Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation by Fitzpatrick

0 comments
 


It's important to realize that the story of the Bible is an overarching love story about Jesus and His bride. This book helps explain that concept. It does that by doing an overview of the entire Bible that helps the reader connect how the entire Bible is really about Jesus. It helps you practically see this then gives you helps to practice doing that yourself. It has a little study section after each chapter/section. This is helpful and would make it perfect to study with a group.

I found the book interesting to read and helpful in aiding careful study of the Bible.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany publishers for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon.com here.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: Redeeming Money by Tripp

0 comments
 


This was a great book. I am in the process of freeing our family of debt, however, this book helped me to have the proper mindset of not only being debt free but the true heart behind it. Everything we do in life is about how we worship Jesus--even how we spend our money. I could see how we did make mistakes with money due to some of the issues listed. It has been an educational and liberating read.

If you desire to worship Christ with your whole heart, this book is helpful in considering the area of money. I thought maybe it would be some sort of budget help but instead it was so much more. Everything we do comes from our heart. This book will help you look biblically at your heart and help you to see money in a healthy way.

I am hopeful for the changes this book will make in my life. It is worth the time to read. We all need to look at our views on money. It is part of survival in this world. How we view things helps how we live. Study this book with friends or yourself. Either way it is a needed book for our times.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from Crossway for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon.com here.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book Review: The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Butterfield

0 comments
 


This book is a must read for all Christians. I found it extremely challenging at times but those which are the most challenging are how we know the best books because they affect long lasting change. The lasting change that is necessary for the sake of the glory of the gospel and Christ-likeness.

I am not naturally skilled in the art of hospitality but this book encouraged me to practice it anyway. It is mostly about welcoming those in (which I am good at). It is not about what you have or how fancy your home is. Of course it does require sacrifice to share your space, time and food but God provides in how you chose to honor Him in these things.

I was also happy to see that in the end of this book there were some practical tips available to those just starting out. It also stressed how everyone's practice of hospitality will look different depending on your family dynamic and constraints.

This book challenges your thoughts of hospitality even farther making you question, who would I allow into my home? What efforts do I make to really know my neighbors? Do I pursue them and offer the light of the gospel? It is thought-provoking and one book I would put on my must read list. You will grow from it as the Holy Spirit works in your heart.

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of an honest review from the publisher, Crossway.

You can get a copy from Amazon.com here.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Book Review: God's Grace in your Suffering by Powlison

0 comments
 


Powlison is a trusted biblical counselor and author. I was blessed to be trained by him (through video).I was always blessed and closer to Jesus for learning from his wisdom. This book did not disappoint.

The first class I took included singing a hymn before each session. I was confused and curious as to why this was such an important part to the counseling process. Powlison taught me the importance of hymns based on scripture. Music is healing. It teaches us and helps us grow in our walks with the Lord.

This book focuses on stanzas from How Firm a Foundation. It also looks at scripture, how to apply it personally, and personal stories of suffering.

It is a helpful resource and worth your time.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon.com here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I'm Wonderfully Made, My Soul Knows That Well -- Or Does it?

0 comments
 



For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them. ~Psalm 139:13-16

I read an article yesterday that made me cry for a little bit. Researchers from around the globe have found some potential reasons for autism. They studied brains of people with autism and found a common factor. 

The part that made me sad was a theory. The theory states that "if a mother is pregnant and during pregnancy she has a bacteria or virus, it activates something bad in the fetus's immune response, in particular impacting the brain in negative ways causing inflammation." You can read the entire article here. It is very interesting and there are things at the end stating that you can do some things to help reduce inflammation and eliminate toxins.  Some things we've tried off and on.

The reason I was sad was because it felt like it was my fault that my daughter has autism. During pregnancy I did have an active Lyme infection of which I was unaware. The study indications make sense.

Yet, many people get tick bites everyday and it is more rare to get an infection from Lyme bacteria that you cannot fight off than we think. We camped all over the country as a family on a regular basis. All of us had ticks attached from our times in the woods. Yet I was the only one to get sick. Prior to this I also caught mono as a child. All of it goes together weakening an immune system. The immune system that God knit together perfectly and wonderfully while I was in my mother's womb. 

Some people just have the right combination of bad events or biological make up in their life that will cause these horrible lasting effects. I was one of those and it effects everything. Daily life, choices, doctor visits, etc. 

My husband was gracious, he says that our daughter is more like him so it was probably part of his genes. And he is right, they are so similar that it is scary! However, I find no defect with either of them. I just watch all the difficulties my daughter has with life. These difficulties are ones she would never chose to change. I love her for that but it is difficult to watch her struggle none-the-less.

When we start to question why we are made the way we are whether it be a weird quirk, a crooked nose, or predisposition to a certain disease or disability, we must remind ourselves of the truth above. 

We were not only woven together but intricately woven (like embroidery) by a loving Father who is intentional with design. 

We were made fearfully-indicating with reverence or awe 
and wonderfully-meaning marvelous and set apart.

God calls this work marvelous (the making of us) and the Psalmist is recognizing He knows this in the pit of his gut very well.

God even knew the days that were formed for me and you, every one of them! This is the same God who knows every hair on our head. As we age or disease and a hair falls, he knows it! He is attentive in His care.

Knowing that Christ-likeness is the goal, I can trust that though I am limited and my daughter is limited, no matter how it happened, we can trust that God knit us together perfectly, every cell, every minor detail, the exact way that He desired creating an amazing creation of art. Art that only He can perfectly create. Knowing our days and what would best draw us to Him, He made us. He uses every bit of every weakness to keep us close to Him. 

Weakness is where the real power resides you know. It is a holy thing to watch God work and overcome in an area you know you were clearly incapable of. It is beautiful and humbling to see God's power move on your behalf. He sees us as perfect, though the world we live in is fallen, disease resides now, bodies are slowly decaying, brains are breaking down, but it is not something that has caught God off guard. No, He is using every bit of it to make us more like Him. As we look to Him we are transformed more and more into His image. We reflect Him in those ways. Typically it is weakness that drives us to Him. 

So, I grieved, wiped my face (remembering, Our gracious Father doesn't even let our tears go to waste for He collects those too), cried out to Him and resolved to praise Him for fearfully and wonderfully making me exactly the way I am and exactly as He made my daughter. It is good because He is good. 

One day we will live without the boundaries of diseased bodies, I am looking forward to that day! And the beauty of disease is it keeps me focused there, longing, hoping, praying for Christ's return. So, don't let your limitations hold you back, look to Christ. Cry out to Him. It is in this weakness that His power shines most brightly through.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Finally Posting as a Free Person

0 comments
 


Fear is a funny thing. It has kept me from writing so often.

I fear writing my thoughts. Though they are valid and mine, I fear sharing because I fear what others will think of them. Will you approve of me? Will you hate me if we disagree?

But the truth is, my thoughts are just that, my thoughts. Random thoughts, in fact, on life and God. God cannot be separated from from my thoughts. Nor do I think they should be torn apart--it's how I think. And that's okay. My thoughts and your thoughts do not have to be the same.

My journey is different from yours. So my ways of doing life does not have to be yours. Let's not read too deeply into them, okay?

Now with that said, I welcome you here. Jump in and let's journey together. I want to hear you. So feel free to interact. Just enter into the conversation. It will be fun. I miss the blogging days of old when we actually had a community through our comments. But then the world of Facebook kinda ruined it. And at first we thought it would be even better, more intimate. But it has proven false. I think it has been easier to scroll and like. Forgetting what rich community we had.  But we got sucked in anyway.

Ok, so with that said, I'll just share what is not on Facebook. On Facebook you see my family smiling and having a super good time because I post those pics. But those are not the true reality. We have a hard time getting along, actually. It takes a lot of death to self. In fact, I couldn't even convince one child to get a picture with me and Beauty and the Beast--my all time heroes. So I almost ended up doing it myself which is awkward. But getting along takes true work. We fight for it.

We have chronic pain, adhd, brain injury, autism, anxiety and random personality quirks working together. We really annoy one another. In fact, I don't think that there is a time where there isn't some sort of fight that breaks out. Facebook doesn't depict this. Instead it shows our perfect fake life.

I get weary of it more than not--doing family life. I want to throw in the towel. Yet, God is the one who set the example of dying to self, even to the point of death on a cross. So could it be that my family is the best possible family for me because it has that effect every day? Do the pictures depict that? Nope. Not one bit. But here is the truth. And if you are honest, your family is not perfect either. You probably struggle just as I do but guess what,  we have hope in Christ. That in doing life together, we will be forced to look to Him, even in desperation, and as we behold Him we are told we are transformed more into His image! How amazing is that?

So I'm really sorry if you have the perfect family, one that doesn't push you to the point of desperation and an outcry to Christ. If this is you, you are just on a completely different journey than mine and it doesn't make you better or worst. I just don't understand your life. So don't run, share. I can learn from you as well. And I'm guessing if you are here reading and thinking about how you cannot relate to me then you are a person with a glass half full kind of personality. And that's cool. Again, I just don't understand you. But I'm willing to learn. Either way I'm thankful for what I have. Are you? I hope so because God says living in thankfulness is part of the answer of living in good mental health. And boy do I need help there! :)

Maybe you do too. So stick around, comment, join in the journey. Let's do life together. And consider how we can encourage one another. Because that's as honest as it can get.

Yet, don't get me wrong, even though we really annoy one another as a family, we probably fiercely love one another even more deeply. Now isn't that crazy? I suppose it is because we are learning the art of repentance, forgiveness and humility. And these things are beautiful in a family. More beautiful than the "picture-perfect" life.

So stop buying into the lie of that picture perfect life. It really doesn't exist here and now. And that's okay. We are journeying home and the situations we are in are the best possible situations to teach us Christ-likeness and draw us to Christ and isn't that the most important God-given gift for this world? Isn't that great?! I think so.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Guest Post: Rebekah Hargraves and The Mommy Wars

0 comments
 


I am honored to feature a guest post by my friend, Rebekah Hargraves. She is a woman who exudes Jesus to the core of her being. She is someone who daily inspires me to follow Jesus harder because of her example. She was so kind to feature me on her podcast and blog before as well so it is about time I get my act together and introduce you to her! I know you will really enjoy getting to know her. Check her out more after this post. You will not be sorry you did! I have posted links below so you can find her. Listen to her podcast, super encouraging as well. She has an inspiring book for moms that I believe will be helpful for their walks with the Lord. I posted a review here.

This post is about something that we are both passionate about. Read it and let us know your thoughts on "The Mommy Wars". Have you struggled with this? How have you responded? What is your experience?

Here is Rebekah:

Seeing Other Moms as Image Bearers of God 

(And Thereby Ending the Mommy Wars!) 


As many of us have become all too familiar with, the mommy wars have infiltrated the church and begun to wreak havoc in countless ways, not the least of which being how we view our fellow mamas. Backbiting, name-calling, heated disagreements, unsolicited advice, know-it-all attitudes, and (at the very least!) a practice of inwardly looking down our noses at each other in judgmental ways have all become commonplace at times, even in the church. I've had friends leave churches because of these issues, mamas be told they aren't Christians as a result of their specific parenting choices, and seen friendships be stunted as a result. It's ridiculous, and it needs to stop. But what is the answer? How do we stop basing our opinion of what a "good" mom is on our own xyz expectations of what a mom should and should not do? The answer lies in the "Book of Beginnings" itself, Genesis.

 Made in the Image of God 


 Genesis 1:26, 27 makes it clear in no uncertain terms that God chose to, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; .... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." This identity of being an image bearer of God extends to all people everywhere - regardless of background, age, ethnicity, belief system, lifestyle, personality, practice, or gender. All men and all women are image bearers of God. What this means then, is that they are worthy of respect and honor precisely because they have been made in His image. You don't have to agree with them, you don't have to approve of their lifestyle, you don't have to pattern your parenting choices after theirs, but you do have to honor and respect them. This is a non-negotiable practice for the child of God.

 What Should This Look Like? 


 In light of this true identity of everyone as being made in the image of God, how are we to treat one another then? How should we be treating our fellow mamas? Here are a few passages to get us started:

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;" ~Romans 12:10

 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." ~Philippians 2:3-4

 "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth." ~Colossians 3:8

 "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." ~Ephesians 4:1-3

 "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." ~James 3:14-16

 "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." ~Galatians 5:26

 This is what a Christian mama should look like; this is how she should act. And this is precisely why the blight that is the mommy wars has no place whatsoever in the church.


 Why is This Christ-Like Behavior So Important? 


 Why is it such a serious thing that the mommy wars have entered into even the church? Why is that something worth addressing in our day? Precisely because of how much this mommy-warring tarnishes our Christian witness, reflects poorly on the Lord and His work in our lives, and leads to others not seeing the point in following the Lord if professing Christians treat each other just as poorly as everyone else does. There is much at stake here, mamas - much that is of far more importance than whether or not other mamas breastfeed, sleep train, homeschool, or vaccinate.

 The Word says that what is at stake here is our ambassadorship of Christ and whether or not we are having and then reflecting the same mind that Christ had (see the rest of Philippians 2), whether or not we will reveal with our lives the way in which we are putting on the new man and living like Christ in us (see the rest of Colossians 3), whether or not we will preach the truth with our lives that "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6). What is at stake is our ability to testify to the redeeming, sanctifying work of God in our hearts, for Christ said in John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 Look to Christ! 


 Sometimes it feels so hard to treat others the way we would want to be treated, especially when we really disagree with the choices they are making. But the truth of the matter is that our calling as children of God is to treat fellow image bearers (that's everyone!) with the kind of respect, honor, love, and kindness that being made in God's image deserves. If you feel like you couldn't possibly love the fellow mama at your co-op, church, MOPS group, etc., then it is of utmost importance that you don't fix your eyes on that mama, but rather on Christ Himself. Be ever mindful of what Christ did for you and how He treated you when you were far less than lovable. Remember how He poured out His life for you when you were still in your trespasses and sins. Ponder on all you have been forgiven of. That is the key. In order to esteem others more highly than you do yourself, in order to stop the mommy wars mentality that resides in your heart, you are going to have to keep your eyes on Christ and love others through the love, hope, and strength you have been given by Him. There is hope, mama! Look to Christ, and be encouraged by all He will do in and through you.



~~~ Bio: Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, blogger, podcaster, and author whose passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life. Rebekah's first book, "Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)" released last fall, and the "Lies Moms Believe" Companion Bible Study comes out March 30, 2018. You can find Rebekah on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, on Instagram, or on iTunes via her podcast.

Instagram: @rebekahhargraves
Facebook: Hargraves Home and Hearth 
Website: Hargraves Home and Hearth
                                     Twitter: @hhomeandhearth 
 
© 2012. Design by Main-Blogger - Blogger Template and Blogging Stuff