Book Review: Simple Discipleship

For those looking for a basic and practical step-by-step guide about discipleship this is a book that can be a great start. Simple Discipleship, by Dana Allin, is written for both the beginner and the pastoral leadership needing to re-evaluate their way of discipling their congregation.

Discipleship was never intended to be complicated. This book makes it clear that discipleship must be done in relationship. It is simple enough that even if discipleship has not been done well, it can help one realize it is less daunting of a task than one originally thinks.

It is split up into sections which can help those reading to figure out a step-by-step process that can be adopted into their church culture. Personally I felt like the majority of the book was review for me. I did learn some new ways of evaluating current systems in place as well as personal evaluation towards the end of the book.

In the chapter where Allin describes the four directions, I felt that emphasis on the Holy Spirit was lacking. In fact I felt like the focus on the Holy Spirit was lacking overall. With a proper understanding of Holy Spirit comes the key to avoiding discipleship as a formula or posing as a program rather than a part of every believers DNA.

Overall, for those looking to evaluate and look at the health and growth of their life and church, Simple Discipleship can be a book that can help get things moving in the right direction.

I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers and these opinions are my own.

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My Dear Angel Child

Today you would have been 5 months old. A year ago you made your grand entrance into heaven instead. I will never understand why you had to go so soon. I will never understand why out of nowhere you came and out of nowhere you left. You were a gift that sparked new hope. Because of you a promise came.

In the E.R. I remember breathing through the rolls of cramps asking God to save you. Despite the pain. Despite not receiving the care I went there for. Despite sitting in a plastic chair amidst strangers. Despite losing you in the bathroom I still had hope.

All I did was praise. In those moments of both physical and emotional pain I focused on prayer & worship. At this point I had already lost you and the pains kept coming. I had not been given any medicine so I just breathed through and began to sing quietly under my breath. Somehow, deep down I knew God would turn all things to good and be glorified in all this. So I sang for God to be glorified. I sang the truth of who He was because He was the only constant and unchanging thing in my life. He still is.

It has been a year. Since then I have run after the enemy in pursuit of justice. I have been prayed for almost every month. Issues I’ve had for over 20 years gone because of prayer. My faith has grown. In the Philippines I prayed for many wombs to open and for babies to come. I expect to see babies in those ladies arms.

The enemy can try to steal and try to keep what’s ours but only for the length of time that we are believing lies about our inheritance. Once you realize who you are and whose you are there is no stopping you from storming enemy camp and claiming what is yours.

But goodness, this past year has been intense! The past 3 months have been the most intense of all. Waiting for a promise (or 2 or 3) is not an easy feat. There will always be a battle before your victory. I also believe that because of you my dear angel child in heaven, that my faith grew in order to claim new territory for our family. As I have done this I have realized how important it is to remain steadfast because claiming new territory can awaken dragons intended to cause delays or destruction. That new territory is worth a lot otherwise it would be easy.

Today I choose to celebrate you my dear child. I choose to praise through the tears. I choose to sing like I did in the E.R. God has not changed. He never will. He is still the miracle worker. He is still the way maker. And He is still the promise keeper.

Happy Birthday Michael! I love you.

In A Pit With A Lion

A mountain and a promise.

You are in a pit with a lion. What do you do?

Do you panic and freeze, or try to hide and cower in the corner?

No.

You will face that lion. With every breath you take it will remind you that the Lord is with you. He will not fail.

As the lion paces he licks his lips with a ravenous look of hunger in his eyes. He looks so confident. After all, he is the lion and you are but mere prey. And you are in a pit with no rope. You have no ladder to climb or person to get you out. The lion knows that you have nowhere to go and the smell of you makes his mouth water. He can smell the sweat drip from your forehead.

What do you do?

You stare that lion down with a fierceness that defies any potential fear shaking your bones. Every fiber in your being knows that God will save you. You crush any doubts within milliseconds of them entering your thoughts. You stand your ground.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

The lion slowly creeps closer. Closer still he comes until you can feel the heat of his breathe on your neck. He sniffs your hair.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You begin to hear a low guttural noise and he rubs his mane up against you. Soon he is rubbing up against you, back and forth. Gently you move your hands up and begin to pet his glorious mane.

What is this? This hungry lion meant to eat you is now as friendly as a dog.

What was supposed to be for your ruin has been reversed. You must wait a while longer before you are pulled out of the pit with the lion.

There is grace in the waiting. What joy there is for the reversal of the plans of the enemy.

Now you can wait confidently expectant of victory in a pit with a lion!

Boxes and Bows

When did our lives become so busy and self-consuming?

The other day a longing came over me for the pure joy over simple things.

Everyday we miss extravagant happenings and miracles. Because of technology, our blessed country full of provisions and our selfish culture, we lose sight of beautiful things everyday. We can get caught up in our crazy world that we forget to live with a grateful heart.

Have you ever given a present to a child only to have them be more excited over the box or bow? We act disappointed when the gift is rejected over a free box or five cent bow.

It is time to get excited again over boxes and bows.

When was the last time that you noticed the little kid on your street laughing? Have you noticed the color of the sky on your way home? Did you realize that your spouse looked at you like you were the only one in the room? Did you notice the view from your house that you see everyday yet finally stopped to breathe in the beauty of it all?

Life is beautiful. The simple things are astounding. The simple things are miraculous because no matter what may be going on those simple things remind us of the goodness of God. Your circumstances will never change the goodness of God. He never changes. He is faithful, loving and mighty.

Breathe in the crisp night air amidst the sparkling sky. Laugh at the cheesy joke. Hold your spouse’s hand and memorize the way they look at you. Slowly sip that hot cup of coffee. No matter what may be going on in your life, these simple things are your boxes and bows.

God is waiting for you. He is amidst the simple things.

Inspire for Girls

By Tyndale: Inspire for Girls, the Bible for Coloring and Creative Journaling

Upon looking at this Bible, I am instantly drawn to the cover. I love the colors and design but my favorite are the declarations written on the front and back. Words like created, precious, loved, blessed and masterpiece are some of my favorites.

When looking through the pages, one can color each one as well as the inside cover. There are devotionals, prayers, illustrations and an area for journal notes included throughout. Each book of the Bible has key scripture verses and fun facts. The colors are black and tourquise which outline and define the illustrations and letters. When colors are added it makes the page pop.

I am instantly enticed to begin writing in and coloring each page. This Bible would be a perfect gift for the girls that love art and enjoy doodling and writing. Each page is fun! Not one page is the same just like us. This Bible truly helps engage the reader and makes it come to life in a different way.

I have received this free from Tyndale House Publishers and these opinions are my own.

Vital Choices

“The thoughts and decisions in your life can either control you or set you free.”

I have been missing my Mom lately because I wish I could talk with her about everything going on in my life right now. I know what she would say,

“Kara, you have a lot going on. It is good to cry. Do not be so hard on yourself. Please rest.”

Since she passed I often tell myself similar phrases as a reminder to give myself some grace and choose hope each day.

It is vital for me to choose hope and joy. If I allow my thoughts to focus inward and downward it could have the potential to sabatoge my life. When I choose hope, the impossibilities seem less daunting and I am trusting God to take care of every detail. Often I have found that I have had to fight for hope and learn this as a discipline.

I have chosen that despite the circumstances, I will live with faith for promises and find ways to laugh. Why? Because my God is good. He wants the best for me. He wants me healthy, healed and whole. Jesus did not come for me to be hopeless and downcast.

His joy is my strength!

In joy there is room for increasing hope. Because of this I enjoy life even when I may feel like weeping or when I would much rather stay in bed with a frown.

My decision to stay upbeat, positive and hopeful is a decision based on how much I know God loves me and is for me. Since I know this about Him I also know that He loves my family more than I do. I know He already stormed the gates of hell and made a way for each of us. He will never stop storming those gates! And if He will never stop storming those gates then I know that I can wait a little bit longer for victory while keeping a smile on my face. I can allow laughter to fill my belly while telling the devil to shut up anytime I may be downcast.

No matter what, God is still sovereign. God is still good. Despite anything I may be going through He never changes. He cannot be defeated. He is for me. He is for you.

His love is vast and deep. Jesus proved it.

This, my friends, is why I choose hope and joy. Life may feel a bit surreal but my God is real and mighty. Nothing can change the truth of who He is and what He is doing for those that love Him!

(Laughing at this family photo ⬇)

All The Praise

Today I must believe that all that has been intended to harm and destroy those I love, will be used for good. I must believe that it will all be turned around as justice prevails.

Worthy is your name, Jesus!

Be exalted high in the heavens.

You deserve all of our praise.

In times of gladness I will praise you.

In times of sadness I will praise you.

I will praise you even as I await for justice.

I will praise you while my hands can accomplish little.

I will praise you through the tears.

I know who you are. You are mighty. You are love. Jesus, my savior.

Please do not delay.

Even if I must wait a little longer than I would like for someone to be rescued, I will still praise you.

You deserve all of the praise.

Thank you for victory!

The Victory Life

What is your focus on?

Those that study the mind share scientific proof that whatever you focus on becomes a part of you. Whatever it is can become bigger and bigger until it is all consuming (whether true or false). Essentially what you dwell on, read, watch & post has become apart of your wiring in your brain. Whatever you spend the most time focusing on will generally dictate your responses or reactions to life.

When life gets difficult it can be easy for many to focus on those difficulties. Some of us hide. Others get busier. Or we get angry, sad and melancholy.

A victors life chooses to focus on victories rather than defeats or the potential of them. It does not matter what is going on in life, if you focus on joy and victory because of Jesus, there is nothing that can touch you. I am not saying that things won’t discourage you or tire you. But what I am saying is that you have what it takes to remain steadfast, to persevere and to praise God through it all.

No matter what you may be facing today pick up your joy. Pick up your hope.

God is for you.

Victory is yours because of Him.

Joy is your choice and that is something that can never be taken from you.

Choose the victory life.

Never Surrender Your Hope

Intensity.

Passion.

Victory.

Life is interesting.

Are you contending for something great? Does it feel as if the darkness presses in close to you as you wait for your miracle?

Never surrender your hope.

When it feels as if lifes punches have taken your breath away.

Choose joy.

There is a God who loves you and has you covered on all sides. He is for you. He is for your marriage. He is for your family. He is for your victory.

Remain steadfast.

Get back up when a punch sends you to the ground. The only time you should be spending on your knees is in prayer.

Remain steadfast.

Never surrender your hope!

The Not-So-Little Secret

I know that since the dawn of time individuals have been trying to make truth what they want. Somehow people think that if they just say something or feel something then that is what is true. Like a magic lamp and poof!, truth is what I say it is.

This is a big fat lie! Anyone that lives like this has an agenda whether they realize it or not. That agenda is this: “I get to live however I want and when I want no matter how it hurts others or hurts me. I do not care if it is an abomination to the Creator of love.”

Injustices occur all of the time. Sin destroys people.

Truth exists to set everyone free from the above.

If hatred, anger, vulgar talk, gossip and lies are coming out of your mouth like a venomous snake, let me tell you a not-so-little secret. Truth always wins. Lies will rise to the surface and light will expose what is malevolent.

Be ready to be exposed.

Your game can only be played for so long before justice comes running in to save the ones you are bent on destroying. Love wins. His name is Jesus, perfector of truth and savior for all.

Victory is here.