July 31, 2013

Praying with your Children

Awhile back I shared a post on Praying for  your children.

Today I'd like to share about praying with your children.

This is something I know first hand makes a difference.


I have three children, a son 23, a daughter 21 and another daughter 17. As a mom I've failed many times and made a lot of mistakes, but there is one thing I know I did right...

Every night I sat with each of my children and we prayed together. We prayed for tummy aches, for good sleeps, for forgiveness, for friends and family, and we thanked God for all we had.

As they got older their prayers became more serious and intimate with God and they began to have quiet time alone with Him.

In those times of prayer my children met Jesus.

Not a religious icon or symbol but the Son of the living God. The One who loves them more than we as parents ever could. I would remind my children that the love of God was so much more then the love we could give. I would often say... 'always remember we love you, but God loves you more.' : )

My children are older now and I love seeing and hearing them pray. Prayer is a form of trust in the Lord. A trust that He is there and listening.

"...they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him." 1 Ch. 5:20

My children are far from perfect but it amazes me when every once in awhile I see the Lord perfecting them, showing them His perfect way. It's such a joy as a mother.

If I could give any advice as a mom it would be to pray with your children.

Introduce them to Jesus. And be real in your prayers. Children need to see their parents humbled at the cross, and parents who cry out to the Lord for strength. They need to see we all need Him.


"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Ch. 7:14

Here's a little help to get you started praying with your children.

It's called the A.C.T.S. Prayer:

  • A stands for “adoration.” Begin the prayer by simply adoring God for who He is.
  • C stands for “confession.” Spend some time confessing your sins.
  • T stands for “thanksgiving.” Take time to thank God for the blessings that He has given to you and your family.
  • S stands for “supplication.” Lift up specific areas of your life in which you need God to supply for your needs.

July 30, 2013

It Happened at the Fair

Deeanne's books always make me smile. They have wonderful likable characters, fun stories and that 'can't put down' quality.

...And I think this one is my new favorite from her. : )

Set during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, this novel is full of history and wonderful facts, while mingled with a sweet love story.

I really loved the history in this one. So many great detail about this exceptional fair.

If I could only go back in time...

I would love to have visited this fair.


 Deeanne writes in her Author's Notes about including these details and facts:

"I depicted the rest of the exhibits in the novel as accurately as I could, though I had to leave out a TON of details in order to keep the pace moving. I didn't come anywhere close to describing even the tip of the iceberg. There were hundreds of thousands of them - all wonderful, interesting, and fascinating. The novel would have been a bazillion pages long if I'd tried to squeeze them all in. Still, I absolutely hated leaving them out. : ( "

Even with that said, there was plenty of history and details to excite this reader. : )


Though she couldn't include everything about the fair, she did include lots of great photos and drawing at the beginning of each chapter. I LOVED this! I'm a visual learner and these were so cool to look at while reading. They also helped me to envision the characters as they experienced the fair.

Here are a few included in the book:

Court of honor and Grand Basin as Viewed from the Peristyle

Movable Sidewalk

Ferris Wheel

And here are a few examples of the tickets sold at the fair:




As well as the history of the 1893 World's Fair, there was a lovely story to this novel.

Cullen is sent to the fair by his father to promote his invention of an automatic sprinkle.

Della is a teacher for the deaf and working in the Children's Building.

I loved how Deeanne incorporated an historical event into their meeting, but you'll have to read the book to find out how. : )

I really enjoyed this one. Both reading about their adventures at the fair as well as their struggles.

I would recommend this one to history fans and Christian fiction fans alike. 

Buy it HERE on Amazon




July 26, 2013

if

I ask to be delivered from trial rather
        than for deliverance out of it,
  to the praise of His glory;
if I forget that the way of the cross
      leads to the cross
 and not to a bank of flowers;
if I regulate my life on theses lines,
   or even uncounsciously my
       thinking,
  so that I am surprised when the
     way is rough and think it
     strange, though the word is,
    "Think it not strange,"
    "Count it all joy,"
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                     Amy Carmichael

July 22, 2013

42 - The Movie

Last night my husband and I rented a movie called '42' which was about the first African American major league baseball player, Jackie Robinson.


It was so good! I loved it.

It was not just about this historical time in baseball, but an inspirational story of how God wants us to behave in the face of verbal and threatening abuse.

The most powerful scene in this movie is right after Jackie leaves the baseball field after such an attack. The conversation he has with the supportive team executive of the Brooklyn Dodgers is extremely moving.


Racism is something I've never understood. People are people, the color of our skin only makes us unique and beautiful. I recently read this quote from Rick Warren and I whole-heartily agree:

"Racism is stupid. It’s an insult to God, arrogantly implying that God goofed-up when he chose to make us all different."

This next picture is from another favorite scene, but you'll have to watch the movie to understand the greater significance. : )


After watching this movie I not only fell in love with Jackie Robinson, but was reminded of my love of baseball as a teenager. The excitement of your team coming back in the last inning, your favorite player coming up to bat and those home-runs!

I highly recommend this movie.

And now I'm off to see if I can find some kind of autobiography or biography of the awesome Jackie Robinson. : )

July 12, 2013

if

I can easily discuss the shortcomings
        and the sins of any;
if I can speak in a casual way even
        of a child's misdoings,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                      Amy Carmichael

July 10, 2013

Prayer at the Throne of Grace


Have you ever thought of prayer as coming to the throne of God?

How do you imagine the throne of God, in all His majesty, power and might?

God rules in justice, but His also rules in grace.

And how we need His grace!



I've recently started Charles Spurgeon's book, The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life, and I was so taken by the first chapter that I just have to share it.

It's called... The Throne of Grace.


True Prayer 

He begins with this about true prayer:

"True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature towards the Lord our God. True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that - it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth. 

God is a Spirit unseen of mortal eye and only to be perceived by the inner man. Our spirit within us, begotten by the Holy Ghost at our regeneration, discerns the Great Spirit, communes with Him, presents to Him its requests, and receives from Him answers of peace. 

True prayer is a spiritual business from beginning to end, and its aim and object end are not with man but reach to God Himself."

"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."   Romans 8:26


Called to the Throne of Grace

When we begin to see God for who He really is in all his glory, majesty, justice and perfection, it can be overwhelming. To come to a throne like this can be intimidating at the least, but as believers we are not called to the throne of law, we are called to the throne of grace.

Spurgeon says here:

"We are called to the throne of grace, not to the throne of law."

And continues here:

"We are not to speak of the throne of ultimate justice. Before God's throne we shall all come, and as many of us as have believed will find it to be a throne of grace as well as of justice. He who sits upon that throne shall pronounce no sentence of condemnation against the man who is justified by faith."

The God of all who sits on the throne will pronounce no sentence of condemnation against those justified by faith!

Really think about that.

Think of every lie you've told, every jealous thought, every slanderous word spoken, every sinful deed done and then think of how His forgiveness, through His son Jesus Christ, has justified your sin before the throne of grace.

If you repent and trust in Him, you will not be condemned.

He promises and He will never go back on a promise.

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."   Romans 8:1


Our Unworthy Prayers

Do you ever feel your prayers don't make sense of just sound foolish? Or you just don't have the words that sound right?


Spurgeon encourages here:

"If in prayer I come before a throne of grace, the faults of my prayer will be overlooked.

In beginning to pray, you may feel as if you did not pray at all. When you rise from your knees, the groaning of your spirit are such that you think there is nothing in them. What a blotted, blurred, smeared prayer it is. 

Never mind - you did not come to the throne of justice. 

God does not perceive the fault in the prayer or spurn it. Your broken words, gaspings, and stammerings come before a throne of grace. 

When any one of us has presented his best prayer before God, if he saw it as God sees it, there is no doubt he would make great lamentation over it. There is enough sin in the best prayer that was ever prayed to secure its being cast away from God. 

But the throne is not a throne of justice, and here is the hope for our lame, limping supplications...He does not severely criticize the faulty cries of His children.

The Lord High Chamberlain of the palace above, our Lord Jesus Christ, takes care to alter and amend every prayer before He presents it to His father. He makes the prayer perfect with His perfection and prevalent with His own merits. God looks upon the prayer as presented through Christ and forgives all its own inherent faultiness. How this should encourage any of us who feel ourselves to be feeble, wandering and unskilled in prayer!

If you cannot plead with God as sometimes you did in years gone by, if you feel as if somehow or other you have grown rusty in the work of supplication...

Never give up. 

But come still and come oftener, for it is not a throne of severe criticism to which you come."

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."   Hebrews 4:16


A Throne of Compassion and Understanding

One thing that I find amazing about Jesus is that he stepped down from His throne to live among us, suffer along with us, and give his life up for us. He knows how we feel.

Spurgeon says here:

"When I come to the throne of grace with the burden of my sins, there is One on the throne who felt the burden of sin in ages long gone by and has not forgotten its weight. When I come loaded with sorrow, there is One there who knows all the sorrows to which humanity can be subjected. 

Am I depressed and distressed? Do I fear that God Himself has forsaken me? There is One upon the throne who said, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Matt. 27:46

It is a throne from which grace delights to look upon the miseries of mankind with a tender eye - to consider them and to relieve them.

Come then...to the throne of grace."


God will Do as He Promised

You need not doubt God, He will do what He promises. He has to because He made a covenant through the blood of Christ and with those who believe.


I love the way Spurgeon describes this here:

"On the throne of grace, sovereignty has placed, itself under bonds of love. 

God will do as He wills, but on the mercy seat, He is under bonds of His own making, for He has entered into covenant with Christ, and so into covenant with His chosen. Though God is and ever must be a sovereign, He never will break His covenant nor alter the word that has gone out of His mouth.

He cannot be false to a covenant of His own making. When I come to God in Christ, to God on the mercy seat, I need not imagine that by any act of sovereignty God will set aside His covenant. 

That is impossible.

Moreover, on the throne of grace, God is again bound to us by His promises. The covenant contains in it many gracious promises, exceeding great and precious. 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' Matt. 7:7

Until God said that word or a word to that effect, it was at His own option to hear prayer or not, but it is not so now. If true prayer is offered through Jesus Christ, His truth binds Him to hear it. "

God will not break His promises. He delights to fullfill them. He declares:

"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us."  2 Corinthians 1:20


Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

Because of all this we can come boldly to the throne of grace.

Spurgeon ends the chapter with this:

"The covenant is ratified with blood, the blood of His own dear Son. It is not possible that we can plead in vain with God when we plead the blood-sealed covenant, ordered in all things and sure. 

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the power of the blood of Jesus with God can never fail. It speaks when we are silent, and it prevails when we are defeated...

Let us come boldly, for we bear the promise in our hearts."

Buy it HERE on Amazon



July 5, 2013

if

by doing some work which the
        undiscerning consider 'not
        spiritual work'
            I can best help others,
and I inwardly rebel,
    thinking it is the spiritual for
       which I crave,
   when in truth it is the interesting
       and exciting,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                                 Amy Carmichael

July 3, 2013

5 books on my future reading list

The Knowledge of the Holy

I've read the first chapter of this book and have underlined half of it already! : )

Tozer begins this book with this:

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

The back cover says:

"What comes to your mind when you think about God? What is He like? In Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer challenges us that if we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God as He is.

Deeply informative and truly inspirational, this excellent book will encourage the reader to reflect on the graciousness and majesty of the all-powerful God, the awesomeness of who He is, and experience the divine presence in a new and refreshing way."

I'm looking forward to getting into this book.



The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite novels. Charlotte Bronte is it's author and this book is about her. I'm always a little leery of novels portraying real life people but this one looks very good.

The author Syrie James answers the question,

Which parts of 'The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte' are true?

"The novel is based almost entirely on fact. All the details of Charlotte's family life, her experiences at school, her friendship with Ellen, her feelings for Monsieur Heger, the evolution of her writing career, and her relationship with her publisher, George Smith, are all true and based on information from her letters and biographies."

I'm excited to read this one!



Kisses from Katie

I've just started reading the first chapter of this book and I can tell I'm already going to love it.

Katie reminds me so much of the missionary, Amy Carmichael. She has such a joy and love from God that comes through the pages and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of her book.

Amazon states here:

"What would cause an eighteen-year-old senior class president and homecoming queen from Nashville, Tennessee, to disobey and disappoint her parents by forgoing college, break her little brother’s heart, lose all but a handful of her friends (because they think she has gone off the deep end), and break up with the love of her life, all so she could move to Uganda, where she knew only one person and didn’t even speak the language?

A passion to follow Jesus. 

Katie Davis left over Christmas break of her senior year for a short mission trip to Uganda and her life was turned completely inside out. She found herself so moved by the people of Uganda and the needs she saw that she knew her calling was to return and care for them. Katie, a charismatic and articulate young woman, is in the process of adopting thirteen children in Uganda and has established a ministry, Amazima, that feeds and sends hundreds more to school while teaching them the Word of Jesus Christ."

  

The Outcast: A Modern Retelling of The Scarlet Letter

The novel The Scarlett Letter  was one of those books that lingered well after I turned the last page. It gave me so many things to think about. Things like how we treat others whose sins are more apparent, while ignoring our own.

It made me think of Matthew 7:3.

When I saw this new book, The Outcast, which is based on the story, I was curious to read it.

Goodreads describes it here:

"Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel Stoltzfus is a strong-willed single woman, content living apart from mainstream society until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Refusing to repent and name the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most. She is eventually coerced into leaving by her brother-in-law, the bishop.
 

But secrets run deep in this cloistered community, and the bishop is hiding some of his own, threatening his conscience and his very soul. When the life of Rachel’s baby is at stake, however, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing the lives of those who call Copper Creek home."



Abraham Lincoln Civil War Stories

A few years ago I read Joe Wheeler's book, Abraham Lincoln, A Man of Faith and Courage and really enjoyed it.

So when I saw this new book which is filled with heartwarming stories of this beloved president, I just had to add it to my TBR pile!

Amazon says here of the book:

"This rare and beautiful heirloom collection reveals the servant heart of Presi­dent Lincoln, his dedication to the people who served him, and his homespun humor and wisdom. These are the stories that build character and inspire convic­tion in those who read and hear them. 

Gathered for the very purpose of being passed from generation to generation, these delightful stories will become favor­ites of adults and children alike—as parents and grandparents read them again and again to their children and grandchildren."


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