Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: If My People By Jack Countryman

If My People
Thomas Nelson Books.

Jack Countryman has assembled “A Prayer Guide for Our Nation”. Mr. Countryman has included 40 daily prayers each with two pertinent scripture passages and a devotional thought.  

Interspersed throughout these daily devotional readings are historical thoughts, some on basic questions people might have. They include statements about the price of freedom, and the power of prayer. He also includes short readings are from six former presidents-Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, and Eisenhower, and two evangelists—Billy Graham and Charles Finney.

I have shared this book with both of the prayer groups I attend. I would recommend this small (122-page) book to any prayer warrior, any pastoral staff member, and any Sunday school class or small group who seeks God on behalf of our nation.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through its Booklook Bloggers program. All they asked of me was that I give an impartial unbiased opinion about this book.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Ever-Present Help

Image result for God

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, SelahPs. 46:1-3 (NIV)

            This psalm, credited to the sons of Korah, speaks to my heart. I love the words used here.

            “God is our refuge and strength” As we go through life, we have times of stress, uncertainty, and fear. During these times, we learn how God is always with us—no matter the issue.

            “an ever-present help in trouble” The writers here don’t specify any situation over another. God always watches over us, even when we happen to be in a circumstance of our own making.

            “Therefore we will not fear” Because God protects us, we can exercise our faith. I have read that faith is the antidote for fear. Some of our fears stem from what we know can happen in our 21st Century world. Other fears come to us because of something that happened to us while we were young. We have to ask God to protect us as fearful circumstances enter our lives.

            “though the earth give way” About 30 years ago, our family vacationed in Colorado. One of our first stops in the Rocky Mountains was as a small cafĂ©. As I sat there waiting for our orders, a large sign on a wall caught my attention. Its message told those who entered that this location was in an avalanche area. I felt on edge for a minute but I do not remember if I said anything to Hubby or to our (then teenage) son.

            “the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” I do not like disaster movies but I have seen a few. In life, we have many traumatic events that cause havoc for us—until we request God’s guidance through them.  

            “Though its waters roar and foam” The writers identify another type of calamity people face in our lives—flooding. Some people do not seem to get a break from serious problems—personal or familial. Others have prolonged times of adversity. As I said recently, I have friends who have several family members who are going through struggles. The son-in-law of one of those friends had a very rough day recently.

            “the mountains quake with their surging,” When traumas enter our lives, our bodies and souls can react to them. We become more susceptible to illness, we find ourselves anxious, or we react very vocally to those around us.

            Nevertheless, God is there for us; all we have to do is call out to Him and seek His help. Sometimes, we forget that He is there for us and we make things harder on ourselves. We have to remember that He is in control and rely on Him to guide us through those rough days.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Will Praise You, O LORD

“I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.” Ps. 9:1 (NIV)

               I love this verse. I find my heart singing the chorus someone set to music when I read these words.   We have so many things for which we can praise God.
               Did we awaken this morning after a restful sleep? Some people do not get to sleep until the sun comes up. Their sleep is not restful.
               Was our morning peaceful? Did we have issues face us as we started our day? In some places in our world, people woke to gunfire. We have a new noise in our house. Recently, we had a new sump pump installed in our basement. The next morning, I awoke to a rhythmic sound. I had to think about the source of the noise and not get excited. Hubby figured it out. 

               Do we have enough food in our homes? Do we have the resources to allow us to feed our families? Our area has been an economically depressed area for almost a decade. Our church’s food pantry is a growing ministry. There is a need in our community we, as a congregation, try to meet.
               Are our houses warm? I am cold natured. As I initially write this, I sit on our couch and have a doubled blanket over my legs. I keep a blanket on this couch because of my cold-nature. Hubby is just the opposite. However, when we come in from being gone for a while, our house is warm.  

               Do we have gasoline for our vehicles? Yes, having gasoline helps us get from point A to point B-to a job, to the grocery store, to church. In some parts of the world, gasoline is very expensive. The people walk or possible have bicycles to get their errands run.

               Are our children healthy? We sometimes take this issue for granted. I once had a woman tell me she was concerned about her daughter’s broken arm, until she thought of my caring for our son who had a congenital birth defect. (He deals with it quite well.)

               Did the sun shine this morning? I always find my day is better when I see the sunlight coming through my window and brightening living room.

               Did it rain in our town this morning? Rain affects my body and my spirit. It depresses me. However, I tell the LORD that I understand the rain cleanses the earth. We need rain for the crops to grow. In the years we did not have enough rain, our crops were not plentiful, and the farmers suffered as well as the rest of us. If we get too much rain, we have crops rot in the fields or gardens.

               When we look around at our immediate world, we see God’s hand as He cares for us. We should be thankful and we should tell others about His grace and mercy in what we see.      

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...