December 30, 2011

10 Great Reads of 2011

I'm looking forward to this brand new year. I haven't had much time to write many 'thoughts on books' the last few weeks, but hope to get right back to it. I've redesigned my blog for the new year, so come by and visit anytime and see what you think. :)

I'm a little shocked I actually read 61 books this past year! I thought I'd share 5 great non-fiction reads and 5 great fiction reads from my list. So here they are in no particular order:

5 great non-fiction reads:

My thoughts: Oswald Chambers

  My thoughts: What really happened that first Easter?

My thoughts: The Well

My thoughts: Unbroken

My thoughts: God as Master Artist
                     A Great Story from Charles Spurgeon
                     Heaven and five people I'd like to meet

5 great fiction reads:

My thoughts: Pompeii

My thoughts: Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

My thoughts: Fade to Blue and Hearst Castle

 My thoughts: To Win Her Heart

My thoughts: Petra

December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my readers and visitors a very Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2011

Foretelling and Proclaiming

The Bible is the greatest piece of literature, inspired by God Himself. It has stood the test of time, been the most popular book in history and is continually being proven completely actuate. God never leaves His children in the dark, but throughout the Bible He foretells what is to come and proclaims the Truth. The more I study it the more amazed I am at how prophecy is fulfilled exactly as God foretold it. I love that so many old testament scriptures foretell the coming of Christ. Here are a few of my favorites:

"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." Micah 5:2

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this." Isaiah 9:6-7

I also love how God chose mere shepherds to proclaim that Christ had come. They must of been pretty excited to go see who the angel of the Lord had spoken to them about!

"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:9-15

One of my favorite Scripture passages is Isaiah 53. It foretells not only the coming of Christ but exactly what would happen to Him. It all came to pass, every last detail. Here in this passage we see why Jesus came:

"All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6

Thanks-you Jesus for coming into this world as a babe, so you could take my sin upon yourself by giving your life for mine. I love you.

December 12, 2011

Quote of the Week

"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God."  C.S.Lewis

December 9, 2011

Compassion International

During this Christmas season of giving I thought I'd share a little about my journey with Compassion International.

"Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:9

I have been sponsoring children through Compassion for over 25 years and I just love this organization!

I first heard of Compassion, when I attended a Steve Camp concert when I was 18 years old. During his talk on what they did and how we could help, I felt a strong stirring from the Lord to sponsor a child. I didn't have a job at the time and wasn't sure how I was going to pay for it, but I trusted God's prompting. I believe that when God asks something of you financially he will always provide it.

It is such a wonderful experience to sponsor a child in need and get to know them a little through correspondence. I have been so blessed by the letters I have received. I write to encourage them, but often  find their letters encouraging me. I pray for them and their families and they pray for me and mine. I love that Compassion provides the basic needs for these children, but most of all it is so good to hear my sponsored kids talk about the Lord and what he has done for them through this program.

I hope to encourage anyone who has been thinking of sponsorship and hasn't taken that final step. Pray about it and maybe God will speak to you and bless you with a needy child. You won't regret it...I never have. :)

Here is a link to their website: Compassion International

"She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20

"Jesus said: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matt 25:40

December 5, 2011

Simeon and the Cure

Since the Christmas season is upon us I thought I'd share a few paragraphs from a book I just finished by A.W. Tozer, that reminded me of what Christmas is really about:

"Mankind is still inventing new ways of self-treatment and medication for failures and weaknesses and wrong-doing, even in our own day, not recognizing that the cure has already come.

Simeon, the old man of God who had waited in hope around the temple, knew that the cure had come! When he saw the baby Jesus, he took Him up in his arms, looked down at Him and said, 'Lord, now lettest thou they servant depart in peace...for mine eyes have seen they salvation." (Luke 2:29-30)
We live in a world that is always coming up with a new remedy, a new plan, or a new way of doing things. When in reality this world really has nothing of worth to offer us. Nothing that will matter in the end.

Oh, but what joy Simeon must have felt as he held Jesus in his arms! Knowing this was the Son of God who would take away the sins of the world! The One that would make things right. The One who is the cure.

"And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 

So he came by the Spirit into the temple. 

And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 

"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;

For my eyes have seen Your salvation 

Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." 

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, 

"Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against "(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." 
                                                Luke 2:25-35 

November 28, 2011

The Well

I just finished reading "The Well: why are so many still thirsty?" by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns. Each chapter in this book reflects on different holes we try to draw from rather than drawing from Jesus, who is the Well. Holes of control, approval, resourcefulness, entitlement, talent, religion and something better. I've pretty much tried to draw from all of these. Especially the hole of approval, so this really hit home. The lesson here is that these holes are empty, they can't fill us, only living water can, only Jesus.

The book is also filled with encouraging and heartwarming stories. Some from the Bible and some from those today. I loved the honesty and straightforwardness of this book.

It's based on the story of the woman at the well and how Jesus told her that He was the living water she needed to fill her life. One extraordinary thing about this story is that Jesus is the one who comes to her and reveals himself. I love what Mark Hall says here:

"You have never slipped God's mind. Even if you haven't thought about him since the last time you walked through a church door, he has been walking with you, watching you, talking to you. And God has been trying his best to catch your eye because he pursues you. God doesn't pursue your country. He doesn't pursue your state or your town or even your church. He pursues you, just as he did the woman at the well."

In the chapter on the hole of approval, Mark talks of visiting a retreat center for girls with eating disorders with a good friend of his named Tony Nolan. After they had sung "Voice of Truth" Tony got up to speak. He says here:

"When Tony rose to teach, he took his cue from the last song. He concentrated on God's voice of truth and within seconds provided a simple but profound line I can't get out of my head. 'What's true about you,' Tony said with a gentle smile to the girls, 'is what God says about you."

This really spoke to me as well. The hole of approval is probably the hole I struggle with the most. I am a very quiet person. I don't speak well. I enjoy being at home. I like my alone time. I don't need to be around people all the time, but I constantly worry about what people think of me because of it. When I read this it meant so much to me. "What's true about me, is what God says about me." Not what others think or say about me. Mark shares some things God says about his children:

God says that we are:

-reconciled to God as new creations (2Corinthians 5:17-18)
-forgiven and restored children of God (John 1:12)
-citizens of God's kingdom (Colossians 1:13-14)
-in Christ forever and already seated with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:4-7)
-saints- yes, you are a saint (1 Corinthians 1:1-3)
-God's masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
-God's ambassadors who represent him (2 Corinthians 5:20)
-the actual righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
-his chosen, adopted precious ones (Ephesians 1:3-6)
-partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:2-4)

In the chapter on the hole of talent, Mark shares a little about his life and struggles. One scene brought back memories for me. A big man, in overalls, came up to him before a service and told him he wanted to sing before the sermon because the Lord had given him a song. Mark remembers thinking:

"You've got to be kidding. First of all, we already have our order of service...I don't know if you can sing. You don't just walk up and decide to sing. We singers are trained to do this kind of thing."

When Mark realized the guy was quite a bit bigger then him, he gave in and let him sing.

The man sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow"

"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,
For his eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me."

 Mark says he doesn't remember if one note was sung in tune, but the whole place was in tears as the Holy Spirit spoke through that big man in the overalls.

Mark said God spoke to him then and said:

"Mark, it's not going to be your voice that reaches people. It's going to be your heart."

This story reminded me of a woman at our church when I was growing up. She had a strong Asian accent and her singing voice left something to be desired. But when she did sing, her love for God shone through her. I still remember one Christmas she sang "Oh Holy Night" and when she got to..."fall on your knees; oh hear the angels voices"...She fell to her knees and worshiped God through her song. I still get teary eyed when I think about her small humble act that night.

Mark goes on to say later that identity is not in our talents, but:

"Your talent is a tool. your career, hobbies, and achievements are what you do. 
Your identity is as a child of God. It's who you are."

This was such a great book. I love Mark Hall's desire to glorify God and share what God has put on his heart. Hope you get a chance to read this one. It will challenge and bless you.

Here's the beautiful song from Casting Crowns called The Well:

November 27, 2011

Christmas Time

It's Christmas time again and I've decorated my blog for the season! Hope you'll come by to visit. I so appreciate all my followers and all your encouraging and kind comments. I hope you all have a wonderful December as we celebrate Christ's birth.

November 25, 2011

Twitter and Facebook

I have ventured into Twitter! If you would like to follow me there you can find me at Thoughts on Books I'd love to follow you back!

I've also recently made a facebook page for my blog. Feel free to visit also. You can find it here: Thoughts on Books Facebook

And last but not least, I wanted to wish all my American followers a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your holiday weekend!

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."
                                                        Psalms 107:1

November 21, 2011


Wow...this novel was amazing. I haven't read a novel that gave me chills, since I read Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series. The power of God's love shone through this book and the author really captured the spiritual warfare within the church.

Again, T.L. Higley has written a beautiful historical novel.  From the Siq, the narrow entrance into the city, to the carved walls of the buildings, she brings you into this city of stone. After reading Pompeii, ( Pompeii ) I wasn't sure if this book would stand up to it, well it does! I think I was moved by it even more.

In the novel Cassia is an abused wife in Damascus who finally escapes with her son and travels to Petra to find her husbands family, hoping to find refuge. Julian is a Roman Christian who witnesses something so disturbing he flees to Petra to forget. Once there, they both met up with the followers of the Way and are blessed and encouraged. But when Cassia finds her husbands family, things change. They are not who she thought they would be and her son is put in danger.

The spiritual struggle in this novel was powerful and made me think about how important our prayers are to the One True God. As Oswald Chambers said here:

"Prayer does not equip us for greater works...prayer is the greater work."

The power of God's love is also expressed fully within this book. His love for us is often loosely spoken of, but when you actually experience it, it's amazing. 

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5
"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" Colossians 1:13

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39

I highly recommend this book, but be ready to be stirred to prayer and to literally feel the love of God.

On the authors website she has some fact and fiction about this book that I found interesting and which brought the book to life even more...Fact and Fiction in Petra

I'm so looking forward to reading more soul stirring novels from T. L. Higley!

November 17, 2011

Quote of the Week

"I believe God wants to do something new and blessed for every believer who has the inner desire to know Him better."           A.W. Tozer

November 14, 2011

A Passion for God...The Spiritual Journey of A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer is one of my favorite authors. His book "The Pursuit of God" was the most beautiful book I've ever read. There is no denying his intimate relationship with the Savior. This book, "A Passion for God" however took me aback because it revealed things about Tozer that weren't perfect, that made him human. Sometimes its hard to realize pastors are human and have struggles and imperfections. It made me realize how I had put Tozer and other great men of God on a pedestal, where only God should be.

This book reveals Tozers struggle in his personal relationships with his wife and children, some who said they never really knew their dad. His wife Ada and he had 7 children, who all went on to serve the Lord, but felt a loneliness in not connecting with their dad. Ada after Tozers death remarried Leonard Odam and said, "I have never been happier in my life. Aiden (Tozer) loved Jesus Christ, but Leonard Odam loves me."

Tozer's love for Jesus was genuine and strong. It shines through his writings and makes you want to know and love Jesus more too. So reading about how sad and lonely his wife was throughout their marriage, was hard to read. Again I had to remember Tozer was a man of God, not God Himself. This is a man who spend hours a day in prayer, who spoke the Truth and wanted more than anything for others to know and experience the love of Christ on a deeper level.

Billy Graham, who was a student at Wheaton college in the early 1940's, says of Tozer..."I remember sitting under his ministry so many times in the Tabernacle in Chicago. I always came away blessed in soul. I believe him to be a man of God." Many students would come to hear Tozer preach who felt..."Tozer truly knew Jesus Christ rather than just knew the Bible recorded about Him."  After reading his book "The Pursuit of God" I feel the same way.

Students flocked to Tozer's meetings like the earlier generation had flocked to D.L Moody's. Like Moody..."people were told that knowing about Jesus Christ, understanding correct doctrine, and being a good student of the Bible are only part of our calling. The Lord wants His people to 'know Him' not just 'know about Him.' He taught that.. "eternal life is to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent."
"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" John 17:3

Dr. Samuel M. Zwemer, who wrote the introduction to the first edition of "The Pursuit of God"says of the book: "a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God, eager to grasp at least the outskirts of His ways, the abyss of His love for sinners, and the height of His unapproachable majesty...It is theology not of the head but of the heart." Tozer saw the book as a way to reach persons who have "a growing hunger after God himself."

In his book "The Pursuit of God" Tozer says of being born again (John 3:5-7) and the deeper life in Christ: 

"Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him. In our sins we lack only the power. The moment the spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition. That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. It is however, not an end but an inception, for now begins the the glorious pursuit, the heart's happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead. That is where we begin, I say, but where we stop no man has yet discovered for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end."

 "Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You  must be born again.'" John 3:5-7

Another thing I admire Tozer for, is as this book says..."Tozer took Jesus Christ seriously when He said, 'whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."(John 15:5)

Tozers ministry then and now, led people to Jesus Christ. His ministry was fruitful because the Holy Spirit worked through him. It wasn't because he was a perfect man, but because he had a perfect Savior.

November 10, 2011

Still Alice

This novel is about Alzheimers.

"Still Alice" was written by a doctor, Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University. It is a book about the gradual affects of early onset Alzheimers on one woman's life.

Alice is a well educated and intelligent woman of 50, who is happily married with three grown children. Throughout the book she slowly succumbs to the devastating affects of this disease. It follows her life from when she first starts to recognize signs of the disease, and continues through the years until she doesn't even know who her family is anymore.

At one point in the novel she is out for a jog on a path she has jogged a hundred times before, and comes to a crossroads and suddenly can't remember where she is. This scene really stuck in my memory. How terrifying would that be?

This book made me think of how this disease may affect a non-christian verses a christian.

I remember going to visit my step grandma in the care home she was living in after my grandpa had passed away. She had signs of Alzheimers and didn't really know who we were.  She talked to us like it was the 1930's and she keep saying...'I have to get to the cable car right way!' She also kept whispering to me...'who is that good looking man?!' she  looked over at my husband. :) It was a little uncomfortable at first but when we started talking about the Lord she lit up...she knew exactly who He was. I knew then that God had not left her alone.

This novel has a little bit of bad language throughout, but other than that I would highly recommend it if you are interested in what an Alzheimers patient goes through. It's a tough read but will give you a greater understanding of this disease and its affects.

November 9, 2011


I just wanted to thank Faye over at...labor not in vain for also awarding me with the "Tell me about yourself award" Thank-you Faye!

Here at...Tell Me About Yourself Award you can find 7 things about me and some links to some great blogs I awarded. :)

November 2, 2011

Classic Novels

A few years back I became interested in reading the classics. My definition of a classic novel would be a book over a hundred years old that is as much beloved now as it was when it was first published. Here are some I have read, some favorites and others I want to read soon.

What I'm reading now:

Classic Novels I have read:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
North Anger Abbey by Jane Austen (1816)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814)
Emma by Jane Austen (1815)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (1817)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1873)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1852)
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (1847)
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1678)
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (1876)
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847)
The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (1848)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)

These five were my favorites:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I hadn't heard of Jane Austen till a few years ago when the movie Pride and Prejudice staring, Keira Knightly, came out. I rented it and watched it several times before I had to take it back. I then ran out and bought the book and read it within two days. Of course the book was even better than the movie. :) I loved the story first impressions can often be wrong and how unwise it is to judge someone before we really know them. I don't usually reread books but this was the exception. I reread it that same week!

 Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

This is one of those books I would usually not even look at, but I decide I wanted to read a story from each of the Bronte sisters. I was pleasantly surprised to find a wonderful story here of what life was like for a governess in the 19th century. This novel is definitely one of my favorites now.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

This was a book I knew nothing about and had never seen a movie version of. I just dove in because it was Jane Austen! I loved this book because of the hint of mystery and humor Austen uses and I just loved the characters in this novel.

Uncle Tom's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe

This was a very stirring novel based on the history of slavery in the U.S. I love the fact that the author met Abraham Lincoln and he said to her:

 "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!" 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This is definitely one of my all time favorites.  I loved Jane's character in this book....plain, sweet, quiet and kind. The kind of person that gets looked over in this world , but has a special place in God's heart. If I could be half the woman Jane Eyre was I'd be doing well. :)

Classic Novels on my TBR shelf:

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1871)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1860)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
Little Women  by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
Villette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1847)

Feel free to share your favorites and let me know about other great classic novels I haven't listed. I love discovering  new 'old' books! :)

October 28, 2011

Quote of the Week

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."                                                Jim Elliot

October 26, 2011

Tell Me About Yourself Award

I want to thank Emily over at Emily's Book Ratings for awarding me with this new award!

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Reveal seven things about yourself.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers. Leave a comment on each blog, telling them that you've nominated them for this award.

Seven things about me:

1. My favorite flowers are peonies
2. I have 3 beautiful son 21 and two daughters 19 and 15
3. I love watching period dramas
4. I get overwhelmed easily and have found that making lists, and keeping to somewhat of a schedule, to be really helpful.
5. I love hearing how people met never gets old :)
6. I love doing Bible studies. I always learn something new. My favorite one was Beth Moore's study on Daniel...excellent!
7. I would love to visit Hawaii looks so pretty!

Instead of 15 blogs I've chosen 5 blogs that I've recently started following...Feel free to go visit these lovely blogs and Emily's as well. :)

Book Review Sisters
A Little Bit of Heaven
Fresh Insights on Ancient Truths
Always Time for Another Book 
Coming Alive in Christ

If you are one of the 5 blogs I nominated and would like to pass it on, copy the blog award to a post, reveal 7 things about yourself, and pass this award on to 5 other bloggers of your choice. Congrats!

October 24, 2011

Living in Love

This was a wonderful book on how to live in love in your marriage. My husband and I have been married for over 22 years and I have to admit I've never read a book on marriage before! I think I was a little afraid of being preached at and feeling like my marriage didn't measure up. The only reason I picked this book up was because I love and respect James and Betty Robison. When I watch their show I see a real genuine love for each other.

This book covers a lot. Starting with how they met and the baggage they brought into their marriage. They go on to talk about commitment, communication and challenges. Their honesty and candor in this book were so refreshing. Right away I could relate to Betty, and how being an introvert affects your relationships. Unlike extroverts, who thrive on interacting with people, Betty says of being an introvert:

"I like people too, but I also need to have some space, because I'm an introvert, and extensive interactions with lots of people wear me down."

This was somehing I could relate to and it made me want to keep reading and listen to want they had to say. I thought I'd share a few things that stood out to me in this book and were helpful and encouraging.

At one point where James is talking about forgiveness and grace in your marriage he says:

"If you receive the grace of God, you'll release it to others. If you don't release it, you haven't really received it."  

Wow this took me aback. It made me think of all the times I'd not been so gracious with my husband and that I needed to look at myself and receive the grace God has extended to me, so I in turn could extend it to my husband.

James goes on to talk about the woman at the well: 

"Jesus did not condemn her or take her to task for her past. He offered her forgiveness and a chance to start anew."

Then about the woman caught in adultery:  

"Jesus didn't condemn the woman for her sins; He gave her a fresh start."

He concludes this part with:

"So no matter where you've been or where you are today in your marriage, God offers you forgiveness and a fresh start. All He asks is that you come to the source."

They give some great communication tips in 3 simple steps. Stop, Repeat, Clarify. Meaning stop what you are doing when the other spouse wants to talk and listen to what they have to say, let them repeat  to make sure you fully understood and then you clarify by trying to explain what they've said in your own words. I've found when I've done something similar to this it is really helpful.

I felt what James says here was also extremely important to move on in a good relationship:

"Every sunset is a conclusion, and every sunrise is a new beginning. This is exactly what you want in your relationship: you want a conclusion to whatever situation you're struggling through, and after you've achieved this conclusion, you want to leave the past behind you and live in a new beginning. you want a  fresh start."

When you need council for problems in your relationship, I found these quotes solid advice:

"You don't ever want to get into a pattern of running to someone other than your spouse when there's a problem."

"Also-and this should go without saying, but just to be clear--never talk about your marital challenges with someone of the opposite sex, even if he or she is a close friend. All too often this type of counsel leads to an inappropriate emotional relationship."
On counsel from friends:

"Many well-intentioned do-gooders will look at the challenges in your marriage and offer opinions about how you should proceed. Sometimes these opinions will be correct; many times they will be incorrect, unbiblical, and unhelpful. This is when you need to diligently seek the Lord for guidance. Check your friends' advice against what you read in the Bible. Do their words line up with the words of God as recorded in Scripture? Do they bring peace to your heart? If you can answer yes to both questions, then their advice is worthy of consideration."

The next few chapters were on challenges within  marriages such as money, parenting, sex, the invisible enemy and lastly, the power of encouragement. I found this book solidly based on biblical principles and emphasized putting God first in your marriage and looking to better yourself, with God's help, instead of trying to fix your spouse. In the final chapter, on encouragement, Betty says:

"If you don't feel that your husband is the spiritual leader of your home, realize that you can't push spiritual leadership down his throat, and you don't want to make him feel inadequate. Instead, I think you have to start with your own heart by asking God, 'What changes do I need to make that will be an example to my husband and give him a hunger for a more meaningful relationship with You and desire to love You with his whole heart?' This is the approach we have to take if we want to see positive change."

I believe Betty's advice to wives is crucial and timely. She goes on to say:

"Your husband is much more likely to be drawn to God if he sees the life of Christ lived out through you...Prayer is the key for transforming your own heart as well as your husbands."

Betty quotes 1 Peter 3:1-4

"Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."

Betty concludes with this great advice that I have taken to heart:

"If you will allow God to change you first and trust Him to make your relationship beautiful, He will do wonders in your life and in your marriage."

There is so much more to this book and I highly recommend it. These are just some quotes that spoke to me and I hope are encouraging to you as well.

This song is from Casting Crowns new CD and I thought I'd share it because it goes well with the theme of marriage in this post. It's a beautiful song about the Bride (the church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ)

Wedding Day by Casting Crowns

There’s a stirring in the throne room
And all creation holds its breath
Waiting now to see the Bridegroom
Wondering how the bride will dress
And she wears white

And she knows that she’s undeserving
She bears the shame of history
But this worn and weary maiden
Is not the bride that He sees
She wears white head to toe
But only He could make it so

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
When all you long to see
Is written on His face
Love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day

She has danced in golden castles
She has crawled through beggar’s dust
But today she stands before Him
And she wears His righteousness

She will be who He adores
This is what He made her for

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
When all you long to see
Is written on His face
Love has come and finally set you free

When the hand that bears the only scars
In Heaven touch her face
And the last tears she’ll ever cry
Are finally wiped away
And the clouds roll back as He takes her hand
And walks her through the gates
Forever we will reign

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
When all you long to see
Is written on His face
Love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day
On that wedding day
On that wedding day

October 20, 2011

5 books on my future reading list

Growing Up Amish

This book looks really interesting. It is a memoir of a man who grew up in an Amish community and his spiritual struggles in leaving. Though I respect the Amish for their simple living, kindness and willingness to forgive, I find the legalism of their lifestyle very frustrating.  I pray that they would find grace and come to know that they don't need to live by all the rules in order to be saved. As Christians, we are already free in Christ...He is all we need.
After viewing  reviews of this book, I think this will be an emotional and heart wrenching read.

Petra: City of Stone

I've always been curious about the ancient city of Petra and its history. I've also been looking forward to reading another book by T. L. Higley. After reading Pompeii (which I loved!) I'm really looking forward to another wonderful story from this amazing writer and learning some of the history of this ancient city.

A Chance to Die

I'm looking forward to reading this biography of Amy Carmichael. Amy was a missionary to India where she discovered young girls who had been sold by their parents to their gods, then sent to the temple to be used as prostitutes. Her heart went out to them and she began a 60 year mission to rescue and nurture these precious children.

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

This novel is about a pampered young woman who flees London to avoid a marriage to a dishonorable man. She disguises herself as a maid and finds employment in the home of a man she once rejected. The author, Julie Klassen, is often compared to Jane Austen in her writing style and I have to say I agree. She is one of my favorite authors and I can't wait until January when this book comes out!


The Well

I recently went to a Casting Crowns concert and enjoyed it so much. When the crowd was raising their voices in praise to the Lord it was like a little taste of what heaven will be like. This book is written by the lead singer Mark Hall. He takes the story of the woman at the well to show us that the only well worth drawing from is Jesus.