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 children...one 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 Jesus..it 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 someday...it 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.

October 17, 2011

Love on the Line

Deeanne Gist is one of my favorite christian historical fiction authors. I find her characters so fun, sassy and down to earth. She also takes the time to bring historical detail to each novel she writes. Love on the Line is no different and has a little touch of mystery as well!

This story is about a young single lady, named Georgie, who works as the telephone operator for her small community and a Texas ranger who comes to work as a telephone repairman undercover.

Georgie loves birds! Her backyard is a sanctuary for them, filled with oaks, cottonwoods, honeysuckle and coneflowers. Here she is determined to keep her birds safe.  I loved all the bird talk in this book. I've always wanted to have a birdhouse in my yard, now I think I'll have to get one!

Luke is in town for one reason, to take down a group of robbers, but Love has something else in mind for these two. Not only romantic love but  lessons on trusting the Lord and realizing He is the only One really in control.

I also loved the descriptions of how life was with no privacy on the telephone. Everyone would have to call into the switchboard and anyone could listen in!

Deeanne has fun with this and I really enjoy her sense of humor. She also writes about the hard work that went into erecting and repairing telephone poles and wires. I don't want to say to much more, but if you love Deeanne's previous books, I think you'll love this one...I sure did!

Quote of the Week

"What provokes our anger (injured vanity) never provokes His; what provokes His anger (evil) seldom provokes ours."  John Stott

October 13, 2011

Good News that Brings Real Joy

I just started reading a new book by Timothy Keller called King's Cross. It is a study of the gospel through the book of Mark and I'm really enjoying it so far! In chapter two he talks about the real meaning of the gospel. He starts with the definition: 

"Gospel means: news that brings joy"

Then he goes on to talk about how Christianity is different from all other religions. He states here:

"The essence of other religions is advice; Christianity is essentially news. Other religions say, 'This is what you have to do in order to connect to God forever; this is how you have to live in order to earn your way to God.' But the gospel says, 'This is what has been done in history. This is how Jesus lived and died to earn the way to God for you.' Christianity is completely different. It's joyful news."

He later goes on to say:

"The gospel isn't advice. It's the good news that you don't need to earn your way to God; Jesus had already done it for you. And it's a gift that you receive by sheer grace - through God's thoroughly unmerited favor."

When I really grasp what he is saying here I feel complete relief and freedom in the Lord. How often I put myself back in those chains of trying to be good enough, but what joy to know He is all I need. This really makes me love Him more.

Near the end of the chapter he talks about Jesus calling us to Himself. He explains it like this:

"Come, follow me. Jesus is saying, "Follow me because I'm the King you've been looking for. Follow me because I have authority over everything, yet I have humbled myself for you. Because I died on the cross for you when you didn't have the right beliefs or the right behavior. Because I have brought you news, not advice. follow me because I'm your true love, your true life, the Lord of the Dance."

In the last few years of reading and studying my Bible I've noticed more and more that, throughout the whole Bible God is continually calling us to Himself. Sometimes for the first time and others times, like a Shepard calling his lost sheep, he calls us back. Everyday I mess up and everyday He calls me back, wraps His arms around me and tells me He loves me. He reminds me my worth is not in myself, but in Him. Now that's good new! Here in the book of Mark, Jesus is calling us:

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:14-15

I thought I'd share this song which I can relate to. Being raised in church I knew the gospel story by heart having heard it a million times. But when I met Jesus, He no longer was just a story, but He became everything to me.


October 10, 2011

We Two

"We Two" is a biography of the love and marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. England entered  the Victorian Age when this couple came into power in 1837 and it was a time of peace, prosperity and national pride.

Their love for each other was unusual for the monarch, but it brought them through their trials and I believe made all the difference in how they did their duties and lived their lives.

Queen Victoria being a strong willed woman and Prince Albert a real man's man, you can guess how the sparks flew between them...in love and war!

Prince Albert was a very moral man who was faithful to his wife, something very rare within royalty up to that time.

Queen Victoria was very sheltered as a girl and continually fought for her independence as wife and queen.

They had 9 children together, though Prince Albert took on more of the parental role, loving to spend time with the children whenever he could.

Queen Victoria on the other hand, was not very motherly and spent little time with her children until they were older, it was then that her relationship with them grew stronger. She felt childbirth and raising children, a bother and an inconvenience women had to bare. She would much rather have been riding her horse and visiting the people.

Her deep love for her husband is well known. He passed away after 21 years of marriage and she laid out his clothes every morning for the rest of her life.

The movie Young Victoria is one of my favorites. It's the story of her early years, her match with Albert and their early marriage.

The movie was what actually led me to finding this book, which I really enjoyed reading.

Buy it HERE on Amazon

October 5, 2011

God as Master Artist

In my devotional today Charles Spurgeon talks about God's creation.

He says here:

"I must confess that I think it a most right and excellent thing that you and I should rejoice in the natural creation of God."

A photo I took of the sand dunes in Oregon
"One of the purest and most innocent of joys, apart from spiritual things, in which a man can indulge is a joy in the works of God."

From our last vacation in Washington State
"I like to see my Savior on the hills and by the shores of the sea. I hear my Father's voice in the thunder and listen to the whispers of his love in the cadence of the sunlit waves. These are my Father's works, and therefore I admire them. I seem all the nearer to him when I am among them." 

A photo I took from the sea lion caves in California I can still hear the waves and the sea lions!

 He goes on to tell this story to explain the importance of not just loving God but all that he has created:

"If I were a great artist, I should think it a very small compliment if my son came into my house and said he would not notice the pictures I had painted because he only wanted to think of me. In doing so he would condemn my paintings, for if they were good for anything, he would rejoice to see my hand in them. Oh, but surely everything that comes from the hand of such a master artist as God has something of himself in it! The Lord rejoices in his works, shouldn't his people do so?"

Peonies from my garden
 He concludes with this:

"There are lovely spots on this fair globe which ought to make even a blasphemer devout. I have said, among the mountains, 'He who sees no God here is mad.' There are things that God has made which overwhelm with a sense of his omnipotence: how can men see them and doubt the existence of the Deity? Whether you consider the anatomy of the body or the arrangement of the mighty heavens, you wonder that the scorner does not bow his head - at least in silence - and own up to the infinite supremacy of God." 

A picture I took on a family vacation when we drove through the rocky mountains. I can't explain in words the majestic cathedrals these mountain are. The lake was also incredibly beautiful. No photography captures their beauty and awe.

                           Psalm 8:3-9 

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!"


October 3, 2011

ask Billy Graham

I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like Billy Graham.  I think its because he is real in his faith and has always lived simply and humbly. I really enjoyed reading this book which is full of compiled quotes from Billy Graham. Each chapter focuses on one subject and quotes that coincide. Here are some that stood out to me and why I love Billy Graham.

On Himself:  Do you view yourself as a righteous person?
"I think I'm just a sinner saved by the grace of God"

On Heaven: What will you say to Jesus when you reach heaven?
"Why me? I don't deserve to be in heaven. I am a sinner. I deserve hell because I am just a sinner. But I have been saved by the grace of God through Christ. He took my sins on the cross and he died for me. You can imagine he had the most terrible sins placed upon him and he bore them because he loved us. The thought of that overwhelms me--how constant is the love and the mercy and the grace of God."

Do you ever have moments of doubt about going to heaven?
"If I were depending on myself, I would have lots of doubts, I really would, but I'm depending on Scripture. I'm not going to heaven because I'm good. I'm not going to heaven because I preached to a lot of people. I'm going to heaven because of God's grace and mercy in Christ on the cross."

On Morality: Unlike some other high-profile evangelists, you have managed to resist temptation and stay on the straight and narrow. To what do you attribute your success?
"From the very beginning of my career, I was frightened--I still am--that I would do something to dishonor the Lord."

On our relationship with God: Some people think they can hide from God, that He doesn't notice their sins. What do you say to these people?
"Adam and Eve hid in the trees of the garden...but you can't hide from God. Don't try to run from God, run towards God."

What one thing is always certain about God?
"If there's one thing Christians can be sure of, it's that God loves us. We've broken God's laws, yet He loves us."

On seeking God: How can we survive judgment day?
"Sometimes judgment is strange and sudden. There's an escape. There's a way out. It's so easy. God didn't say, 'do great things.' He said, 'Repent and believe."

On prayer: What is the greatest form of prayer?
"I believe that the greatest form of prayer is praise to God."

On the life of Jesus Christ: In your opinion, what was Jesus Christ's ultimate purpose in life?
"He fed the poor. He healed the sick, raised the dead, but that was not his purpose. His purpose was to go to the cross."

Although Jesus was only on the earth for a short time, how would you describe his notoriety?
"Jesus is the best known person that ever lived. He did more in the thirty-three years that he lived than all the rest of the leaders in history put together. He stood up in front of all the people who stood mocking him, murdering him, and he said, 'I forgive them.' He said that to the whole world. He said, 'I love you."

On sermons: What is the main message of all your sermons?
"The message is Christ, and him crucified. I don't see any other hope."

On Humor: Billy Graham's response  when asked by a cynic how he knew God existed:
"Well, that's an easy one...because I spoke with Him this morning." 

 I have to agree with Billy Graham...I am just a sinner, who is loved beyond my imagination by my gracious Savior who died on a cross and rose again for me.

There are so many other great quotes in this book but these ones summed up for me who Billy Graham really is...a humble man of God.

Buy it HERE on Amazon