of the ideas about letting go of past hurts and resentments and living for YOU, will speak to anyone wanting to change their lives, no matter what denomination they are.

Her chapters deal with friends/frien-enemies,  self-sabotage, resentment, instant pleasures/no patience, blended families, comparison/contentment, fear/fortitude, regrets/rejoicing, shame/radiance, panic/prayer, and career/calling. As you can see, most of us would find parts of ourselves in those chapters, and areas we know need fixing/working on!

McLaughlin gives excellent examples, and quotes other Christian and lay authors on the different topic, to help illustrate the points she is making. Then she includes a STOP program at the end of every chapter for you to follow.

McLaughlin's STOP program is very simple and easy to understand:
  • S- Scripture verse- there is a verse for every situation, and for reflection on your current problem
  • T-Thanksgiving- be thankful for what God has the power to accomplish/has done for you already.
  • O-Observation- what wisdom is God unleashing for you in the verse above. How can you change your actions to better suit it
  • P-Prayer-ask God to change your struggles to joy, sand to pearls.
The chapter on blended families, and the Mission Statement that McLaughlin and her current husband made before they blended their families, should be read by anyone in the same situation. She has some really great ideas on how to 'make things work' for everyone involved. If you know of a friend that has sought out a Christian life, but is having issues over their past, this book can help them get thru and over that hurdle!

I think this book should be read by ALL women, and definitely recommend it for college age women, so that they can start now an changing how they react to situations, and learning how to handle hurts, so that they will not haunt them and bring down the rest of their lives, knowingly or unknowingly. if you have a friend or family member who needs help to live a more practical, Christian life, this is the book!

Glimpsing God

What would you do if in the span of 2 years, you had your heart stop, you found out your daughter had been hit in the head with a steel baseball bat and suffered a cracked skull that would require surgery more than once, you get involved in a car accident with all of your kids that leaves one of thm almost lifeless, you discover that three of your five kids have a rare genetic brain disorder, and then your husband is involved in a car accident that leave him permanently disabled?

Would you question God?

Would you ask Why God would put you and your family through this?

If He is God, couldn't He have prevented all this?

What if you were doing all the right things as a Christian, going to church, volunteering in the church, paying your tithes, and praying as often as you could, what then?

I don't know about you, but I would have thought God up and abandoned me several times. Yet, we know God is never to blame. We live in a world where our faith is constantly put to the test, but none in this case as much as Rachel Alkire does in her dramatic true story called Glimpsing God.

Yes, all the above is detailed out along with Rachel's thought that often go hand in hand with what we might consider if we had to deal with everything. Yet in the midst of everything, time after time, God showed the goodness that comes from every single one of those circumstances and in the end, created such a strong faith for both her and her family to come to know God more intimately.

I received this amazing story compliments of Bring It On Communications for my honest review and LOVED it! I taught me that seeing things through the eyes of another is often easy to see just how powerful and mighty our God truly is, and no matter what happens in our life, He never leaves us. This one is a powerful testimony that would be a great gift for anyone wanting the answer to why God does what He does. This rates a 5 out of 5 stars!!!

If you would like more information about the book, the amazing author and where to purchase a copy for yourself, simply click on the link below. This one is now part of my permanent library of faith along with my Bible. It's available in paperback format for now.

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Deep River Books (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935265202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935265207
  • Price: $11.69

Sand to Pearls Review & Giveaway


I can honestly say that it’s been awhile since I’ve read a book that has really moved me and inspired me….but lately, I’ve been reading Sand to Pearls by Heidi McLaughlin. I must say that this author is gifted not only in writing, but in expressing things to readers in a way that is very real and applicable to their lives.The ideas and thoughts she shares are not some high-up, far-off ideas that are so filled with expectations that one could never hope to achieve them, but they’re right on the reader’s level. The author has been where we as women are at, and she shares many of her own struggles and heartaches and frustrations, even funny moments from her life.
Sand to Pearls is about Making BOLD Choices to Enrich Your Life. Heidi truly does focus on the choices that we make as women and how they can make or break us in our physical, spiritual, and emotional lives. Throughout the chapters in this book, Heidi deals with certain topic matters, such as the “shoulds” in our lives, sabotage, friendship, resentment, contentment, forgiveness, etc. She not only shares stories and tidbits from her own life, but she also shares encouragement and advice for turning our thoughts and hearts around to where they should be. She offers step by step approaches to tackling our choices head on. At the end of each and every chapter, she uses the acronym STOP (Scripture verse, Thanksgiving, Observation, Prayer) for a time of reflection and prayer.
This book is full of “meat.” Heidi uses Scripture throughout, as the basis of her teaching; she also refers to several authors, experts, etc. There are inspirational quotes throughout, as well. I found the words of this book to be rich and meaningful; it was a book that could be read as a life study book, as a devotional book, as a leisure book, even in a discussion group with other women. This book would be great to read together with a group of girlfriends and discuss struggles and choices together. I found this book easy to read, easy to digest, but full of thought provoking power. I would definitely recommend it to any woman; I would even read it again, using it as a reference at times. The chapters on friendship really spoke to my heart, as it’s so easy to become so caught up in our own little worlds, with everything that is going on, everything on our to do lists, activities we’re involved in, work and the busyness of life, etc.
You can purchase Sand to Pearls for $12.99 from Deep River Books. This book is one book that every woman should read, especially if she longs to grow spiritually, making the choices God would have her to make. Be sure to Add Heidi McLaughlin as a Friend on Facebook, and follow @heidiheart on Twitter.

Sand to Pearls by Heidi McLaughlin Review!

On The Back
Do you wish that you had a blueprint for a rich, fulfilling life? Many of us mistakenly think that if we were prettier, smarter, had less obligations or a fulfilling romantic relationship we would, at last, be joyful and content.
Chasing after false illusions of success can propel us to make unwise and detrimental choices. Often we remain stuck in our uncertain reality because we don’t know how to move forward. Blinded by our insecurity, we forget that God has the potential and power to intervene and guide us toward wiser, fulfilling choices for our future.
International speaker and author of Beauty Unleashed, Heidi McLaughlin shares from her personal discoveries about how God can turn resentment into freedom, regrets into rejoicing, and shame into radiance. If God can take a tine, insignificant grain of sand and turn it into a unique, gorgeous pearl, then He can certainly turn our insecurities, fears and worst decisions into a magnificent new beginning!

My Thoughts On Sand To Pearls
By Heidi McLaughlin

At times it is easy to get wrapped up in worldly issues. Trying to keep up with the ‘Jones’ is hard but often times what people strive for. Sand to Pearls teaches us that it is more important to stay on the right track. The track that God wants us to be one. If we follow the example set for us by Jesus and keep our thoughts and actions pure than we can have a happy and joyous life. A life that God meant for us to have! There was a lot in this book that I needed to hear again. I was able to sit and ponder some of the aspects of my life and think on how to change some of the things I do! For example I try to be the perfect ‘Homemaker.’ I mean sewing my kids clothes, making sure there is never anything out of place in my home, always greeting my children with a smile on my face, having dinner on the table when my husband walks in the door from work, etc….at times this can be overwhelming and I need to sit and think is this the path God wants from me? So what if the dishes don’t get done today? Maybe then I will be able to sit and play a little more with the kids! Sometimes in the blogging world it is also easy to get caught up in a world that only focuses around the computer. I know that recently I have been on it more than I should. Trying to find good deals around the net and getting all of my reviews and giveaways scheduled way ahead of time. But I know that I even need a break from all of that at times.

Sand to Pearls will make you think about lots of different aspects of your life. It will help you to reevaluate and see what really should be done with your life. If you think that sometimes you get caught up in the World more than you do with God than this book is for you!

Buy It!
You may visit HEREto make a purchase!

I did receive a product for the purpose of this review thanks to MamaBuzz and Bring it on Communications, However my opinion was used in this review and was not influenced in any way! All thoughts are my own and may vary from others.

Sand to Pearls, a review

Sand to PearlsAt the moment, I feel a bit behind on my reading.  Life threw me a curve ball and some things got put aside for a bit.One of the books I am enjoying, but have not spent enough time giving it the attention it deserves is Sand to Pearls by Heidi McLaughlin.

This book asks the reader to consider ways to break the bonds of ‘obligations’ that weigh us down and start living our lives in ways that build us up.  While I am sometimes a bit leery of books that promote personal growth in a way that removes faith and religion, Ms. McLaughlin does a great job in bringing Christian living into practical life.  At the end of each chapter, she has the reader STOP (Scripture, Thanksgiving, Observation, and Prayer) and ask God to help transform sand into pearls.  You can’t get more practical with your application of Christian living than that!
One of the first topics covered (in 2 chapters) is  friendship. Some of us have spent time nurturing a relationship that was not a true friendship and drained our energy that could have been directed elsewhere.  Reading through that portion of the book helped to reinforce the need to make the ‘real’ friendships a priority rather than the ‘fake’ ones.  Life is too short and we need those relationships which help us become the holy women God wants us to be.

I found it a little ironic that the topic of resentment comes up right after friendships.  More often than I care to admit, resentment arises from bumps in the road of relationships, especially those people I call friend.   I really enjoyed her separation of the language of our lips and the language of our hearts.  This is definitely an area where I will suffer in silence while the opportunity for resentment to grow is present.  I need a resentment box like Ms. McLaughlin talks about in the book.  While I have gotten better through the years (mellowing with age, maybe?), I still have to work towards a balance she calls ‘sweet reasonableness.’

Other topics include the desire for instant pleasure versus waiting, comparing to others versus being content, and regrets versus rejoicing.  All of these are areas where I have struggled at one time or another.
Overall, this has been an interesting book to read.  I must confess that as I write this review, I have not finished the last few chapters.  However, I expect it to continue along the same lines as the preceding chapters…calling me to live my life in such a way that God can make pearls from sand.

Sand to Pearls retails for $12.99 and is published by Deep River Books.
You can find Heidi McLaughlin on the webTwitter and Facebook.
Disclaimer ~ This is a Mama Buzz review.  I was provided a copy of Sand to Pearls by Deep River Books for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation was given and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Heavenly Host - The Testings of Devotion



We all know that an unseen world exists along side the world in which we live in. I have found myself wondering just what happened on that day when Lucifer, one of God's archangels, desired to set himself above God and think he could control the world. Not only that he managed to convince a third of the angels in heaven to leave with him where God has him banished until judgement day.

Welcome to The Heavenly Host - The Testing of Devotion, Book One by Cheryl Dellasega, who takes the reader on a journey in heaven on that fateful day through a fiction based novel taking what we know from the Bible and giving us a perspective on what may have occurred.

We meet Gabriel, Michael and a host of angels whose job it is to find Lucifer on the edge of where heaven and earth meet, to give him an ultimatum, to serve God or be banished from heaven forever. Lucifer begins his argument that he needs to take control of the mortals ruining what God has created and try to fix them so that they will stop hurting and causing pain for their creator, the Almighty Divine. He truly believes that he can fix things and convinces the angels listening to him that God has place humans needs above the angels whose desire it is to serve him.

When Lucifer finishes, he tells the angels that he will grant them the positions they so believe they are entitled to, ruling over mortals and restoring the earth as God had imagined, not serving mortals whose selfish lives are what is causing so much pain for God. All but Michael, Gabriel and a praying angel called Sophia are the only ones who don't join, and so the portal between heaven and earth is closed.

What takes place in the book shows us just how angels can be used by God as He desires us to be protected, ministered to and even comforted in the midst of the chaos that Lucifer and his angels are waging on earth. It really gets the reader involved in just what some things occur on earth and while we may not see it, God is truly controlling it all for His purpose and His good.

I received this heartwarming book, The Heavenly Host - The Testing of Devotion by Cheryl Dellasega, compliments of Bring It On Communications for my honest review and can say I LOVED it! It takes the stories we find in the scriptures and brings to light the possibilities of what is going on in the unseen world we know exists. It provides hope and faith, that even though we can't see it, we know God is using all things to His goodness in the end. This book rates a 5 out of 5 stars! It is available in paperback format and on the Kindle.
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: VMI Publishers (October 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933204702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933204703
  • Price: $11.45 paperback, $ 9.99 Kindle
For more information about the book, the author and where to get a copy of this book, simply click on the link below:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Fit for My King
His Princess 30-Day Diet Plan and Devotional
By: Sheri Rose Shepherd

From the Cover ...
In this 30-Day Journey, the  bestselling author of His Princess shares how God healed her from an eating disorder, helped her conquer chronic fatigue, and gave her the strength and wisdom to lose over sixty pounds and keep it off. Today, at nearly 50 years old, Sheri Rose is healthy and free. More than half a million women have been set free through this life-changing teaching.
You can win this diet war once and for all! Sheri Rose Shepherd walks through each day with you, supporting you with 30 days of life-changing devotions, heartwarming stories, creative cooking and a daily dose of scripture to keep you on track. The treasures of truth found in these pages will transform the way you see yourself forever. 
It's time to become the best version of you! God loves you and will be with you every step of the way.

You all know I'm working really hard to lose weight. I have my moments where I lose track and wonder why I work so hard but then I look back at old pictures and realize that I have to make the change for me and nobody else. When I first started, I searched and searched for the 'secrets' to losing weight, as if there was something I was missing. I went to see a nutritionist, read several books and even more recently saw two people from the Biggest Loser speak. What did they know that I don't?

These last 30 days, I've been following along with the book 'Fit for My King' by Sheri Rose Shepherd. I was sent a copy to review through Bring It On Communications.

She begins her book talking about all the things you need to know to begin your journey. Once you understand that it's reasonable to achieve a healthy lifestyle rather than the barbie image, you can succeed in life with God's help.

I think this book is great. God is an important part in my life and I never looked at becoming healthy as a way to honor him. Through your 30 day plan, you won't only gradually work your way through the emotional to healthy side but also work on your relationship with Him. It was a little serious for me but I enjoyed it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another First Wild Card Tour Review!

My review of Sand to Pearls:

In my humble opinion, one of the best ways to grow in our Christian walk is to read about other people’s experiences and perspectives.  Because of this I like to read books such as Sand to Pearls.  Many of these books are quite good and full of useful advice and biblical wisdom.  This is one of these books.  There wasn’t anything profoundly new in this book, but Heidi’s experiences and especially her writing made Sand to Pearls a superior book in the realm of Christian living books.  I would pick up this book to do a little reading from and find it difficult to put it down.  I just wanted to keep reading more and more because there was so much comfort and wisdom in the pages of this book.  If I had to choose my favorite chapter it would have to be chapter 7, Instant Pleasures or Expectant Waiting.  I had just been sharing with some friends the very same points the author was making and I was so pleased to be able to relate to her. 

I highly recommend Sand to Pearls for everyone.  It is a definite must-read, and I don’t say that often.  Even though there was not a lot of new information here, the presentation and the writing was fantastic, thus setting it apart and making the reading of Sand to Pearls a uniquely inspiring experience.  I absolutely loved this book.
Another First Wild Card Book Tour Review!!

Sand to Pearls written by Heidi McLaughlin

My thoughts: 


Overall, I loved the points McLaughlin makes. However, I felt there was a bit of jumping around with each chapter - not much continuity to help them flow easier. But it didn't take away from the overall opinion. I think what spoke to me the most was learning to wait on God. Not giving in to the tendency to run ahead of Him but just wait. "You are at a time where you think you should have figured out by now what God's purpose is for you. Choose to believe a) You may already be doing it and not even know it, or b) That God is preparing you for it." I want to make the right choices that will propel me into the future God has for me!

Sand to Pearls written by Heidi McLaughlin

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is: 


and the book: 

Deep River (January 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Arielle Roper, Media Relations, Bring it On! Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Through her ministry Heart Connection, Christian speaker and author Heidi McLaughlin embraces women with love and inspires them to walk in the knowledge that they are one of God’s most glorious creations. Her powerful, life-changing messages, whether written or spoken, draw women into a place of intimate connection with each other and with God. Her messages are rich with humor, passion and truth, and liberally sprinkled with personal stories.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Illusions of success and instant pleasure can seduce us into making poor choices. We long for fulfillment but are haggard from life’s trials and overwhelmed by what the future holds. Broken, we feel unworthy to ask God to intervene in our lives. Blinded by it all, we often overlook that God has the potential to use everything in our lives--whether good or bad.

It's time to S.T.O.P. and let God help us make bold choices to enrich our lives with freedom, fulfillment and incredible beauty!

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Deep River (January 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265431
ISBN-13: 978-1935265436

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: 
Introduction


As I drive to work in the mornings, I gaze at people’s face and observe their fatigued, lifeless expressions as they navigate through traffic to confront another demanding day. Often I sit across a cup of coffee with another woman and I hear her sighs of feeling lonely and overwhelmed with too many obligations and choices. Life is tough these days and many people feel trapped. We grind through our days doing the same thing again and again and hope for different results. That could be described as the roadway to insanity. We don’t know how to stop. We are on a relentless quest to know that we are loved, to know that we have value, and to feel pleasure. We will do almost anything to feel better.


We may have the illusion that:


• If I had a better career and worked harder, I would feel more fulfilled.


• When I have more money, life will be easier and I will feel more content.


• If I had a husband/boyfriend that treated me better, I would be a happier person.


• If I had had a better upbringing, I would have achieved greater success.


• My parents were overweight, poor and lazy; therefore, I will probably be like my parents.


• If I put my children into a lot of activities, I will feel like I am a good mother.


• If I had more time to myself, I would not be so tired.


And so we grab for the first thing that we think will make us happier; go and buy something we can’t afford, pursue a different relationship, take another drink, open the fridge, watch some pornography, take a trip or sit on the couch and watch endless, boring television. You and I are our own worst enemy, but we feel helpless to change. We need more than our human endeavors and wisdom to help us make choices to navigate this complicated maze of life. The Bible tells us that we have been given the mind of Christ, a supernatural authority, to unleash all the wisdom and discernment needed to make bold and good choices. Every single day God gives you and me the amazing privilege and power to choose a glorious course for our life. We can’t even begin to imagine all the blessings God wants us to have and enjoy. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:9-10, NIV).


I am a perfect example of how God can take our worst decisions and biggest mistakes, and turn them into a magnificent new beginning. My spiritual journey did not start until I was thirty-two. I had been a rebellious, self-centered young woman determined to show my family and the world that I was capable of making my own wise choices. But my insecurities and selfishness propelled me to make choices that forged the pathway to a pit of depression, despair, tumultuous disappointments and “almost divorce.” God, in His kindness, gently taught me how to begin to live a new life evoked by choices through the power of His Holy Spirit living in me. Few things in life create more worry, stress and anxiety than the uncertainty of our future. While you are reading this book, it doesn’t matter what stage of life you are at. God has the potential to use everything in your life, the good and bad, and turn it into beauty. It’s time to choose and live your dream; but what tomorrow holds is up to you.


I would like you to imagine sitting across from me, sharing a delicious, hot steaming drink, being honest and making ourselves vulnerable. You need to know you are not alone in your daily toil. By being authentic we can soften our hearts and enable God to connect with us so that we can hear Him speak His truth and wisdom to us. Every chapter in this book begins with my own struggles, mistakes and challenges, and then gives insight as to why and how we make our destructive choices. Of course I don’t leave you hanging and bleeding; I give you a dozen or so practical steps to empower you to make wise, bold choices that will enrich and transform your life in more beautiful ways than you can imagine. Then I end with a time of reflection and prayer. This is the place where you can allow the Holy Spirit, through the mind of Christ in you, to change your life from irritating sand into gorgeous, timeless pure pearls:


Stop and As k God To Help You Change Sand to Pearls


Begin by asking: Ask God a question.


S: Scripture verse. A verse will be available here for reflection.


T: Thanksgiving. Thank God for what He has the power to accomplish.


O: Observation. What wisdom is God unleashing for you in this verse?


P: Prayer. Ask Him. I will end each chapter praying with you because I am passionate about God transforming everything in your life into what He created you to be. I may never have met you, but I have encountered women like you for the past twenty-five years and I have witnessed God’s transforming power, changing struggles to joy—sand to pearls. I know He can because He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, Creator of all life—including yours. It’s time to make choices that will forge the pathway God has planned for you. It’s time to live your dream.



C h a p t e r 1


Obligation or Invigoration


Is That a “Should” on Your Shoulder?

Our obligation is to give meaning to life and

in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.

—Elie Wiesel, American Novelist


My fingers were slippery and sweaty, yet felt ice cold and numb. It was impossible to find the right chords on my guitar. My heart was pounding so loudly that I couldn’t hear my own voice as I tried to sing the first verse of Moses and Miriam’s victory song: that festive, praise-filled epic poem about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. I took a deep breath, took a sip of water and tried again: “I will sing to the Lord for he is highly exalted, the horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea” (Exod. 15:1, NIV).


It was no use trying to sing a victorious song when I was the one feeling like I was being hurled into a sea of resistance. My face was burning with humiliation as I desperately tried to salvage this disaster, but I couldn’t find my voice. As I glanced at the circle of women around the room, I could tell by their faces that I had failed miserably. My song was only half-finished, but I knew it was over. As I walked out of the room, a younger woman walked beside me and sweetly chirped, “Maybe God is trying to teach you something about your pride.” Now I felt like I had been hit in the stomach by a sharp-edged rock. It took my breath away. I couldn’t even answer her and walked out of the church vowing I would never go back in there again. Just weeks before, some of my new church friends had approached me and said, “Heidi, I hear that you play the guitar and sing; we would love it if you would come to our next ladies event and bless us with your music.” I had agreed to sing for these ladies, even though I knew I wasn’t qualified. In spite of my misgivings, I still felt obligated to follow through on my commitment. People had spurred me on to do it. “You really should do it, you really should at least try,” they had said. While uncertain of my singing and guitar playing, my sense of inferiority overpowered me and I was too intimidated to say no. Yet I wanted to feel like I belonged to this group of Christian women that seemed so confident and gifted in many ways. This was in the early 1980s when I first became a Christian and desperately wanted to fit in—to be like one of them. With this harsh reality of being humiliated in front of my peers, I discovered that singing and playing the guitar was not one of the gifts God had given me.


When we feel overpowered by people or our circumstances, it provokes our feelings of inferiority. It unleashes confusion, frustration, and we shortcircuit the gifts, purpose and joy God has prepared for us. We wear ourselves out pleasing people instead of God, and by doing so we deny Christ’s power in our life because we are afraid of what people will think of us. When Jesus ascended from this earth, He left us the Holy Spirit; He gave us the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16, NIV), and passed on to us His authority. Instead we struggle through life reacting to all the “shoulds” that life heaps on us, and we end up with our shoulders hunched over looking like we are carrying the weight of the world. Trying to please everyone is very exhausting; it drains us of energy and unknowingly we succumb to the authority of other people instead of Christ. The faster we go and the harder we work at trying to juggle all our responsibilities, the emptier we feel. Marcus Buckingham, the author of Find Your Strongest Life, says this about the shoulds. “Because you neglect the specific moments that strengthen you, your life gradually becomes filled up with a grab bag of activities and responsibilities. You may have a good reason for taking on each of these responsibilities—everything from ‘If I don’t do this, no one else will’ to ‘A good mother should do this’ but the outcome is that a barrage of moments with which you’ve filled your life now blankets your senses. This barrage drowns out the signals from those few moments that truly strengthen you. You start to feel empty.”1


When we operate out of our weaknesses and lack of self-worth, the slightest demands have the power to intimidate us. The word “intimidate” is an active verb that has a very negative connotation. The thesaurus describes it this way: “threaten, badger, bait, bluster, bully, coerce, constrain, cow, dispirit, subdue,” and so on.2 When we submit to these destructive words, we refute all that we have been created for, and deny the gifts and power God wants to unleash in us. God never bullies us. Instead, He wants to take an active part in our life and is interested in everything we do and who we are. Look at how He values us: “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries” (Luke 12:6-7, MSG). Don’t be intimidated by bully talk. It’s hard for women to get up each morning and try to compare their worth against a million canaries. When they look in the mirror they can’t imagine that anyone is interested in their hair. Dr. Dobson says that the biggest struggle for women is their low selfesteem, so it is much easier to try to listen and cave in to the bully talk and earn approval by simply giving in to other people’s expectations. We need to be able to separate the bully talk and guilt induced shoulds that we are caving into. Let’s look at some of the real obligations we do need to attend to every day. We should:


• Brush our teeth.


• Eat healthy foods.


• Pay our bills on time.


• Wash our clothes.


• Show up at work on time.


• Treat each other with love and respect.


• Work on our marriages and relationships.


• Forgive.


• Love the Lord our God with our all heart, soul and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.


We should do all those things that promote our physical, emotional and spiritual health. How do we know when these have turned into obligations that stagnate our soul?


My friend, Beth Hanishewski, who is a life coach, describes it this way: “I have done many things out of obligations. The funny thing is, it does not matter if it was an invitation, a plan, a favor, gift, solicitation or a guilt trip attempt. All of these situations had one thing in common—a heavy energy. The energy of obligation feels constricting and it creates anxiety and fear. I try to override these emotions in order to please someone, or worse, to look good.”3


So how do we define what we should do?


What Is That “Should” on Your Shoulder?


While I am writing this book I am also facilitating a study called One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, written by Kerry and Chris Shook. On our group’s first evening together, one of the questions was, “What is one thing you would stop in your life right now if you knew you only had thirty days to live?” After a lively discussion, one main theme began to come into focus; stopping the life-sucking “shoulds” out of our daily activities. They are the guilt-induced obligations that we do because we are afraid that people might not like us. The discussion got even livelier as we tried to determine the obligations that we needed to let go. How do we know the difference between what to hold and what to fold?


Here is what I ask myself: “If intimidation discourages me from using the gifts God has given me, makes me feel obligated to give in to people’s demands and robs me of energy; then what wakes me up and makes me feel alive, bold and passionate? How can I use my God-given gifts to make daily impacts in people’s lives?” Here is where I need to look at the source of my moment-by-moment power.


1. Self-Power Induces Obligation


The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a great example of how deceptive and sneaky we can become when we acquiesce and do things out of obligation and needing people’s approval. In the early church in the book of Acts, at a time when all believers were of one heart and mind, people were asked to sell their houses and land and give the money to the apostles to give to others in need. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be a part of this great plan, probably to have people look favorably on them for their generosity. So they sold some property but deceived the church by holding back part of the money. They were caught and Peter confronted them. He said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God” (Acts 5:3-4, NLT).


We are especially weak when it comes to covering our hide and protecting our image. Who doesn’t want people to admire them, praise them for generosity or some noble deed? Sometimes we are afraid that if we don’t go along with the crowd, people won’t like us, we won’t fit it; and we concede to self-power. If we constantly operate out of our self-power, we will feel defeated by the constant demands of choices that we must make in our daily activities. A high percentage of women are finding it difficult to cope with the demands and choices they have to make in this exhausting twenty-first-century life, and cope by being on anti-depressants or other mind-altering drugs to give them the tenacity to carry on.


Marcus Buckingham in his book, Find Your Strongest Life, tells us that succumbing to busyness and doing more does not make us happy. “Over the last forty years women have secured for themselves greater opportunity, greater achievement, greater influence and more money. But over the same time period, they have become less happy, more anxious and more stressed; and in ever-increasing numbers they are medicating themselves for it.”4

To save our soul, you and I have to be brutally intentional about learning how to make choices by operating through God’s power.


2. God’s Power-Passion Invigorates


I get passionate and excited when I see men and women who are bold, relentless and wide awake to pursue the passions, gifts and abilities God has given them. Kerry and Chris Shook tell us in their book, One Month to Live: “We’re created as spiritual beings, and to develop spiritual energy, we have to cultivate a healthy connection to our Creator. The Bible consistently reveals that humans are created in God’s image and that we have an eternal part of us, our spirits. The most important part of our lives is our spiritual dimension, our souls… we’re created to be connected to a larger power source.”5


How do we know we are living an invigorated, passionate life that is connected to a larger power? Look at the luscious fruit. I love living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the heart of British Columbia. I never get tired of looking out of our kitchen window and watching the activity in the vineyards. For the past thirteen years I have been walking through these vineyards at least twice a week. In the last month I watched the vineyard workers carefully cut the lush, sweet grapes from the vines. Today my husband and I noticed that all the grapes are gone, and most of the vines have had their leaves stripped by the recent autumn winds. I also know that after the winter season is done, there will be more workers in the fields with their pruning shears trimming the vine branches back to almost nothing. Even after all these years I am amazed how the pruners remove all but the two best side shoots that grow from the stem. Over the next few months I watch how these harshly pruned branches begin to produce lush, sweet grapes. If you and I are going to bear gorgeous fruit in our lives, we have to be connected to the source of that growth. I love the way these verses explain this process: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1-5, NIV).


To make this power work in our life we have to pay attention to four things:


i. We have to stay attached to the vine, because it is the life source for growing the fruit. We need to be saturated by the word of God because that is the source of all our wisdom and strength, and it speaks to the mind of Christ that is within us.


ii. Without being attached to the vine, “we can do nothing.” Sure, we can be involved in a lot of activities and succumb to all the “shoulds”; but what are we accomplishing that will have eternal value?


iii. We need to be pruned regularly of our criticism, self-righteousness and immoral life so that we can continue to grow to be kinder, more compassionate, extending forgiveness and becoming more like Christ.


iv. God cuts off any branch that does not bear fruit. Ouch! I don’t really want to know what that means.


When we choose to tap into the power of God’s truth about who we are and what He can accomplish through us, it will illuminate our strengths and evoke passion. Soon a great transition begins to take place in our lives.


We move from “I should” to “I get to.” When we are passionate about something, watch out: ridiculous things begin to happen.


Change the “Shoulds” to “Ridiculous Risks”


Operating out of our God-given strengths makes us confident, passionate and bold enough to say no to the world’s screaming demands and to say yes to take some ridiculous Kingdom risks. Here is how John Bevere in his book, Breaking Intimidation, describes boldness: “Boldness comes from the virtues of power, love and soundness of mind. Boldness is not a virtue in itself. We have all known people who were brazen and bold. True boldness comes from God and is fueled by godly virtue. Boldness that is fueled by God’s character awakens the gifts in our lives.”6 Two of my favorite stories that encourage me in ridiculous boldness are of a soon-to-be king and a queen.


1. When we think of David the shepherd boy, we think of king, but also of giant killer. King Saul tried to caution David about killing a giant. “‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ Saul replied. ‘There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win. You’re only a boy’” (1 Sam. 17:33, NLT). But the size of the giant was not enough to block the view of God for this young boy when he took out his five smooth stones. He had ridiculous courage because he knew, “And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Sam. 17:47, NLT). David’s source of ridiculous power was in knowing that God ultimately fights all our battles.


2. Esther, the beautiful young Jewish woman that stole a king’s heart, is the stunning main character in one of those “sitting on the edge of your seat” intrigue and romance stories that should be made into a Steven Spielberg movie. It’s what fairy tales are made of—until a sinister plot is discovered. Queen Esther’s cousin Mordecai discovered that there was an evil man named Haman who had drawn up a letter that decreed all the Jews to be killed in that land. The dispatches said, “to destroy, kill and annihilate all of the Jews—young and old, women and little children—on a single day” (Esther 3:13, NIV). Queen Esther was also a Jewess, but how could she help? Even though she was a queen she could not approach the king without being summoned; she could be put to death. Next come three powerful factors that fuel invigoration.


i. Her cousin Mordecai reminded Queen Esther of her destiny. These people that were going to be killed were her people, her family. He reminded her how God uses us to accomplish His Kingdom work on earth when he said, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NIV, italics mine). This powerful reminder shows us that we need to be crystal clear about our purpose and set our priorities, so that we can take action and move boldly ahead.


ii. Even though Esther was a queen and shared the king’s wealth and power, she still needed God’s power. It is foolish to think that human wealth or position can make us impervious to danger. Queen Esther then replied to Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:15-16, NIV). By calling for a fast, Queen Esther was demonstrating that she knew she needed God’s power to be ridiculously bold on this dangerous mission.


iii. The world’s motto is “save your skin and look out for number one,” but we need to decide what God wants us to accomplish on this earth and trust Him for the boldness to do it. Queen Esther knew she was laying her life on the line for this treacherous mission. Her words, “And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16, NIV) send a shiver through my spine. Queen Esther felt passionate about her purpose and mission, completely trusting God for the outcome that saved the lives of all the Jews in that country.


When I am reminded of my destiny; that I am a child of the Creator and He sent His Son to die for me and that He has a purpose for my life on this earth, at this time and place of all eternity, I can be ridiculously bold at times. Not Queen Esther style, but Heidi style:


• Traveling to Poland to teach on spiritual transformation. Only God could give me the boldness to do this.


• Speaking in Yellowknife, Yukon, and experiencing no washrooms or daylight for twenty-two hours of the day.


• Submitting manuscripts for publication. This required risk and trusting God would help me get them published.


• Asking my boss if I could reduce my work hours.


• Forgiving someone that hurt me deeply.


In order to find our own style of ridiculous boldness, we have to be clear about our purpose and priorities.


What To Keep and What To Throw Away


The Christmas season is one of the worst “should” occasions for women. For years I entered into this time of year with a love/hate relationship. The ambience in our home is enchanting when it is decorated with fresh evergreen, the room is filled with flickering candles and hundreds of white mini lights are strung on the tree and around the hearth. My family is my greatest external joy on this earth, and I cherish our times lingering by the fireplace, sipping a fragrant cider and listening to soft Christmas music. But there are parts of the Christmas season that feel torturous and I approach them with disdain. For years I had a recurring nightmare wherein the stores were closing in one hour and I still hadn’t started my Christmas shopping. Each time I woke up in a sweaty panic and realized how much there was still to do to finalize our family’s Christmas preparations. Year after year it got more expensive and complicated, and by the time the Holy Christmas Eve arrived I was grumpy, exhausted and sometimes even sick.


Years ago I started to rebel against Christmas expectations and our family has truly been diligent about working with me to simplify the season’s demands. We are all progressing; albeit slowly. In 2007, I chose to escalate the progress—significantly. I was so worn out with all the nonsensical “shoulds” of the season—all the expenses, the exhaustive decorating, shopping and wrapping—that Jack and I decided to cancel Christmas in our home that year. It was the perfect year to experiment with it because we were going to spend Christmas at my daughter’s home in Alberta. I was shocked at how liberating it was not to decorate our home, send out cards or bake. I felt like a little kid that had just been let loose in a candy shop. Christmas demands, rituals and expectations were no longer going to make me feel obligated; and it absolutely invigorated me.


I shared my delightful discovery with many women and each time I told my story their eyes got big; then a smile broke out on their face and they laughed and cheered me on. Christmas 2009, we did it again. We celebrated Christmas at our daughter’s home in Sacramento, where we spent our time walking, playing games, laughing and scouting out a great Christmas Eve service. The anticipation of being free from the Christmas expectations of outlandish spending, overeating and absurd money spent on wrapping paper and bows that end up in the garbage leaves me giddy with joy.


It’s not an easy process to decide which “shoulds” we keep and which ones we throw away. I love my friend Beth’s attitude and her method for determining her obligations:


“The first thing I do when I am asked to do anything is to check in with my body. How do I feel? Does this demand give me energy or deplete it? If, however, I am unsure and agree to this something, then I ask myself, ‘Do I regret saying yes?’ If that is the case, then there are only two choices left:


1. Go back and say no. (I may say something like this: ‘I changed my mind. Forgive me for agreeing before I gave myself the time to think it through.’)


2. Find a way to make it fun:


a. Add music. (Even house cleaning can be improved with the right music.)


b. Add intention. (What is the reward in this commitment?)


c. Add a friend. (It is amazing how even the most arduous or tedious tasks can become fun with the right company.)


While the energy of obligation is heavy and un-fun, the hallmark of invigoration is energy.”7


Steps to Finding Invigoration


Determining how to make our best choices each day is not determined by better time management or greater expertise in juggling our schedule. If you’ve ever watched a juggler, you will notice that his goal is to keep all the balls up in the air. That’s what we do when we have a loaded, frantic lifestyle that drains the life out of us; we will constantly feel obligated and not invigorated. We don’t give our best to anything; we do the least we can and then we’re on to the next thing. I believe there are a few other key factors in deciding what to do with the barrage of “shoulds”:


Know the source of your power.


Know your purpose for this season of your life.


Prepare a mission statement (See Jack’s and mine in Chapter 6).This is a very practical tool to determine what fits into your values and goals.


Ask very good questions.


a. Does it fit into my life “ for such a time as this”?

b. What is my motive for doing this?

c. What was my initial feeling when I was confronted with this task?

d. Do I have the time?

e. Will it take me away from valuable family commitments?

f. Can I afford it?

g. Is it in keeping with my strengths?

h. Does it advance my learning and keep me interested?

i. Does it energize me or deplete me?


5. Take the 10,000-foot view for some of the more complicated and challenging choices. We see things much clearer when we see life from a God angle.


a. Will this matter six months or a year from now?

b. Does it enhance my spiritual growth?

c. Is it in keeping with my values?

d. Is this part of God’s plan for my life for doing his Kingdom

work here on earth?

e. Is this wasted time or is it a gift that God is trying to give me?


The invitation to sing and play my guitar left me with a negative sense of obligation to perform. The disaster that ultimately occurred left me humiliated and depleted, but it made me realize that this was not what God had gifted me for. For the next number of years it was frustrating for me to try and discover what I had been created to do. Most days it seemed that I didn’t have a clue. Through this tumultuous journey of trying to stay true to who God created me to be, I stayed connected to God and kept asking Him, “God, what are the gifts you have given to me so that I can make a significant difference in people’s lives?” As God was preparing my bigger picture of being an author, speaker, teacher and mentor for women, I was content to do each day what God had prepared for me to do that day—love my family and love others. I learned that I needed the power of the Holy Spirit daily to give me the wisdom to separate my “shoulds” so that I could function not by feeling obligated, but by being invigorated.


Choices That Enrich Your Life


1. Realize that juggling your calendar or Blackberry is not the answer to an invigorated life. Choose to work out of values and priorities that strengthen and invigorate you.


2. Every day we have to make almost a hundred choices. Realize you can only do that day what God has prepared for that particular day. Choose to pray and give the day to God and let Him help you work it out.


3. Learn to discern between your people pleasing and God pleasing. Choose to dismiss the people pleasing and focus on what will bring value into your life and the people closest to you.


4. Sometimes we look at other people and think we will be happy and fulfilled when we do what they are doing. Choose to believe that God has made you unique and He has something different for you to do; your style, your way.


5. When you hear that you are worth more than a million canaries, do you believe how worthy you are to God? Choose to trust God that God is interested in every area of your life and that He will never take you any place where He will abandon you.


6. Have you been asked to do something ridiculous? Choose to see it through the 10,000-foot view instead of your immediate emotions.


7. You are at a time in your life where you think you should have figured out by now what God’s purpose is for you. Choose to believe

a) You may already be doing it and not even know it, or b) That

God is preparing you for it.


8. Discover those things in your life that give you energy. You may not see them as gifts God has given you because they seem so effortless. Choose to believe that God can use those gifts to have a profound impact on this world.


9. You think you are handling life successfully because you are multitasking and keeping all your events in order. Choose to believe the fact that when you multitask your IQ drops by ten points and you are giving everything a divided attention.


10. You think that having more education, a better job, and better pay will make you feel more fulfilled. Choose to believe that those are all very good things to strive for, but they will never fully complete you and make you ultimately happier.


11. You believe this is your “lot in life” and there is nothing you can do about it. Choose to believe that you can break out of any pattern by learning to do things differently. Ask God to help you be creative.


12. Interruptions are part of life. Choose to believe that what frustrates you about them is that there is no margin in your life for these interruptions that may be disguised divine opportunities.


13. Choose to live each day by seeing life as a gift, and choose to see the good in everything and everyone. Choose joy.


Stop and As k God To Help You Change Sand to Pearls


Begin by asking: God, what people-pleasing obligations deplete me?


S Scripture: “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that” (Prov. 29:25, MSG).


T Thanksgiving: God I am so thankful that you will protect me and help me overcome the constant demands that this

world places on me. Thank you that you have given me the wisdom and discernment through having the mind of Christ to know when I am caving in to obligations to please people instead of You.


O Observation: It is so important for me to feel loved and accepted. It is so true that I am afraid if I don’t give in to the demands people place on me, I won’t be accepted and liked.


P Prayer: God, I realize that You have given me twenty-four precious hours each day, and that each one of those is a gift to me. Help me to treat that gift with wisdom, love and a sound mind. I need to be reminded over and over again how much I am loved, how I have more worth than a million canaries, so that I can be empowered to make decisions out of a godly boldness. Help me each day to separate my “shoulds”—the ones that need to be done, and the ones that I need to throw away. Give me the wisdom to know the difference. Thank You for all the opportunities You give me to make a difference on this earth. Help me never to miss any of those moments that may seem like an annoyance or interruption, but are in fact a gift that You are trying to give me. Thank You that You are interested in all of me, and that You have a beautiful and powerful kingdom purpose for my life. God, please help me to see the world through eyes that are invigorated, not obligated.


Amen.

Here is my review of this encouraging book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Heidi McLaughlin and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Sand to Pearls" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Heidi McLaughlin’s “Sand to Pearls” is an inspiring read that will encourage boldness in your behavior as it pertains to your Christian walk and other endeavors. The title reflects the process by which an oyster turns an irritating grain of sand into a beautiful and priceless pearl, this book’s chapters contrast 13 “irritants” – things that aren’t necessarily bad, but aren’t God’s best – with their “beautiful and priceless” counterparts.

This book contains no frills that beg its use in a women’s study group, like obvious discussion questions. Yet each chapter poses food for thought on a variety of topics. The book encourages prayer and looking to the Word of God. Based upon that, I would recommend it to be used in a reading or study group. This is a lovely book that will point to God’s Word to enrich the life of the reader.
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