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Book Review #5: Red Sea Rules

redsearulesHave you ever wondered what it must have been like to be the children of Israel facing the Red Sea? Think about it….

You have just watched God bring an entire country to its knees. Though you were slaves and conditions were far from optimal, it was still the place your family had called home for nearly 400 years! Now, you have had to pack up your families, your belongings, your animals – everything that you could carry with you – and follow a shepherd into the desert. You don’t know exactly where you are going or how long it’s going to take you to get there, but you know that you must follow! You are thrilled to finally be free from the clutches of a dictator who valued you only because of what you did for him; yet you are unsure of the path ahead. Immediately before you is the Red Sea. As if the water in front of you were not troubling enough, in the distance beyond you there are mountains. In the trail behind you, there is a cloud of dust beginning to rise. It is not long before word spreads that Pharaoh is coming for you! He’s angry at you, at your leader, at your God, and he wants revenge! You begin to feel an all-to-familiar knot forming in the pit of your stomach! Now what?

Do you know that feeling? I do! If you are a living, breathing human being, you will, at some point in this life, come to place where you do not know what to do. Beyond you, there will be mountains. Before you, there may be deep waters. Behind you, there are opposing forces. What do you do when you don’t see any way to escape?

In The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-given Strategies for Difficult Times, Robert Morgan reminds any Christian facing difficulties that God has a proven track record! He worked miracle after miracle for the children of Israel just to get them out of Egypt and to the Red Sea. That was not the end of their story; it was only the beginning! By applying the following ten strategies to our lives during times of difficulty, we can witness the miraculous power of the same God who led His people through deep water on DRY ground:

  1. Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
  2. Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.
  3. Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.
  4. Pray!
  5. Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.
  6. When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
  7. Envision God’s enveloping presence.
  8. Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.
  9. View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.
  10. Don’t forget to praise Him.

I could elaborate on each of these principles with specific examples from my own personal life, but that would defeat the purpose of encouraging you to read the book for yourself and apply it to your life! No matter what impossible situation or circumstance you may be currently facing, there is a God who sees your tears, hears your prayers, and stands ready to lead you through deep water! Follow Him! This could be just the beginning of your story!

The hardback copy of this book is available for $8.99 from www.amazon.com. You may also purchase the paperback or Kindle editions here. If purchasing is not an option for you, check with your local library. This is the resource I used when a friend recommended the book to me!

**As noted in a previous post, in the interest of complete honesty for those who may want to know ahead of time, not all of the verses quoted in the text are from the KJV.

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Book Review #3: Off Script

 Well, hello there! It has been well over a year since I have written anything on my blog. There have been plenty of events in the Ross household that may warrant future blog posts – like the birth of our precious Sarah Noel seven months ago or the unexpected job offer from a friend at church that my husband accepted two months ago. With six growing children ranging in age from baby to sophomore in high school and increasing involvement at church and school, I have spent lots of time thinking about this blog, but not much time actually writing! Here’s hoping this will not be the last post for another 15 months!

To be honest, this book review has been in the works for almost eighteen months. Along with the normal activities of life, there is a lot of soul-searching, thinking, and praying that goes on when your plans and dreams for ministry come to a crashing halt! This is just one of the reasons that I believe reading good, Bible based material is so very important. Though it can be temporarily encouraging to read from motivational speakers who tell you that God has a great (i.e., successful, prosperous) life planned for you or that you can guarantee said successful and prosperous life simply by having a positive outlook, those philosophies are not at all Scriptural. In fact, they are the very opposite of sound Biblical teaching. The Bible is overflowing with stories of men and women who were not, by the world’s standards, successful or prosperous; whose lives were filled with great pain, misfortune, and suffering; and whose only hope was that God could see what they were experiencing and would work it together for their good. (In fact, one of the items on my “bucket list” is writing a book about some of those people and the example they left for us as they waited – sometimes for years – for God to bring closure to their stories of pain, loss, suffering, testing, trial, etc.) Sound reading material is vital to Christian growth and even more necessary for those who wish to lead other Christians!

It’s been so long since I first read “Off Script” that I decided to go back and read it again before writing my review. Honestly, I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Though his circumstances differed greatly from ours, I appreciated Pastor Schmidt’s openness and honesty about his struggles physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was blessed to read about his victories and was thrilled to see on his Facebook page recently that he has been given the “all clear” and has been discharged from the care of his oncologist! Knowing that God has brought him through his season of trial and has done miraculous things for him in the process (in both his personal life and ministry) has been a source of encouragement to me!

In a style that addresses serious topics and issues with both honesty and humor, Pastor Schmidt outlines the following ten principles to implement when facing times in life that expectations do not match reality:

  • Love God, Trust God, Live for God
  • Be of Good Cheer
  • Be the Clay
  • Cherish the Treasures of Darkness
  • Walk in the Spirit
  • Wait for Him, Hope in Him
  • Try Your Ways
  • Be Strong and Work
  • Love Your Own
  • Strive Together for the Faith

Your season of trial may occur in health, relationships, ministry, finances, or any number of other areas in life. The above principles, if implemented, will strengthen your faith as you face the unknown with confidence in an all-knowing God and broaden your influence as others learn from your faith-based, Spirit-led responses to the difficulties life brings.  Whether you are currently entering, enduring, or ending a stormy time in life, it is vital that you fill your heart and mind with Scripturally sound literature that will encourage you to daily place your trust in the God who knows and sees all! “Off Script” is one example of the kind of reading material every Christian should include in his library. It can be purchased for $14.95 from www.strivingtogether.com. Pastor Schmidt has more books and other helpful resources available at www.caryschmidt.com.