Saturday, November 14, 2015

Knowing God by Name

What does that name mean to you?
How do you see God?
There are so many names of God. But what do those names mean? Each name of God conveys something about who God is and it reveals something about His character.
One name I see that is common yet it does not get its full due of understand is Lord.
Lord means master.
When I call out Lord, I am calling for my master. But do I really see God as the master of my life? Because to say that God is the Lord of my life means that I fully relinquish control of my life to HIM. That means that I no longer try to control the situations and experiences I find myself in, instead calling on the Lord, my master, to intervene and provide direction.

So now I think back on the last 24 hours of my life. And in the last 24 hours, I see so many instances where the Lord, my master, was prodding me to do something and even gave me the exact words to say but I didn't listen out of fear of the outcome. I see an instance where the Lord was trying to guide not only my steps but my mouth and I did not obey. So I see that I have been disobedient to the Lord, my master, and in that disobedience I dealt with a boat load of strife and negative confrontation two things I seriously try to avoid at all costs. Yet ALL of this could have been avoided IF I had stopped and heeded the Lord, my master's, guidance.

The reason I am covering this is because this is what I've been studying in preparation for the new Knowing God by Name study that the Be Made Whole community will be starting on Monday 11/16/15.

And I want to invite you all to join me there.
There will be blog posts on in relation to the study as well as some posts here too. The study guide itself was emailed to registered members of Be Made Whole however the general public will be able to purchase a copy online as well soon (I'll come back here and update this post when the study guide is available for purchase).

Till next time!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”

(Numbers 6:24-26)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A new devotional!!

As an adult, how many of us have benefitted greatly from Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life?
I mean everyone, right? I remember my mom reading this book back in the late 90s, early 2000s then passing it along to my aunt so she could benefit from the book as well. And now here I am at least 15 years later, reading the same book and recommending it to my friends.
When a book is like that, that's when you know you've stumbled upon something transformational!
So imagine my joy when I get the option to read and review:
As a mom, I am overjoyed because Rick Warren's foundational teaching is now available to my children to read and understand. They won't have to wait until they are older and can understand the language and context to read the original book.
And let me tell you, our oldest daughter (who is now 8 years old) really enjoys the book. She's an avid reader (wonder where she gets that from, lol). And she loves to get her hands on anything that will help her understand God and her relationship with Him!
I love that the book is set up in the format of a daily devotional, meaning it is in bite sized chunks where each devotion is barely a page long. Long enough to get across knowledge, short enough not to bore children. I also like that the pages are not dated, which means we can pick up the book at any day of the year and start in from the first page if we wanted. We have a hardback copy, which I think is absolutely necessary in a house full of tiny hands.
I definitely recommend this to parents with curious readers who want to deepen their relationship with God. I recommend this to parents who want a devotional they can read over breakfast or dinner with the kiddos. A great addition to the family library. And definitely get the hardback so it lasts several years (a definite plus with three soon to be four children in this house ranging from 8 years old to 18 months old and a newborn coming in the spring).
{FYI: I received this book as a member of BookLookBloggers, in which I exchange free books for my honest opinion of the book!}

Sunday, November 1, 2015

God Ain't Coming For Me First

As a young wife, it is easy to get caught up in this world.
Even more so when all of your influences encourage you to stand firm, be independent, and take the lead if you feel your husband isn't up to par.
However, that isn't what God called us, wives, to.
In Genesis 2:7, we learned that God created man, Adam, first. And there's a reason for that. God did not create woman first because it is not her job to lead. God also created her slightly differently than He did Adam.
In Genesis 2:21-22 we learn that she was created from Adam's rib and the rib is under the arm. What does that mean for us? We were not created to take our husband's under our wing to protect, provide, and lead him. We were created to be taken under our husband's wing to be protected, provided for and led by him.
So when we do not operate in that manner, we are not operating in the manner God created us and marriage to work.
When we get to the point that we think our way is better than God's way the point that we are longer in the center of God's Will and we are operating in place without covering.
God isn't going to come you, wife, about what's wrong in your marriage first. God is going to your husband first. Why? Because the duty of leading your marriage is resting on your husband's shoulder.
I don't know about you BUT I don't want to be caught in the cross fire of God being upset because He has an order for our marriages. And when we operate outside of that order YET we claim to be Christians we will cause Him to come for us to set us in order.
And guess what? I want Him to come. Why? Cause the Lord corrects those He recognizes as His children. And guess what, many times God will send correction through our husbands. Why? Because "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body." (Ephesians 5:23) And if you recall Jesus had no qualms about correcting the church.
So we need to be submissive and have a quiet enough spirit that our husbands should not have to think twice about whether or not to correct you!
No man wants to live with a quarrelsome or unteachable wife. How can he get through to you if you are constantly bickering with him? I am still learning this lesson. I cannot be quarrelsome. I cannot be rebellious. I cannot be unteachable. I have to be able to have a conversation without arguing. I have to be submissive and a GOOD influence. I have to be able to be taught.
So remember this when you are in the position to need to actively submit (all the time):
  1. It is a choice.
  2. It provides protection.
  3. Submitting to God ultimately means submitting to our husbands as well.
It is OKAY to submit. It is OKAY to cultivate a quiet spirit. It is OKAY to follow your husband.
Don't let people and society tell you otherwise.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Aids in Prayer

In light of the recent War Room movie many of us are reexamining our lives especially in the area of prayer. How often are we praying and are we praying just when we are in trouble?

I think so often we tend to use prayer as a last line of defense instead of the first line of defense and as a hedge and the first line of offense.

For those of you who have not seen War Room, it is a movie that details how prayer and strategic planning. I have come across several tools for aiding in my prayer life and I thought I would share them with you.
  • First is the use of a prayer journal. My journal has significantly changed over the years. It's went from my constant complaining and whining to me actually praying and usually when I do start to whine the Lord tends to correct my thinking and cause me to repent before I'm even done writing. I also write down people that I am praying for, usually just their name and a quick note on specifically what I am praying.
  • Mark Batterson's Draw the Circle, a 40 day Prayer Challenge. It reads like a devotional with a prompt to pray each day, specifically. The point is to "draw a circle" around the people and things that are important to you. Batterson tells of how he led prayer on a corporate level with his church based on Scripture and I think it is something that we can definitely use in our personal prayer lives. The number 40 is significant because it is the number of years the Israelites spent in the wilderness and the number of days Jesus spent in the wilderness. 
  • Jennifer White's article 9 prayers for your War Room. I've actually prayed these prayers and written them down in my prayer folder. 
  • My prayer folder. I've read of people who have said they did not have the space to create an actual prayer room or prayer closet. And I totally understand! I have no extra closets or rooms in my house. We have a three bedroom home and readying to welcome our fourth child. So that should give you an idea of the amount of extra space we actually have. Every nook and cranny is needed. So I created a prayer folder. I use it to hold the prayers that I have written that I plan to post when I do have the space for a prayer closet.. And to contain my strategy for prayer on how I pray.
  • There are also several reading plans on the YouVersion bible app that can aid in helping you see the importance of prayer in the bible. I'm doing both War Room- The Overflow Devo and Prayers of Jesus reading plans. They are short reading plans (6 days & 5 days respectively). When I'm also doing other bible studies (whether working through them or writing them) I try to keep it light and not too long on the reading plans. 

So what are your aids in prayer? Share them below!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What if Marriage was intended to be sacred?

How often do we go into marriage with the understanding of being made happy by the marriage and our spouse? How often do we hear people end marriages because they were "unhappy?"

Now what if you were to learn that God did not design our marriage with our happiness as its central focus? What if our marriage is designed to make us holy before Him? What if marriage was not designed for our happiness but to completely glorify God?

That is what Gary Thomas is answering for us and opening our eyes to see in his book Sacred Marriage.

When I got married and throughout a great portion of marriage and even at times now, I get angry because of the times when we are unhappy and it is chaotic. I am still learning that my marriage was not designed for me to be happy. Yes happiness can be a by product of marriage. But that is not the original design for marriage. 

This book is filled with examples of couples who had been going about marriage (and in some cases divorce) the wrong way. They'd been consumed with themselves and what made them happy. Yet they either forgot or were completely unaware of the fact that happiness is fleeting and that is not marriage's purpose. That is not our spouses purpose. We cannot burden our spouses with the task of making us happy all the time. Our joy must come from the Lord and when that happens we become content to let marriage be what God designed it to be.

A really good example of this is Hosea in the bible. Hosea was instructed to marry a harlot (a prostitute) who would give birth to children that may not have even been Hosea's children. Yet God had a purpose in this. He wanted to use marriage, specifically Hosea's marriage, to demonstrate His purpose for marriage. God wanted to show that there needs to be constant forgiveness and not human forgiveness but Godly forgiveness. God wanted to show His relationship with the people and how before we get married to our earthly spouses we have a heavenly spouse. And in our submission & obedience & loving to our earthly spouse, we are essentially doing that unto our heavenly spouse. The same goes for the message Paul gives us in Ephesians 5.

Gary Thomas seeks to give this knowledge to the believer. To live out marriage the way God intended for it to be. To stop being prideful and selfish in our marriages. To allow God to use our marriages to make us holy before Him.

 As a wife one of the things my husband is charged to do is to "that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:26-27 NKJV) And in response my job is to submit and allow him to do so. No matter how hard that may be or how hard my flesh wants to fight. (And trust me my flesh has been and is fighting.)
That is what I have been learning from this book.

FYI: I received this book as a member of BooklookBloggers for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Know Your Role

 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,  but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,  that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now You are the body of Christ, and members individually. 
 (1Corinthians 12:21-27) 

As the body of Christ, we are literally like the limbs and internal organs of a body. When this passage was written, science nor technology was where it is at today where people can survive with missing limbs. Yet even now, what person would WANT to go with missing limbs? Yet that is what we do when we compare ourselves to the next person and assume that they have it better than us or that we are better or more important than them. 

This passage is about knowing our roles and being content with those roles. Not everyone is meant to be a pastor or a teacher, not everyone is meant to shepherd a church or ministry. And when those of us who are not meant for those roles attempt to step into those roles, we make the mistake of robbing the body of Christ of the role we are meant to fulfill. 

I cannot be a pastor (and the thought actually frightens me). Yet I can teach. I am wired to study non-stop and to share what I learn. And I prefer to do this quietly. Yet if I were pushed into being a pastor because my ability to teach then plenty of believers would miss out on the one-on-one teaching that I am supposed to offer them. I cannot be a person solely focused on my career. That's not the way God made me nor the role He has for my life with three soon to be four children.

We have to learn to be content where God places us. I say this because so many are not content. They want to be seen, they want prestige, they want honor, they want the spotlight. They may want to travel. And that may not be what God has for them. God may want them to remain where they are and touch the lives around them.

The point of this life is to accomplish the will of God, everything else is just a bonus. 
We cannot accomplish the will of God if we cannot fulfill the role He has given us.

What works for one person may not work for the next. 
So we cannot focus on the next person's life, walk and calling. 
We have to focus on our own life, walk, and calling.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God

The Good, The Bad and the Grace of God. 
This was fairly hard for me to get into as a book, as it has a fairly slow start.

It starts off as a narrative of the lives of Jep and Jessica. You know, where they are from, what they were like as kids, what their parents and grandparents were like. However it switches back and forth, with Jep having a chapter, then Jessica having a chapter, and so forth. The book delves into how they met and their first impressions of each other. It goes on to encompass their lives and lessons they've learned along the way.
 I like that they don't shy away from discussing their faith and how their family came to be Christians. I love the connection you feel between them and their grandparents.
I also enjoyed their impressions of each other. It's like wow, they both were smitten with each other although they've always lived near each other and never ran into each other. It kind of reminds me of my husband and I.

I'll be honest, I was interested in reading the book because I like the show and the family. However this is not a book that would warrant a second read from me. When a book is hard for me to focus on, I don't go back to it. 
Although I will say it does not change my view or perception of the Robertson family.

Jep and Jessica Robertson of Duck Dynasty. 
The youngest son of Phil Robertson and his beautiful wife. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Do my children 'Believe'?

If you've been following along for the couple months, you will notice there are quite a few books by Randy Frazee in the 'Believe' series on here.
(This is the first book)
(This is the second book.)
(This is the one for middle aged children ,not quite teenagers yet not preschool or kindergarten)
Now there is the Believe Storybook.
 which we (hubby and I trade off) read to our preschool aged son, who absolutely loves the book. I mean, no one is allowed to touch the book without his permission (lol). As wife and mom it does my heart GOOD to see my children are passionate about the Word of God. They ask questions during our reading time. I love the illustrations inside the book and the fact that it is a hardback and very large. Like the previous books in the series, there are key questions, think section, act section, be section, and the Jesus Answer.
This is the Act part of Daniel's story, Total Surrender.

Here is an idea of how large the book is, that's a roku remote.
This is the think section before Abram & Sarah's story.
I think this book is great to start young children because of the way it is broken down. Believe doesn't just tell the stories of the bible, but it explains how those stories apply to us and how they relate to Jesus. And that's the baseline of everything, everything comes back to Jesus.
As parents, that's what we want to give our children a foundational love and belief in Jesus. Strong to last them through the rebellious and curious teen & young adult years of life. Strong enough to see them through the storms of life. Strong enough that they will share with their friends. Strong enough that God will be pleased with us for shepherding their hearts.
{FYI: I received this book from the Booklook Bloggers Program in exchange for my HONEST review.}

Friday, June 19, 2015

Who God Is defines Who I am

We learn who we truly are in the context of who God is.
I have learned who Kristin is because I have learned who God is and what He has said about me.
God has said that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
He has said that I am to love God and love others. And He said that in a specific order. God first, others second. How can I love others if I have not the love of God in me?

I encourage you to learn who God is and in turn learn who you truly are.
Read His Word and Read what He says about you. In that you come to learn who God is. You learn that He is loving and patient. He is gracious and merciful. He is a faithful and selfless Father. Who sent His selfless and faithful Son to die for our sins. 
And when you understand that, truly accept it, live your life based on that. 
Then you understand your worth and how valuable and loved you are.

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What is YOUR Anything?

Jennie Allen asks us, what is our Anything?
The prayer that sets us apart for Jesus. 
What are you willing to do, to give up, in order to do what God has called you to do?
That my friends is your Anything.
My Anything, is laying my entire life on the altar.
 I put my children, my marriage, my blog, my EVERYTHING on the altar and told God ANYTHING, EVERYTHING, whatever HE wanted.

Anything is a prayer of Surrender. We sing the song (at least I have) yet we don't always literally surrender all to Jesus. We don't always let Him wreck our lives to build up the life He has in mind for us. The book is broken down into three sections. What keeps us from Anything (the comforts and fears in life). Praying Anything, it's a sincere prayer that will change your life forever. Living Anything, after you pray anything and surrender all, you now have to LIVE it. You have live with God at the steering wheel. You have to defer to whatever God tells you to do. And this is where we slack. We pray anything but we don't live anything. I am guilty of this. I have prayed Anything but I have a hard time living Anything. Jennie helps to make sense of this so that we can effectively pray anything and live anything. 

It starts with Yes, Lord. I surrender all Lord. And a heart to obey.

 Gracefully, Joyfully, Gratefully.

This copy of Anything is the newly released and updated version. Jennie Allen shares what her Anything looks like now since the initial release of Anything.
It has a bible study in the back, the same one that just started over at Faith Gateway. 

If you are willing to pray Anything and live Anything. Join the study here.

{P.S. You know I do reviews in exchange for being able to read these books before anyone else does. However you should also know this is my personal views}