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Book Review: Let Your Light Shine

In 2010, when JoAnn Durgin published “Awakening”, the first book of the Lewis Legacy Series, I’m not sure she realized this book, no, this series, would take on a life of its own. But it did. And with each consecutive book, that life grew until the readers were hooked, and considered the Lewis family and all the other characters in these books part of their own family.

In December 2018, the tenth book, “Let Your Light Shine” hit the bookstands as an immediate best-seller. And with good reason. Although the main characters are Sam and Lexa Lewis and Josh and Winnie Grant, Ms. Durgin brought back several of the TeamWork members and their families, including Marc and Natalie Thompson and their daughter, Gracie, Jensen and Sloan McClain and others, skillfully weaving them into this story.

It was truly hard to put this book down as the main storyline and all the secondary storylines were captivating. I don’t want to give anything away, but Ms. Durgin addresses the subject of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome with such grace and compassion. She enlightened this reviewer to the facts of Asperger’s; she knows of that about which she writes. And the ending was such a surprise – never saw it coming!

One would think that a writer would be able to find the words to describe how moving this book is, but words almost fail me. So, let me encourage you to put this book at the top of your summer reading list. So what if the book takes place in December? Christmas stories are fun to read anytime.

And, don’t be intimated if you haven’t read the first nine books of the series. Each book can be read as a standalone, even “Let Your Light Shine.”

I was not compensated in any way for this review and the opinion expressed here is mine alone.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018 Twenty-third Day of Advent: The Gifts of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23 King James Version)

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 Amplified Bible)

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. (Galatians 5:22-23 Living Bible)

 Today, when I opened my gift, there was more than one gift, there were nine gifts!

If you read many of my blogs, you know that I love to compare different translations, as above. Today, I would like to take these translations and mix them until the two verses are completely clear.

But when [we allow] the Holy Spirit to control our lives, He will produce in us love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness [to everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, Jew, Gentile], goodness, faithfulness [to God, to our families and friends, to our church, to our employers}, gentleness, and self-control [self-control of emotions, actions, thoughts]. Against such things there is no law. (Emphasis mine.)

I’m sure you’ve hear people say, “I’m just a work in progress.” That is certainly true of me, especially regarding some of these fruits – patience, gentleness, self-control, frankly, all of the fruits. But as we’ve already discovered during this Advent season, God is a God of mercy and grace. When my self-control slips, my behavior is not what it should been when I’m waiting, when my love is subjective, God’s grace and mercy offers me another chance when I repent.  He will do the same for you.

Father God, You are the God of second chances. Of as many chances as we need to exhibit, no, to live, the fruits of the Spirit. Help us to be ever aware of these fruits in our lives, to live every day demonstrating these fruits to all with whom we come in contact. It is in the matchless name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.

(c) 2018 Edwina E. Cowgill

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Day Ten: The Gift of Love

THE GIFT OF HIS LOVE

Jeremiah 31:3: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son; that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

What an amazing gift! To think that Almighty God loved you and me so much that He sent His son to be born of a virgin, in the lowliest, most humble place possible – a stable, with a manger as His bed – is mind-boggling. Then God caused Him who knew no sin to become sin for us and to pay the ultimate price for us so, when we die, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will leave our temporary home here on earth to live eternally in heaven with God and all the saints. It leaves me speechless.

Over the years, I have heard many people say “I’m sure he died for your sins, but not mine.” Or “I’m not good enough.” Or “I just don’t believe he died for me.” Or some other unbelieving remark. The Bible says “God is no respecter of persons.” In other words, if He did it for one person, He did it for all. If you had been the only living person on earth, He would have died for you.

What are some characteristics of God’s love?

• It shows no favorites. God loves us equally. He loves the sinner just as much as He loves the saint. He is no respecter of persons.

• It is unconditional. It is not based on who we are, what we do or achieve. It is not based on whether or not we deserve it. God’s love is based on the fact that He created us to be His daughters and sons. We never have to work to earn the right to be loved. No matter what we do or don’t do, say or don’t say, God loves us.

It is boundless. There are no limitations, no constraints, no conditions that we must meet for God to love us. He loves us unreservedly. No ifs, ands, or buts. Period.

• It is extravagant. He pours out His love into our lives recklessly, extravagantly. Think of all the blessings He has given you. He did that because He loves you so. There have been times when He has saved you, or a loved one, from a catastrophe, even when you were not aware of it. God’s blessings, His protection, is in your life are because of His extravagant love.

If you, the reader, don’t get anything out of any blog this month, please understand this: GOD LOVES YOU –unconditionally, boundlessly, extravagantly.

Abba Father, how can we thank you enough for your love for us? It leaves us speechless, but still we humbly say thank you. May we always be aware of your love surrounding us. We love you Abba Father. Amen.