Monday, December 31, 2012

Parenting By God's Promises by Joel Beeke

I kept being drawn to this book, but hadn't picked it up yet. When I was given the chance to review it, I jumped at it. I am glad that I did too.

Now, let me tell you, the book starts off with the rather controversial topic of infant baptism and how we interpret the covenant of Abraham this side of the cross for our children. I had a parent in the Baptist church and one in the Lutheran one so I saw both sides of the coin. Really, I think the only real problem in this area are the churches that teach infant baptism saves you. Most churches do not teach this. The sacrament is faith in the covenant promises that God gave to Abraham. Each person must come to Christ in faith regardless of if they were baptized as an infant or dedicated. I thought Joel's exegesis on the subject was brilliant, researched, and well thought out. No matter your opinion on this, the rest of the book is worth your read.

The rest of the book was honey to a weary parents soul. He not only tackled topics with a genuine godly perspective, he added practical advice. Tackling the subject of the will and the sin nature, he encouraged the reader to pursue truth and grace in equilibrium.

I honestly was greatly convicted and encouraged by this book. There were so many things addressed about how our character guides our children. I wished I could give a copy to all my friends because I have found great freedom in the words of scripture found in this book. There are always ideas coming at us from every area telling us how to parent. Use discernment in what you choose.

Joel also wrote another little book I love. It is entitled God's Alphabet For Life.

Dr. Joel Beeke is president and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, co-authored, or edited seventy books.

This book was graciously provided for review by Ligionier Ministries.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

I am here, sweet child. I am here amidst the heartache, the suffering, the loss. Do not be dismayed. I am with you. When you face unexplainable tragedy and the darkness of despair, remember My promise to never leave you. I have not forsaken you. Do what you can to ease the pain and suffering around you. Show people the tender mercy of my face. Remind them that I am a Healer. Tell them I love them.

"O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
they shall be prey for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped." — Psalm 63 (NRSV)

For more on this segment, see this post.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Bold As Love by Bob Roberts

I honestly had a hard time getting into this book. In the beginning, it talked about multi-faith worship and having to do things in groups with other faiths. I honestly don't get that. I tried to examine the benefits. I could see where it could help you be more comfortable with a different faith in a one on one setting. I can see how it could divide and how it could bridge a gap. In my mind, I was simply wondering why we couldn't just be normal. Why can't we just eat and drink with whoever is around us and love them. Bob addressed that about midway through the book.

My favorite part of the book started about page 86. Bob wrote about serving others because of the gift of Christ in us. He said we should not serve to make converts, but serve because we have been converted. It really touched on the way we attack people with our evangelism and throw money at the poor. We try to fix everyone, but few of us actually ever love anyone. We operate out of this religious superiority. What we need is to understand our faith and our doctrine so that we can simply explain it to others. Most of us have no idea what the core belief of our faith are.

He stated the idea that our primary objective should be to get to know people, serve where we can, and love unceasingly with the love of Jesus. Don't quibble about theology. Love first. Gracefully discuss second. Eventually, Bob won me over with his ideas about reaching our neighbors and knowing what we believe. The second half of this book is a great challenge and encouragement.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

I will sustain you. Trust in Me. Through many challenges and disastrous circumstances, I have been there. I am coming up alongside you now and will cover you and reward you with blessing. Praise Me in the knowing of My provision even before it comes. Rejoice in the covenant blessings that you have in Me. Rest in My peace, dear child. Let the lavish love of Christ fall on you.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift."
2 Corinthians 9:15

For more on this segment, see this post

Monday, December 03, 2012

Oliver Twist Radio Drama

I have been given the unique privilege to review Focus on the Family's new audio dramatization of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist. I love reading classic literature so hearing it come alive is a special treat. We truly enjoyed all of the characters and the masterful delivery of vocal performances. My five year old was hooked right away. She was continually asking me what would happen next. The performance was so rich that I felt as though I was in a grand theatre with my eyes closed. I also enjoyed the joyful nostalgia of simply listening to something in the way people sat around the radio to hear a program.

We are going to listen to this again in segments for homeschool and discuss it.

I encourage you to listen to this tale of an orphan boy who should have been defeated by his circumstances. Follow this boy with his great hope.

This resource was graciously provided by Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quit Riding the Fence: A Tale of Much Pie.

Well, are y'all ready for this? I playfully teased my husband about putting on a bake sale when he came home with 4 pieces of fence when he needed 60. The grand total of fencing the front half of the acre was over three thousand dollars. Now, the man is down to needing $270 to finish his project. That's 23 pies. That leads me to ask you a question. Who would like a pie for Christmas? Who would like a pie for no good reason, but to eat it? Thank you for your support. You are God's grace to us.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Talk to me, Abba

The graciousness of Christ is yours. You accept it or reject it with your words. You can choose to share Me with others. Remember, those who claim to know Me often need to see Me the most. They have forgotten or they have never seen. Do not be wrapped up in how people act or should act. You be the fragrance of Christ to them. You do not need to indulge petty arguments. You need only to show my grace and truth to those who need hear it. Don't be fooled by people's seeming self-confidence or religious speak. Trust My Holy Spirit to guide you. Crucify flesh and Live among the people.

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
2 Corinthians 2:15

For more on this segment, see this post.

Each New Day by Corrie ten Boom

I have been reading Corrie ten Boom books of late as you may know. I have been enjoying reading through her devotional Each New Day. Every day I am met with a rich text. Corrie never fails to deliver authentic and powerful words encouraging. I anticipate a sweet meeting with scripture, poetry, hymns, songs, etc. every time I open the book. It is a gorgeous display of what Ephesians 5:19-20 tells us to do. She speaks to us in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that daily draw the heart closer to the Lord Jesus. I greatly encourage you to pick up this book.

Other Corrie ten Boom books I have reviewed:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Refuse to react to jealousy and drama. I have sent you those who will rejoice when you rejoice. Be joyful in their presence. When you lose yourself in the drama others cultivate, you refuse to use your call to bring about the kingdom of God wherever you go. Sometimes it seems easier to go to to the poverty stricken than deal with the petty. You go where I send you. It will be painful. All things that cause death to flesh are painful. Humility comes from submitting yourself to these situations. 
Choose grace.

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.
Proverbs 22:11

For more on this segment, see this post.

Gone Girl

I am writing this book review so that you can all make fun of me. I think I have been tucked neatly in the Christian bubble for quite some time. Unfortunately, growing up, I had vast experience with knowledge of things little girls should have no knowledge of. Over the last decade, however, I haven't had a t.v. in my house or read anything that was remotely risque. Well, a family member of mine told me this was her favorite book she had read this year and so I bit. 

Oh. My. Word. First, let me tell you that Gillian Flynn is brilliant. She can write. I was drawn in and wanted to know what was happening at every turn. Her story is genius. The plot is fascinating. At the end of the book you find yourself with your mouth open saying, "Woah, what a ride." This book is a fascinating suspense thriller.

I kept laughing at myself as I read the book because it would sneak up with me and be overtly raunchy. No, it's no 50 shades porn for women. It is however the full monty of verbiage for sexual intimacy. The bad part to me is that words stick in my head. These are words and thoughts I never want to repeat to anyone. It was definitely a surprise a minute. One moment I was shocked by the twist in the book and the next I was slapped in the face with in your face raunch. 

There's my two cents. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pie. Pie. Me, oh My..

Hello, friends of Gomer, we are over halfway to our goal of finishing the first half of our fence project. Can you believe it? When Denbigh came home with his initial four pieces of fence, I teased him and told him to have a bake sale to raise the rest of the money. Can you believe that he has gone from needing to sell 300 pies to needing to sell 94? Sometimes, I am just completely overwhelmed that God lets us do fun things to raise money to give hope to those we come into contact with. I have spent most of every day shelling pecans and coming up with recipes. Would you like to help us meet our goal? All you have to do is buy and eat pie. Thank you for all of your support. God is gracious to provide and knit our hearts together. Thank you again.

Here are two sets of buttons. One is for shipping and one is for pick up or delivery. We can deliver from San Marcos to Waco on Wednesday the 21st. If you have a special order or certain number of pies you would like, email me and I will send you a personal invoice.

For pick up only

For shipping to home

Monday, November 05, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Do you see what I am doing? I have poured out my abundant blessing on your household. Take notice. Acknowledge Me. Worship Me. Revel in my glory. Bask in My love. Linger in My presence. I am doing a thing in your life that you could not have foreseen. I am bringing new and abundant life. Listen and you will know. Can you see it?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

For more on this segment, see this post.

A Year With G.K. Chesterton

I have recently begun reading some of the writings of GK Chesterton and everything I have read has struck a particular chord with me. I could each time sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in his work. This devotional is no different.

I really enjoy when there are many elements to a work. In this book there are writings, poetry, excerpts, scripture, and history. It reminded me much of how the Bible is put together. There are many different aspects to engage all of your mental senses. The words are rich with life.

You will want to indulge yourself in this book. It's the kind of thing that allows you to process and exchange grief and confusion with vibrant joy and depth of knowledge. I cannot think of any other way to describe it to you besides "a humble depth." You must read for yourself to see why George Bernard Shaw called G. K. a colossal genius.

"This world of ours has some purp
ose; and if there is a purpose, there is a Person. I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story, there is a Storyteller."-G. K. Chesterton

This book was graciously provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Talking Across the Fence.

Hey, y'all. In case you didn't know, Denbigh sold three hundred dollars in pie last week and so he headed to Lowe's and bought seven sections of fence. Monday and Wednesday he was working in his new church office. That left him Tuesday to put up the sections he bought. If you know anything about my neighborhood, it's right neighborly. As Denbigh was outside trying to assemble his fence, five neighbors showed up to do the thing you do in the country, talk across it. As you can guess, he only got up half of the fence. That's okay though. Real life is in the interruptions. We are happy to have such warm and friendly (and cantankerous) neighbors. 

Denbigh started a new position at a church this week at a church in New Braunfels. He will be leading worship for two services on Sunday mornings and working at the office on Wednesdays. He will still be able to be here to work on the house and minister to (love) whomever the Lord brings us. It will be nice to settle into a church family again. 

I have no idea what the future holds, but I am trusting God with it. I am at a stage in life where I want things to be really simple. All I want is to be a good wife, mother, and friend. I'd really like to trade in any other hat I may have. I just want to cultivate warmth here in our home. May it be so. I was talking to God about it the other day and asking Him for things that would allow us to focus all of our resources on the broken. I have been asking God to pay off this ministry house. That would be a miracle to us. The cost is $150,000. Would you pray for this with us? I know that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He longs to bless His children. 

Please pray for people in ministry. To me, this has been the year I have seen the most devastation among the people of God. Most of the people we see that appear like they have it all together are the most broken and hurt. Pray for those around you. May God be glorified. May you bask in His love.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Trust my grace. I want to shelter you under the shadow of my wing. I desire to guide you into My blessings and My presence. Don't be discouraged by the voices that swirl around you. Trust Me to guide you. Lean in to My grace and walk with Me. You are Abba's child and you have value to Me. Trust that I care for you.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Amazing Love by Corrie ten Boom

As many of you know, I have been on a personal quest to read all of the writings of Corrie ten Boom. Her display of Christ has done nothing short of changing my life. Every story I read of profound forgiveness and graciousness challenge me in every aspect. I reflect back and wonder how much I have lost by refusing to be gracious or see things for what they are. I have come to know that there are no coincidences in Christ. He is always purposeful. He has a heavy agenda of grace. Ours is generally self-serving and it is applauded by the general public. It is not what Jesus is calling us to. Through transparent humility, Corrie shows us what our lives should look like. She just as often shows us in defeat as she does in victory.

This book is no exception to the gracious beauty Corrie ten Boom displays for us. Story after story reveals to the reader the power of forgiveness in the lives of those she met after the war. There are dozens of sections detailing the powerful way she saw people extending forgiveness to each other. Then there are gorgeous real life parables of how men came to understand that Christ's blood covered all of their sins in their entirety. Nothing is beyond the power of God's grace.

One of my favorite tales in the book is about a time when she was asked to go and speak to a group of a few hundred refugees who had taken up living in an abandoned factory. She said she must live among them first and gain the right to speak to them. She gave up her home and comforts to live in squalor and earn the right to tell them of Christ.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gomer is Fried.

All of Denbigh's pies sold.

Hello Friends of Gomer, I am happy to report that our first annual fish fry was a success. I have been wanting to do this for some time and every year it slips by. This year, even though I just had a baby a few weeks ago, I decided that we were going to get started. I am a planner and I like everything to be quite organized, but that did not happen at all. I had kind of prayed that at least twenty people would show up. Things kept going wrong, but God took care of it all. At the end of the day, with all the people who came and the art and pies sold, we pulled in a thousand dollars to help Gomer. More than that, God did some special things for me that day.

I am constantly in awe of how people will come out and support this crazy adventure we are on to restore this house so we can  minister to others with it. It is humbling to say the least. I will admit to you that I teared up quite a bit throughout the day. I always find myself asking Jesus why He would let us do this. How gracious God is to use us to minister to others. How amazing that He can convince hearts to love and support us.

I am constantly amazed at the people who come by our house every week that just want to see inside of it. This day, we let the people in. One thing everyone responds to is the scripture that I have painted all over the walls. People will often tear up and tell me how they needed to hear that precise thing from God right then. This day was no exception. We were able to pray with several people who came in for a tour and ended up needing much more than that. How sweetly this ministered to me. It's one thing to see a house restored. It is a much better thing to be present when the Holy Spirit ministers to a heart.

Thank you to everyone who came out for the day and for the love and support that you offer us. Start planning to come next year. May God grow it each year. Mostly, may God fill your heart with the love of Christ and restore your life. Thank you for all you do.

"So they ate and drank before the LORD with great gladness on that day."
1 Chronicles 29:22

 My sweet friend Tina.

 The classic cars began showing up.
 We absolutely love people milling about in our yard and house.
 My gracious volunteers cooking the fish.
 Carla, Mayor Dave, and my man chatting it up.
 This small group of troublemakers were out of control.
 Our favorite handy man.
 We loved serving fish to dear people who help us do what we do. We are grateful.
I love this picture.
Mags. She's my hero.
 People were coming all day to tour the house.
I had a sweet time praying with many of our visitors.
 My dear Kristi.
 Sheth played an awesome game before he came.
 Man talk: where the testosterone abounds.
The impressive and heroic Justin!
 Sweet boys playing on our swing.
 Four monkeys.
 Mags. I thought I should get a shot of her leaving as well.
 He did not want me to take his picture eating fish.
 My man got me these gorgeous lilies.
 My friend, Susan, holding Chayah.
 Isn't she a doll.
 All the pie mysteriously vanished.
 This needs some scripture on it.
I absolutely love people hanging out on our porch. I think we need more chairs. There always seems to be more friends than seats.
Molly tried to run off with my baby.
 So did her husband. Get your own baby.
Don't you love this smile. 
 We needed the swinging door from the Kitchen to the Butler's Pantry taken out so we could finish the floor. The problem was that it was installed into the moulding and the threshold. Stephen and Andy took this as a challenge. They were mumbling something about c4, but they didn't blow it up in the end. They removed the door and smoothed the way for the cork to be finished and find it's way into the Butler's Pantry. 

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...