Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's More About the Lyrics Than The Music

I am a Christian who really needs to open her Bible more often. I'll read from God's Word every week, but not every single day. What I will do most days, especially first thing in the morning, is listen to Christian music. Well, it's not really about the music, but the lyrics. Meditating on the lyrics helps me to keep my mind stayed on Jesus or lifts me up when I'm down or brings me peace when I'm angry or reminds me that God has not forgotten about me or helps me to love others when I just don't feel like it, or helps me to feel even better when I've already tapped into the joy of the Lord within... Okay, I could go on and on but I'll stop there.

God speaks to us through His Word, and He also speaks to us in many other ways like through gifted artists like Mandisa. I was blessed to get her "Freedom" album for only $5.00 at Family Christian Stores on Monday (God knows me well; I love a good bargain). I love all of the songs Mandisa sings, however, He Is With You is my favorite. I found a video on YouTube. Bowmangirl22 is so creative!! Listen closely to the lyrics and be blessed :)

I'm Not A Book Blogger, But I Do Write Reviews

I've been thinking a lot lately about starting a book blog, but I'm going to have to think about it a little more. Book blogging looks like a lot of work and if I start one I want to keep up with it but right now I'm not sure I have the energy. I do post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Shelfari, though, and I'd like to share my latest:

Three Novellas

Showers of Blessings by Angela Benson

Assistant Pastor Andrew Gooden has a gambling problem and his wife, Sandra is so tired of dealing with it. They have creditors calling, the house is about to go into foreclosure, bank accounts are overdrawn… they are about to lose everything. Pastor Gooden is in denial about his lust for gambling and he and his wife have been keeping it a secret. Then they win the lottery and start their own church, Showers of Blessings, and things get better for a while but when trouble comes again, Sandra no longer believes the words her husband has spoken so many times before, “I can fix this.” What is it going to take for Pastor Gooden to stop making excuses and deal with the addiction that could cause him to lose everything, including his wife and children?

I kind of felt for Pastor Gooden but I really felt for his wife, who knew deep in her heart he needed help in order to change but accepted his excuses anyway. Pastor Gooden didn’t know any of his blood relatives; he was brought up in foster care. I’m thinking that must have left a huge empty space in his life and maybe he was trying to fill that void with money and possessions and to have a prominent position in the church must have been something he also needed to feel like he mattered.

Doing God’s will and caring more about helping others means more than having material things is a lesson this story teaches. It was a thought-provoking read.

Second Chance Blessings by Marilynn Griffith

Craig Richards was a pro football player who had everything; a beautiful wife, a mansion and a career on the rise. After a knee injury he was cut from the team and his marriage ended in divorce. With little money, he left Atlanta to return to Tampa, Florida where he reconnected with family and old friends. He surrendered his life to Jesus and then became a public speaker to share his testimony. Would he continue to grow in Christ and live for Him or would he return to football, seeking fame and fortune once again?

This was a good story. Craig realized that people who really mattered wanted him around because they genuinely cared about ‘him’, not because of what he could give them. And Craig’s ex-wife Brianna learns a few lessons herself. Her transformation was nice to read about. And I liked TreShard, a sharp-minded teen who wasn’t afraid to voice his opinions. He could have been a little more respectful when he was talking to Craig, though. I was glad when this young man’s actions reminded Craig of what really mattered.

A Knight in Pink Armor by Tia McCollors

Dara is the daughter of a preacher. She likes to start her mornings spending time with God and she also has a heart for people. She takes part in street evangelism ministering to the spiritually dead while her parents, Hunter and Thelma Knight, tend to the physically dead. They want her to take over the mortuary business one day, but Dara has her own dreams; with a heart to serve others she earned a degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institution Management. Dara wins the lottery and this young woman with a giving heart is able to reach out in a much bigger way. But when trouble comes, will she give up on caring about the needs of others?

The gang situation in this story wasn’t as violent as something I’d see on television or what is really going on in some people’s neighborhoods, but it was disheartening. It’s a sad thing when people are stuck someplace they don’t want to be because they can’t afford to move. And it’s even sadder when someone comes along to destroy the good someone else is trying to do.
After I read these stories I wondered why someone wanted to publish a book with novellas about Christians winning the lottery. Question: “Does God say gambling is a sin?”

In the fictional world: The first and last stories have Pastors who believe it is a sin to play the lottery and it doesn’t make it any less of a sin if the winner uses the money in good ways (The end does not justify the means). These stories also have the lottery winners keeping the money they won a secret because they were afraid of what others would think (Sounds like these Christians were being convicted by the Holy Spirit). In the second story I don’t remember Craig keeping his winnings a secret and it didn’t bother Pastor Green one bit to accept lottery winnings. He just ‘cleaned that money right on up’ and used it to help his church.

Biblically speaking: I’m not clear if the word ‘gambling’ is anywhere in the Bible but… A greedy person tries to ‘get rich quick’, but it only leads to poverty (Proverbs 28:22, New Living Translation) I take this verse to mean God doesn’t want His own (Christians) to take part in any ‘get rich quick’ schemes. What are people doing when they play the lottery? Trying to ‘get rich quick’.

Back to A Million Blessings: Showers of Blessings and Second Chance Blessings made me smile here and there. A Knight in Pink Armor made me laugh (I loved the relationship Dara had with her cousin and best friend India). I recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for entertaining stories, no matter what your beliefs are about playing the lottery.