Kirkus Indie Book Review

Check out the book review done by Kirkus Indie. I am truly humbled by what professional reviewers have to say about my writing. Again, I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

http://www.barbaraafbrehon.com/kirkus-reviews-beyond-discipleship-to-relationship/

KIRKUS REVIEWS: Beyond Discipleship to Relationship

TITLE INFORMATION

BEYOND DISCIPLESHIP TO RELATIONSHIP

Brehon, Barbara A. F.

Westbow Press (144 pp.)

$28.95 hardcover, $11.95 paperback, $3.99 e-book

ISBN: 978-1490829685; March 20, 2014

BOOK REVIEW

From author Brehon (Reach Me with SMILES, 2014) comes a guide for developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and helping others do the same.

How does one go from accepting Jesus Christ as savior to having a more intimate relationship with the son of God?

“Jesus must be more than a casual acquaintance,” Brehon says, as she lays out a plan aimed at both new and old believers both. In brief chapters that conclude with points for personal reflection—e.g., “How can you use your worst situation in service to the Lord?”—a plan is laid not only for individual spiritual growth, but with a nod toward helping develop it in others. Small groups, ideally with three members, are most effective for fostering Christian development, Brehon says, and the book includes forms that can be distributed to elicit feedback from group members. “When others see the presence of Christ in another person’s life that they know, they are more likely to want the same transformation in their own lives,” she writes, so trust in prayer, lead by example and accept regular feedback. Brief and never far from the point, the easy-to-follow book is peppered with biblical references and ideas stressing the importance of trusting the Almighty. The overall feeling is a heartfelt one, whether the topic is personal welfare—“You must take an all-inclusive approach to caring for yourself and maintain your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to be the most effective instrument possible”—or what to do once the church has agreed to small group meetings: “Locate partners who will hold you accountable for who you say you are.” For readers open to the idea, they’ll find plenty of inspiration in this slim, practical guide.

Useful advice for Christians seeking to develop their own personal relationships with Christ while encouraging others to do the same.

Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744

indie@kirkusreviews.com

And so we grow … grow in grace, which is God’s special favor. www.barbaraafbrehon.com

… and so we grow… grow in grace, which is God’s special favor…

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INTEGRITY

Get a Grip

I believe in a person holding themselves accountable. In moving toward more accountability, we must recognize that we are responsible to God for what we do and what we neglect. Some do not share my faith stance, however, the majority of people do believe there is a power greater than self. Whether we are wasteful and dishonest or frugal and truthful, we are responsible for our actions. Whatever we do eventually catches up with us.

Get a grip on who God is in your life, and keep that footing firm because false teachers will try to fool you. Have you ever grabbed on to something? Getting a grip on an object is different from holding it or having it. To hold on to God, you need balance.

A balance scale has a beam in the center with two pans suspended at opposite sides. You put objects on both sides to judge any difference in weight. You add or take away from one side to create balance. Weights are imprinted with their amounts. You use the weight that you judge to most closely fit what you are measuring. As a Christian, you are imprinted with Christ. Is your imprint accurate? If you were a little shady, you would use a mislabeled weight. The weight might say five pounds when you know it’s only four. A false balance does not delight God, and 2 Thessalonians 2:12 warns that those who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness will be condemned.

The spiritual weights we use must be accurately marked. Proverbs 16:11 helps us see that honest scales and balances are from the Lord. Anything we use is from God, therefore all the weights in the bag are of his making. But how do you get a grip on God and keep it? You must maintain your integrity.

We must weigh our own thoughts and actions; that’s integrity. Weigh them so that we stay focused on pleasing the Lord rather than having to make corrections or apologize later. Be aware of the balance between God and yourself. Are you measuring up to his standard? You certainly cannot measure him against yourself. It’s you who must measure up. Balanced against the blessings God has given you, how do you measure up? You will find God’s favor if you give him credit and maintain an intimate relationship with him. Evaluate what is in your bag of weights and measures.

You must always have integrity. That’s honesty, uprightness, and reliability. A just weight can be depended on for accuracy. You must also keep a just balance. You must possess poise and stability. Your equilibrium must be centered with Christ as your balance beam. Remember your teachings. Walk with integrity. “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). When you call yourself a Christian, family, friends, and coworkers are watching to see how you measure up.

Don’t pretend to be something you are not. Your relationship with the Lord is what it is. You should not overemphasize loving the Lord to the point of being phony either. The ones closest to you discern your sincerity. Proverbs 20:23 says, “The Lord detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him.” You must rely on a steady standard: the Bible, with its account of the life of Christ. To use any other standard is disgusting to God. Have you ever been disgusted? Would you want God to feel that way about you? Do what you must to bring him delight. Don’t delight in wickedness. Get a grip on God, then keep that grip.

Taken from pages 35-36, “Get a Grip,” Beyond Discipleship to Relationship, B. A. F. Brehon, Westbow Press, 2014.

And so we grow … grow in grace, which is God’s special favor. www.barbaraafbrehon.com

FREEDOM

Morning Musings from Reading John 8:32-36

Freedom is living independently of pressure and stress. That may mean something different to everybody, common words conjure different perceptions. For me freedom was found after giving myself permission to be released from other people’s mess. I had to make myself understand that I am not responsible for the choices others make and I should not try to fix them. I know that’s God’s job. While sitting in the middle of a mess, I gradually let go of my opinions, judgments, feelings, and points of view and replaced them with asking God for his perfect will to be done. Then, I was released from mental bondage.

Instead of trying to figure out what to do or say about…, instead of rehearsing the scenarios by repeating them, always talking and thinking about them, I finally began to cut my thoughts off and replace those thoughts with, “Nevertheless, not my will, but your will, dear Lord.” Oh, the freedom of choice. I choose to not go back to the way I used to be. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:34-36) There was a time I would have cared about being too transparent. I am not enslaved to that any longer. That caused unnecessary, self-imposed pressure and stress and led to a heart attack (2011) in a particular situation. My condition caused my perception to change. Maybe my exposure will be helpful to somebody since it no longer hinders me. If at least one person grows from my musings, then my sharing how I am growing isn’t in vain.

You are a servant to what you do. You are enslaved by your choices or refusal to make choices. You could be the servant of, or enslaved by, your refusal to change. That could be on your job, in your family, or in other parts of your personal life. Your mind set is your true manipulator, either you take charge of it or you give it away to someone else. To whom do you choose to give it?

Your position in any relationship is due in part to your state of mind. If you believe there needs to be a change, it starts with you. Don’t try to manipulate the others, work on you. You’re tired of the pressure manipulation puts on you, so don’t reverse it. Eliminate it by contrasting the “you” that you are and the “you” that you want to become. Practice being the way you want to become. It starts with self-image. You don’t have to be enslaved to the “you” of your past.

A person working for you can leave or be terminated. (John 8:35) A member of your family will always be a member of your family. So the employee and the family member don’t really hold the same position, except in your state of mind. You can choose to terminate the old way of doing and being so that what remains is the “you” you were created to be. Your position in your spiritual house either has stability or it doesn’t. Your position in your own spiritual house either has tenure or it can be cast out at any moment. Find your place in the family (whatever relationship that is for you) by looking inside yourself. What banner will you wave permanently to represent your mental condition and position in this world?

If you want to be in the condition of freedom, then you need to be released from whatever keeps you in bondage. The word “if” indicates a condition. The condition of freedom is powerful. Your bonds and someone else’s are not necessarily the same. Whatever keeps you entangled mentally enslaves you to it. You need to be released from that to experience mental freedom. When you do that, you will be free indeed. This spiritual freedom may be beyond your experiences thus far, or beyond the concept that others have of you.

The concept of freedom must begin in you. You have to choose daily how you live. You can be in the middle of a mess but not enslaved to being a part of that mess. You could be the change agent that causes a shift simply by maintaining control of your choice to wave the banner that proclaims freedom and remain free in your state of mind. It’s not permanent. Minds change all the time. Wherever anybody is has to be different from when they were born, things do change. You don’t have to stay in the mess; mentally relocate. I’m not saying leave your relationship, quit the job, or move out. I’m saying look at the role you play in perpetuating the position you’re in. Relocate your thoughts and begin to redefine you.

What’s in your heart? What gets to you like nothing else can? Choose to stop letting it by replacing it with a specific thought, another thought specifically conjured up when that condition or situation appears again. Conquer it, before it conquers you. You deserve to be free of mental bondage or manipulation, bullying. Being bullied is not just something among school-aged children; that trait follow us into adulthood. Seek spiritual freedom that starts with your self-perceptions. Now that’s Independence Day!

John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you FREE.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set FREE?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you FREE, you will be FREE indeed.

And so we grow … grow in grace, which is God’s special favor. www.barbaraafbrehon.com