Sunday, August 12, 2018

Courage, Dear Heart - Review

I have been reading Rebecca Reynolds blog http://www.thistleandtoad.com/  for a couple years now, she has a way of writing that makes me feel like she is in my head so many times. She is not one of those that writes to tell you it is going to be ok, that says if you just stop or do this you will be blessed. No, she writes from pain she has experienced, she shares her own personal struggles, doubts, and skepticism, and points to the One who has it all in control and that we can trust, our Lord! So if you are a person who is going through a hard-time, feel rejected, weary, or just feel a bit lost in this world that sometimes just seems hard to be in at times and you are wondering where is God, then pick up this book Courage, Dear Heart ~ Letters To A Weary World, and read it! She reminds us to take our doubts, weaknesses, and sorrow straight to our Maker and let him be the Father he is. She sprinkles in quotes and shares from some well known favorite writers like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Tolkien, and a few others. Along with lots of Scripture references within her book as she shares her stories of suffering and fear. She writes: "So courage, dear heart. I know you are tired. I know the darkness is thick and the way is longer and harder than you ever expected it to be. But God sees you, He hurts with you, and He welcomes your honesty. Even to the ends of the earth, He will lead you on." In this book, she reminded me that God uses all the good and bad ~ Sometimes the growth that we need the most can't be accomplished in dignity, safety, or privacy.... As you walk through this valley of the shadow of death, the Lord is with you. You were saved, and you are still being saved. Even this end of your world will be used by the Father who loves you. You don't have to be God's little hero; in fact, it's okay if you collapse on your knees before the Almighty and say, "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness." Fo here in this holy place where you are most weak, you are most strong." Her example that life can be like learning to ride a bike, "God supported me some, let me fall some, helped me get back up. He went through that process with me in real time so that I would learn to ride faster and stronger in freedom." Words and stories like this comfort me, give me peace in my limited understanding, that no matter what God is good, He is there, and is in control, He has a plan and a purpose for it all. This book reminded me of where courage comes from, not from me, but from my Lord ~ Jesus, who died to save me.

I have many highlights throughout this book I would love to share with you, but instead, I am going to provide you with a few snapshots of a couple of the pages within this book. Then go and check out Rebecca's blog at http://www.thistleandtoad.com/  and Tyndale for more information about this book and where to get it. https://www.tyndale.com/p/courage-dear-heart/9781631467684




@tyndalehousepublishers #bookreview #couragedearheart
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing this opportunity for review.  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.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Daily Question ~ journal review


My daughter and I both love to journal. We are enjoying these daily questions from this new journal put out by Waterbrook publishers titled, The Daily Question For You and Your Child. This is a 3-year journal, so with that, you get over a thousand opportunities for some good conversations that are prompted by the daily question in the journal. Plus it will make a great place to see growth and discuss from year to year if the child answers differently. There are questions on faith, feelings, interests, personal reflected type questions, etc....  The front of the book allows you to place a photo to make it more personal. This journal can be started at any time, just flip to the date and all you need to do is write in the year. This is a hard-book journal, so it is very durable and the cover is fun and enticing. If you want to learn more about your child, this would be a good way to do just that and to open up some conversations you never thought of. I would share some of the writing entries, but those are personal, but I will tell you, this has been fun and my daughter looks forward to the daily question. Hey, this would also make a great gift to give to those that love to journal too.

To find out more about this book, check out:  https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/577191/the-daily-question-for-you-and-your-child-by-waterbrook/

Here are some pictures of the book:









@WaterBrookPress #Partner #PRHpartner
 “Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Waterbrook Publishers for providing this opportunity for review.  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.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Favorite finds around the web and loss!

I have dealt with a lot of loss in my life, some good and some not so good, but even though, I can see that God used those moments for good. There are still some I don't quite understand, but none the less it is when my faith grew stronger! It is when I would depend upon the Word, the promises God has given. Along with reading about those people in the Bible that have overcome many trials and hearing stories from friends, many that are much harder than mine, but none the less no matter how big or small your struggle, the LORD does in fact care. God promises that He has a purpose, He knows all from eternity past to the future, He holds ALL things (Reading Isaiah 40 states this and comforts me.) I don't know about you, but just knowing that gives me peace, even though I don't understand and when things don't turn out good from my perspective. It is a learning process, but thankfully not one we have to do on our own, one we can do with the Holy Spirit.
This has been a year of changes and some challenges, and the year still is not yet done, and I already see one more change that is coming up and who knows what the future holds! But I have gained peace in those, even if it didn't come easily. I had to learn to give it over to the LORD and trust Him with it. That is what I will continue to do when these moments happen, trust God, because I see from my past experiences and those saints that came before me there is a purpose in ALL things, even if we don't understand at times. Is it easy, no! Because sometimes when we are dealing with things unseen, unknown, we want to fight against it, we want to know and have control. I am learning as that word unseen has come up over and over, again, and again this last year, it is OK, and that is what faith is. It is believing without seeing, it is trusting in God, and we can because He has in fact shown us through His Word and His creation, that He is in fact who He says He is, we just can't wrap our limited minds around it and that is OK, because if I were able to wrap my mind around knowing all things and seeing all things, I would regret it, pretty sure my mind would explode and then I would not need Jesus, in fact, I would think I am more than I am. So why I need Jesus daily, to keep me in check, to help keep me humble, to overcome my weaknesses, without Him I would be so much worse than I am. Because I am impatient, selfish, and a bit of a control freak at times - AND God is not any of those things! So I thank you God for saving me from myself, showing me loss and changes are part of life and I just need to trust your plan, even when I don't understand, it is all in fact for my good and your ultimate glory!

Snapshots around the web:
Are you believing in an Americanized Bible or the Truth?
No matter what...this is true, His will brings peace even when not understood!
Emotions can be tricky!
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
More Word
Favorite links:

The secret to contentment is very simple. And it does not require heroic acts of piety. No, in fact it requires a childlike response from us. The secret is beautifully summed up in this phrase: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-secret-to-peace-and-contentment
When selfish people start to mess with our lives, it's okay to draw boundaries like Abraham did--letting some separation exist between his world and Lot's. It's okay to grieve a broken relationship and to cry out for God's intervention in the face of injustice. But we don’t have to despair when humans are suspicious, rude, cruel, or greedy. God knows how to grow a harvest on difficult soil. All is not lost. http://www.thistleandtoad.com/wwwthistleandtoadcom/writings/2018/8/1/whensomeoneouy
When it comes to Christianity, are the specifics of what people believe important? https://michellelesley.com/2018/08/03/women-preaching-its-not-a-secondary-doctrinal-issue/
We praise God that we are not required to earn what Christ has done for us, for we never could do so. We receive His death by simple faith alone. Jesus never demands that we earn what He did for us. But the Bible does tell us to live “in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:10). So we can turn to His wooden cross every day and pray, “If, with all Your glory, You, the Son of God, died for me, then I can live for You.” https://www.ligonier.org/blog/whats-so-great-about-limited-atonement/
But today the one way he absolutely promises you can always hear his voice is in his Word. https://www.challies.com/articles/how-god-speaks-to-us-today/
No matter how dark things get, His hand is always in control.https://www.ligonier.org/blog/god-never-forgets-his-promises/




Friday, August 3, 2018

Favorites around the web and desert soul..


If you have never heard the song from Desert Soul by the group Rend Collective it is a must listen. I put it on every time I drive. ... click here to listen https://youtu.be/lD9xdDNX_hk

The words in their song I could have written if I had the talent, these words I connect with and make a great prayer. It reminds me of who I once was before the Lord saved me and that at times I still struggle and that is why I need Jesus every moment. Only God can make me whole and without Him I am lost. May I never lose sight of this and remind myself everyday how thankful I am for the death and resurrection of Jesus.



I love You Lord
But I want to love You more
I need You God
But I want to need You more
I'm desperate for a desperate heart
I'm reaching out, I'm reaching
All that I am is dry bones
Without You Lord, a desert soul
I am broken but running
Towards You God, You make me whole
I'm lost without
Your creative spark in me, recreate me
I'm dead inside
Unless Your resurrection sings
I'm desperate for a desperate heart
I'm reaching out, I'm reaching
All that I am is dry bones
Without You Lord, a desert soul
I am broken but running
Towards You God, You make me whole
Oh oh oh (a desert soul)
Oh oh oh (without You Lord)
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
You are what we need You are exactly what we need
Only You can satisfy
You are exactly what we need
Only You can satisfy
All that… 


Around the web:
By God's grace!
Truth is so important!
True friends, tell you when you mess up, instead of oh it is ok!
My feelings can somtimes get the better of me, so it is important to be still before you respond and sometimes, that may take days!
I am OK being called a nerd!
Yes, this is what God calls us to be, though sometimes I don't always do that.
Being an introvert is awesome, though people sometimes don't understand.
 I have been in meetings like this, oh my, for the love! LOL

Favorite links of the week:

A disciple is one who disciplines himself in the teachings and practices of another. The word disciple, like discipline, comes from the Latin word discipulus, meaning “pupil” or “learner.” Consequently, to learn is to discipline oneself. For example, if one is to advance in the arts or the sciences or athletics, one has to discipline himself and to learn and follow the principles and fundamentals of the best teachers in that area of study. So it was and is with the disciples of Christ. A disciple follows Jesus. https://tabletalkmagazine.com/article/2018/06/what-is-a-disciple/
We must broaden our understanding of obedience to include the truth that we may suffer for our obedience. https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/when-obedience-brings-pain/
We may fight for every shuffling step of sanctification, but He will be with us, working in us and enabling us to keep taking those steps to know Him and make Him known. https://www.glennamarshall.com/2018/07/25/a-long-short-walk/
Because we aren’t the sorter of our souls. Jesus does the sorting. It’s up to us to do the surrendering. http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/sort-me-out-jesus/
We don’t have to be mastered by sinful thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and by putting off the old self, renewing our minds through God’s Word, and putting on the new self by thinking and practicing godly things, we can grow more and more obedient to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, words, and actions. https://michellelesley.com/2018/07/27/when-god-answers-the-wrong-prayer/
When your thoughts start to waver and you feel unsure, take out the garbage. If it isn’t true, isn’t noble, isn’t right, isn’t pure, isn’t lovely, isn’t admirable or excellent or praiseworthy, take it out. Don’t think about it. Remove it. Take in the Truth and think about it instead. https://lovegodgreatly.com/take-garbage-take-truth/


Friday, July 27, 2018

My favorites around the web and a start back to school!!!

Parenting and homeschooling teach me so much about this truth!
This week we finished our first week of homeschooling for 2018-2019, and it is a reason to celebrate. I spent weeks reviewing, researching, buying, planning, and preparing for homeschool in hopes that it will work for our family. I am happy to report we like the changes that were made with our curriculum and schedule!! Last year I ended the year exhausted and some of the curriculum we struggled through, so I knew it was time to make some changes. This is our fourth year homeschooling, so I feel confident in making those choices now and not worrying much over it. So for you new to homeschooling, don't fret, it takes time, like anything else, always a learning curb and a need for grace too. So happy back to school to all my fellow homeschoolers and those that also attend public or private schools! May your year be full of learning and growth! May we remember our need for God through it all and to give Him the glory!

Quick peek into our week:
1st-day homeschool, the principal took us out to lunch to celebrate, I love my principal!!
God's work ~ sunset at mi casa!

Now on to some favorites I found around the web:
Lions are my favorite animal, but these Words even more!
Keeping the water out of the boat so important!
Yielding to God's will brings peace!
Remember, God's opinion matters most!

Links:  May we, the church, excel in paring down and seeking the simple life. May we declutter our schedules and make space for one another. May we fill the void left by simplicity with community. May our simple lives bring God glory and loves to our neighbors. And may that community be one that lifts high the name of Jesus. https://www.jenoshman.com/jen-oshman-blog/2018/6/28/simplicity-for-the-sake-of-the-gospel 
What are you led by? What directs your decisions, actions, words, and thoughts? As believers, we’re called to live by faith. And yet so many of us choose to live by something else—our feelings. Have you ever made a decision because it simply “felt right”? Have you ever said something because it “felt like the perfect moment”? https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/faith-over-feelings/ 
Here’s the good news, sisters. “It is not God’s will that women be weak in their discernment, burdened with sin, and led astray by passions.” God desires more than this for you. He created you! His will is that you hold fast to the message of the gospel which is Christ and Him crucified and resurrected. In James 1, we are encouraged to pray for wisdom if we lack it. Wisdom isn’t fortune-telling. It’s discernment. And I believe praying for wisdom in regard to what we read and hear is a prayer God is moved to answer. https://www.glennamarshall.com/2018/07/10/weak-minded-women/ 
The biggest problem that the human race has is this: God is holy. He’s righteous. He’s just. And we’re not. And it’s because God is holy that anytime He withholds justice, He is giving grace. Listen to what the Bible tells us. The King of the universe places His indelible mark on the soul of every one of His people. https://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-sproul-through-years-holiness-god/ 
Here are five popular Christian clichés that are not biblical, and therefore need a memorial service. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-christian-cliches-that-need-to-die/ 
Be amazed that you have a Bible. Be amazed that you have the word of God. Be stunned. Get up in the morning and hold this and weep for joy. Be amazed that God spoke. And then open it and be expectant that the same Spirit who came and brought to memory and taught, so that the words are inspired, will now make them illumined for you. He won’t leave you dense and stupid and blind — not if you call out and say, “O God, I love your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonders out of your word.” It is amazing that we have such a book. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/my-peace-i-give-to-you/excerpts/do-you-still-wonder-at-the-bible 
John Calvin was far more careful with this doctrine than his critics were and are.  Calvin understood men would react strongly against this doctrine. https://gentlereformation.com/2012/03/14/3729/ 
Sometimes it’s hard for me to look around in Christian business world and see so many shallow people thriving. At least in my part of the country, it seems like real character matters less to the church than flamboyance, networking, and a country club social posture. And since we have been stripped of so many earthly comforts, it’s tempting to look at the machine of what seems to “work” and feel cynical. http://www.thistleandtoad.com/wwwthistleandtoadcom/writings/2018/6/23/a-dangerous-beautiful-prayer 
Go ahead and get your praise on…but get your obedience on first. https://michellelesley.com/2018/06/28/throwback-thursday-obedience-matters/

Friday, July 20, 2018

My favorites around the web and cleaning bookshelves!

So this week, I went through my personal bookshelves to remove books. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, I asked myself does the reading of this benefit my walk with God or away from God. Is it a book to pump me up and make me feel good or to make me ponder and challenge me? When I asked those questions, it was easy to toss books (OK I didn't toss, I put them in my giveaway box, though maybe I should burn them?). I read a lot and I recently have become even more discerning than I was before, because there are so many books out there, so why waste good reading time!? I don't need a book to tell me how to make a better life or how to be happy, etc..., instead I can seek the Lord and do what the Lord is asking me to do in His Word! Now there are a lot of great books out there and authors that I didn't get rid of because these are books that point me to God, challenge me, and get me pondering. Those authors have helped me to dig deeper into the Word and seek my Lord. Now when it comes to fiction books, I am not much of a fiction reader, but I do love reading stories with my children! Most of the fiction I read with my children, teach us about our world, stories of courage, stories of battles, stories that teach virtues that you can point to the Word. However, I do enjoy reading historical fiction and biographies.

"What feed the soul matters as much as what feeds the body." ~ Corrie Ten Boom 

“We have only the time allotted by God, and none of us knows when it will run out. Every Christian life runs by His divine timetable and against His divine clock. We do not know how long He will hold open the door of a given opportunity or of our entire time of service. “Be careful how you walk,” Paul counsels, “not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). God gives us many things without limit – His love, His grace, and many others. But His gift of time is strictly measured.”~ John MacArthur

So with that accomplished and our homeschool lessons planned, pencils sharpened, and books pulled from shelves, this Monday we are ready to start another homeschooling year!! Whoohoo!!

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”~ Elisabeth Elliot

Now to pass along some favorites I found around the web recently:

"A knowledge of the law of God gives to us the pattern of loving obedience. If we love the Lord, we must also love His law. To love God and despise His law is a contradiction that must never be the profile of the Christian."

We are warned to watch for wolves disguised as sheep.


So yes, this made me kind of chuckle, please don't send me good vibes, prayers to God only, please!
Oh yes!!!
Links:
Are there prophets today (in fewer than 500 words)?
The main reason why errors in biblical interpretation occur is not because the reader lacks a knowledge of Hebrew or of the situation in which the biblical book was written. The number one cause for misunderstanding the Scriptures is making illegitimate inferences from the text. https://www.ligonier.org/blog/thinking-jesus/
“I tell you, if the Lord Almighty had left us to our own devices,” wrote Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper, “all virtue would have turned into brutishness, all order into chaos, and all humanity would have descended into the dense smoke of hell.” https://gentlereformation.com/2018/06/29/no-divinity-no-decency/
Instead of fighting the enemy, we give him ammunition! What we feed will flourish. What we feed will flourish. Let me say that again. What we feed will flourish. http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/give-intruder-weapon/?doing_wp_cron=1530277280.2716190814971923828125
The world is on to something in its pursuit of the simple life. We all know there’s more to this life.
We face yearlong trials and five-minute trials. Trials that make us weep and trials that make us roll our eyes. Trials that kick our feet out from under us and trials that just step on our toes. We face big trials and small trials — trials of various kinds. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/ten-thousand-small-trials
God was with me then, and he is with me now, as mysterious as my future seems. Having the right theology isn’t something abstract; it’s not just ticking a box of correct doctrinal belief. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/grief-sanctified-reformed-theology-helps-deal-death/
Moms have the joy of sharing the gospel with others, and also the privilege of obeying God by participating in the Great Commission. https://www.risenmotherhood.com/blog/sharing-jesus-at-home-and-with-the-nations
We all have times we fall short and don’t do relationships well. We say the wrong things and do the wrong things, both on purpose and accidentally. http://theglorioustable.com/2018/07/desire-reconciliation-womens-devotional/
10 Homeschooling Questions I Hear All the Time and How I *Wish* I Could Answer Them https://redheadmom8.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/10-homeschooling-questions/

Friday, July 13, 2018

Some favorites from around the web and encouragement! Plus a bonus at the end!!

Meditate on this!
What have you been reading and seeing around the world through the web-screen?? Here are some of my favorites I have seen. I have a love-hate relationship with the internet, but I do believe it can be used more for good. We also have a choice, what we allow into our minds and how much time we spend there. These Words from the Bible speak about such things:

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.





Around the web:

So thankful not of me, but God's giving!


Great reminder, don't be lazy!
So much truth to this, we should watch what we say and do, others are watching us. If we mess up, let's be the first to apologize! So not easy, but goes back to God's Word or the world's ways?

What I like to envision, LOL! My family and my friends 😉

Back porch sitting, watching hummingbirds by the dozen, a reminder of God's creatures great and small!

New flag, but the sunset can't be beat, God at work!

LINKS:
Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 11:19 ; Luke 7:34 ), but not of sin. He dined with these people in order to save, redeem, and transform them. He always called them to leave their lifestyle of sin in order to follow Him. …Tolerance used to mean that we could agree to disagree. Now, tolerance means you must agree with, affirm, and celebrate what I want. That’s not tolerance. That’s coercion or brainwashing. This incorrect definition of tolerance has led to an incorrect legislative interference that threatens our First Amendment rights. https://thecripplegate.com/would-jesus-bake-the-cake/
Not in the White House, but in Christ, regardless of who’s in the White House. Not in a moral society, but in Christ, whether society’s morals are Victorian or heathen. Not in laws and policies and freedoms that suit us, but in Christ. https://michellelesley.com/2018/07/05/throwback-thursday-revival-in-america-we-trust/
A message between two close friends, the kind of friends who go straight to the honest core of what’s really happening in a soul http://www.thistleandtoad.com/wwwthistleandtoadcom/writings/2018/7/4/when-it-hurts
When it comes to us, as “plants” (trees or branches), we see the same design of our sovereign God: what we do, or don’t do, really matters. How precisely our real responsibility works with God’s ultimate sovereignty is not a mystery God means for us to solve. It’s a truth he means for us to trust. The important thing we need to know is that if we draw from the stream or from the vine, we will have all we need to tend the gardens God gives us. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/spiritual-growth-is-not-an-accident
“Christian” means something more than liking some of the things Jesus had to say. This faith is all-consuming and utterly transforming. If your faith is more like an occasional identifier than a life-altering relationship, then it is possible that you don’t really know Jesus at all. It’s possible that you are going to hell and you are dragging your children there with you. https://yourmomhasablog.com/2018/07/08/a-plea-to-parents/
The title is the question I have asked myself at times, but once I learned that God choose me from the beginning and brought me to Him “God gives sight, God gives light, God gives repentance”, this freed me and I hope it frees you too! https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-would-god-choose-me
How does one become a fake Christian anyway? I’m glad you asked, because it’s a serious question and one we should consider soberly. http://thingsabove.us/how-to-be-a-fake-christian/ 

Free ebook sources that I highly recommend, I only wish I would have found this sooner, as I would have saved some money, now my kindle is overflowing!
https://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-sprouls-crucial-questions-ebooks-now-free/
https://www.monergism.com/400-free-ebooks-listed-alphabetically-author
(this one I knew about, but sharing for those who do not, happy reading) https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/24-free-ebooks-for-you
http://www.puritanlibrary.com/