Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bible Reading Plan

I've had a few people ask me where I got my reading plan. So here it is!
They email you everyday with what to read. You can read it on the email or listen to it. Different plans to choose from!

Chapter 8 - Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. Subtitle "Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life"
This is a non required book review for me. I just love this book and want to share it with everyone! Am loving it even more the second time I'm reading it! I faciliated this study with a group of mostly 20 somethings, single, childless ladies in the spring, and now with a group of moms of preschoolers, and its amazing the difference in conversations, yet the similarities of us all wanting to change our hearts. I thought to give an accurate review of this book, I would just quote parts of chapter 8. It will speak for itself.

Weaver reminds us of John 11, the story of Lazarus' death and resurrection, from Martha's point of view.
Some of the lessons we can learn from this story: (Are you ready? Buckle up)
1. "God's will does not always proceed in a straight line."
"One reason for this is that God is weaving together a greater glory than just my own... It is God's purposes, not mine, that must prevail. He is concerned not only with the individual need, but with the corporate need as well. God wraps up my good with your good and the good of both of us with the good of others. The plot lines of our individual stories weave together to form his master plan. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left out." pg 120
2. "God's love sometimes tarries for our good and his glory."
"While we may never fully understand why God's love sometimes lingers, we can rest assured that God's love is always at work. He may not move according to our schedule, but he is right on time for what is best. And he has our ultimate good forever in mind." pg 124
3. "God's ways are not our ways, but his character is still dependable."
"If you are struggling to hang on in the midst of your difficult circumstances, let me remind you to go back to what you know about God. Open the Bible and find scriptures to cling to- scriptures that reveal the heart and faithfulness of God. Remind yourself that God is your strength. That he is your source of comfort. That he won't let you fall. That he loves you passionately and only wants the best for you." pgs 124,125
4. "God's plan is released when we believe and obey."
"...it means that God's story, in a sense, is interactive. We are an integral part of the writing process. Our choices play a part in the unfolding of the plot." pg 130"Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up...God will never reveal more truth about himself until you have obeyed what you know already." pg 147 (Oswald Chambers)
5."The 'end' is never the end; it is only the beginning." (THIS IS THE BIG ONE FOR ME)
"When Jesus came late to Bethany, his lateness was an act of love. A gift of perspective. A foreshadowing meant as a mercy, not only for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but for his disciples and for you and me. Jesus knew we would struggle with the concept of resurrection. He knew we would have doubts when his tomb turned up empty... So the Author of our faith, our great storytelling God, prefaced his Son's death with an act that would foreshadow the resurrection. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he put to death Satan's lie that the end is the end." pg 132 (That gives me chills every time!)

There is so much more in this chapter, and chapter 3 is my other favorite chapter. I don't like it because its about not worrying. But its an amazing chapter. I wish this book was required reading for all women. It is chocked full of God's truth that can be life changing if you let it be.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another cooking adventure...

I will be the first to admit I am not a good cook. But I don't know why! I follow recipes! So my latest attempt for dinner tonight was chicken nuggets, seems simple enough. I got a new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry's wife).

She teaches how to make purees out of vegetables and hide them in recipes your kids will eat. And since my youngest will not let a veggie enter his lips, I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I made sweet potato puree the other day, and first made little muffins. He loved them right out of the oven, but not later in the day, but all in all a success. So tonight I made chicken nuggets, which were coated in sweet potatoes, panko bread crumbs and other things. I followed the recipe but here is proof that somewhere along the way my non-cooking gene entered the picture.

This is what they were supposed to look like.

But this is how they turned out.

No one liked them. Not even me. I only made them tonight because Jason was eating out at a meeting. I don't try new recipes on him very often. He was nice enough not to laugh and turned on the fans while I opened the back door to let the smoke out from the burning bread crumbs. Luckily I also made good old Kraft macaroni, which normally Campbell won't eat either. But PROGRESS, he ate the mac, so I added a cube of sweet potatoes to it which made it creamy, and gave him some more. I was getting that sweet potato in him if it killed me, which the smoke inhalation almost did.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Denver, a 20th century slave, and Ron, a millionaire art dealer, have had completely different journeys in life. But when Ron’s wife has a vision of a man who will change the city of Ft. Worth and realizes its Denver, she helps her husband start a lifelong friendship that not only changes Ron and Denver’s lives, but hundreds upon hundreds of lives who are transformed by seeing God move in mysterious, miraculous ways.

I could not put this book down. Reading this true story about Denver’s life, basically a slave in the 20th century in my home state of LA, was both shocking and heartbreaking. But watching how God’s hand was on him was inspirational and comforting. Ron’s life lead him down a path of getting everything the world had to offer; yet he knew something was missing in his life. The lessons I learned from each man were enough on their own, but the lessons learned from their friendship and the journey of getting there were ones that I wish everyone in my community could absorb.

I not only recommend this book, but wish it was required reading for those in all walks of life, especially the people that I have met entering the ministry. It inspired me to drive down to “the other side of the tracks” and I would love to take people with me!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"How to Study the Bible"

I listened to a Matt Chandler seminar the other day about how to study the Bible. He said it was really how to read the Bible, not necessarily study it. I saw the title and thought, "I went to Seminary, I think I know how to study the Bible". Now, doing it is another thing. His seminar talked about getting a Bible reading plan, which I've never used because I thought I was too good for that. But he said a Bible reading plan gives you a plan so you aren't randomly turning to a strange story in the Bible, and it gets you to read parts of the Bible you wouldn't normally read. So you read for a certain amount of time, underlining verses that stick out to you. Then you write those verses in your journal and comment on them, how they speak to you, then you pray. So simple! Yet, when you do it everyday, the Word becomes a part of you!
So, today I did it for the first time. I found a Bible reading plan online where they email you each day with your readings for the day. You can even listen to it if you want. I read Psalms 31-33, and then tonight I'll read a passage out of Acts. And I just had to share a verse that stuck out to me.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:4,5

The heat of the summer part got me. Living in Texas, I get that! There are days you just want to stay inside because even walking out to the mailbox wears you out! In Houston, we live in a constant state of wetness. There are men next door hanging siding, and I just can't imagine how tired they are at the end of the day from being outside all day. The heat just makes you feel so tired. That's what its like to walk around with unconfessed sin! There are some sins that you just don't realize you are dealing with, but sometimes, you know you are doing or have done something against God, but your pride keeps you from taking that to Him to ask for forgiveness, or you just are not ready to give it up yet. You enjoy living in that sin. But I have been there, and you do feel tired, like there is an extra weight on your shoulders, it takes twice the energy to do anything, just like in the summer heat!
But when you finally give it up, admit to God the sin and ask for forgiveness, that freedom of taking that off your shoulders feels like diving in a cold swimming pool. Or, since I don't like swimming, walking into a cold, air conditioned building and someone handing you a cold glass of ice water. So refreshing, relaxing. A moment of just taking a deep breath and living the moment.
Thank you Father for always being willing to forgive. There is nothing too far out of your loving hand that you won't forgive. Help me to first admit my sin of pride so I can then see the rest of the sins that are keeping me from sitting at your feet and living in your freedom!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review of The Heart Mender

The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews

I'm really excited because I have joined a website where I receive free books in exchange for reading them and writing a review. My first book is The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. The story seems to be a true story of what Mr. Andrews has learned while researching WWII memorabilia he finds behind his home on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It leads him to write the story of a young widow, Helen Mason, who is struggling to forgive the world for taking her husband away. In the midst of her struggle she comes upon a German U-boat officer, Lt. Josef Landermann, on the brink of death, and she must learn to forgive as she nurses him back to health.

The plot line was fascinating to me, especially after the introduction where Andrews says that for the most part the story is true. I enjoy American history, even more when it is stories that I did not hear in school. I could picture myself walking along the beach on the Florida/Alabama coast during WWII, and having a cup of coffee at the diner where Helen works. I could feel the bitterness and anger she carried around with her. And I could relate to how hard it was for her to let that go. But the story did get a little slow for me. The parts of the story where I would have liked to read more details about the characters were skimmed over, and other parts had too many war details. It was not a book that I had a hard time putting down at night. But I did want to finish to find out how it ended. And the ending did not disappoint me.

I do recommend this book if you enjoy American History, WWII history, stories of love, forgiveness and adventure. The best part about this website I have joined is that they not only sent me a copy for me to read, but an extra copy for me to pass on! So the first two people who comment on my blog will receive a copy of this book! I would love to hear what other people think about it, like a virtual book club!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”