A Cloud by Day A Fire by Night Book Review

Drawn from a sermon series A.W. Tozer delivered on the theme of God’s will for our lives, A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night compares the battles Christians face almost daily to the battles the Israelites faced during their forty-year journey to Canaan.

As Tozer points out, there is no such thing as easy steps in discovering God’s will for our life. It’s a matter of finding God’s will for our next step or decision, and being faithful to the end.

Believing Christianity is a progressive upgrading of our walk with Jesus Christ, Tozer said no challenge we face is bigger than God. Not one challenge could ever surprise God because when we start our journey, God knows the beginning, end, and everything in between. He concluded this thought saying, nothing can happen to us God hasn’t prepared us to handle.

There were several other key points I came away with after reading A Cloud by Day A Fire by Night, but I’ll leave you with this one.

The enemies Israel faced in the Promised Land were not there by accident. They were there by God, and God prepared Israel to deal with them. Israel dwelt with the enemies on God’s terms. He was preparing them for their destination.

Before we can have a victory, we have to have a battle. Every battle makes us stronger. Every battle prepares us for the next battle.

Something to think about.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

One Piece at a Time

This is the most detailed view of the distant object Ultima Thule taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft Jan. 1, 2019. (Image: © NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

Ultima Thule may not be your first thought for a devotion on becoming who God created us to be, but it sure was one of the first things I thought of when Pilot and I watched a special on NASA’s New Horizons. A spacecraft zoomed past Ultima Thule January 1, 2019, setting a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history. (Ultima lies about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.)

Scientist believe this bowling pin or snowman shaped 21-mile-long planetary object was created not as a complete object at its beginning, but one piece at a time as different pebbles and marbles joined together. It’s a process.

In the same way Ultima Thule did not appear complete at the beginning of its existence, we don’t arrive complete the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We’re a process affected by the pebbles and marbles of life that impact us. Our growth  continues until the day Jesus calls us to join him in heaven. It’s a daily process called sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit living in those called according to God’s purpose.

We can count among the pebbles and marbles that join together to make us who we are sins as well as victories over sin. Neither of those things by themselves define us. They are a composite of who we are.

An area of psychology called Gestalt, would say the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Only our relationship with Jesus and what he does with those pebbles and marbles defines us.

Some may want to point to the times we’ve failed God and define us by those failures. We may even allow Satan’s lies, deceptions, and deceits to do the same.

Thankfully, that’s not how God sees us.

Through Christ Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, we are reconciled with God. Our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

Who knows? The next pictures seen of Ultima Thule may show the planetary object has grown, continuing to add more pebbles and marbles in the process.

Hopefully, those who look at us see the pebbles and marbles of our life have day by day grown us closer to becoming the person God created us to become.

So what do you think? Does Ultima Thule look like a bowling pin, or snowman?

I opt for snowman. After all, it was found in the Kuiper Belt which is not known for its tropical heat waves. Pilot, however, thinks it looks like BB8 from Star Wars. 🙂

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Watching and Waiting

Today’s post, Watching and Waiting, is written by my writer-friend, Phyllis Farringer.

Our house backs up to a woods. Deer, wild turkeys, ground hogs and other wildlife wander into our yard with some frequency. There has even been an occasional bobcat. Such wanderings create an animated response in our dog, Maggie. Her dancing and barking alerts us to the presence of whatever creature has caught her attention.

Because she has frequently discovered animal presence in the yard, Maggie often stations herself by the bay window in our den that faces the woods. She watches attentively to see if anything might appear again. As a result of her watchful pose, she is generally the first in the house to see any visitors emerge from the woods. She often brings to our attention something we would have otherwise missed, because she is the one who is watching.

Just this morning Maggie barked her excitement and drew me to the window. At first when I looked out I didn’t see anything. But then, when I looked a little harder I saw a doe standing still, and blending into the background so well she was barely visible. Then I caught a slight movement through the leaves of the brush beside her. I soon realized there were several deer with her. Just a casual glance would not have revealed any of them. In the summer, when the vegetation is much thicker, I probably wouldn’t see them at all.

The spiritual application seems obvious. God is active in our world, but His presence may be missed by those who are not looking for Him. If we were as diligent to look for Him as Maggie is about looking for activity at the edge of the woods, His work in our lives would be more apparent. God is working in every situation, but so often what He does is attributed to “coincidence” or “fate.” We may miss answers to prayer because we are not looking for His answer, or He answers differently than we expect.

The woods behind our house is teeming with wild creatures. I have never seen most of them, but I have enough evidence to know they are there. God has given us enough evidence that we can know He is there as well. We see His creative beauty all around us. He speaks life, guidance and hope through the Scriptures. He speaks to us through our circumstances.

What if we watched for His activity in our lives in the same way Maggie watches for activity in the woods? God has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20, Ps 46:1). He has promised that if we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13).

Watch for Him. You may be amazed by what you see.

Phyllis Farringer delights in proclaiming God’s goodness. Her work has appeared in various periodicals including Decision Magazine, Focus on the Family publications, and Christianity Today Bible Studies. She has also written for several compilations including Cup of Comfort for Moms and God Allows U-Turns. She and her husband live in North Carolina. They have two married children and seven grandchildren.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Far Side of the Sea Book Review

In a war-torn country filled with espionage and spies, who do you believe when placing your trust in the wrong person could cost your life?

This is the question British Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, must ask himself after he receives a desperate message from France asking him to come at once because of a promise of love.

Set in1918 Europe during World War I, Far Side of the Sea, by Kate Breslin, tells the story of Colin Mabry and Johanna Reyer, a woman who works in a dovecote for the French Army Intelligence. Together, they search for Johanna’s half sister who one year earlier helped save Colin’s life.

With believable characters and historical facts that lend authenticity to Far Side of the Sea without bogging down the reader, I highly recommend this fast paced book full of unexpected twists and turns is a must read for fans of historical romance laced with wartime suspense. The inclusion of messenger pigeons was a plus for me.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Follow the Leader

In preparation for several upcoming road trips, we needed to drop our RV at the dealership. Pilot led the way in the RV and I followed in my car.

While playing Follow the Leader on the playground in days of old brings back fond memories, following Pilot through heavy early morning traffic, road construction, fog, and drizzly rain does not. Especially when unsure of the route he chose to travel.

Being behind something the size of the RV, which blocks any view of what’s ahead, meant I had to stick close, but not too close. I had to prepare to stop quickly, get through yellow lights before they turned red, and switch lanes as soon as Pilot turned on his blinker.

Although I had no idea if there were obstacles ahead, traffic lights, or lanes which ended abruptly, Pilot did. I needed to trust him and stay vigilant. I needed to keep my eyes on the signal lights at the back of the RV and respond correctly. This was definitely not a time to allow my eyes to wander.

We sped up and slowed down. We wove around construction barrels and potholes. We crawled past concrete barriers and machinery.

Although I usually allow vehicles to scooch in between me and the vehicle in front of me, not this day. No siree. Sure. I could still see the top of the RV if another car or truck got between Pilot and me but I wouldn’t be able to see the indicator lights. I wouldn’t know when I needed to change course.

During this drive I thought of how we are to Follow the Leader – Jesus. We need to keep our eyes on his indicator lights to see the direction he wants us to go. We can’t see ahead in the fog and drizzle of life, and aren’t sure of the path ahead. But Jesus knows the way we should go.

We need to be prepared to stop quickly or change lanes immediately to avoid potholes and debris. If we pause to analyze or debate the decision, we might find our self in an unpleasant situation, or dead end lane we could have avoided.

We also need to be willing to press the gas pedal to make it through those yellow lights. We don’t want to be left behind and lose sight of our Leader.

Like Pilot and my route through miles of road construction, life can be filled with unending delays, setbacks, frustration, and short tempers.

We need to be mindful of things in our life which try to get between us and our Leader. We don’t want to allow anything to get between us and Jesus which blocks our view of him. If we do, we might miss a turn and have to circle back to find the correct road.

Sometimes we may question the path Jesus takes us down. We may believe we’d do a better job leading. We might even head out in a different direction to prove our point, believing there surely must be a better, more convenient, less stressful way to get where we’re going.

It’s during those trying times we need to scooch closer, trust he knows where we’re going, and keep our eyes on his signal lights so we don’t miss a turn or run into the debris in our path we aren’t able to see.

So what do you think? Do you find it easier to lead, or to follow?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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