Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review/Giveaway: Desperate Hope

A WINNING READINGS GIVEAWAY!

Title: Desperate Hope: When Faith in God Overcame My Despair
Author: Candi Pearson-Shelton
Genre: Christian nonfiction memoir
How to enter: Leave a comment on THIS post right here! If you're a subscriber or a follower, leave a second comment for a second entry.
Entry deadline: March 10, 2010
Restrictions: Open internationally!

That's right, enter right here for this giveaway. This is my review copy, so it has been gently read.

---------------
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!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Desperate Hope

David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Candi Pearson-Shelton is a worship leader, songwriter and independent artist. Known for her involvement with the Passion worship movement, she also wrote and performed the title track on the Dove-award-winning album, Glory Revealed. She and her husband Jonathan live in Southern California with their son, Elias.

Visit the author's website.

Desperate Hope, by Candi Pearson-Shelton from David C. Cook on Vimeo.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766144
ISBN-13: 978-1434766144

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Substance of Hope


Oh blessed hope, sole boon of man, whereby on his straight prison walls are painted beautiful, far-reaching landscapes, and stretched into the night of very doom is spread holiest dawn. —Thomas Carlyle


If you could hope for just one thing, what would it be? What is that one hope that causes you to wake every morning and trudge through these days? Something, something in the fiber of an existence fuels each breath. If not, then what good is living? Lost hope is lost meaning, and lost meaning is void—dull, still, black. This is no life. This is more like what I imagine hell would be.


We need a marvelous hope because we need purpose. We pray for what we hope for because our entire being screams out a deep longing for it, and to lose this would be to lose ourselves. So what can be the object of this kind of hope? What is the single greatest imaginable hope?


The substance of such a worthy hope, the kind that gives purpose and meaning to this life, is recorded in the gospel of John, tucked inside one of Jesus’ prayers. Chapter 17 records what Jesus thought important enough to pray for. This was His deep longing, and in His perfect marriage of deity and humanity, He offered us a glimpse of His object of great hope. In this chapter we find Jesus praying a remarkably simple prayer that can be broken into three distinct parts.


First, He prays for Himself. In the few beginning sentences, He establishes with His father the importance of their reciprocated glory, praying that God would glorify Him so that He could in turn glorify God. He confidently confesses the beautiful fulfillment of His mission, acknowledging the work He had been sent to do was done. His primary concern for Himself, His worthy and God-centered hope, was that in the time approaching—His betrayal, arrest, and death—He would continue in the reciprocal glory between Father and Son, and God would bring Him back into the glory they shared before the beginning of the world (verses 1-5). His desire for Himself? To reveal the glory of His Father and get back to Him as soon as possible.


The second part of the prayer is for His disciples. This piece of His prayer is especially moving because it reveals His genuine affection for these men, these friends and brothers, to whom He’d grown so close. The first part reads like a proud papa spouting off a list of the things His children have accomplished. They kept His word, they accepted it as truth, and believed Jesus to be the Son of God, and they glorified the Father because of it. Jesus’ tender love is revealed as He prays according to His great hope for these men. He asks for a bond of unity, the same brand He enjoys with God His Father. He asks for His own joy to be fulfilled—literally crammed—in them. He prays that God would keep them protected from the enemy as they carry out the tasks that were entrusted to them. His great hope for His friends, His disciples? That they would exist joyfully in unity as they spread the beauty of the gospel, which is the hope of glory and the promise of being with Jesus the Savior forever in His Father’s kingdom.


The third part of this prayer is my favorite because it puts an exclamation point on Jesus’ great hope. It happens to be where we come in, too. Jesus actually prays for us—you and me—in John 17! Isn’t that an amazing discovery? Before we were even given an earthly thought, He divinely prayed for us, and we have the proof of His thoughts toward us in this chapter. His prayer for us sounds very much like those for Himself and His disciples. He prays that we, those of us to come who would believe in Him, would also enjoy the same unity that He has with His Father. He set His glory on us so that we would fully know the unity He desires for us, and so the world would see how much we are loved by the Father. Then he adds the icing:

Father, I want these whom you’ve given me to be with me, so they can see my glory. (John 17:24)


There it is: Jesus’ great hope is for us to be with Him so we can relish His supreme grandness—to see His glory. In the three-part prayer for us all, He illuminated the hope that fueled His words, His actions, His life, and His death. He wants us all to see His glory, and He desperately wants us all with Him.


This incredible truth is far easier to read and accept with eager willingness, easier to apply to our own lives, when we haven’t found ourselves in the precarious position of praying against Jesus. Trying to reconcile our hopes with the hope that is evidenced in Jesus’ prayer means that we will no doubt find ourselves pleading against the very thing Christ has already prayed for. Rick’s sickness highlighted the opposing prayers God hears, as well as the wide contrast between our sometimes selfish hope and the pure and perfect hope of Jesus. We prayed for more time here, for healing, for miraculous things, but things that ultimately kept Rick physically intact and in close proximity.


And Ricky died.


And Jesus prayed for this!


I find it hard to say anything more eloquently and God-breathed than the words Charles Spurgeon has already penned:

Thus the disciple is at cross—purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice; if the King should step from His throne, and say, “Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another, which shall be answered?” Oh! I am sure, though it were agony, you would start from your feet, and say, “Jesus, not my will, but Thine be done.” You would give up your prayer for your loved one’s life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction——”Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” Lord, Thou shalt have them. By faith we let them go.


Understanding the deep ramifications of an answered prayer, one way or another, is to consider all its facets. For me, it is an astonishingly brighter mourning when a child of God returns to Him because Christ’s prayers were answered rather than my own … that the death wasn’t just a blip on the radar screen of life, or a chance occurrence among the other random happenings here on earth. This was an event that has been prayed for over the course of history. Our prayers would have only recently joined in with that of Christ’s, which continues to ring out through time for each of us who believes. He loves us more than understanding can allow us to think upon, and sometimes God grants His Son’s prayer with a “yes” answer, at the expense of our mortal but temporary wounds, and to the blissful delight of all the beings in heaven. He did with Rick, and we continue to turn the diamond of an answered prayer in order to see more facets when the Light touches them.


Now I stand with the diamond in hand—His answer to our prayers. I stand in the aftermath of hope. To say that a journey of hope can have an aftermath is fiercely accurate, as only one who has been on such a journey can know. What a mere day looks like after such a grueling journey; how small moments suddenly inflict enormous emotion; how a lifetime feels in the wake of crushing sorrow and miraculous graces intertwined—all are a part of the full experience of the aftermath.


There is more to an aftermath than a simple time of felt consequences left from the disaster that brings it about. Instead, it is more akin to a second growth from the season of pain, the harvest of our grief bringing about a second crop. The aftermath of hope is about wandering around in the rubble, finding the green mingled in with the char, picking up the pieces that aren’t burned or completely shattered, and finding in the new growth a collection of new ideas, new vision, new character, and a new, more certain hope.


And whether from talent or compulsion of the soul, there is great value in recording the gentle whispers and hard-learned faith lessons that make up the aftermath, springing up like tender shoots of vivid green grass through the contrasting blackened dry soot. These are my blades of grass, the lessons in the aftermath, told with the heart of an explorer fresh from the adventure, brimming with tales of terror and scars, of beauty and redemption.


The aftermath of hope. Hope in all its glory.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Desperate Hope by Candi Pearson-Shelton. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.


My Review

Wow - talk about a heart-felt journey! Candi, the author, walks us through much of the emotion and thought process resulting from her brother's battle for life and subsequent death at age 23.

She shares her brother Rick's story - he sounds like an amazing person even from a young age. And she shares her own and her family's story as they strived to make sense of what seemed contrary to their prayer request.

I've never gone through the pain she describes. But I can so relate to the way God creates beauty from pain - from things that we would never have asked for in our own will.

I also found the blog aspect of Rick's story inspiring - being a blogger myself, I've seen how lives can be touched through tragedy way beyond what you'd ever imagine through the power of the blog.

A sweet, inspiring, sometimes painful read; a look at God's purposes and plans.

80 comments:

Sandy Jay said...

I'd love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

I'm a follower.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

EVA SB said...

This looks interesting please count me in

EVA SB said...

I'm a follower

Marci said...

Sounds good. I love memoirs.
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

Julia said...

Please enter me. Sounds inspiring.

Julia said...

I'm also a follower.

julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I follow with google reader.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

email subscriber

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Linda said...

Sounds like an inspiring book. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I;m an email subscriber.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Benita said...

The first chapter sounds so poetic. I'd love to read this book.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot0com

Benita said...

Email subscriber/Follower via GFC.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Marci said...

I love memoirs! Please count me in.
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

Marci said...

I'm a follower (june_spirit2628)

june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

Misusedinnocence said...

This sounds inspiring. I would like to read it. :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I follow.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Bcteagirl said...

Wow, I love the opening, it sounds so poetic. Thank you for this contest!
teagirl1 at telus dot net

Bcteagirl said...

I follow via google friend connect!

Lady Araujo said...

This book sounds great. Please, enter me.
marthanadnny(at)hotmail(dot)com

Lady Araujo said...

I follow you

marthanadnny(at)hotmail(dot)com

Cheryl B said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me.
cln1812(at)gmail(dot)com

Cheryl B said...

I'm a follower & email subscriber:
cln1812(at)gmail(dot)com

wmmahaney said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. My husband would also be interested in this one.
wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

wmmahaney said...

I subscribe in Google REader
wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Wanda said...

I subscribe via Google Reader. I am also a follower of your blog.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

please count me in...thanks :)

karenk
kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)Com

Anonymous said...

i'm a subscriber :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds fantastic.
trishbazin@yahoo.com

Heather said...

I'd love to read this!

Heather said...

Blog follower!

Renee G said...

Would love to read this.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

Please enter me

Anonymous said...

HORTON111@AOL.COM

THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD BOOK TO READ WHEN WE ARE DOWN...ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ARE ALMOST AT THE END OF A LONG, LONG, SNOWY DREARY WINTER

mverno said...

sounds like captivating reading love a copy

ryleesgran said...

I like to red books that inspire me

McKim said...

I would love to read this book.

Jenndiggy said...

I would absolutely LOVE to read this. Please enter me.

jenndiggy at gmail dot com

Jenndiggy said...

I follow google connect.

jenndiggy at gmail dot com

snowluvnferret said...

This looks like a good read. Thanks

J. Cannon said...

Sounds like a great book to read! Please count me in!

David Johnson said...

Please count me in, thanks.

Faither said...

Always find it interesting, that as people of faith, we see or experience events that appear or are painful to us, then rather than praising God, we despair in the difficulty.

Katrina said...

would love to win, my granny would love it

ykatrina at hotmail dot com

AmandaSue said...

Kinda sounds like a sad book, but also a good book. Thanks for entering me into the giveaway.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

AmandaSue said...

I'm a new follower thanks.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Enter me please

jim.coyne2@verizon.net

Melissa B. said...

This sounds like a book that will really make you think.

Anonymous said...

Would be interested in finding out how she overcame her despair.
marc74@inbox.com

Anonymous said...

Also an email subscriber.
marc74@inbox.com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a heartfelt book.
shawnac68@hotmail.com

Jessica said...

I bet it's an emotional read, would love to have it.

PaintedPony17@yahoo.com

Nickolay said...

Another great book to read!

jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

Nickolay said...

Follower

Nickolay

jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

SeahorseLady said...

This sounds like a moving book. Faith is the only thing that has helped with despair in my life.

SeahorseLady said...

I follow.

Laura said...

This book sounds so good and one which would really touch your heart and soul.

Laura said...

email subscriber

Anonymous said...

For my neighbor!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

vmkids said...

Would love to win this one

Linda Kish said...

I'd love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Hotsnotty2 said...

I'd love to read this, thanks for the chance!

Hotsnotty2@hotmail.com

snytar said...

Looks good. snytar@netscape.net

Gianna said...

Please enter me :)

naynays1 said...

Sounds like an inspiring book.

mightynaynay(at)cs.com

kathy pease said...

Thank you for the Great giveaway please count me in :)

kathy pease said...

following your blog as klp1965

giggling kids said...

I would love to read this!
heatherstamper09@aol.com

Melanie said...

Im not a religious person, but Im extremely spiritual so I'd love to read this.



clarkmurdock@yahoo.com

LindsayC said...

I would love to win this

LindsayC said...

I follow your blog

Anonymous said...

This would be a great gift for my mother in law.

teacherlinz at yahoo dot com

purango said...

This sounds like a great book. I would love to win it. garrettsambo@aol.com

christy said...

sounds really good! Please enter me.

John Deal said...

This sounds like some food for thought. AztecFeller@aol.com

Nancye said...

This book is just what I need. Hope. In my current situation I need as much help as I can get in the area of hope.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net