Good books

Books

Books.

They are relaxing. Stimulating. Thought provoking. Life changing. Entertaining. Practical. Educational. Inspiring. Convicting.

I love books.

Yep, that's quite a stack!

Yep, that’s quite a stack! These are the good books I’m currently reading.

Now, before you start thinking I’m a librarian, I must explain that I read in bits and pieces. Sadly, my schedule doesn’t allow me to read all day long. I read as I’m waiting in carpool and steal a few minutes here and there throughout the day. It’s also a great way to wind down at night, when I can keep my eyes open!

The book that I treasure above all is God’s word. The Bible. Yet I know I don’t treasure it as I could. I was recently listening to a woman tell a story about her childhood. She was raised in a Communist country by parents who loved Jesus. In fact, both her parents died as martyrs because they refused to renounce their faith in God. She admonished us living in free countries to read our Bibles.

When she was a child, she remembers the times that her father was home. (His times at home were intermittent because many times he was imprisoned as a result of his faith.) He had a practice of reciting three Scriptures to his children in the morning, and they were instructed to write them out and memorize them. They did this on a regular basis. She said that Christians in Communist countries can live their entire lifespan without owning a copy of the Bible. Therefore, she encouraged, “Don’t let it sit on a shelf. Read it.” She said although they did not own a copy, she and her siblings knew the Word of God because of their father.

I want to be that faithful and consistent. Almost every morning for me begins with a steaming hot cup of coffee and the Bible. Mine’s dark pink, as you see above. Sometimes, I feel a little aimless when I open the Bible. If I don’t have a reading plan, then I’ll usually start with the Scriptures in my daily devotional book, Jesus Calling. I like this devotional so much that I’ll usually read it at some point in the day, or I’ll catch up the next day. Some days I even read ahead! God has spoken truth to my heart countless times through this little book.

Boundaries has a workbook with it, too. I’m doing a weekly book study on this with some ladies at a brown bag lunch.

Clutter Busters is AWESOME!! If you are a pack rat or just have trouble, like me, getting motivated or don’t know how to start decluttering, then this book is for you! I just rechecked it from the library. It discusses our emotional attachment to our clutter stuff, and why it’s so hard to minimize clutter.

China Study…compelling. That’s all I can say.

A Woman’s Heart is a Bible study workbook that I’ve recently started that goes into the Tabernacle of the ancient Israelites.

His Princess A little book written as love letters to women from their Father, God. Very short, sweet, and poetic.

My other bedside reads are The Explicit Gospel and Voice in the Wind. (not pictured) I’m switching between the two, depending on if I feel like having deep thoughts or if I just want to read for entertainment.

Books. I love ’em!

Pretzel brain

MS, suffering

There are times when we can be our own worst enemy. Take the past two weeks, for instance. Facing the real possibility that I may have MS has been on the forefront of my mind. In the past two weeks, there have only been a handful of days that I have been well enough to do some of my normal activities. That’s got me thinking a lot about suffering and why God allows it.  I have asked so many questions:

Is this a chastisement for a sin? Is God really enough for me? Why??? Will I ever feel better? Jesus is a Healer; will He heal me?

I’ve had plenty of time to think since rest has been mandatory, make that TOO much time to think….sometimes it felt like my mind was twisted into a pretzel!

nightbaking.blogspot.com

Honestly, I’ve been wracking my brain and studying the Bible to see how Jesus responds to the sick and suffering. I’ve read blogs and books on the topic. Friends have given their perspective. Nonetheless, I felt like I have been hitting my head against a brick wall trying to make sense of it all. It’s finally boiled down to these simple truths that I know: God is love. (1 John 4:8) He is good, and everything He does is good. (Psalm 119:68) When I don’t understand my circumstances, I can trust the heart of God to do good things in the midst of difficulty.

Here are some of the things I’m learning:

1. Humility. Self-sufficiency is being stripped daily. I am having to admit that I am weak right now. Words cannot express how much I hate that! Admitting that I am physically weak and need help is good for me; I just don’t like it. A friend recently pointed out that this is a good thing, because if we aren’t needy people, how can we recognize that we need God?

2. To accept help. I’m learning that I can only accept help from others after I have embraced humility and let go of self-sufficient pride. I’m American, so I was born with the “pull up your bootstraps and git ‘er done” mentality. Accepting help flies in the face of all that Americans hold dear. There is a balance here, because if I let myself get into a victim-type of mentality, there would be the temptation to just give up on an active life and let people do everything for me. Accepting help has been really hard for me. It’s simple things, like carpool and making dinner or cleaning the kitchen, or laundry, that are revealing the sin of self-sufficiency in my heart. I believe God’s heart is that instead of self-sufficient, we should be God-sufficient. How can we accept free gifts from God like love, salvation, or grace, if we can’t let our friend help us with carpool?

3. People love me. Wow. People love me. And they want to help.

4. Some things are beyond my ability to understand. It’s healthy to read and research a topic concerning God, asking Him for insight and clarity. However, there comes a point when we must accept the reality that our finite minds can’t comprehend the magnificent complexity of God.

franchisefool.com

Psalm 119:68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

What would a visitor say?

commitment, Jesus, spirituality

My son, Christian, was telling me about a family that he loves to spend time with. Christian is almost 20 years old, so he really decides where he hangs out when he’s got down time. I was curious what compelled him to spend so much time at this family’s house. He told me that when he is there, he feels the presence of God in a unique way that is hard to describe. One night last week when he spent the night there, he passed through the living room several times, and each time the dad was reading the Bible. It was late in the night, Christian passes through going to the kitchen, and the dad is again reading his Bible. Early the next morning, guess what the dad is doing when Christian peeks out? Yep, reading his Bible.

The dad is a humble and strong man that is respected by our entire family. I found it interesting, the colleration of how Christian experiences peace and God’s presence in a home where God’s word is elevated and devoured as food for a starving man. I was challenged with the question: What behavior characterizes me? Would a visitor see that I’m a woman who treasures Jesus and His word, or am I always on the computer, or  ___________?