It’s Not Your Turn by Heather Thompson Day–Book Review

Do you ever feel that things are falling into place for everyone around you, while your wheels are spinning but you’re going nowhere? In this book subtitled, “what to do while you’re waiting for your breakthrough”, Heather Day gives some suggestions for turning a time of waiting into a time to grow, to learn and to listen. Her most important advice is to realize that sometimes it’s just not your turn — but you can still applaud and be happy for others.

Much of Heather’s advice deals with adjusting our attitude, letting God transform our minds. For example, instead of dwelling on what we do not have, or haven’t accomplished, look around and really see what we have already been given as disciples of Christ. She stresses setting goals and working toward them in small steps and developing positive relationships with others.

Each chapter ends with a Bible memory verse, and some discussion questions which could easily be used for journaling.

VERDICT: 3.5 STARS. The author is a biracial millennial, so I’m in a very different place than she is, and I didn’t agree with all of her opinions. Putting that aside, there were many interesting statistics and worthwhile recommendations.

For more book reviews see:

Faith In God by Kevin McFadden –Book Review

The Great Passion by James Runcie–Book Review

Good Enough by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie–Book Review

Dream Big, My Precious One by Jill Roman Lord–Book Review

This book is a delight to all the senses! Lovely illustrations (kudos to illustrator Brittany Lakin), lively rhymes, excellent content.

Mom encourages her little one to dream big, listing the many jobs, tasks and roles that he may fulfil in his life. Some are achievable right now — ride a bike, paint and draw — others are for later –designing cars, exploring Mars. Some are secular–open a store–others are altruistic–serve the poor. She emphasizes that our dreams are not just for us, they are meant to help others in ways we may not even see. Best of all, God is with us in all our dreams, whether they are fully realized or not.

The book closes with this verse from 1 Chronicles:

“Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I loved it!

For more books for children see:

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard — Book Review

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You — Book Review

The Great Farmapalooza by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review

The Saints Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter –Book Review

This review was actually written by my husband, who is a retired pastor. He has a strong interest in Puritanism and Richard Baxter is an important figure in that theological movement.

Among those who appreciate the writings of the old Puritan divines, Richard Baxter is considered unusual. He held views on some topics that were not those of other Reformed theologians and engaged in long standing disputes with other nonconformists in 17th century England, especially with John Owen. On the other hand, some of his writings have continued to this day to have a strong hold on the imaginations of many orthodox Reformation theologians. His book, The Reformed Pastor, is certainly one of the best books on pastoral theology written in English and should probably sit on every pastor’s shelf.

The Saints Everlasting Rest, is a devotional book written by Baxter as he contemplated his own death during a severe illness (although he lived many years afterward). Baxter argues that Christians spend far too little time pondering the glory which awaits the believer and that if we would do so our lives in this world would overflow with patience, joy, and a lively Christian lifestyle. As a pastor, Baxter was not content to simply encourage people to think about the glory that awaits a follower of Christ, but he gives instructions on how that can be done by the believer.

Dr. Tim Cooper, who edited the book, is a professor of Church History at Otego University in New Zealand and a well-known student of Puritanism, and especially of Richard Baxter. Because the 17th century style of writing was excessively verbose, he has shaped a new abridgement of this work. Also, in order to make the work more accessible to the modern reader, Cooper has modernized some of the archaic usages without losing or lessening the flavor and message of one of the most prolific Puritan writers.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

For more about the Puritans see these posts:

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

Beyond Stateliest Marble by Douglas Wilson — Book Review

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

Waiting for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky–Book Review

I’ve been using this book as a part of my morning devotional reading and have really enjoyed it. In fourteen short chapters, the author leads us through the life of Sarah during her long wait to see the promises of God fulfilled. In each one, there is a brief meditation from Sarah’s point of view, as well as some of Ms. Schalesky’s own experiences. She invites us to apply the message of faithful waiting to our own lives, and to see it as a blessing.

“Legacy is born in the waiting. A life that matters is not built through a big bang of success, but through God’s work in the long wait. It was true for Sarah. It is true for us. God is working in our waiting to create a masterpiece, to create a life that points to the wonder of his majesty and love.”

If you are waiting for something in your own life — something to change, something to happen, some way to understand what seems unfathomable, this may be the book for you. Biblically based and realistic (yes, we will all fall down at times, just as Sarah did), it encourages a thoughtful perspective. God is at work, even when we cannot see Him.


For more book reviews see:

Faith In God by Kevin McFadden –Book Review

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller–Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review

The Result of Waiting

I’m reading a book about Sarah, wife of Abraham, and her long wait for a child. According to the author:

“The point of waiting is not discouragement, despair, or a hardening of one’s heart. The purpose is to birth laughter, to embrace joy.”

As you listen to this song, remember Sarah and ponder how the difficulties of waiting can lead to greater blessings than we ever imagined.

For more contemporary Christian music, see these posts:

No Scars In Heaven


When God Waits

I found this recently, going through some information I have used when training Via De Cristo teams.The author is Rober C. Palms — I know nothing about him, and I don’t remember where or how I received this short meditation, but It is meaningful to me, and I hope it will touch your heart also.

I love you.

We say it to our children as we take them into our arms. “I love you!”

It is a different love — our love for our children, God’s love for us.

When God says, “I love you,” it is a giving love, a forgiving love. Only God has the ultimate forgiving love because only God knows the full dimension of our need for forgiveness. We cannot know that ourselves — we aren’t big enough.

We are like children before God, but that’s acceptable. Jesus told us to “become as little children” (Matthew 18:31). We need to be loved, we want to be loved, and that’s ok too–God created us with that need. God placed in us needs that only He can satisfy. All other forms of love are at best, reflections of His greater love.

“I love you,” God calls.

We might argue back, “No, You don’t because if you did ….”

“I love you,” God calls.

We sometimes respond, “How could You! I don’t even love myself.”

“I love you,” God says.

And we reply, “Prove it.”

“I love you, “God says, “because I do know you and I do understand you, and I have proved it to you.”

“I love you,” God says again.

And then He waits. The next word to be spoken is ours

For more posts about God’s love see:

Hesed–God’s Love in Action.

Perfect Love

Martin Luther on God’s Love (Agape)

Waiting for Jesus

The Sunday School class at our church has been studying the end times. It’s a topic people become passionate about, and they don’t always agree. Most Lutherans are amillennialists. That means we believe the end times started when Jesus ascended. We’re in the thousand-year reign right now. When He comes again, that will truly be the end. No tribulation, no rapture. We also believe that many of the prophecies about Israel now apply to the church. We are the new Israel.

We don’t spend time trying to predict when Jesus will come, because the Bible specifically tells us that nobody will know. In the book of Matthew, we read:

 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:36-37

Like the five wise virgins in the parable, we can only wait and be ready, because the Bridegroom will arrive in His own time.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13

Many Christians get caught up in speculation fueled by the Left Behind book series and movie. They seem to believe that denying the rapture is the same as denying Christ, but it’s not. As I once told someone, “I don’t believe in the rapture, but if I’m wrong and there is one, I do believe that God will take me.” This is not salvific issue (i.e., our view about this will neither save nor condemn us), and we should not allow it to separate us from other believers.

The message of the Scripture is clear: Watch and wait! Be ready!

For more about the end times see these posts:

Lutherans and the End Times

Unraptured by Zack Hunt — Book Review

Perhaps Today

Oratio, meditatio, tentatio

Martin Luther was right indeed. This is a cycle we all must endure while walking our path as christians. John Kleinig will explain it saying:

“All three revolved around ongoing, faithful
attention to God’s word. The order of the list is significant, for unlike the traditional pattern of devotion, the study of theology begins and ends here on earth. These three terms describe the life of faith as a cycle that begins with prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, concentrates on the reception of the Holy Spirit through meditation on God’s word, and results in spiritual attack. This in turn leads a person back to further prayer and intensified meditation.”

(“Oratio meditatio tentatio. What makes a theologian?” By John Kleinig)

In fact, the more we cry out for God the more the devil attacks. Temptations, sufferings, and doubts sometimes seem to hit harder and harder when we are closer to Christ through the means of Grace, that is, word and sacraments. It’s tough, I know.

Many people, when facing hard trials, run from Jesus instead of running to Jesus. Others will try to fight the devil through their own strength. That’s exactly what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to run from the cross. He hates when a christian trusts God enough to kneel down to pray or go to church and take part in the Lord’s supper after hearing the gospel right in the midst of a trial. If Satan hates it, so we shall do it! We need to cast our burdens all at the feet of the cross and wait for the Lord patiently. He will not hide His face from us!

The devil may try to attack you by all means but never forget you are a weak sheep on the shoulders of Christ, the good shepherd. He is the powerful and almighty God whom Satan trembles before. Wait for the Lord! Pray, meditate, and resist the devil with God’s grace. He promised to be with you forever!

Waiting Requires Patience

We Americans are not known for our patience. We’re fans of fast food; we covet faster internet service; we expect to be able to connect with our loved ones instantly. We’re used to doing things on our schedule at the time we choose. However, the Bible tells us we need to wait for God’s timing, and this requires patience. a fruit of the Spirit.

How can we grow this fruit in our lives? Here are some suggestions.

  1. We must endure. Often waiting requires some kind of suffering, which is unpleasant, even when that suffering is more mental than physical. However, we are promised that that there will be a reward:

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

2. That brings us to the second thing we can do. Hope. We must remind ourselves of God’s promise:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

3. Which means we must trust in that promise, even when we don’t understand.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. “Proverbs 3:5-6

4. We also must not sit idle. There is always work for us to do, even when we are in “waiting” mode.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. “Galatians 6:9

Hmmm… that seems to take us back to endurance again!

Waiting may be uncomfortable, but it isn’t bad. It will teach us patience; we will learn to trust God; and in the end we will see that His timing is the best.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

For more about patience see these posts:

A Different Kind of Fast

Have Patience

Producing Fruit

Union With Christ — Four Principles

This is off of our monthly topic, but our class is still studying union with Christ and this past week’s lesson seemed important to share. It’s based on this reading from John 15:

“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[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also 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 you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:1-9

Jesus is speaking here to his disciples, explaining that when He is no longer with them, they will still be able to experience His presence through the Spirit. Read closely, and you will find these four principles:

  1. Our union with Christ is the source of all fruitfulness. My Christian life is not so much about how I can bear fruit, but how I can be closer to Jesus. (wow!, how often I get this one wrong!)
  2. Our union with Christ requires pruning in order to be more fruitful. (ouch!! This one I don’t always like because it’s painful!)
  3. This union is nurtured and nourished by the word of God. (Note to self–find time for daily Bible reading)
  4. The most obvious fruit of this union is love.

So, ask yourselves readers, (as I am asking myself).

  1. Am I relying on God or on myself?
  2. Do I see times of pain and difficulty as opportunities to grow closer to Jesus?
  3. Am I diligent in Bible study and worship, so that I continue to hear His word?
  4. Are my actions loving?

These are good ways to examine yourself and seek a closer walk with the Savior. He loves you and so do I!

For more about being fruitful see these posts:

Fruitful Gifts

Producing Fruit