Thursday, April 27, 2017

Messy Beautiful Friendship ~ Book Review

Hello Friends.
I am excited to share this book review with you: Messy Beautiful Friendship by Christine Hoover.
 
Friendship is one of God's greatest gifts.
We long for deep and lasting friendships, but they can be challenging to make-and keep. Our expectations of ourselves and our friends can often leave us feeling insecure and isolated. With engaging true stories and guidance drawn from Scripture, Christine Hoover offers a fresh, biblical vision for friendship that allows for the messiness of our lives and the realities of our schedules.  She shows you:
 -what's holding you back from developing satisfying friendships                      
-how to make and deepen friendships                                                                       
      -how to overcome insecurity, self-imposed isolation, and past hurts                     
              -how to embrace the people God has already placed in your life as potential friends
  -how to revel in the beauty and joy of everyday friendship                                   
My Thoughts: 
Not only does Messy Beautiful Friendship have a beautiful cover with "messy" words painted on a blue watercolor background, it also contains a beautiful message of how to be a godly friend. There were 5 parts, each part containing a few chapters. 
Part 1: A New Vision for Friendship
Part 2: Threats to Friendship
Part 3: Discovering and Deepening Friendship
Part 4: Being a Friend
Part 5: Receiving Friendship 

Christine Hoover shared many personal stories about her friendships, as well as her own advice and wisdom from the Bible.  This is the first book I've read on friendships; I learned a lot from reading it, and found it to be truly inspiring. There is so much to be learned about what having a strong Christian friendship means; but just like any other relationship, friendships take work on both ends. Instead of saying, "what can my friend do for me," ask yourself this question: "what can I do for my friend?" I think Christine did a wonderful job of covering every aspect of a friendship. 
Friendships are a wonderful gift. We live in a messed up world, though, and friendships can be messy. But when you work through the mess, difficulties, and struggles, your friendship will be stronger than it was. And it can be beautiful. 

I give this book 6 stars because I have never seen a book that explains how and encourages you to deepen your friendships. I  highly recommend it to young ladies and women who want to better their existing friendships (even if it be mother-daughter and sister relationships) and those who want to make new Christian friendships.  

**I was given a free copy of this book from BakerBooks and all thoughts are my own.**

To purchase the book, click here. 
To visit Christine Hoover's blog, click here. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Amazing Grace ~~ Grace Greater Than All Sins

God's grace is not an excuse to sin, but rather a reason to love and serve Him more faithfully.

We hear the word grace a lot. There are hymns that we sing about grace: "Amazing Grace", "He Giveth More Grace", "Grace is Flowing", "Wonderful Grace of Jesus", and so on. Well what exactly is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. Perhaps you may know someone that has shown you grace. I can't think of a better person who shows endless grace than our Lord. None of us deserve grace -  we are all sinful human beings greatly in need of a gracious Saviour. But God did send His only Son, Jesus, to earth to be the payment for the sins of all mankind. He's our great Saviour! God shows grace to every person on earth by not doing to them what justice would require. By way of example, if you were to go 70 mph in a 20 mph school zone, you would be expected to go to court. A judge would be present and you, as the guilty person, would have a chance to defend yourself. It would be silly to say to the judge, "Judge, I know I went speeding through that school zone when the lights were blinking and buses were dropping children off at school, but I don't steal or murder. I'm a pretty good law abiding citizen. Please excuse my speeding, and let me go free without paying any fines." Well, justice would require that you pay an exorbitant fine, and if this was your second or third time committing this offense, you may even lose your license. Of course the judge would not just excuse your inexcusable and reckless driving. He would declare you as guilty. Imagine, then, that another person steps up and says, "Judge, I will pay the penalty for this person." You would be freed from condemnation and declared innocent. In a similar way, we are all like that person who broke the law. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" We will all stand in front of the perfect and holy judge one day, and it will be too late to receive grace from Him. No one will be able to say, "I've kept the ten commandments, I've helped communities of people in Africa, and I've given thousands of dollars to notable charities." God will not say, "Okay, you were a really good person. Go ahead and enter into heaven." No! Justice would require that the sinner pay for his/her sins by spending eternity separated from God in Hell. No matter what you have done in the past, your good works cannot and will not save you. But there is good news! Just like that person in the story who paid your fines for speeding, Jesus did the same thing for all of us. He died on the cross and offers free salvation to everyone who is willing to accept it. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Jesus became sin for us, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
 If you accept God's grace and salvation now, one day when God is judging everyone, you'll be able to enter into Heaven and spend eternity with Him because your debts have been paid in full by the blood of the perfect, sacrificial Lamb. There's no one righteous enough on this earth to earn God's love and grace by doing any amount of good works. That's why He had to send His spotless Son as the payment for our sins. And because God has extended His grace to us, Christians should find that reason enough to love and serve Him even more. 
You may have heard this song before, but I think it's fitting for this post. 
"Paid In Full". If video doesn't load, click here


Here's a short little video I thought you would enjoy called "The Good-O-Meter." :) If video does not load, click here.
Remaining faithful in the Savior,
Ashley


Sunday, April 16, 2017

We Serve a Risen Saviour

I serve a risen Savior
He's in the world today. 
I know that He is living, 
Whatever men may say. 
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He's always near. 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. 
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! 
You ask me how I know He lives? 
He lives within my heart. 

In all the world around me 
I see His loving care, 
And though my heart grows weary, 
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing 
Will come at last. 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! 
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. 
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! 
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart. 

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Life up your voice and sin
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find, 
None other is so loving, 
So good and kind. 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? 
He lives within my heart. 

This song is such a great reminder that we love and serve a Saviour who has risen and is alive! Romans 1:3-4 "Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:"

1 Corinthians 15:13-20
"But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." 

Because Jesus conquered death by rising on the third day, our faith has a solid foundation. 

Isaiah 25:8 "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." 

Isaiah 53:12 "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." 

Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

1 Corinthians 5:21- "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." The first Adam sinned and now death has been passed upon all men. The second Adam, Christ, brought life by rising from the dead. Alleluia!  And one day, death will be destroyed and life will reign for ever because Jesus Christ is eternal. 
1 Corinthians 15:26 "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grace, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We have a sweet promise in Revelation chapter 1 that says the Lord is he that liveth, and was dead; and now he is alive for evermore. 

Hope you had a blessed resurrection Easter Sunday as we rejoice in the living Lord! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Baby Ducks

A happy hello to you, friends! 
Guess what? We have some new pets at our house...4 of the cutest, 
fluffiest ducklings! 


A sweet lady gave them to us today along with a baby pool, and it's such 
fun to watch them play in the water. I held my finger over the water
hose and sprayed it into the pool. One baby duck in particular
sat down under the spraying water and tried to drink it...oh, it was so cute
to watch. {smiles} Here's a couple videos of them playing in the pool. 
video
If you're viewing this on email and videos don't appear, 
video
I'll share more pictures of them in the future as they grow.  :) 

Hope you have a godly, fantastic day! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Sweet Little Tea Cup Exchange

A cheery hello to you!
Stephanie from the Enchanting Rose blog hosted the tea cup and mug exchange last month, and my mother, sister, and I  had the pleasure of being a part of it. :) Through the exchange, you have the opportunity to make two new friends by sending a tea cup or mug package to one person, and a different person sends a tea cup or mug package to you. A dear girl, Janae, whom I have had the pleasure of writing, was so sweet and sent me the most loveliest box of items...

Isn't the tea cup lovely? I've never seen one quite like it before. Not only is it dishwasher safe, but it's also microwave and oven safe. :) 

I want to say thank you to Stephanie for hosting the exchange and for all the work you do in putting it together.

If you would like more information about the exchange, click here. The next one will be in September or October, and I hope you will join the fun.  :) 

 I also wanted to let you know that there are some new items in my Etsy Shop, so I hope you hop on over and take a look at them. :)

May you all have a good and godly rest of the week!


Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: 
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.
~Psalm 89:15

Until next time, remain blessed.
~Ashley

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Cause and Effect of Sin

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. ~Ravi Zacharias 

In the beginning, God created a perfect world. He also created two perfect people, Adam and Eve. When God told them not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan came and tempted Eve by making her doubt what God had said. Sadly, she ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and then persuaded Adam to eat from it too. Not only had they disobeyed God, but also were banned from the garden lest they should eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sinful, fallen state. Since Adam and Eve sinned, every single person born on this earth is born a sinner. Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

There are many bad results of sin, but the worst one is spiritual death which is separation from God. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the close bond of fellowship they once enjoyed was broken. God had to kill an animal to clothe them. Their sin had to be paid for by an innocent, perfect sacrifice. Before a sinner becomes a Christian, they are separated from God because of sin, and destined to spend eternity in Hell. Just like Adam and Eve, our sin had to be paid for by a perfect sacrifice. God's remedy was that Jesus would become a man, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 
His blood and righteousness covers our unrighteousness, and if we accept by faith the payment for sin which has already been paid, we can live in Heaven with Christ for eternity.

Sin is enticing and addicting. It can even be pleasurable for a season. It's like a Venus Fly Trap. To ants, small bugs, and insects, Venus Fly Traps look enticing. They smell good. When an insect lands on the blades, (the blades are the trap) the plant's triggers go off, and the blades close, preventing the insect from escaping. That's similar to how sin works. It looks attractive, but once a person is in sins's grasp, it's difficult to free themselves from it. It's also similar to leprosy. Once a person has contracted leprosy, it slowly eats away at the person from the inside out, causing a slow, painful death. Sin will do that as well. It will eat you from the inside out and destroy your life. That's why the blood of Jesus was shed - to free humanity from the horrible grip of sin. Jesus is the Savior of the world! 
Photo Credits: My Daddy