I love this season

I love this season
"For everything there is a season..." Eccl. 3:1

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Iron Sharpens Iron by Howard & William Hendricks

"People often lack insight into themselves."  Authors Howard & William Hendricks remind readers of the incredible blessing found when we grant someone who's willing permission to speak objectively into our lives in. They note that, ideally we should invite a variety of influences to walk through life with us.

What led me to pick up this book was that although I have been mentoring teenagers for years, I felt like I needed to reevaluate what I could do better as a mentor.  I needed sharpening. I want to be found a faithful steward of those young lives I have been privileged to pour into during this season.  If that's where you find yourself, it's an excellent resource.  While it's geared towards men, I believe the principles transcend across the gender lines for women.

On the flip side, I treasure the wisdom and love I've received and continue to receive from older women and from my peers.  I am grateful for those who are willing to take time to invest in me, to ask me hard questions, who  pray for me, or who ask me how things are going, like maybe my scripture memory, or something I've confided to them.  What's so cool is that I've discovered that during different seasons of life God has had a way of leading just the right faith friends my way at just the right times to encourage me and to offer insight.

One statement that really stuck our in Iron Sharpens Iron was, "A mentor can help you pick up the pace in personal development."  We need to stop buying the lie that only weak men/women need help; the truth is, men/women who seek help become strong. The Hendricks encourage readers to seek out a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy in our lives and explain why this is important.

I also wanted to share a little of what I gleaned from this book because I have heard a lot of folks mention recently that they are praying for a mentor or that they are looking for a mentor.  One half of Iron Sharpens Iron is written to the protegees/mentorees on how to find a mentor.  All the tips are right on target. 

I really enjoyed reading the Hendrick's book, gleaning some new insights, and  lots of take a ways.  I would recommend Iron Sharpens Iron to anyone of any age.  It's never too late to learn and be sharpened by someone or to offer to pour into a peer or a young Timothy.  I think it's an excellent resource, very practical, very biblical in its principles, and very encouraging/inspiring. 

As for me, I am thankful for the blessing of those clearly defined relationships with precious women that "encourage, enhance, and motivate me to love Jesus with all of my heart, soul, mind, and to finish life without dishonoring God's name."

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."  Proverbs 27:17

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When A Nation Forgets God

Who'd guess that we'd ever see parallels between America today and in Nazi Germany?  The cover of When A Nation Forgets God  conveys the message for its readers best: "7 lessons we must learn from Nazi Germany."  The book's 7 chapter themes discuss the 7 lessons readers can take away and prayerfully be changed as a result.  It's a call to be courageous, a call to be about our sweet duty of praying, and a call to stand for Truth in our nation.

To spark your interest to purchase and read the book, I will note the topics:  1) When God is separated from government, judgment follows, 2) economy 3) although legal, it could be evil 4) how propaganda changes a nation 5) words to parents...one of my favorite chapters...I'd pick up the book solely for this chapter 6) how ordinary people can be heroes...calling us to action 7) the Cross of Christ must be exalted during dark times.

The author, Erwin Lutzer asks, as many of us would, where were the pastors in Nazi Germany, the believers, in the midst of such national atrocity, and why did believers allow this happen?  How could they allow that?  Before we throw stones their way, we need to evaluate our own lives. 

We must seize each day, each moment, to stand for Christ, to give Him glory.  We must live the gospel and let it carry over into every area of our lives.  Most people of Nazi Germany were more concerned with keeping their lives than giving their lives for what was right.  Sound familiar?  Does to me. We are concerned with keeping up appearances, keeping our jobs, keeping our finances safe, keeping our families safe, etc.  But could God be calling us to trust Him, to step out in faith and live a life that counts?  To be as John the Baptist, a voice crying out in the wilderness, to make way for the Lord?  Wherever He's placed us, He's positioned us to point to Him in speech and in action. 

Lutzer shares about 800 pastors in those days that were arrested and imprisoned for taking a stand for what was right.  They found standing for Christ a priviliege. Does this sounds weird to you?  It was heroic.   It was by God's grace, for God's glory; it couldn't have been pleasurable nor easy.  Peter says it this way in 1 Peter 4:12-14, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate int he sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." 

I can't begin to imagine what these believers or their Jewish friends really lived and were a part of everyday until their death or rescue.  I have visited the Holocaust Museums in DC and in Israel, what I observed in the museums was unbelievable.  But it really did happen...and a nation allowed it to happen when they forgot God.  Oh, Lord Jesus, that we will not forget you today, or tomorrow.  Help us be strong and courageous in you and for you.
The book, When A Nation Forgets God is a must read.  It was recently referred to by our pastor.  Find it at the Source bookstore at Sherwood Church if you live here locally, or order a copy from the Source or on Amazon.  I never would've imagined the parallels that we are seeing in our country everyday that mimic those of Nazi Germany.  But then again, to boil a frog, you start with cold water, then adjust the heat slowly, and before you know it, you've got a boiled frog...and he was blindsided.  Hitler was excellent at "boiling frogs." Hitler knew that if he threw a frog in hot boiling water, they'd jump out.  He was a man of strategy.  Let's resolve to be strategical ourselves:  vigilant, prayerful, and eager to take a stand for the Truth.  Let's listen to His voice and obey. 

When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany