Monday, July 27, 2009

Blue Like Play Dough


There are many books written about the difficulties of parenthood, but most try to give advice designed to make the reader try harder to fit into some predetermined mold of a 'perfect' parent. This book, instead, frees a mom to open her soul so God can create the uniquely perfect person he destined her to be.

Like most mothers, Tricia talks about her insecurities as a mom, "I worried that I disciplined my kids too much. Or maybe not enough. That I fed them the wrong foods or allowed their brains to be filled with too much mindless entertainment. I worried I wasn't the helpmate my husband deserved or the friend and church volunteer I ought to be." But with God's Word she realized that she wasn't perfect, but she was loved; that her life wouldn't start once she got it right -- she was in the midst of it today.

The more she leaned on God, the more he molded her into the woman she was meant to be. It wasn't always easy or fun, but it was more rewarding and adventuresome than she could have imagined. In one of the most honest and authentic books I've read, Tricia helps all mothers learn that God's gentle kneading, or even those times when he smashes us flat as a pancake, will result in undeniable proof of his love.

While reading this book I felt that Tricia had reached into my soul, found my insecurities, doubts, and fears, and bared them in a way that allowed me to accept God's prodding.

Buy the book here.

Could it be that in the squash and squeeze of a mommy's day, God is shaping something beautiful?

Tricia Goyer invites women to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary-even when motherhood doesn't turn out like the magazines promise. A mother of three, Goyer inspires readers to see God's hand lovingly at work in the most unlikely places: in the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, in potty training and bike riding, in the pile of laundry waiting to be folded.
But Blue Like Play Dough offers more than encouragement and parenting helps. Goyer tells an unforgettable story of one mother's journey. Once a pregnant teenager struggling to find faith, then a young wife and mom who felt doomed to fail, she now sees that God has more in store for her than she ever imagined. And more for every reader too. As Goyer beautifully reminds, even interruptions, personal weaknesses, and another request for macaroni and cheese can be part of God's plan to shape a family, a mother and a life.

Tricia Goyer is the author of eighteen books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana.

Find out more about Tricia here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Designer Women

Designer Women
Ruth Tuttle Conard

Ruth Tuttle Conard states that she has always been somewhat confused by the roles women were expected to play within the confines of the modern church. Using Biblical texts, male leaders have placed highly talented and motivated women into very small roles or silenced their wisdom so completely that they have felt lost or have even walked away from the church completely. Is this what God intended?

Using the examples of ten women of the Bible, Conard examines the way God designed us, our spirituality, and our roles in his kingdom. She looks at the way Eve was designed to be loved, how Ruth was designed to take charge, and how Zelophehad's daughters were created to speak up in a time when women were expected to remain silent. The New Testament demonstrates how women were designed to worship, to embrace, to persevere, and to serve.

This book encourages the reader to evaluate her unique design and to determine her gifts. How has God designed her to uniquely serve this generation? Is she living up to that expectation?

I would highly recommend this book for any woman in the church who isn't sure how she fits in, what her gifts are, and if she fits into the mold that the church expects. It helped set me free from man's mold and to understand that God's mold is the only one that I should seek to fill.

You can purchase this book at Amazon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Perfect Mess

A Perfect Mess


Lisa Harper

My Thoughts:

The subtitle of this book is Why You don't Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for God. Many of us worry about being good enough on a regular basis -- good enough parents, good enough wives, employees, housekeepers, cooks, you name it. It seems that every place we turn we see examples of even beautiful people not being 'good enough' -- even those who grace the covers of magazines are caught showing cellulite now and then!

And being good enough for God? Impossible. We know that there was only one who was ever sinless -- even for a day, and that was Jesus. I often feel like I have disappointed God, and others, before I even make it to lunch time. But Lisa Harper helps us to see the truth through this study of the Psalms. God loves us just the way we are -- warts. PMS, extra five pounds and all. He made us, he knows us, and nothing we can do will cause him to love us more (or less).

With honest examples and easy to follow study, Lisa takes us step by step through some amazing scripture that shows without a doubt just how perfect God's love is.

This is a book to keep by your bed and read over and over!


Caught up in the self-imposed pressure to do and be all the things they think a Christian woman ought to do and be, countless women are working desperately to convince everyone, including God, that they have it all together. Few have any idea that the Creator of the universe looks at them with delight even when they yell at the dog, drive a minivan littered with French fries, or think bad words about that rude clerk at the store.

A Perfect Mess offers hope to every woman who yearns for a vibrant relationship with God but worries she isn’t good enough or doesn’t do enough to merit His affection. With characteristic authenticity, speaker and author Lisa Harper shares poignant stories from her own imperfect life to showcase the real-life relevancy of the Bible in the lives of modern women.

As she guides readers on a story-driven journey through selected Psalms, they will be inspired to experience for themselves how God’s incomparable love transforms the messiness of life into a gorgeous work of grace.

Author Bio:

Lisa Harper is a master storyteller whose lively approach connects the dots between the Bible era and modern life. She is a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker whose upcoming appearances include the national Women of Faith Conferences. A veteran of numerous radio and television programs and the author of several books, she also is a regular columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Lisa recently completed a master’s of theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. She makes her home outside Nashville .

You can buy the book online here

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


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:

Refuge: A True Story of Faith and Civil War

Bruce Beakley (March 1, 2009) (WinePress Publishing)


Bruce Beakley is not your typical author. As an engineer by trade, the possibility of writing a book wasn’t even on his radar. “Truthfully, I’ve never even been what you would call an avid reader. An engineer that reads; that’s an oxymoron,” he laughs. “To me, reading a book is making a serious commitment. What if you get to the end and find out the book wasn’t all that good?” A divine encounter in an airport terminal changed everything. Beakley and his wife, Debra, have been married for 32 years. The couple has one grown son and resides in Houston, Texas. Beakley’s penchant for adventure is expressed in his love of international prison missions in Central and South America. He enjoys tennis, hiking mountains and volcanoes, and trying out his Belgian-imported hip on the ski slopes.

The Gonlehs currently reside in Montgomery, Alabama, where the membership of First Baptist Church has embraced them and helped to meet their needs. Bessie works at the church daycare, while John, an ordained Baptist minister, is a groundskeeper at Tuskegee University. After several years of waiting, John Jr. and Miracle were recently able to join their parents in the United States.

Visit the authors' website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.95
Paperback: 262 pages
Publisher: Bruce Beakley (March 1, 2009) (WinePress Publishing)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1579219306
ISBN-13: 978-1579219307


Chapter 1

#72 Soldiers’ Barrack

July 11, 1990
Putrid aromas from sweat, urine, blood, and infected sores mingled to rouse me from a fitful night. Moans and curses in the dimly lit room let me know the others were awake.

“You should pray with me, because only God can save us now.” I spoke softly but deliberately to the group of eleven men huddled into the cramped, muggy cell. So, as the early-morning sun peeked through the palm trees, I prayed one last time. Our captors had told us today was the final investigation.

“Father, here we are, committing ourselves into your hands. We have no one else but you. Save our lives from these wicked people. And let these men know you are God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

I didn’t actually lead the men in prayer. It was just that no one raised any objection. No one had any energy left for theological arguments. Mine was a prayer of unyielding stubbornness. After all God had done for me, I refused to give up on him, like the others.

Our cell was one of ten. Several weeks earlier these had been the living quarters for Liberian army soldiers. The rebels had turned them into a makeshift prison.

About a hundred men were being held in the ten cells. Some were wealthy—government officials or prominent businessmen. I had been Assistant Prayer Leader with a volunteer group at the executive mansion chapel. That was my crime. I was a collaborator with the Liberian government of President Samuel Doe.

After the war began six months ago, I spent many mornings at the chapel with my group. We prayed for soldiers and government employees. Sometimes I delivered the message at the midday service. In the afternoons, I worked at my construction block business. I never saw President Doe.

Years before, I met President Doe once, though I doubt he would remember me. I wasn’t one of his wealthy friends, his generals, or his political enemies. I was merely a volunteer Christian. Inconsequential.

I don’t think the rebels expected to get much information from me. I was a collaborator and my wife was one-half Krahn. These crimes justified the beatings and torture. I could only hope justice would prevail during the final investigation today. Perhaps, afterward, I would finally be free from the terrible mistake that had brought me here.

We were being held in the #72 Soldiers’ Barrack outside Paynesville, an upscale suburb on the outskirts of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia. My house was close by. It was so near, and yet I struggled to remember details I’d never paid attention to before. I had carelessly placed my house and neighborhood in the background scenery. Now I longed to remember the color of the flowers Bessie planted in our yard. After a brief failed effort, I gave up.

My mind kept going over the events of the past week, the moment when the rebels came for me. I tried to logically process what had happened, but nothing fit together.

Where are you, God? Why are you allowing this to happen?

I alternated between faith and doubt.

Of course he was in control and could save me. But that didn’t mean that I, Bessie, or the children would survive.

The rebels had entered Paynesville nine days ago. We heard automatic gunfire in nearby neighborhoods. Three weeks before, we had heard their long-range artillery shells hitting the city center. Everyone knew the rebels were coming, slowly but steadily advancing.

The first two days, we escaped the bullets coming straight down through our roof. Victorious over the government troops, the rebels celebrated by firing their weapons into the air. Bullets fell from the sky like tiny meteors. Our family was lucky. A neighbor’s child three doors down was struck and wounded by one of these projectiles.

Bessie and I took the precaution of packing all our important papers into one of the children’s book satchels. We included our marriage certificate, the children’s birth certificates, school report cards, our deeds, and cash. That was all. There wasn’t room for anything else.

Then, on the morning of the third day of the attack, I happened to be looking out my living room window when an army jeep drove right onto our front lawn. Rebels started piling out.

Wide-eyed, I screamed, “Bessie, get the children and hide.” A frantic commotion ensued for a few seconds. Small bodies ran past me as Bessie yelled her orders. In just seconds, it was quiet again. I stood alone, watching.

Four rebels stood on our lawn. Each carried an automatic rifle, a Kalashnikov. They fired their weapons into the sky. They looked crazed and terrifying.

The AK-47 was the favorite among revolutionaries. Firing up to thirty bullets per trigger pull, and outfitted with a wicked-looking and effective bayonet, it was simple and cheap. At only twenty dollars each, it was light enough for a small child to handle.

A month earlier, I had nearly been killed by an AK-47.

I had taken a taxi to the open market to purchase a hundred-pound bag of rice. Food had gotten scarce as the rebel offensive drew near the city, so the rice cost triple its normal price. I placed the heavy bag of rice in a little wagon and turned to pay the merchant. When I turned back, I saw a man walking away, pulling the wagon and taking my rice. I yelled for him to stop and ran toward him. He abruptly halted and slowly turned around.

His face was streaked with white clay, his long hair matted in clumps, and his clothes were filthy. A rebel! Fear suddenly gripped me. Bessie and I had heard from neighbors that rebel excursions into the city were becoming common as their army approached. He had come to the market to get food by any means he could.

He was big, almost a foot taller than I and heavier by thirty pounds. His AK-47 was slung over his right shoulder. Ignoring my fear, I ran up to him and told him the rice belonged to me—as though he didn’t already know. He didn’t speak but calmly reached into his flak-jacket pocket with his right hand and started to unsling his rifle with his left.

Blinking and dumbfounded, I realized the bullet clip wasn’t in the rifle, and he was retrieving it. I didn’t know what to do. Should I run? Try to reason with him?

Just then, the clip snapped into the rifle.

Inside my head I heard, Are you just going to stand there and let him kill you? Startled by the unexpected voice, I snapped out of my stupor. I mouthed, “Help me, Lord!” Before I knew it, I had grabbed hold of the rifle with both hands.

Now, the rebel was the startled one. We both gripped the gun tightly. We wrestled back and forth, each trying to gain control without success. As large as he was, he couldn’t shake me or twist the gun free. After a few moments, a Monrovia policeman saw our struggle and rushed in. He yelled for the crowd of gaping merchants and customers to grab us and pull us apart.

Once we were apart, the policeman quickly ascertained the situation. He yelled at me, “Get your rice and go. Just go!” The merchants released me on his command. I ran, snatched my bag of rice out of the wagon, jumped in a taxi, and sped off. All the way home I trembled.

Whereas that incident had been a chance encounter, the rebels on my front lawn now were not there by accident. After shooting their guns into the sky, they walked across my yard toward the front door. I saw bandoliers of ammunition draped over their shoulders and around their waists.

I’ve never owned a gun and never handled one other than in the market. I did know, however, those weapons in the hands of the teenagers standing in my front yard had defeated Liberia’s national army. The sight of the rebels paralyzed me with fear.

At least when I first saw them, I had the presence of mind to yell to Bessie to get in the back bedroom with the kids.

“Thank you, Lord, for letting me see them,” I prayed.

I breathed in deeply and slowly exhaled, trying to control my emotions and thinking of what else I could do.

“Nothing. There is nothing I can do,” I told myself.

So, alone in my living room, I sat down in my favorite comfortable armchair. I waited. I watched the rebels through the large front window as they walked toward the door. One wore a uniform. His face and arms were streaked with white clay. I recognized the clay as Juju, witchcraft, designed to make its wearer impervious to bullets. Another wore a crimson church choir robe with an ammunition belt cinched around his waist.

What an odd spoil of war, I thought, looting a choir robe.

Choirboy’s hair was wild, almost like spikes coming out of his head. It wasn’t clear if this was his hairstyle or just happenstance from living months in the bush. Strange, the details we notice in a crisis.

With each step the rebels took toward my house, I grew more frightened. I couldn’t move, still paralyzed by fear. At that moment, it wasn’t an expression or figure of speech. I was truly paralyzed. My muscles were so constricted, it seemed as if each possessed its own little mind and instinctively knew what to do in a moment such as this. I was a fawn hiding in the Liberian savannah grass and being stalked by a leopard.

There was no chance of escaping. All I felt was stark terror, not breathing, everything shutting down. I couldn’t even form a prayer. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” was all I whispered. Did those words reach my lips or were they just in my mind? I couldn’t tell.

The rebels were at the front door. Suddenly one called out, “Come out and bring your Krahn wife. Bring out the bank money and tell us where President Doe is. Otherwise, we’re going to kill you and burn your house down.”

I didn’t move or speak. I couldn’t. I was paralyzed. The rebels didn’t ask twice. With a swift boot to the front door, the door jamb splintered and the door swung open. With bloodshot eyes from drugs or sleep deprivation, their eyes locked on mine as they approached. Oddly, my eyes apparently were the only part of my body not frozen. As time slowed down, they followed each movement as the two converged on the helpless creature staring back at them.

It was as if my body floated. I was weightless. They jerked me hard up and out of the armchair. The force must have torn my shirt because I heard a rip. I felt my feet bouncing across the floor, through the front door, across the porch, and down the steps.

My short weightless journey abruptly ended. Once in the front yard, they dropped me. I tried to use my arms to break the fall, but they wouldn’t respond. I remembered the saying about dropping something like a sack of potatoes. Now I knew what that meant.

I fell face forward straight down onto my chest and tasted grass as my head bounced. My eyes saw the bottom half of a small figure approaching. The two larger rebels who dragged me were walking away. The approaching figure had small skinny legs and mismatched oversized boots.

I guessed the child to be about twelve years old. As I started to lift my head, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sudden blur. The concussion from the butt end of the assault rifle snapped my head back to the ground. My right temple started to throb.

Taking aim a second time, the child struck once more with the ease of someone possessing supreme confidence in his ability to perform this most basic of warfare skills: Stand over your subject. Hold the barrel in the left hand near the muzzle, the right hand holding the stock just above the trigger guard. Now while keeping a firm grip arc downward like you’re planting a flagpole in the ground. You should hear a good solid crack as you make contact. That’s correct. Now try it again.

At once, their leader demanded again, “Where is your Krahn wife? Where is the bank money? Tell us where President Doe is.”

Jarred to my senses, my head now reeling and throbbing from pain, but shocked out of my frozen, paralyzing fear, I once again was able to think.

“I…I’m alone in the house. We have no bank money. It stays at the bank. I don’t have anything to do with President Doe. I have no idea where he is.” The pain loosened my frozen arms and they now hurried to protect my head, but the damage had already been done.

These particular rebels were so ignorant they thought Bessie, a bank teller, brought the bank’s money home at night and took it back the next day. While they certainly needed it, they weren’t asking for a lesson on the Liberian banking system. They just wanted the money.

I blurted out these answers as fast as I could. If I thought immediate compliance to their demands would preserve me from another head blow, I was wrong. The efficient and skillful assistant found an open spot and replicated his technique. Once a skill is perfected, it is only a natural human tendency to want to show off to your superiors. The child was rewarded by their grinning approval. Rising weightless once more, I was dragged to the jeep and thrown in the back.

The teenage leader was the passenger, of course, as was befitting his rank. He should naturally be chauffeured during these roundup excursions. In the back with me were the skillful assistant and the cherub choirboy. They had successfully bagged their prey, and now it was time to take it home, victorious once more.

Knots were already forming, slowly rising off my skull, and I felt blood trickle down one cheek. The warm liquid mingled in my mouth with dirt and the grass I’d planted when we first built our house. Silently through the pain, I breathed a sigh of relief. As odd as it seems, I also shared in their victory.

Driving away from the house, my prayer and those of Bessie and the children were answered. The rebel soldiers forgot all about searching the house. Bessie and the kids weren’t discovered. They certainly would have been found if the search had taken place. In a closet and under the bed aren’t exactly unique hiding places. My basic house just wasn’t constructed for such a clandestine purpose. It was such a simple mistake really and yet one that would affect everything to follow.

“Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord,” I silently prayed as we drove away. I glanced up and noticed the sky. The sun was just starting its climb. It would be another typical summer day in Liberia, hot and humid.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Power of Paying for Your Adult Children

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:

The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children

Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2009)

Stormie Omartian has a masterful way of intermingling the cries of our hearts with the very words of God as we pray for those we love. Even though our children are grown and have moved on with their lives, they will reside in our hearts and prayer lives forever. Stormie provides Biblical lessons about things that our children need to live holy lives and gives specific prayers we can follow to ensure we know the scriptures that support those holy principles.

As an even more important benefit, I'm learning how I can improve my own life as I pray these things for my children. This book allows me to pray for better lives for my children as I improve my own faith walk day by day.


Stormie Omartian is the bestselling author of The Power of a Praying® series (more than 11 million copies sold worldwide), which includes The Power of a Praying® Wife and The Power of a Praying® Husband. Her many other books include Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On, The Prayer That Changes Everything®, and The Power of a Praying® Woman. Stormie and her husband, Michael, have been married more than 35 years and have three grown children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736920862
ISBN-13: 978-0736920865


Pray That Your Adult Children Will
See God Pour Out His Spirit upon Them

Once you have released your adult children into God’s hands and dedicated—or rededicated—their lives to Him (as I described near the end of the introduction), then the first and most important way to start praying is to ask God to pour out His Spirit upon them. It doesn’t matter what else you need to pray about specifically; you will be heading upstream against a strong current if you and they are not moving with the flow of God’s Spirit.

Every day we want the Spirit of God to come upon us and carry us where we need to go. We want Him to open our eyes to the truth and open our ears to hear His voice. We want Him to fill us afresh with His Spirit so that our lives can be lived for Him and we can move into all He has for us. And that is exactly what we want for our adult children as well.

Ideally, our adult children will ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit themselves. But realistically, many young people don’t even think about doing that, or understand what it means or why they should. It would be wonderful if our adult children would pray for all the things suggested in this book over their own lives, but whether they do or don’t, they still need our prayer support.

Pray That They Will Welcome an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

A glorious promise God proclaimed to His people was first heard in the Old Testament through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28) and then quoted later in the New Testament by Peter. It says:

“It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17, emphasis added).

We are living in the last days God is talking about. If you are not sure about that, read your Bible and then turn on the TV and watch it for a week. You will see unmistakable signs of it everywhere. The promise for our adult children in the words “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” is that, when the Holy Spirit is poured out on them, they will be able to hear from God. They will have a word from God in their hearts, and it will become the motivating factor in their lives. And God will be glorified in the process.

When our adult children can hear from God, then they will know where He is leading them, and they will understand how He wants them to serve Him. They may not know specifics, but they will have direction. Too often young adults can’t figure out the direction for their lives because they haven’t heard a word in their hearts from God about it. This can carry on for years until you have adult children who are aimless and don’t feel any sense of purpose or calling. But when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them, they can sense direction from God, and He is able to lead them on the right paths and secure their steps in ways they couldn’t begin to do on their own.

I have known too many good, godly, believing parents who had an adult child who did nothing for years after he (she) graduated from high school. In each case he (she) refused to go to a college or a trade school and couldn’t or wouldn’t find a job. The parents prayed and prayed and threatened and prodded and begged to no effect. Then one day, after they had prayed that God would pour out His Spirit upon him (her), their adult child got up off the couch, turned off the TV, and went out and made a life for himself (herself).

You might be thinking, Why didn’t those parents just throw their lazy adult children out? But it is not as easy as it sounds. When you throw them out they can get into a lot of trouble. They can become more vulnerable to evil influences because they are afraid or desperate. You must have the mind of God about this. You have to be certain that throwing your adult child out of your house is what God wants you to do. In some cases it may well be, but it can’t be a decision born of human emotions, such as anger. I know some parents who shipped their adult child out because they thought it would do him good, and it turned out to be a terrible decision because he fell under some horrible influences.

We have to keep in mind that God can do far more for our adult children than we can ever do, and so we must ask Him to speak to their hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit. They need to be able to hear from God regarding every aspect of their lives, from decisions they make about where they go and what they do to the people they spend time with and perhaps try to emulate.

Some adult children are going to be more open to hearing from God and receptive to the move of His Spirit in their lives than others. Some will not be open or receptive at all. At least not at first. Whether they are open or not shouldn’t affect your prayers. You pray what needs to be prayed regardless of what your adult child’s attitude is toward the things of God. Your job is to pray, and it is God’s job to answer. Remember, you have released your adult child into God’s hands. That doesn’t mean you have given up on him or her. You’re not saying, “You take him, God. I can’t deal with him anymore.” Or, “That’s it, Lord. I’ve had it. She’s all Yours now.” It means you have surrendered the burden you have been carrying for your adult child to the Lord so He can take it off of your shoulders. Then the burden you carry is in prayer.

Pray That They Will Understand the Power of the Holy Spirit

I wrote The Power of a Praying Parent more than 15 years ago, and it has served me and others well in all those years. I have seen countless answers to prayer in my own children’s lives, and I have heard from thousands of readers about the wonderful answers to prayer they have experienced as well. Those of us who started praying for our small children back then have seen them grow into adults. And we have also watched the world change for the worse in some way every day. We must now have a new strategy in prayer for our adult children. Our prayers for the flow of the Holy Spirit in their lives will become a powerful protective shield from the flood of this toxic culture. They cannot navigate it successfully without God’s power.

Today’s cultural environment will chew our adult children up and spit them out if they are not strong enough to recognize the destructive, dark, and powerful forces that are in it and be able to resist them. No matter how horrible our own background might have been, we weren’t confronted with the outpouring of evil they are facing today. It is becoming so dangerous that even our adult children cannot successfully withstand it on their own. They need the power of the Holy Spirit, and they need our prayers to help them understand how He moves in power on their behalf.

We must not only politely ask God for an outpouring of His Spirit on our adult children, we must get on our knees and cry out for it from the depths of our being. We must recognize that already a spirit is being poured out on them right now—the spirit of darkness, death, perversion, lies, destruction, and evil—and only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit can negate that in their lives before it harms or destroys them. Only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit can connect them to the power of God.

Pray That They Will Be Influenced by the Holy Spirit of Truth

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). We all must have Him functioning in that capacity fully in our lives. And this is especially true for our adult children. The Spirit of truth will bring the truth to light and expose the lies.

I am deliberately not telling many stories about my own adult children in this book, and that is not because there aren’t any stories to tell. But Christopher and Amanda are adults, and these are their stories to tell. And I hope that someday they will, for the outcome in each case has been great to the glory of God. However, I will say that each one of my adult children at one point presented us with a challenge that made it necessary to confront them about some choices they had made with regard to the path they were on. They each had gotten off the path God had for them because of bad influences in their lives. I am not blaming the bad influences, because obviously something in each adult child allowed them to be drawn toward what they clearly knew was not right.

This happened in separate years and ages for each of them, and they were dealing with entirely different issues. However, in both cases I had previously sensed in my spirit that something was not quite right in their spirits. A parent can look into their adult child’s eyes and see if the Holy Spirit is reflected back in all His purity, or if something has come into their mind and soul that is competing with His presence. And this is especially true when you ask the Holy Spirit of truth to reveal what you need to know in order to pray effectively for their lives.

My husband and I felt something was not right, but we didn’t have any hard evidence. So we just prayed that God would reveal everything that needed to be revealed, and that He would not let them get away with anything. We asked God to pour out His Spirit upon them and convict them of whatever was in their lives that was not glorifying to Him. We asked the Spirit of truth to reveal the truth to them and to us.

In each case, not long after we prayed, someone called us to say they were concerned about our adult child and why. We went to each one and told them what the Holy Spirit had put on our hearts. We also told them what we had heard, although not whom we heard it from. (I never reveal my sources.) They each immediately admitted to what we suspected and were deeply and completely repentant.

This was a turning point for each adult child, because they were different from then on. They were more serious about their lives, their futures, and the Lord. They became far more careful and wise about their associations and actions. The Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to them, and their hearts were opened to a new level of His work in their lives. All this could not have happened without the Spirit of truth penetrating their lives and revealing what they needed to see.

Even though I am not using many stories from my own adult children’s lives—except in a few minor instances such as this, where their privacy is not compromised—there are countless parents of adult children with whom I have talked at great length about the problems they have faced with their adult children. These conversations have given me more than enough examples to illustrate what I need to in each chapter. However, so as to protect everyone’s privacy, I will not mention any real names or specifics that would allow someone to be identified. Plus, nearly every example I am citing is based on more than one case. So it could be any one of a number of adult children whom I am talking about in this book.

All that to say, I have seen countless answers to prayers for adult children. Were I to tell you all of them, you would be greatly encouraged in praying for your own. I hope the ones I mention will give you the encouragement you need.

If you have an adult child who has grieved or worried you, or caused problems for himself (herself) or for you or others, ask God to pour out His Spirit on him (her) right now. Don’t waste time blaming yourself, the other parent, or your child. I am not saying your adult children don’t bear any responsibility for what happens in their lives. They certainly do. But the overriding factor is that only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God on your adult children is powerful enough to withstand the onslaught of the spirit of evil coming against them. Asking God to pour out His Spirit upon your adult children is a simple prayer with powerful ramifications, both for you and for them.

I have asked God to pour out His Holy Spirit on you and speak to your heart as you pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your adult children. I can’t wait to hear about the results.

Prayer Power

Lord, You have said that in the last days You will pour out Your Spirit upon all flesh. I cry out to You from the depth of my heart and ask that You would pour out Your Holy Spirit upon my adult children. Pour out Your Spirit upon me and my other family members as well. Pour out Your Spirit on all of their in-laws, both present and future. Pour out Your Spirit upon whatever difficult circumstances each of my adult children are facing. Be Lord over every part of their lives and every aspect of their being.

Speak to my adult child’s heart and help him (her) to hear from You. Enable him (her) to understand Your leading and direction for his (her) life. Open his (her) ears to hear Your truth so he (she) will reject all lies. Help him (her) to move by the power of Your Spirit. Enable him (her) to rise above the onslaught of evil in our culture.

Where he (she) has walked away from You in any way, stretch out Your hand and draw him (her) back. Don’t let him (her) get away with anything that is not pleasing in Your sight. Convict his (her) heart and bring him (her) back to where he (she) should be. May the Holy Spirit poured out on him (her) completely neutralize the power of the enemy attempting to pour out evil in his (her) life.

I know You can do far more in my adult child’s life than I can ever do, and I invite You to do so. But if there is anything I should do—or should not do—make it clear to me so that I will do the right thing. Holy Spirit of truth, reveal the truth that needs to be seen both to them and to me. Guide me in my response to them always.

I pray my adult child will never grieve Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) but will receive Him as a gift from You (Luke 11:13). Fill him (her) with Your Spirit and pour into him (her) Your peace, hope, faith, truth, and power. Let a spirit of praise arise in his (her) heart and teach him (her) to worship You in Spirit and in truth.

In Jesus’ name I pray.

Word Power

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

Luke 11:13

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

Acts 1:8

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew 12:32

Prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:21

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Be Hopeful

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:

Be Hopeful (1 Peter): How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times (The BE Series Commentary)

David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)


Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 150 books, including the popular “BE” series of Bible commentaries, which has sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767434
ISBN-13: 978-1434767431


Copyright 2009 David C Cook. Be Hopeful by Warren Wiersbe. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.


(1 Peter 1:1; 5:12–14)

While there’s life, there’s hope!” That ancient Roman saying is still quoted today and, like most adages, it has an element of truth but no guarantee of certainty. It is not the fact of life that determines hope, but the faith of life. A Christian believer has a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3 NASB) because his faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21). This “living hope” is the major theme of Peter’s first letter. He is saying to all believers, “Be hopeful!”

Before we study the details of this fascinating letter, let’s get acquainted with the man who wrote it, the people to whom he sent it, and the particular situation that prompted him to write.


He identified himself as “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:1). Some liberals have questioned whether a common fisherman could have penned this letter, especially since Peter and John were both called “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13). However, this phrase only means “laymen without formal schooling”; that is, they were not professional religious leaders. We must never underestimate the training Peter had for three years with the Lord Jesus, nor should we minimize the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Peter is a perfect illustration of the truth expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:26–31.

His given name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means “a stone” (John 1:35–42). The Aramaic equivalent of “Peter” is “Cephas,” so Peter was a man with three names. Nearly fifty times in the New Testament, he is called “Simon,” and often he is called “Simon Peter.” Perhaps the two names suggest a Christian’s two natures: an old nature (Simon) that is prone to fail, and a new nature (Peter) that can give victory. As Simon, he was only another human piece of clay, but Jesus Christ made a rock out of him!

Peter and Paul were the two leading apostles in the early church. Paul was assigned especially to minister to the Gentiles, and Peter to the Jews (Gal. 2:1–10). The Lord had commanded Peter to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and to tend the flock (John 21:15–17; also see 1 Peter 5:1–4), and the writing of this letter was a part of that ministry. Peter told his readers that this was a letter of encouragement and personal witness (1 Peter 5:12). Some writings are manufactured out of books, the way freshmen students write term papers, but this letter grew out of a life lived to the glory of God. A number of events in Peter’s life are woven into the fabric of this epistle.

This letter is also associated with Silas (Silvanus, 1 Peter 5:12). He was one of the “chief men” in the early church (Acts 15:22) and a prophet (Acts 15:32). This means that he communicated God’s messages to the congregations as he was directed by the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 14). The apostles and prophets worked together to lay the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20), and, once that foundation was laid, they passed off the scene. There are no apostles and prophets in the New Testament sense in the church today.

It is interesting that Silas was associated with Peter’s ministry, because originally he went with Paul as a replacement for Barnabas (Acts 15:36–41). Peter also mentioned John Mark (1 Peter 5:13) whose failure on the mission field helped to cause the rupture between Paul and Barnabas. Peter had led Mark to faith in Christ (“Mark, my son”) and certainly would maintain a concern for him. No doubt one of the early assemblies met in John Mark’s home in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). In the end, Paul forgave and accepted Mark as a valued helper in the work (2 Tim. 4:11).

Peter indicated that he wrote this letter “at Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13) where there was an assembly of believers. There is no evidence either from church history or tradition that Peter ministered in ancient Babylon which, at that time, did have a large community of Jews. There was another town called “Babylon” in Egypt, but we have no proof that Peter ever visited it. “Babylon” is probably another name for the city of Rome, and we do have reason to believe that Peter ministered in Rome and was probably martyred there. Rome is called “Babylon” in Revelation 17:5 and 18:10. It was not unusual for persecuted believers during those days to write or speak in “code.”

In saying this, however, we must not assign more to Peter than is due him. He did not found the church in Rome nor serve as its first bishop. It was Paul’s policy not to minister where any other apostle had gone (Rom. 15:20); so Paul would not have ministered in Rome had Peter arrived there first. Peter probably arrived in Rome after Paul was released from his first imprisonment, about the year AD 62. First Peter was written about the year 63. Paul was martyred about 64, and perhaps that same year, or shortly after, Peter laid down his life for Christ.


Peter called them “strangers” (1 Peter 1:1), which means “resident aliens, sojourners.” They are called “strangers and pilgrims” in 1 Peter 2:11. These people were citizens of heaven through faith in Christ (Phil. 3:20), and therefore were not permanent residents on earth. Like Abraham, they had their eyes of faith centered on the future city of God (Heb. 11:8–16). They were in the world, but not of the world (John 17:16).

Because Christians are “strangers” in the world, they are considered to be “strange” in the eyes of the world (1 Peter 4:4). Christians have standards and values different from those of the world, and this gives opportunity both for witness and for warfare. We will discover in this epistle that some of the readers were experiencing suffering because of their different lifestyle.

These believers were a “scattered” people as well as a “strange” people. The word translated “scattered” (diaspora) was a technical term for the Jews who lived outside of Palestine. It is used this way in John 7:35 and James 1:1. However, Peter’s use of this word does not imply that he was writing only to Jewish Christians, because some statements in his letter suggest that some of his readers were converted out of Gentile paganism (1 Peter 1:14, 18; 2:9–10; 4:1–4). There was undoubtedly a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles in the churches that received this letter. We will notice a number of Old Testament references and allusions in these chapters.

These Christians were scattered in five different parts of the Roman Empire, all of them in northern Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Holy Spirit did not permit Paul to minister in Bithynia (Acts 16:7), so he did not begin this work. There were Jews at Pentecost from Pontus and Cappadocia (Acts 2:9), and perhaps they carried the gospel to their neighboring province. Possibly Jewish believers who had been under Peter’s ministry in other places had migrated to towns in these provinces. People were “on the move” in those days, and dedicated believers shared the Word wherever they went (Acts 8:4).

The important thing for us to know about these “scattered strangers” is that they were going through a time of suffering and persecution. At least fifteen times in this letter Peter referred to suffering, and he used eight different Greek words to do so. Some of these Christians were suffering because they were living godly lives and doing what was good and right (1 Peter 2:19–23; 3:14–18; 4:1–4, 15–19). Others were suffering reproach for the name of Christ (1 Peter 4:14) and being railed at by unsaved people (1 Peter 3:9–10). Peter wrote to encourage them to be good witnesses to their persecutors, and to remember that their suffering would lead to glory

(1 Peter 1:6–7; 4:13–14; 5:10).

But Peter had another purpose in mind. He knew that a “fiery trial” was about to begin—official persecution from the Roman Empire (1 Peter 4:12). When the church began in Jerusalem, it was looked on as a “sect” of the traditional Jewish faith. The first Christians were Jews, and they met in the temple precincts. The Roman government took no official action against the Christians since the Jewish religion was accepted and approved. But when it became clear that Christianity was not a “sect” of Judaism, Rome had to take official steps.

Several events occurred that helped to precipitate this “fiery trial.” To begin with, Paul had defended the Christian faith before the official court in Rome (Phil. 1:12–24). He had been released but then was arrested again. This second defense failed, and he was martyred (2 Tim. 4:16–18). Second, the deranged emperor, Nero, blamed the fire of Rome (July AD 64) on the Christians, using them as a scapegoat. Peter was probably in Rome about that time and was slain by Nero, who had also killed Paul. Nero’s persecution of Christians was local at first, but it probably spread. At any rate, Peter wanted to prepare the churches.

We must not get the idea that all Christians in every part of the empire were going through the same trials to the same degree at the same time. It varied from place to place, though suffering and opposition were pretty general (1 Peter 5:9). Nero introduced official persecution of the church, and other emperors followed his example in later years. Peter’s letter must have been a tremendous help to Christians who suffered during the reigns of Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138), and Diocletian (284–305). Christians in the world today may yet learn the value of Peter’s letter when their own “fiery trials” of persecution begin. While I personally believe that the church will not go through the tribulation, I do believe that these latter days will bring much suffering and persecution to the people of God.

It is possible that Silas was the bearer of this letter to the believers in the provinces, and also the secretary who wrote the epistle.


First Peter is a letter of encouragement (1 Peter 5:12). We have noted that the theme of suffering runs throughout the letter, but so also does the theme of glory (see 1 Peter 1:7–8, 11, 21; 2:12; 4:11–16; 5:1, 4, 10–11). One of the encouragements that Peter gives suffering saints is the assurance that their suffering will one day be transformed into glory (1 Peter 1:6–7; 4:13–14; 5:10). This is possible only because the Savior suffered for us and then entered into His glory (1 Peter 1:11; 5:1). The sufferings of Christ are mentioned often in this letter (1 Peter 1:11; 3:18; 4:1, 13; 5:1).

Peter is preeminently the apostle of hope, as Paul is the apostle of faith and John of love. As believers, we have a “living hope” because we trust a living Christ (1 Peter 1:3). This hope enables us to keep our minds under control and “hope to the end” (1 Peter 1:13 NIV) when Jesus shall return. We must not be ashamed of our hope but be ready to explain and defend

it (1 Peter 3:15). Like Sarah, Christian wives can hope in God (1 Peter 3:5, where “trusted” should be translated “hoped”). Since suffering brings glory, and because Jesus is coming again, we can indeed be hopeful!

But suffering does not automatically bring glory to God and blessing to God’s people. Some believers have fainted and fallen in times of trial and have brought shame to the name of Christ. It is only when we depend on the grace of God that we can glorify God in times of suffering. Peter also emphasized God’s grace in this letter. “I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it” (1 Peter 5:12 NIV).

The word grace is used in every chapter of 1 Peter: 1:2, 10, 13; 2:19 (“thankworthy”), 20 (“acceptable”); 3:7; 4:10; 5:5, 10, 12. Grace is God’s generous favor to undeserving sinners and needy saints. When we depend on God’s grace, we can endure suffering and turn trials into triumphs. It is grace alone that saves us (Eph. 2:8–10). God’s grace can give us strength in times of trial (2 Cor. 12:1–10). Grace enables us to serve God in spite of difficulties (1 Cor. 15:9–10). Whatever begins with God’s grace will always lead to glory (Ps. 84:11; 1 Peter 5:10).

As we study 1 Peter, we will see how the three themes of suffering, grace, and glory unite to form an encouraging message for believers experiencing times of trial and persecution. These themes are summarized in 1 Peter 5:10, a verse we would do well to memorize.

The cynical editor and writer H. L. Mencken once defined hope as “a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.” But that definition does not agree with the New Testament meaning of the word. True Christian hope is more than “hope so.” It is confident assurance of future glory and blessing.

An Old Testament believer called God “the hope of Israel” (Jer. 14:8). A New Testament believer affirms that Jesus Christ is his hope (1 Tim. 1:1; see Col. 1:27). The unsaved sinner is “without hope” (Eph. 2:12 NIV), and if he dies without Christ, he will be hopeless forever. The Italian poet Dante, in his Divine Comedy, put this inscription over the world of the dead: “Abandon all hope, you who enter here!”

This confident hope gives us the encouragement and enablement we need for daily living. It does not put us in a rocking chair where we complacently await the return of Jesus Christ. Instead, it puts us in the marketplace, on the battlefield, where we keep on going when the burdens are heavy and the battles are hard. Hope is not a sedative; it is a shot of adrenaline, a blood transfusion. Like an anchor, our hope in Christ stabilizes us in the storms of life (Heb. 6:18–19), but unlike an anchor, our hope moves us forward, it does not hold us back.

It is not difficult to follow Peter’s train of thought. Everything begins with salvation, our personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ. If we know Christ as Savior, then we have hope! If we have hope, then we can walk in holiness and in harmony. There should be no problem submitting to those around us in society, the home, and the church family. Salvation and submission are preparation for suffering; but if we focus on Christ, we can overcome, and God will transform suffering into glory.