Monday, July 21, 2014

Quotes-Summmer 2014

This summer I am slowly working on my to-read list for the year with some fun reads mixed in.  I have been challenged and inspired.  It has also been a blessing to have conversations with friends about what I am reading and learning as well as what they are reading and learning.  Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the books and blogs I have read so far this summer.

From Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking:
"It's not that I'm so smart," said Einstein, who was a consummate introvert. "It's that I stay with problems longer."
From Daniel Henderson in his book, Transforming Prayer:
Worship-based prayer seeks the face of God before the hand of God.  God's face is the essence of who He is.  God's hand is the blessing of what He does.  God's face represents His person and presence. God's hand expresses His provision for needs in our lives.  I have learned that if all we ever do is seek God's hand, we may miss His face; but if we seek His face, He will be glad to open His hand and satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts."
From Dee Henderson in her novel, Undetected:
"Think of normal as being what God intends for your life, " Mark said. "Un-normal is everything that's something other than His plans for you. Life gets easier that way, Gina. Go ahead and stress about what you should care about, but ignore the rest." (p. 127)
From Francis Chan in his book, Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up:
But the New Testament writers didn't have the same allergic reaction to hell as I do.  Perhaps they had a view of God that is much bigger than mine. A view of God that takes Him at His word and doesn't try to make Him fit our moral standards and human sentimentality.  A view of God that believes what He says, even when it doesn't make perfect sense to us. (p. 108)
From Leo Tolstoy:
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
From Randy Persall in her article in the Thrive Connection titled Gold Refinement :
Yet in reality, both the house built on the rock and the one built on the sand experience the tempest.  Maybe it would be better to face the inevitable and understand the reasons for our storms.
From Ann Voscamp in her post How to Keep Going When the Storms Keep Coming That Might Rend You in Two:
Sometimes God will calm the storm for you, but sometimes God will calm you for the storm. Sometimes God calms the storms-and sometimes the storm will still swirl and He calms our fear.
It's never the storm that is your enemy, its always the oversight to be prepared for the storm that's your enemy. 
What is something that you have read this month that has stayed with you?  Maybe a quote or verse or thought?  

(Just so you know affiliate links are used not that I have ever earned anything off of them.  :) )




Friday, July 18, 2014

Changing Our Cravings

(photo from Classroom 2.0)
What do you crave or cling to when stress, loneliness or hard times come your way?  Food?  Sleep?  Media?  Busyness?  Exercise? Or maybe even something else?   I often crave a nice cold glass of coke with lemon, a fluff book, or maybe a TV show marathon with my kids.  Okay, maybe I should add dark chocolate in there too.  This summer via Skype,  a friend and I have been bible study on the Psalms together.  This week our topic was Psalm 63 and clinging to God.  In this Psalm, David cried out to God.  He was thirsty for God.  He knew that only God can satisfy his deepest longings.  He clung to God during the hard times.  This was not just a one time thing.  The Psalms reflect the words of a man who turned to God and worshipped His God.  He craved God.   Did he always do that?  No, he wasn't perfect, but there is a reason he was called a man after God's own heart.

This spring we had a lot of crazy things going on which resulted in the kids and I leaving Central Asia for the summer.  I found myself clinging to God like I never had before.  I can't take any credit for it.  All I did was take the first step.  Before all the craziness happened, I had established the habit of spending time with God each day.   So when things were tough,  I kept on doing what I did everyday.   Some days it was hard to concentrate.  Other days I had to force myself to do it telling myself that I couldn't do this or that until I had spent time with God.  Many days the worship was sweet and the words seemed penned just for me.  Everyday I was able to pour out my heart and what I was going through at the feet of Jesus.  I had a peace that I can not explain.  The promise is true that when we seek God, we will find Him.   In the process, I found God changing me.  I no longer felt I needed to seek comfort from books, TV shows or food.   I still read, still watched TV, and still fixed and ate fun food, but my motive for doing so had changed.  It was not an immediate transformation.  My appetite for books that were not fluff grew.  Reading books in the evening before bed became more common.  I didn't feel like watching TV as much.  It did help that when we came back to the states that there was nothing good to watch, and there was too many commercials.  Even my children were more interested in other things.  Through the summer, we have had a mini marathon or two but our TV watching was much improved over previous summers.  

My last hold out or craving was Coca Cola.  I was still drinking more coke than I thought was healthy.  Okay, maybe I had a slight obsession with coke especially if it was the fountain variety with a slice of lemon in it.   So I decided not drink any soda for a month.  It will be a month at the end of next week.  I have been surprised that I have not missed it more.  Will I give up Coca Cola permanently? Probably not, but I will hopefully use more moderation. The hard part will be when I start back to school where I always liked to have a Coke with my lunch.  Once again, the why I am drinking Coke is important?  Is it a fun drink to have once in a while, or is it something I think will make me feel better?

As my friend and I talked about Psalm 63, we talked about how easy it is to turn to TV or other things instead of God.   Satan likes to tempt us with things that distract us from God.  Many of them are good things, but when they are used as comfort instead of seeking God, they come up empty.  The amazing thing is that when we take that first step of seeking God, of clinging to God, He hears and answers our prayer.  He will give us a peace that passes all understanding, and our lives will never be the same.  If we let Him,  He will begin to change our habits and bring us to a healthy place where we can better serve Him.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Reads 2014

This summer I have been trying to read books that have been on my kindle for a long time.  Sometimes I start reading the book intrigued by the title, and other times I skim a few reviews to see if the book is what I want to read right now. The first method is actually a lot more fun. Seeing all the books I haven't read also helps me do better job of not just adding free books to my queue. So of the five books reviewed below four have been on my kindle for almost a year, and one was a library loan. Once again I am linking up with Anne at the Modern Ms. Darcy on the books that we are reading.  Here are my short reviews.

1. Transforming Prayer:How Everything Changes When You Seek God's Face by Daniel Henderson.  

The author advocates a prayer that leads to worship and is scripture based.  His thoughts are interspersed with testimonies from how transforming prayer has changed lives.  Currently I am enjoying reading the Psalms and using his prayer model of reverence, response, requests, and readiness.  I like how the focus of the book was focused on connecting with God not on getting a list of requests answered.

2. Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We've Made Up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle.

This book is not a light read in terms of content but is well written and documented.  The authors wrote the book in response to Rob Bell's comments on hell.  I am finding answers to questions I didn't know I had.

3. The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

A fictional book about WWII set in Switzerland.  Most people know that Switzerland was neutral during the war but how did that affect their country?  The story follows a girl who is a Swiss American as she works as a spy to help the Allies.  An interesting fact I learned was that the Swiss interned downed Allied pilots in their ski resorts so that the Swiss could retain their neutral status. 

4. Singing Through the Night by Anneke Companjen

A book of stories of women living out their faith in persecuted countries.  Each chapter begins with a hymn or song and includes at least two stories of women that demonstrate what it means to stay close to Jesus, confessing and being free, or many other topics.  The author has me thinking of my own story and if I would stand firm in my faith no matter what.  

5. Undetected by Dee Henderson

Even though this is the third book in a series, it can be read by itself.  In fact, my husband read this book before the other two since it was a library loan.  In the book, Mark and Gina meet through her brother as she is making all sorts of discoveries about sonar for the Navy.  My husband and I both liked the slow romance. By slow, I mean they were friends and took their time getting to know each other.  There was no love at first sight.  It was in some ways practical and other ways beautiful.  This story is full of nuclear submarines, discovering who God made you to be, and the beauty of being known by someone.

What books have you read or are reading this month? 

(Affiliate links included.)