Saturday, May 2, 2015

I have not done blog posts faithfully - most of my life shows up on Facebook, and my books on Goodreads.  But, I thought I would publish my "What I Read In April" book reviews and try to get back in the habit.

Countdown in Cairo (Russian Trilogy #3) - 5 - Noel Hynd - these are in the Christian Lit section, but while her faith is a driving factor in her life, it is not the whole point of the story.  Alex is a Federal Treasury agent and deals with the ugliest aspects of the world.  She has a strong faith in God, and a "traditional" belief system, but I would almost call her more spiritual than Christian.  She struggles with her faith, especially after the events she lives through, but there is no mention of Christ, repentence, etc.

These are excellent spy stories, and Alex is a very strong moral character.  There is plenty of violence (not graphic compared to most contemporary novels, but more than most Christian ones), but no profanity and very little sexual content.  She herself is very chaste.  I enjoy the background (though it does get too heavy at times) for current political events she is involved in.  Putin plays a role in this one.  I highly recommend these books to anyone who likes action but doesn't like the gore/sex/profanity of most contemporary thrillers.

Hostage in Havanna (Cuban Trilogy #1) - 3 - Noel Hynd - this is the next trilogy, with Alex matching wits with a female South American drug lord.  Lots and lots of details about Cuba - Batista, Castro, Che, etc.  Not as good as the first so far - I really miss Yuri Federov, the Russian crime lord from the first series.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile - 3 - Eloise Jarvis McGraw - picked this up at Rainbow Resources booth at a homeschool conference last month.  I had been wanting to read it since my oldest was 5 and I was drooling over the Sonlight catalog.  Very good look at ancient Egypt, made me go back and reread some materials on Hatshephut (I know I did not spell that right, too lazy to look up) the female pharoah.  My older boys are now past this in history, but I will have my younger ones read it when they get to world history.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith - 5 - Rosaria Champagne Butterfield - I wish I had copies to hand out to everyone.  Excellent, excellent book.  Rosaria was a lesbian activist, tenured English professor, serious bigshot in the academia/gay/feminist world.  She was disdainful of Christians, and one of her very good points is that the Christians she met did not engage in conversation, ask questions, debate, etc.  They came and preached morality to the unconverted.

Rosaria wrote an article in the 90s when Pat Robertson made a comment about feminis leading women to witchcraft, etc.  She began receiving mail, and had two boxes - fan and hate.  Then she got a letter from a pastor that did not go in either.  It was full of intelligent discussion, and questions.  She eventually contacted him and developed a relationship with him and his wife.  How this couple ministered to her was very eye-opening to me.  Anyway - cutting to the chase - she began to study scripture, study Christian writings, had him at her home to speak to her friends, went to his home, and after a few years the Lord began to draw her to Himself and she became a believer.  She had to give up her entire life that she had built in order to serve the Lord.  Right now she is a pastor's wife/church planter, Reformed Presbyterian, homeschool mama to four adopted children of different races.

The book isn't just about ministering to homosexuals, it spoke to me about the role of Christians in ministering to everyone around us, and what that can look like.  It was definitely a "think outside the box" book and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What I Learned

I am on a homeschool forum with a great bunch of ladies.  One of the topics brought up this weekend is, "What did you learn this year?"  I learned a lot of things educationally, etc.  But along with all the fun stuff (biology and history can be amazing when you get to learn along with the kids).  But there are some lessons that are ongoing, that even when you think you have learned them they keep coming back.  These I have pondered this morning.

I also started reading Broken for a Purpose by Gisela Yohannan (wife of found of Gospel for Asia) this morning.  When God tells you things from two different sources within an hour, it is time to listen.

     "When the Lord saved us, He gave us His joy, peace, assurance of salvation and eternal life.  But somehow in our minds, we often expect God to remove all the difficulties and hardships of our life from now on, so as believers we can enjoy an easier, more comfortable life than the rest fo mankind.  But Jesus did not make such a promise.  He only promised to be with us always.  In fact, He told us in advance that we would suffer persecution and trials - as He did - if we are to become His disciples.
     This actually means that aside from the difficulties a "natural" (unsaved) person faces, we will be in a continuous spiritual battle, one that is not against flesh and blood.  Yet in the midst of all this, Jesus assures us of a peace that is not of this world and enables us to be more than conquerors."

Things I have learned, and continue to learn this year, and probably for my entire life:
Don't believe anything you hear unless you see and hear it yourself straight from the horse's mouth.
Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Keep your mouth shut.
Do not grumble.
We have plenty of critics. Be an encourager.
Trust in the Lord.
Nothing stays the same.