Relentless: The Power You Need to Never Give Up

 ”You already have what it takes to finish well!” declares John Bevere in his latest book, Relentless. So many times as Christians we let the day go by us, living to just get by, to get through each day, through Relentless, Bevere reminds us that we are not meant to ‘just get by.’ That are goal is not just to finish, but to finish well! We have been equipped with the tools to take control of our situation through the grace of God and to live relentlessly for Him.

Bevere challenges us to take a stand and to declare the promises of God over every situation. Relentless is jam packed with information which at times became overwhelming with all the information squeezed into a single chapter. Bevere uses biblical truth in support of what he is asking us to do, to live relentlessly for God. The level of conversation within the book digs deep into the ancient greek roots of words and bible translations, Bevere has done his research on the topic as he shares stories and examples of what a life living relentlessly could look like.

There are some points within this book that I do not agree with, but for the most part I enjoyed the information and had a lot to think about. At times the chapters are daunting and are so packed full of information it is hard to process everything. This is not a book to read over a weekend, it is a book that needs time and consideration and be prepared to take notes! By the end of this book you will be ready to stand tall and strong and by becoming Relentless in our faith “we will become something to be reckoned with, a genuine threat to the kingdom of darkness.”

I received this book complimentary from Waterbrook Press through the blogging for books program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

-Elle

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My Prayer

It isn’t the new year yet, it is getting close but it isn’t here yet. It is that time we start considering our resolutions, to decide what we want to attempt as of 2012 and give up on seven days later. Each year we list out resolutions a mile long of how we want to spend the new year, to get healthy, have a relationship, work out more, go online less.

I just started a new devotional from Lysa TeurKeurst, her new devotional based off her book Made to Crave and after day one I have been challenged. Like Lysa I want to become unsettled.

For all the times I say I want to settle down, I now want to be unsettled.

That word keeps coming up for me. Settle. Not sure why yet, but there must be something there.

My prayer comes right out of Lysa’s Book, and although her book is aimed at facing food issues, I am taking this prayer in a more general stance. It will fit into any moment, any challenge of my life.

“Goodbye to my remnants, my justification, shards, and tendencies. This is not who I am- nor who I was created to be. Goodbye to shallow efforts, self-focus, and suspicious fears that I’ll never find victory in this area of life. I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in distractions or destructions. Welcome deeper love for God and the realization I am made for more than this constant battle. Welcome my unsettled heart.”

I am ready to be unsettled.

-Elle

There is a fine line between patience and settling..

                Recently I have been challenged in the area of patience, in waiting on God’s timing, I know He has bigger plans for me, plans that I could not even imagine.  A Career. A Family. A Home. He knows my hearts desires, not only has He promised us those desires He has also placed those within us.

                “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” -Psalm 37:4-5

                I know that my impatience is nothing compared to the blessing that He has in store for me. God knows what my heart desires; He knows my needs even before I have thought of them. And although I know He will provide in His timing sometimes I really do not like His timing.

                After a year and a half of job searching my patience is starting to wear on me, I thought that I was a pretty patient person up until recently but then I realized that maybe I wasn’t as patient as I claimed to be, maybe I always just settled for what came along, where is the line when being patient turns into settling? I chose my major because it was what I knew, I participated in theatre because it was what I was good at, I joined a service program because I loved to volunteer, but this time it is different. This time I don’t want to just settle into a job, I want a career, and not just any career but the career that God is leading my into.

                I am constantly being told not to settle, but after being patient for so long I want to just jump at the next opportunity that is offered, I don’t want to settle for the circumstances that I am in, I want to push forward and pursue all of the promises and opportunities that God has placed before me, even when that means waiting a few more days, weeks, months (I really pray that is not the case!) Each day as I apply for more and more jobs I tell myself I am pushing forward, that God has the perfect career for me it just hasn’t come around yet, or I am not prepared for it yet. It’s a good thing everything is done electronically now or I may have just destroyed the rain forest with my rejection letters, they suck to get, but each time I know I am that much closer to a new job. But at the same time maybe I am settling. Settling by applying only to the jobs that I know I can do. Settling by not reaching out into a different field but only applying to the jobs that I would be ‘comfortable’ with, for the jobs I know I could excel at rather than reaching for the positions that would be a challenge that would throw me out of my comfort zone. Each job I look at I go down the list of qualifications

Detail Oriented. Check.

Team Player. Check.

Computer Skills. Check

Non Profit Experience. Check

Public Speaking. Next Job Please!

                There are keywords I see that send my heart racing a mile a minute just at the thought of doing something uncomfortable (Public Speaking is Number 1 on that list for me!) By doing this I feel I may be placing myself into a box, settling for what I can do, and not striving for what God has created me to do! After all He knows me best, He knows what I can and cannot do. In the job search I am my biggest competition, in anything we are our biggest competition, we quickly tell ourselves what we cannot do instead it’s time to re-evaluate and tell ourselves what God can do through us! We may struggle with public speaking, or writing or communicating but it does not matter, with God on our sides we can do anything. Now that does not mean that the next time I get in front of a crowd I’m going to magically be able to give a speech, but it does mean that He is not going to leave me up there by myself.

                I am done letting the fear of the unknown or the fear of speaking in front of people or of anything force me to settle into something that God did not have planned. His plans and timing are the only way! As long as we pursue Him with all our hearts He will lead us on the greatest adventure of all time. A non-settling-growing-beyond-imagine-I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening kind of adventure!

                “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”

                -2 Timothy 1:7

                “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.”  -Psalm 130:5

-Elle

I am thankful…

This was on KLOVE last year, and I thought it was worth sharing because I’m noticing how much I complain, and that there’s always something to be grateful for, even when you don’t realize it.

I am thankful:

For the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight and for the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato,

Because they aren’t out with someone else.

For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes,

Because it means she is at home, not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay,

Because it means I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party,

Because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug,

Because it means I have enough to eat.

For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing,

Because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining I hear about the government,

Because it means we have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot,

Because it means I am capable of walking and have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill,

Because it means I am warm.

For the lady behind me in church who sings off key,

Because it means I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing,

Because it means I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day,

Because it means I have been capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours,

Because it means God still has work for me to do.

-Elle

How one family has made a difference

The House of Hope

By: Elisabeth Gifford

 

Everyday we hear the stories of the children left alone, children that nobody cares for because of circumstances that they were born into.  Enter into the world of the Hill Family, who one day were living with all the comforts in the world and then were left heartbroken one moment while on a visit with their church. Vowing to not return until they knew how to make a difference in the children’s lives they were completely unaware of the adventure God would be leading them on.

Robyn and Joyce Hill’s lives were turned upside down and were introduced into a world of hurting children in search of a hug and someone to love them.  The Hill’s took it upon themselves to help care for the children of China and helping to find them medical care and to nurture and care for each child until they were able to be places on the adoption list and be placed with a forever family.

Gifford has put together an inspirational account of the Hill’s journey and some of the kids they have met along the way who have gone on to find their forever families.  The House of Hope will introduce you to an organization that is truly making a difference in the world every single day by caring for children, providing them with the lives they deserve and uniting families together. The Hill’s have had the children of China places upon their hearts and have found away to really make a difference.

The House of Hope will give you a glimpse into what the Hill family is accomplishing and is a great book to read if you are considering international adoption and how all the children out there are simply looking for someone to love them.

I received this book complimentary Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

100% OF THE PROCEEDS OF THIS BOOK GO TO FUND THE WORK AT HOPE FOSTER HOME.  

http://www.hopefosterhome.com

 

The publisher is sponsoring a $50 “GET / GIVE” GIVEAWAY: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate for themselves AND$50 will be given in the winner’s name to Hope Foster Home. The giveaway is open to both you and your blog readers.

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using #HFH) about The House of Hope or share about it on Facebook!

Buy the book: The House of Hope 

 Blog Tour Schedule

-Elle

Women of Faith: Over the Top- OKC

            How does one really sum up a weekend like Women of Faith: Over the Top? I can say it was great, amazing in fact, I can tell you about how you have to be sure to attend next year, about how much I learned and how powerful it is to have over 8,000 women gathered in one place in the name of Jesus.

            All that is true, but nothing can really explain this weekend unless you were to experience it yourself, and even than it would be different from mine. I will try my best, and share with you some of the things I learned over 2 days at the Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, there are so many moments I want to share, so much I want you to understand about what I learned and I want to urge you to make sure you have the opportunity to attend one of the Women of Faith events next year!

With the talents of so many amazing women (and man) Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Andy Andrews, Mandisa, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Lisa Whelchel, Brenda Warner and Deborah Joy Winans. There is no way for me to go into everything I learned in one post so in the coming weeks I will post about each speaker or session for now I will leave you with a few things to ponder and consider, if there is something you want to know more about specifically feel free to leave a comment and I will post more on that session.

Patsy Clairmont

  -There is a Holy No, a no only to be dispensed at the appropriate time

-Not saying no will diminish your enthusiasm for life when saying yes when feeling obligated to do something.

Take refuge in God, His refuge will bring you comfort.

Proverbs 29:11 “A fool vents all her feelings, a wise woman holds them back”

-Speak your words in kindness, truth and love

-Sometimes we need to just be quiet

-Patsy refers to the verse that says “Shut up in Jesus’ name”

Proverbs 29:25 “To fear anyone will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

-On the other hand some of us do not speak up when we are supposed to, if we fear to speak to man we place ourselves in the enemies trap. We need to learn to speak up.

“God has designed us with a will that is stronger than our emotions”

Love your Enemies

“Sarcasm is nothing more than anger in a clown suit”

“We can make significant changes as we learn to implement God’s counsel in our lives”

“You won’t see significant change or progress until you take responsibility for yourself”

  -God pursued Jonah until he got to the right path

-God is a redeemer and it pleases Him to bring you to greater wholeness

Don’t EVER underestimate the power and value of prayer (emphasis mine)

-Our greatest need is connection, that’s why prayer matters, people matter, change can be good

To learn more about Patsy visit her site http://patsyclairmont.com/

Andy Andrews

“We’re either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or about to go into a crisis”

“When people are in a crisis people will shove an answer into a place where an answer doesn’t exist, we don’t need an answer we need a perspective”

 -God’s principles ALWAYS work

-Seek wisdom; adults tend to rely on knowledge rather than seeking wisdom.

-The worst question to ask is ‘Is this wrong?’ the best question to ask is ‘Is this a wise decision?”

-There is no power in our intention; there is power in our direction

“Live your life with intention.”

Fear

 “Fear is the misuse of the creative imagination God has places in us.”

-Smart people are more likely to be shut down by fear

-You have to defeat the thoughts of doubts and fears with logic; we paralyze ourselves with the ifs

40% – worries about things that will never happen

30% – worries that already happened

12% – worries about health concerns

10% – worries about what others think

8% –  legit concerns (things that can be dealt with)

-Everything happens because of how you act, not how you feel

-Today I will choose to be happy

-People can choose to be actively grateful, when we are actively/intentionally grateful with our thoughts our lives will improve

-People don’t want to be around unhappy, ungrateful people

Forgiveness

-Most people don’t understand the difference between a choice and a mistake

-When someone makes a choice only the words ‘Will you forgive me?” can reset it

-A mistake can be covered by ‘I’m sorry’

-We can choose to act in a way to honor God and bring people into His presence

-Everything you do matters to all of us and for all time

-Every move you make is shaping the world, so we might as well hold each other accountable

More on Andy Andrews http://www.andyandrews.com/

 

Q and A with Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews

“The enemy loves to isolate, so we must insulate ourselves”

“An unforgiving spirit is the root of not understanding forgiveness”

“Forgiveness is a decision not an emotion”

“Don’t let your history determine your destiny”

“Concentrate on forgiveness, anger is not of God”

“Stop telling yourself what you can’t do”

“Can broken things be redeemed? If not we wouldn’t be sitting here today”

Lisa Whelchel

-The desire for connection is stronger than the fear of rejection

“You cannot connect with someone head to head; you can only connect heart to heart”

More on Lisa Whelchel  http://www.lisawhelchel.com/

Brenda Warner

 “Today I choose to have faith despite my circumstances”

“Circumstances don’t make us who we are, God does.”

“I’m the head and not the tail. I’m above and not below.

I will find favor with man and God.

I was created in the image of God.

To do good things and to love people”

Sandi Patty

  “God is saying yes to a dream for me that I cannot see yet.”

Marilyn Meberg

-The constant craving of the human soul, life as it is leaves us craving more.

“You, God, have created us for yourself; our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

Augustine

“He puts a little heaven in our hearts so we never settle for less.”

-2 Corinthians 5:5

-There is nothing you have ever done that God does not meet you at well of your soul

-One day all cravings will be satisfied and that is eternity.

So much content for only 2 day’s right? It is a lot to process and I still have not taken it all in yet. The Women of Faith: Over the Top conference was amazing and everyone should attend!

Not only that but good news! Women of Faith is coming back to Oklahoma City next year! This year they finished the tour here, next year they will be kicking it off and I cannot wait, so start planning your group now and I hope to see you there!

http://www.womenoffaith.com/celebrate/

-Elle

The Voice: A New way of reading the Bible

The Voice: New Testament

The Voice New Testament is a brand new translation that reads more like a story and helps to engage and help readers to make a more personal connection with the Word.  The Voice presents itself as a story rather than an informative textbook that allows its readers to get up close and personal with the life of Jesus.

The Voice offers a new and innovative way to get into the Bible, in this translation Biblical Scholars, writers, and many others have come together to keep the integrity of the original text but to also pay attention to the word usage in that time and the inflection of what is being said. In this translation different forms of type help the reader to understand the text, standard type references the dynamic translation, the italicized words offer help in completing ideas and inflection, delineated material helps to expand on themes within the text. There is also a convenient screenplay format that helps to eliminate the need and misunderstanding of who said what within a text.

I really enjoyed the layout of The Voice as well as the extra information that gives insight throughout the books. The screenplay format is great also! Eliminating the who said what and placing text into this format makes for an easier read and flow of the story, the text flows more smoothly. The extra inflections and side notes are very helpful. This Bible gives you a new way to look at and understand verses that you may have read before in the past. It gives you the ability to read a story you’ve heard for years with a fresh set of eyes!

I received this book complimentary through the BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

To see a side by side comparison of The Voice and The King James Version go to  http://www.hearthevoice.com/compare-translations

The Full Bible Translation of The Voice will be available in April

For more information on The Voice translation check out their website athttp://www.hearthevoice.com

-Elle

 

The Journey to Christmas DVD

Cover: Journey to Christmas Journey to Christmas

We’ve all heard it before, the same Christmas carols, the same Christmas story, we get mixed up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and forget about what the true meaning of Christmas is. Every year we claim we want to focus on that meaning but moments later we are rushing to the nearest toy story to get that new released toy that someone just has to have.

The Journey to Christmas invites you into the lives of five very different people who have never met and are taking the trip of a lifetime. Joining a local historian the five travel the path that Joseph and Mary took to Bethlehem, they learn the culture and hardships that were faced along the way. Each person has their own beliefs and their own reasons for taking this journey but together they will learn about the meaning of Christmas and the history of the people who surrounded the nativity.

The Journey of Christmas is a DVD that will give you a fresh look the birth of Christ and give you insight to the hardships faced during the time.

This DVD was provided complimentary from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

-Elle

Quick #Wofott Update

I just spent the last two days at the Women of Faith Over the Top Conference.

I promise to get a blog on the event (or 3…or 4) within the coming days, it was an amazing experience that I am still processing, in the meantime, you can look back through my tweets for some blurbs of what was going on all weekend!

-Elle

The Shadow of Your Smile By: Susan May Warren

The Shadow of Your SmileSusan May Warren’s The Shadow of Your Smile

Susan May Warren has captured our hearts and brought us into Deep Haven once again to share the lives of Eli and Noelle Hueston, in this small snow-covered town the Hueston’s marriage is on the verge of collapse, after going through the loss of  their daughter the Hueston’s were unable to find their way back to one another. Unsure of where the future leads Noelle takes a trip to the city which ends in trauma, leaving her with no memory of the last twenty-five years. With no recollection of her children, her husband or the daughter she lost, Eli and Noelle are given the chance to find one another again.

The Shadow of Your Smile brings you through the grief of a family, the hurt and the pain of a failing marriage, the loss of a loved one, and a family searching for how to make things work. Join the Hueston family as they search for peace and the joy they once had and to a new understanding of redemption and forgiveness.

Warren has produced another fabulous Deep Haven book that captures your heart and will remind you of a few lessons along the way and how a family that came through a tragedy can find each other once again.

I was provided this book complimentary from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

-Elle