Hope We Affirm

Last night, I did a study in the book of Hebrews. I was focusing in Hebrews 10, and I truly believe it was God-ordained because it was exactly what I needed to hear. Funny how God does that. Just that evening, my small group was talking about hearing from God and the different ways He speaks to us. Let me back up for a second and give you a look into my life and the reason this passage was so important to me.

I have always struggled with letting go of past sins. I let the mistakes from the darkness of yesterday haunt me today. And that keeps me from seeing the Glory of God and the beauty of His forgiveness.
The author of Hebrews clearly paints for us a picture of our inability to atone for our own sins and our need for complete spiritual dependence of the promise of Christ's sacrifice.
I can't tell you how relieving it is to have a gracious and merciful God to rest on. His forgiveness knows no limits and His love is never wavering.

Now don't mistake His grace for permission. The Bible clearly instructs us to confess and turn away from our sins (Acts 3:19). We must not abuse forgiveness and use it as a crutch for gratifying our flesh and feeling okay about it afterwards because "God forgives me." True repentance comes from the desire to turn away from sin. I'm preaching to myself here. Every now and then I'll find myself making snide remarks about people at work who left me a less-than-desirable tip and angered me into sin. I know that it's wrong beforehand, but I choose to do it anyway. This should not be the case. I should be turning to God in my moments of spiritual weakness and asking Him for the strength and ability to overcome the wicked thoughts bubbling up in my mind. I should be praying for love to flow from my heart like a river, pouring out on those around me so that they might see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in action against all odds.

But let's be real for a second here:
How incredible is it to have a merciful, forgiving, and understanding God?! He knows. He's been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. God understands how difficult sin is to overcome. But He has provided a way, through His Spirit, to stand strong against temptation.

When you're feeling weak and unable, look to God. I promise you will find strength in a close relationship with Him. Just having a conversation with Him and spending time studying His Word always rejuvenates me and gives me an entirely new outlook on life. A much more positive, and uplifting viewpoint.
He so desires to be close to us. He loves you more than you can or will ever fathom. And He is providing hope that we can affirm.

"As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise You more and more." Psalm 71:14


Though My Heart Is Torn

Joanne Bischof

{Book Review}

Title: Though My Heart Is Torn
Author: Joanne Bischoff
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Pages: 334
My Rating: 4.5

Synopsis: Gideon O'Riley has two wives - But he doesn't know it.

Lonnie only wanted her husband's love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan?

(From the publisher) "Setting into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O'Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interrupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob - and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon's rightful wife.
As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength she has.

While Gideon's guilt and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all?"

What I Loved: I loved the depth of the characters in this book, and the way that the author portrays the story and characters in such a rich and realistic fashion. I felt so connected to Lonnie and Gideon.

What I Wasn't So Fond Of: I've yet to be able to read books 1 and/or 3 in this series, so though this book was a beautiful story on its own, I believe I could have gotten more out of it had I been able to read the first and third books as well. I don't know if my heart could have taken all that, however ;)
Obviously, though, the fact that I haven't read the first or the third books has nothing to do with the creativity and quality of this particular book. So other than bringing me to tears on more than one occasion, there isn't much that I didn't love!

About The Author
Christy Award-finalist and author of "Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart Is Torn, Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God's grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she's not weaving Appalachian romance, she's blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.
*author bio taken from joannebischof.com


*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255


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