Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Turning Guilt Trips Into Joy Rides


The authors have provided inspirational thoughts based on Scripture. The book is organized around the acronym,
G – God
R – Relationships
A – Acceptance
C – Challenge
E – Emotions
Grace is what makes it all possible. In this book the authors share stories of how God has made a way by his grace. Their prayer is that we will accept that grace to meet our own needs as well.
They have provided 183 daily readings, enough to last six months. Each reading has a Guilt Trip to avoid, a Scripture verse, a story, and a way to Take a Joy Ride. Each reading is short so even busy women can stay connected with God and grow spiritually – every day.
The readings and suggestions are simple yet practical.
For example, just as a squirrel builds a secret place high in a tree to hide from the perceptive hawk, so do we need to build a hiding place for our souls. “The Word of God forms its foundations. Prayer builds its walls.” (6)
In another example, Shirley writes about how welcoming her yard is to birds, thanks to her husband's flower beds, pond, and bird feeders. “So, too, we need to create an atmosphere that will attract God's Spirit.” (23) The guilt trip to avoid is failing to sense God's presence. The joy ride is determining how to conduct a spiritual checkup on your self.
The lessons comes from nature, from life, from emails. Choosing a tea bag becomes a lesson on daily devotions (missing a blessing because we're stuck in a rut). A drooping plant becomes a lesson in ministering to others. A toaster oven manual is a lesson on the importance of the Bible as our instruction manual. Billboards advertising cars becomes a lesson on self-worth. A groundhog dining on automobile wires becomes a lesson on sin. A wagon load of hay bales becomes a lesson in emotions. A bush in need of clipping is a lesson on what obscures our view of God. A perfectly made bed is a lesson on going the extra mile as a response for what God has done for us. Taking the elevator to the cruise ship's exercise room (instead of the stairs) is a lesson in being a phoney. The view of the Dominican Republic from an elaborate cruise ship is a reminder that God asks us to act on behalf of the poor.

These devotions are aimed at young married women (I think). I mean, they must know what Vera Wang heels are. These devotions are not calls to radical discipleship or to even give up any part of a comfortable lifestyle. They are the thoughts of the women as they go about their daily life, seeing God in it.

Shirley Brosius, Janine Boyer, and Kim Messinger speak together as friends of the heart. Their passion is to help women open their hearts and find joy in Christ. All three are married with children and live in Millersburg, Pennsylvania.
Shirley is a former business education teacher and director of Christian education. She has written several books and numerous magazine articles.
Janine works with her husband in a family business and serves as a youth and prayer ministry leader.
Kim is an elementary teacher and volunteer youth leader at her church.

Christ drew these three women together for their first small group meeting in 1998. Since then they have drawn closer through life's joys and struggles and found God to be sufficient for their every need. They call themselves "Friends of the Heart" because their passion is to help women open their hearts and find joy in Christ.


Westbow Press (a division of Thomas Nelson),195 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from LitFuse Publicity for the purpose of this review.
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