Monday, September 18, 2017

Why Not Ask for Patience?

by Andrea Renee Cox

This article began by my reading a guest article on Tricia Goyer’s website. (Stay tuned for a link to that article.)



There was a line in the article that said, “It’s kinda like praying for patience. Never do that either.”

My hackles went up on that one, to be completely honest. Who was this woman to tell me what my faith journey should look like? How could she possibly know what spiritual lesson I need to learn? And why do people keep telling me not to ask for patience?

(The rest of the article was amazing. Amy Matayo had some great points, and I appreciated her insight on faith being hard sometimes. So true!)

Why should I not ask for patience if that’s what I truly need to learn?

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

by Andrea Renee Cox

Before we get to today's article, let's take a moment to pray for the folks in the path of Hurricane Irma and anyone who will be touched by Hurricane Jose. Also, for those who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Katia, the earthquake in Mexico, and the wildfires blazing across western portions of the United States.

Father God, please comfort and protect the people in the paths of these storms and natural disasters. Help them to stay as safe as possible and evacuate as needed. Please infuse each heart with Your love and comfort. Help hearts all over the world to draw closer to You because of these disasters we're facing. Thank You for all the volunteers and authorities who have all been helping residents through these storms. Bless each of them for their commitment to helping those around them. In the name of Jesus Christ, I praise You for being our Port in the storms of life and ask safety and recovery for those in the path of these storms. Amen.

***

There are things in my past I cannot change. Things that have broken me, left behind scars... Only one God could reach into those dark places and heal them. The scars remain, as do the lessons learned, but the pain has been transformed to divine joy.

The Lady and the Lionheart reminded me of my journey with God to discover just how far inside a person His healing touch can go. This story of a tattooed beast and a soiled beauty was a charming, deep, richly flavored tale with such heart and raw pain laid bare for the audience to do with what they will. That's what I cherish about Joanne Bischof's stories: Her heart—vulnerable and honest—flutters on every page, through every word.

I was surprised that the faith thread wasn't clear or really noticeable until chapter nine. This was different and unexpected. But then faith oozed into the fabric of the story and swept into a magnificent crescendo, so it turned out not to be a bother that faith was a latecomer. Better late than never, as they say.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

by Andrea Renee Cox

Today is Labor Day, so tell me:

How are spending Labor Day?

Are you having a barbecue?

Is your day being shared with friends or family?

Are you able to enjoy a day off from work?

Monday, August 28, 2017

#PrayingForTexas and #Harvey2017

by Andrea Renee Cox

Right now it's Sunday evening, and I'm watching The Weather Channel's coverage of now-Tropical Storm Harvey. There is severe flooding throughout southeastern Texas, my home state. Thankfully, I live in north Texas so am safe from the storm's path of severe wind and rainfall. But that doesn't mean I've been uninvolved in the storm.

While I have not been able to physically take part in any rescue efforts, I have done what I can do: pray.

Courtesy of Google Images

All over social media (Facebook and Twitter are the sites I use a lot), I saw Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey updates with the hashtags #PrayingForTexas and #Harvey2017. These were encouraging to me, and I started using them too, hopeful that they would encourage those most affected by the storm.

I don't use these hashtags lightly either. My mind and heart have been in a constant state of prayer for everyone in the path of Harvey. I've prayed for safety, comfort, encouragement, and aid. I've prayed for spirits to be uplifted, for souls to discover God's love, and for the storm to dissipate and flooding to recede swiftly.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Note from the Psalms

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hey y'all! I hope you're having a very blessed day. Something that recently blessed me was looking at some notes I'd jotted down in one of my many Bibles. (One for every occasion? Maybe....)

The one I was using isn't even in this old picture. :)

Take a look at this verse from the Psalms:

"Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my adversaries; make Your way straight before me."
Psalm 5:8 HCSB


Monday, August 14, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

by Andrea Renee Cox

A stuttering author and a beautiful thief. What could possibly go wrong?

Now Available!
Before I get into why I enjoyed this book, let me first share with you the two things that bothered me. Firstly, there were lots of minor expletives, words that many people wouldn’t consider bad but, in the context, quite likely are. Examples include blighted, blasted, blazes, etc. In and of themselves, not terrible words. But like I said, within the context of how they were used and intended, they were replacements for the really bad ones, which equals the same thing to me.

Secondly, there was a moment when the leading man, a Christian, “could hardly begrudge” the leading lady “mumbling and grumbling and growling words no lady should know.” This was disturbing to me. Curse words should never be okay from a Christian perspective—whether saying them or being okay with other people saying them—because they do not honor God, and a Christian’s goals should include honoring God with every word we speak or think. Since Peter was thinking that he couldn’t fault Rosemary for cussing up a storm, it seemed to me that he was okay with it, that he was condoning it. That, to me, was inappropriate and out of character of him.

Because of that bit of a faith flub, I couldn’t give more than three stars, even though I really wanted to. You see, A Name Unknown was a rich, deep, thoughtful story. Its characters were sublime—minus those couple of things I mentioned—and intriguing and complicated. The plot was delicious and kept me riveted to the pages. The pacing was spot-on, bringing fast action scenes and ebbing pauses to let one catch one’s breath. Sweet, salty, sumptuous, suspenseful, secrets… this novel had a little bit of almost everything, and it kept me guessing on most points. I particularly appreciated Ms. White’s attention to detail and historical accuracy. Those are a couple of things I have come to expect with her books, and I was delighted to see they had continued to be strong and richly written in this novel, one I’d looked forward to for months prior to its release.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Traffic Jam Contentment

by Andrea Renee Cox

How do you handle a traffic jam?

Yesterday morning, I read Philippians 4, and the two verses that leapt out at me were these:

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Philippians 4:11-12 NKJ

My family headed home from a weekend trip shortly after I read that section, and wouldn’t you know that would be the day of bursts of heavy rain that slowed us down, a side trip that was for naught, and multiple traffic jams that had us inching along slower than a slug.


But I didn’t panic. Or freak out. Or get frustrated at any of it.