Category Archives: books

a lighter load

Standard

My mom gave me this book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for Christmas.  Last year a local Christian radio station read from it daily and I was often so encouraged by her words.  She took her own prayer journal and her increased awareness God’s daily presence in her life and created a devotional filled with Jesus’ words to her and us that we would have a greater sense of “God with us.”  Each day is written as if Jesus were speaking directly to us.  Because He is.

Today’s words are taken from Isaiah 41:10, Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 34:19

The world is too much with you, My child.  Your mind leaps from problem to problem to problem, tangling your thoughts in anxious knots.  When you think like that, you leave Me out of your world-view and your mind becomes darkened.  Though I yearn to help, I will not violate your freedom.  I stand silently in the background of your mind, waiting for you  to remember that I am with you.

When you turn from your problems to My Presence, your load is immediately lighter.  Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together.  Your compulsion to ‘fix’ everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me.  Together we can handle whatever this day brings.

I love this reminder from some of my favorite passages of scripture.  I will travel lighter today, sharing my burdens with the One who carries them with me.

Beach reading

Standard

Seems the only times I’m blogging this summer are while I’m away from my computer .. today is beach day! Not one cloud in the sky .. hot sun .. nice breeze .. perfect! I started my morning with a 6am swim in lake michigan .. it was so amazing I knew I needed to bring the girls back here for some beach time!

I’m just finishing up a great book, When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch. One of the best books I’ve read recently .. it’s not new, but new to me & timely. Speaks of needing people less and loving people more. He talks about a tendency to hold other people in awe, to be controlled by them, to depend on them for what God alone can give. The antidote: the fear of God . . . the believer’s response to God’s power, majesty and mercy.

He concludes the second to last chapter with some great words on community …

“… Individualism is out. From a strictly pragmatic perspective, we have found that individualism doesn’t work. As an antidote, the new buzz word is community.
The problem is that unless there is a radical change in the way we see God, ourselves, and others, community will become just another strategy for us to feel better about ourselves. It will relieve the loneliness, and we will feel more ‘connected’, but if we pursue community for self-fulfillment rather than God’s glory, the community movement will simply be a passing fad. Let’s stir each other up to establish our church community in God’s love”

savoring the final days

Standard

I’ve been savoring the final days with Evangeline at home.  She ‘graduated’ from preschool last week and her sisters have a few weeks of school yet, so, it’s just her and I for a few weeks with a nice, open schedule.

Running an errand today, I made a point to savor her passionate singing in the car … as she sings along with whatever song is on the radio.  It’s amazing that she knows most of the words to most of the songs … but even if she doesn’t, she fakes it well.  The passion, the facial expressions … priceless!

So, today at lunch I had the Getty’s kids cd playing, (Words Jesus Said), which is basically scripture put to song.  The song about Zacchaeus came on and she  says, “I know about him … he stole money from people!  I’ll go get my bible, you can read it!”  And she did … and I did.  We read Zacchaeus, the Prodigal Son and the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is such an amazing bible story book that captures the story and highlights Jesus on every page.  I was hit fresh today with each of these familiar stories as I was forced to look again at the Truth of the Gospel.

“Jesus loved Zacchaeus when nobody else did.  He was Zacchaeus’ friend, even when no one else was.  Because Jesus was showing people what God’s love was like – his wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”

From the Prodigal son …

“Jesus told people this story to show them what God is like.  And to show people what they are like.  So they could know, however far they ran, however well they hid, however lost they were – it wouldn’t matter.  Because God’s children could never run too far, or be too lost, for God to find them.”

And the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and spilled precious perfume on his feet …

Jesus said of her, “This woman knows she’s a sinner, She knows she’ll never be good enough.  She knows she needs me to rescue her.  That’s why she loves me so much.”

“You look down on this woman because you don’t look up to God.  She is sinful on the outside, but you are sinful on the inside.”

“The more Jesus loved people and helped them, the more Important people and Leaders hated him.  They were afraid people would follow Jesus instead of them.  They were jealous.  And angry . . . Angry enough to kill Jesus.”

Wow!  Quite encouraging words for me today.  Thank you Evangeline for leading mommy to the Word today . . .

note to self

Standard

Justin Taylor’s review on a new book . . . looks good!

JUSTIN TAYLOR|11:00 AM CT

Note to Self

I highly recommend Joe Thorn’s new book: Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. It’s proving to be good medicine for my soul. Each “note to self” is short but full of gospel wisdom.

In a recent interview he explains something that he also covers in the introduction: we must not only preach the gospel to ourselves, but we should also preach the law (rightly understood):

The law essentially does three things:

1. The law tells us what’s right. God has not left us in the dark about his will and ways. He has graciously revealed himself and his will to us that we might know what is right and good. This is actually grace.

2. The law tells us what’s wrong. Unfortunately, we do not keep God’s commands. The law is held up against our own lives, and what is reflected back is a life of lawbreaking, rebellion, and selfishness. The law shows us what’s wrong—ourselves. Through the law we see our sin and guilt.

3. The law tells us what’s needed. The law then shows us that what we need before God is forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration. We need mercy if we are to find life. We need God to rescue us from our sin and his judgment. In this way the law prepares us for the gospel.

Ray Ortlund has a good blurb about the book:

Note to Self is a gospel-guided smart bomb scoring a direct hit on our strongholds of emptiness. But the explosion it detonates is life giving. It clears the way for Christ to enter in with powers of salvation where we really need help.

You can read an excerpt online for free.

the hiding place

Standard

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I have not read many biographies in my life . . . thinking I probably should start, I read Corrie Ten Boom’s Hiding Place late last fall while away on a retreat.  I could not put it down, I stayed up most of one night to finish it.  What a powerful story . . . and I had to keep saying to myself while reading it, “this is TRUE, this really happened!”

I was thrilled to see that it’s the free audiobook this month.  If you’re like me at all, you have more books on your bedside table than you could possibly read, so listening to a book can definitely bump it up on the list!  This is definitely worth your time, either way!

Free Audiobook: The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place is the free audiobook of the month for April at ChristianAudio:

The amazing story of Corrie ten Boom, a heroine of the Dutch Resistance who helped Jews escape from the Nazis and became one of the most remarkable evangelists of the 20th century, is told in her classic memoir, now retold for a new generation.

Those interested in this story might also want to check out this excellent dramatized “radio theater” production of the story.

on my bedside table

Standard

I’ve been accused of having way too many books on my bedside table.  Recently Jon and the girls ‘helped’ me by removing some of them and relocating them to an actual bookshelf in the living room .. leaving me just a few of the books I’m ‘actively reading.’  I’ve including a section in my sidebar of those books that currently remain on my bedside table.  I’m sure it will change regularly, but for now, these are the top reads for me.

One of these great reads is ‘Because He Loves Me,’ by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  In her own words, it’s a book about the Gospel for people who think they already know it.  I’m one of those people, and the truths emphasized in her book have really challenged me.  Throughout the book, she asks the reader to consider, “In your pursuit of godliness, have you left Jesus behind?”  The book is divided into two parts, Part One: How God’s love transforms our identity, and Part Two:  How God’s love transforms our life.

I’m currently reading it for the second time and meeting occasionally with a few other women to talk about how we can apply it to our lives.  Today we considered who we are in Christ, and how we should live as a result of that reality.  Further, looking more specifically at what we should put off and what we should put on.  So many great truths to consider.  I’ll share just one paragraph here.

Be Renewed, Put off, Put on

“What would laying your life down right now look like?  I don’t know.  We’re all in different circumstances.  But there is something that he is calling each of us to do:  we’re to be renewed in the attitude of our mind.  We’re to remember the gospel, to let it renew our thoughts about who he is, who we are, what our neighbor needs.  Our attitude (and the behavior that flows from it) needs to be continually informed by the gospel. We’re more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe; we’re more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope. In light of this, we’re to put off all the unbelief and self-love that motivated our former identity.  And then we’re to live a life of loving service because we’ve been created in the image of a holy and righteous God who is himself love (Ephesians 4:22-24) We can be faithful servants to each other because “the immortal Word took on the form of a servant,” and he has gone before us, clearing the way.”

I find it most challenging to live this out in my most primary relationships . . . marriage and family.  I confessed today that I have not lovingly served my family this week.  Thankfully, God’s mercies are new each day . . . I can do it differently tomorrow.