Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trusting God: A Book Review

About The Book:

You don’t have to understand God to trust him.

“Just trust me.” Those are the words we often hear in movies just before something bad happens. And yet, we are told to trust God. In a culture where we tend to take control of our own lives, trusting God has become a religious platitude rather than a life-changing attitude. We say it, but do we really mean it? And what does trusting God really look like?
 
Sharon, Mary, and Gwen—the Girlfriends in God ministry team—have been there. They’ve traveled the tough roads of life to discover the peace and power that comes from grabbing the hand of God and trusting his plan. The life stories they share bring laughter and sometimes tears, but always spiritual growth. 
 
Each of the 12-week sections concludes with a Bible study guide and journal page, inviting you to lock arms with Sharon, Mary, and Gwen and share with other women in a small group setting or to use individually in your own quiet time.




An Excerpt:

Girlfriends Talk About Trusting God

Introduction
Trust. Now that’s a tough word to wrap your heart around. On the one hand, you celebrate and cherish those people with whom you can safely share anything and everything—your hopes and dreams, your faults and failures, the good times and the bad. No doubt about it—a friend you can fully trust is a priceless treasure.

On the other hand, how many times have you heard the phrase, “Just trust me,” only to be disappointed or disillusioned? How many times have you put your faith in and counted on a person to do the right thing only to be deflated and discouraged? How many times have those words “Just trust me” turned out to be nothing more than
an empty promise or a primer for disaster? Is anyone trustworthy these days?

What is trust? Webster’s dictionary defines it this way: “To have faith or trust in, to rely on (someone) to do something or permit someone to use something in the proper way, to believe, to confide (someone or something) to a person’s responsible care, to commit someone or something to the responsible care of (a person), to have
faith in God.”

Your life may be blessed with people you can trust—friends who really do have your best interests at heart and are there when you need them. Your life may also be littered with people you’ve trusted who have let you down. Perhaps you’ve got scars to remind you of people who’ve held your heart carelessly, walked away flippantly, or broken their word unapologetically. It has happened to all of us. And the hurt from a broken trust can make it difficult to count on people again.

But here’s some good news: God is not human. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will never leave us or forsake us. He says what He means and means what He says. God cares for you unceasingly, provides for you immeasurably, and loves you unconditionally. And you really can trust Him.

As Girlfriends in God (GiG), we are learning to trust God as we walk through good times and as we celebrate life-wins. We are also learning to trust God through trials and struggles like the ones you may be facing. The storms may be a bit different in nature, but they are storms nonetheless. We want to share our lives with you, and we hope the truths we’ve learned will help you deepen your trust in God.

Our Girlfriends in God theme verse is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:8: “We loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” So in these pages we have opened our hearts and homes and invited you to take a peek inside. But that invitation comes with a warning—our lives are sometimes quite messy.

The apostle Paul instructed all Christians to “put on the full armor of God.” It’s a pretty snazzy outfit: the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sword of the Spirit, the sandals of the gospel of peace, and the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:13–17). A woman dressed in that power suit is armed and dangerous when the Enemy comes snooping around. While these verses tell of a figurative or spiritual armor, the actual armor soldiers wore during the time of Paul was fascinating—especially the shield. Shields were often made of heavy leather, which soldiers soaked in water to help extinguish the fiery darts the enemy shot at them. And the shields—oh, we’re so excited to tell you this—the shields had hooks on the sides. Why? We thought you’d never ask. The shields had hooks on the sides so that, in difficult situations, the soldiers could link their shields together and march into battle as one.

Girlfriend, that is exactly what we want to do with you in the pages of this book. We want to hook shields with you and march as one. We want to lock arms with you, connect our hearts with yours, and learn how to seek and trust God together.

No matter how you choose to work through this book—on your own, with a prayer partner, with a group of friends, or with a GiG group—we are with you. At the end of each week, you’ll find questions to ponder. We’ve called it “Now It’s Your Turn,” and that’s exactly what it is—your turn. We’ve taken you on our holy field trips, and then it’s your turn to tell about yours. We’d love to hear from you. We’ve set up a special page on our website so you can share what you’ve learned about trusting God. Just log onto www.GirlfriendsInGod.com and click on the “Trusting God” page to tell us your story.

Now, let’s get started on our journey to trusting God!
-Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, and Mary Southerland




About The Authors:

Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and the author of seventeen books. She served as vice-president and radio co-host of Proverbs 31 Ministries for ten years and is a popular guest on Christian radio and television programs such as Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, and Focus on the Family. Sharon is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a ministry that crosses denominational, generational, and racial boundaries to bring the Body of Christ together.

You can read more about Mary Southerland here, and Gwen Smith here.

My Review:

When I read this book through about a month ago, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. Recently, I have seen quotes on my Facebook newsfeed from various friends who had been reading it, and they always seemed to be read just at the right time in my life when I needed to do so. After a week of seeing these quotes, I knew I had to read Trusting God! And I am so glad I did.

The book is set up in short devotional style readings over a 12 week period, making it quick to read right through in a sitting, but also it includes personal reflection questions and journal entry page. This is ideal for individual study but also perfect for a book study or small group study time.

Each chapter will meet you right where you are, and will speak to each reader what they need to hear. For me, it was an ideal read because I was struggling (and of course, still do) with completely giving all control of my life to God! I was reminded repeatedly through Trusting God that I need to let go and let God. This has been a theme that I have been reminded of several times already this year. So clearly a lesson I am still learning, and likely will always struggle with as my humanness tries to do things my way versus God's. I was reminded by the authors that He will never steer me wrong and that there is purpose in everything, even when we don't understand! I might change, and my circumstances will, but this book totally reminded me that God never changes! I enjoyed this book so much, that I am going to be purchasing a physical hard copy of the book so I can mark it, underlined it and interact with it even more than I did with the electronic copy! It is also a book that I highly recommend for those who work in Women's Ministry or lead small group studies.

The authors write with conversational styles so I felt like I was sitting and having coffee with them! There was an abundance of humor and adventure, and with each page read I was more inspired and challenged then pages before. I loved that it is scripturally sound and loaded with tons of personal stories as well. 

 As I read the authors websites to learn more about them, I was encouraged by the Girlfriends In God site, so I recommend checking it out here. It is my prayer that it, and this book will encourage and inspire you as your journey in your walk with God!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!


BUY IT: You can purchase Trusting God online here, or from your favorite local bookseller, from Waterbrook Multnomah

***I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging For Books Program, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***


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