Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Review: Out of the Black Shadows


No one should experience the childhood of Stephen Lungu—abandoned by parents, abused by relatives, assaulted by hunger as he rummaged through white man’s garbage cans. Yet he survived and as a teen led the Black Shadows gang—until he experienced a conversion as dramatic as that of the apostle Paul. Unable to read or write, the young man from Rhodesia never dreamed what God had in store for him.

Suffice to say Lungu’s story is riveting and absolutely amazing. If you want your faith bolstered, if you want inspiration to overcome life’s greatest challenges, if you doubt that prayers are answered--just read this book. Stranger than fiction, Lungu’s story will touch your heart and just may transform your life.

I read this book after watching Lungu on a Sunday school class video, and I'm glad I did. After miraculously surviving his tumultuous childhood, God has used him to trigger miracles of conversion around the world. If you ever doubt what God can do through one willing vessel, read this book and doubt no more.



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Four Ways to Stomp Out Evil


Dear Friends,

Our backyard offers a glimpse of paradise. Hanging baskets sway. Hummingbirds buzz. Woodpeckers peck. Marigolds, petunias and zinnias bloom their little heads off. From my sunporch, I watch tree branches wave to me and thank God for the blessing of living here.

But every now and then, evil invades our sanctuary. A hungry bear recently ripped down the suet, smashed the birdfeeder and worse yet, tore apart the cozy home of nesting bluebirds. Under the cover of darkness, that beast scattered nesting materials and left no sign of baby bluebirds.


So too evil may invade our lives. We may inherit a weakness. We may become addicted after taking pills to lessen pain. We may give in to temptation—just this once—with disastrous results. Life was going along smoothly, then this!

At such times we must remember God’s power is stronger than any evil. It may appear Satan gets the upper hand for a time, but we know the rest of the story. Our job is to fight evil here and now, to keep our spiritual muscles strong so that no evil can get the upper hand. How can we do that?

1.     Ask God for help. Relationships are strengthened in tough times, so draw close to him. As we pray we realize God is with us in this challenge.

2.       Access the Bible and devotional readings daily. There’s something about reading God’s word that gives us hope and keeps our feet on the ground. Inspirational reading strengthens and encourages us.

3.       Admit your struggles to a friend. Sometimes we need the wisdom of another to gain perspective. We do no one any favors by bottling up our troubles. That only makes them multiply. But if we divide them by sharing with a friend or a trusted advisor, they diminish.

4.       Attend church each Sunday. Hearing the faith stories of others in Sunday school, soaking in the encouragement of a sermon, listening to uplifting hymns—together they remind us that we have a God who is bigger than our troubles.

I’m going to call the game commission and ask them to remove our bear since he has turned from a teddy bear into a grizzly bear. So too we must keep evil at bay in our lives if we want to enjoy God’s peace on earth.

Have a blessed day!

Shirley

If you’re receiving this by e-mail and would like to share another suggestion for overcoming evil, just click on the link below to leave a comment.

Upcoming Events:

June 11, 2 p.m. – Friends of the Heart at the convention of Synodical Women of the ELCA, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lehighton, “At Any Age, At Any Stage: Celebrating the Christian Life.”

June 19, 9 a.m. – Shirley teaching Sunday school at Mt. Bethel Church, McClure.