Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Culture~Living As Citizens of Heaven on Earth-Collected Insights from AW Tozer~Book Review

This is one of those books that was hard to put down and is hard to do a review for, because I have so much I could write about it, all good! A few of you know Tozer is one of my favorites, the way he writes is so relevant for today's world as it was back when he lived. His words speak the truth from God's Word. A couple sections in this book convicted me deeply, so I am pondering on those words and praying about them. In this book you can feel how Tozer's desire for the church is to keep it full of Biblical truth! So many of the churches today have gone astray or have turned to more entertainment, then sharing the truth of God's Word.

The are 24 short chapters, but even though short chapters, they are very deep! The first chapter brought light to an area I have struggled in. He talks about sacraments and the spiritual slavery bondage vs. sacramental quality of everyday living, which was so eye opening to me. When I was young I was taught in the church, we had to do our hail Mary's, use holy water, observe lent, holy week, etc...But those are not necessary, they mean nothing if we our heart is not truly worshiping. I loved what Tozer said, "we do not know when we are well off". Christ freed us from that! "Motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Some of Tozer points throughout the book:"In the church many are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God."
"Shall we preserve the truth and the practice of the truth, or shall we alter it just comfortable in order to be more popular, gain more adherents, and get along easier with the world?" I have for one been a part of churches that either bend or stick to truth. That is a hard place to be in. I have learned sticking to truth and not bending to the world is right! Not always easy and fun, but then it wouldn't be truth and I wouldn't be glorifying God. There are so many consequences when you bend the truth, and Tozer shares more about those in the book.
"All beliefs and practices should be tested by the Word; no copying unscriptural church methods." The Word of God matters over man!
"There must be separation from the world, from its opinions, habits and values."
"Lack of courage is a grave fault and may be a real sin when it leads to compromise in doctrine or practice. To sit back for the sake of peace and allow the enemy to carry of the sacred vessels from the temple is never the part of a true man of God." This is a struggle for me, I want to be at peace with all, but then when I am doing that I am not honoring God and living by truth, instead I am compromising my beliefs.
"The hope of the church yet lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other. These beliefs have been revealed to her by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious."
"I have never believed in the great distinctions that some try to make between the sacred and the secular. Eating can be just as religious an act as praying. It is just as spiritual for me to eat my breakfast from our prayers, we are making an unnecessary division." Yes, we in the everyday ordinary we can glorify God in all things we do, that does include laundry.
"How different today. The fact remains the same but the interpretation has changed completely. Men think of the world, not as a battleground but as a playground. We are not here to fight, we are here to frolic.....A right view of God and the world to come requires that we have also a right view of the world in which we live and our relation to it. So much depends upon this that we cannot afford to be careless about it." Reminder that satan is seeking here to destroy us and it is a battleground, we need to be on guard!
"Actually no real union between the world, and the Church is possible. When the Church joins up with the world it is the truth Church no longer but only a pitiful hybrid thing, an object of smiling contempt to the world and an abomination to the Lord...There is no middle ground...." Remember Jesus said the world hated HIM and would us too...John 15:18-19
"When faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed."
"When will Christians learn that to love righteousness it is necessary to hate sin? That to accept Christ it is necessary to reject self? That to follow the good way we must flee from evil? That a friend of the world is an enemy of god? That God allows no twilight zone between two altogether where the fearful and the doubting may take refuge at once from hell to come and the rigors of present discipline?"
"The Church lives in a hostile world. Within and around her are enemies that not only could destroy her, but are meant to and will unless she resists force with yet greater force." So why we need to stand for truth!
"What has Christ to offer to us that is sound, genuine, and desirable? HE offers forgiveness of sins, inward cleansing, peace with God, eternal life, the gift of the Holy Spirit, victory over temptation, resurrection from the dead, a glorified body, immortality, and a dwelling place in the house of the Lord forever. These are a few benefits that come to us as a result of faith in Christ and total committal to HIM." To which I say, AMEN, thank you JESUS!!
"God's truth has never been popular." How sad, but yes true that they reject HIM! 

From Moody Publishers:
"I want the world to know that I am a Christian...I may not be a good Christian, but I am still a Christian." (To which I agree, we are all sinners and fall, but thanks to Jesus we are saved!)

Political controversy is steadily increasing, highlighting the diverging paths of church and state. With so many polarizing issues all around us, we need to know: What does it look like to be a true Christian in an increasingly unchristian culture?
A.W. Tozer, called a modern prophet in his time, offers wise counsel for exactly this. Though the political and cultural issues now facing us may differ from those of Tozer's time, the pressures are the same. Tozer asks us where our allegiances lay, and if we have the courage to live faithfully and effectively as dual citizens.

I highly recommend this book to all, unfortunately I do not have a give-away for this one, but you can find it at Moody Publishers ,Amazon, and Christian book stores. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Last week of summer break for us, weekly encouragement and snapshots!!

I hope all y'all week has been going great! I am choosing to count my blessing, then to focus on the bad news and evil in this world. Why, because I have a God that so loves me, so loves you, and provides blessings upon blessings, we just need to look for them, praise Him for them, even if they are small simple ordinary things, and even when we are struggling and don't understand, we trust and know HE is good and HE is God who controls all and has a plan. We have had a blessed week, family time, play time, family movie outing, seeing friends, kids enjoyed a few days of VBS, finished our summer read aloud, mama had adult time with other mama's, breakfast date with the hubs and date night at home!!

This was also our last week of summer break, Monday we will start back homeschooling! We are excited and ready to go!! This will be our 3rd year homeschooling!! Watch out for our Raising Arrows learning adventures!! This is me pumping myself up for a great year of learning!!

OH I do have a give-away going on right now, so be sure to head on over and check out this blog post for more information:

Here are some encouraging reads this week:
Excellent post and podcast full of encouragement! Seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately, thank you Lord <3 i=""> "Choosing to Own my Faith has opened doors, provided peace of mind, given boldness in difficulties, established hope in God who does not change and who has proved faithful in every season."
Here’s the thing, Christian. There is only one real line in the sand. The line drawn in blood at the foot of the cross. Once we have been carried over that line into the safety of Christ’s embrace, we are all on the same side. There should be no lines drawn in the sand behind the cross. Differences of opinion are inevitable, and there is room for much diversity. But it should not break up the fellowship. Once the fellowship starts dissolving, we are in sin.

Snapshots of the week:
Our golfer girl won 1st place in her age group, whoohoo!!
Enjoying a date night at home with the hubs!
Sunday worship ready, with my two little blessings!
Movie night with my little's, watching The Chronicles of Narnia, as we finished our summer read aloud!

Beautiful sunset after a storm, always a reminder of God's goodness and beauty!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review and Give-away...I Love You Just Because

I have to thank FlyBy for this wonderful opportunity to review I Love You Just Because by Donna Keith. Little kids will love this book, but I also think some big kids will too. What is not to love, picture books are fun to read. Plus this one has a great message for all! This is a very nice durable board book too, with a padded cover and beautiful illustrations done by Alison Edgson. The story is about three different unique bear siblings, learning and growing together, and how we are all loved just because you are you! I love the Bible scripture included throughout this book. My daughter loved reading this to us, she actually couldn't wait till we got home, had to start right away when we picked it up from our mailbox.

Yes, I know many of you are wondering is there a give-away,  yes there is!! I have one book to give away to one my readers, so be sure to leave a comment or like the post no later than Friday, July 29, 2016.

From our promotions company, I LOVE YOU JUST BECAUSE:

Through adorable, cuddly art and fun rhyming text, I Love You Just Because will help little ones understand their parents' love for them and that it doesn't have to be earned. With playful artwork and the same friendly bear family you already know and love from Donna Keith's first two books—I Love You All the Same and I Love You Even When—the sweet story of this book will touch you and your family and will remind you that family members love each other...just because.
Parents will gravitate toward the felt need and fun messaging of this book as it seeks to help them explain to their little ones that they are truly loved just because.

Facebook @DonnaKeithAuthor
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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fight the Good Fight, thoughts and pondering..

So I was vacuuming and pondering on some thoughts…yes people that is why my house is usually always so clean. I do my best thinking and praying while I am cleaning. I have a hard time sitting still, I am not very patient, but thanks to the good Lord He continues to work on me. Anyhow, just some thoughts going through my head…if all the people I see posting and sharing pray for our cops or whenever something bad happens in this world, etc…ask themselves, do you know Jesus Christ? Have you accepted Christ as your savior and repentant of your sins? If not, please do that, so you are right with God and then keep the faith, share it, and fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). We as believers fear no evil, because HIS light has overcome and we have the promise of being a part of royalty and promised a glorious eternity forever, O'Lord thank you! That is what will change this world we live! Believers in Christ united together! Stop the division! Christ has already won, by dying on the cross for us. We believers get to be a part of His warriors here on earth to help stop satan and those he is using to bring this evil in this world. 

Another thought and reason I am thinking of all this, I have been a part of mom groups/women ministry for seven years, up until this last year. It seems to be a common theme among women, that they feel like they are not enough, that they are failing, they live in worry/fear, etc… but oh sista's you are enough when you are a believer in Christ. You are raising the next generation, that is a big responsibility! Men and women we need to stand strong in our faith, for our children, our families, our neighbors, and this world. I hope and pray you know the saving grace and freedom that comes from having a right relationship through Jesus. That is how we unite and overcome! Yes, we will still struggle and in the end, this world will come to an end, but not before Jesus comes back for us. It is never too late to come to know Christ, I was 27 when I did, and it has been the best thing ever, life changing!!

We may not understand all that is happening, but we have a mighty God, He is working it all together, who is unchanging, who loves us, and has a plan. That is all, keep the faith, praying and doing the next right thing!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday encouragement, summer break continues and snapshots!

Love this quote
This week went by too fast and next week is our last official summer break, as we will start back homeschooling officially July 25. I say officially, as we continued a lite learning time most days. Abigail played her 4th game with her PGA Junior team this week, next week she is in three! They both had fun at karate camp yesterday, while the hubs and I enjoyed a little lunch outing by ourselves, along with getting a load of rock! Because that is what all couples do when they are child-free, right! Today we have a play-date meetup with our homeschool co-op to catch up and meet some new families joining us for the near year!! I have also been busy working little by little each day on planning and our learning area this week. We will continue using Sonlight as our main core curriculum (Bible, language arts, history/geography, and science), we just love it and works great for us! Aidan will be doing Core A, along with Horizon Math K and A Reason For Handwriting. Abigail will be doing Core C, along with Horizon Math 2, starting cursive using A Reason For Handwriting, Sing Song Latin 2, Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons. We will all use Art and the Bible, by How Great Thou Art for art lessons this year and listening to Classical Kids Collection on CD~learning about classical composers and their music. We will continue to attend co-op every other Thursday, Abigail is taking Stamps Teaching, Aidan is taking P.E. and both will be in Monart Art and Drawing for the 1st semester. We are excited to get our new school year started and all we are going to learn!!

For planning, I am using A Simple Plan planner by Mardel for the 3rd year in a row. This year I got the kids each a planner by A Plan In Place. Aidan's helps him learn about the calendar and checking off school work, along with chores. Abigail's helps her learn about goals, scheduling, along with tracking books read and to do lists. This is a planner geek's dream!! Now let's see how the kids like them. I know Abigail is excited, she is excited to start using her the planner. With planning, I don't schedule the year, I count out the weeks we plan to do school and add two additional at the end in case more breaks are needed. We are trying the 6 weeks on, 1 week off type of schedule, with a two week break in December and 2 month summer break. I wanted to try year round schooling, but Abigail keeps busy with golf the months of June and July, there are many summer camps and activities. Plus I need a break, time to organize and plan and get caught up on other things that sometimes get pushed aside during the school year.

So this post probably bored most my readers, unless you are a homeschooler, well you may enjoyed it. I enjoy reading what other homeschoolers are using and doing, it helps me to see if there is something different we might like to try or use.

Here is some great encouraging reads I recommend reading: 
Homeschoolers, oh this list…for real a doughnut shop one we haven't done yet, this is a must! ;)

This devotion spoke much to my heart…We pour out so much of ourselves that we forget to first give ourselves to God. We experience tragedy, hurts, betrayal, and disappointments. Life often leads us to forget God’s calling for us. This world is our battleground.
I want to prioritize self-care so I can succeed in life. So I can grow stronger, embrace life more fully, love more enthusiastically, live more generously, and serve others more wholeheartedly.

This is so helpful, just yes and why I have started too, so I apologize I don’t do it offend anyone, but for me to simplify and my purpose.

So when you get to the end of the day, when you get down far down that road you’re on, when you get to wondering what it’s all about that — I don’t know, maybe it’s just this handful of 5 Brave and Beautiful Things I wanted to tuck in your back pocket in a world that’s hurting everywhere? And maybe I just wanted to look you long in the eyes and memorize this in the midst of everything: Trust that Grace will always meet you.

Let me reassure you today that there is nothing that is too hard for our God.

Such an encouraging post and podcast for these time…”Moms, the way you invest your life today will indeed have a great impact on history. We need to buck up, strengthen the areas that are weak, and decide to accept the work load of small children with joy, as would please our heavenly Father. The cultivating and raising of great souls is of the utmost importance.  Your life is making a difference. Take time in the word, take time to read those books which call you to excellence, spend time praying with friends of like mind–and don’t give up!”

Seeing their wonder, excitement, and struggles; counseling them in the midst of their temper tantrums, frustrations, and successes; encouraging them in their joy and sorrow are all privileges for the homeschool mom.

Snapshots of our week:
Our planners, this year I switched from EC to Plum Paper for my personal home planner.
Planning work in progress.
Books labeled and shelved!
Our learning area! Where we do most of our school type work.
This is what all bathroom windows look like and just a small batch of the many more tomatoes growing!
My cute helper, helping making BLTs. Yum!
Our cute golfer, playing her 4th PGA Jr game!
Beautiful sunset and my hubs practicing his golf swing, must keep up with the daughter!
Mama got a new toy and I only paid $25, whoohoo!!
Capturing a beautiful flower in our yard, reminder of gifts God give us and how HE takes care of us!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful~book review with give-away!!

What a blessing to receive this book in the mail the other day to review!! Thanks FlyBy for this wonderful opportunity and chance for one of my readers to win one!! Cecil Frances Alexander, the author of this hymn was originally wrote about 170 years ago, and artist Katy Hudson put the beautiful words into a book with amazing illustrations. I enjoyed letting my daughter read this to us, such a sweet message and we all are amazed by the artwork in this book. If you have little one's you will want to add this to your home library, one to read over and over, set it out on your coffee table, give it as a gift to friends and families with children. Most adults would love it too! I know I do!

As I mentioned I am able to give-away one of these books to one of my readers, be sure to like my post or leave a comment no later than Friday, July 15, 2016 to be entered into the drawing.

About the book:
First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.”

About the artist:
Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.

Jacketed hardcover
Page count: 32
Reading age: 4-7
Category: juvenile fiction/Christian
Retail price: $15.99

Social Corner:
 #AllThingsBrightAndBeautiful #FlyBy

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday encouragement, simple truth, and snapshots!

This week on repeat is a How Can It Be a song by Lauren Daigle you can listen to it here (this whole cd is awesome, last week it was O’Lord)     
You plead my cause, You right my wrongs, You break my chains, You overcome, You gave Your life, To give me mine, You say that I am free , How can it be… That is some good truth right there, HE has overcome all!  I have also been reading Colossians 2 over and over, oh how the Lord speaks to my heart! I am a sinner (shocker I know), yes and a bit sarcastic, and I tend to struggle with anxiety and perfectionism, though the Lord has worked a lot on me in this area. It has been years since I have had an anxiety attack (praise Jesus) but yet because I have a type A personality and on top of that a people-pleasing peace-maker. Trust me not always a positive, it can cause me to struggle with how I see and do things. The Lord spoke to me recently and it was put in my face, in a good way. I don’t want to be that person who worries what people will think or fear of being judged or that I am not a good enough Christian, wife, mom, homeschooler, friend, etc…right, do you hear me? Maybe I am the only one that struggles with that? I am never going to be perfect and I know this, but oh the struggle. Thankfully, there is only one perfect person and HE died for me and you, so that I and you can live in freedom, to not fear being judged, that we are not enough, doing it right, or failing. JESUS took the punishment for us, HE knew we couldn’t do it and HE knew before I was even born that I would sin and struggle, but because HE loves us, HE took on our sin, our struggles and nailed them to the cross!! There is nothing I can or you can do to win the heart of God or earn points (this world is like that though), HE already loves you and cares so much, we just need to believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (which I hope and pray you have done). This is the only way we can live complete, forgiven, free and alive, forever as saints! We don’t have to worry or try harder. Instead live in freedom, enjoy this beautiful life God has given us, and have fun doing it! So continue to let that light shine, don’t hide it or let satan blow it out, let it SHINE! I apologize for putting the sweet children’s Bible song in your head, but so much truth in it.
Here is a funny thought about all this, I have been told this message/truth before, but it really did not click with me, I struggled with it. Maybe it has to do a bit with my mix mosh church background, not becoming a believer till my later 20s, my stubbornness…? Instead I still felt in order for God to love me completely I need to be, to do, act a certain way, but that wears a person out, all that striving. Instead Jesus says come to me and I will give you rest, behold the lilies of the aware of holy beauty (Mathew 6:28). Thank you Jesus for that very thing, which allows me to live for you and trust no matter what I do right or when I fail, you are in control and I am enough, because of HIM. Now I know I will still have struggles and yes sin, but thankfully I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me and I just need to remember to listen and use that power!! This is part of my journey of faith, it is so amazing to see how God can use and teach a person! 

For some fun sharing, what we did this week, well we celebrated our country's birthday, so important to do! The kids and I enjoyed a parade on the 4th while the hubby was working. As a family we celebrated on the 5th with a fireworks show put on by my fab hubby! This week the kids enjoyed a swim party with Trail Life and American Heritage Girl troops. If you don't know anything about these, they are a boy and girl group that meet weekly to learn about service, leadership, community,  and skills, similar to boy/girl scouts, but with christian values. We are excited to join and be a part of these troops!! 

Here are a few snapshots of our week:

PGA golf game #3, love watching them play!
Sunday ready!! Missing the hubs.
4th of July parade!
Excited for the parade!!  Missing the hubs again, but thankful for a hard-working man!  Yes it was a windy day, bad hair day, ha!
Poor Peter cat, had a rough day, first he got caught in our live trap and then had to for his yearly shots, bless him, but he got lots of love from this sweet girl!
Family time fireworks!
Thankful for beautiful country nights!
Love watching this man fish!
Captured our first sunflower, we should have many soon, thanks to the hubs!
Red bird, red bird, what do you see!
Our garden is producing lots this year, this is just the start!
My hubs brought me home my fav chips from his last work trip. You are welcome chip lovers!
Encouraging reads of the week:

“What’s missing [in our lives] is a theology of play. There are many things—eating ice cream, diving off cliffs, sleeping in Saturday mornings, learning bird-calls, watching movies—that can’t be shoehorned into a utilitarian scheme, try as you might. We do some things just for the simple sake of doing them. There’s no particular usefulness connected to them. They don’t need to be done: nobody insists, and the world’s left unchanged by our doing them or not. They enhance our intellect not one bit. …But they just might make us feel more alive, more ourselves, and that’s use enough.
"So many times in my life I have encountered the tension between wanting to be Spirit-filled and gracious, and then being overwhelmed by my own attitudes, the unexpected situations of my life, or the many clashing personalities of my family members. Life tends to have a sandpaper effect on my attempts to be holy. These times have led me explore what it means to live in the power of the Spirit."
It’s time to go sit at the well and speak grace as we spend time with those who think differently, believe differently, worship differently.
Maybe as Christians we subconsciously think there’s something wrong with us or wrong with our faith if we’re not “fine.” Like we should be “ok, already.” But in all reality, we won’t be completely “fine” until Jesus comes again. In the meantime, there’s wrestling. There’s struggle. And there’s a place for holy lamenting.