April 27, 2015

5 books on my future reading list


Growing Up Social

Last fall we took a family trip to Disneyland and I was astounded at how many parents were on their phones, while their children were trying to get their attention. In Disneyland!

It made me sad.

This book is about the social media habits kids pick up and how parents can teach a more balanced way of using it.

I vote for no phones or electronics on family vacations! : )

Amazon says here of the book:

"In this digital age, children are spending more and more time interacting with a screen rather than a parent. Technology has the potential to add value to our families, but it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child's emotional growth. 

In Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, you'll learn how to take back your home from an over-dependence on screens. Discover the five A+ skills needed to give your child the relational edge in a screen-driven world: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention."



The Hardest Peace

I first saw a link to this authors blog on Facebook with her final message to her readers.

It was so beautiful.

You can read it HERE

She has now passed away from cancer and left a great legacy of love and peace that we can find in Christ.

I love what Joni Eareckson Tada says in the forward:

"Kara and I both recognize that vulnerability and transparency are so necessary in communicating a powerful story. 

But we also know that our testimonies won't really reach - or even change - the life of the reader. Only the Word of God can do that. Which is why I so appreciate The Hardest Peace

It is filled with snippets of psalms and slices of encouraging scriptures that express the story of God and His purposes in our pain. Kara has a way of reminding us that God's reasons are perfect and that our Savior, intimately acquainted with grief and suffering, is constantly pleading our case before heaven's throne. 

What could be more comforting than that?"



Return To Me

I love Lynn Austins novels.

Though, I've never read any of her Biblical fiction.

This first book. in her 'The Restoration Chronicles' series is based on the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah

Bethany House Publishing says of it here:

"Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home."

I'm very excited to get started on this one! : )

The second book, Keepers of the Covenant, is available now as well.

The third book, On this Foundation, is coming out in October.




 The Cross He Bore

This was a recommendation by a fellow blogger and sounds like a powerful read.

A book of meditations on the sufferings of Christ.

It's a short read of under 100 pages, but it's sure to be filled with great wisdom.

Here is this books description:

"Frederick Leahy spent a lifetime in the ministry of the Word. In these pages, preacher, pastor and theologian come together in a happy unity. 

No words are wasted. 

There is nothing of the frothy and insubstantial. 

Here is satisfying truth, painstakingly quarried and crafted for the needs of God’s people. A judicious selection of gems from the writings of others provides further enrichment and stimulus to thought."



Women of the Word

There is always something new for us to find in God's Word. We are forever learning. : )

This book sounds like it could be a great help, as we study with our hearts and minds.

Amazon say here:

"We all know it’s important to study God’s Word.

But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. 

What’s more, a lack of time, emotionally driven approaches, and past frustrations can erode our resolve to keep growing in our knowledge of Scripture. How can we, as Christian women, keep our focus and sustain our passion when reading the Bible?

Offering a clear and concise plan to help women go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will equip you to engage God’s Word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart."


April 17, 2015

A Mini Bible Study In Acts



I recently finished reading the book of Acts and I read these verses:

"Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, 'It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.

'Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

'but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.'

And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,

whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.


Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith."    Acts 6:1-7



I thought I'd share what I've learnt from a little deeper study.

So what or who were the Hellenists?

Hellenists: 'Jews who made Greek their tongue, and with it often adopted Greek ideas and practices.'

Bible Verse Study.com says it this way:

"the Hellenists" are the converts among the Jews who had returned to Judea after having lived abroad in the Greek world, and still spoke Greek and had adopted Greek cultural elements."

So these Hellenists were concerned about their widows getting enough food. Maybe even a bit jealous of the attention the other widows were getting.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary writes:
"The complainants were the Grecians, or Hellenists, against the Hebrews —the Jews that were scattered in Greece, and other parts, who ordinarily spoke the Greek tongue, and read the Old Testament in the Greek version, and not the original Hebrew, many of whom being at Jerusalem at the feast embraced the faith of Christ, and were added to the church, and so continued there. These complained against the Hebrews, the native Jews, that used the original Hebrew of the Old Testament. 

Some of each of these became Christians, and, it seems, their joint-embracing of the faith of Christ did not prevail, as it ought to have done, to extinguish the little jealousies they had one of another before their conversion, but they retained somewhat of that old leaven; not understanding, or not remembering, that in Christ Jesus there is neither Greek nor Jew, no distinction of Hebrew and Hellenist, but all are alike welcome to Christ, and should be, for his sake, dear to one another."

They needed to be reminded they were all one in Christ. And that all Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit, the preachers and the table servers alike.

Now the twelve did not think it was right for them to leave their preaching to take care of this situation so they asked their fellow brothers in Christ to find those who could. They knew they were called to prayer and to spread the Word (the gospel).

This really spoke to me. We are all one body, and each of us have a calling. Whether we are called to preach or keep widows feed, our tasks are important to God.

Just this morning I read this tweet from 'Desiring God'...

"There is no higher calling for you than to be who God called you to be."

How fitting for this post! : )

And because of everyone's obedience in their God-given task many more came to the Lord.

The disciples then chose Stephen, Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.

What is a proselyte?

Proselyte: "a foreign resident, often rendered 'stranger.'

Bible Study Tools.com puts it this way:

"(a stranger, a new comer ), the name given by the Jews to foreigners who adopted the Jewish religion."

So Nicolas would have been a foreigner who converted to Judaism and then later after hearing the gospel, followed Christ.

And finally where is Anitioch?

Antioch is in Syria.


What significance does it have?

"Antioch is important in the early history of Christianity. One of the original deacons of the Apostolic church was Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch (Acts 6:5). The first Gentile church, the mother of all the others, was founded there. Many fugitive Christians scattered at the death of Stephen went to Antioch, where they inaugurated a new era by preaching not only to the Hellenist Jews, but to 'the Greeks also' (Acts 11:20). 

The Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to assist in the work, and he, after laboring there for a while, summoned Paul from Tarsus to assist him. After working there for a year, they were sent with relief to the famine-stricken saints in Jerusalem. 

The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch (Acts 11:19-26), a designation probably coming from the populace, who were well-known for their invention of nicknames. The church at Antioch sent Paul and his companions out on his three missionary journeys (Acts 13:1, 15:3, 18:23), and he reported to it on his return from the first two (Acts 14:26, 18:22)."

I found this all so interesting! Especially that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

"...And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." 
                                                                 Acts 11:26


Now I'm into studying the book of Jeremiah and finding it fascinating. God is good. : )


*Note: Matthew Henry's Bible commentary is available online for free HERE

*Note: All quotes are from 'The Compact Bible Dictionary' unless otherwise stated.


Buy it HERE on Amazon



April 10, 2015

The Bible, False Teachings and God

I've been thinking a lot about Luke chapter twenty-four since writing about it at Easter. Particularly verse twenty-seven:

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself."

This is what Jesus wants for us as well. To teach us about Himself through Scripture.


There are so many voices in the Christian world today, sometimes my head spins with it all!

With those voices are many false teachings and one of those teachings, is that we don't need to read our Bible, rather God wants us to have supernatural experiences to reveal Himself to us.

But didn't I just read Jesus saying He reveals Himself through the Scriptures?

And are not the Scriptures awe-inspired by God?

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 1 Tim. 3:16-17

Is the Word of God not sharper than any two-edged sword?

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

I desperately need the Holy Spirit to guide me through the Word of God, giving me discernment in examining myself and coming to the Truth, not to make me fall on the ground, bark like a dog or see glory clouds, feathers or gold dust coming from the sky.

GOD PARTED THE RED SEA.

Really think about that.

Amazing, right? I think so. : )

This is the Red Sea from space taken by NASA

Do a few feathers or gold dust make a miracle that show His majesty? No. These so-called miracles are foolishness. They mock God Almighty. Don't believe it. Even if you see them don't put your trust in them.

I recently stumbled upon and read a review of a book called 'When Heaven Invades Earth' by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church and it taught this very thing...that we should desire spiritual experiences over listening to the Scriptures.

Coming from a Pentecostal background, I was shocked and my heart broke.

It made me cry out before the Lord, Lord help us! Give your people discernment. Bring us back to Your Holy Word and humble us before You.

Here is that review: An Invasion of Error

If you choose to read it, read it slowly and in prayer. It's a long and through one. 

What this book teaches is so subtly wrong, that many don't see it. I have read many books on what the new age movement teaches and I saw many similarities. It was extremely unnerving. It crushed my spirit knowing hundreds of thousands are under these types of teachings.

...Then I started goggling and found that Johnson and his wife promote something called 'grave sucking.' I'd never heard of it before but was absolutely horrified when I saw his wife laying on C.S. Lewis's grave trying to suck up the power of the Holy Spirit through Lewis's dead bones. 

This is occultic. God's Spirit is not in the grave! Let me say that again.

God's Spirit is not in the grave!

God help us! Give us discernment!

Turn our eyes towards You.


I've been praying for several days now and asking the Lord to give me wisdom about all this.


I'm in the middle of reading Tozer's book 'The Dangers of Shallow Faith' and have found great encouragement. Thank-you Lord for Tozer! I really needed to hear what Tozer had to say here.

A.W. Tozer says:

"Men are not willing to let God be what He says He is. They attempt to change, correct, alter and apologize for God, in an attempt to make Him be other than what He is. 

God is, and the angels want Him to be what He is. God is, and the elders and the saints and heavenly creatures want Him to be what He is. 

We had better want Him to be what He is, and conform ourselves to what He is."


And then:

"God is what He is, and we had better learn what God is and then conform our teachings to that truth."

I want to conform to what He is. Nothing more, nothing less.

Many teach less of Christ, rarely speaking of the cross. And others teach more than Christ in their exaggeration of mysticism and experiences.

I want only Him.

And if I want only Him I must conform to Him alone. I must accept everything He says of Himself in His Word. Everything. His love and His judgement. His compassion and His righteousness.

Tozer says here:

"Truth concerning God means that we must accept God's sovereignty, His holiness, His justice, His grace, His love and all that the Bible says about God. Concerning ourselves, it requires that we must believe in ourselves as a fallen image of God - ones who once bore his image, but fell."

And Abraham Lincoln once said:

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.” 

We must see God for who He is and always contend for His side. We must teach what He taught. We must preach what He preached. Nothing more and nothing less.

Tozer encourages us to read the book of Jude. A book that cries out for us to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

Jude writes:

"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 1:3


Tozer says of reading Jude:

"Get your teeth into something. Dare to believe something. And dare to stand for God. In this awful day of so-called tolerance, men are ready to believe anything.

We are not called to always show a smile.

Sometimes we are called to frown and rebuke with all long-suffering and doctrine. We must contend but not be contentious. 

We must preserve truth but injure no man. 

We must destroy error without harming people. In earlier times, when men were wrong, they contented, and in contending, they became contentious. In an attempt to preserve truth, they destroyed those who held error. Let us preserve truth but injure no man."


Tozer is encouraging us to contend for the faith in love.


He continues here:

"Dare to contend without being contentious. Dare to preserve truth without hurting people. Dare to love and to be charitable.

Let us put our chin a little higher and our knees a little lower, and let us look a little further unto the throne of God for Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. 

Let us be courageous, but tender; severe, but kind. And let us pray in the Holy Spirit and keep ourselves in the love of God, building up ourselves in the love of God, building up ourselves in the most holy faith, and win all those we can till the day of the glory and the song."

This is my hearts desire. To contend for the faith in boldness and truth as well as in love and kindness.

And this can only be done through Christ.

My heart does not want you to walk away from this post condemning Bill Johnson or any other, but rather to come away with a desire to search the Scriptures for the Truth. I want you to know the true God and have a heart that conforms to Him and Him alone.

Please pray for discernment. Please cry out for discernment.

Proverbs Chapter Two

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,


So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,

If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;


Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.


For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;


He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;

He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.


Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.


When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,


Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,


To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,




From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;

Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked;

Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths;


To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,


Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.


For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;


None who go to her return,
Nor do they regain the paths of life—


So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.


For the upright will dwell in the land,
And the blameless will remain in it;


But the wicked will be cut off from the earth,
And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.

April 6, 2015

Jane Austen Inspired Books


I love Jane Austen's books.

She had a way of telling a romantic story with grace and wit.

Today I thought I'd share a few books on my Jane Austen inspired reading list.


Captain Wentworth's Diary

Amanda Grange has written a series of books based on Jane's novels through the eyes of the men. I've read 'Mr. Darcy's Diary' and enjoyed Amanda's writing style and perspective on the story, 'Pride and Prejudice.'

Captain Wentworth is from the novel 'Persuasion' which is my second favorite, after 'Pride and Prejudice.'

Hoping this one is just as good. : )





Jane Austen Cover to Cover

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued. It discusses 200 years of Jane Austen covers.

Goodreads says here:  

"Jane Austen Cover to Cover compiles two centuries of design, from elegant Victorian hardcovers and the famed 1894 “Peacock” edition to 1950s pulp, movie tie-in editions, graphic novels, foreign-language translations, and many, many others."  

It also contains historical commentary and Austen trivia.





The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen

I actually just discovered this book while looking for images for this post! It sounds like an inventive story based on Jane Austen's life, intermingled with her novel 'Persuasion.' Proposing that she shared her true love story through it's pages.

The back cover says:

"What if the tale Jane Austen told in her last, most poignant novel was actually inspired by momentous events in her own life? Did she in fact intend "Persuasion" to stand forever in homage to her one true love?" 





In the Garden with Jane Austen

“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”

One of my favorite Jane Austen quotes!

I'm really excited about having a look at this book! I not only love Jane Austen, but also love to flower garden. And like me, Jane loved it too. This book includes info on gardens Jane visited, as well as her own.

Goodreads says:

"With lush photos, social history, excerpts from the novels, information on her life, and period drawings, this book brings Georgian and Regency gardens and Jane Austen’s world to life."





Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread

There seems to be a bit of a 'Persuasion' theme here. : ) I didn't mean to do that!

Mary Jane Hathaway has a series of books with a Jane Austen theme set in the South. They are each a re-telling of Jane's classic stories. I've heard great things about these books and I'm willing to give them a try even though they aren't set in England. : )





Lizzy and Jane

I've read Katherine Reay's first novel, 'Dear Mr. Knightly' and was pleasantly surprise how much I enjoyed it. It has a modern day setting and had a wonderful depth to it I was not expecting.

I'm hoping to enjoy this one just as much. : )





The Forgotten Sister

This novel is based off of Mary, the middle daughter of 'Pride and Prejudice.' She was socially awkward and never seemed to fit in.

Though I've never been quite as extreme as the character of Mary was, I can relate to having outgoing sisters, while I was quiet, and being social awkward as an introvert.

I'm really looking forward to how this author shares Mary's story, from Mary's point of view.





The Jane Austen Handbook

This one sounds like a really fun and quirky book which shares life during the regency era of Jane Austen. 

It shares things like:

- How to behave at your first ball
- How to ride sidesaddle
- How to decline an unwanted marriage proposal
- How to improve your estate
- How to throw a dinner party


 It's sure to put a smile on my face. : )






Old Friends and New Fancies

Last, but not least, this novel was the first ever Jane Austen inspired sequel. It was published in 1914 and involves the characters from Jane Austen's novels.

 Goodreads describes it here:

"This is the ultimate Jane Austen sequel....Virtually all the characters left standing at the end of the novels-most particularly the unmarried ones-must all meet up... Broken engagements will follow, a few false trails and threatened unacceptable matches must be endured before the Forces of Good prevail." 





Have you read any good clean Jane Austen inspired books lately? Any of these? Let me know in the comments. I love a good recommendation. : )

April 1, 2015

He is Risen!

I was reading through chapter twenty-four of the book of Luke.

The chapter that shares the resurrection.

This is what happened.


It's say 'two of them' (believers) were traveling to a village called Emmaus and while they were walking they were talking about all that had happened (Christ death and the empty tomb). Then all of a sudden Jesus was walking with them!

They did not recognize him though.

He said to them,

"What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?"

One of them answered,

"Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?"

A little cheeky of them I'd say. : )

They then explained to Jesus (still not knowing who He was) all that had happened.

Then Jesus said something that really shook me. He said,

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"

How often are we fools with a slow of heart to believe?

Jesus does not want us to doubt, but to believe.

Why?

Because when we do, we will see Him.

And He longs for us to see Him, because then we will know Him!

Then it continues with this verse,

"And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."

How amazing! To literally walk with the Son of God, Him teaching about Himself and showing who He is through the Old Testament Scriptures!

Jesus may not be here in the flesh, but His Holy Spirit is in those who believe, and through His Spirit He teaches us about Himself throughout all Scripture.

Their eyes were finally opened and they realized it was Jesus and they said,

"Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"

They then went to the eleven disciples and proclaimed,

"The Lord is risen indeed!"


May you all have a blessed Easter and rejoice that the Savior is risen!


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