God is Just Not Fair, Book Review

God is Just Not Fair, Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
by Jennifer Rothschild

Jennifer Rothschild tackles the hard questions in her book, God is Just Not Fair, and it’s a beautifully vulnerable and powerful read.  Blind at the age of 15, she’s no stranger to struggles and the need to overcome.  But at age 40, she faced a bout of depression that challenged her faith in a new way.  So she writes about doubting God–His existence, His presence, and His love– from a personal and Scriptural perspective and tells about how God walked her through that season of a new kind of darkness.Godisnotfair

The book is divided into six main parts, each covering a different question like: Are you fair, do you err, do you hear prayer, do you care, are you aware, and are you there?  Each section is further divided into short, easy-to-read chapters.

In the tradition of David, Asaph, Job, Habakkuk and others in Scripture, she is willing to be honest about how life is hard sometimes and it’s difficult to have that faith and trust God despite the circumstances.  It’s not easy to cling to the truth of God’s Word.  But the title of the book itself is powerful.  No, God isn’t “fair,” not in the way we usually mean that.  We think that means that God has to treat us all the same.  After all, if God were “Fair,” we’d receive the punishment and judgment we really deserve instead of His amazing grace.  Instead of being “fair,” God is “Just.”  He is right and true and always brings beauty out of the dustiest pile of ashes.

She covered many of the most-beloved and well-worn Biblical accounts in this book, but even the long-term Christians will probably learn something new.  I did!

One of my favorite sections of the book was her story of being the guest speaker at a church that taught that everyone who has faith gets healed, and Christians are all blessed and happy all the time and if they aren’t, something is wrong with them.  She spoke the truth they didn’t want to hear, but that Jesus Himself told us, “In this world, you will have trouble…but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Fingerprints of God Online Bible Study Week 6

Welcome back to the Womens Bible Cafe as we complete our Fingerprints of God bible study by Jennifer Rothschild. We’ve finished reading all six weeks and our study ends today as we examine how we’re shaped by God’s hand. We looked at many scripture verses this week- more than 60 in just one week! If the study went too fast for you then take some time over the summer and look back at the scripture verses. Find a few favorites, write them down and memorize them. Plant them into your heart.

Our lesson this week started with a personal testimony of Jennifer saying “I resented being characterized by my blindness because my blindness does not define me. I embrace my blindness because it refines me. God has permitted this hardship in my life.” These powerful words caused me to examine my own “labels” and how I need to keep them in alignment with God’s will. While my nephew has been diabetic since he was 2 years old, I know he wants to be defined for his achievements in skateboarding at 12 years old. His illness does not define Noah, his personal interests and activities do.

As women we can choose to define ourselves with these labels- rape, promiscuity, addictions, abortions, affairs, abuse, mother of special needs child, wife of abusive husband, cancer survivor. In reality, the only label we should wear is Daughter of the King. You are an heiress in Christ, and as such, you will go through trials. Being His daughter does not guarantee a risk free, happy and perfect life on earth. It guarantees eternal life and purpose as you walk inside God’s will. Jennifer asks “What are you willing to accept in your life to be a living miracle?” My reply: God’s will for me.

We learned about the four identities called flippant fatalist, frail fainter, faithful follower, and fruitful finisher. At the end of the lesson Jennifer invites us to be a “canvas for His glory.” Never think that you are so small or too broken for His purpose. If you surrender your life to God then He will reveal you as is masterpiece.

My version of Hebrews 12:7- Christine endures difficult relationships, for through it the LORD is visible and present- and He sees her and is always near.

Prayer Requests

Our Prayer Wall is the place to reach out with your prayer needs and praise reports. Please visit the page and pray for those people who are asking for you to lift them up in prayer.

Homework For Next Week

Group Discussion- answer one or as many questions as you like by posting a comment below

  1. How do you experience God’s comfort during a refining fire? (page 90 )
  2. Share your own version of Hebrews12:7 from page 96 in the book.
  3. What are you willing to accept in your life to be a living miracle?
  4. Are you a flippant fatalist, frail fainter, faithful follower or fruitful finisher?
  5. Would you recommend this study for a friend? Why or why not?

 

Fingerprints of God Online Bible Study Week 5

Welcome back to womens online bible study as we study Fingerprints of God by Jennifer Rothschild. We’ve finished reading week five and we have one week of study remaining. This week we learned about the hand that guide us. We started the week exploring the concept of darkness and light as it relates to God. Jennifer presented us with some great scripture verses along with common cliches for dark and light. It was an interesting and fun method of learning!

Next we took a quick look at Jonah the reluctant prophet and the consequences of not following God’s will. On page 76 in the book we completed a chart of action words comparing the story of Jonah with our story related to God. You may have written  “God said for Jonah to go to Nineveah, Jonah ran away, God sent a storm, Jonah was thrown overboard and God sent a fish to swallow him for three days.” Jonah was given a second chance to follow God’s command as the story continues. In your own life, you may have written “God wants my heart, I sinned, God punishes, I’m complacent, God shows mercy.” Jennifer reminds us that our story ends with mercy.

As we completed our study this week we learned from Jennifer that “Jonah’s rebellion, Manassehs’ rejection and Nebuchadnezzer’s pride fling them into darkness.” Knowing this, you are encouraged to examine your own history and see if there are any areas of a prideful past still lingering inside your heart. We learned the best cure for pride is humility.

 

Prayer Requests

Our Prayer Wall is the place to reach out with your prayer needs and praise reports. Please visit the page and pray for those people who are asking for you to lift them up in prayer.

Homework For Next Week

  • Read Week Six  in your book.
  • Watch  Video Session Six (optional due to cost) The video answers are in the back of your book in the “leaders guide”
  • Optional: Join us  on Monday’s at 6:00 PST/ 9:00 EST in a Facebook “live” chat hosted by Lakecia and some of your small group leaders. This is optional because of the many time zones and not everyone uses Facebook. To join the group -click here.
  • Check in with your Small Group Leader.

Group Discussion- answer one or as many questions as you like by posting a comment below

  1. How can we identify when we’re walking in the light or walking in the darkness?
  2. How would you advise someone in this bible study to practice humility? What are some examples from your own life or something you’ve seen in others?
  3. How can you sprinkle light into areas of darkness?
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

 

Fingerprints of God Online Bible Study Week 4

Welcome back to womens online bible study as we study Fingerprints of God by Jennifer Rothschild. We’ve just finished reading week four and we have two weeks remaining in this bible study. Make sure to order your book for Nehemiah as they often sell out when Beth Moore leads a summer bible study. To register for the summer bible study- click here.

Image from Pastor Ray Noah's Blog

This week we studied “our relationship with God from three perspectives. He is our eternal security, our city of refuge and the immovable rock,” writes Jennifer Rothschild. We started the week with a lesson on hiding in Him and the exercise with the three envelopes. On page 59 in the book Jennifer uses ten words to describe a storm in your life:

  • Thunderstorm
  • Tidal wave
  • Flood
  • Downpour
  • Tornado
  • Windstorm
  • Earthquake
  • Black Cloud
  • Hurricane
  • Volcano

During the exercise which followed, I wrote “My storm is like an earthquake because once it was over, I rebuilt my spiritual foundation for life, making it stronger that it was before the shaking. The earthquake was a positive experience because it revealed weakness in my foundation.”  I then reflected on my earthquake kit and how I spent time preparing and storing provisions for an emergency here in California. The earthquake kit didn’t just appear in my closet one day…I had to plan, shop and fill the closet with necessary items. To survive a storm in life- such as illness, death, financial loss-we need to have a plan based on scripture and God’s word. We need to fill our minds with scripture so when the storm arrives, we’re mentally prepared and equipped.

We saw how Jesus rebuked the storm in Mark 4 and you may recall from reading the book Fearless by Max Lucado or The Invisible War by Chip Ingram that this storm had elements of spiritual warfare. The demons knew Jesus was arriving to toss them into a herd of pigs, so they created a diversion and distraction of fear. Jesus did not respond to the storm or demons with fear, instead He responded with authority and trust in God. We turn to the Rock of strength for our protection and safety in our storms.

We learned from Jennifer that “God has given us a great wall of protection in the form of self-control” and then examined areas of life where we might lack control. Spend some time this week asking the Holy Spirit to convict you about any areas you might lack control. Rather than work on all areas at once, select one and make a commitment to work on controlling this area of your life during the summer. You can always find support from other women on Facebook or send me a private message.

As I was writing this post I searched for images of storms and clicked the first one that caught my attention. What a delight to find the image was from the former pastor at my kids Christian school! Pastor Noah wrote an article called Storms Happen and you can read it when you- click here. The image reminds me of the time we’ve watched a massive storm outside as my 10 year old daughter Katy sat inside the house singing “My God is Mighty to Save” from Hillsong.  You can listen to the song on YouTube when you -click here.

Prayer Requests

Our Prayer Wall is the place to reach out with your prayer needs and praise reports. Please visit the page and pray for those people who are asking for you to lift them up in prayer.

Homework For Next Week

  • Read Week Five  in your book.
  • Watch  Video Session Five (optional due to cost) The video answers are in the back of your book in the “leaders guide”
  • There is no live Facebook chat this week due to the US holiday on Monday
  • Check in with your Small Group Leader.

Group Discussion- answer one or as many questions as you like by posting a comment below

  1. Describe your storm from the exercise on page 59.
  2. Name an area of your life that you need more self-control. What is your plan to control this area of your life during the summer?
  3. Which lesson was most important to you this week- eternal city, city of refuge or immovable Rock- and how did it touch your heart this week?
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

 

Fingerprints of God Online Bible Study Week 3

Welcome back to womens online bible study as we study Fingerprints of God by Jennifer Rothschild. What another amazing week as we learned of His redeeming touch on our lives. My hope is that you connected the study with your personal life and realize that God’s touch applies to you…not just Jennifer Rothschild, women in ministry or someone you admire. His touch and His fingerprints are all over your life too!!

“Gotcha Day” on our first day of study was such a powerful message. I’ve always reminded myself of the day I became “His” and accepted the love of a Father for His daughter. I’d lost my way on a prodigal journey and the LORD carried me home on His shoulders just like a little lamb.  When I returned, God signed His name into my heart and I knew I was a Daughter of the King. As a member of His family, I will never let the enemy steal my joy again. We’re not orphaned because God abandoned us, we’re orphaned because in our sin we turned away from God.

This week in bible study I was able to embrace my adoptive status and it just took my breath away! Did you have a similar experience when you recognized that you are chosen…handpicked by God? Are you able to look back at your “life before God” and see how far you’ve come under His parenting style? Jesus said “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. ” John 15:16 NIV

On page 47 in the workbook Jennifer Rothschild asked us to write a job description for ideal parents. Here’s what I wrote:

Perfect parents wanted. Must be flexible and patient, willing to listen with a loving heart. Must be available 24 hours day or night, attentive to the needs of your children. Requires skills of teaching, healing, mending, cleaning, directing and guiding.

For fun, I rewrote it to describe God. Here’s how it looks now:

Perfect Father arrived. God is flexible and patient, willing to listen to His daughter with a loving heart. God is available 24 hours day or night via the Holy Spirit and through prayer. He is attentive to my every need. He has the skills of teaching me His will, healing my past sins, mending my relationships, cleaning my emotional wounds, directing me into Christ-like behaviors and guiding my daily decisions. Others need not apply!

How can we not express our gratitude to the LORD for His amazing love! We’re often too distracted to notice the small things in life, simple pleasures from above. This week I hope you’ll take Jennifer’s advice and give thanks to God. One of my favorite books is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp as she shares her own journey of thankfulness. She writes

Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks –from known to unknown- and know: He holds. Ann Voskamp

Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on. Ann Voskamp

Prayer Requests

Our Prayer Wall is the place to reach out with your prayer needs and praise reports. Please visit the page and pray for those people who are asking for you to lift them up in prayer.

Homework For Next Week

  • Read Week Four  in your book.
  • Watch  Video Session Four (optional due to cost) The video answers are in the back of your book in the “leaders guide”
  • Optional: Join us  on Monday’s at 6:00 PST/ 9:00 EST in a Facebook “live” chat hosted by Lakecia and some of your small group leaders. This is optional because of the many time zones and not everyone uses Facebook. To join the group -click here.
  • Check in with your Small Group Leader.

Group Discussion- answer one or as many questions as you like by posting a comment below

  1. Share your own story of “Gotcha Day.”
  2. Share your job description and if you want, rewrite it as you see God’s role in your life.
  3. What can you do to express gratitude this week?
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.