November 27, 2016

The Magnolia Story


                                                        SOMETIMES THE MESSIEST STUFF 
                                                             AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKES 
                                                 CAN TAKE YOU SOMEPLACE WONDERFUL.
                                                                                   (From the back cover)

This was such a great book! I loved the honesty and humor, as well as the encouragement and love between these two.

Chip and Joanna Gaines share a small part of their lives with us in this memoir...how they met, how they started their business, their financial struggles, as well has their trust in the Lord through it all.

The book goes from Joanna speaking, to Chip speaking, each with a different font so you can tell who's talking. I really liked this format. It was like sitting down and talking with them both at the same time.

Chip is funny and loyal and an extremely generous person, as well as a bit absent-minded and forgetful.

Joanna is caring and honest and wise, as well as easily worried and frustrated.

I loved that they shared their weaknesses, as well as their strengths. It made the read so much more relateable.


I also love how Chip and Joanna are living out the Ephesians 5:22-33 life. I saw it throughout the whole book. He loves her and honors her and she submits to his leadership as head of their home. This is a beautiful thing to witness when done biblically for the love of Christ.

My husband and I love watching their show,  it's one of the rare ones we enjoy watching together. They make us laugh, encourage us to work together through life and to see the bigger picture of God's plan.

This book was fairly short and easy to read. I highly recommend it!


Buy it HERE on Amazon


November 21, 2016

A.W. Tozer's Thoughts On...

Tozer's writings always move me, as well as make me think more deeply about the truths of the Bible. I recently finished his book 'God's Pursuit of Man' and came away with many great things to ponder. I found that though this book was first published in the 1950's it is still very relevant for today.


I thought I'd share a few of Tozer's thoughts, from this book, here...


On Books...

1. "It is that we beware the common habit of putting confidence in books, as such. It takes a determined effort of the mind to break free from the error of making books and teachers ends in themselves.

The worst thing a book can do for a Christian is to leave him with the impression that he has received from it anything really good; the best it can do is to point the way to the Good he is seeking. The function of a good book is to stand like a signpost directing the reader toward the Truth and the Life. That book serves best which early makes itself unnecessary, just as a signpost serves best after it is forgotten, after the traveler has arrived safely at his desired haven. 

The work of a good book is to incite the reader to moral action, to turn his eyes towards God and urge him forward. Beyond that it cannot go." (Page15)


On Salvation...

1. "It is the habit of languidly 'accepting' salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and 'decide' for Christ, and in some places one day each year is set aside as 'Decision Day,' at which time people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. 

Christ is thus made to stand again before men's judgement seat; He is made to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted. By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God.

However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling." (John 6:63, 44, 65; 17:2; Gal. 1:15-16)" (Page 49)


 2. "The master choice is His, the secondary choice is ours. Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest of the Most high God. Our 'accepting' and 'willing' are reaction rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God." (Pages 50-51)


3. "...we may as well face the hard truth that men do not become Christians by associating with church people, not by religious contact, not by religious education; they become Christians only by invasion of their nature by the Spirit of God in the new birth. And when they do thus become Christians they are immediately members of the new race." (Page 123)


On The Cross...

1. "...the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. 

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. 

The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics - but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear." (Page 62)


2. "Before all who wish to follow Christ the way lies clear. It is the way of death unto life. Always life stands just beyond death and beckons the man who is sick of himself to come and know the life more abundant. But to reach the new life he must pass through the valley of the shadow of death, and I know that at the sound of those words many will turn back and follow Christ no more. But 'to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.' (John 6:68)" (Pages 63-64)



3. "The truth is that God has never planned that His children should live forever stretched upon a cross." (Page 65)


4. "Real faith must always mean more than passive acceptance. It dare mean nothing less than surrender of our doomed Adam-life to a merciful end upon the cross. That is, we won God's just sentence against our evil flesh and admit His right to end its unlovely career. We reckon ourselves to have been crucified with Christ and to have risen again to newness of life. Where such faith is, God will always work in line with our reckoning. 

Then begins the divine conquest of our lives. This God accomplishes by an effective seizing upon, a sharp but love-impelled invasion of our natures. When He has overpowered our resistance He binds us with the cords of love and draws us to Himself. There, 'faint with His loveliness' we lie conquered and thank God again and again for the blessed conquest. There, with moral sanity restored, we lift up our eyes and bless the Most High God. Then we go forth in faith to apprehend that for which we were first apprehended of God." (Page 65-66)


On The World and The Church... 

1. "...no real union between the world* and the church is possible. When the church joins up with the world it is the true church no longer but only a pitiful hybrid thing, an object of smiling contempt to the world and an abomination to the Lord." (Page 119-120)

 
On The Holy Spirit...

1. "Christianity takes for granted the absence of any self-help and offers a power which is nothing less than the power of God." (Page 94)


2. "We may be sure of one thing, that for our deep trouble there is no cure apart from a visitation, yes, an invasion of power from above. Only the Spirit Himself can show us what is wrong with us and only the Spirit can prescribe the cure. Only the Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of Spiritless Christianity. Only the Spirit can show us the Father and the Son. Only the inworking of the Spirit's power can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the Triune God."             (Page 99)


On The Christian Life...

1. "At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. 

No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. 

To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self-deception and the judgement of God. 

'Be ye holy' is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth." (Page 107)


2. "For myself, I fear any kind of religious stir among Christians that does not lead to repentance and result in a sharp separation of the believer from the world.* 

I am suspicious of any organized revival effort that is forced to play down the hard terms of the kingdom. No matter how attractive the movement may appear, if it is not founded in righteousness and nurtured in humility it is not of God.

If it exploits the flesh it is a religious fraud and should not have the support of any God-fearing Christian. Only that is of God which honors the Spirit and prospers at the expense of the human ego." (Page 131)

"That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." 1 Cor. 1:31



*Note: 'The world' in the biblical sense is... "...the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:16



Buy it HERE on Amazon



November 14, 2016

5 books on my future reading list

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings

C.S Lewis is one of my favorite people. I love his writings and how they have encouraged me. I find this 'inklings' part of his life fascinating and would like to learn more.

I don't know much about the other three men, other than Tolkien being the author of 'The Lord of the Rings' books.

So I'm really looking forward to this one.

Goodreads says of it here:

"C.S. Lewis is the twentieth century’s most widely read Christian writer and J.R.R. Tolkien its most beloved mythmaker. 

For three decades, they and their closest associates formed a literary club known as the Inklings, which met weekly in Lewis’s Oxford rooms and in nearby pubs. 

They discussed literature, religion, and ideas; read aloud from works in progress; took philosophical rambles in woods and fields; gave one another companionship and criticism; and, in the process, rewrote the cultural history of modern times."



Hidden Christmas

Christmas is coming and I love reading books with a Christmas theme. 

I also love Tim Keller's writing. 

I don't know if my library will have this one in before Christmas, but I'm hoping it will!

Goodreads say of the book here:

"In his new book Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of the Nativity. 
 
By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’s birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a meaningful and deeper way."



 The Secret Garden

I've never read this classic book before and thought it was time to get to it. I think I watched a movie based on the story, years and years ago, but vaguely remember it.

Amazon describes the story here:

 "When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. 

The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary's only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. 

One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?" 



 Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy

I've been wanting to read these for awhile now, but felt a bit intimidated by the length of all three together. I think I will try to just read one of the books in this trilogy for now.

I loved Schaeffer's book 'How Should We Then Live' which is so relevant for today. I highly recommend it.

So I think I will enjoy these as well.

Amazon describes the three books here:

"In the first book, The God Who Is There, Schaeffer shows how modern thought has abandoned the idea of truth with tragic consequences in every area of culture and from philosophy, to art, to music, to theology, and within culture as a whole.

Escape from Reason, the second book, explains especially how the disintegration of modern life and culture grows from corrupted roots that reach far into the past.

In the last book, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Schaeffer contrasts the silence and despair of modern life with the Christian answer that God can indeed be known because He is there and He is not silent." 



Cranford

This is another novel I've never read before, but have seen the BBC adaptation. I remember really enjoying it and after reading 'Ruth' by Elizabeth Gaskell, I've wanted to get to her other books.

I just started listening to it on audio and I'm liking it so far.

Goodreads says of it here:

"A portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid nineteenth century, Cranford relates the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances. 

Through a series of vignettes, Elizabeth Gaskell portrays a community governed by old-fashioned habits and dominated by friendships between women. 

Her wry account of rural life is undercut, however, by tragedy in its depiction of such troubling events as Matty's bankruptcy, the violent death of Captain Brown or the unwitting cruelty of Peter Jenkyns. Written with acute observation, Cranford is by turns affectionate, moving and darkly satirical."



November 6, 2016

God's Promise of Happiness


"There are more than 2700 passages in the Bible containing words such as joy, happiness, gladness, merriment, pleasure, cheer, laughter, delight, jubilation, feasting, exultation, and celebration."

God makes it clear that seeking happiness through sin is wrong and fruitless. But seeking happiness in Him is good and right."   Randy Alcorn
I really loved this little booklet on happiness. To find joy in the Lord is what we were created for, yet so many struggle to be happy and content in Him.

Charles Spurgeon once said of  1Timothy 1:11:

"The Gospel is also the Gospel of happiness. It is called 'the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.' A more correct translation would be, 'the happy God.' Well, then, adorn the Gospel by being happy!"

This means a lot coming from Charles Spurgeon. a man who struggled with depression his whole life. What we see here is a man who's happiness was in the Lord.

Randy Alcorn says here:

"If the Gospel doesn't make us happy, we're not believing the Good News, or grasping its extent. We need to remind ourselves of what the gospel really means. As Jerry Bridges says, 'Preach the gospel to yourself every day.'"

This is so important. We humans need to be constantly reminded of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. This brings true happiness and joy to the believer. It's to be celebrated!

I was surprised how thorough this booklet was. It covered a lot!

It answered questions like:

Doesn't the Bible talk about joy rather than happiness?

What does blessed have to do with happiness?

Is there any difference between a believer's and an unbeliever's happiness?

Can lasting happiness be found apart from God?

If Jesus was happy, why was he called 'a man of sorrows'?

What does holiness have to do with happiness? 

How can reading the bible increase our happiness?

Some say, 'seek the giver, not the gifts', does this mean God's gifts shouldn't make us happy?

You may be surprised at some of the answers to these questions! : )

I really enjoyed this booklet and highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with this thought-provoking quote from C.S. Lewis:

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."



Buy it HERE on Amazon


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