Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Women of the Word

I really enjoyed Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I read it in one day. It was powerful, challenging and encouraging. As Jen says in the beginning of the book, the goal of this book is "equipping women through Bible study."

Quotes from the book:
"We should study asking not just what a particular portion of Scripture wants to tell us, but how that portion of Scripture is telling us the Big Story of the Bible as a whole. Studying the Bible with purpose means keeping its overarching message in view at all times."

"The temptation to make the Bible applicable to our current experience without preserving its ties to its original audience is strong."

"Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord."

Jen Wilkins does an excellent job addressing the variety of ways that we approach reading/studying God's Word, and showing how they may be faulty. I appreciate her simple, and yet thorough approach to Bible Study. Jen is very clear about the five steps we should take when studying the Bible: purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer.

My Personal Thoughts:
It spoke to me the most that I should read the Bible to learn about who God is first, rather than trying to find something out about myself and who I am. She sums it up in this quote:

"Any study of the Bible that seeks to establish our identity without first proclaiming God's identity will render partial and limited help. We must turn around our habit of asking "Who am I?" We must first ask, "What does this passage teach me about God?" before we ask it to teach us anything about ourselves. We must acknowledge that the Bible is a book about God."

I felt really convicted when I read this. The strong pull of this world is to be narcissistic- to have everything revolve around self. I can see now that there is a temptation to allow our Bible study to become so self-focused, as well.

I now have a new perspective as I look forward to digging into God's Word and learning more about who He is!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Sunday Search

I really liked an idea that Karen presented in her book Making Sunday Special
She talked about "The Sunday Search". 

"The Sunday Search is a spiritual discipline designed in the form of a game with three rules. We go to church, anticipating, How will Christ speak to me? (rule one) and How will Christ speak through me? (rule two). Then We must talk about it (rule three)."

I love this idea because it encourages all of us in our family to have an expectation to hear from God, to be used of God, and accountability in sharing both of them together as a family. It's so easy to go to church with no expectation that God is going to speak to me personally, or that God would use me to speak into someone else's life. Both of these have to be intentional in our lives and in our parenting. God uses worship, the time of greeting others, the offering, the sermon, the altar call, and the time of fellowshipping afterwards to speak to us. And, He can use us in a variety of ways to "speak" into someone else's life whether that be a compliment, word of encouragement, an act of service or even a hug.

So, early Sunday morning last week I told the kids that this is what we were going to do. They liked the idea. After church, when we were home and had eaten lunch we all met in the boys' room and shared our answers. It was powerful to hear my kids share what they believed God had spoken to them at church and how God used them.  They were just as eager to hear Josh and I share our answers.

I love this game and will continue to do it with my kids. It teaches them that God will speak to them at church and that they play a vital role as church members, too.

Be expectant as you look to see how God will speak to you and an opportunity to speak into someone else's life!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quote from St. Patrick of Ireland

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

~St. Patrick of Ireland

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Some Really Good Marriage Advice

This is an excellent book and I've read it more than once! My mother-in-law gave it to me early on in our marriage and I'm so thankful that she did! I have learned so much about being a godly, feminine, woman and wife. It has shaped my life and role as a wife. I love the countless, encouraging testimonies throughout the book, as well.

The author shares countless pieces of wisdom that I've found helpful. But, three chapters which profoundly impacted my marriage and relationship with my husband:

1.)  Accept him!
           Find the good in him, accept him as he is "today" and even if he never changes. Accept his right to be himself and accept his needs. Accept his faults (personal habits, use of time and money, social behavior, etc). Don't compare him to other men you see that would be great examples for him to follow.

2.)  Appreciate him!
This has to do with gratitude, respect and his ego. Show him appreciation daily. Appreciate his character, intelligence and what he does for you. Especially communicate appreciation for him when he's out of his comfort zone-doing something to bless me.

3.)  Admire him!
Respect his judgement, his abilities & his communication. Respect him in public and respect him in my assumptions of him

When I first read this book many years ago, I realized that I was having a hard time accepting some things about my husband. These were things that I wanted him to change and thought I had the power to change in him. These were the things that made me mad, frustrated, angry and resentful. These were the things that were my expectations of him.
So, I got out a piece of paper and wrote down each one of these things. Then, I prayed. I verbally spoke out loud that I accepted my husband for each thing as I went down the list. I relinquished control over my husband to God. I resolved that I would accept him for who he is. Then, I tore up the piece of paper, never to be seen again.  There was no need to hang on to that list anymore. God changed my heart. I can honestly say, today,  I don't even remember everything I wrote on that list so many years ago. But, I do continue desire to be a wife that would accept her husband. I'm so thankful God helped me to see where I needed to change. God is so good.

I encourage every woman to read this book!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Highways For Youth

Young men, it matters but little
The burdens you carry in life,
For it isn't the load,
But the choice of a road
That determines the stress and strife.

Don't follow the highways of pleasure-
The ones that look broad, smooth, and fair-
For they only deceive
All those who believe
They will lead to a treasure somewhere.

True joy is found only in service
To God and one's own fellowmen;
Being honest and true
Will bring joy to you
As you least will expect it and when.

And as the swift seasons roll onward,
The years bring your life to its end,
Your reward will be great.
In the hereafter state,
If the Father and Son call you friend.

~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Tale of Two Households

"I got two A's," the small boy said.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very bluntly asked,
"Why didn't you get three?"

"Mom, I've got the dishes done,"
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said,
"Did you sweep the floor?'

"I mowed the grass," the tall boy said,
"And put the mower away."
His father asked him with a shrug,
"Did you clean off the clay?'

The children in the house next door
Seemed happy and content.
The same things happened over there,
But this is how it went.

"I got two A's," the small boy said.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father proudly said, "That's great;
I'm glad you belong to me."

"Mom, I got the dishes done,"
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled softly and said,
"Each day I love you more."

"I've mowed the grass," the tall boy said.
"And put the mower away."
His father answered with much joy,
"You've made my happy day!"

Children deserve just simple praise 
For the tasks they're asked to do.
If they're to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you!

~Author Unknown

as quoted in The Power of a Woman's Words by Sharon Jaynes

Monday, March 2, 2015

Journal For My Love

I found this journal at Barnes & Noble a few years ago and just loved it! And, as I'm getting older, my memory isn't what it used to be! I love having things written down to read over & over. It has many prompts to answer about your relationship and the one you love. I worked on filling it out over the course of a few months. I gave it to Josh as a gift on our 14th wedding anniversary. He loved it!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quote from Anne Lamott

Free Sunrise Clip Art Image

"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience...Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work:  you don't give up."

~Anne Lamott

Monday, February 9, 2015

5 Books On My Nightstand

Quiet by Susan Cain is a look at the introvert in our culture and understanding more of who they are.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey is a powerful book on making the God given dreams you have into reality. It's a look at what hinders you from stepping out into your destiny-such as fear and perfectionism. Lara is very down to earth and transparent as she shares her journey to living a life on purpose.

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne focuses on living out the dreams you have for your family, which may mean simplifying your life, material clutter, or pace of life in order to accomplish them.

God As He Longs For You To See Him by Chip Ingram takes you deeper in your perspective of God and how you see Him. Ingram sheds great light on God's goodness, sovereignty, holiness, wisdom, justice, love and faithfulness.

Wheat Belly by William Davis talks about the negative impact wheat has on our bodies.  It is full of history, research and examples showing how wheat effects insulin resistance, pH balance, heart, skin, the aging process, and much more. Davis encourages a wheat free lifestyle, and gives lots of help (and recipes) to do so.

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