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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14

In his book The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges shares that the verse above suggests two thoughts in regard to pursuing a life of holiness:  "first, that diligence and effort are required; and second, that is is a lifelong task".  Bridges spends seventeen short and easy to read chapters helping the reader understand God's provision for our personal holiness while deliberately stressing our responsibility "feeling that this is an emphasis sorely needed among Christians today" all the while reminding that "holiness is a process, something we never completely attain in this life".

This book is only 153 pages in length, but don't let that fool you into questioning the content!  Bridges is an expert at breaking such a weighty subject down into manageable portions.  The chapters are short, giving you the ability to take the time needed to engage in the most important discipline of applying truth learned to your life.  The chapters are short, but very "meaty".  There are times I would read a paragraph and just have to stop and let the ministry of the Holy Spirit take over and "teach" me; places such as this quote:
"This call to a holy life is based on the fact that God Himself is holy.  Because God is holy, He requires that we be holy.  Many Christians have what we might call a 'cultural holiness'.  They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them.  As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy.  But God has not called us to be like those around us.  He has called us to be like Himself.  Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God."
Bridges also has a companion Bible study guide to The Pursuit of Holiness.  I would highly recommend both the book and the study guide.  I am pleased to have added this title to my already growing library of writings from Mr. Bridges.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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 Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

The Pursuit of Holiness and its companion study guide can both be purchased at or from NavPress.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Only God

That was the sunset at our house here in SW Florida a couple of weeks ago!  I had to stop what I was doing and try to capture it, although these pictures just do not do the scene justice.  As I stood out in my front yard with the three kiddos gazing up at the sky with the cool breeze blowing, all I could think was, "Only God could paint a picture like this!"

"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me.  And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man dressed in a  robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.  His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."  Revelation 1:12-16
"He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.  He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind...He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved...The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun know when to go down."  Psalm 104:2-3, 5, 19

Have a blessed Wednesday,

Monday, January 24, 2011

They Really Do Love Each Other!

This is a picture of me and my little brother and sister from about thirty years ago:
My daddy had it posted on Facebook and I kinda stole it from there!  I'm guessing I'm about 9 or so in this picture.

Now, when me and my brother and sister were growing up, we fussed and fought more than I'm proud to admit.  We could really get into some knock-down-drag-outs!  The funny thing about that is the fact that if anybody else even thought about bothering one of us we would have killed for each other; I think!

Fast forward thirty years and here is a picture of us from November of 2010 in reverse order from the picture above:
Poor ole' Jason was always in the middle of us girls!  Bless his heart :)  We are all grown up now with families of our own and guess what?  We still have our squabbles, still get into each others business more than we probably should.  And guess what else?  I think we'd probably still hurt anybody really bad who messed with the other one!  Alright, now I'm crying!  Where's my box of tissue?

Love can be a funny and complicated things sometimes. I don't know why we make it so.  We have the Master Lover of our souls as an example and I don't know why we don't follow Christ's example more than we do!

One of the prayers I have for my own three children is that they will love each other and will respect and care for each other well.  I feel like some days that isn't happening.  Especially on those days, when I spend most of my breath and words saying:  "Stop bothering you sister!"  "Don't say anything if you can't say something helpful or nice!"  or "Will ya'll just please leave each other alone!!!" or "Ya'll are reminding me of me with my little brother and sister!"

Then there are these days:

JennaBeth wants to do everything  her bubba (what she calls Bentley) and her sessy (what she calls Cecily) does!  She wakes up in the morning and after naps calling for her bubba to come get her!  Bentley had gone to a neighbors yard yesterday afternoon to play.  When Cecily was helping get JennaBeth ready to go back to church for the evening service, Bentley had not returned home yet.  Now JennaBeth is not a crier.  She just does not cry very much about anything, but as Cecily was trying to dress her for church, she was in tears asking, "Where bubba at, want see my bubba!"
Bentley told me the other day that he wished Cecily did school at home so he wouldn't have to miss her so much!  He usually wants a book before bedtime and there are occasions that Cecily insists that she read to him.
My husband told me the last night that as he was putting Bentley to bed, Cecily came out of her room  just to give Bentley a goodnight kiss.

I'm very thankful for these times and it reminds my that they do really love each other just like I really do love my brother and sister!  On the days my kids aren't so loving toward one another, I'm more aware of the kind of example I have set for them maybe with my impatience and tone with them on that particular day.  And then I have to fall at Jesus' feet thankful and humbled at His great love for me and the grace He has poured out on me.  It's on those days that I'm encouraged and challenged by Him to press into Him and learn how to show a better example to my three sweet blessings.

A Mom's Version of 1 Corinthians 13
Though I lecture and harp at my children and have not love,
I will be background noise to rebellious thoughts.
An though I wisely warn them not to use the street as a playground,
or they'll be killed;
and though I patiently explain why snails live in mobile homes,
and I give endless answers to life's other mystries;
and though I have faith that can remove mountains of ignorance
yet never hug my children
I have taught nothing. 
And though I slave over a steaming stove 
with balanced diets and complicated recipes 
and even burn my fingers
yet never smile as I serve
I have not really fed them.
A truly loving mother suffers through unfinished sentences,
clutter, nicks on furniture, sleepless nights
and adolescent insults, 
and is kind enough to think her kids are the greatest.
A loving mother tries not to resent her children for being free
like she used to be,
and she doesn't brag about how she never talked to her mom that way.
Real love considers a childish nightmare more urgent
than her need for sleep;
is not shattered by the title "Meanest Mom";
doesn't shame a toddler who breaks training
or a teen who still spills milk;
steadfastly refuses to entertain visions of escape;
and does not smirk as her child trips over the toy he refused to put away
(but with silent wisdom rejoices in the effective lessons of experience).
Mother-love has arms strong from lifting,
a heart large with believing,
a mind stretched with hoping,
shoulders soft with enduring,
and knees bent with committing.
True mother-love never fails to point her child to the Author of Love.
(from When the Handwriting on the Wall Is in...Brown Crayon by Susan Lenzkes)

Go hug your kids,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gray Matter

Tyndale House Publishers sent me an Advanced Reader's Copy of Gray Matter for the purpose of review.  This book was written by highly respected Neurosurgeon, Dr. David Levy who practices both nuero and endovascular surgery in San Diego, California.  His book is to be released in March of this year.

I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.  I've been interested in the medical field ever since I was a little girl.  I once thought I might be a surgical nurse "when I grew up" and was addicted to the television show ER in it's beginning.  Social Work ended up being my career when I worked outside of the home and I loved the interaction with physicians and psychiatrists.

Gray Matter is Dr. Levy's story of his decision to be bold about his faith in an area where if the medical outcome is good it was a result of good medicine and if the outcome is bad then it was surely God's fault.  Here's a description of the book from the back cover:
"A perfect blend of pulse-racing medical drama and profound spiritual insight, Gray Matter not only provides a fascinating glimpse into the elite field of neurosurgery as we watch Levy perform some of the most challenging surgical procedures in medicine today; it also provides a refreshingly candid and revealing glimpse into the heart and mind of a neurosurgeon - those divinely fallible beings we sometimes expect to play God."
In each chapter the reader hears the story of a different patient's diagnosis and Dr. Levy's experience of introducing prayer as part of his pre and post-op interactions with the patient.  Along the way the reader gets an inside look at the spiritual transformation that takes place in Dr. Levy's life as well as the amazing journey of some of his patients.

In Gray Matter Dr. Levy speaks very candidly about his personal struggles with his bold approach in combining his faith with his practice of medicine.  As you read each chapter you begin to be encouraged to be bold in your own faith as you witness the doctor's faith grow despite the loss of some patients and the rejection of others to his offer of prayer.  Here's the doctor's thoughts after a most intense experience with a two year old patient:
 "Never again could I accuse God of being unfeeling or uncaring, because now I was certain I had no grounds to do so. I would never have all the information; He did.  My job was to work with a much skill as I could and declare that God was good in every circumstance.  I might not like what He did, or understand why He would let someone suffer or die - but that was His decision, not mine."
The book is very well written.  It is really the perfect blend of the technical medical talk (Dr. Levy does an excellent job of taking the reader step by step through the surgery explaining the technical aspects in a way that the average person learns something.) and expert story telling.  You will be hooked from chapter to chapter.  I walked away greatly encouraged and thanking God that he has men and women like Dr. Levy in the medical field.

Gray Matter can be pre-ordered at


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Pirate Queen

I received a copy of Patricia Hickman's The Pirate Queen from WaterBrook Press for the purpose of review.

What would you do if you were expected to be perfect in every way?  You know, expected to have the perfect house, perfect children, look perfect, wear the perfect clothes, have the perfect and most influential set of friends, and be the perfect wife to a very successful plastic surgeon who treats you really as no more than his trophy.  He's the perfect philanderer.

And what would you do if on the very day you had decided to leave, your husband comes home and tells you that he is dying?

In The Pirate Queen, Patricia Hickman tells the story of Sophora Warren "the model of southern gentility and accomplishment".  Ms Hickman does a masterful job of telling Sophora's story and of taking the reader on Sophora's journey to understanding God's love and allowing that love to transform her life.  It truly is a story of how life's richest treasures can be found in people and circumstances like a little boy with AIDS and a cheating husband dying from cancer.

You will find it very hard to put this book down.  As one chapter ends you can't help but go on to the next.  The story is riveting and pulls out every emotion possible.  Test yourself by reading chapter one here.

There is a reader's guide in the back making it a perfect choice for a book club selection.  The Pirate Queen can be purchased at Barnes and Noble , Amazon, and from the publisher

Happy reading,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Memory Verse #2

I am participating in the Siesta Scripture Memory Team that Beth Moore is hosting over on her ministry's blog:  Living Proof Ministries.  We are (and when I say we, I think the count is presently at a few over 8,000 ladies!) memorizing two verses (or passages) a month.  By year's end we will have memorized 24 passages of Scripture.  Beth is encouraging us to truly hide these words in our hearts and to pick passages to memorize that speak to specific places in our lives where we need the protection of God's word.  I was able to get this  little spiral notebook to write my verses in:
So here is verse number two:
"The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure." 
That's Isaiah 33:5-6.

In January of 2012, Living Proof Ministries is hosting a Siesta Scripture Memory Team "meet-up" at FBC Houston, TX.  I would love to go, but we'll have to see what the year holds.  That trip would require a plane ticket, some hotel expense and so forth.  Even if attending the meet-up is out of the question, I'm going to accept the challenge to wallpaper my mind and heart with 24 passages of Scripture! 

So, why don't you go ahead and head to your nearest Wal-Mart, Target, or office supply store and grab an index card spiral and join me!!!  I'd love to hear about it if you decide to do this with me!

Hiding His Word in my heart,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just Call Me Cookin' Mama!

I completely stole this idea from Amanda Jones (Beth Moore's daughter).  You can find her blog over at Baby Bangs .
I asked Bentley, my five year old, these questions and typed his answers just as he said them! 

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?
Stop doing that! 
2. What makes Mommy happy?
Doing what her say.
3. What makes Mommy sad?
Not doing what you want me to do. 
4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
Tickle me.
5. What was Mommy like as a child?
Doing whatever I would do.

6. How old is Mommy?

7. How tall is Mommy?
Fifty feet maybe nine

8. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?

9. What does Mommy do when you're not around?
Play a game.
10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Playing with me.

11. What is Mommy really good at?

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
Playing Transformers.

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
14. What is Mommy's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Bugs Bunny.

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
Eat food.

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
We both eat food.

19. How are you and Mommy different?
We both not the same tall. 
20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Be nice to me.

21. Where is Mommy's favorite place to go?
To the grocery store.

Me and that boy need to hang out more!

Happy Monday,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

And the winner is...

Okay, Cecily has chosen the winner of the "Name That Recipe" contest!

And the winner is Marial!!!!!

She named the recipe:  JenMom's Spartan Chicken.  And that's what we'll call it from now on!  You really should be reading Marial's blog, Growing In Godliness.  She is one of the sweetest bloggy friends and has a such a heart for following hard after the Lord.  She has a Bible study that she has written called Knowing God Through His Names.  It will release nationally in March of this year, but if you visit her site, you can order one NOW directly from her!!  I've ordered mine and you should really go order yours!!!

Now since I only had three people respond to the contest, I'm going to give EVERYONE something!!!!  Marial will get Cynthia Heald's "Dwelling In His Presence".  Kim (her name for the recipe was Feta Mater Pasta, in honor of Bentley's love of Mater from "Cars") will receive "Life In Spite of Me:  Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice" by Kristen Jane Anderson.  And Tracy (a sweet girl I graduated from high school with - she named the recipe Ditalini Feta-cheeni) will receive "Idol Eyes" by Mandisa.  Tracy, I know you are an American Idol fan and thought you'd appreciate Mandisa's book.  Good stuff in that book!

Tracy I need you to message me on Facebook with your address so I can mail you your book!!  Thank you girls for playing along.

And in the spirit of giveaways this morning, I must tell you about a giveaway over at my friend John's blog.  He writes at While We Sojourn.  John is giving away a copy of Christ Formed In You.  You should go check out the giveaway, but spend some time there.  I love to read John's blog because well, he's just real. 


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Name That Recipe and Win a Giveaway!

I often get in a rut with my cooking; preparing the same things over and over again.  When this happens I usually try to be creative and develop my own dish.  Well there is one dish I have fixed a couple of times for my family and they love it.  The problem is that I don't know what to call it.

That's where YOU come in.

I'm going to go through what I used to put this dish together and I want YOU to name it for me!  Okay?

So here goes:
I took a 16 oz. package of this:
and cooked it according to the package directions.  I drained the water off and tossed it with a little (I didn't measure exactly how much) Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I also added two cans of this:
I drained a little of the liquid off the tomatoes before adding them.  I also tossed in a 7 oz. package of this with the pasta mixture:
I used the Garlic and Herb flavor Feta.

With this pasta dish I served Chicken strips that I cooked with the Garlic and Herb Shake-N-Bake.

So here is the deal.  Leave me a comment here telling me what you would name this dish.  So that things will be totally fair since I will know most of you who comment, I will let Cecily ( my 13 year old daughter) pick the best name for the dish from your comments.  To make it really fair, I'll take each name for the dish and write them on a piece of paper without your name attached and let her pick that way.  She is really enjoying her Culinary Arts class in school and this will be fun for her to pick the winner.

If your dish name is picked, you will win a copy of Cynthia Heald's 30 Days of Intimacy with God devotional titled "Dwelling In His Presence".

I'll have Cecily pick the winner on Friday night and post the winner on Saturday morning.  Alrighty then.  Be creative and name that dish!!!


Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year!
We had a good time last night bringing in the new year.  JennaBeth got to hold, with many hands helping I might add, her first sparkler...
Actually, I held the sparkler, because JennaBeth holding a sparkler, well I won't even go there...But Bentley did have fun with his...
He kept looking back for JennaBeth.  He is quite protective of her!  Even the big kid got in on the fun...
We watched the big ball drop in New York City and then all hit the bed.  JennaBeth did not make it to see the new year in, but she did get a few hops, skips, and jumps in before her bedtime...

She sat for a VERY brief time with her sister to watch some of the "moonlight" (her term for the fireworks) going off all around our neighborhood...

I don't know about you, but I am excited about the new year ahead.  I have no idea what 2011 will hold, but I know WHO holds the next 12 months in His hands!  As I look toward the next year, there are some things that I will be doing to intentionally seek to draw closer to God...
One of those things is being a part of the 2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team that Beth Moore is hosting over at the Living Proof Ministries Blog .  The goal is to memorize two passages a month which will end up being 24 verses over the next 12 months.  My first verse to memorize is Psalm 24:4-5:
"Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long."
So, on this first day of the new year, this day of all ones, I am coming before God, THE ONE and praying this verse for myself and my family.  I've attempted to memorize scripture before, but never really had a structured plan or sought accountability for support in completing my goal.  The Siesta Scripture Memory Team will be encouraging as I and thousands of other ladies seek to hide God's word in our hearts.

I'd love to hear what you are looking forward to this new year!

Making room for Him,