Category Inspirational

Being Mortal

Product DetailsBeing Mortal(Unabridged)
by Atul Gawande
Macmillan Audio
Retail Price $14.95
Amazon Price: $14.95

Book Description: 

In Being Mortal, best-selling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: How medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Review

Wow.  This book was enlightening.  I have aging parents and have a deep interest in the topic of elder care.  I want to make sure my parents are comfortable in their old age.  I want to repay them for all they have done me as their child by making sure they die with the greatest amount of dignity possible.  This audiobook was quite an eye opener for me about what really goes on in nursing facilities and other long term care facilities and how modern medicine sometimes fail those who need it most.  The author doesn’t spend time pointing fingers, he just lays out the truth for us to see, ponder, and then apply what we can to our own lives.  His words are honest, but sometimes hard to bear, but they spur us on to help give quality of life to those we love who are aging or suffering from terminal illness, helping them to end their stories on their own terms.   While I wouldn’t say this book is uplifting, I did find it comforting as it inspired me to do right by my parents.

~Reviewed by Pat C.

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    The Brainy Bunch

    The Brainy Bunch
    By Mona Lisa Harding and Kip Harding
    Gallery
    Retail Price $21.99
    Amazon Price: $16.65

    Book Description: 

    Having six out of ten kids go to college is no small feat on its own, but having six kids in college by the age of twelve— that’s nothing short of incredible. Meet Kip and Mona Lisa Harding, high school sweethearts whose simple homeschooling method produced exactly those extraordinary results. Kip and Mona Lisa are parents to an engineer (who earned her BS in mathematics at 17), an architect (who finished her five-year program at 18 and became the youngest member of the American Institute of Architects), a Navy physician (who earned her biology degree at 17), an entrepreneur (who earned a BA in English at 15 and an MS in computer science at 17), a 15-year-old college senior studying music theory and performance, a 12-year-old Middle Ages scholar with the highest average in his college class, and four others who are following fast in their siblings’ footsteps! No wonder the family is so used to being asked: How did you do it?

    The Hardings are the first to say they’re not geniuses. Nor do they run a strict, high-pressure household. Instead, they find out early what really motivates their children, instill their kids with dreams, and allow those dreams to blossom. In a remarkable, down-to-earth narrative that is part captivating memoir, part invaluable guidebook for parents, Kip and Mona Lisa reveal with warmth and humility the strategies behind their family’s amazing educational accomplishments. Filled with daily regimens, advice for providing children with fulfilling experiences that go beyond the home, and tips for making the transition to college, theirs is an inspirational real-life success story that anyone can achieve—whether you homeschool your children or not.

    The Brainy Bunch is uplifting and ultimately relatable proof of what any family can accomplish through dedication, love, faith, and hard work.

    Review

     

    I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it for those who want their children to succeed academically, whether at public school, private school, or home school. Think of it as a cafeteria style meal as you read. You may not agree with or would be willing to try every tip, but you will find something new you will be interested in implementing. The Hardings’ story is very much one of putting love and family first. They are not pushing their children to overachieve, but they are helping them to find their own unique potential by using different approaches to learning and teaching that fit each child. Not everything in it will fit your situation, but you will certainly find enough to glean to use in your own family. This both an easy and enlightening read.

    ~Reviewed by Liz S.

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      Amy

        “For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
      so great is his love for those who fear him”

      Psalm 103:11 (NIV)

       

      I have a friend named Amy. The first time I ever saw her, she was sitting on the top bunk in the dorm room across the hall from mine. She looked confident and smart and had a beautiful smile. Somehow, I knew we were going to be good friends.

      Amy was my room-mate during our fun-filled years at college. She stood up for me as my matron-of-honor when I married my husband. And years later, she was there for me when I found out I had breast cancer.

      What are you supposed to do when your friend has breast cancer? The only thing you can do. You love her. That is exactly what Amy did.

      One of the many ways Amy showed her love to me was by giving me a writing journal. The cover was made of brown leather and it was dotted with happy pink and yellow flowers. I loved it. You know how most people like to do fun things like riding roller coasters, traveling, or playing baseball? Well, Amy knew that what I enjoyed the most was writing. And I really wanted to write in that journal. But I couldn’t. It seemed that cancer had taken away from me the one thing that I enjoyed most – writing.

      Sometime later, I opened the journal and casually flipped through the first few pages. I was surprised to see that Amy had already written on them for me. She had copied down Bible verses. They were verses about courage and hope and comfort and love. I wondered if maybe this was something I could do.

      In the next few days and weeks and months, I continued what Amy had started. In that journal I wrote down all the Bible verses and passages that had special meaning to me as I struggled to survive cancer. Some of these verses I discovered on my own. Some of these verses were ones that other people had shared with me. I didn’t just write down the references. I wrote out the whole verse and even entire passages, word for word. There was something about seeing those words of God in my own hand-writing that made the message more meaningful to me. I could have simply highlighted all of those verses in my Bible. However, many times I felt too overwhelmed to page through the Bible in search of God’s words of comfort and strength. I needed those words to find me. Amy’s journal provided that for me in ways far beyond what she probably ever imagined.

      Every once in awhile, I still browse through the pages of that journal. Those Bible verses remind me that God is faithful, His promises are true, and that His great love for us reaches as high as the heavens.

      Not even cancer can ever take that away.

       

      Jill Nogales is the author of Mammograms, Mastectomies, and a Spiritual Makeover (Jebaire Publishing). As a four-year survivor, she writes a blog on life after breast cancer called A New Shade of Pink. You are welcome to visit her website at www.anewshadeofpink.wordpress.com.

       

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        Tearing My Robe

        I ended it. Part of me didn’t want to cut all ties to the friendship. Another part of me knew I’d been causing myself more harm than good for the past two years. It was unhealthy. My heart ached, and many nights I cried myself to sleep. I knew I needed to take the time to grieve this loss in its entirety, but I was tired of crying. I wanted things to go back to “normal,” but I also wanted to move on – pretend it hadn’t happened and go merrily on my way. I was a big girl, and I was okay.

         Deep down, I knew I wasn’t okay. I wept daily during my vacation, sometimes numerous times throughout the day. My insides were spent. I felt like a hollowed-out pumpkin – until I started work again. Drowning myself in work made me feel much better. My successes at work diluted the pain in my personal life, and I didn’t have to think about it. I could just move on – or so I thought.

         Job knew better. Upon hearing of the death of his ten children, “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20, NIV). Using Job’s example, I’m learning how to deal with loss of any kind in my own life (see sidebar, “Loss is a Part of Life”).

         Tear Off My Robe

        Job stopped what he was doing to grieve. As a man of rank and wealth, he had a persona to maintain and roles to fill. But none of that mattered at that moment. He tore off the very symbol of his many roles – his robe. He was no longer a patriarch, a man of wealth, a husband, a father. He shed that entire exterior to unveil a man of sorrow. The roles could not replace his loss. Other people’s expectations of him would need to take a back seat to the sorrow that engulfed his very being.

        When I experience loss, I remind myself to put aside my many roles and to be deliberate about attending to the wealth of emotions within me. For the moment, I am not a wife, a mother, a business woman, or a ministry leader. I am a child of God in need of releasing my pain. Everything else is secondary.

        Shave My Head

        Job wasn’t afraid to let others know he was grieving. He could have put on another robe and continued with his duties. He could have masked his true feelings. But he didn’t. Instead, he deliberately shaved his head, signaling to those around him that he would be grieving for awhile. No pat answers. No “I’m fine” or “I’m okay.” The shaved head would not lie.

         As I move through my grief, I’m reminding myself that I should not hide my true feelings. I can continue with my roles – even on a limited basis. But I need to be honest with myself – and others. I’m still working through my pain.

         Release My Feelings

        Finally, I’m learning that relief comes only when I release my true feelings. Job emptied himself of his initial pain. Then he fell to the ground in worship. But first he grieved. After I have myself a good cry, I try to thank God for the relief that comes only through releasing those feelings to him. He fills me with praise as I empty myself of all the pain within me.

        By tearing his robe and shaving his head, Job began what would be a very long process of grieving his loss. We don’t know how long Job mourned because times of mourning varied in Biblical times. But we do know that Job continued to grieve. Deliberately. Honestly. Alone and among friends.

         I myself have been grieving for some time now, and I thank God for the moments of relief in the midst of my pain. Whenever I feel the familiar sorrow well up even the slightest bit within me, I remember Job. I need not tear my robe or shave my head literally, but I’ve started my own traditions when I experience loss of any kind. I write in my journal. Walk a nearby lake. Gaze at nature. Sometimes I lay on the floor with my pup and let her love on me while I shed some tears. Regardless, I tell God how I feel. Once I’ve emptied myself, I find that I too can worship God in the midst of my pain.

         Time alone won’t heal my wounds. But emptying myself of the pain is paving the way for my complete healing. And more and more, I’m finding myself falling to the ground in worship.


        Bio: Daphne Eilein Landers is a freelance writer and marketing and consumer researcher who lives in Lakeland, Florida. Through her writings, Daphne invites readers on a journey into her life – her joys and her pains, so that they emerge a changed person by the power of God’s Word. Encouraged. Inspired. Free to be who God made them to be. Contact Daphne at dlanders7@tampabay.rr.com.

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          Can God Speak Through Me

          Today’s Truth

          “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughter will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-19).

          Friend to Friends

          Do you believe that God can speak through you? One of the main reasons that God spoke in the Bible was so that the men or women would in turn speak that message to someone else. God promised David, “Open your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). He promised a very reluctant Moses, “Now go. I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12). “You will be my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,” Jesus told the disciples (Acts 1:8). “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughter will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-19). More and more I see God raising up women who are teaching God’s Word and speaking the truth of the gospel through various venues.

          Perhaps you are thinking, but would God speak through me? Yes, dear one. If you are a woman who listens to God, He will use you to speak to others. He doesn’t pick the superstars. God chooses the ordinary men and women to change to world. He chose an ordinary shepherd (David) to be a King, an orphaned Jewess (Esther) to save a race from extinction, an exiled adopted prince (Moses) to lead the Israelites out of bondage, a Moabite young widow (Ruth) to further the bloodline of the Savior, a coward hiding in a winepress (Gideon) to lead the Israelite army, a Samaritan woman of ill repute (the woman at the well) to bring an entire village to Christ, uneducated fishermen (James and Peter) to spread the gospel, a seamstress and dealer of purple linens (Lydia) to begin the church at Ephesus, and a tent maker (Priscilla) to explain the gospel to a preacher. These were very ordinary people who listened to and obeyed a very extraordinary God.

          Believers in Christ are called His “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador is a person who represents someone else. We represent Christ to the world, and we do so by the words we speak. He may speak to you through other people – and He may use you to speak to someone as well. I know of no better way to speak God’s words to others than by giving them the gift of encouragement, prayer, and loving praise.

          Oh the power of a woman’s words. We must be so careful with the words that we speak. As James said, our words, like a tiny spark, have the power to set an entire forest on fire and change the course of a life. God will speak through us if we yield our words to Him.

          I cry out with David, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

          Let’s Pray

          Dear Lord, Sometimes I think that You just speak through other people. But Your word says that I am an ambassador for Christ. Therefore, I am a spokeswoman, whether I realize it or not. I pray that I will represent You well as You speak through me and to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

          In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


          Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of ten
          books including Becoming the Woman of His Dreams and Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. For information about Sharon’s books or speaking topics, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.

           

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            When God Says No

            Today’s Truth
            “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NASB).

            Friend to Friend
            Like any good parent, God’s answers to our requests are not always “Yes.” When God says “no,” we must accept the fact that Father knows best.

            In my own life, my desire was to have three or four children. I conceived my first child with no problem. Little did I know at the time that Steven would be my only child. For years, my husband and I prayed for more children. We traveled down the road of infertility doctors, diagnostic procedures, and timed intimacy which is anything but intimate. As hard as it was for me to accept, God said “no.”

            Do I understand God’s decision completely? No, I do not. But I’ve come to realize that He doesn’t owe me an explanation. God is God. He does what He pleases and I must trust Him. When we can’t see His hand, we must trust His heart. I have come to the same conclusion as David, the psalmist, “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard; that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving” (Psalm 62: 11, 12). God is strong – He can do anything. God is loving – He will always do what is in our best interest.

            Have you ever considered that God said no to His own Son, Jesus? Just before his arrest, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me” (Matthew 26:39). And yet, God said no. Jesus went to the cross. God knew it was the only way. He loves you and me that much.

            We can be assured that if God does say “no” to our requests, it is for the same reason – he loves you and me that much.

            Let’s Pray
            Dear Lord, I am so glad that you have not answered every request “yes.” When I think about what my life would be like if You had given me everything I had ever asked for… Oh, my. Thank you for loving me enough to say no. Thank you for answering each and every prayer with Your infinite wisdom. I trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

            Now it’s Your Turn
            Make a list of some prayer requests that you are glad God said “No” to. Are there some prayer requests that God has said “no” to that you don’t understand?

            Are you willing to trust God that He knows best?

            *All Scripture references are from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

            Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of ten books including Being a Great Mom-Raising Great Kids, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, and Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. For information about Sharon’s books or speaking topics, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.
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              Becoming Real

              My seven-year-old daughter sat in my grandmother’s lap, moving her finger along the folds of Grandma’s face.“Those are my wrinkles,” her great-grandmother said. “They mean I’m getting old.”

              Later, Ann asked me if wrinkles hurt and I pulled Margery Williams’ classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, from the shelf and read it to her.

              It’s the story of a new toy rabbit that came to live in a little boy’s nursery.  More than anything, the rabbit yearned to know the secret of becoming “real.”  One day he asked Skin Horse, who was so old his brown coat was rubbing off, how to become real.  “Real isn’t how you’re made,” he told the rabbit.  “It’s a think that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time…then you become Real.”  The rabbit then asked, “Does it hurt?”

              “Sometimes,” he answered. “Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

              “You see, Ann, Grandma is just getting ‘real.’  That’s all.”

              Ann bounded off, but I was left to consider for the first time that growing old could be a wondrous passage.  The markings of it didn’t matter, except to those who didn’t understand.  What mattered was becoming “real.”  What mattered was loving and being loved for a long, long time.


              This story is an excerpt from First Light: The Early Inspirationally Writings of Sue Monk Kidd, published by GuidePosts Books.  You can purchase this book for $19.95 with FREE Shipping at PC Publications or you can see the review of this book at Book Bargains and Previews.

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                The Choice

                “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father….” Matthew 13:43a       

                As I descended the gray, cobblestone steps after evening church, the sky was a kaleidoscope of crimson clouds against the dark, blue mountains. I couldn’t speak, as I stood in awe at God’s final amen to the day.

                After a few minutes a southerly gust of wind rustled newly fallen autumn leaves at my feet. As the wind picked up, I turned from the sunset to see a fast moving storm full of large, dark, ominous clouds coming from the opposite direction. Even though the sky was darkening, the sun seemed to pause with its lingering rays brushing palettes of color over the last patches of blue on the clouds and the fringed tips of the hills before fading behind the mountains.

                There was such a contrast between this beautiful finale and the approaching, threatening turbulence. I couldn’t help but wonder, what will my last ‘Pause’ in life be like? A sunset or a storm?

                In many ways our life coincides with the rising and the setting of the sun. It begins with sunrise, the birth of a new day full of hope and promise bursting with life. As this orb in the sky climbs and reaches for its highest point, we too, ascend to the pinnacle of our careers and experiences. Gradually, as the daylight fades, our ebbing life declines like a receding tide having touched its highest point on shore. At eventide, the hues of our lives deepen and change from the brilliant yellow whites to the crimson oranges, rusts and the deep velvet blues.

                The sun has been shining, but at the close of day it displays its magnificent beams of light to create glimmering prisms in the sky before piercing the last fragments of blue left in the horizon. With life, before the last flicker of existence that began this journey is extinguished, there is a Pause; the laurels of earlier times remembered and cherished while embracing the lingering moments with rays of joy.

                Will our declining days be brilliant as the sunset? Will we savor the best until the last? Is our life’s experiences culminating into one glorious orchestra of color in tranquil shades bringing peace, quiet and joy to others still finishing their journey? Or, is the final stage exhibiting qualities like the approaching storm with black, billowing clouds full of unrest, thunder and harshness – a storm people are anxious to see leave and move on?

                The sun is set now. But I’m still here in my journey. I have time to choose the direction my life will take: a spectacular sunset taking one’s breath away making a statement, or an unwelcome storm embittered and alone. I’m glad there is a choice.

                Dear Heavenly Father,  Sometimes it is hard not to be a storm. But, Lord, with Your help and remembering in all things You are in charge, may my ‘Pause’ in life be to others a radiant sunset; a witness to Your love and not a stumbling block as a foreboding storm.

                In Jesus Name, Amen.

                MY MOMENTS

                Are you where you want to be in your ‘Pause’ in life? Journal any changes you would like to make, giving them to the Lord. This week simply watch the sunsets. From your heart record how each one speaks to you. Is there one you will remember over all the rest? Why? Rest in these peaceful moments alone with God.

                Sharon L. Reidenbach is a writer of devotionals and children’s stories. This devotion is from her book, Nature’s Healing Voice – A Fifty-Two Week Devotional and Journal, due to be published late in the fall of 2007. She is a former English teacher and a grandmother of four. Reidenbach lives in Spokane, Washington  with her husband.

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                  Shattered Dreams

                  Key Verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

                  Devotion:

                  Have you ever had a shattered dream? If so, you’re not alone.

                  If ever there was a group of people who lost their dream, it was Jesus’ disciples and the women who ministered to and with them. They had such high expectations that Jesus would be the next political leader to Israel (Luke 24:20). They had witnessed his power in feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with two loaves and five fishes, they felt the waves beneath their tiny boat subside at his command, they had watched him breath life into a lifeless child, open the eyes of a man blind from birth, create new skin from rotting flesh on the limbs of lepers, and command a lame man to take up his pallet and walk. They had seen him walk on water, outwit the Pharisees, and win the lost.

                  In their narrow scope of hopes for a political leader, they missed the bigger picture of God’s plan for a Savior to free mankind from the bondage of sin. While Peter realized Jesus’ identity (“You are the Christ.”), he did not understand His destiny. Peter was shocked when Jesus explained that He had to go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed and on the third day rise from the dead. He even took Jesus aside and said, “Never, Lord. This shall never happen to you!” (Mark 8:33). This was not part of Peter’s dream. Suffering did not fit into his plan.

                  “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

                  Call me stupid, but don’t call me Satan. Yet, that is how Jesus sees it when we try to block God’s plans. He sees us as an instrument of darkness, an offense, a hindrance and a snare. It is amazing that one minute Peter could be a building block and the next a stumbling block. But that’s the trap we all fall into when we have our minds set on the world instead of on the things of God.

                  Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life, will lose it, but whoever lose his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24).

                  Even though Jesus forewarned the disciples of his death and resurrection, they fled when the soldiers came to arrest him, and hid when they hung him on a cross to die. When Jesus was sealed in the tomb, their hopes and dreams were sealed in the darkness with him.

                  Every day, I receive emails from women who have had their dreams shattered. A husband has an affair, becomes addicted to pornography, abuses the children, or deserts the family. A child gets caught with drugs, becomes pregnant, or dies in a car accident. Parents divorce, friends betray, careers come to an abrupt halt. The list is endless. So what do we do when our dreams are seemingly destroyed? The answer to that will shape the rest of our lives.

                  Does that mean we give up our dreams? I can promise you this, what ever dreams you have for your life, God’s dreams are greater. The power of the Holy Spirit the disciples received after Jesus’ resurrection and the impact they made on the world thereafter, was beyond their wildest dreams. That’s what God does with a heart that is wholly yielded to Him. That’s what He does when we give our shattered dreams to Him. I have learned to stop saying, “Why me?” but instead start saying “What now?”

                  If you have experienced a shattered dream, pray that God’s resurrecting power will reveal His greater plan for your life. He loves to roll away the stones and call forth life from the dark places.

                  Prayer:

                  Dear Lord, there are things about my life that I don’t understand, but I do know this. You are good and You are kind. I thank you that nothing happens in my life that is a surprise to You. You have a greater plan than my small vision can imagine. I pray that You will reveal that larger plan for my life to me. Help me to pay attention to Your promptings and obey Your bidding.

                  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


                  Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of ten books including Becoming the Woman of His Dreams and Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. For information about Sharon’s books or speaking topics, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.

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                    Pride and Brokenness

                    Key Verse: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”
                    (James 4:6 NIV).

                    Devotion:

                    In the Old Testament, there is an interesting account of two kings, two sins, two convictions, and two responses. What makes it interesting is that one king’s sin doesn’t seem so bad, but his kingdom was taken away, and yet the other king, who created a heinous act, is referred to as a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a look at these two stories.

                    King Saul was “elected” the first King of Israel, mainly because he was tall, dark, and handsome. He would have looked great on TV, if there had been such a thing back then. Oh, he didn’t really want to be king at first, he hid when the people began chanting his name. But, he sheepishly accepted the kingship, and God anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Things went pretty well for King Saul at first. He won a few battles, gained respect of his followers, and the booty from the conquered foes mounted up in the castle.

                    As a matter-of-fact, Saul became so confident; he decided being a King wasn’t so hard after all. He didn’t need God nor the prophet Samuel who was appointed over him. After each battle, Saul was supposed to wait for the prophet Samuel to come and offer sacrifices to the LORD. But Saul disobeyed God, and offered the sacrifice himself. The prophet Samuel arrived just as Saul was putting the finishing touches on the sacrifice.

                    “What have you done!” Samuel exclaimed.

                    Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor. So I felt compelled to offer the burn offering” (1 Samuel 13:11-12).

                    Oh, I could quote Saul word for word, but let me sum it up for you. Instead of repenting of his sin and asking for forgiveness, Saul

                    • Defended himself
                    • Justified his actions
                    • Blamed others
                    • Tried to cover up his sin
                    • Acted as though nothing had happened
                    • Was more concerned with looking good to his peers than repenting of his sin
                      (1 Samuel 15:30).

                    What was Saul’s most heinous sin? I don’t think that it was actually assuming the role of prophet and the offering of the sacrifice. I believe that was an outgrowth of his sin. Saul’s sin?was pride. And even though he was “caught” red handed with the blood of the animal sacrifice still on his hands, Saul did not repent of the sin of pride. He was an unrepentant, unbroken man.

                    Author, Nancy Leigh DeMoss said this about pride and brokenness: “Broken men and women don’t care who finds out about their sin; they have nothing to protect and nothing to lose. They are eager for God to be vindicated.”1

                    Now let’s look at the second king, with the second sin, and the second response.

                    King David was Saul successor. While Saul was the people’s choice as king, David was God’s choice. One day, while the rest of the men were at war, King David was lollygagging around the palace. While strolling on the roof, he noticed his next door neighbor bathing on her roof. He saw, he wanted, and he took. David committed adultery with his neighbor’s wife, Bathsheba, and subsequently plotted the murder of her husband to cover it up. Several months later, when David was confronted by the prophet Nathan, he did not try to defend himself, justify his action, blame others, or cover up his sin.

                    David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13).

                    David repented before the LORD, mourned before his people, and penned two beautiful psalms humbling himself before generations yet to come. Yes, he was “a man after God’s own heart.”

                    As we see with these two kings, God is more concerned with the depth of our repentance than the breadth of our sin. As Martin Luther once said, “God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.”

                    Prayer

                    Dear Lord, forgive me of the sin of pride in my life. I admit that I have tried to take things into my own hands, have not waited for your direction, and have thought more highly of myself than I ought. Help me to be more like Jesus, who, “being in the very nature, God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:5,6) Break my pride LORD, as a loving master breaks the stubborn will of a wild mare.

                    In Jesus’ name, Amen.


                    Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of ten books including Becoming the Woman of His Dreams and Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. For information about Sharon’s books or speaking topics, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.

                     

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