Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review and Give Away: It's Your Kid not a gerbil by Kevin Leman

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

I have read a few of Dr. Leman's books in the past and enjoyed them so I thought this would be a good one to read and review. The subtitle of this book is "creating a happier and less-stressed home". Now doesn't everyone want that? A home with more happiness and less stress is something many will pay much for! I am offering you today two free books. Yes not one but two! So all you have to do to be in the drawing for this resource is leave a comment.

This book delivers what it says. It gives you very practical tools to use to examine your own family to see what things are potentially a source of stress. Then gives examples of how to help in those areas. Dr. Leman is really honest and to the point about these issues. The American dream has at times caused us to lose focus of what is truly important and this book helps you to see how to get that back. The focus of our families should always be about relationship and the people not activity.

Quite frankly at the end of our lives I want to look back at my own children and see them in good relationship with one another. I want them to know they are fully loved by me for who they are not for what they do or have done. I want to see them faithfully serving God. Those goals cannot be accomplished by filling your life with activity. How about you? What goals do you have for your family? I must believe that all the sacrifice now will reap a harvest later no matter what stage you are in. We must walk this by faith.

To get a copy of this book from Amazon go here.
Also again just leave a comment for a chance to win your own copy compliments of Tyndale House.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

James - Intro - Walk It Out

First I am so excited to do this study with you! Thanks for joining us. You can simply leave comments here or send me a request to be part of our Facebook group where we discuss the study together more interactively.

The book of James is filled with practical wisdom for life. I feel confident it will grow and challenge us in new ways. This first week I am just going to give you a historical background and ask you to read the book all the way through. Pay special attention to main themes, who this is addressing, and potential issues these people struggled with.

Simply put this book is a book that instructs us to Walk It Out. The "It" we are walking out is our Christian life, it is not just something for Sundays but for every day of our lives. And it is something that should be constantly changing us making us look more and more like Christ. Not only alone either but together.

James, the author of this letter, was the half brother of Jesus. He would have observed Jesus up close and personal. Perhaps they shared a room. If anyone had a personal look into the life of someone it would be the immediate family. James had this view. We can know that Jesus was so like us that even James his own brother did not believe Him (John 7:5). Yet we know Jesus was fully human and fully man but had no sin (1 John 3:5).

Church history tells us about James:
  • He was the leader of the church of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13)
  • He was a man of prayer, they say he had knees like camels because of this.
  • He was also called James the Just.
  • He was martyred for his faith in 62AD. He was thrown from the top of the temple but did not die so at the bottom was beaten to death. While he was on the ground he was praying for his persecutors.
So the question is how does a skeptic go from a non believer to one who believed so strongly that he was martyred?

The answer is because he saw the Christ crucified AND risen! 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 tells us Christ appeared to many after He rose. Specifically James his brother is listed separately. I wonder what that meeting was like? We see a change in James gone skeptic to believer. This is what happens when anyone spends time with Jesus! I am reminded of these Scriptures, "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13).

The time period was difficult for the non Romans. The Roman empire was in control of the territory. The government was corrupt. They were very greedy and selfish. The emperors desired worship like divinity. Yet Romans practiced worship of many gods. However it was up to the emperor what worship was acceptable. The unrest from Christianity was not good with them. They allowed people to persecute Christians like what Saul had overseen and the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7). This caused many Christians to disperse out of Jerusalem to other safer places. Also much of this turmoil and corrupt government with over taxing caused many people to become poor. So the times were filled with unrest and turmoil.

James the "pastor" of the church of Jerusalem wrote this letter as an encouragement to all who were scattered. They were mostly former Jewish people who converted to Christianity. It is very applicable to today though too even for us Gentiles.

The book opens like this,
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings." ~James 1:1

First I love how James identifies himself. Instead of saying, hey this is James, you know Jesus brother. He says he is a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus. I love that. No name dropping or bragging. He is a humble servant. And if anyone could name drop it would be him! I hear a lot of name dropping these days and it really makes me sick. Sometimes especially in women's ministry I observe "celebrity" chasing. This should not be. Yet James states, he is just a servant. 

The word for servant used means slave. In the Greek it is "doulos" and refers to a position of complete obedience, utter humility, and unshakable loyalty (Life Application Bible Commentary). To anyone other than Christians this term would be humiliation. But for a Christian to be a slave to Christ is a true honor. It still is today. We still should be this today even to the point of death like the example the early Christians set.

When others referred to Jesus being Lord as in this verse it meant their lives were dedicated to Him. Their allegiance belonged to Him alone. You can only have one Lord. To the Romans this was a threat because it could be viewed as treason. Instead of an allegiance to the emperor Christians are submitted to Christ. Also, to the Jews that surrounded them this was blasphemous, that is why Christ was killed. It threatened what they knew to be true.

It was written like stated earlier to the new converts to Christianity who were dispersed from their homes. James a concerned pastor wanted to send them a letter to encourage them.

Then finally the word Greetings. This in the Greek conveys a sense of joy. I like he used this term in his letter addressing those who were living in such tumultuous times.

That is all for now! I hope you are as excited as I am to take this journey in this amazing book of the Bible. My prayer is that we will Walk it Out together in the way that is pleasing to our Lord!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." ~Psalm 56:8
It never ceases to amaze me that God so personally undeniably loves us. There is nothing not even a single tear that He misses. He sees EVERYTHING. We would do good to not miss this.
We are in a season of tears. But God...BUT GOD...God sees and hears, He comforts and gives peace. He provides and helps. He is our life and our salvation. We must take refuge in the One and only who will never ever leave us for forsake us.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autism, A Tool to AId in Dying Daily

I have hesitated to write about this but maybe it will be an encouragement to someone out there. You cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it is for us to adjust to the realities of aspergers disorder as a family. When your child has special needs it changes the family in a huge way. Everyone must pitch in to help and die continually to self.

Now this is a good thing generally because God says to us;
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."~Luke 9:23

We have been given the gift of experiencing teamwork and dying daily through autism. Yet as we adjust to this we must combat anger. Anger when the flesh resists dying or resists working together. It is in the pressure cooker of life that we are purified. I am thankful for this yet it does not make it easier. However if you asked me if I could change it I would have to tell you no. I love my daughter the way she is, I trust God to help me know how to best raise and equip her the way she needs. I trust Him the One who knit her together in my womb and His unique purpose for her.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Why A New Look?

That is a good question. I did not think I was going to change the blog again but I really liked the look of this template. From time to time I think it is good to get a makeover. Honestly we all need this from time to time whether it be physically, mentally or spiritually.

We move from glory to glory as the Holy Spirit changes us to reflect Christ more and more. He does this through our surrender to Him. I have been giving much thought to the point of blogging and what God allows in my life for His glory that needs to be shared. I continually find that He allows us the privilege of sharing in His sufferings. If we lose our focus on Him through it we go in the wrong direction, the point is to draw into Him in deeper ways. It is easy to forget.

As I pondered these things I have come to the conclusion that these areas are the ones that would most minister to others. This is the focus of my blog:
1-Obviously it is our passion to see people walk fully in the Lord. We need Him desperately. I will write about what this looks like day to day as I experience it personally. It is experiencing the gospel daily.

2-Marriage the Titus 2 Way. We reflect the gospel well if we love and respect our husbands. How do we do this? I will blog about this and my own walk and struggles.

3-Parenting Tweens/Special Needs. God speaks so much about raising Godly daughters. I will blog about this and how autism plays out in it. I will also write about our homeschooling adventures. How we parent also can be an example of reflecting the gospel to a dying world.

4-Bible Study. I absolutely love God's word. I pray this for you too. We will explore the Bible together often.

5-Living with Chronic Illness. I struggle daily with chronic health issues. It is either me, my husband, or my children. Health is a challenge but we can still reflect Him well in trust and endurance keeping our eyes fixed on Him in it.

6-Book Reviews. I love books. I will continue to write my recommendations of things that have been helpful resources to me.

Now that I have my renewed focus, I hope it will encourage you and help you to be pointed to Christ. That is the goal to reflect Him well. He is our Savior and I am in awe of Him and His great love for us.

Monday, September 12, 2011

And the Winner is.........



Congrats! You will love this resource.

 Please email me at angela [at] refreshmysoul [dot] com your address and I will send the Bible study right out to you! 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Review: Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper

Stumbling into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman, is an easy read that was relaxing and fun. Lisa uses her personal life examples and pairs them with stories of Jesus from the gospels to encourage women in their walks with the Lord. I chose this title because I had the opportunity of going to the Atlanta Women of Faith Event this year and heard Lisa speak. I was not disappointed. She is a sweet, honest, real woman of God who seeks to help others know Him better through her life. It is a good book and a good read.

Personally it helped me understand two truths that I had been talking to God about for awhile. She writes in such an easy way to understand and these two particular stories in the gospel just penetrated and moved my heart to the core. I am very thankful for that. I pray it will do the same for you if you chose to pick up this title.

To purchase a copy of this book from Amazon go here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review and Give-away:Precept Ministries

I had the incredible opportunity of reviewing this book for Precept Ministries. I received this book at no charge for the purpose of review.

This book was incredible. Precept ministries is phenomenal in equipping people to study God's word for themselves. These books geared for kids do just what they say they will do. However, add more, how is that possible you ask? Through the storyline of this book these children explore American Government, Language Arts, History, and observation skills all while doing Bible study about the book of Esther. It is very well written and put together. I highly recommend it for anyone, especially those who are strong readers in the age range of  9-12. Another thing that these products do is to keep you focused on God and the gospel.

I liked this one so much I wanted to have the opportunity of giving a free copy to someone. It is a wonderful resource for Bible study or home school. It is something you can do with your children and you both will love it. To enter for a chance to win simply leave a comment as to why you would love this book. I will announce the winner Monday.

Precept ministries has incredible Bible study resources. God has used it to change my life by teaching me to know the word of God for myself. Check out this ministry it is well worth your time. To get a copy of Esther go here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrating our 100 likes on Facebook Contest

Leave a comment on our Facebook page about what refreshes you and your favorite thing. I am randomly drawing a winner Wednesday at Midnight! I will send you a surprise in the mail! So enter for your chance to win. We appreciate you and your support of our ministry.

Also get ready for our next Bible study on the book of James! Let me know if you want to join us!

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