Tag Archive | Personal Growth

How Many Unread Books Are On Your Bookshelf?

So I looked through my book shelf as well as my Kindle “shelf” to calculate how many books I have collected and not read over the last 15 or so years. I am now more than ever determined to try to just read them instead of purchasing any more books! I have 60 books on my shelf! 60! And 68 Kindle books! That’s 128 books I have thought “hmmm, this will be good to read” and purchased and just left on my shelf. To my defense there are a few given to me for free and some that are too good of a deal at the thrift store to pass up and most of the Kindle ones were free downloads but still… 128 books. Okay and that’s actually not all of them… that’s just the Christian non-fiction books. I am not even going to bother calculating how many fiction books I have on my shelf and Kindle. So let’s just say I can average 1 book per month (which is a challenge for me in this stage of my life) it would take me 10 1/2 years to read all of these books! 10 1/2 years… so should I rename this page Reading List 2018-2028 ?!?! Amelia will be a Senior in high school and this baby who will be born next week will be 10 years old. So anyways, I’m not sure how I’m going to battle this plan and/or if I really am but I have something to evaluate and that is my hoarding of books and not reading them and I will see where this journey takes me. The list below are books I am already in the middle of reading and I am going to add to the list as the year progresses instead of trying to pick out books for the year in advance. I also know that I will have to be okay with not finishing a book if it’s leading me in a direction that is not where God wants me to go. There are not a lot like that but I will be praying for sensitivity to the Spirit in leading me to which book to read.

Fiction:

Parenting:

Marriage:

Christian Growth:

  • The Other Side of Infamy – James Downing (Kindle check-out through library. I met this incredible man who is one of the original founders of the Navigators as well as the last living Pearl Harbor survivor… he is 104 years old. I couldn’t not read his book after meeting him!)
  • Growing Deep – Chuck Swindoll (I found I was only halfway done with this and remember it being a good book so I will finish this one first.)
  • The Possibilities of Prayer – E.M.Bounds (Another one I was only halfway done with; I have this on paperback as well as Kindle which is always good for reading while feeding a newborn late at night… one handed and lit up.)

Bible Study:

  • Immersed – Katie Orr (This is a friend of a friend who wrote this study. Another I only finished half of but really liked it. Once the baby is a little older and I will have my hands free to write bible study notes I will finish this one. They do not make any more copies of this particular study but her other Focused15 studies are worth looking into.)

It is also worth noting that I found 7 Bible studies on my shelf I have not completed. Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Precepts. All are great studies and I remember with each of them I found them at a thrift store and/or church garage sale for free or a small price and those are diamonds in the rough for me. But as with the books, now I need to get down to doing them!

Podcasts:

And if everything above is not too much already what about podcasts? Podcasts are great to listen to when doing housework and driving on roadtrips or back/forth to work or up to Denver as well as exercising at the gym. I have about 5 I subscribe to and will load up my iPod before a road trip and recently loaded up also in anticipation of late night baby feedings when I need something to stimulate my mind but maybe want my eyes closed at the same time :  ) Here’s my list:

  • James MacDonald
    • Prayer Series (15 podcasts)
    • Holy Spirit Series (14 podcasts)
  • Chip Ingram
    • The Real God Series (16 podcasts)
    • Jesus Unfiltered Series (41 podcasts)

The Bible:

I am adding this at the end although it really should be at the beginning. I also know that the meat of my learning does not necessarily come from the latest book I read but rather from the Word of God itself. I do not want to overlook this as I have in the past and notice a significant difference when I’m just reading books but not the Bible. I love working through different plans from Blue Letter Bible. I read through the bible chronologically (in 3 years instead of 1 year!) and really enjoyed that chronological aspect. Now I’m reading the OT and NT together which I also like going back and forth.

Now I’ve also got Dr. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible commentary books and also subscribe to his podcasts and have referenced them on occasion but have always wanted to commit to being on “The Bible Bus” at some point in my life which is a 5 year commitment.

 

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Book Review: Experiencing God

Book Review: Experiencing God

by, Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King

See the source image

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I really enjoyed this book and some day hope to do the bible study. In fact the ideas in this book are what opened my eyes to see that God was asking me to host a women’s bible study in my home for a season of my life. I was not wanting to host and plan but it was clear that God was trying to get my attention to His will and not my own hopes and desires, which was to join a bible study that was already in progress that was on the perfect morning and with childcare… and didn’t exist!

This is a book I had heard a lot of and found awhile back at a thrift store for pretty cheap. It’s always interesting to me when I find books that have inscriptions at the front from being given to someone and they’ve chosen to give it away. This book happened to be given to a Joshua from his grandparents. I feel like I’m invading their privacy a little bit but I also appreciate whoever gave the book away that they gave it away instead of just throwing it away. So here I am, invading privacy but thankful for finding a good book at discount : )

“… we do not find God’s will – it is revealed. God always takes the initiative.” p. x

“I dreamed great dreams of what I was going to do for God… this time I would not try to work my own plans. I refused to dream my own dreams of what I would do for God… then we watched to see where God was at work so we could join Him.” p. xi

“The Scripture says that God’s very nature is love. God can never function contrary to His own nature… Because His nature is love, I am always confident that however He expresses Himself to me is always best.” p. 17

“Your relationship with God right now reveals what you believe about Him. It is spiritually impossible for you to believe one way and practice another.” p. 19

“No matter how big the assignment He gives you, He is able to accomplish His purposes through you.” p. 24

” ‘What is God’s will for my life?’ is not the best question to ask. I think the right question is simply, ‘What is God’s will?’ Once I know God’s will, then I can adjust my life to Him and His purposes… the plan He has for your life is based on what He is doing in His world… His desire is for you to become involved in what He is doing.” p. 29

“Sometimes individuals are so busy doing things they think will help God accomplish His purpose that He can’t get their attention long enough to use them as servants to accomplish what He wants. We often wear ourselves out and accomplish very little of value to the kingdom.” p. 30

“If you are experiencing a time of fruitlessness right now, you may be trying to do things on your own that God has not initiated.” p. 30

“Don’t, however, focus on your talents, abilities, and interests in determining God’s will. I have heard so many people say, ‘I would really like to do that; therefore, it must be God’s will.’ That kind of response is self-centered. We need to become God-centered instead. When He is Lord, your response should be something like this: ‘Lord, I will do anything that Your kingdom requires of me…” p. 32 (this reminds me of so many Biblical characters… Moses and Mary are the first two to come to mind).

“He is more likely to call you to follow one day at a time than He is to spell out all the details before you begin to obey Him.” p. 35

7 REALITIES OF EXPERIENCING GOD:

  1. God is always at work around you.
  2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
  3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
  4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
  5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
  6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
  7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

“He does not ask us to dream our dreams for Him and then ask Him to bless our plans. He is already at work when He comes to us. His desire is to get us from where we are to where He is working.” p. 55

“When the love relationship is right, God will be free to begin giving you assignments at His initiative. Whenever you do not seem to be receiving assignments from God, focus on the love relationship and stay there until the assignment comes.” p. 72

“The common approach to spiritual gifts also can become very self-centered, rather than God-centered, if you take the initiative to decide on an assignment that you think fits you.” p. 73

“Moses’ success was not dependent on Moses’ skills, abilities, likes, preferences, or past successes. God first gave Moses an assignment, and then God equipped him with His Holy Spirit to administrate and lead… God was at work through Moses doing things Moses could not do on his own.” p. 74

“… thinking that God gives them some thing – like an ingredient called administration. No, He doesn’t give some thing; He gives Himself. The Gift is a Person. The Holy Spirit equips you with His administrative ability.” p. 76 (or whatever spiritual gift you need for the task He’s calling you to)

“The smaller assignments of God are always used of God to develop character. God always develops character to match His assignment. If God has a great assignment for you, He has to develop a great character to match that assignment before He can give you the assignment.” p. 148

“If I have been working and praying in one direction and I see God working in a different direction, I adjust my life to what God is doing… decide whether you are going to do what you want and ask God to bless it, or go to work where He is working.” p. 180

… we pray and then never relate anything that happens to our praying. After you pray, the greatest single thing you need to do is turn on your spiritual concentration. When you pray in a direction, immediately anticipate the activity of God in answer to your prayer.” p. 180

“Sometimes God is silent as He prepares to bring you into a deeper understanding of Himself. Whenever a silence comes, continue doing the last thing God told you and watch and wait for a fresh encounter with Him.” p. 183

“If you put yourself in the middle of the circumstances and try to look at God, you will always have a distorted understanding of God.” p. 189

“You may face a situation like Job experienced where God does not tell you what He is doing. In those instances acknowledge God’s love and sovereignty and depend on His sustaining grace to see you through the situation.” p. 192

“… if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something that I know I can handle, I know it probably is not from God. The kind of assignments God gives in the Bible are always God-sized. They are always beyond what people can do because He wants to demonstrate His nature, His strength, His provision, and His kindness to His people and to a watching world.” p. 220

“You cannot obey Him unless you believe and trust Him. You cannot believe and trust Him unless you love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him.” p. 250

“Although obedience is costly, it is always worth the cost. In fact whenever you are tempted to consider the cost too high, you need to consider what it will cost you not to do the will of God. That cost is even greater.” p. 261

 

 

The Battle is Not Yours, but God’s

“Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord…
Then Jehoshaphat stood… and said,
‘O Lord God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven,
and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations,
and in Your hand is there not power and might,
so that no one is able to withstand You?…
Here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession
which You have given us to inherit…
For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against  us;
nor do we know what to do,
but our eyes are upon You…’
Now all Judah… stood before the Lord.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel… and he said…
‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude,
for the battle is not yours, but God’s…
You will not need to fight in this battle.
Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,
who is with you…
Do not fear or be dismayed;
tomorrow go out against them,
for the Lord is with you…’
Jehoshaphat stood and said… ‘Believe in the Lord your God,
and you shall be established;
believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ ”
2 Chronicles 20, selected verses

The Lord showed me some amazing things through this passage in regards to a battle I am in the middle of. The context behind this verse is King Jeoshaphat was coming up on a battle against the Moabites and Ammonites. There was a great multitude and he was afraid. The battle seemed too big for him and his nation and he did not know what to do. So he feared the Lord and remembered the amazing things God had done in the past and confessed his position of helplessness… and then he waited. Not only did he wait but all of Judah waited and stood before the Lord. And guess what… the Spirit of the Lord came. They waited and God showed up. And God gently reminded them that the battle is not theirs but His. He will fight for them. But they must believe Him. God didn’t ask them to stay inside and just hope for the best. God told them to position themselves so they may see the salvation of the Lord. They still had to go out against the army, but God would show up. And God did show up. In fact He ambushed the armies… no one had escaped.

He will fight for me. This was one of those still small voices moments for me about 2 years ago. God whispered this in my heart and brought the rest to my weary soul that Scripture talks about. In those 2 years I have often tried to take control of the battle myself and in doing so have experienced the weariness, stress, anguish and anger. These emotions come when the battle is clearly too big for me and I don’t know what to do. Instead of fearing the Lord I just keep trying different tactical methods all the while excluding God and just trying to get by on my own. God used this passage in 2 Chronicles 20 to remind me that the battle is not mine, it is God’s. He will fight for me. I just need to recall all the things He has already done and then believe on Him to show up and bring salvation.

Are you in a situation where you feel like you need to muster up all you have and fight for something… maybe to stay home with your kiddos, to earn more money at your job, to convince a loved one to believe your position about something, to instill obedience into your children? Have you been weary trying all you have to get these things to go your way? Are these battles too big for you? Let me encourage you… that battle… it is not your’s, it is God’s. He will fight for you… but you need to let Him. I don’t need to scream and yell and claw tooth and nail to try to get my voice heard and opinions changed and to try to advocate for myself… God will do that for me. I can do my part in sharing my voice and sit back and let God fight for that voice to go where it needs to and to affect what it needs to affect. I just need to stand before Him and believe Him and wait. All the while I will be resting, knowing it’s in His hands.

” ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude,

for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ” v.15

 

Stuck in a Rut

I am in a rut. Have you ever been there? I know this rut that I’m in is because I am choosing to be there and my choosing is walking in disobedience. Disobedience to some actions I know God is asking me to take, disobedience in my attitude I know God is asking me to change, disobedience in my view of Him and trusting Him and in His promises that I know He is asking me to believe. I am trying to do this thing on my own and it is just digging a deep deep rut.

This morning God showed me a foundation of this rut… my pursuit of Him.

Why do I pursue God? Well… I am pursuing Him (if you could even call it that) to get something for myself. I want the external blessings. I want to pursue Him and walk in obedience so that my marriage will get better, so my husband will start treating me better, so that my kids will be more obedient to me, so that God will provide finances so I won’t have to consider working again, so that a best friend will just pop up on my doorstep for me, so that we will find a church that is awesome and has everything we’re looking for, so that, so that, so that… How selfish is that? If my pursuit of God is dependent on my external circumstances changing and then they don’t… well, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that equation. I will stop pursuing God. It just simply doesn’t seem worth it. If my life isn’t “feeling” and “looking” any better then what’s the point. After all it is a lot of work to pursue God. To try to mentally remember all the things He’s teaching me and all the areas I’m falling short and then the lists of what I need to do to fix those areas and make them right. And in the midst of that I’m breaking up sibling rivalry, and failing in teaching my daughter to read, and my husband and I just had another fight, and another woman I thought could become a good friend doesn’t have any time for me, and I burned dinner. What’s the point to all of this? Maybe I can do this thing better on my own instead of trying so hard to get things to change by God’s path and it not working.

Failure was never His plan.

Frustration was never His plan.

Ruts were never His plan.

Perfect external circumstances were never His plan.

Easiness was never His plan.

Okay. So God what is your plan? What is the point in all of this? What do I do and where do I go from here?

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.”

Psalm 27:4

“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
                                                                       To see Your power and Your glory.                                                                        Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.”

Psalm 63:1-8

So what is the point in all of this? Jesus. It has always been Jesus. Jesus never promised an easy life. He promised hardships and exertion and persecution. While I would not say I am being persecuted in the name of Jesus I would say my life does not meet up to the world’s perfect standards or my standards for that matter. So I need to stop pursuing that and instead pursue Jesus, simply for Jesus.

I want my soul to long for Jesus. I don’t want to long for a perfect homeschool day, for a full time gig at home, for a husband who always acts and responds perfectly. Because we live in a sinful fallen world. I will face disappointments EVERY SINGLE DAY. If I long for that then I will constantly be dissatisfied and discontent. But if I long for Jesus. In the morning when I rise if I ask for Jesus, He will show up EVERY SINGLE DAY and Jesus does not disappoint.

Then when I am faced with my little petty trials every day I can turn to Him to receive what He has to give me… strength in the moment to press forward when I want to give up (Phil 4:13, Romans 5:3-5, Isaiah 40:31), contentment when I am wishing for bigger and better or more (2 Peter 1:3-4), patience when the kiddos are pressing every last minute and the lock button on my bathroom door seems to be broken (Phil 4:13), a satisfied belly and a thankful heart when making yet another PB & J sandwich to save a little money (Matt 6:25-34).

No More Spiritual To-Do Lists

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9

When I’ve read this passage in the past I would get stuck on the first verse and turn it into a to-do list. Okay this week I need to work on diligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. But God is showing me something great about only claiming to know Him and what growth in Him really looks like. Our church has been focusing on this the past two months as well. That in order to fuel your spiritual growth it is not about a new and exciting bible study or a to-do list of faith virtues or a stronger accountability session or finding a mentor. It is about remembering that we have been cleansed from our old sins (v. 9) . . . And what’s that? It’s the gospel. The good news. The news of Jesus and the power and purpose of His crucifixion and what that means for me.

When I meditate solely on that and remember that and allow that to invade my life then things like brotherly kindness and love and perseverance and self-control begin to flow out of me naturally because I am not barren or unfruitful in my knowledge of Jesus Christ (v. 8). If I am impregnated and fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus then these things are mine and will abound (v. 8)! This is so simple!

“I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.

I Don’t Know Anything but Jesus

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

I often struggle with wanting to be more mature in specific areas of my Christian walk. I will focus on one thing and think about it constantly for a few weeks and maybe read a book and some articles on it and if I’m really determined I’ll pray for that area a lot. I will find that I do a little better in that area or at least I can pretend well but inevitably my flesh will kick in sooner than later and I find myself filled with discouragement that I am so far in my spiritual maturity and wonder if I will ever be a child of God that grows and pleases Him.

Take for example patience with disciplining my children. I will be convicted about my lack of patience and start praying for God to make me more patient and read some blogs about discipline and maybe start a book or two on discipline and each opportunity I will focus and try really hard to be more patient. I’ll do better for a couple days (or sometimes just a few hours depending on what the day brings!) but inevitably I begin to fail. I become impatient one or two times which opens the floodgates and before I know it I am more impatient than I’ve ever been with the kids! I then feel so discouraged and begin thinking of all the areas I’m failing and how in this world can I ever be a pleasing Christian to God and how will I ever grow and mature in my walk when I have so much to work on!!

What Paul writes here in 1 Corinthians is so encouraging and convicting. “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” If I keep my focus on Christ and His crucifixion and solely focus my time and energy and study on Him then I will naturally become more like Him. We can only resemble God’s character when we study it and know it. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7a. Not the fear of impatience is the beginning of knowledge or the fear of unkindness or unfaithfulness, etc. But the fear of the Lord.

And there is no disappointment in the knowledge of God. No days of discouragement. The more I learn about Him and what His death on the cross means for me the more encouraged I am and I begin to naturally live out the reality. I need to stop trying so hard to live holy because it’s not my strength or resolve that makes me holy anyways it’s Jesus’ death on the cross and His blood that makes me holy. Instead of feeling like this Christian walk is so hard and I’m never going to get anywhere I need to be encouraged that that’s never what it’s been about. If I focus my eyes on Jesus “the author and perfecter of (my) faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and less on me and my strength and my capabilities and my growth then this walk will no longer be exhausting and filled with feelings of failure but instead will be joyful and victorious. Praise God for what He did on the cross!!

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 1 Corinthians 2: 1-4

My Best Tip for Housework

Over the last few months I have been trying out various schedules and plans on how to keep up with homemaking now that we are homeschooling on a daily basis for the majority of our morning hours and now that we have added our fourth child leading to minimal time for basic homemaking (laundry, cooking, cleaning and tidying up). While I still haven’t settled on one plan/routine in particular that I really like I have found one thing that is changing my life! This was an idea straight from God’s mind that He knew would bless me and maybe you!

Two years ago I asked for an iPod Nano for my birthday and also bought an armband in the hopes I could use it for running. Well my days of running are pretty slim to none and my expensive iPod began to collect dust. I began wondering how I could make use of it again for a different purpose. I was enjoying listening to some podcasts in the kitchen on either my iHome or my bluetooth speaker connected to our tv but I found that during my homemaking times I would be all over the house moving around and had to keep pausing what I was listening to. One day it dawned on me to strap on my iPod and plug in some headphones and listen as I moved about. Thank you God!!! It sounds so simple and maybe obvious to some of you but it was a revelation to me. Now on most days I actually look forward to my time for homemaking so I can listen to my podcasts and audiobooks. I have so many books I want to read and just don’t have time to and this is a great way to get it in.

So here’s what it looks like for me. I usually reserve the folding of laundry, cleaning dishes and dinner prep, cleaning the house (sweep/mop, bathrooms, etc.) and any kind of decluttering chores for our afternoon rest time. So I put the kids to their allotted places and strap my iPod on and get started!

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Someone else there to keep me company on laundry day!

I love listening to:

Charles Stanley‘s podcast
Chuck Swindoll‘s Insight for Living podcast
James Macdonald‘s Walk in the Word podcast
Dr. Vernon McGee‘s Through the Bible podcast

Loyal Books has free audiobooks for download. They are a lot of classical novels which is a good way to catch up on your Jane Austen books!

Overdrive is connected to your local library account where you can check out audiobooks and download them onto your device. They have a pretty big selection of current books so you can catch up on your Hunger Games series! I am not able to put these on my iPod because it is an app and my Nano does not have app capabilities but I can put it on my iPhone and plug in my headphones there and listen.

Here is the armband I have for my iPod and I love it.

Listen and enjoy and let the homemaking begin!! And don’t forget to turn the baby monitor volume on high in case your littlest one wakes up for a feeding! I learned this the hard way!!!

Receiving Strength for the Task

“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11

Have you ever been asked of God to do something that by yourself you thought there’s no way I can do this. I am not strong enough or I already have too much on my plate or I’m too old for this or whatever it might be that hinders you from obedience to the task or even belief that the task can be accomplished or that God’s even asking it of you.

I certainly have a number of times and may even be facing this right now.

This is such an encouraging little excerpt from Scripture. This is from Abraham and Sarah who God had promised children more numerous than the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5) and as the majority of their years were filled with barrenness they certainly had time to doubt God’s promise over their life. I’m sure based on this Hebrews passage that as Sarah’s age grew older she did question and doubt how she could hold up in a pregnancy so late in life. How would she have strength to make it through delivery? (Remember there were no epidurals and delivery aids back then!) And how would she have the energy to raise a young child in such an old age? I’m sure this was a great temptation to doubt God’s promise or at least her ability to fulfill His promise over her. BUT SHE RECEIVED STRENGTH TO CONCEIVE SEED, AND SHE BORE A CHILD. God met her where she was at and provided for her need and fear.

God will not promise something for us and ask something of us without supplying us the strength to accomplish it.

Are you weary and exhausted today and wondering how in the world you’re going to do it? He will give you strength … open your heart and receive it.

God is good all the time.

Reading List 2015

Here is my list for 2015. I did not do so well on my list in 2014 and much had to do with working full time for the first 5 months followed by my 4th pregnancy and a move to a new city! We had a lot of changes in 2014 and I fell greatly behind in blogging as well as reading. I have high hopes for 2015 although it’s almost the end of February and I am only just now putting up my list! This time I put the blame on having a newborn on January 8th : ) it’s always something right! Well… here goes!

I should also preface by saying that God has really brought to my attention my need to focus on my marriage. I have spent the last few years reading a lot of parenting books which have been significantly helpful but there are some areas in my marriage that need some real work and I am making 2015 a focus on that as far as my reading goes.

Fiction:

Marriage:

Bible Study:

Book Review: Beth Moore A Woman’s Heart

photo credit

This was a phenomenal bible study. Every single one of Beth Moore’s bible studies are phenomenal. God has really gifted her to teach among women it is just amazing. This is a revised study and I actually had already completed the first one about 8 years ago. A lot has changed in 8 years. There were some points that I remember really standing out to me then that really stood out to me again now but there was so much more this time. This bible study and this particular time in my life and just God doing what He’s doing in me has really changed me. I also absolutely love watching her videos that accompany the bible studies. I cry at EVERY SINGLE video. Her passion, her sincerity, her compassion is so moving. She gets it and she wants everyone to get it and God is using her. Here are some of the incredible things the Lord taught me through her and this study:

God pursued Adam AFTER his disobedience (from the Viewer Guide Introduction). God didn’t stand back waiting for Adam to suck up the courage to confess to God about his sin. No. God pursued Adam. “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9. When I sin and am afraid to come to God and think if I just ignore Him and continue on it may eventually just go unnoticed but God is greater than that. He pursues me. He pursues you. When you and I sin He comes after us because He loves us so much and wants us to repent and restore our relationship together.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (from the Viewer Guide Session 7). Jesus always lives to make intercession for His people. Christ thrives on interceding for us. What do you live for? This is what Christ lives for. Jesus and God are talking about us. They are carefully thinking through the plan for our lives. Nothing that happens to us is haphazard but is carefully thought out. And they love us so much. “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:28. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” Psalm 139:17-18.

  • In Romans 8:28 when it says “according to the will of God” the Greek word for will is “boule” which means: “will, project, intention, as the result of reflections; counsel… deliberation and reflection”… denotes the final result of inner deliberation. Her point here is that Jesus and God are reflecting and deliberating what our will is. Again she reiterates in the video that nothing that happens in our life is haphazard but carefully deliberated and reflected on and then decided on. This is profound and incredibly deepens my trust in God that He loves me and cares about everything that He allows to happen in my life.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (from the Viewer Guide Session 10). She pointed out in talking about where the final tabernacle will be that when we get to heaven notice how God ordered these things. He begins with no more death… then sorrow… then crying… then pain. It is in order of worse things to more tolerable things. Of course in heaven we would expect there to be no more death… and of course we would assume no more sorrow. But there’s probably going to be some crying right? Nope. Well, then there’s going to be some kind of pain right? Physical? Emotional? NOPE… NOT EVEN ANY PAIN. How incredible is that?!?!?! If you have never longed for heaven before then that truth surely should put the longing within you. I know for me this verse and her pointing this out has significantly impacted my desire and longing for heaven. Praise God.

There are so many more amazing things I learned through this study but those were the 3 that really stuck out to me and changed me the most. I would highly recommend anybody anywhere at any time… no wait, right now, not anytime… choose now to do this study and watch the videos (or you can listen to the audio but seeing her emotion and passion in real life is so much more moving). May God be glorified in our pursuits of Him!