January 31, 2014

Love You With The Truth

Friday's Thought:

I just got the new Casting Crowns album and I love it! No big surprise, I love all their albums. : ) I think it's because I can so relate to their lyrics.

This new song is no exception. How many times has the enemy lied to us about not being Godly enough to speak truth into someone's life.

We can never be perfect on our own. But, we have a perfect God. And He is all we need.

As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

                                             Psalm 18:30

 It is God who arms me with strength,
And makes my way perfect.

                                            Psalm 18:32

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”                        Matthew 19:21

Hope you enjoy this song. : )

"Love You With The Truth"

For the longest time, I believed the lie
That I'm not a strong enough believer
To be the friend that can take your hand
And lead you straight to Jesus
I'm waiting on the preachers, singers, and the teachers
To string the perfect words together
But every single time I have to say goodbye
I wonder will this be the last time

I can't call myself your friend and walk away

When we love, we earn the right to speak the truth
When we speak truth, we show the world we truly love
I'm not pointing my finger, I'm holding out my hand
I lay it all on the line now to see God save my friend
Let my life and my words be the proof
I'm gonna love you with the truth
Gonna love you with the truth

Yes, God is love, but God is just
And we are separated in our darkness
So God let Him who knew no sin
To become sin to make us right with Him
Its not about religion or earning Gods forgiveness
Or magic prayers or new behavior
Its all about your heart, He'll meet you where you are
Turn from your sin and trust in Christ as Lord

Jesus is the truth, the life, the way

How I've prayed for this moment, that you would finally see
That God is more than religion, a stained-glass fantasy
And how I've prayed for the courage, for my silent faith to speak
Or that God would just send you a better friend than me

January 28, 2014

5 books on my future reading list

12 Years a Slave

This is a true story.

A story of a free man in 1841, who was tricked into going South and then sold into slavery.

I've read the first couple of chapters and my heart has been racing. I think this is going to be an extraordinary book, of an extraordinary life.

Goodreads says here:

"...you are transported to 1840’s New York, Washington, D.C., and Louisiana to experience the kidnapping and twelve years of bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. 

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War. It validated Harriett Beecher Stowe’s fictional account of Southern slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which significantly changed public opinion in favor of abolition."

Dear Mr. Knightley

I've heard so many great things about this Austen-inspired novel. A book that seems to be surprising many readers. I love it when books do that!

I can't wait to read this one. : )

Amazon describes it here:

"Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become."

Living Water

WOW! I recently started this book and love it. So much encouragement and challenges to love and obey the Lord.

This book is filled with Scripture. I feel like I'm doing a Bible study at the same time as learning from the author!

I know it's going to be one of those encouraging books I don't want to end.

Goodreads describes it here:

"Living Water is a compelling saga of Brother Yun's sacrifice to bring Jesus and the Bible to non-believers. Through his dynamic teachings, Brother Yun shares a message of radical trust and authentic Christian discipleship to churches around the world.

Using the message of the Bible and interweaving it with stories of life-changing faith, Living Water distills the wisdom of this courageous Christian man who suffered intense persecution for his beliefs. Brother Yun challenges Christians to go deeper in their faith, and become bold in their witness for Christ. He shows how God can make you as bold as a lion, and bring your days as a timid Christian to an end."

Women Living Well

First of all I have to say, I love this cover! It just reminds me of those precious times alone with God, praying and listening.

I was excited to hear Courtney was writing a book. I've been reading her blog for awhile now and enjoy her fun, honest and heartfelt words.

Amazon describes her book here:

Women desire to live well. However, living well in this modern world is a challenge. The pace of life, along with the new front porch of social media, has changed the landscape of our lives. Women have been told for far too long that being on the go and accumulating more things will make their lives full. As a result, we grasp for the wrong things in life and come up empty.

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, it will change us. Our marriages, our parenting, and our homemaking will be transformed.  

Mommy-blogger Courtney Joseph is a cheerful realist. She tackles the challenge of holding onto vintage values in a modern world, starting with the keys to protecting our walk with God. No subject is off-limits as she moves on to marriage, parenting, and household management. 


 The Heiress of Winterwood

This is another Austen inspired novel that I've heard a lot of wonderful things about.

I love to read novels in this time period, a time when men and women spoke and treated each other more respectfully then they do today.

I especially love these kinds of novels when they share God's truth.

Amazon describes it here: 

"Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them."

January 24, 2014

He Desires Your Love...

Friday's Thought:

I've been reading Hosea chapter 6 and two things have really stood out to me.

Firstly, we are to press on to know the Lord.

"Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD"

Secondly, it is important to Him that we love and get to know Him.

It doesn't matter how many mission trips we've been on, how much money we've tithed or how many people we've brought to church, if we do not love Him, it means nothing. If we do not desire to know the Lord, it means nothing.

"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." 

Brother Yun, a missionary pastor in China, once said:

"It doesn't matter if people reject you and say you are worthless. All that matters is that Jesus loves you, and He wants to be your best friend."

Jesus says:

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

These things I command you, that you love one another."

The Great I AM desires that He be your best friend, nothing else will do.

               Hosea Chapter 6

Come, let us return to the LORD;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.

After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes early away.

Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me.

Gilead is a city of evildoers,
tracked with blood.

As robbers lie in wait for a man,
so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
they commit villainy.
In the house of Israel 

I have seen a horrible thing;
Ephraim’s whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.

For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed,
when I restore the fortunes of my people.

January 20, 2014

The Goodness of God

This will be my last post on A.W. Tozer's book 'The Knowledge of the Holy.' I've really enjoyed this book and count it now as one of my favorites.

I highly recommend it.

I especially loved the chapter on the goodness of God. So I'm going to share a little from it here today.

Tozer says of God's goodness:

"Divine goodness, as one of God's attributes, is self-caused, infinite, perfect, and eternal. Since God is immutable He never varies in the intensity of His loving-kindness. He has never been kinder than He now is, nor will He ever be less kind."

What comfort! He never varies in the intensity of His loving-kindness. Never.

"The goodness of God endures continually." Psalm 52:1

Tozer later talks about prayer and God's goodness:

"Prayer is not in itself meritorious. It lays God under no obligation nor puts Him in debt to any. He hears prayer because He is good, and for no other reason."

I love that. God will always hear our prayers because He is good. It has nothing to do with us and what we want, but all prayer depends on His goodness.

And His goodness never varies in the intensity of His loving-kindness.

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Th. 1:11-12

Tozer than asks a question:

"If I come to God, how will He act towards me? What kind of disposition has He? What will I find Him to be like?"

Then he answers:

"The answer is that He will be found to be exactly like Jesus. 'He that hath seen me,' said Jesus, 'hath seen the Father.' Christ walked with men on earth that He might show them what God is like and make known the true nature of God to a race that had wrong ideas about Him. This was only one of the things He did while here in the flesh, but this He did with beautiful perfection."

I loved this even more.

Sometimes we unconsciously separate God and Jesus. The God of the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament. We fear the God of the Old and Love the God of the New, when they are actually One...Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are the same God, the One and Only God.

The God whose goodness never varies in the intensity of His loving-kindness.

"...when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7

Finally, I think this is my favorite quote which Tozer ends the chapter with:

"The greatness of God rouses fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him. To fear and not be afraid - that is the paradox of faith."

Tozer included this poem from Charles Wesley. So beautiful:

O God, my hope, my heavenly rest,
My all of happiness below.
Grant my importunate request,
To me, to me, Thy goodness show,
Thy beatific face display,

The brightness of eternal day.
Before my faith's enlightened eyes,
Make all Thy gracious goodness pass;
Thy goodness is the sight I prize:
O might I see Thy smiling face:
Thy nature in my soul proclaim,
Reveal Thy love, Thy glorious name.

Buy it  HERE on Amazon

January 13, 2014

Abraham Lincoln: Civil War Stories

This was such a delightful book! Filled with heart-warming stories of the beloved American President, Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite people and I love reading about him and his kind and gentle character.

He was certainly one of a kind.

This book contains many stories from people who knew him, encountered him or had heard great stories about him.

So many wonderful stories...

-A boy who needed to sell his dog to buy food for his sick mother encounters a giving tall man. (The Tall Stranger)

-A young widow marries Abraham's father and becomes Abe's greatest supporter and friend. (He Loved Me Truly)

-A wounded confederate soldier, laying in a prison hospital, is comforted by a tall stranger who holds his hand until death comes. (The Heart of Lincoln)

This book contains almost 40 stories and I enjoyed reading every single one.

How did these stories survive?

The authors says here:

"First of all, they survived through oral transmission. Virtually all of them are based on true incidents in Lincoln's life. During the first couple of generations after his passing, these stories thrived in the American heartland, many being passed down from one elocutionist to another. However, not until the 1880's did very many get written down." 

And here of putting these stories together: 

"At the very pinnacle of my personal bucket list is this: Put together a definitive collection of the most memorable Lincoln stories ever written before I die. And this collection is the result. I know of no other person who has ever amassed a comparable collection."

What can we learn from these stories?

The author says here:

"What I can't help but notice in these stories is that we learn far more from what Lincoln was than what he said. In these days of imperial presidencies, how jarring it is to read about a president who, like Christ, felt that humble service to all, young or old, rich or poor, regardless of race or religion, was what life was all about."

Lincoln left an impression on all those who are within these stories, even those who only encountered him once. One man recalled Lincoln saying, "Always serve like a king." This he never forgot, as Lincoln that day not only advised this by demonstrated it. This particular story (When Lincoln Passed) is one that I will be thinking about for awhile to come.

Whether you love Lincoln or know nothing about him, I think you will enjoy reading through this book. I highly recommend it to everyone!

But it HERE on Amazon

January 7, 2014

He's Already There

I remember the first time I really listened to the words of the Casting Crowns song 'Already There' and they really took be aback. I had never really thought of God as already being in my future. It's made me think of eternity.

                               Already There by Casting Crown

                                  When I'm lost in the mystery
                                  To You my future is a memory
                                  Cause You're already there
                                  You're already there
                                  Standing at the end of my life
                                  Waiting on the other side
                                  And You're already there
                                  You're already there

I love the way God fits things together. I found while reading the chapter on 'The eternity of God' in A.W. Tozer's book The Knowledge of the Holy, not only a reminder of this song, but a better understanding of eternity, even if only in the slightest.

Tozer says:

"God dwells in eternity, but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays."

And here:

"The mind looks backward in time till the dim past vanishes, then turns and looks into the future till thought and imagination collapse from exhaustion; and God is at both points, unaffected by either. Time marks the beginning of created existence, and because God never began to exist it can have no application to Him. 'Began' is a time-word, and can have no personal meaning for the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity."

And here:

"To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions. all within us cries for life and permanence, and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. Yet that God has made us of the stuff of eternity is both a glory and a prophecy, a glory yet to be realized and a prophecy yet to be fulfilled."

And here:

"The ancient image of God whispers within every man of everlasting hope; somewhere he will continue to exist. Still he cannot rejoice, for the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world troubles his conscience, frightening him with proofs of guilt and evidences of coming death. So is he ground between the upper millstone of hope and the nether stone of fear."

And here:

"God's eternity and man's mortality join to persuade us that faith in Jesus Christ is not optional. For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy. Out of eternity our Lord came into time to rescue His human brethren whose moral folly had made them not only fools of the passing world but slaves of sin and death as well."
"And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" 1 John 2:17

This can all be a bit overwhelming to think about, but Tozer says here of a safe haven for those who are in Christ:

"...since God is eternal, He can be and continue forever to be the one safe home for His time-driven children."

"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." 
                                                                        Psalm 90:1

Tozer says here of the gift of eternal life in Christ:

"...the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus is as limitless as God. The Christian man possesses God's own life and shares His infinitude with Him. In God there is life enough for all and time enough to enjoy it. Whatever is possessed of natural life runs through its cycle from birth to death and ceases to be, but the life of God returns upon itself and ceases never. And this is life eternal: to know the only true God, 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

Our only hope of eternal life, opposed to eternal death, is in Jesus.

"Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel..." 2 Timothy 1:10

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 
                                                                                       1 Peter 1:3

"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:13

Buy it HERE on Amazon

January 3, 2014

The Love of God and My One Word

Friday's Thought:

Welcome to the first post of a new Friday series for 2014!

Each Friday will be a surprise!

Sometimes it will be a meaningful quote, sometimes a link to a blog post that has moved me, sometimes a Scripture verse, sometimes a favorite song or whatever else may inspire me! 

I'm calling it 'Friday's Thought'

This past year I choose 'Love' as my ONE word and as I focused on the Love of God, I found this verse coming alive for me.

"We love Him, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

What a powerful verse. He has always loved us. Even before we loved Him.

There has never been a time when God hasn't loved us.

I recently read this powerful prayer from A.W. Tozer to the Lord about His love:

"Our Father which art in heaven, we your children are often troubled in mind, hearing within us at once the affirmations of faith and the accusations of conscience. 

We are sure that there is in us nothing that could attract the love of One as holy and as just as You are. Yet You have declared Your unchanging love for us in Christ Jesus. 

If nothing in us can win Your love, nothing in the universe can prevent You from loving us.

Your love is uncaused and undeserved. You are Yourself the reason for the love wherewith we are loved. 

Help us to believe the intensity, the eternity of the love that has found us. 

Then love will cast out fear; and our troubled hearts will be at peace, trusting not in what we are but in what You have declared Yourself to be.  Amen"

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18

I admit I've read and heard this verse a million times but until I read this quote from Tozer, I never really thought about it deeply.

He says here:

"Fear is the painful emotion that arises at the thought that we may be harmed or made to suffer. This fear persists while we are subject to the will of someone who does not desire our well-being. The moment we come under the protection of one of good will, fear is cast out."

Our Father in heaven only has good-will towards us. He loves us. And when we trust in Him, fear is cast out.

Such great thoughts to dwell on at the start of this new year. : )

 * My new ONE word for 2014 is: Purposeful

I want to be more purposeful in all that I do. More kind with my words, more giving with my time and more patient with my family.