It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and her book: That Was Then, This is Now: This Broken Vessel Restored
Tate Publishing & Enterprises (May 27, 2008)
About the Author:
Paulette Harper is an emerging Christian Author making her debut with her first inspirational book That Was Then, This Is Now, This Broken Vessel Restored, a compelling story of deception, heart-ache and ultimate victory. In ten chapters, she masterfully uncovers the hidden obstacles she faced as her church’s First Lady and how she eventually broke through those barriers. (ISBN#9781604625547, 151pp, $11.99)
Have you ever wondered how a building that was being erected would be able to withstand the elements of weatherâ€”earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and the like? A building must also be able to withstand the weight of the occupants.
If you and I are not contractors, we may not have the complete knowledge of what goes into the development and restructuring of a building.
But what I do know is this: first, there are the building plans, which must get proper approval from the building planner and city before any work can be started. Once you get the approval, the next step would be to secure the engineers, general contractors, electricians, plumbers, surveyors, and all those who will be part of this development.
Knowing that each person is unique in his field of expertise, you would never hire someone unskilled to do a job he is not qualified for. Next, the foundation must be laid. Building the foundation of the house is one of the most important tasks. If the foundation is not properly laid, then the entire edifice will be unstable. A wellâ€“laid foundation is absolutely essential for a house. Once the proper foundation has been laid, we can now start building our house.
Now letâ€™s examine what the Bible has to say about our foundation. First, it must be settled that our foundation is Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Word of God.
â€œTherefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away in sudden panic.â€ Isaiah 28:16 (TAB)
Because Jesus is our foundation and the Word comes to equip and bear us up, we are well able to handle all the elements that life will bring our way. Your flesh and the devil will tell you otherwise. Here is what Jesus says about our spiritual house:
â€œTherefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.â€ Matthew 7:24â€“27 (NKJV)
In the above passage, Jesus is doing a comparison between two types of houses or people. Both will experience the same elements in life: storms, rain, floods, and wind, which represent testing, trials, hard times, and tribulations. We will all face hard times, no matter who we are, no matter how much money we have, no matter what our status in life, what occupations we hold, how many degrees we have, and so forth; we are going to have bad times. The difference between these two builders is their ability to hear the Word and obey.
Jesus said the rain, floods, and wind will come to beat on the house, but if you hear and obey His saying, your house will be able to withstand it all. However, if you hear and donâ€™t obey His sayings, your house will not stand, and Jesus said great would be your fall. Your spiritual ears should only listen to what God is saying; all other opinions, ideas, or suggestions do not matter. Real sheep hear and obey His voice; no other voice, that of a stranger, will we listen to.
The New Living Translation says the rain comes in torrents and the floodwater rises. Torrent, in the dictionary, is described as roaring, rushing, impetuous, violent stream, and heavy. Because your house is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, your house will not collapse no matter how fierce or strong the elements. All believers must be rooted and grounded in the Word. The Apostle Paul tells us:
â€œFor though I am away from you in body, yet I am with you in spirit, delighted at the sight of your [standing shoulder to shoulder in such] orderly array and the firmness and the solid front and steadfastness of your faith in Christ [that leaning of the entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.â€ Colossians 2:5â€“7 (TAB)
In Greek, the word rooted means to strengthen the roots, to render firm, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded. When we are faced with trials, storms, and the difficulties of life, we must realize why God is allowing these things to come. I donâ€™t know any believer who welcomes trials; on the contrary, most people try to avoid them altogether. But actually, these things come to strengthen and ground us in the faith. God will cause circumstances to come so we can apply the truth of His Word to our situations. The question is how will we respond?
If you know these things are coming (tests, trials), you have time to prepare to fight off any attack that would come to snatch the Word. These things will not have the ability to uproot you because your roots are growing deep in Christ. The Bible says, â€œBe strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.â€
The Word has been given to do things you cannot. It will enable you to be stronger than what you face; it will cause you to endure the pressures of life, and give you the ability to rise and stand firm on Godâ€™s power, ability, and might. It is imperative, as believers, that we study the Word and know the Word for ourselves.
A wise builder applies what he learns and hears to his life. He takes the scriptures, meditates on the Word, and does the Word. The Amplified Bible describes the foolish builder as stupid. He is one who hears the Word but does not do the Word.
Why would you go to church Sunday after Sunday, hear the Word, and not practice what youâ€™ve heard? No one in the Kingdom can effectively operate in his or her full capacity without hearing, obeying, and practicing the Word of God. James says,
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man, who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing itâ€”he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:23â€“25 (NIV)
The enemy knows where you are in your relationship with Christ and the Word, and he will make sure you are inoperative, ineffective, and unfruitful in all you do. The only way we are able to stand against everything that comes is by taking the Word of God and using the Word when we are faced with hard times. Here is what God has to say about the Kingdom you are part of, â€œTherefore, since we are receiving a
Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fearâ€ (Hebrews 12:28, NKJV).
Kingdom, in Greek, is translated as royal power, dominion, rule, the right or authority to rule over a kingdom, the royal power and dignity conferred or handed to believers in the Messiahâ€™s Kingdom. Moved or shaken, in Greek, is translated as not liable to overthrow and disorder, firm and stable. The scriptures are saying that because we are part of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, overthrown, or moved when we are faced with the adversities of life, we have the dominion to take authority over all circumstances, situations, and conditions with the Word of God. Instead of my situations moving me, I can move my situations, change my environment, and be unquenched by what Iâ€™m going through. Now thatâ€™s good news. Selah.
Do not be ignorant of the devil. He is crafty, but God has put him under our feet. However, if you do not take the Word and practice with authority your rights, the devil will continue holding you captive to do his will. Isaiah brings us the good news of how God has dealt with our enemy:
â€œSo shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.â€ Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV)
Enemy, in Hebrew, is translated as adversary, foe, straits, and distresses, one who opposes. Standard means to drive away, to put to flight, to cause to disappear.
When our enemy comesâ€”and he will come like a flood, strong and greatâ€”God will drive and force the enemy away. Like does not mean identical; it means similar. This means that the devil masquerades and is an impersonator or impostor. The devil wants you to believe that he has more power than the church. Jesus reveals the truth to us through the book of Matthew, â€œAnd I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against itâ€ (16:18, NKJV).
You must realize that the church is not the building, but you are the building in which Godâ€™s Spirit is housed. Jesus is the architect who knows exactly what we need to withstand all the forces of hell. The definition of an architect is someone who, by profession, designs, draws up plans, supervises the construction, and is the creator. He [God] has designed a people that will overcome all hindrances and obstacles. Hell will not succeed or advance against you or me. Remember, it takes your cooperation to flow with God, His Spirit, and His Word.
A Fortified House
When the storm came my way and my life began to crumble, I allowed the enemy to rape me of my identity in Christ. Instead of standing on the Word, I wanted to escape the pain by contemplating suicide. I felt my situation was extremely difficult for me to overcome but I had to face my challenges, knowing that God was with me. I didnâ€™t think I had the ability to make it through, but I realized that God was giving me strength every day to endure.
Escaping on Godâ€™s Terms Only
â€œNo temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.â€ 1Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
Allow or suffer, in Greek, means to give up, to leave, to allow one to do as he wishes, to let alone. Bear means ability to endure, and able means to be capable of handling. We are constantly being built up so we can become a people fully developed and able to stand. He will not put more on you than you can handle. The Word is going to be tested and tried, but if you hear, do, and apply the Word, you will endure. Be a wise, prudent, and practical builder.
Although the storm came to wipe me out, God would not allow that to happen. God was using every situation to cause me to become a fortified house whose structure would stand. God was building me even when it didnâ€™t seem as though my foundation was holding me up. I was a house under construction, whose builder and maker was God. The only way we are able to stand up against all the elements of life is by building on our foundation through the study of Godâ€™s Word.
When everything else ceases to exist and vanishes away, the Word of God remains. God will never design something with the intent of that building crumbling, falling, or being demolished. Here is His promise to you, â€œWho are being guarded (garrisoned) by Godâ€™s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last timeâ€ (I Peter 1:5, TAB).
Click the bookcover or title for more info or to purchase a copy. Look for other FIRST Wildcard member posts and opinions also. Don’t forget to click the author’s name or photo to visit her website. I don’t have a copy of this book to read but if/when I do I will post a review.