So here they are: the four books I got last week. These books I have looked at with longing but have held off on reading them till I finished my library books that have to be returned. I'm about to pounce on them now. And this is why.
Book 1: Donkeys Still Talk by Virelle Kidder. This author is actually from my part of New York State. She also was one of the first speakers at a Woman's Retreat that I am going to be speaking at soon. Interesting that I found this book. The Sub Title: Hearing God's Voice When You're Not Listening. My immediate response is to tell God, But I am listening to You, Lord. I am. I'm asking You to direct me continually. God ignores my protests and basically puts this book in my hands as a reinforcement of the lesson that listening is not telling God that you are listening. Listening involves silence. It involves reflection. It involves faith that you will hear a response from God. "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us..."(1 John 5:14). God listens to us. We need to learn to listen to Him. It isn't a matter of wanting to listen. It's a case of being able to listen well and listen good. As one of my favorite preachers is always saying, "Listen! Now listen! ( Listen to Charles Stanley preach and you'll hear this.)
Book 2: Live Like you're Blessed by Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook. Just the title alone has already moved me, has prompted me to remember anew how blessed I am. The truth of the title is echoed throughout Scripture: we've been blessed with every imaginable blessing by a God who loves to meet our need, a God who secured our future, covered our past with His blood, and made our today a vibrant possibility. I can't wait to read this book.
Book 3: Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore. I've only read two of her books yet I know so many that love her writing and her speaking. But this particular book is intended for me, I know, because of the strong desire she has to get the message of God's power out to those who need to hear it. I feel this same desire, this same mandate to proclaim God's liberating power even as I walk in it myself. "Having a firm place to stand doesn't mean life isn't hard and temptations don't come....It just means you've determined your position no matter what comes your way," Beth Moore writes.
Book 4: The Business of Bliss by the Editors of Victoria Magazine. This is an older book (1999), but it is so dear to me that I found this book among the heaps of books in the corner. This is the book that I had wanted to buy, years ago. I used to get Victoria Magazine, and I loved it- I lived in the pages of beauty and elegance and dreamy scenes of tea time and friendships and English gardens. My physical living environment at that time was not that way at all. It was cramped, it was limited and I struggled with despair over ever having a sanctuary of beauty and peace to come home to. When I read about this book, in the pages of the magazine, I saw these women living out their dreams by having quaint gift shops, or bed and breakfasts, or they were running a business where they crafted something that was so an extension of themselves that they lived with...bliss. The writer of Ecclesiastes writes over and over about eating the fruit of the labor of your hands, about working and seeing the results of your labor. I'm convinced God wants us to be fruitful, effective, and to use the gifts He gave us. But many of us get delayed or sidetracked or off the track completely. It's time to profit and do well even as we work hard and work effectively. This is a gift from God.
So there you have it: the bounty of books I came home with. But it wasn't just the books I had in my arms,it was the message from God in my heart: Lauren, I see you and I know you. I know what makes your heart sing. And I know how you want to help others run in the path of My Commands because I have set their hearts free. I'm with you.
And if God is with us, for us, and helping us, we are blessed indeed. The books are just an added confirmation of how God will speak to us, equip us, get His message to us. He can use almost anything to meet us where we are at. Never underestimate the creative power of a God who designed the spectacular heavens yet desires to get involved with our life here on earth. He's got something in mind for you and me. It's beyond comprehension how good it can be.