4/15/2014

Women Living Well

Loved this book!

Courtney openly shares her love of God, her husband, her children and her home.

Her book is broken into 4 sections:
 
Part 1: Your Walk With The King

Part 2: Your Marriage

Part 3: Your Parenting

Part 4: Your Homemaking
 

Courtney starts her book out with this:

"God created us to walk with Him, to know Him, and to be loved by Him. He is our living well, and when we drink from the water He continually provides, His living water will change us, making us more like Jesus."

I thought I'd share just a couple of parts that stuck out for me.


Firstly, in chapter 4 'The Effects of the Media Revolution' Courtney address some highs and lows of social media. Things like social media and our spiritual life and social media and our friendships. If you are a woman you will relate to many of the things she talks about. One being jealousy.

She says here:

"The comparison trap is just that - a trap! Pictures of vacations, new homes, new cars, or fun nights out with friends are a breeding ground for jealousy. There are two sides to this coin. First, there's the person putting the information out there. Is it wrong to post a picture of your vacation or fun night out?  

No...but we can be sensitive to those who weren't invited or who can't afford a vacation this year. We don't have to post every picture or an update about every night out. Philippians 2:3-4 says, 'In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.'

On the flip side, jealousy is all throughout the Bible, and we see how deadly it is to friendships. Remember Cain and Abel, Sarah and Hagar, Joseph and his brothers, Haman and Mordecai, Saul and David, and the Pharisees and Jesus? These are just to name a few; if we looked into it further, we'd find many more relationships in the Bible that were ruined by jealousy. 

Jealousy comes when we take our eyes off Jesus.

When I feel discouraged by things happening in the social media world, I always come to a point of realizing that I have taken my eyes off Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, 'Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.' 

We must focus on Jesus and exchange drama for peace."

This really resonated with me. A few years ago I went off of my personal Facebook for this very reason.

Jealousy.

It was eating at my heart and I finally decided to deleted all my friends and take some time off. After almost a year, I went back on, invited my friends back and it has been totally different. Taking that time off to refocus on the Lord and not on what others were doing and saying made a huge difference in my life. Now I'm really enjoying Facebook and all my friends there.


Secondly, in chapter 6 'The Time-Warp Wife' Courtney talks about respecting our husbands. She mentions that we all have areas that we struggle with in doing this.

She says here:

"None of us is married to a perfect man. All husbands are flawed, just as we wives are all flawed, simply because we are all sinners. In most sitcoms, the husband is the brunt of jokes. He is stupid, while the wife knows it all and runs the house. This may be culturally acceptable, but it is not acceptable to God.

God has placed an order in our homes according to Ephesians 5, and the man is the head of the home and is to be respected in that role. 'The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.' (v.23).

Since this order is God ordained, when a wife bucks the system and disrespects her husband, her problem is not with her husband but with God. Does she trust God enough to take care of her? Is she willing to quietly pray about the problem she is having with her husband and give God room to work in her husband's heart? Is she willing to support her husband fully as his helpmate and make it safe for him to make a mistake and ask for help, or does he fear his wife's harsh tongue when he fails and therefore does not feel safe to ask for help."

Elisabeth Elliot, in her book 'Let Me Be A Woman' asks the question, 'Who is it you marry?'

Elisabeth says here:

"You marry a sinner. There's nobody else to marry. That ought to be obvious enough, but when you love a man as you love yours it's easy to forget. You forget it for a while and then when something happens that ought to remind you, you find yourself wondering what's the matter, how could this happen, where did things go wrong? 

They went wrong back in the Garden of Eden. Settle it once for all; your husband is a son of Adam. Acceptance of him...of all of him...includes acceptance of his being a sinner. He is a fallen creature, in need of the same kind of redemption all the rest of us are in need of, and liable to all the temptations which are 'common to man.'" 

Elisabeth later writes in her book:

"But you will find yourself disarmed utterly, and your accusing spirit transformed into loving forgiveness the moment you remember that you did, in fact, marry only a sinner, and so did he. It's grace you both need."

This reminded me that we don't respect our husbands because of the way they are (sinners just like us), but because God asks us too. And everything God asks of us is for our ultimate good.


And lastly, in chapter 13 'Motherhood Mess-Ups' Courtney talks about the ups and downs of being a mom. I really appreciated what she said here about parenting books vs prayer:

"There are enough books on parenting to fill a football stadium, so reading a book with a formula clearly does not work. I believe in the power of prayer. Each child and each mother is in a unique situation. Don't get me wrong; I love parenting books and have read many, but none of them can replace the prayer of a mother for her child."

I can't emphasize this enough. How-to-books will help for a season, but not in the long run.

Intimate prayer with the Lord will.


I really enjoyed this book and how much it honored the Lord. Courtney has a beautiful heart and it comes through on the pages of her book.

I'll leave you with some great quotes Courtney used:

On Marriage:

"A good marriage is the union of two forgivers." Ruth Bell Graham

"Conflicts are not a sign that you have married the wrong person. They simply affirm that you are human." Dr. Gary Chapman

On Parenting:

"God works through faithful parents who, in spite of dark and difficult days, walk obediently to Him." Elizabeth George

"What is spoken wisely should be spoken calmly, and then it will be calmly considered. But passion will lessen the force even of reason, instead of adding any force to it." Matthew Henry

On Homemaking:

"Give yourself permission not to have your to-do list all checked off in order for you to rest and get alone with God." Courtney Joseph


Buy it HERE on Amazon



4/11/2014

What Do You Seek?

Friday's Thought:

Do you seek to be a better person, a better christian?

I recently read this article: Do You Want to be Wonderful Christians, or Do We Want Christ?

It was very thought-provoking and reminded me again of where my strength comes from.


When we experience suffering or pain or hard times being a 'good' christian will not sustain us, but Jesus will.

I want Jesus.

We can never run this race on our own goodness. Lets leave our flawed goodness at the feet of Jesus and fix our eyes on Him.


"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,



fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

4/07/2014

5 books on my future reading list

Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen wrote six full length novels. I've read five of them, but for some reason I've kept putting off Sense and Sensibility.

Now I'm excited to jump into it.

Jane's writing is exquisite and though it takes a few chapters to get used to the 19th century language once you get into one of her stories, you really appreciate it and grow to love it.

And this one has been beloved by many.

Amazon describes it this way:

"Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who represent sense and sensibility, respectively. 

When both appear to be deserted by the young men they had intended to marry, the stage is set for a delicious comedy of manners that not only showcases Austen's perception, humor and incomparable prose, but offers a splendid glimpse of upper and middle-class English society of the early 19th century."



 The Hiding Place

I think I'm the only person who hasn't read this book!

It's been on my bookshelf for years and now it's time to dust it off and read what everyone says is a wonderful and encouraging story of the life of Corrie ten Boom.

Amazon says here:

"Corrie ten Boom was a woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. 

In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis, and their reward was a trip to Hitler's concentration camps. 

But she survived and was released--as a result of a clerical error--and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil."



Sheba: The Rise of the Legendary Queen

I recently read another book (Iscariot) by Tosca Lee that was so interesting and thought-provoking.

Now I'm excited to read this one which comes out in September.

Amazon says here:

"In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. 

Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. 

But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world—or of Sheba’s queen. 

With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite—and ruin—them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history."



God's Smuggler

I downloaded this book onto my e-reader having no idea how Brother Andrew's life intertwined with Corrie ten Boom's.

I recently found out they often traveled together behind the Iron Curtain to share the Gospel.

To have both these books on my reading list without knowing this, I thought was really cool. : )

The back cover say:

"A true-life thriller that will leave you breathless!

As a boy, Brother Andrew dreamed of being an undercover spy working behind enemy lines. As a man he found himself working undercover for God. His was a mission filled with danger, financed by faith, supported by miracles.

Told it was impossible to minister behind the Iron Curtain, Andrew knew that nothing was too hard for God. Crossing "closed" borders, he prayed, 'Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to Your children. When You were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.'


And they never did"



Bridge to Haven

I haven't read a Francine Rivers novel in awhile.

I absolutely love her writing. It's so real and powerful. God has truly given Francine the gift of Godly storytelling.

Based on the story of the prodigal son...

Amazon describes it here:

"To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. 


Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best."



3/28/2014

A Few Quotes on Love by C.S. Lewis

Friday's Thought:


“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”




“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained”

 


“Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”




“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”


3/26/2014

Dear Mr. Knightly


I found 'Dear Mr. Knightly' to have such an unexpected depth and beauty.

The novel touches on love and forgiveness, on coming out of ones self and the beauty of being vulnerable.

Sam was a foster kid. Growing up in many different homes, without much stability.

Now she is all grown up but struggles with being accepted and loved. She fears rejection and has a hard time sharing herself with others.


But through letters to an unknown benefactor she opens up her heart and learns to express her feelings. She begins to learn she doesn't have to walk this life alone.

I really loved the supporting characters in this novel. Some a little messed up and some with wisdom and guidance. It was beautiful to read and watch these characters grow in their relationships.

I also loved all the references to fictional characters like Lizzy Bennett, Emma, and of course Mr. Knightly. Though Sam hid within these famous novels at the beginning, it was so beautiful to see her begin to grow out of her hiding place and into herself and who God made her to be.

I definitely shed a few tears reading this one.

I highly recommend it!

Buy it HERE on Amazon




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