MUSIC REVIEW :: The Darker the Night/The Brighter the Morning by Cody Carnes

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE FOUR POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC.
In every month with five Fridays I’m reviewing Christian music that has inspired and touched me. Today’s post is the second Music Review for 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning by Cody Carnes

This album is very important to me! God used it to bring me through an extremely challenging season of my life. Instead of reviewing the entire album as a whole, I’m going to review each song of the album individually and share my favorite lyrics from that song. I have each music video with its review. At the end of the post is the complete YouTube album playlist. I encourage you to take the time to not only listen to each song, but to then set aside time to listen to the entire album in one sitting. I promise, you won’t be sorry!

1. RESURRECTION BLOOD

Powerful testimony song! Reminiscent of the old-time gospel spirituals.

“All my chains went falling when He saved my soul / All my fears went running from the Holy Ghost / Hallelujah all my sins are white as snow /  Now my freedom’s anchored in that crimson flow.”

2. WHAT FREEDOM FEELS LIKE

Fresh lyrics expressive of new found life in Christ. It’s tough to choose only a few lyrics from this song. They are all beautiful.

“I was lost and Your love came to find me. I was blind til You showed me my victory. I was bound and You set me free. Now I’m alive!”

3. ‘TIL THE END OF TIME

Featuring Kari Jobe (Cody’s wife) this song could easily be a crossover couple love song, except at the end where they speak directly about God. Reminiscent of Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. Soul-stirring music and poignant lyrics that combines original poetry and Scripture. These two beautiful people love each other and their God and it shows in this exquisite video! They’re not only singing to each other but to God about their love for eternity. Amazing song. One of my favorites for sure.

“Your waves and Your breakers / Wash over me / Deep calls to deep / In the mystery”

4. THE CROSS HAS THE FINAL WORD

The world we live in is dark and evil may appear to be prevailing. Praise God! This song reminds us that the Cross of Christ has the final word.

“Sorrow may come in the darkest night…Evil may put up its strongest fight… The Savior has come with the morning light  / The cross has the final word”

5. FULL OF FAITH

An awesome confession song to overcome any struggle in your life!

“Your word is a sword from my mouth  /  I’m telling fear it has to go / Your promise is my solid ground / I’m standing strong on anchored hope / This mountain that is rising up in front of me / Will fall into the sea / The God who conquered death for all eternity / Is now my victory”

6. HOLD IT ALL

While not the actual album title song, the title is taken from lyrics in this song. Powerful battle march song! Love the piano.

“You hold it all / The darker the night, the brighter the morning / You’re in control / The graver the fight, the greater Your glory / What can stand against our God / From beginning to the end, / You won’t be shaken Jesus, / You’re my strength and song / My life is in Your hands, You won’t be shaken”

7. ROOMS

Another favorite featuring Kari Jobe… sweet yet mystical love song. My only complaint: I’d like to see them perform this on a video.

“I want to go where I’ve never been / I want to see Your mysteries before my eyes / I want to know the secrets that You know / I want to hear the melodies of Heaven / I’m after the rooms of Your heart / I’m after the rooms of Your heart / I’m after the rooms of Your heart / That are waiting to be found You’re waiting to be found”

8. THROUGH AND THROUGH

Stunning palpable lyrics expressing the presence of God.

“I hear the Heavens here in Your presence / Spirit move through & through / All of the walls down, freedom is here now / Spirit move through & through / Just a moment here in Your love / I wouldn’t trade it for the world / Wouldn’t trade it for the world”

9. WAIT HERE

The perfect song for times of battle fatigue.

“Faithful / Always Faithful / I will look for victory in nothing else but You / I will find my hope and strength in nothing else but You / I will look for victory in nothing else but You / I will put expectancy in nothing else but You”

10. BANNER

A fresh rendition of Psalm 23. The bridge portion! Perfectly Powerful! Another favorite! Can’t get this one loud enough.

“Where You lead me / I will follow I don’t have to be afraid / For You are with me clothed in victory / Bringing honor to Your name / If I’m found in darkest valleys / You’ll be there to set a feast  /At a table filled with laughter / Toasting to Your victory”

11. BREAD AND WINE

I can see using this lovely song at a communion during a Resurrection Sunrise Celebration!

“You’re the bread & wine / The single source of life / Only You satisfy / My everything / The well that won’t run dry / The ever-rising tide / One drop and I’m revived / My everything / All I need, all I need / All I need is You”

12. NOTHING MORE TO SAY

A touching personal song sharing the power of Jesus name to change a life.

“Strength for all the weak / Love for all the least / Hope that’s never failing / Grace for everyone / There’s power in the blood / Freedom for the captives /  Jesus, Jesus / There’s nothing more to say / Jesus, Jesus / I’ll never be the same / Jesus, Jesus”

The Darker the Night/The Brighter the Morning by Cody Carnes is a fresh sound with beautifully expressive and poetic lyrics reminiscent of the book of Psalms or Song of Solomon. It also has great soul-filled gospel that rocks the beats and bass sounds. Powerful testimony songs and sweet worship songs which are true love songs to God like none other. All the music videos are original and very creative to go along with this amazingly fresh creative sound! Thanks Cody Carnes!

Below is the full YouTube album playlist of The Darker the Night/The Brighter the Morning by Cody Carnes. I pray you will set aside some time and listen to the full album from start to finish. Allow this powerful music to touch your soul. Be blessed…

THE DO IT AFRAID BOOK STUDY :: ACCEPTANCE

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE FOUR POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC.
On the fourth Friday of each month in 2021 we’re studying Joyce Meyer’s newest book: Do It Afraid. We’re learning how to understand fear, to recognize how it works in our life and finally how to confront fear. We will learn new mindsets that position us for freedom from our most common fears. Come along and let’s learn something new from Momma Joyce! This is the third post in The Do It Afraid Book Study series.

Freedom from the Fear of Rejection

Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects Him who sent me. ~ Luke 10:16

While we all experience some form of rejection. We will never know the amount of rejection that Jesus experienced. He knew who He was and why He had come to earth to do. Because He kept His eyes on His Father’s love, the rejection of people didn’t change Him.

The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them.~ John 6:37

In the above verse, Jesus tells us that those who come to Him will never be rejected.  We can trust God loves us unconditionally and be delivered from the fear of every being rejected by God for any reason. With confidence in God’s love for us we will be free of the fear of people controlling us or the pain of rejection from others.

“No matter what kinds of fear people face, it all comes from one source, which is the devil. We need to say goodbye to all fear and learn to resist it at its onset. The longer we allow something to remain in our lives, the more deeply rooted it becomes and the harder it is to get rid of.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Many of us have a challenge with our thoughts. Old thought patterns that may go back to our childhood are like recordings rolling over and over in our mind. These negative thoughts keep us in bondage to fear and rejection.

We can reprogram our mind with God’s Word and in just a few minutes everyday change how we think about ourselves. When we declare God’s Word over ourselves with these Scripture-based confessions they will change the image we have of ourselves and help us to see the people and things around us in a new light as well.

Start with these Scripture-based confessions:

I am the apple fo God’s eye. (Psalm 17:8).

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

God rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

I am precious in God’s eyes ( Isaiah 43:4).

I have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

When we see ourselves the way God see us and allow His opinion of us be more important that the opinion of others we will have no reason to fear rejection of God or of people.

Take a few minutes to watch/listen to this clip from Mamma Joyce teaching on the Fear of Rejection. Blessings…. Tamara

MUSIC REVIEW :: RIVERS AND ROBOTS

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE FOUR POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC.
In every month with five Fridays I’m reviewing Christian worship music that has really inspired and touched me. Today’s post is the first Music Review for 2021.

Today I’d like to introduce you to a group I just discovered a few days ago. I’m always excited to find new Christian artists. Especially groups that have such a fresh sound like Rivers and Robots!

Rivers & Robots: An indie worship band from Manchester, UK started as Jonathan Ogden’s solo project designed to create a new sounds for worship. Since 2012 Jonathan’s project has grown into a four piece band with the aim to make Jesus known through creative worship music. The band’s name comes from the acoustic and electronic sounds they use in their recordings.

A breath of fresh air in the Christian music world.

Band members: Jonathan Ogden (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard); Nathan Stirling (Bass, Vocals); Caleb Choo (Drums); and Philip Shibata (Guitar) have gone on mission trips and lead worship in festivals, clubs and churches around Europe and Asia. They also host monthly worship nights around Manchester. The band has formed an amazing non-profit organization, Set Sail, aiming to inspire, equip and encourage artists and creators.

Perfect contemplative soaking music for personal worship.

Music: Rivers and Robots music is produced primarily at home on the guitar, laptop and keyboard. Their fresh sound a nice change of pace from popular contemporary Christian worship of today. The indie music style has hints of chill wave and folk rock combined with ambient electronic sounds. The vocals are crisp and clean with incredible harmony. Most of their expressive lyrics are taken directly from Scripture. The moving content is faithful to God’s Word always sharing the good news of Jesus Christ’s gospel.

Relaxing yet powerful. It captivates my heart and soul.

Discovery: Rivers and Robots 6th album released September 2018. Intentionally designed from start to finish, this album is incredibly creative. Smooth, uplifting, inspiring, captivating, prayerful, stirring, aesthetic, laid back and anointed are just a few ways I would describe the stylish and gripping music of Discovery by Rivers and Robots. 

Uplifting worship music with beautifully touching lyrics.

Recap: Over the last few days I’ve watched many music videos from at least three of Rivers and Robots’ albums. Not to mention videos from their non-profit organization, Set Sail. Everything about their mission and music is stellar. The production quality and creativity from this young group is amazing. I highly encourage you to check them out and share with others. You will definitely be blessed!

Contemplate being with God forevermore as you soak in this beautifully created music video by Rivers and Robots.

RHW 2021 PREVIEW

In 2021 Reaching Hurting Women continues our magazine format which offers four different themes for study and contemplation every month for the year. Each of the four power-packed themes will be a 12 month series assigned to a specific Friday of every month. In months with five Fridays we’ll be offering a special column reviewing touching inspirational music.

Happy New Year! I’m so excited to give you an overview of the upcoming weekly Reaching Hurting Women columns for 2021.  We’ll be continuing our magazine format which offers four powerful themes for study each Friday of the month. The schedule will be as follows:

1st Friday of Each Month: Psalm 91 

The first Friday of each month we will be studying Psalm 91. We’ll be breaking down this powerful psalm one phrase at a time and applying its phenomenal protection promises to our life today.

2nd Friday of Each Month: The Holy Spirit

On the second Friday of each month we’ll be going through an in-depth study of The Holy Spirit. We will be learning about who The Holy Spirit is, what are the gifts and fruits of the Spirit and how we can walk them out in our daily life.

3rd Friday of Each Month: Life Recovery Gifts

Continuing our ongoing recovery work, this year we’ll be studying the 12 Gifts of Life Recovery. We will learn about the hidden blessings that come as an added benefit with our journey into wholeness and health.

4th Friday of Each Month: The Do It Afraid Book Study 

Our book study for 2021 is Do It Afraid: Embracing Courage in the Face of Fear by Joyce Meyer. We will learn how to understand fear, recognize how it works in our life, confront the fears that hold us back and achieve lasting freedom from those fears. Join me as we dig into Joyce’s awesome and timely released new book.

5th Friday Months: Music Reviews 

I’m really happy to be continuing the special column that I premiered in 2020. On the last Friday in each of the months that have five Fridays (January, April, July, October and December) I’ll be bringing you reviews of Christian music that has particularly touched my heart and spirit.

I’m so looking forward to a wonderful year of writing and study together in the Lord. I hope you’ll join me and bring along a friend when you can.

I pray God’s many Blessings upon you and your family for this coming year and always… Tamara

MUSIC REVIEW :: WE THE KINGDOM

in the months with five Fridays I post a review. FOR MY 2020 REVIEWS I’M CHOOSING CHRISTIAN PROJECTS or artists THAT HAVE TOUCHED MY SPIRIT DEEPLY.

Today I want to introduce you to one of the freshest sounds to come from contemporary Christian music in a long time.

We The Kingdom is a multi-generational family band consisting of brothers Ed Cash and Scott Cash, Ed’s daughter Franni, his son Martin and dear friend Andrew Bergthold.

Birthed from four decades of shared difficulties and influences We The Kingdom’s music intertwines worship and gospel with a retro-fresh folk/country/rock reminiscent of 70’s greats: Doobie Brothers, Lynard Skynard, The Allman Brothers, Loggins & Messina, Creedance Clearwater Revival and many more.

Having individually been behind the scenes on songs sung around the world, We The Kingdom band members came together to tell their own stories with lyrics that are vulnerable yet edgy. Their songs span the full spectrum of human emotions, embracing  brokenness, honesty, and the redemptive power of God’s love.

“The heart of We The Kingdom is to create music that candidly tells how God reached into the middle of our brokenness, and drew us into His story of redemption. Songs of testimony and worship have been a healing salve for us. We want to share our journey with others with the hope that God will use that as a catalyst for healing in others. Our heart’s desire is to see captives set free, relationships restored, and people brought to the Cross. We pray that God would sew the thread of His promises through the stories of each song we write, and weave together a tapestry that points straight to the great love of Jesus.” – We The Kingdom

WTK’s first EP Live at the Wheelhouse released in the fall of 2019. Their debut album: Holy Water is scheduled to release August 7, 2020.

Below are three of my favorite videos We The Kingdom has released: God So Loved, Child of Love and Holy Water. Each song /video stands on its own as a beautiful work of music and visual artistry with wonderful Christian messages.

I hope you will take time to soak in some truly great music that will tug at your heart strings while uplifting your spirit and soul. Enjoy!

I was introduced to We The Kingdom with this anointed church session video featuring Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

We The Kingdom dropped this single July 2, 2020. Filmed like an old home movie road trip with a 70’s retro-rock soundtrack this music video is my personal favorite today.

Another fav of mine. With exquisite scenery and a lovely representation of different nationalities of people, this video shows that God truly loves the whole world!

Check out We The Kingdom YouTube channel here for all their amazing music. Blessings…  

MUSIC REVIEW :: PEACE by BETHEL MUSIC

FOR MY 2020 REVIEWS I’M CHOOSING CHRISTIAN ALBUM PROJECTS THAT HAVE TOUCHED MY SPIRIT DEEPLY. THIS IS THE SECOND REVIEW IN THE SERIES. Check out my first Music review here.

 

PEACE by Bethel Music

Release Date: April 10, 2020
Album length: 12 tracks: 1 hour 9 minutes

There some artists or producers that you can count on to be consistent in their products. For me, I know if a project comes from Bethel Music it will be a quality production, with music and lyrics anointed by God. If you’re unfamiliar with Bethel Music here is a brief description from their website.

“Bethel Music is a community of worshipers pursuing the presence of God. We exist to gather, inspire, and encourage the global church toward deeper intimacy with the Father. Together, we express who God is and who we are in Him, capturing fresh expressions of worship in every season.”

Albums | Bethel Music

Released during the COVID-19 world crisis pandemic, this album couldn’t have come at a better time. There are millions of people around the world hurting, lonely and desperate for music that will lift their spirits, inspire their souls, and heal their hearts and minds. This album is specifically created for that.

“Peace. We started this project almost a year and a half ago, not knowing the right time to release it. Over the past few weeks as we’ve watched everything unfold, we knew the time was now. We believe God will use this album to calm your mind, heart and soul during a time of uncertainty — He will silence any fear or anxiety. Peace is a person, and He is near.” ~ Bethel Music 04/10/2020

The orchestration of the music is exquisite. With the tranquil sounds of ocean waves and winds in the background, the soothing pace of the music allows you to drink the songs deeply into your heart and soul.

The artist chosen for each song selection is perfect. The restraint of the vocals simplified down to whisper singing makes PEACE truly a breath of fresh air to worship music today!

The visuals on the lyric videos themselves are incredibly peaceful with the wind blowing gently against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

PEACE by Bethel Music ministers healing to a disquieted world. In this simple amazing project God brings supernatural healing through the science and technology of music to those seeking relief from anxiety and depression.

“The songs on this album merge worship and cutting edge techniques scientifically proven to help heal the parts of the brain damaged by emotional trauma by engaging both sides of the brain through the gentle panning of peaceful soundscapes known as bilateral music. As you listen, breathe slow and deep, invite the presence of God into your life and watch how He prophecies the truth over you and gives you His perspective.”  ~ Bethel Music Heart of the Album Video Description

As a contemplative person I’m drawn to the quiet music that PEACE presents. It’s simple, life-filled, uplifting, inspirational, relaxing, encouraging, healing and above all peaceful. Most of the songs are familiar worship songs that have been reworked with a softer sound. There are also a few new songs that you will want to hear again and again.

A new favorite for me. I highly recommend PEACE by Bethel Music!

Step out of the busy-ness of your day and breathe in the peace of God’s Presence available to you in this beautiful album by Bethel Music. Below is the full PEACE album YouTube playlist. Be blessed!

 

MUSIC REVIEW :: JESUS IS BORN by SUNDAY SERVICE CHOIR

 

 

JESUS IS BORN

by the

SUNDAY SERVICE CHOIR

 

 

 

 

One of the best things to happen in 2019 was that Kanye West rededicated his life, and now all his music, to Jesus Christ. Early in January, he formed a choir/band called the Sunday Service Collective under the direction of the amazingly anointed Jason White. Which includes a group of extremely talented musicians and singers from all walks of life. I’m sure none of them expected the gig to last for more than a few weeks.

Now more than a year later they’ve been singing together every Sunday all across America in small churches and large alike. From exclusive indoor venues like The Forum in Los Angeles to outdoor venues in Salt Lake City, Jamaica, and Baton Rouge. In the fall between every Sunday service, Kanye and the Sunday Service Collective produced two Christian operas: Nebuchadnezzar and Mary. And if that wasn’t enough Kanye and his phenomenal group of artists released two truly remarkable albums: Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born.

Jesus Is King, Kanye West’s ninth studio album and first gospel album release, not only debuted at number 1 on the charts, but every track landed on the Billboard Top 100 within days of release!

The  Sunday Service choir performed on the first song. Kanye and other featured artists rounded out the 11 track set. My personal favorites on this album are: God Is and Water. To some this album was a disappointment considering Kanye’s musical reputation and past successes. But for me, I think we should give him grace and room to grow in his new life and creative ventures as the avant-garde Christian artist/innovator/designer that he is.

Jesus Is Born Releases Christmas Day 2019!

As promised, by Kanye West, executive producer, the Sunday Service Choir debuted their first album Jesus Is Born on Christmas Day 2019. Exceptional in today’s music market, the album has 19 tracks with a playing time of almost 75 minutes. The album is a collection of some of the most powerful praise songs and life-changing worship music available today. It features beautifully performed traditional gospel and praise music, sprinkled with covers of a some secular songs reworked for Jesus, including some of Kanye’s previously released songs.

Jason White ministers to the choir, who minister to the listeners… drawing our hearts and souls into every song.

Jesus Is Born features Choir Director Jason White’s beautiful voice heard on almost every song as he directs the choir’s incredibly precise harmony, the powerful lead vocalists, the amazingly talented musicians playing a wide range or instruments: organ, piano, guitars, an assortment of percussion, horns, and more. This band and choir could hold their own with the finest R&B or jazz groups today!

A worship experience with inspirational versions of soulful bluesy songs.

Kanye and the Sunday Service Choir are single-handedly reviving traditional gospel choir music but with a new twist. They’re sharing the message of Jesus Christ in nontraditional ways with a fresh style. And most importantly they are reaching an enormous audience the church wouldn’t normally be able to reach.

The music is worshipful, sweet and tender, uplifting and energizing.

I’ve been listening to the Jesus Is Born album almost daily since its release on Christmas Day. I can’t get enough of it!  This is more than just a praise album. God’s Presence is palpable. The Holy Spirit anointing is powerful.

It’s tough to choose favorite songs on this album because there’s so much incredible music presented. My top 5 in album order are:

        1. Revelations 19:1
        2. Rain
        3. Follow Me-Faith
        4. That’s How The Good Lord Works
        5. Total Praise

Be blessed by the amazing music on Jesus Is Born with the link below. You won’t be able to sit still and silent while listening to it! Enjoy!

  YouTube Playlist Here:  Jesus Is Born Album • Sunday Service Choir                        

Listen to Spotify samples of  Jesus Is Born below:

BOOK REVIEW :: THE RED SEA RULES by Robert J. Morgan

The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times

by

Robert J.  Morgan

 

 

 

Difficulties and challenges are not strangers to most of us. And during these trying times it’s helpful to have a voice of experience that can help walk us through. This is what The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan does for us.

A dear friend recently introduced me to this simple, yet profound, little book. She’s been through trying times these last few years and told me that this book has helped her make it through. Because it was so important to her she kept her copy of The Red Sea Rules on her night stand so she could read it regularly.

After I was able to look at my friend’s book I quickly ordered my own copy. I’ve been going through it as a devotional on the weekends for the last couple of months.

Using the Exodus 14 story of the Israelites as an example, Robert Morgan shares 10 God-given strategies for walking from fear to faith during difficult times. Here is a sampling:

Red Sea Rule  #1:  Realize that God means for you to be where you are.

Red Sea Rule  #2:  Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.

Red Sea Rule  #3:  Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.

Red Sea Rule  #4:  Pray!

Red Sea Rule  #5:  Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.

Red Sea Rule  #6:  When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.

Red Sea Rule  #7:  Envision God’s enveloping presence.

Red Sea Rule  #8: Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.

Red Sea Rule  #9:  View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.

Red Sea Rule #10:  Don’t forget to praise Him.

I’ve really been enjoying these sweet inspirational readings. The chapters are short which makes The Red Sea Rules perfect for a devotional reading time. Each chapter offers a few questions for reflection at the end.

I highly recommend The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. This book is one I’ll be reading over and over again. I hope you will consider getting copy. It’s a great gift idea for the upcoming Christmas season. Another wonderful thing… The publisher has provided a discount for bulk purchases. If you want to give them away as gifts you can buy them here in bulk for less.

Enjoy this brief video of Robert J. Morgan telling about his wonderful book: The Red Sea Rules.

BOOK REVIEW: ANONYMOUS by Alicia Britt Chole

 

 

 

Anonymous:

Jesus’ Hidden Years… and yours

by

Alicia Britt Chole

 

This book has been a life changer for me. Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole is one of the most applicable books I’ve ever read. I first read it when her series on the TBN network began airing in October 2018. Once I began reading I was blown away by how much it spoke to this season of life I’ve been in for more years than I care to count.

In this groundbreaking book, Alicia teaches us about the 30 Hidden years of Jesus Christ’s life before his ministry went public. A topic I’ve never read or heard anyone teach about before. Here’s a snippet from Part One:

…Consider the growth of a plant. Before a gardener can enjoy a plant’s fruit, she must tenderly and strategically attend to its root. So a plant’s birth begins with its burial. The gardener commits a generally unremarkable seed to the silence of the soil, where it sits in stillness an sightlessness, hidden by the smothering dirt. Just when it appears as though death is imminent, its seeming decay reveals new life. The seed becomes less and yet more of its former self, and in that transformation takes hold of the darkness and reaches for the sun. All that is to come rests greatly upon the plant’s ability to tightly and sightlessly develop to roots in unseen places.

As with a child in the womb and a seed in the ground, God’s unanticipated move of hiding Jesus granted him protected, undisturbed room to be and become. From God’s perspective, anonymous seasons are sacred spaces. They are quite literally formative, to be rested in, not rushed through and most definitely never to be regretted.

Unapplauded, but not unproductive:  hidden years are the surprising birthplace of true spiritual greatness. ~ Alicia Britt Chole

If you’re in a dark season of waiting. If you have a dream in your heart that you want to share with others, yet the perfecting time fails to appear… this book is for you.

I highly recommend Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole!

Watch Alicia Britt Chole on Praise introducing her book and then watch Anonymous series on TBN. Here’s a sample of one of her interviews… enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW :: Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May, M.D.

 

ADDICTION AND GRACE: 

Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions

by
Gerald G. MaY, M.D.

 

Gerald G. May, M.D. (1940-2005) was a psychiatrist, spiritual counselor and Senior Fellow in Contemplative Theology and Psychology at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland. He wrote many books and articles blending spirituality and psychology. (Excerpt taken from book cover.)

The Shalem Institute is grounded in Christian contemplative spirituality yet draws on the wisdom of many religious traditions. As a result Dr. May references various religious traditions in his writing.

This may be off-putting to some. However, I’ve found far more of his content valuable than not. I’m not a theologian, philosopher nor am I one to argue doctrine. My personal practice when reading different books is to take what I can use and leave the rest.

There is much to praise Addiction and Grace for. Especially being written in the late 1980’s, I believe many of May’s ideas and psychological thoughts on addiction were ahead of his time and may still be.

Addiction and Grace isn’t a quick read. Each sentence, paragraph and chapter will provide you with much to contemplate and ruminate on. You will find an in-depth study of the psychological layers of addiction, as well as how they effect our mind, body and spirit. Dr. May shares personal struggles and stories of several people he counseled with different types of addictions.

For me, having read this book twice, the best take-away was and continues to be in the last paragraph of the book:

“The specific struggles we undergo with our addictions are reflections of a blessed pain. To be deprived of a simple object of attachment is to taste the deep, holy deprivation of our souls. To struggle to transcend any idol is to touch the sacred hunger God has given us.” ~ Gerald G. May, M.D.

Blaise Pascal wrote about the God-shaped vacuum that we all have. This deep longing in our souls can never be satiated by anything created in this world. Dr. May is teaching us that we aren’t supposed to re-direct that longing to anything. He suggests we not only make friends with the empty place, but come to fall in love with it. Scripture teaches it is possible to be comfortable with and live with the pain. The Apostle Paul learned and accepted that God’s grace is sufficient!

I highly recommend Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May, M.D.  I hope you’ll consider reading this power packed book to deepen your walk with God as you continue to press through your own personal pain and struggles.

Contemplate your emptiness. Sit in the empty place. Bring your emptiness to God. Let God’s Holy Spirit and grace fill that empty place. Because no matter what we try to put there, the emptiness will never be fully satisfied by anything in this world. God’s grace truly is the only thing that can satisfy our souls!