13 Sep

Hello, Beauty Full

Published by Carol

It’s always a privilege to recommend outstanding books to my readers.  My friend, Elisa Morgan, is currently the host of the syndicated radio program, “Discover the Word” and she is the much-loved former CEO of MOPS International.  Her latest book is titled Hello, Beauty Full and I highly recommend it.  Here, in Elisa’s own words, you’ll learn more about this excellent new resource:

Most of us don’t think we’re beautiful. In fact, a recent poll revealed that 96% of women globally would never use the word beautiful to describe themselves.[i]

Even women who know they are made in the image of God. Women like you and me. Beautiful? No…instead we feel not enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Not strong enough. Not spiritual enough. I know. What I see is not beauty but the world of ugly within.

I say, “I’ll pray!” and I don’t. I forget about the suffering in the world, even after I’ve seen suffering up close and personal. And then I go ahead and buy another purse, pair of shoes, trinket for my home. I wake up in the middle of the night and worry. I think I’m better than others when my life goes well, even though I know full well that I’m not…I assume I’m the only one.

The only lonely one. The only depressed one. The only one who doesn’t know the answers. The only one who feels like a failure. I don’t like my body. I like some people more than others—a lot more than others. I pretend to be interested when I’m not.  I’m jealous when someone’s life goes better than mine. I want to just stay in bed on some days. I’m ugly. At least there are plenty of ugly parts of me. “Beautiful?” HA…

Hello, Beauty Full.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who pushes away God’s pronouncement of personal value. Likely you do too. Likely you embrace the ugly and discard the beauty in yourself. And likely you feel incredibly inadequate, stuck, and even alone.

Here’s what we need to know in order to live the lives we were made to live: God loves us. He sees us through Jesus: beauty full. He wants us to see ourselves the way he sees us. We struggle with embracing such a thing. But the truth is, when we don’t embrace how God sees us, we don’t embrace God. We miss out on the very lives he created us to enjoy—and died to make sure we could experience. When we do embrace how God sees us—beauty full—we are freed to live loved, and in so doing, we love God back.

Three words reveal how God sees us – through Jesus – and how he invites us to see ourselves.

Hello. Beauty. Full.

Yes, I am.  And yes, you are too. Hello, Beauty Full is available wherever books are sold.

From Carol:  If you’ve ever struggled with not feeling attractive enough or good enough—to others or even to God, I’d love to have you leave a comment.  What did you go through and where are you on this journey today?

[i] “Dove Real Beauty Sketches,” Dove, http://realbeautysketches. dove.us. 

06 Jul

Lazarus Awakening

Published by Carol

What an honor it is to tell you about the newest book, study guide, and DVD series by my friend, Joanna Weaver!  In Lazarus Awakening she reveals the profound love Jesus had for Lazarus and the shocking life-after-death-on-earth He lavished on His friend.  She skillfully points the reader to a vibrant choice—abundant life!  If you long to wake up to God’s unrestrictive mercy, unconditional love, and supernatural power, read this book.  It is an ideal small group Bible study choice, too.

Q & A with Joanna Weaver:

1.  In your first book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, you began teaching about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus 15 years ago. What has held your interest for so long about the three siblings from Bethany?

Well, to be honest, I never dreamed there would be three books! I thought I was done after the first one. Then the second one…and the third! I was all ready to write a completely different book when I was offered the chance to do the companion DVD Bible studies for the books. Lazarus Awakening is the final study of the series and “comes forth!” July 21st.  Though I look forward to writing on a different topic, I never get tired of talking about Mary and Martha and Lazarus. God continues to make their story fresh and alive to me.

2.  A main topic in Lazarus Awakening is living resurrected as Christians – shedding our graveclothes to live fully in our lives with Christ. What are some things that you think hold us back from living fully in our faith?

I’m not sure how it is for other people, but one of the things that consistently held me back as a young Christian was a sense of hopelessness at how far I still had to go. I expected a magic-wand transformation when I was saved – that somehow holiness would just happen to me and I’d suddenly be all I needed to be. More like Jesus and less like me!

But one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that sanctification is a process. I don’t suddenly become like Jesus overnight – instead I am becoming like Him! And best of all, it’s not all up to me!

Just as Jesus called Lazarus out of his tomb, He’s calling us to leave our halfway living behind and the grave cloth patterns that keep tripping us up, so that, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can learn how to walk and live truly free.

Another thing that holds many of us back is the enemy’s lie that we’re hopeless and helpless – that true transformation can never be ours on earth. But, he is a liar! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, and that means resurrection life isn’t just for heaven.  Jesus wants to make us fully alive, right here and right now!

3.  You write, “If we embrace the process of crucifying our flesh, we’ll find the joy that Lazarus found.” Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

As you study the New Testament, Christianity really comes down to this: are we willing to “lose” our lives in order to “find” them (Matthew 16:25)? Are we willing to die to self so that Jesus can live in us? I’m afraid that many of us spend our lives walking down the Via Dolorosa, but never allow ourselves to reach Golgotha. But that isn’t what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Follow me.”

4.  This new Lazarus Awakening DVD Study was filmed in Israel. What was it like to visit Bethany, the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus? And why did you decide to film the curriculum there?

After thirty years of ministry, my husband John and I took our first trip to Israel a few years ago.  It was incredible to say the least! We spent our first day in Bethany. After so many years of writing, speaking and thinking about Mary, Martha and Lazarus, to actually be in the spot – or very near the spot – where they’d lived brought tears to my eyes.

I had come to the Holy Land fully expecting to see the two sisters everywhere I went. But instead, it was Lazarus that I encountered over and over.  Spiritual correlations and teaching points filled my heart as we toured different locations. By the time we came home, I couldn’t imagine filming Lazarus Awakening any other place.

You can learn more about Joanna Weaver, her books and DVD studies at www.JoannaWeaverBooks.com.  The new companion DVD Bible study for Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God releases on July 21, 2015.

“There’s no tomb so deep or so dark that Jesus cannot open,” Joanna says. “We were made for resurrection life – a heart-pumping, deep-breathing, feet-running vitality that only comes from Jesus Christ.”

How has Jesus brought a fresh start to your life?  

21 Jan

Fight Back With Joy

Published by Carol

A new friend to me is Margaret Feinberg, speaker and author of the just-released Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.

As a young thirty-something woman she faced a great fear—being diagnosed with cancer!  This diagnosis plunged her into a search for the best weapon to propel her to a place of overcoming—and she chose joy.  Margaret says:  “You have joy not in spite of your circumstances, but because of them.  You are drenched in the grace and mercies of God.” 

Most of you know I faced a different kind of fear—the arrest of my son for first- degree murder and a conviction of life without parole.  I know what it’s like to be at a crossroads:  Will I choose joy or will I choose fear?  Will I cling to my faith or will I give up on God?  I understand what Margaret is saying in this book—making a conscious decision to choose joy every day changes everything about the way you live your life.

I’ve discovered a deeper meaning of the word, “joy.”  It’s experiencing God’s peace in the middle of impossible circumstances and sensing His care when life is anything but fun.  It’s discovering that we can delight in what He is doing in the middle of formidable obstacles.  It’s experiencing internal security because we are not alone.  It’s celebrating His powerful hand at work even when we don’t understand why He allows certain things to happen.  A word that is sometimes substituted for “joy” is happiness, which connotes the idea of “well-being and contentment.”[1]  That is the kind of joy I’m beginning to experience, and I’m realizing that Jason (my son) is learning a new definition of joy, too.

In one of his letters I was once again struck by his growing maturity—which includes an ability to recognize joy as the presence of Christ in surprising places and in unlikely people.

Dear Mom,

…Prison is a place few of us would really call “home,” unless we are making a sarcastic joke.  Yet, in this very place I’ve seen God show up in unexpected ways, where few would expect Him to visit. The greatest surprise and joy to me here is when God’s presence is demonstrated in the life of another human being. 

Sometimes I see Him in a tough, violent, street-wise prisoner who has recently experienced Christ as his personal Savior, but he’s still figuring out how to process what’s happened to him as he talks some inmates out of beating up a prisoner with a conviction that incites convicts to respond with violence. Sex offenders convicted of crimes against children are hated in prison.

I find joy in seeing a former addict who unexpectedly finds the strength to turn down a joint for the first time in his life.  There’s a pattern-breaking discipline in him that’s new, powerful, and exciting—because of Christ.

I experience joy when a perpetually angry guy (who we all steer clear of if we don’t want to be contaminated by his attitude) has a personality that’s a pleasure to be around, with laughter accompanying his conversations.

Joy, for me, is knowing as concretely as I know my name and my birthday that God is real and that He loves me personally, and that I’m never alone and He can be trusted with my heart. 

Mom, in spite of the agony I feel on my bad days, I’m grateful for what God is doing in my life.  How I wish that pain of this magnitude didn’t accompany my personal growth, especially the suffering of my victim’s family and my own family.  But I am reminded of something Tim Hansel wrote: “Joy is a process, a journey—often muffled, sometimes detoured, a mystery in which we participate, not a product we can grasp.  It grows and regenerates as we have the courage to let go and trust the process.  Growth and joy are inhibited when we say ‘if only,’ enhanced when we realize that failures and difficulties are not only a critical part of the process, but are our very opportunities to grow.”[2]

I’m discovering that any joy in the midst of this horrendous ordeal is a surprising gift from God.  The only way I can recognize and embrace the gift when it comes is by recalling and practicing what Paul wrote to the Hebrews: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”[3]  

Mom, I desire for all of us healing and rest.  I pray that your heart will smile.


If you are in the middle of having your own joy challenged, read Margaret Feinberg’s newest book, and better yet, get a group of friends together and do the DVD teaching series as you rediscover the adventure of choosing JOY.  You’ll be glad you did. #fightbackwithjoy

Question:  What is stealing your joy right now and how are you dealing with it?

[1] Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) on-line

[2] Tim Hansel, You Gotta Keep Dancin’ (Elgin, IL:  David C. Cook, 1985), p. 133.

[3] Hebrews 12:2  NLT