Friday, March 30, 2012

Quote from Francis Frangipane

“Maturity starts as we break the cycle of seeking God only during hardship; holiness begins the moment we seek God for Himself.”

~Francis Frangipane

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter From A Friend

"I am writing to say how much I care for you and to say how much I want you to know me better.

When you awoke this morning  I exploded a brilliant sunrise through your window hoping to get your attention, but you rushed off without even noticing.

Later, I noticed you were walking with some friends, so I bathed you in warm sunshine and perfumed the air with nature's sweet scent, and still you didn't notice me. As you passed by, I shouted to you in a thunderstorm and painted a beautiful rainbow in the sky and you didn't even look.

In the evening, I spilled moonlight onto your face and sent a cool breeze to rest you. As you slept, I watched over you and shared your thoughts, but you were unaware that I was so near.

I have chosen you and hope you will talk to me soon. Until then I will remain near. I am your friend and love you very much.

Your Friend,
Jesus "

~Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Creative Family Prayer Times

Creative Family Prayer Times
(52 Fun Ways to Pray Together)
By: Mike and Amy Nappa

Best For:  Families that want to have fun praying together, moms who would like to include it in their devotions or Bible time, Sunday School teachers who would appreciate a lesson or theme on prayer for their class

Overview: Mike and Amy Nappa do a wonderful job organizing and presenting a handful of  ideas for praying with your family and/or kids. The book covers an extensive list of daily prayer activities, as well as weekly, monthly, yearly and special occasion ideas. There's even a monthly prayer calendar at the back of the book with something to pray for each day of the month.

Application: We have done a few of the activities described in this book as a family, after dinner on different nights.

M&M Prayer Time
This is a treat! 
  • After dinner we put the M&Ms in a bowl and passed it around without telling the kids what they were for, except NOT TO EAT the small handful they were allowed to take!  
  •  We laid out the cards on the kitchen table and explained each color represented a group of people we were going to pray for. 
  • They could pray for whoever came to their mind in that category. 
  • We prayed through one color at a time. 
  • At the end of their prayers for that color, then they could eat them.
  • We continued until we were all done. 
*Sidenote: start out with a "small" handful...could take a very long time if you don't!

Ever played 4 corners in school?
The object of this activity is to learn the four areas we should include in our personal prayer time. 
  • We set up four different pieces of paper that are properly labeled in each corner of a room. 
  • We explained to everyone what each corner represents and what we were doing in each corner. 
  • We divided up and went to the different corners. 
  • We set the timer for how long we wanted to pray in that corner (I suggest keeping it the same for them all). 
  • We hit the start button and began praying!
  • We rotated until we had all gone to each corner.
  •  We talked about what they experienced in each of the corners and which one they liked best.
Thoughts: We all had a fun time with these activities. My husband and kids really liked them. I believe this book helps me pray with my children. Prayer is a blessing and privilege. My goal is to make it special with my kids and at their level. Hopefully my kids will remember the 4 areas of prayer when they play four corners at church or with their friends. Hopefully my kids will remember there are other people to pray for besides our family and themselves each time they see a pack of M&Ms. I love to hear my children pray-that really blesses me as their mom!

I want more practical reminders to pray with my kids. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quote from Ruth Bell Graham

"As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible."
            ~Ruth Bell Graham

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quote from John Maxwell

"I may not be able to change the world I see around me, but I can change the way I see the world within me."
           ~John Maxwell

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quote from Barbara Johnson

"Attitude is the mind's paintbrush; it can color any situation."
                      ~Barbara Johnson

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Inspirational Poem by Unknown Confederate Soldier

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Written by: Unknown Confederate Soldier, aka The Creed for the Disabled

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: Experiencing God as Your Provider

Experiencing God as Your Provider
By Brian Kluth

Best For:  This book is a must read for every Christian believer. I highly recommend it!  I suggest women read it because we give every day in many ways. In addition, we also can greatly affect the decisions our husbands make on our family’s behalf.

Overview:   In this book, Brian Kluth goes to great depths to detail God’s perspective on provision, finances, and generosity. He separates the book into three parts:  “recognize God’s provision,” “receive God’s principles”, and lastly “respond to God’s plan.”  Right in the very introduction he brings a challenge that there are about “2,350 verses in the Bible on these subjects that affect our lives every day”. Kluth goes right to the heart when he shares that “studies would show that Americans (including Christians) have built their lives on consumerism more that contentment, greed more that prudence, leisure more than labor, and debt more than diligent savings.” The truth hurts sometimes!
            Author, Brian Kluth, describes numerous true stories and testimonies of people putting God to the test with their money because as he so accurately reveals that we are simply just stewards or managers of the money that comes to us-not owners. He encourages giving first to God, living debt free, saving, being generous, and investing in eternity. There are so many valuable and wise words written in this book, it is very difficult for me to not write it ALL down in this review.

Few Quotes:
“Transfer ownership of all we are and all we will ever have back to God… once we do this, we become managers and stewards of whatever God entrusts to us to utilize in the various seasons of our lives.”

“We need to learn to be Jesus with skin on. We need to be the answer to someone’s need and prayer. Not only should we learn to receive from God, but we also need to learn how to be God’s agent of blessing for someone else...whether it’s by your time, efforts, resources or whatever”

 “How we handle money is a leading spiritual indicator of our faith. If we hold tightly to ‘our’ money, it’s a clear sign of spiritual trouble.”

Application:  I was personally challenged by a true story he told about a time when he pastored a church and shared with his congregation Isaiah 45:3 from the Bible:, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name am the God of Israel.” He was telling the people that money comes into our hands from unknown sources that we don’t know about or expect, and the key is that we must seek God about that for what is His purpose for it? Kluth was asking his church to be sensitive to God if they get money in the following ninety days; they had a deadline to purchase a massive new church building worth 2.2 million for only $500,000. One man was irate the pastor (Kluth) said these things and this scripture from Isaiah. He told Kluth how he felt after church. The next day he was at work and was called upstairs into the office, which always meant you were getting fired. The boss handed him an envelope and inside was a five hundred dollar bonus! In all the years he’d worked there he had never heard of them doing this. When he walked back to his work area the Bible verse Kluth shared at church came to his mind and God touched his heart. He knew what had just happened was like the Bible said, it was true. He signed over the whole check to the church.       
Honestly, I had never heard this scripture before and was quite jealous of this man’s experience. I wanted something that blatant to happen to my husband and me! I had been reading this book and so challenged in my giving that I asked my husband if we could give some money to someone because I knew that person was in great need. He quickly agreed and we gave it. About eleven days later we received a check in the mail that we had NO idea about- a refund check from a property closure many years ago! It happened to us! We knew right away this was like that Scripture in Isaiah and prayed what God would have us to do. We tithed on it and waited what God would have us do. Then an urgent need came to our attention that we were able to help out with. Looking back we can see that check was definitely for that purpose it got used for. We are so thankful we asked God what to do and did not spend it all right away. Also, I want to give a testimony and thank God because since this time my husband has received an increase in his pay at work (he works another job besides being the pastor of a church).

My Thoughts:  This book is a reference point in my life in the area of giving and being generous.  Author Kluth challenges people to be “open handed in a tight fisted world”…which happens to be the title to another one of his books.  I really believe that as my husband's wife, I can greatly influence our financial decisions for good or bad. My husband wants to hear my opinion on matters before he decides. My attitude and heart can affect many things-one of the main areas being money (how it is spent, how it is saved, how it is given). I’m so thankful my husband desires to give to God and others. 

 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
 ~ Psalm 1 from the Bible

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quote from J.A. Bengal

"Gentle (or meek) has to do with the condition of the mind and the heart, and Quiet has to do with a tranquility arising from within, causing no disturbance to others."
                        J.A. Bengal

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quote from Augustine

"There can only be two basic loves, the love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self unto the forgetfulness and denial of God."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paradoxical Commandments

 "People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish motives.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest anyway.
The biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may turn against you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway."

~The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith, 1968

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quote St. Francis of Assisi

"Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall enjoy everything."
                             ~ St. Francis of Assisi


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review: The Time of Your Life

The Time of Your Life
(Finding God’s Rest in Your Busy Schedule)
By: Susie Davis

Best For:  Women that would like to hand over control of their time over to God and to recognize their rest comes from being with God and doing what He says.

Overview:  In the introduction of the book, the author quickly states that “this is not fundamentally a self-help, ‘get organized’ book.” I agree with Davis, the book is designed to make you think about time through God’s eyes. Do we allow him to direct our time and order our days? Davis is personal; she begins each chapter with an illustration, mostly from her own life. I love the end of each chapter where Susie Davis calls for a “Time Out” offering challenging questions to think about.  For example, “If a casual acquaintance could peer into your life, who or what would they identify as the driving focus of your life?” Davis encourages the reader to do a self examination of our personal “Time Traps”-- issues of our hearts.

Few Quotes:
“Simply put, all time belongs to Him. He lends each of us an allotted amount of time for our use, but our time is ours only to use, not to own. And we’re responsible to the Creator of time for how we treat His gift.”

 “We may think we need more time for ourselves. But what we really need is time with the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.”

“God says rest, and I do everything but. Why? I believe it has to do with the fact that people have a fallen nature that rails against authority. In this case we rebel against a heavenly Father who has our best interest in mind. We think we know better than He does, and we want to do things our way. It’s our time, remember? So we keep on going, driven by the clock, by the expectations of others, and by our own desires, racing along at someone else’s speed other than God’s.”

“The truth is, ‘time deprivation’ is a lie. It’s what I playfully call a stupid Satan trick…Not one of us on this grand green earth is deprived of time. And not one of us can control time either. Each day each of us is given the same twenty-four hours. It’s our choices that limit us, not our time. The insidious thing about time-deprivation thinking is that it implies God has somehow cheated us out of our capacity to be our best. He has handicapped us by giving us too much to do and too little time to do it in.”

Application:  As I went about my day, I began assessing my time and how I spent it. I looked to see if my priorities matched the time I spent on them. I’ve tried to be conscious of the little interruptions-as I call them-in my day.   I have tried to take the extra time to be kind to someone, listen to them, or pray for them.  When my daughter asks me to hold her, I’ve tried to seize the moment and put down what work I’m doing (that I perceive as important) to cherish a tender moment with my child. I’ve made time to be still before God, draw near to Him and be quiet before Him.
Davis talks about observing the Sabbath and resting. I chuckled when I read that she has had the no laundry rule on Sundays because so do I. I don’t work an outside job, but one of my main jobs at home is keeping up the laundry. I decided about five years ago that I would abstain from doing laundry (and all other housework unless there’s an emergency) on Sundays.  It has brought me tremendous freedom and definitely a measure of rest to live this out, although sometimes I’m tempted! When I implemented this on Sundays, I’ve found that I have a lot more creativity to where I can’t even take a nap; and I’m free to hear God’s voice and what He would show me.

My Thoughts: I came away with the absolute fact, the hard truth, the simple revelation that time is not my own. I don’t own it. Susie Davis does a very thorough job covering the issue of time and remembering that it is a heart issue, not a clock issue. I must seek Him every day for His will, casting aside every trap that would rob me of things possessing eternal value. Can I really ever say I’m too busy for God? I hope not. God has so many things planned for those that will seek Him. We will truly be having the time of our lives if we seek and serve Him!


Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days,  that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quote from Ann Spangler

"Disappointment is nothing but a premature conclusion, causing you to stop reading before the story's end, making you abandon your hope in God, and enfeebling your ability to pray."
                               ~Ann Spangler

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How 10 Year Olds See Grownups

"When the 10-year-olds in Mrs. Imogene Frost's class at the Brookside, N.J. Community Sunday School expressed their views of "What's wrong with grownups?" they came up with these complaints:

1. Grownups make promises, then they forget all about them, or else they say it wasn't really a promise, just a maybe.
2. Grownups don't do the things they're always telling the children to do--like pick up their things, or be neat, or always tell the truth.
3. Grownups never really listen to what children have to say. They always decide ahead of time what they're going to answer.
4. Grownups make mistakes, but they won't admit them. They always pretend that they weren't mistakes at all--or that somebody else made them.
5. Grownups interrupt children all the time and think nothing of it. If a child interrupts a grownup, he gets a scolding or something worse.
6. Grownups never understand how much children want a certain thing--a certain color or shape or size. If it's something they don't admire--even if the children have spent their own money for it--they always say, "I can't imagine what you want with that old thing!"
7. Sometimes grownups punish children unfairly. It isn't right if you've done just some little thing wrong and grownups take away something that means an awful lot to you. Other times you can do something really bad and they say they're going to punish you, but they don't. You never know, and you ought to know.
8. Grownups are always talking about what they did and what they knew when they were 10 years old--but they never try to think what it's like to be 10 years old right now."

J.A. Petersen, ed., For Families Only, Tyndale, 1977, p. 253.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quote Barbara Hughes

"In 1810 the soon-to-be wife of Adoniram Judson penned these words: 'If nothing in providence appears to prevent, I must spend my days in a heathen land. I am a creature of God, and he has an undoubted right to do with me as seems good in his sight...He has my heart in his hands...I care not where I perform his work, nor how hard it be. Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' "
                     ~Taken from Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Review: Teach Them Diligently

 Teach Them Diligently
(How to use the Scriptures in child training) By Lou Priolo

Best For:   All parents who desire to train their kids, pointing to God and His Word, the Bible as the ultimate authority and standard to live our lives by.

Overview:  One of the most foundational parenting books in my opinion. It is more like a manual or reference book; the book is intended to teach the parent. The author gives insight into how to use the Scriptures in the Bible to teach, convict, correct and train your children. It is not an easy task, but an important one. As Priolo states, “It takes time to develop parenting skills. It takes time to drop whatever you may be doing and pick up your Bible to teach, convict, correct, or instruct your children-time that you would perhaps prefer to spend doing something else.” The author goes through the first four chapters defining and explaining what these four areas mean and how to apply Scripture in them. It’s very helpful how he also includes at the end of Chapter one some practical advice on teaching your kids Bible Scriptures. The appendix at the end of the book on Scripture texts for what the Bible says according to specific issues is extremely helpful. I also, really love the page after that on, “Questions that bring conviction…” how to ask the right questions that get to the heart.  In addition, the last chapter, “learning to use life’s instruction manual” is a great resource for applying Scripture to everyday situations.

Few Quotes:
“Communication involves more than just finding and using the right words (cf. Prov. 16:24). It also involves selecting an appropriate tone of voice (cf. Prov. 16:21) and non-verbal forms of communication (cf. Acts 12:17).”
In regards to memorizing Scriptures “Remember, this is a spiritual discipline. And the greatest enemy to discipline is your feelings. Keep in mind also that when a person memorizes just one verse of Scripture, he memorizes one element of God’s thinking. But when he internalizes an entire paragraph or chapter of the Bible, he memorizes God’s thought patterns.”
“Let’s take, for example, the biblical command to ‘Do everything without complaining or arguing’ (Phil. 2:14, NIV). Your task is to teach your child not only the meaning of the words arguing and complaining, but also how to apply it to a variety of situations that might occur in his everyday life.
·         ‘You may not argue or complain when you don’t like your breakfast.’
·         ‘You may not argue or complain when you have to stop playing.’
·         ‘You may not argue or complain when you are told to go to bed.’
·         ‘You may not argue or complain when you are told to do your homework.’
·         ‘You may not argue or complain when your will conflicts with the Lord’s.’ “

Application:   First of all I have been challenged to know and memorize God’s Word. I have tried to implement the strategies in this book each time I go to correct one of my children or get to the heart of a situation they have with one of their siblings.   I tell them a scripture in the Bible that deals with that specifically, or simply ask, “What does the Bible say about that?” For example, one of my kids does something that is in disobedience to what I have told him. I will ask, “Do you know what the Bible says about disobeying mommy?” They say “No”. I tell them it says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). I may ask them, “Do you want to obey God and what the Bible says?” And I pray they answer “Yes!”  If not, we go from there. The other day we were sitting at the dinner table eating and Allie wanted Rob to get her a cup from the cupboard and fill it with water. She notified him that “the Bible says to be nice and share” hoping that would motivate him to do what she wanted. She didn't quote Scripture, but a close Scripture reference to that situation is Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” But, I was so encouraged that she’s at least thinking about what the Bible says in a given situation. I believe it is in part because we as her parents talk to her referring to the Bible. It works!

My thoughts:   I think that with any child training book, it is never too late to start trying! I didn’t start this method as soon as I started disciplining and training my kids, but I’m glad I started while they were still young. One of my personal goal as a parent is that I can lead my children to God, point them to Him in every situation and decision, that they know their ultimate authority in everything is not mom and dad, but God Himself. They will leave home one day, and I desire they won’t live based on what I think and say, but on what God says. Yes, I want them to honor and respect me and my husband as their parents, but I want my children to fear and respect the Lord above all else. This book is a tremendous resource for child training and explaining words we use often in regards to it. I think even if your kids are grown this is a great approach to take when talking to them about life, decisions, relationships, etc…asking “What does the Bible say about it?” It is our manual in life…Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth! 

“And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  ~Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quote from Jean Vanier

"Love is to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves."
                             ~ Jean Vanier

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