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Book Review: “Transform Your Life: 7 Steps to a Better Life”

 

In preparing to write “Transform Your Life: 7 Steps to a Better Life,” Dr. Nella Ann Roberts spent months reading, researching and interviewing people who have transformed their lives. From this, she developed the seven steps that will help every reader to transform his/her life. The steps are easy to understand, however, those who want to transform their life must 1) know what in their life they want to transform; 2) plan the steps of their transformation; 3) be committed and disciplined in their body and mind to have a successful transformation. The beauty of the program is that the steps can apply to all areas of one’s life: weight loss, improved relationships, obtaining a new job, buying a new home—the list is endless.

This book is based on Biblical principles, sharing the wisdom of the ages on transformation of our lives.

Dr. Roberts shares stories of people who, for various reasons, needed transformation in their lives. She also shares from her own personal experiences, helping the reader to understand they are not alone in their need for transformation.

At the end of each chapter, Dr. Roberts has included a section titled “What About You?” wherein she motivates the reader by asking questions based on the chapter. She then offers Exercises to help the reader begin and carry through on their personal transformation.

If I could only recommend one book for 2017, “Transform Your Life: 7 Steps to a Better Life” would be the book. It is a must read for anyone who wants to live a better life.

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It is Well With My Soul

George Spafford wrote the lyrics to this beloved and enduring hymn. Spafford suffered several traumatic events in his life that led up to the penning of this hymn. His son died at age 2. Spafford suffered financial ruin in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. His business sustained more hits by the economic failure in 1873. Spafford had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. Due to business, he sent his wife and daughters ahead while he remained in Chicago. As the ship crossed the Atlantic, it was struck by a sea vessel and sank rapidly. All four of Spafford’s daughters died while his wife, Anna, survived. On his way to meet his wife, Spafford wrote the words to this hymn as his ship passed near the place where his daughters died.

Here are the original lyrics:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to knowa
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!

There are a couple of verses here that I do not remember singing as a child. But the words are wonderful – verse four – “No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life, Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.” Verse five – “Oh the trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.”

In Genesis 50:20, we are told that what the enemy meant for evil, God turned it to good. (My paraphrase) The enemy meant to destroy Spafford but even in the midst of this tragedy, Spafford clung to God and was inspired to write the words of this song. And because of that, millions of people, down through the years, have been able to sing and say, It Is Well With My Soul.”

Here is a beautiful rendition of this hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FexGqNDBK3g

As you go forth into this week, my prayer is you will be able to state unequivocally that it is well with your soul!

Blessings to all!

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Great is Thy Faithfulness

If there is anyone who still follows my blog and actually reads my posts, please don’t faint! I’m actually posting here for the first time in over three months. Sad, isn’t it?

If you’ve read even a small portion of the 600+ blogs I’ve written through the years, you know that I love music, especially praise and worship music. The church that I belong to sings wonderful praise and worship songs that can move us to raise our hands, to bow before the King, to shout, to cry, to proclaim our love for the One who created us.

But I love the old hymns, too. And I miss them. A few weeks ago, I visited the Baptist church where I serve on staff. And oh, my, it was like going home. We sang hymns that I’ve not heard, much less sung, in probably thirty years. It brought back such great memories of being in the youth choir, accompanying the youth choir, and moving up to the adult choir and playing the piano for church services.

The pastor preached an excellent sermon and with almost every other sentence the pastor said, there was this wonderful older gentleman (who I found out later was blind) who gave a hearty “Amen!” What a blessing it was to hear his voice and in his voice I heard the faith that had carried him through many “dangers, toils and snares.” Hearing his “Amen” reminded me of the “Amen  Corner” as we called it in the Baptist church that I attended from an infant until I married. On each side of the pulpit were two rows of pews. If you were facing the pulpit, the “Amen Corner” was on the left side and the children sat on the right side. Most of the deacons, including my daddy and grandaddy, and a few of the other men of the church, were found sitting in the Amen Corner every Sunday. Many “amens” were heard as the pastor preached.

Don’t be fooled. My daddy never got so caught up in the sermon that his eagle eyes didn’t catch me talking and cutting up or passing notes on the children’s side, across from the Amen Corner. When we would get home from church, I was reminded in no uncertain terms that my behavior would not be tolerated. It was a crime that was punishable by being banned from sitting with my friends for a few weeks and having to sit with my grandmothers. Oh, how I wish I could sit with them today. How I would love to see my daddy one more time in the “Amen Corner” and my mother in the choir.

But I digress.  Singing those hymns a few weeks ago has spurred me to the piano (sometimes on my lunch break to the grand piano in the sanctuary) to play the old hymns that I remember. Hymns like, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “It is Well With My Soul,” “Just As I Am,” “Amazing Grace,” and the list could go on for pages. So, I’ve decided to share my love of these hymns with you–perhaps a little history behind the song, the scripture that maybe inspired the song, and hopefully, a recording of the song by someone who can sing much better than I.

Today’s song is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

“Thomas Chisholm wrote “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” as a testament to God’s faithfulness through his very ordinary life.  Born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky, Chisholm became a Christian when he was twenty-seven and entered the ministry when he was thirty-six, though poor health forced him to retire after just one year. During the rest of his life, Chisholm spent many years living in New Jersey and working as a life insurance agent.  Still, even with a desk job, he wrote nearly 1,200 poems throughout his life, including several published hymns.

Chisholm explained toward the end of his life, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now.  Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” ” (1)

Chisholm based his song from the scripture found in Lamentations 3:23. I enjoy reading and studying the various translations of the Bible so I’ve included the verse from the New International Version and from The Message.

Lamentations 3:22-24 New International Version (NIV)

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24The Message (MSG)

22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

My prayer is that as you read this blog, and you listen to the wonderful version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Jordan Smith, you will be reminded, as I have been, of the faithfulness of God to you and your family through the years. Of how He has never let you down,  and no matter how dark the circumstances you face, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Great is His Faithfulness.

Blessings, my friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm-KsLytcW0&index=1&list=RDdm-KsLytcW0