Story Excerpts

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How Do I Know If I'm Hearing From God?

I often struggle with this, sometimes certain I am hearing from God, and other times not so sure. It's in those uncertain times that I try to look back and pinpoint a time when I knew He was speaking to me, and I can never remember.

I decided I wanted a record. Something I can look back on. (I lose journals so easily.) I hope and pray this example will bless you as well.

Last night, I picked up my Bible and asked the Lord to speak to me. I asked not really believing He would (I'm terrible) and was caught off guard by the immediate, random thought of the book of Ezekiel. I never think about the book of Ezekiek.

So, I flipped over to the book of Ezekiel, and started reading about the return of God's glory to the temple. Encouraging, but I didn't think that was what God wanted to show me specifically. So I kept reading, and flipping chapters.

Then I stumbled across God's portrayal of Himself as Israel's Shepherd in chapter 35, and where He talks about His covenant of peace. And there--verse 31, "You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God, says the Sovereign Lord."

My spirit instantly recognized the specific message God had for me.

It was a strange message, but I thanked Him for it.

The next morning, a unexpected transaction cleared our bank account, eating into our already tight budget. I was quickly slipping into a pity party, and let me tell you, this prego lady can do them well.

I sat in my rocking chair, staring out the window at a beautiful morning, and tried naming the blessings in my life, thanking God for them, (though my feelings had a long way to catch up).

Suddenly, a flock of sheep came running into view. I stopped rocking. My jaw may have dropped, as that verse, instantly came to mind. I felt God's presence, assuring me that regardless of what the bank account said, God would take care of me. After all, He's my Shepherd. I'm a part of His flock, one of His lambs.

He often works like that, delivering a message we'll need another time, but it's not the only way He speaks to us.

What about you? Was there a time in your life when you knew God was speaking to you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Into the Whirlwind: A Book Review

Mollie Knox craves order and routine, her systematic way of life reflected by the precision watches her company makes. But it's not so much about the watches--her employees are men who fought beside her father in the Civil War, many of them disabled. The only family she has left, Mollie will go to great lengths to keep providing for them through work.

Lawyer Zack Kazmarek is torn between loyalty to the millionaire who saved him from life as an uneducated dock-worker, and the desire to help and rescue the woman he's secretly loved for three years. Some book reviewers were bothered by his paradox--a cool-headed buisnessman, smart in his use of upper and lower-class contacts to accomplish his goals, becomes a weak-kneed schoolboy in Mollie's presence. I thought it added to his credibility and gave him an endearing trait he needed, as his job sometimes blurred the lines and colored them gray. Zack had such passion for Mollie. I cheered him on as he declared his love, pursued her, and supported her work. His Polish parents were adorable. They took me back to a time when I lived in Europe, years ago.

The Chicago Fire happens early on, this being more a story of rebuilding from the ashes. It was a wonderfully defining scene, horrific experience bonding hero and heroine, but it left the ending a bit anti-climactic action-wise. It didn't spoil the story for me. I was wrapped up in Zack's panic at the arrival of Colonel Lowe, and anxious for Mollie to come to her moment of truth. What a great ending scene!

I am looking forward to "With Every Breath", the only Camden novel I have yet to read. I would recommend "Into the Whirlwind" to readers who enjoy flawed characters, a Christian worldview without the "preaching", and of course, the history of the Great Chicago Fire. Personally, I found the art of watch-making pretty interesting.