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Book Review: Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel

Posted by Julie on March 14, 2014 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Book Description:

Most people have prayed for something or someone in earnest, seeking God’s will, only to be left confused by God’s response.Sometimes we ask, “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?” In Amazed and Confused, Heather Zempel tackles this question head-on by exploring the book of Habakkuk.

When the prophet Habakkuk prayed that God would bring change to the backsliding nation of Israel, this issue came to the forefront. Habakkuk begged God for revival and that He would turn the hearts of faithless people back to Him.

God’s answer to Habakkuk was, “Take a look at the nations and watch what happens! You will be shocked and amazed” (1:5, The Voice). The vision God gave Habakkuk was one of warfare and exile. How do you respond when God answers your prayers in a way that seems out of line with his character and promises?

Amazed and Confused proceeds systematically through the book of Habakkuk, exploring the prophet’s prayer, God’s response, and the prophet’s journey from confusion to worship. This interactive Bible study is the perfect choice for those who are hurting and confused about God’s responses to their prayers.

Features include:

    • Helpful guidance on a question without an easy answer
    • Practical tools for studying the Minor Prophets
  • Easy-to-understand, accessible language

91HZN8-qxmL._SL1500_This is part of the inScribed series, a collection of stories by women. Thomas Nelson wanted to highlight women writers because often studies come from pastors, and women who are not pastors often have great things to say, but find it hard to get their Bible studies published.

I loved Amazed and Confused. The second part of the title is “When God’s Actions Collide with Our Expectations.” That’s something we all can relate to. To make it a study around the prophet Habakkuk was even better. He is someone I knew a little about, but it’s obvious Heather Zempel did a lot of research for this study.

I found this easy to follow and full of detail, yet with information applicable for my own life. Key thoughts are emphasized, and there are questions and places for notes and journaling.

This is one of the best studies I’ve seen in a long time. I think Amazed and Confused will help and bless you. It did me.

To purchase Amazed and Confused, click here.

I received a copy of Amazed and Confused from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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A2Z Meme: I Used to Wish Life was Easy

Posted by Julie on February 9, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’m a couple days late but moving forward with Patty Wysong’s weekly meme of going through the alphabet. This week? The Letter E.

This week any interested bloggers can blog about anything with the letter E

It was 1997 or 98.  I had a couple years of marriage under my belt and was overwhelmed by post partum blues with my firstborn. We were at a new church, reeling from antics board members pulled on the third pastor of the previous congregation. I kept many thoughts to myself but the anger, confusion, and venting were certainly all there.

That particular Sunday a traveling prophet, for lack of a better term, came to the new church. He brought his guitar and sang some nice songs that especially ministered to my husband. He gave a message and invited anyone who felt so called to come to the altar for prayer.

I went, not sure why, not expecting much, but went.

The man, who I did not know and definitely did not know me, lightly touched my shoulder as he began to pray.

In a paraphrase he uttered this—

You keep asking God why you don’t have it easy. You keep looking at the others and they have it easy, but not you. The Lord wants you to know He’s heard you and you’re right. You have had it harder than others and it’s been that way because you know you’re dust in my hands. I’m transitioning you through these hard times where you will be an intercessor that knows she’s dust and knows Me. Because of this you will pray in My name and believe that I can move mountains, and mountains will move. You will ask for big things in Jesus’ name and believe.

Again, that’s a paraphrase and I’m not blogging or entertaining comments on whether you agree with the doctrine or what this man said. I can say this, the man didn’t know me, but God did, and He revealed my heart. I was so frustrated. Women my age fell apart over a bad hair day while I was getting shots in the backside. I near totaled a new van while 10 weeks into a high risk pregnancy. Life didn’t seem fair and I was sick of it.

And God knew.

From Google

The easy life never came to me, at least not full time. There were seasons when life was smoother than other times, but what did come to pass was that transition. Those hard times, and they got even worse by 2003, refined me to a place where I believed God. To this day if you ask me for prayer, be ready, because I’m going big or I’m not going at all, and I’m expecting Him to show up. He’s moved mountains. People have let me know they were expecting babies they never thought possible, found expensive medical equipment they thought lost forever, received strength in a situation they thought would be the death of them, and more. That wasn’t me, that was God.

But He had to show me the easy life wasn’t going to be a great life. At least not for me.

I’ve joked that once I’m done sobbing in Jesus’ arms once in heaven, grateful for my eternal home and thankful to hug on my Savior, I’m asking He tour me through the warehouses of my tears. There will be many, I’m certain. They came at a price, and they were experiences I literally wished on others for a long time.

These days, I’m okay when adversity comes. I get that it is an opportunity, but I’m still human. I cringe when I hear the troubles others share and they seem so superficial to me. I don’t wish any harm or bad on anyone, but again, in the flesh I sometimes get upset.

So my E is for EASY, and I pray it is an ENCOURAGEMENT for anyone who feels the distribution for hard times seems stilted. It is. There is a purpose, and if you can surrender to it and trust God, you will have an amazing role in furthering His Kingdom.

Hang in there!

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