I liked “In the Spotlight” book one of “Mayne Attraction” series. I would have given it four stars, really liking it except for a few things. In the beginning, the prologue, we meet a couple of shady characters, they come in early in the first few chapters, never to be heard from again, the story ends (with a cliff hanger) never explaining who, or why they are in the story. I am assuming they come in later in one of the other books, but I found myself asking over and over, what about those guys. The characters are likable, similar to a lot of YA characters. The girl is shy, clumsy and doesn’t know she is beautiful, the guys are hot and handsome. I am still not sure where the series is going, I was anticipating a big twist, but was disappointed in the lack of one. Having said all of that, the book is told through the eyes of the 18 year old girl, the writing is good, there was a nice mix of humor, no swearing, the only sexual content is a few insinuations and nothing between the main characters, in fact they begin and end as virgins. So a lot to like about this book, and whenever the remaining books come out, I will read them. I can recommend for ages 14 and up. Definitely a chick book.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV), “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
We have all been in that place at one time or another, or maybe some of you are there now, where we just think our “thing” is too big for God. Sometimes we think that God can do it for someone else, just not us. There is also the thought that asking for more (healing, money, favor, etc) is greedy and we shouldn’t. I am sure we can even come up with even more ways and reasons to limit God.
However, let’s not take our own perspective or worthless word on the subject, let’s look at Ephesians again. To “Him who is able to do immeasurably more,” more than what? More than we can ask or even imagine. I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty huge and vivid imagination, after all I am a writer, it kind of comes with the territory. So the things I can imagine are pretty out there, but God says He is able to do even more. He has the power to work those things in us.
Here are a few more translations of verse 20:
(NLT), “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
(KJB), “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us-”
That is pretty straightforward. God told Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” When Sarah laughed about conceiving at an old age. I think we all have to answer that same question. Is cancer too hard? Is owing no man (being out of debt) too hard? Is the salvation of our family too hard? How about recovering from divorce, death, or disease? Think of the hardest thing you can imagine and ask yourself, “is that too hard for God.” If your answer was “yes,” then you don’t really know who He is. It’s only our lack of knowledge of Him that prevents us from receiving from Him. Now, I know He is sovereign and His plan is perfect, we also live in a fallen world, and we have to go through some junk, but the key is going through. He is able, that is never the issue.
There are plenty of us who have finally gotten this revelation, only to get stuck in the mud. Usually it is because we aren’t standing in our authority. For example: if God says we are healed and we believe He is able to heal, that He in fact already took care of that thousands of years ago when He took those stripes on His back. So in our authority, which He Himself gave us, we command sickness to leave and healing to come. We tell our bodies, or our minds, to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Then we thank Him for what He has already done. We aren’t begging Him to do something. That is sort of pointless don’t you think? If a child of our continued to beg for a toy when we had already purchased it and placed it in his hands, we would get annoyed. Thank God, He has more patience than us.
Our God is also our Father. He made everything. Take a look around you, think about the ocean, a baby giraffe, a bumble bee, a sunset, or take a look at some of the pictures from the Hubble space telescope, He is limitless. His mercy and love know no bounds. His power is unending. He never sleeps nor shuts His eyes. He is forever watching you with eyes of love. All good and perfect gifts come from the Father and He has wonderful things in store for you.
So don’t put Him in a box, don’t limit the God who made the universe.
I was given a copy of this book by the author, Ashley O’Melia, in exchange for an honest review. I love fantasy, and this one was no exception. It is fun, cute, and will continue with the series (as they continue to be written). I can recommend it to all ages. No swearing, no sexual content, but lots of dragon fun, with a little romance thrown in as well. Great writing, characters are very likable. I give it five stars!
Romans 9:21 (KJV), “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
Romans 9:21 (NIV), “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
Do you want to be used for special purposes, or just for common use? God is the Master Potter and we are the work of His hands. His intention for each one of us is to be used for special purposes, to be vessels of honor. He has gifted us and given us talents with this in mind. Not one of us is meant to be the “chamber pot”! Instead we are to be the beautiful vase, or the chalice of a king. Unfortunately we don’t listen, or we listen and don’t obey, or we think we can’t hold water, or are too dirty to hold the kings wine. Sometimes we don’t like the process that it takes to become that vessel of honor. Clay has to go through quite the process to become anything. It is dug out of the ground, uprooted from its comfort zone. Then it is kneaded to get all the air bubble out. Next, it is thrown on the wheel, not carefully placed, thrown. The potter uses his hands and different sharp implements to shape and cut the blob of clay into the shape he wants. Most of the work is done on the inside, invasive, in the beginning and the outer work is finished up last. After all of that work, the final stage is the fire. Only through trials and through trouble can we become solid and usable.
Jeremiah 18:1-4 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down at once to the potter’s house; and there I will reveal My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.”
So maybe we got off track and we became flawed. Don’t fret; we are still in the Potter’s hands. This is the safest place to be! Allow Him to remake us. It isn’t always easy. In pottery class I learned a lot. Any piece can be broken down and crushed into dust. Then it is soaked in water until it is soft and pliable, only then can it be remade. If you have allowed your heart to be hardened, it will take longer and may be more painful. But always, God can start new with us.
II Timothy2:19-26 (NIV), “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
Looking at those verses in II Timothy we can see how vessels of honor behave:
1. They name the name of Jesus.
2. They abstain from wickedness.
3. They are prepared for every good work.
4. They flee youthful lusts.
5. They pursue righteousness, faith, peace, and love.
6. They ignore foolish speculations (gossip, assumptions.)
7. They are not quarrelsome.
8. They are kind to all.
9. They are able to teach.
10. They are patient when wronged, gently correcting those in opposition, with the intent of helping them come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil.
So what will it be? Will you surrender your heart to God, The Master Potter, and allow Him to make you into something beautiful?
I received a copy of this book from Story Cartel, in exchange for an honest review. Great fantasy! This book reminds me a little of Sinbad, as the main character has several smaller quests that end up in a herculean effort to save the world. The main character is a strong female, and the secondary characters are champions, guardians, an old woman, and a youth. Good writing, reads like Lord of the Rings, good versus evil. I really liked it. I give Chronicles of Casaara 4 stars. Good for teens and up. No swearing and no sexual content.
Philippians 1:6 (Douay-Rheims Bible), “Being confident of this very thing, that he, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.”
Most people have control issues. Some need to feel in control of every situation and every person in their lives. After my drug and alcohol use of my young adult years and years of prescription drugs for anxiety, I now hate anything that makes me feel like I am not in control. No gas at the dentist, one glass of wine, or one apple ale is enough, and never hard alcohol for me. My husband after several bad car accidents as a passenger, including one that broke his back in seven places and left him in a body cast for six months, likes to be the one behind the wheel. He hates giving over control of the vehicle to anyone else.
I know people who try to control their spouses, their children, and even their pastors. Wrong or right, they are always right and they know best. Sometimes this ends in abuse, divorce and church splits.
I think most of us will admit that not losing control to drugs, alcohol, or other people isn’t a good thing. We than can also agree that trying to control others, also aren’t a good thing. If you have an overly controlling person in your life, it is like being in prison, and if you have a need to control everything, much of your life is spent in worry, or feeling out of control. That behavior can end up being obsessive, not healthy to yourself or to others.
So when is it ok to give up control? Who is faithful enough for us to give our control over to?
The only answer is God. He knew us before we were born and He knows our end, in fact He knows every second and every minute of our lives. He was our beginning and He is our ending. He orchestrated it all for our good and His glory.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJB), “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
He is the author and the finisher of our faith.
Acts 27:23-25 (NIV), “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
We can have confidence that if He said it, it will happen that way, as long as we submit to Him and let Him have control.
I know, we have all heard the argument that God is a control freak that says it’s “His way or the highway.” Who wants to be a slave to a hard taskmaster?
First off, I’d have to say why does someone want control? In God’s case, it’s because He knows it all, everything, the end from the beginning. So He knows what we need to do in every situation. He doesn’t tell us what to do for His good, it’s for our own good. Secondly, God is good. Evil can’t be found in Him. Do I want to serve an evil dictator, no! Would I willingly give myself over as a love slave to Him who loves me best? Of course! His “control” protects me, provides for me, heals me, sustains me, encourages me, and sets me free from all other masters!
This is the analogy God gave me about control: Picture yourself of the biggest scariest rollercoaster. You know the ones that go upside down and loop the loop. If you have ever been on one, the first thing they do when you sit down is buckle you in, or lower the safety bar. If the person next to you refused to be buckles or constrained shouting “You can’t control me, I can do this on my own,” and proceeded to try and hold himself in the car, you’d expect to witness a death, a very messy one at that. We easily give up our control for something that keeps us safe or protects us from pain.
I mentioned before that I won’t take gas at the dentist. How foolish would I be if I refused anesthesia during a major surgery? Sometimes giving up control is the best thing for us.
So what do you say? Can you lose control?
I just watched Kirk Cameron’s “Unstoppable” movie. I highly recommend it to all. If you are one of those people who want to know why God allows suffering, or if you are a Christian who struggles with the fact that bad things happen to good people, this movie is for you. Good for all ages.