Christian, Faith, Jesus, Podcast

Where Do You Find Hope?

Picture by Gerd Altman

For many years I found hope in myself and I know that sounds arrogant and self-centered coming from a Christian but let me explain where I was and where I am now. I grew up Roman Catholic, going to church a few times a year. I attended catechism classes in Junior and Senior high school and understood who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was and I believed that Jesus was my savior I would go to heaven.

What I didn’t know, or maybe it is better said, what I wasn’t taught, is that the most important part of learning to be a Christian is establishing a relationship with God. Without that relationship I never felt compelled to obey God or listen to what He was saying to me. How can you have hope in something you have never experienced, something you haven’t spent time on, someone you have never spoken or listened to. You cannot, just as in any relationship in life you must spend time getting to know the person, the only way you get to know someone intimately is by talking to them and listening. The same can be said for our relationship with God. God has made it easier for us to get to know Him, he gave us His word in scripture.

I was in my late 30s when I started to realize there was a hole in my soul, something was missing, everything looked good on the outside but inside I was unsettled and had no purpose. I didn’t know why I felt that way until I started to read Joyce Meyer devotionals and books*. They guided me toward spending time with God, listening, falling in love with Him, and then watching what He was doing in my life. Which then lead to resting all of my hope in the God who is able to do abundantly more than I can ever ask or imagine. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:20-21

This week the podcast that I am reviewing is from Jennie Allen’s “Made for This” podcast called “How to Hope for What You Can’t See” and her guest is Matt Chandler. Matt is the lead pastor at the Village Church, in Flower Mound, Texas, and the President of the Acts 29 Network.

Jennie begins by asking Matt how he came to his faith in Jesus and in his words “I came to it late in life, well later than many Christians, at the age of 18. A friend invited me to church and youth group. The nearness and friendship of Jesus I had then has not changed. Jesus took all of the desires I had and shifted them from where they were and pointed them with laser like focus on Him.”

Jennie goes on to ask Matt how do you see heaven? Matt responds by saying “The Bible describes it as a place of ever-increasing joy. What your heart longs for will be satisfied there. Many of us cannot understand this, God is an inexhaustible well of joy and grace.” I liked this quote “We are caught on this treadmill of hope deferred here. In heaven hope is fulfilled and we are not looking forward. Everything we hoped for is fulfilled and is ever increasing.” Jennie states “It is important to understand this, deferred hope that it is coming changes how you live life now.”

Matt points out that he went through a time of unbelief but he kept praying, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief.” Jennie states “It is ok to wrestle with your faith, doubt is ok, but don’t allow it to take over, it steals, kills, and destroys. Matt’s response was “Be rooted in a community and the word of God. Being honest when you doubt. There are no secrets from God and when you say it out loud it takes away its strength.”

They talk about how to speak to kids about heaven and how to hope in God. Matt wrapped it up by saying many people think they have a picture-perfect life but it’s not working. The reason for that is you have been created for a relationship with Jesus. Those gifts and abilities were given to you by God for God. Life lived outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ is always going to be less satisfying than it was meant to be. Continuing to cultivate the relationship/friendship with Jesus is the most important priority in your life.”

I agree with Matt that life lived outside of a relationship with Jesus is less fulfilling. I have tried it and my life is so much richer with Him. I see everything God has made with in full color with a thankful heart, and I have hope for good days ahead, even during COVID. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 I pray that if you haven’t already you will put your hope in Jesus and start spending some time chatting with Him. He is longing for it and so are you.

*I mention here that I read Joyce Meyer devotionals and books but there are many excellent Christian writers that you can read to learn more about building your relationship with Jesus. Feel free to message me if you are looking for resources, I have read many.

Funny spot on the blog “Dancing Priest Does Hamilton”. It is hilarious, enjoy!

Jennie Allen’s Made for This Podcast with Matt Chandler.

Village Church Matt Chandler

Christian

Looking at Your Weaknesses.

Picture from Pixabay

The topic for this week is the enneagram. Simply stated it is a personality test and it has been around for hundreds of years. It has been used in Christian circles since the 1970’s. I became aware of the enneagram through listening to podcasts and reading the book The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It has helped me to understand why I react to things in a certain way and it has allowed me to be humbler in my reactions to situations I have no control over. It also allows me to be more empathetic with others. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:1, 3, 10

Technically you are not supposed to impose an enneagram number on anyone but yourself; once you learn about each number it is difficult not to type cast others. I tend to keep that knowledge to myself. If you are wondering I am an enneagram 1, the perfectionist who has a constant critical voice in my head. Always wanting to do the right thing, to be good, to calm that inner critic.

The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “For The Love” by Jen Hatmaker and the name of the episode is “What is the Enneagram with Suzanne Stabile.” Jen is an author and podcaster, her latest book is Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. Suzanne Stabile is a highly sought-after speaker and teacher, known for her engaging laugh, personal vulnerability and creative approach to Enneagram instruction. After 25 years of studying the enneagram, learning from people’s stories, cultivating relationships, and learning under Father Richard Rohr, she used her work and extensive knowledge of the enneagram to co-author The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery with Ian Morgan Cron. She followed that with, The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships.

What I like about this specific podcast is you do not need to have any knowledge about the enneagram to understand it. It is extremely high level, but Suzanne is such a good teacher that I even learned a few new things. Suzanne states the Enneagram will “Name for you what is your weakest point and potentially teaches you how to overcome that weakness. It takes a negative approach at who you are. We don’t know ourselves based on what we get right, we know ourselves on what we get wrong.” Jen asked Suzanne to identify the differences between the enneagram and let’s say the Myers Briggs personality tests? Suzanne responded “The Enneagram is determined by motivation and behavior. I am not a fan of online tests. There is a depth to the enneagram that a test cannot represent. It is best to learn from other’s stories and this is how I teach it.” Suzanne then goes through the nine numbers and how they each see themselves and what motivates them. The good and the bad attributes of each. If you are interested in looking inward, I highly recommend listening to this podcast and the 9 others Jen did with other self-identified enneagram guests. She goes through all 9 numbers and talks to her guests about their motivations and weaknesses. I will link to her podcast below. I will also link to Suzanne Stabile’s podcast called “The Enneagram Journey”. I believe if we are bold enough to identify our weaknesses and act on them we can show love to others and make our small piece of the world a better place.

The uplifting piece to the blog this week is a funny parody about the quarantine. Enjoy!

Jen Hatmaker’s “For The Love” podcast “What is the Enneagram with Suzanne Stabile”.

Suzanne Stabile’s website and resources.

Suzanne Stabile’s podcast “The Enneagram Journey”

Christian, Faith, Jesus, Podcast

What Are You Reflecting On?

Image by Rita E.

How often do we actually reflect on life? We do it unconsciously ever day when we say we like a song or a TV show, but what about reflecting on your life and what has occured let’s say over the past 30 days? Lately I have been looking at what has changed over the past 4-5 months, what we haven’t been able to do but also what the pandemic has made possible. For example, it has allowed me to reconnect with my friends from Charleston via Zoom and I am eternally grateful for that. On the other hand, since we are new to Charlotte I cannot go out and make new friends. It has allowed me to have the time to start this blog which I truly enjoy. How often do we reflect on our lives to see what was good and what was not? For me it’s probably once a year in January, unless I get a tug from God to look at something specific. Jesus reflected with God many times in the bible, he went to the Mount of Olives to pray, to make sure he was doing God’s will. (Luke 22:39-46) Being in relationship with a loving God allows us to reflect with him and receive loving correction when needed.

The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “The Next Right Thing” by Emily P. Freeman, it is episode #133 and it is called “Learn the Art of Asking Questions.” Emily is a bestselling author, podcast host, and a curious listener. Her podcast is about making decisions, but also, it’s about making a life. She does not interview guests but poses thought provoking questions and the podcasts are short and sweet about 10-15 minutes long. Emily has a very soothing voice that I enjoy listening to. This session on Learn the Art of Asking Questions made me look and reflect on the past 30 days in a different way. She presents five questions you can ask yourself to reflect on the previous month. One was “In the past 30 days what was your most life giving yes?” and another was “Name something you are reconsidering from the last 30 days. As a result of the last 30 days, maybe you’ve reconsidered a long-held belief, a biased worldview, an unhealthy relationship, or the way you’ve allowed grief, anger, or fear to build up in your body. You may not have answers or resolutions, but reconsideration done in the presence of God is an important part of our becoming.” I answered all five questions but the last one was one that I actually had to dig deep on. I noticed much more anxiety in my day to day life lately, so my answer to that question was to realize when I am becoming anxious and use reasoning to figure out why I am so anxious. If I need to take action then take action, if not release it to God. Adam Hamilton in his book Unafraid says you can use the word FEAR as an acronym, Face your fears with faith, Examine your assumption with facts, Attack your anxieties with action, Release your cares to God. I have been attempting to do that.

In the beginning of her podcast Emily quotes John Dewey, “we do not learn from an experience, we learn from reflecting on an experience.” The best way to support a friend or family member who is going through a difficult time sometimes is to just listen. As Emily states “To have people in our lives who will not try to come up with answers to our many problems or worse, try to roll them in sugar or solve them by sundown. Instead, we long for people who will sit beside us in a silence, who will carry our complex questions, and maybe when the time is right, ask us some more. Not for the sake of telling us something they think we ought to know is guised with a question mark and not in a nosy or even a purely curious way. But to genuinely ask a question for the sake of love.” So, go ahead ask yourself a few questions and reflect on the answers with love, knowing that God will be with you and love you no matter what the answers are.

The positive ending to the blog is this story that I initially heard about from The Good Newsletter. It is about a man who went into a burning home and helped save a woman in a wheelchair and her grandson. Her wheels were stuck and she could not get out of the home. It is always heartwarming to see acts of love in the community. Thank God for people like this. Praying you have a great week and will take time to stop and ask some curious questions along the way.

Emily P. Freeman’s website

Emily P. Freeman’s Podcast Learn The Art of Asking Questions Ep. 133

The Good Newsletter

Picture of Lake Lure NC
Christian, Faith, Jesus, Podcast

A Harsh Word or a Gentle Answer.

Picture by Mircealancu

When I think of a harsh word or a gentle answer, I think of Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Anger is defined as a strong feeling of displeasure or belligerence aroused by a wrong. If I look at my own reactions to situations sometimes, I allow my emotions get the best of me and the harsh word will come out before the gentle answer. Thankfully over the years and with much personal growth this occurs less frequently.

Why isn’t the gentle answer our default? Could it be partly the way the world expects us to always win, to get to the top of our field, to be better than everyone else, but if we only focus on that, do we ignore empathy and compassion? Another reason could be you have been taken advantage of in the past and in order to get your voice heard you feel like you need to be louder and speak with force. Either way it is not the way Jesus would want us to respond. Jesus would ask us to respond with love and kindness. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 Although we all struggle to achieve this; it is something to pray about and work toward.

This week’s podcast I am reviewing is called Rhythms for Life with Gabe and Rebekah Lyons. They are husband and wife who live in Tennessee. Rebekah Lyons is a national speaker and bestselling author of Rhythms of Renewal book. An old soul with a contemporary, honest voice, Rebekah reveals her own battles to overcome anxiety and depression—and invites others to discover and boldly pursue their God-given purpose from a place of freedom. In this podcast they interview Scott Sauls, he is the senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, co-founder of the Nashville Institute for Faith and Work, and an author. He previously served at New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church as a lead and preaching pastor alongside Dr. Timothy Keller. His new book “A Gentle Answer” is based off of Proverbs 15:1 and is a great resource for anyone seeking to engage Christianity in a divided culture. In the podcast they talk about his new book and about how Scott overcame anxiety and depression. Scott says “If you are going through a panic attacks or anxiety there are strategies and resources, people and communities that can come along side you to help you. The cure rate is very high if you are resourced well. Depression is harder to come out of. You can do it with medication or without but always with counseling! Don’t take enough medication to take all the pain away, just take enough so you can think clearly. You will need friends who have walked through it that you can talk to and trust.” Gabe asked Scott to describe to people that Pastors don’t have it all together and don’t have it all figured out. They are just like everyone else. Scott talks about two Pastors who committed suicide when he was in seminary. One of them wrote a note stating “I have been wrestling with depression for a while. I am trying to get help but I know I am going down. When a minister discloses to the people that he serves that he is struggling with depression he will lose his ministry.” Scott makes a very strong point saying “We all have some form of brokenness or form of I am not complete. Jesus needs to make this new for us. Pastors feel like they cannot talk about it.” His point about having friends who are walking close to God to lean on and talk to is so important. Gabe states “The world pits us against each other. You are the voice telling us this is not the way it has to be.” Scott responds saying his book brings gentlness into a hostile environment. “It seems some people have an impulse to judge and punish. This increases anxiety for those who want peace.” Gabe points out “anxiety, stress, and overachieving can be fueled by a culture that says we have to win but Scott’s message is you need to love not win! You don’t lose points from God because you are gentle and kind to people who you think are wrong on certain issues that are important to you. You actually win because you demonstrating His love for them.” This is a good message and I hope you will listen to the full podcast and find areas in your life where you could use a gentle word instead of a harsh answer.

My uplifting piece to the blog is an Instagram video by Carlos Whittaker, it is him talking to his white neighbor about why he painted his white bunny statue black. The video is called “Now For the Hard Part of Ending Racism.” It made me cry in a good way.

Rhythms for Life Podcast with Scott Sauls

Rebekah Lyons’ website

Christian, Jesus, Podcast

Be The Bridge

Picture by April Sylvester

This post is a little different than the rest. I wrestled with the decision to use this topic or not and what I realized is this topic is too important not to talk about. Racial reconciliation, you have heard a lot about it over the last few weeks. As a white Christian woman, it saddens me that this is where we are as a country in 2020. We still have not moved passed the hatred and dehumanization of African American/People of Color. God made us ALL in His image and made us diverse for a reason. He loves us all and calls us to love everyone. Just as the Jews and Gentiles were at odds about who was righteous in Jesus day, it seems today the battle is about the color of our skin.

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:9; 19-20

But are we aware of our sin or do we just not talk about it and when someone speaks disparagingly about people of color, do we ignore it? I have to admit I have been in this situation twice in the last five years and I did not speak up. When I think back on it and my lack of action it makes me sick to my stomach. I said nothing, which means I did nothing, which means I attributed to the racial hatred. I have since repented and asked God for forgiveness but it still weighs heavy on my heart. I am learning to be a better advocate for my friends of color.

The Podcast I am reviewing today is from Annie and Eddie Keep Talking. They interview LaTasha Morrison, founder of Be the Bridge. Latasha is a speaker, author, reconciler, bridge-builder and leader, committed to educate people on cultural intelligence and racial literacy. She founded Be the Bridge in 2016 to encourage racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to equip others to do the same.

Eddie begins with the question “What can I contribute to the conversation?” LaTasha replied, “You can help elevate my voice. By posting on social media or whatever platform you have has shown solidarity. It is saying I am with you and this is my action to show that. It may not be your story but we are connected so it is my story. It means so much when people speak out for us.” Eddie asks, “This is not a new thing, why has this blown up now?” LaTasha says “It is a perfect storm; you have everyone who has camera with them all the times and social media platforms to post it on. In the last four years the remarks have gone from covert to overt expressions. Plus, the pandemic, people working from home, school is out and more people are paying attention.” This statement from LaTasha was an enlightening to me, “We attach humanity to the behavior of a person. During slavery, for people to consciously deal with it you had to de-humanize people of color. We were considered three fifths of a person and counted as chattel. That narrative was being spoken, and because you were seen as beastly you had to be controlled.” Annie asks “What is helpful for your white friends to do, the next right steps that will feel supportive?” LaTasha said “Educate your white friends. It helps our kids as they are learning and growing. The narrative becomes less scary. Who are you listening to? Make sure you are learning and listening to people of color. Learn the issues and unlearn bad behavior. It is ok if you mess up, just don’t get offended. Own your mistakes and don’t let your pride creep in.” Toward the end of the podcast they talk about how to speak to kids about racial inequality and much more. It is definitely worth a listen. Also, LaTasha has a new podcast called Be the Bridge, I will link to that below too. I know I have more to learn and the next book on my reading list is Be the Bridge.

Here is where I usually put an uplifting story but today I am going to link to an article from the Good Newsletter. It lists out many resources to become more educated about racial inequality and racial reconcilation, articles, books and podcasts, you can find that here.

I’m sorry for the heaviness of this post but it is something that has to be addressed and we as white Americans should not be ashamed to say we have been doing it wrong, repent, and learn the loving way we can help support our friends of color. Praying you have a great week and keep listening and learning.

Annie and Eddie Keep Talking with LaTasha Morrison

Be the Bridge website

Be the Bridge Podcast

LaTasha Morrison’s website

Picture from Jamie Ivey’s website

Christian, Jesus, Podcast

Where to Next?

Welcome to the new website! As you can tell it has a slightly different look to it and the URL has changed to thegodlypodreview.com. In the weeks to come you will see a few more changes. Now back to the blog ….

Do you ever stop to ask God what should your next move be? I don’t mean physically moving your home, although for me and my family last year that was the case. I’m referring to what does He want you to do to serve more in your community, reaching out to someone to begin a friendship, a possible job change, or how to reach your kids more? Most of the time I have to intentionally look to God for answers and to be honest a good portion of my life, probably 38 years of it, I thought I knew what was best for me. Come to find out that was not the case, in the end God’s way has always yielded a better return than mine. In their heart’s humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 Are you allowing God to establish your steps or do you prefer to take the lead and run ahead of what He has planned for you? I find when I do that, I end up taking 20 steps backwards and then stop and say oh yeah by the way God what should I be doing in this situation? Then I begin to take rights steps forward in God’s perfect will.

The Podcast I am reviewing this week is from Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you are not aware Lysa TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and a New York Times best-selling author. She has authored many Christian centered books, devotionals, and Bible studies. I completed one of her Bible studies called Unglued and found it very helpful. Two people that work for Proverbs 31 Ministries host the Podcast, Meredith Brock and Kaley Olson. The name of this Podcast is “What Does God Want Me to do Next” and they are interviewing a young woman who also works for Proverbs 31, Shae Tate. This topic is very relevent to many people and as Shae says “It translates into different seasons of our lives. We reaffirm our calling over and over in our lives. We ask what am I suppose to do and where am I suppose to go?” I like how she points out that “we all need direction and sometimes are afraid of doing the wrong thing but it is best for us to seek God’s call on our lives no matter what season we are in.” Another important argument she made, “God is reconciling us to Him, He is calling us to Himself, so we can help others be reconciled to God. We all have this calling and it comes out differently for each of us through our individual gifts.” Meredith states “God is saying come and be intimate with me and from that deep relationship we will gain wisdom.” This scripture seemed to sum it up:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11

Proverbs 31 Ministries links to a 6-week devotional that ties into this topic called “Thy Will be Done”, you can find it here. Links to the Proverbs 31 website and this Podcast can be found below.

The uplifting end to the blog is this newsletter I started to receive recently. It is called The Good Newsletter and you can sign up for it here. All of the articles are positive but the one I really enjoyed was about a church in Berlin Germany. They invited the nearby Mosque worshipers to worship at their church on Fridays during Ramadan since they ran out of room due to social distancing requirements. How loving and hospitable are the leaders of the Martha Lutheran Church? They are living out 1 Peter 4:8-10. I am praying you have a great week and spend a little time asking God where to next.

Proverb’s 31 Ministries

Proverb’s 31 Ministries Podcast “What Does God Want Me to do Next?”

Lysa TerKeurst website

Pictures from Pixabay

Christian, Jesus, Podcast

Being Faithful in the Midst of Tension

I like to think of myself as a faithful woman of God. Which leads to the question what does it mean to be faithful? Merriam-Webster defines it as: steadfast affection or allegiance; firm in adherence or a promise; true to the facts; and/or full of faith. I can relate to a steadfast affection for God and being full of faith in God. But why are we faithful? I am faithful because God is faithful and loving to me. I have seen it over and over in my life where God has stepped in and guided me in the right direction or put the right person in my life to lift me up when I was down. His faithfulness will be your shield and a wall. You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day. Psalm 91:4-5 His love for us goes deep and with Easter just last month it is so apparent what He did for all of us at the cross was the greatest act of love. So, for me it is His faithfulness and love that keeps me faithful to Him.

Today I am reviewing another Annie F. Downs “That Sounds Fun” podcast and her guest is Reverend Eugene Cho. Eugene is the President-Elect of Bread for the World, a prominent non-partisan Christian advocacy organization urging both national and global decision makers to help end hunger and he is the founder and former Senior Pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington. Eugene is also the founder and visionary of One Day’s Wages (ODW) – a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.  This guy is amazing, what he has done to help end hunger and give those who don’t have a voice a say in the political arena, lifts my heart and ask myself why am I not doing more.

In the podcast Eugene talks about what Evangelism looks like today and how we as Christians should be advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves. As Eugene says “There are many faithful followers of Christ who are good at compassion work, serving and raising money but when it comes to actually advocating, marching on streets, writing letters and calling politicians, there is a large segment that does not know that advocacy really matters.” Another point he makes is to “Be faithful in the tension of life. We normally don’t gravitate toward it. As we are faithful what does it mean to model that, showing grace, mercy, and love.” His Book “Thou Shall Not be a Jerk” talks about how our allegiance should not be to a political party. Our allegiance is only in God. He states, “It is important to be involved with politics but do not make it the end all. Everyone has a voice but not everyone is heard.” Make sure we are involved but also make sure we are listening to the people on the other side of the political party. Let’s work toward a common good in a righteous way.

In addition to Annie’s #thatsoundsfun podcast link I am including a link to a new podcast she is part of called “Annie and Eddie Keep Talking”. It is very light hearted and talks about Annie and Eddie Kaufholz’s day to day life, which in itself is very funny. Hope you take a listen and enjoy.

My uplifting end to the blog is this comic from Facebook. Thanks to Donna Johnson for reposting it! Until next time stay safe and keep the faith.

Annie F. Downs That Sounds Fun Episode; #221 with Eugene Cho

Eugene Cho’s book “Thou Shall Not be a Jerk”

Eugene Cho’s website

Annie and Eddie Keep Talking Podcast

Christian, Jesus, Podcast

Let’s Look on the Bright Side.

I know it sounds hokey but when things seem to be bringing me down, looking at all that I have brings me back to reality and thankful to God for all that He provides. Thankful for a nice home, food on the table, my family’s health, my husband’s job, books to read, and of course Netflix -just kidding, well at least a little bit. We all need that time to reset, sit on the couch with a warm cup of tea and maybe a salty or sweet snack.

The podcast I am reviewing this week is Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour. Jamie is a podcaster, author, and speaker. The Happy Hour is a place where girlfriends gather to talk about the big things in life, the little things in life, and everything in between. The episode I am reviewing is #292 with Melanie Shankle. Melanie is also a Podcaster, her show is called The Big Boo Podcast, and she is a New York Times bestselling author. Her most recent book is ironically called “On the Bright Side”. She submitted the book in April of 2019 thinking it would be great for a Presidential election year. Turns out God had another plan for it! As Melanie mentions in the Podcast, “we have a loss of expectations, not knowing when the pandemic will end, but we can still look on the bright side of where we are.” In her book she talks about friendships and making time for friends, parenting, and being true to yourself. Society has become so divisive, as Melanie says “how can we have real conversations with others who have different views from us? I wonder if in the end Jesus is going to say you all missed the whole dang point; you were supposed to love each other. Not all of these small minutiae things.” This brings us to the Greatest Commandment.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

I know people argue who really is your neighbor? It is everyone, from the grocery store cashier (which by the way thank you for putting yourself out there and helping us to stay fed), to your neighbor down the street who has loud parties. I’m not saying that we have to agree with everything they do but make sure that we don’t go in the other direction and talk badly about them. If you have an issue with your neighbor first pray about it, then bring it to them, in a loving way, and most of time they will respond kindly too. This Podcast is definitely worth the listen.

A little light hearted skit for the end of the blog. My teenage fangirl singer/songwriter Jon BonJovi is on with Jimmy Fallon. You can watch it here. It is really good but I am a little biased. Until next time, stay safe, love each other and keep looking on the bright side!

Jamie Ivey’s Podcast “The Happy Hour” interview with Melanie Shankle

Jamie Ivey’s website

Melanie Shankle’s book “On the Bright Side

Melanie Shankle’s Podcast

Uncategorized

Time to Pause.

I know what you are thinking, that is all I seem to be doing every day since I cannot go anywhere, but let’s take a look at this from another angle. Maybe this extra time that we have at home, at least some of it, we should give to God. Read that devotional in the morning, look at the beauty of the flowers that are blooming, be grateful for the health of your family and thank God for it.

The podcast I am reviewing today is from one of my favorite authors, speaker, writers Annie F. Downs. When I listen to her podcast, I feel like I am listening to a girlfriend tell me about her day and then of course interview someone 🙂 She is really down to earth and has a love for God and people. I think of the great commandment when I think of Annie; ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Annie’s podcast is called That Sounds Fun and believe me she has a lot of fun and interviews really interesting people. This episode is a little more serious as it talks about putting more focus on Jesus during your day. She interviewed John Eldredge: John previous worked with Focus on the Family for 12 years and then launched Ransomed Heart Ministries, here you can find his blog, podcast, a daily reading, and my personal favorite is his Pause App! I use it every day, it allows you to get a notification once or twice a day to pause and reflect on Jesus. There is a 1, 3, 5, or a 10-minute pause option. Most times I chose the 1-minute pause but the 3 is really good too. Best part it is FREE! John is also a well-known, Jesus centered author and his most recent book is called Get Your Life Back. During this podcast Annie speaks to John about how he spends his time connecting with God and what his ah ha moment was when he realized he wasn’t spending enough time focused on God. John states “The distractions keep us away from our soul. The door opens from the inside which allows us to talk to Jesus.” He stresses how important it is to be present to the issues in your soul, to really feel it. Are we on our devices all the time and if so is that allowing us to listen and be present to Jesus? How can we be more whole hearted people open to the guidance of Jesus?

Something to make you smile this week. Comedian Julie Nolke did a three minute skit with herself, it is called Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self. Hope it makes you laugh and until next time stay in and take that daily pause to connect with Him.

Annie F. Downs’ website

That Sounds Fun Podcast: Episode 210 John Eldredge

Ransomed Heart website

Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self

Uncategorized

Everything has changed. Now what?

Hello friends, I pray everyone is staying home and staying healthy. This pandemic is nothing like we have ever seen before. Even for me, who is a homebody and am home 75% of my week, this feels weird. I want to go to church and worship with my church family. I want to see my friends and give them a hug. But for now, we will have to do this virtually, through Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. How about just calling a friend or family member to check in and see how they are doing, to hear their voice, and really notice what they are feeling. It is an unprecedented time, and since we have that time to spend with our closest family members, make sure you tell them you love them, and call those you cannot be with.

I am going to be slightly repetitive and give you another podcast from Jennie Allen. I thought this episode was relevant to what is currently on many Christians minds. Jennie speaks with Andy Crouch, who is a partner for theology and culture at Praxis, an organization that works as a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship.

Jennie and Andy talk about how things have changed for most people, what are we anxious about and what we can do to alleviate that. Should we be strategic and if so how? How is this going to affect the church and is there an upside to it? And yes, it is ok to grieve what we have lost but also look to the future to see where we can help others and spread the Kingdom.

Jennie is also hosting IF:TV, which is basically a visual of the podcast with additional teachings by Jennie. The podcast is 30 minutes long and the IF:TV session is 50 minutes long. I will include both links below.

The second item I felt compelled to include here is something I came across this week and it made me smile and cry. John Krasinski, the guy from The Office TV show and now from Amazon’s show Jack Ryan, has started putting together a Youtube show called Some Good News or SGN. The stories are heartwarming and I think we can all use a little good news amongst all of the gloom and doom that is on our feeds 24/7. Enjoy and remember to keep thinking on the good things that we have now. As Paul writes in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Let us see the beauty, the grace, and wonderful things God gives us each day, no matter how hard the day is, there is always something good to be grateful for. May God continue to bless you and your family.

Jennie Allen’s Made for This Podcast with Andy Crouch

Jennie Allen’s IF:TV show Made for This with Andy Crouch

John Krasinski’s Some Good News