Doing Good is Simple by Chris Marlow

Doing Good Is Simple by Chris Marlow

Doing Good is Simple

Doing Good is Simple

It’s quite a crazy world we live in.

It’s really been that way since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, the only place without death and sin in the world. It must have been difficult to have known what it was like and how it could have been and then to have lost it.

From this side, we can only imagine as a song says of what it will be like when we get back to that place where there is no death and sin and can once again walk side-by-side with God.

I am part of a book launch team of the book, Doing Good is Simple, Making a Difference Right Where You Are by Chris Marlow who is the founder of a nonprofit called Help One Now. The book has helped me a lot as I look around and see so much pain and suffering and feel quite hopeless to do much about any of it.

I want to share some quotes from the book that were helpful to me. I hope they are helpful to you as well.

“…God is leading, we are following, and we have to learn how to rely on him. If we fail to do this, good people who care about others deeply but try to serve out of their own strength will get frustrated and walk away when they realize that they do not possess the power to make the changes they want to see. Only God does!”

He goes on to say:

“This subtle but vital truth will empower us to know that we are good enough, we are gifted, we share the burden with Christ, and yet we don’t have to carry the impossible weight of fixing all the world’s problems. This means we are free to serve, love, fight for good, and yet we can rest our souls because God is in full control.”

The book tells the author’s journey to starting his nonprofit, the struggles he’s had with seeing such poverty and feeling so insignificant. And, yet, he also talks about we can make a difference for people in simple ways and that it really does make a difference.

One story he told was how he was visiting in a village where his organization had started to help. He was meeting with one of the leaders there. They were sitting around eating, and the guy told him, “There are children who don’t have to sleep on the dirt floor because of your gifts.” They got mattresses to sleep on. They can go to school. He talked about having to go to the bathroom to cry, because he thought of all the other children who would be sleeping on the floor in the dirt.

He warns people that when you get involved in doing good that you have to learn to be like a marathoner:

“Over the years I’ve learned a lesson: overwhelmed people quit!…Just like marathoners, you have to come to grips with the fact that you cannot fix the entire world by daybreak…Don’t be the person who loves hard and goes so fast that you run out of gas, give up, and ignore the calling to do good with your life. When we run out of gas, it‘s not because we don’t care; it is because we started to sprint instead of taking small, but important, mini-steps forward. These steps are significant, helping you pace yourself for the long haul ahead.”

He suggests that, “Less is more; narrow your focus, dig deeper, and feel the joy of clarity and keeping life simple.” He gives examples in the book of ways to use the talents you have to help people, how to partner with organizations that are already doing good. But he emphasizes to do something.

To finish my thoughts about this crazy world we live in, a song that really has helped me whenever things seem complicated, and I feel like I don’t know which way to go next is the song by Casting Crowns, Already There. The song talks about the fact that God is already at the end of time, and he’s waiting for us. He knows how our life is going to turn out, the things we’re worried about.

Already There by Casting Crowns

The book on Doing Good mentions this, too.

I received an advanced reading copy to read to review the book, but I also purchased the Doing Good is Simple book. I have one copy to give away.

One really neat thing about the book is that buying the book buys five meals for children as the author is giving the proceeds of the book away.

I heard the author speak during a break in a writing seminar that was put on to support his organization. I did not realize it at the time I went that the event’s proceeds were going for that as I went to hear the main speaker who is an author I follow. Chris Marlow is passionate about his work, and it comes out when you hear him speak in person, and now in his book.

Disclaimers:

I received a review copy of his book in order to promote the book, and I am on the book launch team.

My husband and I sponsor children through Christian Relief Fund, a different organization than his, that helps children around the word.

The quotes may be slightly different since the book I received is a review copy.

None of the above links are affiliate links. They are furnished for your convenience.

I have one book to give away which I purchased and is the finished copy. There are also other books that I’ve reviewed on my blog which have not been given away yet. So, be sure to browse through book reviews if you didn’t get to get the copy of this book.

This book review first appeared in the GEMS Ministry Newsletter (with a few tweaks here).

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

by Shawn Smucker

What Would You Do?

Samuel gets intertwined in an old mystery that is somehow connected with the death of his mother. If he can solve the mystery, he can bring her back from the dead.

The book tells the struggle between good and evil which goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

He has to make several decisions in the book which lead to consequences for him and his best friend.

It is not a lighthearted book.

Mr. Smucker covers subjects such as death, showing how decisions are pivotal, loyalty in friendship, keeping promises, and how all of these things impact a young life.

Excellent for Discussion

This book would make an excellent discussion starter for a home school, Christian classroom, or in your family.

The book delves into seeking the answers to:

Is death possibly a gift?

Does good and evil exist?

How can you know if someone is evil or not?

Riveting

The Day the Angels Fell is a very riveting book. It has hints throughout the book of further things to come, mysteries that are intriguing, Biblical symbolism, and a few scary monsters as well.

This book is marketed towards readers ages 10-14, grades 4-7.

I read the book in five days. It is 279 pages long. It is in many ways it is an adult story as well.

It will leave you thinking for several days. It is the kind of book that I like to read. I recommend it.

You can purchase it through the link below. It may be an affiliate link in that it is connected to Amazon Smile. However, I do not receive any money from the purchase. My Amazon Smile account supports an organization that helps children. You could also search for it yourself on Amazon under the title’s name.

The Day the Angels Fell

Note: The photo above is of the Kindle edition on my reading device.

The Best Thing I Ever Got for Free

Virtuous Woman Proverbs 31
Virtuous Woman
Proverbs 31

The Best Thing I Ever Got for Free

I’ve received many things in my life that did not cost me anything.

But none of them were free.

Not a single one.

Everything I’ve Ever Received Cost Something

The one thing I received for free that literally made me cry was the above cross stitch work.

It was done by an older lady in our congregation at the time.

Her name was Nina Roll.

She met me after church one day in the parking lot.

She had a package in her hand. She said it was for me.

I didn’t really know her. I knew of her, and I saw her around.

She handed me this beautiful cross stitch of Proverbs 31.

The photo just doesn’t do it justice. It is large. The details are beautiful.

No One Had Ever Done Something So Beautiful for Me!

I found out later that she had made things like this, and this exact pattern for other people in our church.

However, that did not make me feel any less important.

But It Wasn’t Really Free.

It cost time.

I’ve done a few patterns of very small cross stitch projects.

The very small ones take a lot of time.

The material to make them costs something.

It also took thought.

She had to decide who to make it for.

And she chose me.

This is what makes gifts like this so valuable.

It is what it represents as well as the beautiful gift itself.

And there is another gift I received.

I was chosen to receive it, too, although others can get it, too.

The Best Gift I Ever Received for Free

cost a lot to that giver, too.

It cost him his life.

Jesus gave me the best gift I ever received for free.

He gave me himself.

That is the kind of gifts that are the best:

Gifts of yourself and your time.

What is the best gift you ever received for free?

What did it cost the giver?

What is the best gift you ever gave to someone?

 

 

Jeff Goins Is Only Partially Right

Joe (my dad) & Uncle George
Joe (my dad) & Uncle George

Jeff Goins is only partially right

Jeff Goins in his course Tribe Writers mentions the fact that when someone says you are one-in-a-million, that means you really aren’t that special; because with the current world population, there would still be a lot of people like you.

He says it tongue-in-cheek in that you need to build a tribe for your writing, and one way to do that is to find people who have a worldview like yours. And there are a lot of people out there that have your worldview.

The reason I think he is only partially right (about many people being like you) is that you are not one-in-a-million.

There is just one you

One. That’s all. After you were born, the mold was thrown away.

This is true even if you are an identical twin.

If you look at the photo above, you will see a photo of my dad, Joe, and his brother, George.

They were identical twins (both now deceased sadly).

But I didn’t know that for quite some time.

After all, they didn’t laugh alike. Their voices were different. They had different personalities. They had different skills.

And according to my Granny, they walked across the room differently. She knew which one was which by the way their footsteps sounded.

What does this mean to you?

Since there is only one you, you need to make sure that you don’t hide from the world.

There are many writers. Many of them say things a lot better than I do. But they’re not me. They don’t know the people I do. They don’t write the way I write.

You have a skill that others have, too. In fact, there may be millions of other people who have the same skill you have, and they may have the same worldview you have (according to Jeff).

But only you have all the experiences you have, and have had the conversations you have had, and say things in just the same way you can say them, or add that special touch to them.

There may be a person that needs you to tell them something that will help them to have a better day. Maybe there are a lot of people who go to that store you will go to tomorrow. But maybe the other people in line didn’t smile at the cashier and say, “Thank you.”

Maybe you are someone’s mom. It doesn’t matter if other moms say nice things to your kids. They want to hear it from you. Not the other millions of people that are like you. They’re not their mom.

Maybe you want to give up and quit.

I feel that way sometimes. I really do. Why write? There are some really excellent writers out there. (Jeff Goins happens to be one of them.)

But I’m not Jeff.

I’m me.

And you are you.

That means that you and I have a responsibility to touch people’s lives that only we can touch. To reach out and do something for the people God places in our lives as you go through the day.

So, don’t give up. You’re not one-in-a-million. You are the only one of you there is. Irreplaceable.

There is something you can do that no one else will be able to do in just the way you do it, and for just the right person at the right time that comes across your path, reads what you write, or simply gives away a smile.

Note: The above link is not an affiliate link. Jeff’s course is excellent.

A Little Boy with Hope

A Little Boy with Hope
A Little Boy with Hope

The news is really bad recently.

But that’s nothing new. It’s just that to get our attention it has to be gorier lately.

How do you keep from tuning it out?

There were other times things were bad, too. It’s just we didn’t have photos to show us how bad they were.

At least not as instantaneously.

I watched a really nice story of a girl who was making sure that funerals for vets got live music instead of a recording of taps.

Then another video was suggested.

No warning of the graphic nature of it. A man was beating up an old woman on public transportation in our country. The driver tried to help. She was also a woman.

The saddest part? The news media made a big deal about all the other passengers getting off safely from the back of the bus.

REALLY?

I really hope those who left were very frail people. The guy wasn’t using a gun. He was using his hands. If people had ganged up on him, he would not have been able to continue.

Instead the driver had to disable the bus and wait for the police to come and arrest the guy.

These kinds of stories make me sick at heart. So much cruelty. So little help.

But that makes me even more determined to do something!

But what can I do?

There is so much trouble in the world. So much poverty. So much sadness.

So, do you give up, or do you try to do something?

I choose to do something.

Calstone is a little guy.

His mom died.

Then his dad remarried.

Then his dad died.

His stepmom continues to take care of him, but it’s not easy.

She has other children, too.

For just a little a month, he can get food, clothing, and go to school.

In the first picture I got, he looked sad.

Now he has hope.

Hope will make you smile.

You can make someone smile.

I keep his photo near my desk.

It helps me to remember that not all the news is bad.

Do something.

Christian Relief Fund

(Unaffiliated link)

 

I Didn’t Want to Be That Girl by Sue A. Allen

I Didn't Want to be That Girl
I Didn’t Want to be That Girl

I Didn’t Want to Be That Girl by Sue A. Allen is an eight-week study. Each of the eight chapters has a study for five days of the week. It is meant to be studied in a group but can be studied individually.

I spent about two months going through the study, reading the accompanying verses, and working through the questions on my own.

It has discussion questions, Scriptures to read, and questions to consider for your life. There are 213 pages, and they have very little white space. So, in other words, it is a very in-depth study.

Here is a quote from the book to get a small glimpse of the study:

No matter where you fall on the scale of Christian maturity, there comes a time when you will be faced with serious doubt. We have so much more in common with Eve than we may readily admit. Eve experienced serious doubts about God and fell to temptation by the serpent. I believe doubt is the number one way that Satan robs our ability to hear the voice of God…We begin asking ourselves, “God, was that really You? Is this what You want me to do? How come I all of a sudden feel all alone? If this is where You want me to be, then why in the world is it so hard?”

The book uses different aspects from the life of Eve as a jumping off point for looking into aspects of our lives.

I received this autographed book from the author to review. When it came in the mail I was surprised. The book is an 8 1/2 x 11 study guide. I thought it was a paperback book.

It was a very interesting study.

I have one to give away.

Of Life, Love and Family by John Tracy Wilson

Of Life, Love and Family book with Break the Chain CD both by John Tracy

 Of Life, Love and Family by John Tracy Wilson is a memoir: Book Available on Amazon (unaffiliated link).

The author tells of his relationship with his father, how it shaped his life, the things he wanted to do differently with his children, and struggles to be the man he knows God wants him to be.

This book includes lyrics to some of the songs the author has written.

The CD, Break the Chain, came with this book in the contest I entered: Break the Chain Music CD by John Tracy (unaffiliated link).

The book is written from a Christian point of view. The songs are what I would consider easy listening.

Some of the songs on the CD are not Christian per se such as ones about being an officer of the law, one which is about the love a dad has for his little girl written at the child’s birth, and one that is speaking about not passing on the bad things learned from parents down to the next generation.

If you want to learn more about the author and his music, visit his Website: John Tracy’s Website (unaffiliated link).

Note: I received this autographed book and CD combo from the author in a Good Reads contest.

Zeal without Burnout by Christopher Ash

zeal without burnout

Zeal Without Burnout on Amazon (nonaffiliate link)

There are times when you get discouraged and want to quit. This book is for you if you feel that way.

Christopher Ash wrote this book for those who love the Lord very much and are working diligently to spread his kingdom. However, it also serves as a warning of doing work that will be sustainable.

He experienced burnout in ministry. He also includes stories of other people’s experience with ministry and burnout. He explains that ministry is not just for pulpit ministry but includes those working in nonprofit jobs, or anyone who does ministry in any aspect for God.

Zeal without Burnout explains the difference between burnout and sacrifice and why the distinction is important.

The book’s main point is that there are things you need to do to take care of yourself, because you are not God. The author explains that when you do not take time to do the things that are needed for renewal, you are trying to be a mini-god, and that is why it won’t go well for you.

He backs up his ideas of things you need for renewal from Scripture.

The book is not just a “preaching-to-you” kind of book. It also is very encouraging. He gives gentle reminders:

There’s always more we can do in ministry, but God is not asking “Can you do more?”. He is asking “Do you love me?” Some of those extras are not always as vital as we think them to be.

He also reminds us that we are not the only ones affected when we try to be heroic:

“The problem is that we do not sacrifice alone. It may sound heroic, even romantic, to burn out for Jesus. The reality is that others are implicated in our crashes. A spouse, children, ministry colleagues, prayer partners and faithful friends, all are drawn in to supporting us and propping us up when we collapse.”

A minister who was trained as a psychiatrist before being ordained wrote a section at the end of the book. In it he talks about burnout from that standpoint which is helpful. He includes how to tell when you are reaching the point of burnout.

If you think you are too busy for this book, then it might especially be for you!

Note: I received this book for review, and I highly recommend it.

Why Keep Praying (When You Don’t See Results)

DSCF0420

Why Keep Praying (When You Don’t See Results) by Robert Morris

Do you get discouraged and wonder if it is any use to continue praying?

I would recommend a book by Robert Morris which is a 175-page hardback book.

It is four chapters in length :

  1. Why Pray at All?
  2. Building Bridges to Heaven
  3. Keeping the Prayer Line Open
  4. Receiving and Releasing His Power

It includes an Invitation to Pray which has prayers by categories.

These prayers are words taken directly from the Bible.

It has beautiful photos and encouraging words such as this:

If Jesus Christ, God’s Son, needed to pray and make vital personal contact with God the Father every day, do you think there’s a possibility that we need to do that too?

and this:

God is immutable and will never, ever change his character, But he can and will change His mind when his people pray.

He tells stories of prayer warriors.

He talks about why you can get discouraged.

The book is a great read to encourage your faith and spiffy up your prayer life.

Why Keep Praying (Available at Christian Books)

Note: The above link is not an affiliate link. It is provided for you convenience.

 

What if Pain is not about You?

What if Pain Is not about you-

I’ve been studying the book of Job for several days now.

The more I study it, the more confusing it gets.

However, in my observation of pain I see some of the same reactions I’ve seen in people’s responses to Job to people who are in intense pain, especially those who are dying.

I think people have been too tough on Job’s wife.

Job’s wife when seeing the pain he’s in says to him:

Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die. (NLT Job 2:9)

That’s sort of harsh, isn’t it?

Perhaps not.

Have you seen someone in pain?

Terrible pain, the type that you want to give them drugs to help them ease them through it so they do not have to suffer.

What is the reaction of people to people in pain?

Here are some I’ve seen in person or in the news:

  • Let them kill themselves with the help of doctors. It’s legal in some states.
  • Kill them yourself. Several news stories come out of where a person kills someone in pain, then takes their own life.
  • Put them in a drug-induced coma until they die

Job’s wife’s response to me says she loved him a lot.

Now, she is asking God to take her husband?

Where would that leave her?

She didn’t have children to take care of her.

There were no assets left. They had been stolen or destroyed.

If her husband died, she would truly be a widow left to fend for herself.

Perhaps she could marry again.

But someone might think she would bring bad luck. After all, look what happened to the person she had married before?

I think Job’s wife couldn’t bear to see her husband in pain.

Pain doesn’t just affect you.

It affects everyone around you.

If you have to go to the hospital, you have to interact with medical providers.

If you go into Hospice, you have to interact with Hospice workers.

Friends may bring you food.

Your family may not have funds they need, because you can’t work and are sick.

You might complain a lot. Job did. His friends had to listen to that.

But what if pain is not about you?

In Job’s story I see the following people/entities who were influenced by Job’s reaction to his pain:

  • Satan, whose name means Accuser
  • Job’s wife
  • Job’s friends
  • God’s reputation
  • The four servants who had to bring Job the terrible news.
  • Generations after him who read his story

How Job reacted to his pain brought glory to God.

James, perhaps Jesus’ brother who wrote the book of James in the New Testament, uses Job’s example for us to follow:

…Job is an example of a man who endured patiently…. (James 5:10-11 NLT)

Pain is not easy to take.

It’s hard on us. Very hard.

We may feel like giving up.

Don’t give up when you’re in pain, because

Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s not about just you.

Note: Design meme by Canva. Neat little Website for making graphics.

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