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Posts Tagged ‘prophets’

Each of us bear witness to the lives of people who try with all their heart and soul to be encouragers. These encouragers are people who build up, who reach out, who open themselves to others. Who do you know who daily inspires with their determination, their positive attitude, their deep faith?

I want to lift up a book by Stanley Porter, an ordinary man who grew up near me. I reviewed Stanley’s book, Every Song Has a Story, soon after it was published. Stanley is a musician, inspirational speaker, husband, and father. He is a person who strives to do his best to encourage and uplift others. I invite you to read my review, and to share the word about this inspiring book.

I would like to reinforce Stanley’s message of hope by giving someone a copy of Every Song Has a Story. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below. Share with us a person, a song, or a piece of writing that lifts you up. A winner will be chosen at random next Thursday, October 9.

May your day be full of joy and abundant blessings.

Disclosure: This review is freely given. No fee was received.

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This Wednesday, February 13, marks the beginning of Lent, the season preceding Easter in the Christian calendar. Many will observe a special period of prayer, perhaps including fasting and almsgiving as well.

Lent can be a time of renewal and spiritual rejuvenation. Lent provides an opportunity to be intentional about turning one’s mind and heart to God. Lent can create an increase in joy, as we undertake to remove obstacles that stand in the way of a connection with God.

May we all find inspiration in the writings of the prophet Isaiah, who reminds us to see individual spiritual practices within in a larger picture of relationships:

This is the fast that pleases me:
to break unjust fetters,
to let the oppressed go free,
to share your bread with the hungry
and shelter the homeless poor.
If you do away with the yoke, 
the clenched fist, the wicked word, 
if you give your bread to the hungry
and relief to the oppressed, 
your light will rise in the darkness. (Isaiah 58:6-7, 10)

For prayer resources during Lent, to help keep the heart fixed on the peace and justice embodied by Jesus, I highly recommend Pax Christi USA. In particular, they offer a booklet The Light of Lent through the Gospels, written by Megan McKenna, which offers encouragement to “stretch out our hands and spirits to be for and with others.” This booklet contains not only scriptural reflections, but very practical ideas for how to apply teachings on peacemaking in daily life. Through reflection on how to live peacefully, may we be led to actions that show God’s love in the world.

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Singer and recording artist Stanley Porter has written a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s love at work in his life. In Every Song Has a Story, Porter takes readers on a deeply personal journey that is honest, relevant, and hopeful. My prayer is that, through hearing the author share that he trusted God and received help, readers also will grow in trust and feel their suffering lifted.

I learned of this book because the author and I were high school classmates. We both grew up in Boston during the 1980s and 90s, and witnessed the traumas caused by violence, drugs, and poverty in our communities. The gangs and guns were not on my block, but I knew the pain of hearing the news and fearing that a classmate was lost to a stray bullet. When I read Porter’s chapter on those struggling with addiction, and the words from the gospel of Luke that God has sent Jesus “to heal the brokenhearted,” my tears flowed. My own heart continues to break from the violence and poverty in our communities, and I am grateful for those who are called to work in a healing capacity with people who are hurting.

In each chapter, after sharing his own testimony on a particular topic, Porter draws upon the riches of the Bible to further encourage readers. He shares stories of Joseph, Daniel, David, and the prodigal son to help us remember we are not alone in our struggles. It is powerful to have someone say, “I was in a place of darkness and my prayers were answered.” Through his honesty, Porter goes beyond pious language or feel-good sentiments. Clearly he does not wish merely to evangelize, but to truly reach hearts that are suffering.

I found the testimony of healing from the wounds of racism extremely compelling. Personally, I pray for more honesty in all our religious communities regarding racism, and I offer praise when I hear of congregations working toward restoration in this area. While I was lucky to grow up in one of Boston’s more integrated neighborhoods, the pain of racism was ever-present. In this past year I had a memorable opportunity to worship at an AME church in my old neighborhood, where my pink skin put me in the minority. I was welcomed warmly by those who shared my pew, and invited to visit with fellow worshipers. While I know that worshiping side by side is only the beginning of healing, I was grateful to be present among a congregation that strives to heal racial divides at all levels, working for peace and social justice inside the church and throughout the community.

The songs mentioned in this book come from Porter’s popular recording “Square One,” produced by his 4:12 Records Inc. Most recently Porter was the featured artist at the Haley House’s Summer Gospel Jamboree and he was nominated for an Angelic Award this past April (for Best Artist). This September he will be starting as the Chapel Team Music Director at Eastern Nazarene College. Stanley Porter is currently consulting and performing throughout the Northeast.

[This giveaway now is closed.] I am happy to offer a giveaway so that a lucky reader can have a chance to read this book. In order to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post. Be sure to include your email (to be used only for contacting the winner).
2. Subscribe to this blog to receive an additional drawing entry. Please leave another comment so I know you subscribed.
3. Follow the blog on facebook, or share the blog with friends, and receive another entry.
A winner will be chosen on Monday, September 10, and contacted by email. Good luck, and thank you in advance for helping me spread the word about this book.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this review are my own. No fee was received for this review.

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