Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: Glimpses of Grace

Gloria Furman is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. She and her husband moved to Dubai in 2008 to plant a church, where her husband now serves as pastor. Gloria is a homemaker, doula, blogger, and author.

I recently read Gloria Furman’s book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home. Before I started reading Glimpses of Grace, I wasn't sure how applicable it would be for me. This book was written for wives and mothers whose days are filled with “mundane” tasks of homemaking. As a disabled wife and mom, I cannot physically take care of most of those tasks, so my life is very different. However, this book was very practical and applicable for me! I would recommend it to any woman, whether single or married, with children or without children, healthy or chronically ill.

In Glimpses of Grace, Gloria Furman explains how the gospel makes a difference in our everyday lives. The gospel isn't just something we believe so that we can be saved. It has implications for all aspects of life. Gloria shows how the gospel affects our home life, friendships, hospitality, generosity, contentment, and cheerfulness. She shows how the gospel removes our shame and gives us hope. I found this book to be thought-provoking, challenging, and encouraging.

Glimpses of Grace is theologically rich, yet easy to read and understand. It is helpful and practical. It is a book that is full of good teaching and solid truth. I highly recommend it!

Listen as Gloria tells about Glimpses of Grace in her own words. 
(If you are reading this in an email, you will need to click over to the blog to view the video.)

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Glimpses of Grace:

“Theology is for homemakers who need to know who God is, who they are, and what this mundane life is all about.”

“God’s triumphant grace in the work of Christ on the cross assures of this: when our hope is in God’s glory, for ourselves and for others, then our life in the home is anything but dull, diminutive, and disappointing.”

“His hospitable work on the cross makes it possible for God to forgive our sins. The heavenly hospitality of the holy Trinity is the grandest gesture of selflessness, openness, humility, generosity, and love that the world has ever seen. God does open-heart surgery on us so that we can have open homes to his glory.”

“The gospel is the lens through which God sees us when we have faith in his Son – the gospel is our one great, permanent circumstance.”

“Rejoicing in the Lord is primary to your contentment, because only the Lord can eternally and sufficiently satisfy your soul.”

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Release

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Tonight in Sudan a woman named Meriam sits in prison with her two young children. Her crime? She is a follower of Jesus. Meriam was abandoned by her Muslim father as a young child and raised by her Christian mother. She married a Christian man, and for this Sudan has accused her of adultery and apostasy. It is for this reason that she is in prison. She was told she would be released if she would deny her faith and convert to Islam, but Meriam could not and would not deny Christ. She chose to face prison instead.

Last month Meriam gave birth to her baby daughter while in prison. She will remain in prison until her daughter is weaned, and then Meriam is to receive 100 lashes and be hanged. All because she will not deny her Lord. Her faith humbles me and encourages me. Her treatment and punishment breaks my heart. I pray for her release.

In the country of Iran, Saeed Abedini is in prison as well. He faces regular prison beatings and is greatly in need of medical treatment. His crime? He is a Christian, and he told others in Iran about Jesus. His faithfulness to Christ is a testimony to all those watching. His wife, Nagmeh, speaks out on his behalf, and her faithfulness to Christ is a beautiful testimony as well. I am continually encouraged and inspired by Nagmeh’s faith as I follow her on facebook.

Saeed’s faith humbles me and encourages me. I hurt for him, knowing that this brother in Christ is in a brutal prison. I pray for his release.

Meriam and Saeed are only two of countless Christians around the world who face beatings and imprisonment. Their steadfast faith in the midst of fiery trials is an amazing testimony to God’s grace and goodness. As I remember Meriam, Saeed, and the persecuted church, I think of Hebrews 11 and the great heroes of the faith. These are men and women of whom the world is not worthy. Their reward in Heaven will be great.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.   
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. 
Hebrews 11:32-40

Edited 6-23-14 to add:

Today Meriam was released from prison and has been reunited with her family! You can view a CNN video here. Christian Solidarity Worldwide has confirmed Meriam's release. Please continue to pray for Meriam and for her lawyers as they are receiving death threats.

Please continue to pray for Saeed's release and safe return home.

Edited 6-24-14 to add:

Heartbreaking news: Meriam has been arrested again before she and her family could leave Sudan. Watch the CNN news clip here.

Edited 6-25-14 to add:

Here is the latest information:

Tony Perkins with Megyn Kelly: Meriam Ibrahim Arrested Again

Sudanese Christian Charged with Fraud

Edited 6-27-14 to add:

Meriam and her family are currently safe inside the US embassy.

Sudanese Woman Meriam Ibrahim 'Safe and Well" In US Embassy

Meriam Ibrahim: 'Apostasy' Woman Freed Again

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Busy Hands: Teacup Pin Cushion

There is a crocheted teacup that sits on my nightstand, always within arm's reach. It isn't just there to look pretty. It is waiting to serve a good purpose and hold sewing needles.

I often work on small sewing projects while lying down in bed. I mend clothes, sew patches onto AWANA vests, and sew flowers onto newsgirl hats. For a long time I was regularly losing needles in the bed. Although I always found them eventually, and I never rolled over onto a needle in the middle of the night, the potential was there for a very painful sewing needle discovery! When I saw a picture of a teacup pincushion online, I knew that was just what I needed to keep my needles from getting lost.

I didn't have a pattern for this project, so I made it up as I went along. I used 100% cotton yarn scraps from newsgirl hats. My favorite part is the tea bag string that hangs out of the teacup.

No more lost needles!

Linking up today with In the Studio

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family Vacation in South Dakota

The Badlands

Earlier this month we went on a family vacation, and we had a wonderful time! Before going on vacation I wondered if we were crazy for attempting a trip given that my health has been so unstable lately. But I knew that I had traveled from Kentucky to Georgia for Christmas in 2010, when I was much sicker than I am now. It was going to be hard, but with some careful planning we could make a family vacation work. We planned a trip that would include easy activities, cool temperatures, and a lot of rest in the hotel room for me.

The hardest day of vacation was the first day when we needed to drive for 6 ½ hours. To make the trip easier I went to the hospital the evening before for a liter of saline. The increase in blood volume makes it easier for me to sit upright, and it also helps with my energy levels and mental clarity. Overall it just gives me a “boost” that lasts about 48 hours. The IV infusion the evening before our trip helped me to sit/recline in the van for our long day of driving.

We spent a week in South Dakota and enjoyed seeing the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and the Badlands. I kept a slow pace and spent the majority of my time resting in the hotel. I always spent the mornings in the hotel room, and during that time Will and the children would go to the hotel pool, a museum, or a zoo while I slept. On three afternoons I went out with them for some sightseeing. There were also three days that I stayed in the hotel all day to rest while Will and the children went sightseeing. They came back with pictures for me and stories of their adventures.

Here are some highlights from our vacation!

I took pictures of the scenery through my window as we drove through South Dakota at 70mph.

We went to Mount Rushmore. It was only 71 degrees! 
I was able to sit outside for about 10 minutes with my ice pack vest on.

My favorite part of the trip was the scenic drive through Custer State Park. 
All I had to do was sit with my feet propped up and enjoy the view!  

William enjoying the view of the Black Hills. In the distance you can see Mount Rushmore.

A view of the Black Hills from an overlook off of Iron Mountain Road.
I just noticed that William is as tall as me now when I am in my wheelchair!

On the Needles Highway

This was a fun tunnel to drive through on the Needles Highway!

Will, William, and Adelaide got to explore two caves for the first time!

They thought of me when they saw purple flowers, and they took a picture to bring back to me.

Adelaide in the Badlands

Big Horn Sheep in the Badlands

The Badlands

Vacation was very good for all of us. We enjoyed the special time together and made some wonderful memories. The rest of our summer will be spent here at home reading, writing, gardening, working, playing, and resting. 

What are your summer plans? 

P.S. Did you know that you can subscribe to Cranberry Tea Time via email? I blog as energy permits, which I know makes it hard for my readers to know when to check the blog for new content. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe here!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Nothing

It is time for Five Minute Friday with Lisa Jo and the blogging community. We gather together to write for just five minutes. No over-thinking or over-editing. It is fast and easy blogging, just what this body of mine needs! This week the writing prompt is "nothing."

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

When it comes to strength and energy, I am lacking. When it comes to physical ability to stand, cook, clean, do laundry, and go shopping, I am lacking. There is much that my body cannot do. Physically, life isn’t particularly comfortable. But as my husband has said, “God cares more about our sanctification than He does about our comfort.”

There is purpose in my health troubles. There is purpose in the various trials I face. In the book of James, God says that “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Through the challenges I face with my health, I am learning endurance. I am learning to persevere. I press on so that I will one day be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Maturity and growing in holiness is the goal. For this reason I can count these trials as joy! Though I lack the physical strength and endurance that I desire, my spiritual strength and endurance continue to grow, pressing me on to maturity. And one day when Jesus returns, I will be lacking in nothing.

How is God growing you so that one day you will be mature and complete, lacking in nothing?

Photo Credit: Ed Mitchell

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