October 28, 2014

5 books on my future reading list

Surprised by Oxford

I love memoirs!

I've had this one on my TBR pile forever and I'm really looking forward to reading it soon.

Amazon says of it:

"Surprised by Oxford is the memoir of a skeptical agnostic who comes to a dynamic personal faith in God during graduate studies in literature at Oxford University.

Carolyn Weber arrives at Oxford a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of Truth, love, and a life that matters."

And Randy Alcorn says of Carolyn:

"Carolyn Weber is a formidable intellect and a sought after college professor, as well as a great wife and mom. But what I love most about her is her heart, which you'll find on every page of this book. She is candid, insightful, and charming."



Yawning at Tigers

This looks like such a interesting book.

We have an awesome and powerful God. Who is often referred to as a Lion and a Lamb in Scripture, but we often cling to the Lamb and forget the Lion.

Amazon says here:

"When was the last time you were overawed by God’s majesty? Have you ever stood in stunned silence at his holiness and power?

In our shallow, self-centered age, things like truth and reverence might seem outdated, lost. Yet we’re restless. And our failed attempts to ease our unrest point to an ancient ache for an experience of the holy.

Drew Dyck makes a compelling case that what we seek awaits us in the untamed God of Scripture—a God who is dangerous yet accessible, mysterious yet powerfully present. He is a God who beckons us to see him with a fresh, unfiltered gaze.

Yawning at Tigers takes us past domesticated Christianity, into the wilds where God’s raw majesty, love, and power become more real and transformative than we could ever imagine."

Here are a few reviews:

“A needed corrective to self-indulgent Christianity.” Philip Yancey

“A stirring challenge.” Lee Strobel

“A strong antidote against a domesticated God.” Matthew Lee Anderson



Love's Fortune

If you love Christian historical fiction and you haven't picked up a book by Laura Frantz...go now! : )

Her books are some of my favorites, with stories so beautifully and historically detailed, and with wonderful characters and Godly messages.

This is the third book in a trilogy called 'The Ballantyne Legacy.'

Here is Goodreads book description: 

"Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. 

When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. 

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?"

And Liz Curtis Higgs says of Laura's writing:

"Laura Frantz surely dances when she writes: the words sweep across the page with a gentle rhythm and a sure step."

I have to agree! : )



Emotions

I'm an emotional person. And that can be a good thing at times and a not so good thing at other times. 

I really have a great respect for pastor Charles Stanley and I'm looking forward to reading his newest book on emotions. 

Goodreads say of it here:

"Emotions contends that God has gifted us with emotions since the very beginning--and He did so with very concrete purposes in mind: so that we can enjoy life, so we can connect with others, so we can reflect God's image in us.

But too often, instead of making the best of this gift, our emotions make the worst of us. Though we cannot see, taste, or touch our emotions, we are constantly affected by their forceful presence and the incredible influence they have over us. They can alter how we view our day, other people, and even the major events in our lives. Through our feelings, we have the capacity to enjoy amazing triumphs and deep fulfillment or experience crushing defeat and ruined relationships." 




Rebellious Heart

I really enjoyed the last book I read by Jody Hedlund (A Noble Groom) and I'm excited to read this one which was inspired by the lives of Abigail and John Adams.

Publishers Weekly says of it here:

"Hedlund offers another beauty for fans of historical romance, unfolding an unlikely relationship in the midst of political and social machinations in pre-Revolutionary War Boston. 

This fast-paced drama draws the reader in quickly while introducing engaging characters who wrestle with ethical and emotional challenges. As tensions begin to flare between the king’s soldiers and colonials, young lawyer Ben Ross finds himself winning court cases by day and smuggling molasses by night. He’s drawn to Susanna Smith, an intelligent young socialite with a heart for the less fortunate, but Ben knows his common social status is no match for her mother’s expectations. 

As their feelings for each other warm, Susanna struggles to reconcile her religious obligations and honoring her parents—duties that seem to conflict with her desires. Ben and Susanna form a growing, but seemingly impossible, bond while risking their lives to save an abused runaway. Both are faced with the same question affecting their personal and political loyalties: what is more important—doing what is right or obeying God-ordained authorities? 

Twin themes of faith and loyalty animate the story’s conflict. Don’t miss the author’s note revealing her real-life inspiration for these characters."



October 24, 2014

He Knows

Friday's Thought:

This is such a beautiful song.

When we take the focus off of ourselves and onto the Lord Jesus Christ there is always a freedom and release. He knows what each of us is going through and when we focus on Him, His goodness, His kindness, His everlasting joy and His unconditional love, we can rest in Him and find peace.

Because He knows.

October 20, 2014

Still Growing

I love the ways God works.

His timing is always prefect.

Kirk's story is one of those ways and I really enjoyed reading about his life so far.

Kirk shares from his early years at home to his introduction to commercials at age 10. He continues to his teen years and his big break playing Mike Seaver on the hit TV show Growing Pains.

I enjoyed some of the inside info on Hollywood and how things work. It was nice to hear there are some great people working there. People like his co-stars which he described as family.

Growing Pains along with shows like Family Ties and The Cosby Show were some of my favorites as a teen. I wish they still made clean family shows like that today.


One secret Kirk reveals about the show, I thought was really fun.

It's about a competition he and Michael J. Fox, who was staring in the hit show Family Ties at the time, had.

He describes it here:

"Michael and I had this one-upmanship thing: who could incorporate the most 360s in a show. We'd have to walk onto a set and somehow do a complete, 360-degree turnaround. But we had to spin so naturally it was undetectable to our directors. We had to find a reason for our characters to do a 360. And it only counted if it made the final cut of the show.

Since our shows taped on different days of the week, some of the Growing Pains crew worked simultaneously on Family Ties. A cameraman would come to the set on blocking day and say, 'Cameron, Fox did two yesterday.'

'That's nothing,' I'd scoff. 'I can top it.' I had to think of places to sneak them in. It was a fun challenge.

Sometimes the cameraman would go to the other set and say, 'Fox, you're slacking, Cameron did four this week.'

I think four was the record - but I'm not sure who set it. (Now that you know the real competition, look for our masterful 360s in re-runs.)"

Kirk was on the show for it's 7 year run, but something happen during this time that would change his life forever.

He was 17 and a self proclaimed atheist. Then he met a girl and she invited him to church.

He shares the experience here:

"It was a big church. The head honcho was a man named Chuck Swindoll. He had a booming voice and spoke with authority. I listened as he read from the Bible, which I thought was nothing more than a book full of rules designed to suck the fun out of life. This pastor began to share the biblical description of God in terms I had never heard before, in a way that grabbed my attention and dazzled my intellect.

He spoke of God's omnipotence: God is all-powerful. He talked about God's omniscience: He is all-knowing. And he addressed God's holiness: He is morally perfect and, therefore, He alone defines what is good.

I spent a lot of time thinking about those things...

...Dr. Swindoll spoke about heaven and hell, and immediately followed that up with talk of God's mercy and love. He explained that God, in His kindness, provided a way for sinners to be forgiven of their sins, washed clean, changed and made new. He spoke about the value of grace, repentance and faith.

I was blown away. I felt like someone had unloaded a theological dump truck on my head. These were not the words of the irrational, big-haired, crazy loons I had seen on religious television, swindling Social Security money from senior citizens desperate for a miracle. 

Dr. Swindoll wasn't promising health, wealth and prosperity in exchange for a donation to his ministry, but rather freedom from God's wrath and a relationship with the Creator of all things. Swindoll appeared totally sincere in his beliefs and genuinely concerned about the welfare of his hearers.

I left the church with a long list of questions."

Kirk's friends dad then tried to answer his many questions and encouraged him to read Josh McDowell's book, 'More than a Carpenter.' (one of my favorites!)

Then one day he realized he, like everyone else, was going to die one day.

He realized the state of his heart was not right with God and that God had every right to exclude him from heaven.

He says of one night sitting in his car:

"I wanted to pray, but didn't know how. Closing my eyes - hoping no one was watching - I muttered, 'God, if You're there, will You please show me? If You're real, I need to know. And would You please forgive me for the things I've done that are wrong? I don't want to join a religious cult or believe in a fairy tale, but if You're there...I want You to change me into the person You want me to be.'

Tears came to my eyes. Goosebumps formed on my arms. I felt that I was unworthy of talking to God.

When I opened my eyes, I didn't see a vision of Jesus on the wind-shield. The Holy Spirit didn't rush in through the air conditioning vents. Nothing weird. I just sat there thinking that I had just spoken to the Creator of the universe and that He had heard me.

Little did I know that those feeble and honest moments of seeking God in my sports car would forever change my life."

A couple years later Kirk met his wife, Chelsea on the set of his show.

From this point on in the book they both speak and share their story together.

I really loved this.

Kirk is no longer just Kirk, but now united with his wife Chelsea. Their love for each other is very apparent and so refreshing. They also have 6 children!

Kirk says this of marriage:

"Through reading the Bible, I was learning more and more about God's design for marriage. According to divine design, marriage is a covenant, not a contract. A contract can be broken, but a covenant is forever. 

When marriage is just a contract, you will focus on your rights, when it is a covenant, you will focus on your responsibility. 

If you see marriage as a contract, you look for loopholes; when you realize it's a covenant, you learn to stay committed for life. Contracts are written on paper and based on mistrust - which explains why you put it in writing...A covenant, on the other hand, is a verbal promise based entirely on faith and commitment."

I thought that was just so beautiful. : )

He then shares how he meet Ray Comfort and how they started their ministry together and how Ray's bold walk with Christ encouraged him in his walk with the Lord.

At the end of his book, Kirk shares several points on who he is. I'll leave you with the first one which applies to all of us who have received Christ:

"I'm a child of God, a sinner rescued by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. 

As my pastor once said, 

'You don't find God - He's not lost. you are, and He finds you."


Buy it HERE on Amazon




October 17, 2014

Time Away

Friday's Thought:

It's been a little quiet around my blog this past week or so.

My husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and instead of going away on our own we decided to take one last family trip before our children (18, 22, 24) all go their separate ways.

We went to Disneyland and had a lot of fun, though the weather was pretty hot! : )


I have to say my favorite thing, besides some of the fun rides, was the Lincoln memorial. We've been to Disneyland before but had never seen it. I highly recommend it, especially if you have children.

It was a great reminder of how one should live with integrity.

I'm reading a history book right now, about medieval kings and queens and how their lives were a mess of adultery, backstabbing, and betrayal. It's made me realize what a prize the world has had in Abraham Lincoln, a simple farm boy from Kentucky. You can read a little more about him in my post on the book: Abraham Lincoln Civil War Stories

I also picked up Walt Disney's biography, 'An American Original' by Bob Thomas, when we were there.


And I'm looking forward to reading about his life and family. : )


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