Book Reviews, faith, Family, God's love, grace, love

Book Review: Between Heaven and the Real World

“Oh taste and SEE that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8)

This is the theme verse of Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman. 

In all my years of reading, whether for pleasure, for school, or for work, I’ve never read a book written with such raw vulnerability, painful hurts, deep faith, total surrender and intense trust. That is, until I read this book.

Between Heaven and the Real World begins when Steven was a young boy and brings the reader through his life up until 2013. He shares of the struggles he had as a young boy, a teenager. He writes of meeting his bride, Mary Beth, of the struggles she experienced, and the struggles they experienced together. He tells the reader of the unwavering commitment he and Mary Beth had to one another and how, through the darkest, bleakest times, that commitment held them together. 

He shares stories of all of his children – biological and adopted. Maria, adopted from China, brought an effervescent joy to the Chapman home. Her happiness, her love of life brightened up the lives of everyone around her. Steven is at his most vulnerable as he writes of life after Maria. All of the family suffered greatly, and yet, through their suffering, the roots of their faith grew deeper and today, around the world, Maria’s legacy can be found everywhere. “Oh, taste and SEE that the Lord is good!”

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the many times Steven shared how he got the inspiration for the various hit singles he’s had through the years, many of them becoming part of the “48 career number one radio singles.” After reading this book, you will hear one of those songs and remember just where Steven was, who he was with, and how God revealed to him the lyrics to the song. Knowing the background of the song gives the song a deeper meaning and makes the song even more special than when you heard it before.

This is a book that will minister to everyone who reads it. But for those who are in the midst of a crisis of faith, it is a “must” read. Your faith will grow stronger, your heart will be encouraged and your life changed. 

                                                                                 

Family, friends

Day Twentyone: The Gift of Family and Friends

The Gift of Family and Friends

“…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 24b

God has gifted me today with a wonderful family and great friends. If you have read my past blogs, you probably read about my family. I am married to my soul mate and best friend, Dave. I have two wonderful adult children, Kim and Kyle and a fantabulous (my new word I created: a combination of “fantastic” and “fabulous”) grandson, Mackenzie. I am blessed that my parents are still living and I have one sister who I love dearly. There are also “family” members who, although not related by blood, they are still precious family to me.

God has blessed me with many faithful friends throughout the years. (There is not enough space to write about all of them and to avoid offending anyone, I have left out the names of the two that I mention.) I have one friend with whom I grew up. Our parents were best friends and she and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We don’t get to spend as much time together as I would like, but when we get together, it’s as if we had seen each other the day before.

Another friend is a strong and mighty prayer warrior. I know that I can call her any time – day or night – and she will drop what she is doing and pray with me over the phone. She has a delightful laugh that cheers me instantly when I hear it!

I have a number of “online” friends through the American Christian Fiction Writers group. I had the pleasure of meeting some of these writers in September at the ACFW Conference and they are just as sweet sincere in their desire to help in person as they are online.  These men and women will take time out of their incredibly busy schedule to answer questions, give advice, and/or encouragement when needed. Many of them are successful, published authors who made a commitment to help those of us who are just getting started. And they keep their commitment every day.

I belong to a group of writers, Christian Writers United, in the county where I live. This group started in November, 2008, so we are just a little over two years old. Some of the original members left and some new members joined and we have become a cohesive family. The members in this group are exhorters and no one puts him/herself above anyone else in the group. We are there to encourage and support one another.

I saved my very best friend for last. There really is a “Friend who sticks closer than a brother” and his name is Jesus. We are all human and as hard as we may try to not fail our friends, there will be times when we do. It’s the nature of the beast. This Friend, however, will never fail us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is available 24/7/365. He loves us unconditionally, extravagantly, recklessly. If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and Best Friend, find a Bible and read Romans 10:8-13. Pray and ask Jesus to be your Savior and Best Friend. It will be a friendship for eternity.

Abba Father, thank you for being the Friend that is closer than a brother. I pray that if anyone reads this devotional and does not know you as their Savior, that they will read Romans 10:8-13 and will pray to receive You into their heart. I pray that You will bring Christian friends into their lives to help them as they begin their friendship with You. I ask your blessings on my family and friends and on the families and friends of everyone who reads this devotional.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.