Book Review: Dreaming the Dream: 8 Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith, and Dreams by Multiple Authors

Dreaming The Dream Book Cover

Book Review: Dreaming the Dream: 8 Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith, and Dreams by Multiple Authors
Written by Felicia McKnight
7/6/2016

Dreaming the Dream is a collection of 8 Inspirational stories by 8 different authors on their journey to accomplishing their dreams. Each author has a different message of hope, encouragement and a testimony of their journey to accomplishing their dreams.

Author, Shawneya Ellis, reminds readers that negative thoughts can kill our dreams. We have to have faith in God’s word to detoxify the negative thoughts that hinder us from pursuing our dreams.

Author, Romella Vaughn, encourages readers to trust God and wait on instruction from Him concerning the assignments He has for us. Waiting is a time for self-evaluation and spiritual and emotional healing. As we wait God will guide us every step of the way along our journey.

Author, Kishma George, shared her testimony of how God protected her in the area of relationships, so she could fulfill her God given destiny. She did not let her desire for marriage get in the way or put her dreams on hold. Kishma pursued her dreams as a single woman and continues to have faith that God will still bless her with her mate.

Author, Pippa Ashley, encourages those looking and hoping for love that we will indeed find it.

Author, Dr. Yomi Garnett, shares how to never stop dreaming and encourages readers not to let past mistakes, mishaps, hurts, and failures hinder you from your future. He encourages us to turn our negatives into a positive.

Author, Rodney Davis, speaks on the barren womb which is a place of failure, unfruitfulness, setbacks and hopelessness. He shares what He learned from his own place of barrenness. Barren womb dreams are the opportunity for us to operate in perseverance faith. We are to remain in a place of faith that no matter the circumstances dreams will come to pass.

Author, Tammy Collins Markee, gives us hope that there is a fire power dreamer in each of us. We have to remain positive and speak life to our dreams. We have to surround ourselves with individuals who will affirm us and encourage us along our journey.

Author, Trina Bowers, teaches us how loyalty brings promotion. Loyalty is standing with others through adversity and trials trusting by faith God will bring you out. It’s learning to stick things out in businesses and relationships. It is trusting that God is faithful. Trina uses the life of David and Ruth to show readers how we can be ushered into our destiny and God’s promises by remaining loyal.

These are some of the words of wisdom I took away as I read each chapter. Regardless of where you are in pursuing your dreams there is a word for you in this book. If you are in the initiating or planning phase, the phase where hope seems loss, the waiting phase, or the phase where things didn’t work out then a word of encouragement awaits you in the book. You may order a copy of the book on Amazon.com in paperback or kindle.

Dreaming The Dream Authors

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Book Review: Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life by Sarah Jakes

Lost & Found: Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life

Book Review: Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life by Sarah Jakes
Written by Felicia McKnight
10/31/2014

Sarah Jakes, daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes, has written the memoirs of her young life. She tells her journey of how she wanted a life of love and happiness. She struggled to connect with the church and with God by allowing Him to lead her to her destiny. Sarah Jakes set out on a self-directed journey. Instead of finding her way to a fairy tale lifestyle she found her way to several dark places.

As a teenager Sarah wanted love and a sense of belonging. She wanted someone to talk to but couldn’t find anyone she could relate to at the age thirteen with the issues she was dealing with. As she set off on her journey of finding hope she ended up in the wrong places. She found herself pregnant at thirteen, a mother at fourteen, didn’t complete college, rejected, settling for less than God’s best, and a marriage full of infidelity which ended in divorce.

As I read this book I was engaged in every page and encouraged, because it is a very transparent story that we don’t often see enough of in the church. As I read her story and her mishaps I was able to see some of my own mistakes that I’ve made along life’s journey. It’s amazing how things look when you are on the outside looking in yet you can totally relate. I found myself thinking at some of her story lines “I did the same thing or I’ve been in the same situation”, but thank God for a God of grace who can steer us to the right path.

As I reflect on Sarah’s story I think of so many of God’s children who look for love and acceptance everywhere except to God himself. We tend to look to people, relationships, drugs, alcohol, lifestyles, and poor choices all for love, acceptance, and validation when these are all things God has promised us through salvation. When we stray from God He gives us plenty of warnings and open doors to get on to the right path. We often can get so caught up that we miss God in his multiple attempts of deliverance. We continue to make mistake after mistake and wrong choice after wrong choice. I’ve learned in my own life and in the observation of others that we cannot receive complete deliverance until we want it for ourselves. People can fast, pray, encourage, and lecture us until they are blue in the face, but nothing will happen until your own mind is made up that you want change. The first step to God’s grace is realizing when you’ve had enough of things going wrong and enough rock bottoms. It’s when you realize that you can’t live a life of self-sufficiency, but you need the guidance and power of an all sufficient God. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom or stripping us to nothing for God to get our complete and total attention so that He can lead us back on the path He has in store.

This is where grace comes in. Before we can receive God’s grace we first have to admit that we’ve messed up and that we are in such a low place that God is the only one who can bring us out. We have to acknowledge our faults to God. The wonderful thing about God is He was there all along patiently waiting for us to return to Him. God is a God of restoration and He can restore the souls and the lives of His children. Sarah Jakes who found herself in several places of darkness is now sharing her redemptive story not only in this book, but in various speaking engagements and platforms across this nation.

• If you have ever been so lost that you tried to find your way instead of relying on God….
• If you ever allowed yourself to be mistreated by someone and mistook it for love….
• If you have ever reflected on the mistakes you have made and wondered if life could ever be better…
• If you ever wondered who you would have been if you would have made better lifestyle choices or career choices…
• If you have ever wondered if your destiny was blocked by your poor choices….

Then this book is for you. Sarah Jakes experienced all of these but now she is a living testimony that if you will yield yourself and surrender to God and allow Him to perform His perfect will in your life, then you can receive all the wonderful things He has in store. Your mistakes are not in vain. God can turn your mess into a miracle. He can turn your mishaps into a testimony that can help others overcome and lead them to a place of hope, restoration, and destiny. We have all had places in life where we have been lost, but there is a redemptive place to be found. God is just waiting for us to turn and surrender ALL to Him.

Thank you Sarah Jakes for being transparent and sharing your story! Be Blessed and Encouraged on today.

A Return to Destiny

Luke 15:17 NIV
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!

A Return to Destiny
This past weekend I decided to have a relaxing day that consisted of a marathon of one of my favorite childhood sitcoms “A Different World”. I watch re-run after re-run and I can’t seem to get enough of the love story of Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert. They started off as college friends, but as destiny would have it that would later become husband and wife, however it wasn’t an easy route to get there. Their friendship began in college and lead to them dating. After graduation Whitley received a job offer out of state. Dwayne had some uncertainties about their long distance relationship, but as he was about to watch destiny board the train he realized she was the one and proposed. Later in the story as they were preparing for their engagement party Dwayne Wayne began having uncertainties again about his future with Whitley and strayed away by dating another woman. Whitley discovered Dwayne’s feelings and called the engagement off. Whitley was able to move on with her life, met a senator, Mr. Byron Douglas, fell in love, and they became engaged. This entire time Dwayne is still somewhat a part of Whitley’s life as he is on the campaign staff for the senator and he watches as his destiny gets away from him. On the day of the wedding Whitley prepared as normal. She walked down the aisle to meet her groom, Byron, but something happens. Dwayne is back home sick that his destiny is getting away from him. He comes to his senses and decides to attend the wedding. As the vows are being recited Whitley experiences some uncertainty. Dwayne steps in begging her to be his bride. She apologies to Byron, runs from the altar and destiny meets again. Now Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert are finally married as they were destined to be.

As I pondered on this love story I was drawn to the story of the Prodigal Son and how God is a God of second chances. When we stray away from our destiny God has a way of knocking us to our senses to get us to where He desires us to be. Sometimes it takes for us to hit rock bottom first, but God’s ultimate will shall come to pass.

The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) lived with his father. All of a sudden he decided he wanted his inheritance sooner rather than later. For whatever reason the father decided to give him the money. The Prodigal Son took off from the place that had all that he needed. I can imagine the father was hurt and possibly disappointed by his son’s actions but he still granted his son’s request. Scripture tells us the Prodigal Son went far from home, lived life on the wild side, and blew all of his money. He was broke. To make matters worse the country he moved to experienced a famine meaning there was a scarcity of food and he experienced starvation. Out of desperation he had to secure a job in the pigs pin, but was still unable to eat. The Prodigal Son was starving, lacking, and truly hit rock bottom.

How many of us have been like Dwayne Wayne or the Prodigal Son where we had what we needed in front of us or God has us in the right place, but we abandoned it either for our own self-satisfaction or our own uncertainties in life? Have you ever walked away from a marriage or a relationship only to find that after dating several people that person you walked away from was perfect for you? Have you ever been on a job and wanted to quit, you did quit, only finding that life unemployed was far worse than life on that job you left? Have you ever walked away from your family only to find no one else loves you unconditionally like they do? Have you ever dropped out of school only to find out that the degree program was the key to your future? In life we can walk away from some of the best blessings God has for us only to find out that everything of the world is not for us. As a parent I believe the father knew by giving his son the money in advance that things would not turn out like the Prodigal Son may have thought. As parents sometimes we have to let our children learn lessons the hard way which I believe this is why the father distributed the inheritance early. Likewise, our heavenly father knows that sometimes it takes a storm to get us on track. It takes for us to go into a world wind of confusion or to get knocked down in life for some of us to align with the plans God has for us.

In our focus scripture today, Luke 15:17, we find that the Prodigal Son “came to his senses”. After his rock bottom experience he realized he was starving to death in a foreign country, but in familiar territory his father had all that he needed. At his father’s house there was plenty of food and servants to serve the food. The Prodigal Son came to his senses and went back to where he was supposed to be. The parable teaches us that the father represents God and when we return to God He is a God of second chances. When we return to the father he loves us unconditionally and will still provide everything we need regardless of our faults. He is a forgiving God and only want’s what is best for His children.

The old saying is true “you miss a good thing once it’s gone.” In order for us to come to a place of common sense in our rock bottom experience we have to truly surrender to God and to His will for our lives. We must stay connected to our Lord and savior and rely on his plans for our life and not our plans. Often times circumstances seem strange to us and plans do not unfold as we desire them to, but God’s ways are higher than our ways and God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8) When we find ourselves in a place of uncertainty and not knowing what the future holds it’s important to seek God for the wisdom, knowledge, and guidance we need for us to make choices that would lead us to the Jeremiah 29:11 promises he has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us.

The beauty to the ending of the parable is before the Prodigal Son made it home his father spotted him from a distance and welcomed him back with loving arms and a celebration. The father immediately called out to the servants to bring a ring, a robe, sandals, and a fatted calf for his son. He already had everything waiting on his sons return before the son made it to the door step.

Our heavenly father is so awesome! We’ve all made mistakes and poor decisions in our life. We’ve found ourselves in a place of void knowing that surely God has more for us than where we are at right now. We may have disappointed and hurt some people as a result of our actions. God is so awesome that he is confident we will come to our senses. He already has everything we need and He is just waiting for us to return to where we are supposed to be. Today if you find yourself like Dwayne Wayne or the Prodigal Son, then I challenge you to seek God in your quiet time for clarity and direction so that you too can return to your destiny that is waiting for you and already prepared. Be blessed and be encouraged.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank you for loving us unconditionally. We thank you that you are a forgiving God and a God of another chance. Father, forgive us for the times we’ve gone astray from the plans you had for our lives. Forgive us when we made poor decisions in our places of uncertainty. Forgive us for hurting people in the process of our mess. There may be some people we have to apologize to. Give us the strength to apologize and soften the hearts for those individuals to forgive us. Lord, some of us recognize that we are in rock bottom circumstances right now. We recognize that surely you have more in store for us then this. We recognize there may be people we hurt in the process of our own mess and mishaps. Father we come asking you today for second chances and for you to return us to those places and/or people you desire us to be. Father as we surrender to you today and to your will we pray that the presence of your spirit would hover over us in a powerful way. Lord send forth the spirit of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel that we may know exactly where we are to be and what we are to do. Give us the strength and obedience to follow the plans you have for us and to walk away from our plans that do not line up with your will. Lord we know that whatever you have in store for us is better than anything we could try to do on our own. Help us just to trust you with our future knowing that your ways are always what’s best. We know that you are all powerful and nothing is too difficult for you to repair. We thank you that you are a God of restoration and ask that you would fix every area of our life that we have messed up. Thank you in advance and we ask these things in your precious son Jesus name. Amen.

~Written by Felicia McKnight~

P.S. As I was writing this Feevotional the song, “For Your Glory” by Tasha Cobbs truly ministered to my heart and I pray it will bless you as well. Click here to listen.