Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Did You Miss a Women of Faith:Real Women, Real Faith Post? No Worries! Here's a Round Up!

I can't believe our Women of Faith Series has come to an end! I just want to say a huge thank you to the women who put their hearts out there so that others may see a glimpse into what your beliefs are. Thank you, thank you! 

It is so important to understand what others believe so I hope that you, my dear readers, have learned more via this series. If you missed one, I have listed all of the posts here so that you can go back and read them all! 

If you are just coming across this series here is a little about the series: I asked them all the same 12 questions to shed light on the beliefs of their faith and their personal journey. 

This is meant to be educational to expand your view of what others believe. I ask you to be respectful in any comments you leave and really start a conversation into exploring each of these faiths. Though you may not agree with their faith or beliefs, let's respect them by making this a safe place for them to share. 

Head over to the Introduction Here to read why I begun this series! 

Did you enjoy this series? 
Let me know in the comment section below! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Werid

**This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. I have been given a PDF of  How to Love Your Neighbors Without Being Weird by Amy Lively free of charge in exchange for this review. However, the opinions in this post are my own. For more information please read my full disclosure statement here. 

Before we moved, we lived in an apartment building. Despite being on top of each other we didn't know too many of our neighbors. We were close to one family though, our neighbors living directly above us, a three generational family. Granny, her son and her five year old grandson. After living there for a year we had become close and it all started with a loaf of zuchini bread.

I had an entire batter for zuchini bread ready to go except when I opened the pantry for my last ingredient I discovered we were out. I really didn't want to stop the preheating oven and wake my sleeping toddler to go to the grocery store for one item. So, I did the next best thing .. I knocked. On my neighbor, who i didn't know very wells door and asked for a cup of vegetable oil. She graciously gave me what I needed and I was able to finish baking. As a thank you I knocked on her door again with a warm loaf of zuchini bread in hand. This began a nice relationship with my neighbors upstairs. 

When we saw each other outside we would chat, she would always spoil my son with chocolate m&ms and animal crackers and I would always give her some of what I baked. I would go up and check on her every now and again and when she had a bad fall outside she felt comfortable enough to knock on my door so I could help her clean and bandage her wounds. 

Every now and again I would feel it on my heart to share God and Jesus with her, but I never did. I didn't want to come off weird or strange. No way, that was the last thing I wanted,so I kept quiet and never said anything. It is the one thing I regret when looking back on my time with Granny. 

The problem, and my excuse, was that I didn't know how to talk to my neighbors well, let alone about something as controversial as God and Jesus. I am definitely not the only one who has trouble with sharing my faith with my neighbors.

Amy Lively, the author of How to Love Your Neighbors Without Being Weird went through it as she was called to begin a neighborhood bible study. Through her book she shares her experiences, successes and failures as well as tried and true ways to Love your neighbors, as God calls us to do,without being off putting about it.

"It's an investment into people's lives, and that can be messy. I don't know where to start, what to say, or how to be. I'm afraid. 
The thought of knocking on my neighbors' doors made my knees knock. I hid behind my logical excuses, rational defenses, and stubborn resistance." 
-Amy Lively, How to Love Your Neighbors Without Being Weird

Here are some tips she suggests to help you get to know your neighbors.

  • "Being content in our neighborhoods means being patient, determined, and persistent. Aristotle said, "The desire for friendship comes quickly; friendship does not." Modest folks in modest homes are of great value to God, and He smiles at our modest moves toward friendship." 

  • "That friendship could lead to the opportunity to tell them about Jesus Christ. However, their reaction is not your responsibility. Jesus will handle eternity; you just think about today." 

  • Figure out your spiritual gift from God, and use it! "Tucked inside each of us is a very special spiritual gift from our heavenly father. He spared no expense to bring this gift to you; He paid for it with the precious blood of His only Son." 

  • Do not be afraid! - "So be strong and courageous! Do no be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail your nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6"

How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird really was the perfect kick in the butt for me! I had given myself every excuse in the book as to why I couldn't share God and God's love with my neighbors and a BIG one was I was worried I would come off as weird! This book really breaks it down giving practical advice and tips as to how to go about getting to know your neighbors. What I love most about it though is the deep biblical truth that it holds. God calls us to love our neighbors and that doesn't mean our neighbors who are just like us or our neighbors around the world. It means actually getting to know our neighbors and loving them.

And you absolutely can do that without being weird.

Make sure you are ready to accept God's call to love your neighbors after you read this book! 
"I should warn you that you're on the hook now that you've read this book. You have no excuse for not loving your neighbor, and you don't even have to be weird about doing it."
-Amy Lively, How to Love Your Neighbors Without Being Weird

Though I had excuses as to why I couldn't share in our old home, now I really have no excuse what so ever so not show love to my neighbors and share the good news with them because I have How to Love Your Neighbors Without Being Weird in my tool box! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Women of Faith: Tara Joy

Welcome to the Women of Faith Series!

These women contributing have poured their heart and souls into these posts wanting to share their beliefs with you. I welcome them with open arms and I pray that you will as well.

A little about the series, I asked them all the same 12 questions to shed light on the beliefs of their faith and their personal journey. 

This is meant to be educational to expand your view of what others believe. I ask you to be respectful in any comments you leave and really start a conversation into exploring each of these faiths. Though you may not agree with their faith or beliefs, let's respect them by making this a safe place for them to share. 

Now it is my turn to share my faith! I really hope you have enjoyed this series, because I know I have! 

1. Please give an overview of your faith and what it believes.
I believe in Biblical Truth, which means I believe that the Bible was meant to be viewed as a whole from Genesis to Revelation because it allows us to get to know God on the most intimate of levels. I believe that God sent his son, Jesus, to die on the Cross for my sins before I was even born and that the Holy Spirit is sent as a helper to live in each Christian to guide them in what is right -- Fully transforming into what God created us to be (a lifetime process.)

2. Was there a specific time or reason why you believe what you do?
I had just moved to Texas and I went to find a church so I could find friends. I joined a Bible study that was going through the study called, Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It challenged me because it covered Lukewarm Christians - Christians who call themselves Christians but don't follow what Christ and God want. Christians in name only. I was convicted to start reading the Bible, because I had not read the Bible myself before. I read through the Bible and realize that I wasn't a Christian at all. I decided at that moment, not only would I continue reading the entire Bible but I gave myself to Christ for real. That was 2 years ago, and I haven't turned back since, I have fallen in love with God more and more.

3. Does your faith have religious books? Please name them all if more than one and give a brief description of its purpose/origins.
The Christian faith, has the Bible which consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the history of God, creation and the basis of our Christian faith. This is the Jewish part of our faith. It also predicts the messiah aka Jesus Christ which is proven true in the New Testament. The New Testament starts by proving that Jesus is the Messiah by telling when he fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures. The Bible is our way of getting to know God.

4. How do you put your faith into practice everyday?
I read my Bible and pray everyday, but I also do my best to be kind, patient and loving toward all I come across. Being a Christian is the willingness to put your selfish desires away and do what God calls us to do, serve others. Whether its my family, my neighbors, friends or strangers I do my best to be a light in their life.

5. Do you believe in Heaven? How do you get there? If you don't, what do you believe happens after you die?
God says there is a Heaven where all who choose to accept Jesus Christs gift will be. He died for our sins so that we could live together with God. Heaven will be a place with no sin, pain, suffering or mourning. It will be a place of perfect peace. 

6. What do you/faith believe about the human condition? Is being a good person enough according to your religion?
The only one on this earth who was good and righteous was Jesus. He lived a sinless life so he could be our pure sacrifice. All others are born with original son which is the innate ability to turn from God. So the human condition is a poor one and the only person who can make it right is Jesus. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all need a savior, it doesn't matter of you think you are a good person because God sees it very differently.

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.

Luke 18:19
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place." "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
John 18: 33-37

7. Who do you/your faith believe Jesus is? What do you know about him?
Jesus Christ is the Messiah predicted in the old testament. He was a son of David, born in Bathlehem to a virgin mother and lived the flawless life we all fail to do. He was offered up as our last sin sacrifice so that we could have a close relationship with God. He was prosecuted, crucified and buried. On the third day he rose from the dead proving he was the Messiah. He is the only way to the father. The only way to heaven.

8. Who do you believe God is? If you believe in God, what is he like? (Base this on your religious beliefs) If you don't believe in God, why not?
God is love. God is merciful and just. He is patient. He is our Creator. He is so Holy that our sinfulness keeps us from Him, but he is so loving that He sent his son to die for our sins so we could have a relationship with him. He doesn't need us, but he created us because he loves us. If you accept God, His Son and the Holy Spirit then you are his child. He is beyond our comprehension.

Jehovah-raah, your caring shepherd
Jehovah-jirah, the Lord who provides
Jehovah-shalom, the Lord is peace
Jehovah-rophe, the Lord who heals you
Jehovah-nissi, the Lord is my banner

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:8-10

9. Have you had to defend your beliefs? What happened?
Yes, when my husband was an unbeliever he liked to play "devils advocate" questioning my faith at every chance he could to try to shake my foundation. That only caused me to seek out the answers to all the questions he had. Over time, I have developed quite the passion for Apologetics and the undeniable truth of Christianity when all the true facts (not just of the Bible but of history) are considered. After which I now encourage people to question their faith so that they truly know what their following is the truth because it is too big of a decision not to.

10. How has your faith/beliefs changed you?
My faith has changed me SO much. A complete 180. I once was walking in the ways of the world, sinning for pleasure. But after I was saved God sent his Holy Spirit to teach me how to walk in Gods way. On the narrow road. It is a process that he will be doing for the rest of my life but he has changed the way I dress and the way I treat others and my family. It really is life transforming to follow Jesus.

11. Have you ever questioned your faith? How did you question it? And did you get the answers you were searching for to keep believing?
Absolutely. I think my problem was that I didn't know what the Bible said even though I claimed to be Christian. Once I started reading my Bible, as well as supporting documents of its history and validity it was really hard for me to deny the absolute truth in it.

12. What is something that you want to tell people about your faith?
I think that there are major misconceptions about Christianity, because a lot of Christians (myself too once) claim to be Christian without reading their Bibles and knowing what it actually says. Thats a problem. That means they didn't know Gods will. You can't know God unless you read his love letter to us. His Holy Word, the Bible. God gives himself to us, all we have to do is read and absorb his truth and we will be changed. No doubt about that.

If you have any questions about Christianity, any at all, feel free to email me at:
 TaraJoy AT Faithineveryday DOT com. 

If you want to follow the series be sure to subscribe to our email updates so you get them in your inbox every Tuesday!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould Review

**This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. I have been given a PDF of Amish Promises by Leslie Gould free of charge in exchange for this review. However, the opinions in this post are my own. For more information please read my full disclosure statement here. **

I love Amish fiction. I love the stories and underlying lessons. Which is why it is no surprise that I have another Amish fiction book to share with you. 

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould is a story of unexpected love and friendship. When Shani Beck, an Englisher and her family move into her grandfather's home in Lancaster County, PA hoping to help her husband Joel's war injuries heal, their amish neighbors have a mix feelings about it. Eve Lehman was thrilled to have a new friend in Shani, but her brother Tim, a widower and father of 5 children was not happy about the influence the Beck's could have on his family. 

Things were finally looking up for Shani, they have great neighbors and playmates for her son Zane. Their friend Charlie, her husbands army buddy, would come over from Philly on the weekends to help around the house because Joel was in a wheelchair after re-injuring his leg in a bad fall.  Everything seemed like it was the right choice to move to the middle of nowhere, at least until Eve saw Charlie. Charlie was kind, warm and great with the kids. She had never felt desire like that before. 

The problem was she was Amish and he was English. When her brother Tim suspected feelings growing he cut all ties to prevent it. 

Does it stop a love that could have been forming? Will Eve be willing to give up her role in raising her nieces and nephews for this Englisher? Even when she promised Abra, her best friend and Tim's wife that she would take care of her kids always, as she was dying. Should she stick to her promise or should she sacrifice everything for love? Click here to find out. 

Amish Promises was a very good read, another one of those I couldn't put down. I really enjoyed every turn of the story as well as the character interactions. I was rooting for Eve and Charlie every step of the way even when I wasn't sure what would happen. All the while hoping that Shani's family would be healed through it all. I thoroughly enjoyed feeling as if I was apart of the story. 

Though I did love the book, the PDF version I received had a plethora of typos and missed quotations (kind of distracting when the main characters name changes from Shani to Shana a few times or when someone is speaking and you have no idea because there wasn't a beginning quotation), but that wasn't enough to deter me from finding out how the story ended. 

Amish Promises' theme of trusting God through hard choices and life in general is something that we can all relate to, I know I personally took something away from the book and I know you can too! 

Happy Reading!