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Book Review: Goals…Set Them!

BACKDROP

I knew I needed to get a particular book, but I had no idea where or what it was.  What an odd feeling—knowing you are being nudged to read a book, but not knowing its title.  A couple of weeks passed, but it would not go away.  I knew I needed to be obedient, so [finally] off to the bookstore I went with two conspicuous ideas in mind:

  • an athlete’s mind and
  • setting goals.

Getting out of my car, I did not know if I should first visit the Sports section, the Self Help section, or the Adult Fiction section.  Maybe the book is in the Non-Fiction section or the New Release section?  Books are everywhere.  I could see them walking to the entrance, but when I opened the door and stepped inside the strangest thing happened.  I was instructed to go to the Christian Life section.  Off I went to find what I was looking for.

REVIEW

This morning I finished the book entitled, The Circle Maker.  See:   https://www.amazon.com/Circle-Maker-Praying-Circles-Greatest/dp/0310330734   What a timely read!  It had been pressed upon my spirit that I needed to pray more, so much so that I had begun mentioning it to people.  I am blessed to be surrounded by people who hear my cry.  One friend got so excited when I said this and soon after I discovered why.  She gave me a movie to watch.  YES….She gave me War Room.  Clearly, God wants me to tighten up my prayer life.

Woman Praying

War Room was recently added to my Movies To Watch list, but I had not gotten around to viewing it.  [Can’t help but think that maybe that was by design too.]

The Circle Maker, inspired me to start a prayer journal, one that is devoted to prayer and goal setting.  Within a week I jotted down, what turned out to be, two answered prayers.  Now, I know that more than two prayers were answered during the week but these were two which resulted from specific prayers I prayed.

If you want to grow in your prayer life, I would highly recommend reading this book.  I liked it because it is not “preachy”, yet it gives tools which encourage you to PRAY BIGGER.  By the end, I knew I was not praying BIG enough.  [After all, God can do all things!]  The realization that I had not been praying BIG enough sadden me just a little.  More so, however, I was excited for my future because I knew I was about to make some changes.  Memories of past visions were triggered.  Images that God showed me in dreams and confirmations I received were surfacing.  I know now, however, that prayer is essential and praying with others is important.

Some people have the spiritual gift of intercession.  I am not aware that I am one of those people, so reading this book is a blessing and verification that the time has come to seriously focus on my assignment.  There is work to be done and settling is not an option.

I won’t share (all) the tools that Pastor Batterson gave as I would encourage you to buy and read the book, but when thinking about how the Holy Spirit led me to this book and ministered to me while reading it I cannot help but wonder if it was because of someone else’s circle.

Note:  This book makes a great group read.

Reduced Growth

Have you ever hit rock bottom?  Okay, okay…maybe not rock bottom, but have you ever felt like you had?

Rest

He must become greater; I must become less.  –John 3:30

Recently, I listened to this teaching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lea0aLUN5Y  given by Priscilla Shirer.  (Yes!  She is one of my favorite Bible Study teachers.)  This teaching reminded me of some of the lessons I received while reading Charles Swindoll’s book entitled, Great Lives: Moses: A Man Of Selfless Dedication (Great Lives Series).  Remember, I blogged about it:  Book Review: Moses

The idea of becoming less is what is on my mind.  Becoming lessYES!!–how painfully necessary such preparation demands; how awesomely miraculous such experience propels.  I understand it with greater clarity now….  I understand why I had to grasp reduced growth.  I needed to know, to really be conscious of, the importance of uninterrupted fellowship with God—not just singing gospel songs and saying prayers, not just attending church services and reading the Bible, not just doing a Bible Study and joining a ministry.  All of these things are independently great, but I needed to get it on the basic level of trusting Him to sustain me in every way, every picosecond of every day.  Okay, Okay….Has anyone else wrestled with trust issues, or am I the only one?  (LOL!  The struggle was real.)

girl pouting

Once I got it, however, I respectfully and humbly understood that God and I are not peers.  We are not equals, nor is He a little bigger or a little stronger.  God is greater.  I am less.  He is serious and I need to be too if I want what I say I want….all that He has promised me.

Woman Praying

Without hesitation, I could share with you example after example illustrating God’s continuous (meaning “never-ending”) attention to my survival.  If you have ever hit rock bottom, or felt like you had, you know the value of someone caring that you live.  Let’s face it, people regularly pass each other and avoid making eye contact.  Saying, “Hello,” isn’t even an afterthought.

oh no

Yet, to know that even when you think you have nothing to give, nothing to barter; that even in that space and time that there is a God who still cares enough to ensure that you will eat, be housed, be clothed, be protected; that you will not only smile but you will laugh and laugh often; that you will breathe and breathe with ease because you had found rest within His greatness, all of your trust issues supernaturally fall by the wayside.  They become annoyingly heavy to carry.  You realize that in God’s peace, in His security, you do not have the weight of the world on your shoulders.  You never did.  What you called hitting rock bottom was your place of surrender.  I have been there.  It is a process necessary for rebuilding.

Blog Work

 

Don’t you just love His masterpieces!

 

Book Review: Intuition

About a week before Thanksgiving I got an intense urge to read three books.  I quickly decided on two of them.  The third, however, I only had an idea of the subject matter.  (That book, BTW, turned out to be the one by Shondra Rhimes.  See this post:  https://emergingfree.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/book-review-yes/)

Intuitive Self-Healing by Marie Manuchehri was the second book I decided to buy.  (See: http://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Self-Healing-Achieve-Balance-Wellness/dp/1604076275 )  It, however, ended up being my third read.  Thanks to India Arie, I knew it included exercises.  I wanted to really take my time with it, so I saved it to read last.

Outside of knowing Manuchehri’s book would focus on intuition, I began it without any additional expectations—just with an openness to consider its presentation.  I found myself being introduced to chakras and how these  energy sources are connected to life’s manifestations.  The silliness I felt doing the first exercise quickly evaporated with the turn of each page.  In them, I found confirmation and clarity regarding things I already knew.  I also discovered things that had already resulted in lightness, smiles, and the embracement of both identifying and accepting love.

Aside from many of the exercises, there are two main things I will employ from this book.  The first is to be present!  I spend a lot of time problem-solving and using analytical skills because: of my profession, my spiritual gifts and talents, and my future hopes.  I have an active mind.  Yes, I think a lot.  People tell me this to which I always think, “Don’t you?  How can you not?”  I laugh now because those conversations normally stop with my questions.  I would walk away not understanding the point of the observation.  Can you relate to this?

Now, I know that it is necessary for me to be in the moment—to feel the clothes on my back, the emotions that I have, the socks on my feet, the water when I am washing dishes, etc..  It is easy to take these things for granted, especially if you are a person with a great ability to be empathetic.  I cannot afford to negate this part of my life anymore.  Can you?

Secondly, I must SPEAK self-love mantras to myself often and daily.  I would think these things, but what I have found is that I MUST SPEAK THEM!  There is a powerful energy in the SPOKEN WORD.  Try it!  Feel how your body reacts when you look yourself in the mirror and speak to you about you in a loving and caring way.  Go ahead.  No one is watching but you!

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a short, easy read.  The exercises were a great supplement.  Upon reflection, I am a better, stronger person with a greater awareness for living a joyful life.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

I’m glad I listened to the nudging to read three books.  God is amazing!  He gives me what I need when I need it.  He reassures me that He is with me.  He guides me along this journey.  I am truly thankful!

Book Review: YES!

Shonda Rhimes?  Private PracticeGrey’s AnatomyScandalHow To Get Away With Murder.  Yes, you know the one!  YES!  The one who has ABC‘s Thursday nights on lock!  YES!  THAT Shonda Rhimes.  No, I don’t watch them either.  Well…maybe Grey’s Anatomy…maybe.

WriterCreatorVisionaryShondaLand.  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one!  College graduateMotherSingleDream CatcherHistory MakerYES!  The one who is not afraid to address “controversial” matters in honest, educational ways!  YES!  THAT Shonda Rhimes!  YES!  Sign me up!  I’m a supporter.

So, she wrote a book?  Really?  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one.  It’s entitled, “Year of Yes”.  (See:  http://books.simonandschuster.com/Year-of-Yes/Shonda-Rhimes/9781476777092)  Interesting….

OK.  OK.  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It is a great balance of honesty and humor.  I enjoyed how she intertwines her experiences, explicitly including reflective examples of race and gender.  (YES, this is her life.)  Rarely have I seen that done in such a matter-of-fact, I’m-simply-saying, the-world-through-my-eyes way.  Through the chuckles, you realize that she is growing and that you are too.  Shonda Rhimes?  Yes, you know the one.

I’m glad I made time (specifically three days) to read this book.  In its pages, I discovered glimpses of myself.  It helped that like her, I am a writer and can relate to the solitude of the craft.  Finding inspiration, it did not take long before I began to say, “YES”, to more invitations and to facing fears.  After all, have I loss pieces of myself in the safety and security of the “No”?  Maybe.

You know, I have a strong sense that a lot of amazing things are coming my way.  Life is what you make it.  I am saying, “Yes”, to new opportunities; to working to achieve greatness; to being happy, healthy, and whole; to being unapologetically abundantly blessed and great beyond measure.  I am saying, “Yes”, to living!  What about you?  Need some motivation?  Check out Shonda Rhimes’ book!  Yes, you know the one!

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

Book Review: Moses

Someone asked a question to which the answer came with an analogy using a reference of Moses’ life.  Yes, the Moses from the Bible.  It was in that moment, the seed was planted.  I wanted to read more about this Moses.  Clearly, I was missing some key and necessary points for my spiritual growth.  The time had come for me to meet this man, to discover  some commonalities we share, and to gain guidance—or at the very least, points for consideration.

It did not take long for the planted seed to sprout.  I guess you could say, it fell on good soil.  Seriously, I longed to know more about Moses immediately.  Within days my curiosity turned into a clear instruction, and my instruction manual came in the form of “Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication” by Charles Swindoll.  (See:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moses-charles-r-swindoll/1111384112?ean=9780849913853)

Admittedly, this has been a timely read for me.  It came when I was wrestling with returning to a place I had left.  You see, I rarely return to things once I have concluded to depart.  Are you like that?  It is not like I consciously choose not to return.  I simply do not think to do so.  Something major has to draw my attention back to something once I have checked out.  For me, that “something major” most likely has to be God-inspired.

Rest

Oh, how foolish I feel now having read this book admitting that I was wrestling with a God-inspired return.  Sometimes I have to laugh at myself.  If you find yourself in a similar position, this book is definitely worth reading.  It does not stop there though.  I gained so much insight (and confirmation) reading this book in the areas of leadership, walking by faith, trusting God even when dealing with the rabble, maturity, temperament, and so much more.  Without giving too much away, one of the things that I have found myself thinking more about is the idea that God parted the Red Sea.  Ok.  Ok.  I know, we have all heard of this before, but in reading this book, at this time, it dawned on me that GOD PARTED the Red Sea.  The visual scene became real.  I begin to think about the tsunami that happened in 2004, not for the scientific nor religious discussion but purely as a modern day reference that ocean-sized water can be pulled back.  In some way, it made it easier to visualize the parting of the Red Sea—the crossing and the demise.

Think about it: The same God that did that for Moses and the people he was divinely instructed to lead, is the same God that is alive today.  I think, sometimes, we devalue the greatness of that.  Earlier, I began to think about the biblically referenced miracles and became so excited about my future and about the promises God has given to me.  That same God is my same God.

Upon reflection, this book has been a great source of encouragement for me.  It has reminded me to relax.  I do not have to know the route before starting the journey.  I just need to follow God and be obedient.  This book has reminded me that blessings will come to me.  They will chase me.  Frankly, that is how I prefer it.  This book has illustrated that there will be obstacles, frustrations, and failures, but the making of thick skin should never thicken my heart.

Woman Standing On Rock

As I type this, I am smiling.  Earlier, I received a phone call.  On the other end of the line was a person who I had never met, yet he had a blessing for me.  This man did not know he served as confirmation, but I knew.  I am headed in the right direction.

If you are looking for a book to read.  I recommend this one.  It has blessed my life.

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