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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Before the Throne Wednesday

Welcome back to Before the Throne Wednesday, where we are coming before the Lord in prayer and praying specific scripture over our children.

William Scribner says,
God's will for you as a parent is clear:
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deut. 6:6-7) It is a great work, and nothing can sustain you under the burden like praying for your children, believingly, earnestly and perseveringly. in giving attention to instruction and discipline, do not neglect prayer! Some blessings seldom come except in answer to heartfelt prayer. One of these is the early conversion of our children.  (Found at Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
So today I want to encourage you to pray for the salvation of your children.  If your children/grandchildren already have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, as is the case with my 13 year old, then pray today that those believing children will be teachable by the Holy Spirit and that God's law will be in their hearts not allowing their feet to slip into habits of sin.  Here are some scriptures to pray in that effect:
  1. Ezekiel 11:19-20   "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  They will be my people, and I will be their God."
  2. Isaiah 54:13  "All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace."
  3. Psalm 37:30-31  "The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.  The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip."
I praise You Lord for the three amazing gifts you have given me in Cecily, Bentley and JennaBeth.  Help me to be a good steward of these lives with which you have blessed me.  I acknowledge that they belong to You and pray that I will be found a faithful partner with You in guiding them through this earthly life.
I humbly come before you on the behalf of both Bentley and JennaBeth and ask for the miracle of regeneration in their lives.  Lord I ask that you would give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them.  Give them a heart of flesh and a desire to follow Your decrees and display carefulness in keeping Your laws all the days of their life.  I pray that you will give them open hearts in regards to Your word and that You would make them wise for salvation at an early age.
I am thankful that Cecily has professed her faith in You and has followed Your example in believer's baptism.  I pray that she will faithfully look to You all the days of her life and that her lips would speak wisdom learned from you all the days of her life.  Help her to hide Your words in her heart and be teachable so that her feet do not slip into habits of sin.
May Your abundant provision of grace be showered upon all three of my sweet gifts and may the peace that only You are able to give reign over their lives for now and evermore!
Praise Your Holy Name,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are You Radiant?

Did you know that...
  1. Women spend $7 billion per year on cosmetics
  2. 11.7 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures were done in the U.S. alone in 2007
  3. In 2007 there was $5.3 billion spent on these five surgeries in the U.S.:  breast augmentation, lipoplasty, eyelid surgery, adominoplasty (tummy tuck), and breast reduction
I found those stats in a report done by the YWCA, which I don't necessarily endorse.  You can read their full article by going HERE.

All that money spent to change our appearance, when God's word provides a beauty regimen for FREE!  I've been slowly and deliberately reading through the Psalms this year and just the other day I came across a gem in Psalm 34, verses 4 and 5:
"I sought the LORD, an He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."
Those who look to Him are radiant...

According to the Free Online Dictionary, the word "radiant" means:  emitting heat or light, filled with light, bright, shining, characterized by health, intense joy, happiness.  Synonyms for "radiant" are:  happy, glowing, joyful, delighted, beaming, blissful, rapturous, beatific, brilliant, glorious, sparkling, sunny, luminous, lustrous.

I don't know about you, but there are many days when I feel all but glowing and certainly not brilliant!  However, according to King David (who had plenty to be shameful about), we can be all those things by looking to and trusting in the LORD.  John Calvin in his commentary on verses 4-5 of Psalm 34 says this:
Sometimes "seeking God" means applying our minds earnestly to his service, having all our thoughts directed to him.  Here it simply means turning to him for help.  In admitting his fears he confesses he had been terrified by the dangers surrounding him; the plural fears indicates he had been distracted not by just one danger but by a variety of troubles.
We get distracted by a "variety of troubles" too don't we?  Back to Calvin:
Therefore be encouraged that a courageous warrior such as David was terrified, and let us not allow our own faint-heartedness prevent us from calling on God.  David has provided us with an example of approaching God in prayer freely and without fear.  Now he says, "A mirror will be set forth in which we may see the face of God serene and merciful, as if a light has shone upon him; therefore the afflicted shall dare to lift up their eyes to him and resort to him with complete freedom, for no uncertainty will any longer hold them back.
That same day, I continued reading through Psalm chapter 36 and came to verses 5-9:
"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the great deep.  O LORD, You preserve both man and beast.  How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of Your house; you give them drink from Your river of delights.  For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light."
Now that's a beauty regimen, feasting on the abundance of God's house and it is all of grace!  Specifically in regards to the last verse (9) I'll refer again to Calvin's commentary:
The ungodly do not acknowledge that in God they live, move and have their being.  Therefore, from the experience of believers David affirms that there is not a drop of life without God, or that does not flow from His grace.
So, I don't know what kind of day you are having or what kind of days you have ahead of you, but know that in all those days you CAN be radiant!  You CAN by God's grace be a reflector of His mercy and grace and faithfulness.  Look to Him and remember the words of Thomas Brooks:
Our worst days are never so bad that we're beyond the reach of God's grace.  And our best days are never so good that we're beyond the need of God's grace.
Praying for you radiant one,


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He also writes a popular blog and regular commentary which you can find at  He lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and children.

His book Culture Shift:  The Battle for the Moral Heart of America has been revised and expanded.  WaterBrook Multnomah sent me a copy of Dr. Mohler's book for the purpose of review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

From the back cover of the book:
"Mass media and technology are exploding.  Popular entertainment relentlessly pushes the envelope.  Biomedicine stretches ethical boundaries.  Political issues shift with the polls.  Christian orthodoxy is questioned on every front.  The world in which you live is undergoing a major cultural transformation - one leading to a widespread lack of faith, an increase in moral relativism and a rejection of absolute truth.  In Culture Shift, Dr. R. Albert Mohler - one of today's leading Christian thinkers and spokespersons - addresses these and other tough topics clearly, biblically, and passionately."

In Culture Shift, Dr. Mohler presents 25 short essays covering the following topics:
  1. Engaging the City of Man
  2. Christian Morality and Public Law
  3. The Culture of Offendedness
  4. A Growing Cloud of Confusion:  The Supreme Court on Religion
  5. All That Terror Teaches
  6. Needed:  An Exit Strategy from Public Schools
  7. The God Gene:  Bad Science Meets Bat Theology
  8. Are We Raising a Nation of Wimps?
  9. Hard America, Soft America
  10. The Post-Truth Era
  11. Is Abortion a Moral Issue?
  12. Who's Afraid of the Fetus?
  13. God and the Tsunami
  14. Nineveh, New Orleans, and the City of Man
  15. Hiroshima and the Burden of History
  16. The Content of Our Character
  17. The Challenge of Islam
  18. The New Atheism
  19. A Black Cat in a Dark Room
  20. The New American Family:  Digitally Deluged
  21. Where Did I Come From?  The New World of Reproductive Technology
  22. Redefining Retirement
You can read chapter 1 Engaging the City of Man by going HERE.

I can't say I "enjoyed" reading Culture Shift simply because Dr. Mohler does present such a clear and concise picture of the current state of our culture as well as vividly pointing to the downhill spiral we as a society seem to be headed toward.  We are indeed in the midst of a battle as the subtitle to the book states and it is not a pretty picture.  I would be completely undone except for the fact that Dr. Mohler repeatedly in the book gives the reader a biblical and bold picture of Almighty God as the Sovereign King of the Universe.

I also appreciated the complete footnotes given in each essay.  In giving these excellent citations, Dr. Mohler allows the reader to read in full the sources he quotes in part and come to their own conclusions on the matter being discussed.  As stated before the book contains 25 short essays and is a total of 185 pages.  I was able to read it in a couple of afternoons by picking it up in between loads of laundry and during meal preparations for my family.

If you've ever watched the news and thought to yourself as a Christian, "How am I supposed to respond to that?", then Culture Shift would be worth your visit! 

If you will take just a moment to rate this review if it was helpful to you.  By doing so you will be entering yourself into a chance to get a free copy of Culture Shift from the folks at WaterBrook!  Thanks so much.

You can order the book directly from the publisher by going HERE or you can order from by following the link below:


One Call Away: A Memoir

You may know her as the spikey haired and outspoken wife of NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.  However, now when people approach her and ask, "Hey, aren't you Kurt Warner's wife?", she kindly extends her hand and responds, "My name is Brenda".  In her memoir One Call Away:  Answering Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith, Brenda Warner shares the amazing journey God guided her through and the transformation that He brought about in her life.  She candidly shares her struggles with fear and finding her true identity in hopes that her life experiences can help other women.

One Call Away is a very well written book.  Brenda shares some of the most intimate details of her life including her failed first marriage to a fellow marine, the injury to her 4 month old son that left him blind and disabled, the loss of both her parents in a tornado and her marriage to NFL superstar Kurt Warner.  A common thread throughout Brenda's story is her faith in God and how she met each potentially crippling event in her life with prayer and an "I will not let this destroy me" attitude.

At various points in the book, Brenda appears as somewhat of a control freak.  You get the impression that life is all about her and what she wants.  In other words, it's her way or no way.  However, at just about the point you think you don't like this woman very much, she shares the story of Daniel.  It's then that the reader will realize that they may have more in common than they think with this marine, registered nurse, and mother of seven.  An added bonus, if you are married to a very big fan of the NFL like I am, is the inside peak into the inner sanctum of the National Football League and what it is really like to be a family struggling for "normal" in the spotlight.

You can learn more about Kurt and Brenda Warner and their First Things First Foundation by visiting  You can order Brenda's book by following the link to provided below.

Thomas Nelson sent me a complimentary copy of One Call Away for the purpose of review.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Before the Throne Wednesday

Welcome to the first Before the Throne Wednesday!  I'm so glad you stopped by today!  Of all the things of which I tend to get anxious, my three kiddos seem to top the list.  Yesterday was a prime example.  JennaBeth (my two year old) and I had a somewhat challenging day.  I won't go into details, because today is a new day and I'm so very thankful that God's mercy and grace are NEW EVERY morning!  But back to that issue of anxiety; God's word speaks to us clearly about the best place to put our anxieties:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7
There are some pretty all inclusive words used in this passage:  anything and everything.  We are encouraged to NOT be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING to present our requests to God by prayer ("proseuche" in the Greek - general word for all kinds of prayer) and petition ("deesis" in the Greek - supplication, request, prayer for particular benefits) with thanksgiving.  John Calvin in his commentary on Psalm 18:3 says this:
"We will never freely call on God in prayer unless we also encourage ourselves with memories of His grace."
And finally consider this statement by E.M. Bounds:
"God's conquering days are when the saints have given themselves to mightiest prayer."
So, today I want to encourage you as a parent or grandparent to NOT be anxious about your children, but to join me in this journey of presenting our prayers and petitions on their behalf to God while remembering His grace lavished on us daily.

Something in me wants to burst out in the children's Sunday School song "I'm in the Lord's Army" right about now!  How about you?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mirror Ball: Living Boldly and Shining Brightly For the Glory of God

I was really excited to get a copy of Mirror Ball by Matt Redman from Audra Jennings with B&B Media Group to review.  In case you aren't familiar with Redman, he is a worship leader, songwriter, and author.  Some of his well-known worship songs are "Blessed Be Your Name", which he co-wrote with his wife, "You Never Let Go", and "The Heart of Worship".  He lives on the South coast of England with his wife Beth and their five children.  You can visit Redman's website by going HERE.

This is what Matt has to say in Mirror Ball in regards to the passion of the Christian:
"So often we equate passion with volume and energy, and surely that can play an important part.  But when it comes to true passion, ultimately those things are just the tip of the iceberg -  the part most on display.  However, God looks beneath the surface, searching our hearts.  Yes, God does call us to sing.  He calls us to sing loudly, boldly, joyfully, and reverently before Him.  Just check out the exhortations in so many of the psalms for evidence.  God loves a shout of praise or a joyful noise brought in His name.  These things are great and important ways of expressing the explosive celebrations happening in our hearts.  But to complete the integrity of these offerings, God is looking for a people who will take their passion to the next level and begin to shine His light in their everyday lives. A people who will stand in the light of who He is and reflect His wonders for all the world to see."
"A passionate obedience to the Father and an unwavering commitment to His mission"...that's to be the passion of the worshipper according to Redman:
"But passionate worship is never a matter of merely getting the words and tune right or raising a loud shout.  The true test of our passion for God will always be our lives.  If I'm looking for a heightened way to tell God I love Him, the very best way has very little to do with stringing poetic sentences together.  It involves a life laid down in service and adoration.  The concrete evidence of whether our worship has lived or died in us will always be our lives.  We may sing our songs with good intentions, but in the end our lives must become the evidence."
I always have a highlighter when I sit down to read a book of this nature and if you were to open my copy of Mirror Ball you would see a whole lot of pink highlighter!  Redman's book is very well written and organized.  He encourages the worshipper to have a big view of God and to live a big life for Him always realizing that "what you know" must always be the servant of "Who you know".  Relationship and then reflection.

One fourth of the book is the included discussion guide, which was created for use in small groups, but could be useful for individuals reading through the book alone.  Each chapter has it's own set of discussion questions and begins with the lyrics from one of Redman's worship songs for reflection.  I can strongly recommend you to get this book.  Redman will challenge and encourage you to do something he seeks to do through his songs:
"Address the everyday but announce the eternal."

You can get your copy of the book by following the link to provided below:


Monday, August 22, 2011

Haircuts and Announcement

Bentley (my five year old) got a haircut Thursday afternoon.  He's been wanting his hair cut like this boy who attends our church for a couple of weeks now.  However, I wasn't sure I was ready to give up the "little boy" look for him!  Guess who won this dispute?
Isn't he cute with his "spikey" do?  Orange mustache and all!
Later that evening while we were having supper, I realized who I thought he looked like now with the new haircut...
What do you think?  Do I have a little Tebow?  Although I think he may look a little like him, I more desire for Bentley to one day have the strong faith and witness that Tebow apparently has!  Which leads to the announcement part of this post.

If you notice in the last picture of Tebow, he has Ephesians 2:8-10 printed in his eye black...
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
That's what I want to become a realization in each of my three kid's lives.  My deepest desire for all three is that they come to walk in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the "good works" He has planned for each of them.  That they would be a display of God's grace to a lost and dying world.

Now salvation is ALL of God's gracious work in their hearts.  I can't save my children by anything I do.  However, I can and should pray for them.  Out of all the things I can do for them, prayer should be the top priority on my "to do list" for my kids!  And I can think of no more powerful prayer tool than God's word.  So, today I am introducing a new series of posts here at Mother of Three that will begin this Wednesday and will run indefinitely...
Each Wednesday I will post a scripture prayer for my kids.  Now I encourage you to pray daily for your kids, but on Wednesdays I'll be focusing on a specific passage of scripture to pray over them.  I hope you'll visit each Wednesday and join me as we pray for our "rewards" from the Lord!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Weight of Shadows

Do you believe that the choices you make and the choice to forgive can touch the lives of others for a very long time?

That's what Kim, Joshua and Debbie find out in The Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel.  I was introduced to Ms Strobel's novels when I read The Heart of Memory.  Here's the synopsis from the back cover of The Weight of Shadows:
After a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself.  She'd leave it all, though, if she could be rid of her guilt over a tragic mistake she made years ago.  When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs, even a way for her to pay for her sins.  Kim and Rick's new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight.   Having already lost his wife and his job, he risks giving his in-laws the ammunition they need to gain custody of his daughter if he gets involved.  Debbie, who has saved countless women through the shelter she runs, has the power to help, but she might be as desperate for love as the women she serve.  Ultimately, Kim must decide if her penance is more important than protecting an innocent life - and if she should dare leave Rick when he has the power to bring her hidden crime to light.
Strobel weaves an amazing story that clearly shows how the providence of God works in the lives of people to bring about the ability to forgive and healing.  She certainly had me turning the pages!  This was a hard book to put down.  Strobel pulls you into the story and the characters from page one and keeps you there.  The ending is not one you see coming.  When I finished the book, I found myself thinking about the characters for days.  As with The Heart of Memory, The Weight of Shadows, left me wanting a sequel...something I hope Strobel considers.

You can order The Weight of Shadows from Zondervan by going HERE

Or if you are an shopper, you can purchase the book by following the link provided below!


Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of the Second Week

We made it through our first week of school around here!  Bentley seems excited about kindergarten, his class, and making new friends.  Although he did ask me Friday morning, when I was trying to wake him up, "What's so important about school and why do I have to go every single day?"  He has a very long 13 years ahead of him :)  I had to take a couple of pictures again this morning before he and Cecily left, just because...
they were matching!!  I promised them this was the last Monday morning school picture I would take...I think.  As you can tell if you look close enough to the left in the picture, there is a little girl that wakes up really early to see her "bubba" and "sessy" off to school.  She wanted to take a picture with bubba...
I think she misses having him around during the day just. a. little. bit!  She and I are getting into our own little routine during the day while bubba and sessy are away.  Because she is getting up so early, she puts up no fight and goes down for a nap around 11 to 11:30 am.

We are beginning to hit the potty training pretty seriously.  Little miss is also enjoying another milestone...she's now sleeping in her "big girl bed", which she is so proud of that she has to show everyone who comes to the house!

I decided to skip the toddler bed and went straight to a regular twin bed for her.  We got a really good deal on this sweet twin size day bed with a trundle bed underneath.  Thank you Leslie and Sean!  Now JennaBeth is all set for those little girl sleepovers!  She has become very creative in her play time.  These days she really likes taking care of her lovey "Pink Bunny".  The other day I found her like this in her room playing...
She told me, "I watch pink and green bear for nap while bubba at 'cool house."  She was so proud that she was taking care of green bear (Bentley's lovey) for her bubba!  JennaBeth is a little stinker, but she is going through that stage of wanting to take care of things like her lovey and her dolls.  I also have to let her "cook" for me everyday.  Just the other day, I had coffee and "coocakes" (cupcakes) for breakfast, lunch and supper!  She would bring me my meal and say, "Here's coffee and pink coocake for woo!"  She would tell me, "Now clean woo pate."  I wonder where she's heard that before???

If I ever thought life would slow down a little when school started, I was terribly wrong!  JennaBeth is wide open going from the time she gets up until she goes to bed!  But I have to admit, she keeps things interesting, especially when you sit her down with her Boston creme strudel for breakfast and turn around and see this staring back at you...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tombstones and Banana Trees

There once was a little six year old boy who was beaten off a truck and abandoned on the side of the road along with his mother and siblings in western Uganda by his father.  This little boy begged to die.

This same little boy wore banana leaves for shoes.  He lived halfway up a steep hill near the end of a wide-open valley in a village called Rwanjogori, which means "maggots".  Extreme poverty, abuse and witchcraft were the only staples in his life.  Death of friends and family were a daily experience for him.

What became of this little boy?  This little boy has a name:  Medad Birungi.  And Medad is now a Bible teacher, lecturer, pastor and founder of World Shine Ministries, an organization that evangelizes, disciples, and intercedes in prayer in Uganda and around the world.  He is married with five children and lives in Uganda.

Medad tells his amazing story in his book Tombstones and Banana Trees:  A True Story of Revolutionary Forgiveness.  Audra Jennings, publicist for B&B Media Group sent me an Advanced Reader Copy of Medad's book for the purpose of review.  Here from Medad himself about his story:

Medad is very transparent about his personal struggles in the midst of his pain, but it is against that backdrop that his amazing transformation by the grace and mercy of God shines.  Because he experienced the forgiveness of God, he was able to extend forgiveness to those that had scarred him most, including his father.  His story is griping and you will be encouraged to seek the forgiveness of God and will learn how one can extend this revolutionary forgiveness to others.
"As Medad reminds us, when we forgive others, we are doing something truly radical that changes relationships, communities, and countries.  We are welcoming God into the corners of the human soul, where revolutions begin."  (from the back of the book)
While telling his story, Medad shares many insights into the ongoing struggle in Uganda and African culture.  The only negative thing I would say about the book is that it isn't told in chronological order.  The story jumps around a bit and is sometimes a little confusing to keep up with.  However, for me, this was a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of the message told.

Tombstones and Banana Trees can be purchased by following the link below to


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stumbling Into Grace

As some of you may have read in an earlier post, I am excited about going to the Women of Faith Conference in October with my 13 year old daughter.  We are anticipating this trip and I've been telling my daughter about some of the speakers and their backgrounds and what she has in store for the weekend.  So, when I saw that Thomas Nelson had Stumbling Into Grace:  Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper available for review, I jumped at the chance!  They sent me a complimentary copy for the purpose of review.  And I can tell you, you WON'T want to miss this one!  Lisa is going to be one of the speakers at the conference in Ft. Lauderdale on October 28-29.

Stumbling Into Grace is organized like a devotional book and would be best read that way.  Although, it could also be good resource for small group meetings or mentoring/discipleship relationships.  The book is divided into three parts:  Real Life, Real Gifts, and Real Growth.  Each chapter has five short parts:
  1. Lisa's "So, today I've been thinking about..."
  2. Jesus and ... (where Lisa shares a portion of scripture from Jesus' life and ministry in the gospels)
  3. The Heart of His Story (Here she shares biblical commentary which includes some background, history and word studies)
  4. Hope for Our Ongoing Stories (Here Lisa helps us apply the scripture to our present circumstances.)
  5. Living in Light of His Story  (Here Lisa offers a short prayer and about 5 to 8 personal reflection/group discussions)  She also offers a personal journal entry prompt in this section.
Here is a little about Lisa Harper from her website,

Rarely are the terms hilarious storyteller and theological scholar used in the same sentence, much less used to describe the same person…but then again, Lisa Harper is anything but stereotypical! She has been lauded as a gifted communicator, whose writing and speaking overflows with colorful pop culture references that connect the dots between the Bible era and modern life. Her style combines sound scriptural exposition with easy-to-relate to anecdotes and comedic wit.
Best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado calls Lisa one of the “best Bible tour guides around,” and speaker Priscilla Evans Shirer adds, “If anyone can help us to hear, understand and receive the truth of Scripture it is Lisa Harper. Her God-given ability to not merely teach the Word but package it in a way that stirs the heart and calls to action is incomparable. When she speaks ears perk up!” Lisa’s pastor – Scotty Smith of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN – sums up her appealing approach with this commendation, “In a day in which people deeply connect with stories and yet too often find the Bible abstract and irrelevant, Lisa shows us that the 66 books of the Bible are telling one grand story of personal and cosmic redemption, with Jesus starring as the lead character.”
Her vocational resume includes six years as the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry where she created the popular Renewing the Heart conferences, attended by almost 200,000 women, followed by 6 years as the women’s ministry director at a large church in Nashville. Her academic resume includes a Masters of Theological Studies with honors from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Now a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker, Lisa is currently featured on the Women of Faith tour and speaks at many other large multi-denominational events – such as Moody Bible, Women of Joy and Focus on the Family conferences – as well as at hundreds of church retreats all over the world. She’s been on numerous syndicated radio and television programs and was featured on the cover of Today’s Christian Woman.
She’s written nine books including Holding Out For a Hero: A New Spin on Hebrews; A Perfect Mess: Why You Don’t Have to Worry About Being Good Enough For God and Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love With Abandon. She also served as a key contributor to the Becoming Devotional Bible for Women and as a columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine.
Yet in spite of her credentials, the most noticeable thing about Lisa Harper is her authenticity.  When recently asked about her accomplishments she responded with a grin saying, “I’m definitely grateful for the opportunities God’s given me; but don’t forget, He often uses donkeys and rocks!”
By using Stumbling Into Grace during your devotional/quiet times, you will laugh (out loud) and cry, but most importantly, you will be ushered into the presence of the Almighty God Who offers His grace to those of us who are sometimes clumsy spiritually and stumble into His amazing grace!

You can order Lisa's book by following the link to bellow:


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lioness Arising

I read a lot of books and I am always excited to be introduced to a new author.  So, I was anxious to read Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere.  She is married to John Bevere.  You can learn more about them at as well as at PearlAlliance.orgWaterbrookMultnomah sent me a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of review.

I was extremely disappointed in the book's message for several reasons.  The best way I know to share my concerns is in bullet style:
  1. From the very first few pages to the very last page, the book felt like a mantra on feminism cloaked in "Christianese".  Ms Bevere's writing is redundant and there was nothing really new from one chapter to the next.  She encourages women to realize the potential they have to change the world, but offers no real examples of how they can do that specifically.
  2. Ms Bevere downplays the importance of sound doctrine, even calling doctrine "silly" in one place (page 46) and "excessive" when discussing the issue of submission (page 107).  She even seems to blame the church and offers sympathy to the Feminine divine movement in this quote from page 107:  "There is no need to create a female deity that adds value to women if the church would preach truth and original intent."
  3. She quotes Margret Mead over and over.
  4. Ms Bevere quotes The Message in her book.  I have no problem with The Message for devotional/comparison use.  However, Ms Bevere seems to pick passages largely out of context and relies on wording from The Message to make her points because they seem to fit the point she is trying to make.  The example that concerned me the most was her "in depth" look at 1 Corinthians 11 on page 110-111 where she completely takes the passage and makes it say what she wants it to say to make her point.
  5. Her spiritual comparisons of women "rising up" to the lioness in the wild seemed a bit forced and are very loose comparisons at best. 
Now, with all of that said, Ms Bevere says some good things in the book.  For example:
"Walking the realm of good outside of God limits us.  Our present world issues are so incredibly vast they need limitless answers."  (page 24)
"I love women who know how to use seasons of hardship to gain strength."  (page 61)  "God uses hardship as a catalyst for making His people pure, precious and sustainable."  (page 70)
"Allow the Holy Spirit to assess your strength in the light of God's word, and allow hardship to become a training session, knowing you might rise up from it invincible.  Allow the weight of God's Word and the tempering and training of the Holy Spirit to quicken and develop the weak or injured areas of your life. Shift your focus from how you look in your clothing to who you are in your spirit.  Above all, do not fear your strength. Like the lioness, glorify God with it.  Remember, when all the earth is filled with fear and is wondering what is going on, the God of heaven and earth, the Creator of all, calls you to display his fearsome wonder in how you portray your life."  (pg. 76)
I would have to recommend anyone who chooses to read this book to do so with extreme caution and discernment.  Eat the fish and spit out the bones; there are unfortunately lots of bones here!

To get a taste of Ms Bevere's writing you can go HERE to read an excerpt and order the book.

*Due to a mistake in getting two copies of the book sent to me by Waterbrook, I have an extra copy to give away to anyone interested in reading Lioness Arising.  Just leave me a comment with a way to contact you and I'll be happy to send you the extra copy.

*Please take a moment to rank this review.  It helps me get better access to books!!  Thank you in advance!


Monday, August 8, 2011

The First Day

UPDATE:  Scroll down to the bottom of the post for an end of the first day update!!!
They started when I was spraying down his cow lick this morning.  Well, actually I've had them all this past week.  Butterflies...that's what I'm talking about.  I feel like there are a bazillion fluttering around in my stomach.  It really feels more like someone has cut out part of my heart with a butter knife!  Yeah, maybe a little dramatic, but it is all because I can't seem to put my finger on when this...
turned into this...
Or when this...
turned into this...
Where has five (almost 6) years gone?

For the past five years, Bentley has been at home with me.  He's never been in daycare or with a babysitter of any kind.  I have been working with him at home for the past several months on things like letter recognition, writing, counting and other things.  Watching him learn new things and be so excited about learning has been a joy.  This morning I turned all that over to a stranger and quite frankly, it's about to kill me.
I know he will be fine.  He's a smart boy and so good at making new friends; plus he is a little charmer!  That teacher won't know what hit her :)

Not only is Bentley starting kindergarten, but Cecily is beginning her last year in middle school.  Here's my beautiful 8th grader...
She was really sweet snuggling with Bentley at bedtime last night and helping him get his clothes together this morning while I was making his lunch.  Cecily is excited about her classes this year.  She will be involved in costume design with some of the school's plays and can't wait to get started!  I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming!

And don't think for one minute that little miss priss JennaBeth was going to miss out on the excitement this morning...
She already thinks she is Queen Bee around the house and now she has it all to herself.  At this very moment, she is in her "bubba's" room pulling every book off his book shelf!  When she got up this morning, she told Bentley, "I gonna miss woo!"

I'm gonna miss him too, both of them.   Guess I'm strange, but I actually like having my kids around.

I guess it's true what they say, "Growing up is hard to do";  especially for the mama watching it all happen.

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26


*Update:  Bentley made it through his first day of school!!!  Apparently there is a little boy who sits at his table that has chosen him to pick on.  Bentley told us the little boy knocked him off his cafeteria seat and tried to bite him!  However, I'm giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt that she has got this little one on her radar, because Bentley said this little boy had to sit by the teacher seven times today!  Anyway, other than that he seemed to have fun.  

This is how I found him when I had supper ready...

Good night,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Going Beyond "God Bless Them Today"

I've borrowed the title to this post from a chapter title in the amazing book A Mother's Heart: A Look at values, vision, and character for the Christian Mother written by Jean Fleming.  I read this book several years back when my now 13 year old daughter was very little.  Back to that chapter is just a minute.

Yesterday, our family left our house at 10:30 am and did not get back home until a little after 7 pm.  What did we spend all that time doing you ask?  Why back to school shopping of course!  School starts for my kiddos on Monday.  It seems a little awkward to be saying "kiddos"...Cecily (our oldest) is going into 8th grade and Bentley (our five year old) is going into Kindergarten.  Not to say it was any less hard seeing Cecily start school in Kindergarten, but I worked outside the home when she was little.  I had been away from her in her preschool days (something I often regret).  Bentley has never been in daycare or stayed anywhere outside the home.  He's always been at home with me. 

Monday morning is going to be tough on this mama!  You won't waste a prayer on me if I come to your mind on Monday!!

Anyway, back to preparation for school...

As we were in and out of the car shopping for tennis shoes times two and school uniforms times two and well basically everything times two, there was a constant check in my spirit.  I kept thinking to myself:  "You know this is a lot of effort and money being put into today.  We've got everything they need as far as supplies and clothing for school, but..."

But, are they covered?  Sure on the outside, but are they really covered?

I mentioned A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming.  This is what she has to say in the chapter titled Going Beyond "God Bless Charlie" where she speaks about the importance of praying for our children:
"If Jesus Christ faced you squarely with the question, 'What is it you want?' - what would you ask Him to do for you?  Then think of your children.  What would you want Jesus to do for each of them?  What requests should you make for them?  Are there any guidelines to help you know what to pray?  How can you get beyond simply, 'God bless Charlie?'  Grappling with these questions forces us to examine our glib, quick, conscience-easer prayers and to rethink our motives and the content of our prayers for our children."
Ms Fleming goes on to share these three "guidelines" that will help you "ask big" in your prayers for your children:
  1. Pray for them to have a place in the kingdom - pray for each child's salvation.
  2. Pray that they would be a credit to the kingdom - that each child will develop a godly character.  Are the gifts we prepare for our children stitched and formed in prayer?  Is your child keeping bad company?  Are you concerned about various unpredictable influences in his life?  what character qualities could you ask God to develop in your child's life?  Is he responsive to God's Word?  Is he conscious of God's presence?  Is he seeking to obey God?  Is he trusting God in prayer?
  3. Pray that they wold be used to promote the kingdom - that each child will become a servant of others.  The job description is immaterial.  It is their heart for the kingdom that counts.
One thing I have found helpful in my prayers for my children is the Scriptures themselves.  A couple of years ago, Angie Smith (wife of Todd Smith who sings with the group Selah) had some helpful Scripture guided prayers posted on her blog Bring the Rain.  I actually printed them off and keep them in my Bible along with pictures of each of my kiddos:
  1. That Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming:  Matthew 19:13-15
  2. That they will respond in faith to Jesus' faithful, persistent call:  2 Peter 3:9
  3. That they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments:  Matthew 22:37-39
  4. That they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage:  2 Corinthians 6:14
  5. That their thoughts will be pure:  Philippians 4:8
  6. That their hearts wil be stirred to give generously to the Lord's work:  Exodus 35:29
  7. That when the time is right, they will GO!  Matthew 28:18-20
Angie also had these specific prayers to pray over your children at very specific time throughout the day:
  1. When they wake up:  "Let the morning bring _________ word of your unfailing love, for she has put her trust in You.  Show ______ the way he/she should go, for to You he/she lifts up her soul."  Psalm 143:8
  2. When they are getting dressed:  "Therefore, as God's chosen child, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Lord, help _______ bear with others and forgive whatever grievances he/she has against others.  Help him/her forgive as the Lord forgave him/her.  And over all these virtues, help him/her put on love, wich binds them all together in perfect unity."  Colossians 3:12-14
  3. While they are eating:  "Teach ________ the secret of being content in nay and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Teach him/her that he/she can do everything through Him who gives him/her strength."  Philippians 4:12-13
  4. When they go out of the house:  "May ________ not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his/her mind.  Then ______ will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2
  5. While they are taking a bath:  "Lord, give _______ clean hands and a pure heart, and let him/her not lift his/her soul to an idol or swear by what is false.  Let him/her receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his/her Savior.  Let him/her be part of the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob."  Psalm 24:4-6
  6. When they are going to bed:  "The Lord Your God is with you; He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17
  7. While they are sleeping:  "I pray that ______ will do everything without complaining or arguing, so that he/she may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which he/she shines like a star in the universe as he/she holds out the word of life."  Philippians 2:14-16
So, won't you join me in making sure our kids are really covered this new school year?  We've bought the clothes and shoes and supplies, but will we commit to put the same amount of effort, no more effort, into covering our kids in prayer?

Blessings on you and your family as a new school year begins,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let God Change Your Life

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has a new book out titled Let God Change Your Life:  How To Know And Follow Jesus.  Audra Jennings, publicist with B&B Media Group sent me a copy for the purpose of review.

The book is divided into three parts:
  1. How to know God
  2. Discipleship
  3. Making Him known
In the introduction, Laurie cites this quote from Ray Stedman:
"The chief mark of the Christian ought to be the absence of fear and the presence of joy.  We have often quoted the description of a Christian as one who is completely fearless, continually cheerful, and constantly in trouble.  It is that presence of joy and absence of fear that marks our genuine Christianity and proves that we really are what we claim to be."
The Laurie makes these remarks in response:
"That is what the world needs more of today:  Christians who are full of joy and completely fearless.  After all, how can we expect to fulfill the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples if we don't even know what it is to be a disciple ourselves?  As the saying goes, it takes one to make one."
In Let God Change Your Life, Laurie issues the call to all Christians to radical New Testament living by studying Jesus' teachings regarding discipleship and then earnestly applying them to our lives.  Laurie does an exemplary job of carefully looking at scripture and then sharing the important process of application.  I especially appreciated how in part three of the book (Making Him Known), Laurie gave a clear and very biblical picture of the gospel, including an exceptional presentation of  regeneration, repentance, justification, and sanctification.  

You might stereotype Laurie as a liberal and "culturally relevant" pastor of a large California church, but you would be mistaken.  This is what he has to say when addressing the issues surrounding sharing your faith with others:
"People can not fully appreciate the good news until they understand the bad news.  When you talk to people about the Lord, they might ask you whether they have to give up a certain lifestyle.  Sometimes Christians are afraid to deal with that truth.  But it is best to be honest and say, 'Absolutely, you need to turn from that lifestyle, because it's a sin.'  That might offend the person, but it is the truth.  Do it lovingly and do it with grace, but don't back off.
I would highly recommend this book whether you are new in your Christian faith or have been a believer for some time.  The book is clear and well written and would be an excellent choice for use in a mentoring/discipleship relationship with a new believer.

You can visit Harvest Christian Fellowship's website by going HERE.  There you will find a link to Pastor Laurie's blog.

Let God Change Your Life can be purchased by following the link below to


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Theology In Community: The Deity of Christ

The Deity of Christ, edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson and published by Crossway is the third title in the Theology in Community series.  A complimentary copy was sent to me by Crossway for the purpose of review.  The other two titles in this series are:  Suffering and the Goodness of God and The Glory of God.

From the back cover of the book:
"The Theology in Community series assembles teams of scholars to explore key theological themes and apply them to contemporary concerns.  Each volume approaches a topic from the vantage points of the Old and New Testaments, and of historical, systematic, and practical theology.  The books draw upon a variety of contributors to craft a unified and accessible message.  They aim to help pastors, church leaders, and laypersons alike."
Contributors for this volume are:
  1. Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
  2. Alan W. Gomes, Professor of Historical Theology, Talbot School of Theology
  3. J. Nelson Jennings, Professor of World Mission, Covenant Theological Seminary
  4. Andreas J. Kostenberger, Professor of New Testament and Greek, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  5. Christopher W. Morgan, Professor of Theology, California Baptist University
  6. Stephen J. Nichols, Research Professor of Christianity and Culture, Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School
  7. Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, TN
  8. Robert A. Peterson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Covenant Theological Seminary
  9. Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The chapters are:
  1. The Deity of Christ Today (Nichols)
  2. The Deity of Christ and the Old Testament (Ortlund)
  3. The Deity of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels (Wellum)
  4. The Deity of Christ in John's Gospel (Kostenberger)
  5. The Deity of Christ in Apostolic Witness (Wellum)
  6. The Deity of Christ in John's Letters and the Book of Revelation (Kostenberger)
  7. The Deity of Christ in Church History (Bray)
  8. Toward a Systematic Theology of the Deity of Christ (Peterson)
  9. The Deity of Christ and the Cults (Gomes)
  10. The Deity of Christ for Missions, World Religions, and Pluralism (Jennings)
The book is 281 pages in length with appendixes by author, subject and scripture at the end.  The chapters are lengthy with an average chapter being around 25 pages.  The Deity of Christ is a challenging read due to the weightiness of its subject matter and the academic nature of the writing.  With that said, don't be afraid of those challenges and let them stop you from approaching this volume. 

Each contributor puts forth scripture as the first and foremost authority.  You also get perspective from both the Old and New Testaments.  In The Deity of Christ, you will find word studies, quotes from other sources well versed in the study of the deity of Christ, and a careful look at the implications of viewing Christ's deity rightly or wrongly.  I am excited to have this title as a part of my personal library and encourage you to make it a part of yours.

The Deity of Christ can be purchased from Crossway by going HERE.  Or you can order the volume by following the link to provided below: