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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sacred Love - Claudia Cantrell with Kim P. Davis

A Journey of Singleness, Belonging, and Finding True Love

CLAUDIA CANTRELL


Do you ever long for a deeply soul-satisfying love and a fulfilling sense of belonging to the only One who can give you the blissful joys of a happily-ever-after life? Sacred Love is the truthful, heartfelt and poignant love story of how a precious child of God can find triumphant victory over utter brokenness. Overwhelmed by the most distressing, traumatic and turbulent circumstances, you come face to face with an ultimate crisis of belief and a numb distrust of everything in life. Unable to carry the heavy burdens anymore, you surrender the bitter, painful past to God. By surrendering to the One who loves you the most, you learn how to live life more abundantly through Christ. Sacred Love compels you to run to Jesus Christ, your heavenly Bridegroom, your happily ever after. He is your own true love, the only One who can transform a sad life into a most joyful one. Jesus is our only reason for living. In Him, we live and move and have our being. When Claudia rekindled her first love for Jesus Christ and made a firm decision to love, cherish and obey His will in her life, God healed Dr. David Cantrell’s grieving heart and gave Claudia to him as his bride. Today, Claudia and David serve Christ together in the Cantrell Ministries.

Miriam Jacob

Thursday, February 16, 2017

iF@ITH by Daniel Darling


New Hope Publishers
ISBN-10: 1596692944
ISBN-13: 978-1596692947
December 21, 2010

iF@ith by Daniel Darling connects with God in the 21st century through an in-depth study of the real people in the Bible who instantly communicated with God, heart-to-heart, in a personally intimate way. How do we connect with God in the digital age of pixels, bandwidth, high-speed and warp speed, when “we are always plugged in and wired to the digital revolution”, with instant answers at the tips of our fingers? How do we restart our prayer life to open a high-speed connection with God? We live in a connected generation, moving at warped speed, through a maze of intricate data, traveling swiftly at the speed of thought. We send digital messages by email and receive instant, real-time answers in the blink of an eye. Reading iF@ith will activate your faith and set you on a unique road in this connected generation in which life explodes with data racing ahead at the warp speed of thought. Leap on board and surf with iF@ith. Your life will never be the same! 

God certainly has a digital mission for this millennium. Where does prayer fit into the fast-paced and ever-changing scenario of today's technological revolution, where  people are constantly plugged in and wired, with instant answers at their fingertips? iF@ith is Daniel Darling's perfect response to the digital generation of which he is an integral part. Practical prayer refreshes your prayer life and opens an instant, high-speed connection with God. Do the centuries-old, time-tested truths of Christianity connect with the modern expectations of the digital era? "We are an always-connected generation, weaned on warp speed, raised on instant formula, with life revolving around our ever-expanding devices, exploding with data traveling at the speed of thought." We send instant messages, emails and texts to people connected in the world wide web and get instant real-time answers in the blink of an eye. As we send and receive information , we get instant answers, one-on-one, person to  person. 

With the advent of the internet and “the rapid acceleration of communication” at the click of a button, the lost art of letter-writing was duly revived in digital format as we strive to paint a digital masterpiece, carefully weighing the pros and cons of each word and the significance of every phrase used to embellish our artwork. Gone are the days when letter-writing was an exquisite art, duly executed on paper, with words dexterously painted like a portrait, every word significantly weighed to convey the most accurate meaning. 

This is the fast-paced digital age of pixels and bandwidth, rebooting and opening high-speed internet connections, faced with the urgent need to be always-connected, racing on fast-track from high-speed to warp speed, as we struggle to cope with vast amounts of data transmitted at the lightning speed of thought. Digital messages by text and email demand instant, real-time answers, as we send and receive information to  communicate personally, one-on-one. Global communication makes gigantic leaps across oceans, spanning countries and borders, transcending time zones. It is as easy as the click of a button."Nobody is ever out of reach, unavailable or offline." You will see Jesus form deeply in you and discover Him smiling at you through the all-important missives of emails, text and chat messages. 

In iF@ith, Daniel Darling enriches your walk with Christ through practical, revealing insights into the lives and times of biblical characters, those giants of faith who inspire our faith beyond the eye of reason. Faith is based on biblical fact. "The heart has its reasons of which reason cannot know." Christ died for us and His undying love for us is the reason for our faith. "Love's strength lies in love's sacrifice and He who suffers most has most to give." 

Miriam Jacob


AUTHOR PROFILE

Daniel Darling is the Vice President of Communications for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He previously served five years as Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in Gages Lake, Illinois, USA. He is a contributor to Leadership Journal, Gospel Coalition, and a variety of other publications. He has written several books, including his latest, Activist Faith. He blogs at www.danieldarling.com

Friday, January 6, 2017

THE SCARS THAT HAVE SHAPED ME - How God Meets Us In Suffering - by Vaneetha Rendall Risner



“Vaneetha Rendall Risner writes with unique authenticity in a creative, compelling style that inspires readers to want to know more about her time-tested faith, selfless integrity and her deep and passionate love of a gracious God who never fails to satisfy her with His unfailing goodness. This inspiring book gives fresh new hope to those battling grief, loss and pain.

Vaneetha’s credible writing is firmly rooted in deep pain and suffering, in which her indefatigable determination to hold on to Christ played the greatest role in her life. She patiently endures suffering with amazing joy, grace, and perseverance. This transparent, truth-filled book gives a rare glimpse into her world and her loving God.

Vaneetha knows and understands. She has been in the valley of pain and despair and survived to tell the tale. There is no better voice than hers to convince us of the truth of Christ's words. In either a sudden, unprecipitated crisis of daily life or a long, relentless, seemingly-endless struggle for perpetual survival, Vaneetha’s time-tested insights are purified and refined in the fire of adversity.

In the unfathomable designs of God’s plans, Vaneetha securely latches onto God’s reliable faithfulness, with a love that will not let go, whatever the consequences. Her faith helps us to weather the storms in our own lives with courage and strength as Vaneetha herself has walked difficult terrains and swam in deep spiritual waters. This vulnerable yet deeply hopeful book is firmly rooted in God’s faithfulness in suffering. You will glimpse a little of God’s light through Vaneetha’s eyes and hear His music through her ears.

Through this anointed, Spirit-filled book, Vaneetha gently guides us through the dark, lonesome, trouble-filled valley of tragedy, triumphantly laced with victory in God’s love. With rare grace and truth, she reveals the redemptive power of God in a dark world, inviting us to glimpse God’s glory in bitter times of struggle and strife. Instead of drawing us into her pain, with rare grace and wisdom, Vaneetha gently guides us through our own sufferings into the heart of God. She captivates us with the goodness of God in the midst of pain and suffering, inspiring us to dare to trust Jesus. This book is a loving gift to those who silently suffer, and to those who selflessly care for them.

Miriam Jacob

PROF. P. P. THOMAS


PROF. P. P. THOMAS

Born with the gift for one-to-one relationships, Prof. P P Thomas loves to be with people. The various disciplines in which he underwent training viz. Philosophy, Psychology, English Literature and Theology show his interest in human nature.

His career in North India as teacher in Nepali Bible School, Gorakhpur and as lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Psychology, St. John’s College, Agra, and English Language and Literature at three colleges in Kerala (St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry, B. A. M. College, Thuruthicad and Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla – all in Kerala State).

This gave him an opportunity to live in close association with students. He knew the problems of young people first hand – he became a friend to them as he listened to them and talked to them. He enjoys helping people acquire skills in Inductive Bible Study Method; also in facilitating two local weekly Bible Study Groups in book by book study.

In 1979 during an assignment to teach counseling to church workers Thomas found the scarcity of books on the subject in India. A friend coming from Canada brought him four books and one of them was ‘Counseling with the mind of Christ’ by Charles R Solomon, of Grace Fellowship International.

As has been his habit, he wrote an appreciation to Dr. Solomon. On Solomon’s invitation Thomas underwent Counselor Training with GFI in Denver USA in 1982.

He became convinced of the need for an organization in India to concentrate on healing the emotional problems and needs of people.

Added impetus for the need of an organization was felt in a counseling seminar that he conducted in South India. The participants in the seminar had experience in Christian work among students and they encouraged him to start an organization. The Grace Counseling India was formed in 1982.

Courtesy:

Information: Grace Counseling India

Photo © Prof. P. P. Thomas

Frame: Google Images

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Triumphant Hope (Asha)



Triumphant Hope (Asha)

In Sept of 1997, CUSAT University had a fresh intake of students for their engineering school. We were only their third batch. Among the many who floated into the campus from various places was me. 

In the initial week of school, a simple looking big mustached lecturer sauntered into the classroom unannounced with a face that could burn the room down. He introduced himself as a lecturer in the same department that I was studying in. And he warned all the students from treating their studies lightly and how everything would end looking like ‘end-times’ should that happen. He definitely caught the curiosity of all the students with that one and he walked away with the same abruptness. We were 18-19-year-olds who were exploring how to 'make the best' of the college years. He definitely doused our excitement in a matter of those two minutes. In a few days, we found out that Roy Paul was going to be the lecturer for one of our subjects and we braced for the storm.

A few weeks later, I was invited to a Christian meeting that took place in an elementary school near the campus. There I spotted him again but this time  around he was smiling and enjoying a vibrant informal relationship with the students who had gathered. That's where I saw a beaming Asha and their 3-year-old smart talking boy, Joshua, for the first time. As one confused about Christianity and dabbling with atheism, this community strangely attracted me. Even stranger was how I was drawn to this family. Within that year, the Lord saved me through Roy. 

The last line was typed in seven seconds. But I could write a book on that period. The best apologetic to the message of the gospel I received was the life of this family. This visible expression of the gospel shone brightly into my life and the foolishness of the cross at one point suddenly became sweet and glorious. 

Central to the family was the role Asha played. They were the most hospitable people I'd known. There were people in their home all the time. What beat me about this family was how, though there were many at their home, still everyone went away with a lot of individual attention. This was remarkable because I have spent considerable time wondering how they managed that. 

That kind of hospitality requires a lot of wisdom. And I knew it wasn't Roy who maneuvered through it. As much as he would be the main conversationalist, I realized that Asha was the one who steered the conversations, at the right time, onto the right topic and around a new person. This played out very beautifully in them being a dynamic duo. I'm certain that many people in a good sense may appreciate the role Roy played among students and the larger evangelical students union. But I can vouch as a close observer and Roy's disciple that Asha was instrumental in weaving that wonderfully together. 

Asha was a keen observer of others, their interests, their struggles and their joys. She also had a sharp memory of all these details. In the nascent days of my relationship with the family, she realized that I didn't drink tea or coffee. Ever since, she always made sure there was lemon at home so that she could make a refreshing glass of lemon juice whenever I hopped into their home (which was every day!). She did the same even a few months ago when I had the opportunity to drop in. I know I'm not the only one who could narrate this kind of a story. She knew everyone at a personal level so that she could be a blessing to everyone.

Being in a 'through the week' open-home church ministry myself, I can easily imagine the drain on finances their lifestyle caused. It was not unusual that many a discussion intruded into their meal time and she would only be eager to serve all. They even had others live in their home for an extended period because the situation demanded so. In one instance, it was a parent of a student who requested this for their son who was going through a harsh time. The line between late night and early morning blurred at their home. But the time she sacrificed also for unbelieving students who would show up at their door to seek clarity from a range of academic topics (much even unrelated to Roy's core discipline) was most astounding. The man spent several hours teaching such students from their home for no extra benefit. Asha created a welcoming space for this. 

Such a lifestyle is usually harder on the woman of the home than the man. Asha could have easily said to Roy, "Let's have open-home two days a week. That way we will still be a blessing to others as well as have enough resources that we can enjoy a good meal for ourselves and go shopping with the kids and buy me a new sari once in a while". Should Roy have taken that direction, the family would still have been a huge blessing. But the only thing on Asha's mind was how she could maximize their service of others and in the process establish God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven and have their children grown up in that missional context. 

Asha additionally worked hard at starting a women's bible study along with the regular discipling of women who were part of the evangelical community. Many girls who were not part of the regular Evangelical Union attendance would turn up for that time with Asha at their home and be blessed! She also made regular time to be in prayer with some of the girls. How she would navigate that along with a young Joshua and baby Joel those years still stumps me.

In time I realized that Asha was a simple woman who lived a supernatural life through the indwelling of a supernatural being. It was obvious that she had died to herself many years ago. When I met her first in 1997, she was a woman who died several hundred such deaths . It was no longer she who lived but Christ who lived in her. And the life she lived was one that she lived by fluent faith in the Son of God who loved her and gave himself for her. She lived in the reality of that truth. And that truth was glorious to her. Many have complimented her for the following traits- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Not surprising! I could write plenty for each of those. The death she finally died to herself is the final one and that she had been prepared for years in waiting for her truly beloved.

As an unbeliever, the message of this gospel made sense because it was made visible to me in real life. As much as it was Roy's message that fell like bricks on my head and heart in 1998, I have no doubt that Asha's 'normal' Christian life (along with Roy's) had an equal role not just in the beginning of that faith but even in the shaping and deepening of my faith. I can say that she fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. May many men and women be more attracted to the same Jesus she served, as I was compelled to in 1998. As much as many grieved rightfully the last few weeks, it will do well to celebrate her life too. Her life was a triumphant one even in the blaze of the furious battle. Let us often visit her life in our memories so that we live as ones triumphant in hope!

© Vivek Jones
First Publication Rights: Our Contact Magazine

Courtesy:
Photo: vsquaretv
Frame: Google Images

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

GODSMILES - OCEANS APART - by Angela Dugi



©  Angela Dugi



Oceans Apart

I have a remarkable story to tell. It has shown me once again that I serve a God who arranges the impossible, surprises with the unexpected, and still performs the miraculous.

In July 2013, I received an odd friend request on Facebook. I really thought nothing of it and accepted the request only because she had two beautiful Bible names. I had no idea God was about to bless me with a precious gift from His gracious hand and blow the socks right off my flat feet.


Photo © Miriam Jacob
Frame - Google Images


Her name is Miriam Jacob, and she lives halfway around the world, which makes this story extraordinary. The Father had a divine and wonderful plan to introduce two of His daughters during a tumultuous time in my life when everything was turned upside down. I desperately needed encouragement. My family was in the middle of a big move to another city. My husband had already transferred, leaving me to pack the house, with three kids and two dogs in the middle of a scorching Texas summer.

Miriam is a proper-speaking, lovely lady who has traveled the world. I am a plain, ordinary Texas girl who says “y'all” far too often. God does have a sense of humor. She is an author, poet, and editor who does ministry work on the internet. Miriam said she had searched for months until she finally found me. She was extremely excited while I, on the other hand, was quite mystified by who this person was.

Bewildered, I asked her at least half a dozen rapid-fire questions. “Who are you?”, “Why do you want to meet me?” and "How on earth did you find me?" In her gentle way she answered each one. Little did I know, Miriam found me while watching a short video on YouTube.

During one of our first online conversations she wrote that the Holy Spirit revealed to her that I needed encouragement. This resonated with me because I love to encourage others as well. Nevertheless, I thought to myself, Really? A stranger from across the seas wants to encourage me? But yes, that was indeed her mission. Miriam was a genuine sister in Christ. Of course I was uncertain at first, but it didn't take long for the Lord to ease my mind.

I'm very grateful that she listened to the voice of God because I needed her and soon found that she needed me. Her words of encouragement were like a glass of cold water to this weary traveler. She also gave me the courage to finish this book.

Our friendship has grown now as we chat online. We laugh, cry, and encourage each other through simple, type-written words. Often it feels like we are not oceans apart at all, because our hearts are bound together through the love of Christ. My friend has suffered incredible pain and loss in her life. Despite her suffering, she has a sweet and gentle spirit that reflects God's love in a powerful way.

Miriam has deeply enriched my life and I have found her to be sincere and loving. She is a beacon of hope and a beautiful picture of true humility filled with the Holy Spirit. Her spiritual walk challenges me to draw closer to Him. She is also a true intercessor, praying for me and for my family. Through Miriam, God reminds me in a profound way that I am not alone and that our family is not forgotten. I love my Father's ways and how He meets needs and sends His best gifts right on time.

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14)

© Angela Dugi

WestBow Press, A Division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.


'Oceans Apart' is the first story in Part 1: Stories From The Heart in "GodSmiles" by Angela Dugi, 
published by WestBow Press.

Angie lives in Texas with her husband and their three teenage children. She has suffered for almost two decades with lupus, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. But she refuses to let disease define her. Besides writing, she loves to cook and grow anything that blooms. Angie is also the author of What I Learned Lying Down—Hope for the Chronically Ill.

HARPERCOLLINS - ZONDERVAN