Category Archives: Currently Reading

Book Review: Passions of the Heart

Passions of the HeartIt can be easy to assume that the struggle with purity, lust, and sexual sin is primarily a man’s problem. I can assure you, it’s not. The struggle with sin (any kind of sin), and the temptation to follow our heart is common to all mankind – men and women.

In his newest book, Passions of the Heart: Biblical Counsel for Stubborn Sexual Sins, Dr. John Street, biblically addresses the motivations at the heart of sexual sin and temptation.

“He is a fool who believes in the goodness of his own heart. He is a fool who believes that the heart is a reliable guide for life. The biblical doctrine of total depravity means that every intention, plan, and purpose of the heart, no matter how good it may seem, is tainted by sin.” pg. 16

In the very first chapter, Dr. Street clearly lays out the true, deceitful nature of our hearts, and the catastrophic results of foolishly trusting our own hearts too much. He then goes on to contrast the differences between the genuine believer and the professing believer, and the distinctions between worldly sorrow and true repentance. This chapter should be required reading for every professing believer who struggles with sin (of any kind).

But, even if you do not believe that sexual sin is an area of struggle or temptation for you, personally, I would encourage you to keep reading.

“Your thought life reveals what you worship, what controls your passions, thereby revealing what you love the most (Matt. 22:37-40).” pg. 32

Each subsequent chapter offers insight into identifying the desires and longings that make the heart susceptible to the temptations of lust, and the bondage and enslavement that results when these desires are sinfully fueled. But, it doesn’t stop there. 

“This may come as a surprise to you, but your goal is not improvement – it is holiness.” pg. 223

In every chapter, this book is filled with biblical commands, exhortations, and admonitions to point the reader toward holiness and purity. But far from the cynical despair, resignation, and hopelessness that often characterizes this struggle for purity, Dr. Street consistently points the reader back to Scripture as the source of grace, hope, and sanctification.

Although this book focuses specifically on the struggle with sexual sin, the biblical principles, thought provoking questions, and recommendations for further reading are extremely helpful in identifying temptations, addressing areas of idolatry, and repenting of sins in every area of life.

I would highly recommend Passions of the Heart to anyone who desires to pursue purity and holiness. I believe it will be an invaluable resource for individuals, couples, families, pastoral counseling, one-on-one discipleship, or men’s or women’s small groups, as a means of biblical accountability in the battle against sexual sin.

Pastors/Churches contact P&R Publishing to order in bulk…at a discount.
Or, y
ou can order a copy here: Amazon Affiliate Link

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Filed under Book Reviews, Currently Reading, Life in Ministry, Marriage, Pastor's Wife, Thinking Biblically

Summer Challenge: Praying for my Children

I a7CD740FF-88E7-4374-A7ED-E959DB5ABA9Dm so excited about my project for this summer!

Praying for our children kind of goes without saying when you’re a mom (or a dad). But, often I feel like I am just “winging it,” with the same old requests for health, safety, and salvation each day. (And, of course, for patience for myself throughout the day!)

I want to be more intentional in my prayer time for the precious lives that the Lord has entrusted to my care each day. So, this summer, I am challenging myself to be more disciplined, not just in how and when I am praying, but also in what I am praying for.

When 2 different friends separately recommended this book, within 24 hours of each other, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do.

I will be reading (and praying!) Through Nancy Guthrie’s The One Year Praying through the Bible for your Kids. Yes, I realize this is a One Year plan. The pages are dated, so I’ll be doing something I usually would recommend against doing, and starting in the middle of the book…on June 1st.

What are you doing this summer?

 

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Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Currently Reading, Life, Life in Ministry, Mommyhood, Pastor's Wife, Summer Challenge, Thinking Biblically

2017 Reading Goals

Last year, I posted a list of 12 books that I wanted to read over the course of 2016. Twelve. There was a time, in the not too distant past, when I could have easily read 12 books in a single month. But, at the beginning of last year, the challenge of reading just one book a month seemed like a major undertaking.

Here I am a year later, and while I didn’t complete my self-imposed assignment, I definitely read more books last year than I did in the past 4 years combined! So, I’ll still call it a win.

The books I read in 2016:

  • The Pastor’s Wife, by Gloria Furman
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, by Gloria Furman
  • Missional Motherhood, by Gloria Furman (Um, yeah. I like her.)
  • A Path Through Suffering, by Elisabeth Elliot
  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Butterfield
  • Modesty, by Martha Peace and Kent Keller
  • The Busy Homeschooling Mom’s Guide to Daylight, by Heidi St. John
  • The Pastor’s Kid, by Barnabas Piper

If you compare, you’ll notice that some of these books were on my list last year. Some of them were not. When it comes to books, I’m kind of like that dog in Disney/Pixar’s “Up.” Books are my “Squirrel!” I frequently pick up new books to read long before I am anywhere close to finishing (or, starting!) the ones I already have.

Being the start of a new year, I have a new list of books that I would like to read in 2017. But, like last year, I am sure I will find more titles to add to the list before the year’s end. So, next January, my list of completed books might bear very little resemblance to this one:

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Counseling the Hard Cases, by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert – I recently told someone that I would make a terrible counselor. And, I really would. But, that is exactly why I am reading this. I have had many opportunities to see the need for solid, biblical counseling in the church. And, as the Lord gives me opportunities to invest in women, whether through casual conversation or formal counseling, I want to be equipped to help them, and to point them to the hope offered in God’s Word.

On Guard, by Deepak Reju – Probably my biggest fear is that of something terrible happening to my children. I have seen too, too many stories of child abuse, at the hands of professing believers…church members. And, in addition to the fear of something happening to my own children is the fear of something happening to one of the little ones in our church family. No, these things should not happen. But, they do. Churches are easy targets. Frankly, this is the book I don’t want to read. But, at the same time, I desperately want to do everything I humanly can to protect these little ones. And, should the unthinkable happen, I want our church to be prepared, and equipped to deal with it correctly.

Women in the Church, by Andreas Kostenberger and Thomas Schreiner – This is an increasingly fuzzy area in the church today. It shouldn’t be. But, it is. As the issue continually comes up for debate, and the “job description” of what women can and cannot do is frequently revised and adjusted to fit modern (and post-modern) sensibilities, I want to be faithful to what God’s Word says on the issue. This is the third edition of this book. It has been updated to address current issues, and to add some new voices to the conversation.

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry, ed. by Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson – The theme of women’s issues/ministry was unintentional. But, not entirely surprising. Ministry to women – teaching, counseling, discipling – is something I have been interested in for a long time. So, books addressing these topics always draw me. Right now, my main sphere of ministry is my home, and my children. I am not responsible for heading up the women’s ministry in our church. But, that does not mean that I am exempt from “ministry.” I want to be faithful to do what I can to love, serve, and encourage the women in our church, older and younger alike. I have heard very good things about this book, and I have appreciated the writing of several of the contributors in the past, so I am looking forward to reading it.

J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone, by Iain Murray – The writings of J.C. Ryle have long been a favorite in our home. His influence can be seen in the fact that our son’s middle name is Ryle. But, although I’ve read much by J.C. Ryle, I have never read much about him.

The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women, by John & Janie Street – My husband gave me this for Christmas. Other than a new Bible, this was the one thing I wanted for Christmas. I started dropping not-at-all subtle hints that I wanted it back in April when we discovered that it was being published. And, my sweet husband wisely picked up on those “hints,” and I found it under the tree on Christmas Afternoon. It is written by our college professor and pastor, and his wife. With 35 years of biblical counseling experience between them, I can only assume that the wisdom in this book is unparalleled. I’ve cheated a little bit, and started reading it before the new year began. And, so far, it is absolutely every bit as good as I expected.

Spiritual Mothering, by Susan Hunt – In terms of the Titus 2 older/younger woman dynamic, I would probably still be considered by most to be in the “younger woman” category. I have 4 children – one pre-teen, and 3 young children, which might increase the perception, and appearance that I am younger than I actually am. So, it might seem odd that I am reading a book about older women investing in the lives of younger women within the church. But, I have seen the desperate desire for this type of relationship. I have heard so many younger women question where the older, “Titus 2” women are.

Seated With Christ, by Heather Holleman – This book was one that my husband brought home from the Shepherd’s Conference last year. I had never heard of it, or the author, before that. But, the subtitle, “Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison,” was intriguing. And, in an age where everyone’s best moments, cleanest rooms, gourmet meals, and well-behaved children are put on full display, it can be hard not to fall into the trap of comparing our own regular, messy, and imperfect lives.

The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance, by Heidi St. John – I have heard Heidi St. John speak at our local homeschooling convention for the past two years. And, I have appreciated her honesty, humor, and passion, as she encourages busy, overwhelmed, homeschooling moms to seek to honor Christ, and to be faithfully in God’s Word, each day. I picked up her book on scheduling and organization a couple of years ago. This past year, I picked up her book on nurturing your marriage. In one of her sessions at this year’s convention, she clearly illustrated the point that the enemy is actively attacking Christian families…and specifically Christian marriages. And, she was absolutely right. I’ve seen it happen. And, for so very many reasons, I do not want to become another casualty of the busyness of homeschooling and ministry.

What are you reading this year?

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Book Review: Wonderfully Made

As a mom of 4…well, soon to be 5, you might think that, by now, this whole pregnancy thing would be getting old and boring. Oh no! I still fill my phone with a variety of apps that entertain me with daily facts about my child’s size and developmental milestones. I still look at each grainy 8 week ultrasound picture with the same amazement I did with my first. I am still in awe of the changes that take place in the few short weeks between those early ultrasounds, and the much more detailed, clear, 4D images at my 20 week scans. I stare at those earliest pictures, and memorize every feature of those sweet faces…and excitedly show them to their big siblings. And each of the older siblings seemed to be equally fascinated by their newest brother or sister.

My oldest was 6 when I was pregnant with her brother, and she had been praying for a baby brother or sister for years. So, she was full of questions right away… How big is he? Is it dark in there? Can he hear me? What does he eat? How did he get in there?

I answered (or avoided) these to the best of my ability.

That baby boy is now a big brother himself. He was only 20 months old when his first little sister was born, and not extremely verbal. But, by the time his second little sister was on the way, he had come up with all sorts of questions of his own….Does she have any toys? Where does she go potty? (All boy, that one.) Can she smell this? Can she see this? Will she get wet? (Asked during a run to the car in the rain.)

I love seeing my children’s early interest in, and love for their younger, pre-born siblings. But, I didn’t always have the answers to all of their questions. And, as I quickly discovered, some apps aren’t always what I consider age-appropriate for little eyes and ears. And, finding good, age-appropriate, biblical resources for children on the topic of conception, and development can be very difficult. I found that many of the books were either way too mature, or way too evolutionary for my liking and conviction.

Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth is different. Danika has written a book that truly does tell God’s story.

The book begins…at the beginning. With God’s design for marriage, the relationship between a husband and wife, and how that special love and commitment leads to the creation of a child. I thought this section was exceptionally well done. I realize that all parents will have their own opinions on how and when to address the question of where babies come from. But, in my opinion, this book offers a clear, but not explicit, explanation that is simple, and entirely appropriate for little ears.

Throughout the book, Danika weaves together the scientific facts of a baby’s weekly development with the beautiful truths of Scripture. As I read this book with my own children (ages 11, 4, 2, and 1), they loved the comparisons of the baby’s size to familiar, everyday objects. We read the book together shortly after discovering that we were expecting baby number 5 to join our family. I was 6 weeks along, and we read that at that point, our baby was about the size of a nail head. My 4-year-old son was especially fascinated by that little fact! My oldest (11) loved the most recent size comparison to a pencil sharpener, at 8 weeks!

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While we read the whole book in one sitting, I like that I can also read one page with them each week, and tell them “This week (week 9!) your brother or sister can already make faces at you!” Or, “In a few weeks (week 14), your baby brother or sister will be able to burp and hiccup!” (This is specifically for my boy.)

The book is wholly wonderful, but my favorite part was the ending. (Yes, I am going to give away the ending!) Just as clearly as she shared about the beginnings of our physical life, Danika shares about the beginning of our spiritual life, when we are born again – in Christ. She ends where life truly begins – with a beautifully simple presentation of the gospel!

This book was designed for children from ages 5 to 11. But, it easily held the attention of my 2, 4, and 11 year olds. I also think this would make a perfect baby shower gift for a new mommy (and daddy!).

I am so thankful to have such a wonderful, biblical resource to share with my children each week as we anticipate the arrival of their newest sibling. And, I would highly recommend this book to any parent – expecting or not.

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Filed under Baby, Biblical Womanhood, Book Reviews, Currently Reading, Life, Mommyhood

A Wonderfully Made Giveaway!

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If you follow me on Facebook, or Instagram, then you may have seen my recent posts about an incredible new resource, Wonderfully Made, by my friend, Danika Cooley.

With each of my children, I have been fascinated by the process of their development…both during my pregnancies and after their births!

I read everything I could find about what they looked like, and what big changes were taking place each week.  I stared at grainy, 8-week ultrasound images…trying to figure out which end was up. And I marveled at the changes that had taken place by the 20-week, 4-D scans! And, I loved comparing those sweet pre-born images to my to my precious newborn babies.

In this book, I love how Danika has woven together the scientific facts of conception, development, and birth, with the truths of Scripture in an engaging and age-appropriate way.

I plan to have a full review coming up later this month…

But, until then, check out the giveaway below, and enter to win a copy of Wonderfully Made, and several other great prizes!

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GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley, I am hosting a wonderful giveaway with the rest of the launch team. The giveaway includes a hardcover copy of the book, along with several other books and products your family is sure to enjoy. The total value of the giveaway is nearly $600!

Wonderfully Made Giveaway

Here is what you could win:

Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley – hardcover $9.99 value

Wonderfully made is an excellent book that introduces a young child to the wonder of God’s creation – the wonder and miracle of birth. From conception in the womb through the nine months within the mother’s womb Danika Cooley takes us on a journey of discovery… the discovery of life.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Touch of Life First Trimester Fetal Models $89.95 value

Sculpted from real-life photos, these four fetal models representing weeks 7, 8, 9, and 10 after conception have a personality of their own, and the life-like feel of the skin brings home the humanity of the preborn baby in its first trimester of life. Accurately portrayed thanks to medical descriptions and photos, these little samples of life are a great educational tool for helping to understand the wonder of the early stages of human development.

Bible Road Trip Year One Curriculum (includes Lower and Upper Grammar Notebooking Journals $60 value

The Bible Road Trip Year One Curriculum is a 463-page digital PDF download of the full Bible Road Trip Year One curriculum for all five levels, preschool through high school. The Bible Road Trip Year One Curriculum includes the Parent / Teacher Guide and 32 weeks of curriculum schedules for all grades.

$100 Amazon Gift Card $100 value

Enjoy shopping amazon.com with a gift of $100 + an adorable bookmark.

Big Bible Science: Experiment and Explore God’s World by Erin Lee Green (Ages 5-11) $12.99 value

Big Bible Science helps children and those who teach them to explore God’s World and God’s Word through real live science experiments. There are twenty-one different units taking students through scientific concepts such as Gravity, Friction, Animal Classification and the Nervous System.

My 1st Books and More by Carine MacKenzie and Philip Ross (ages 4-7) $15.99 value

Who is God? What does he do? Can I know Jesus? Why did he die? Children always have questions about God. They want to know what it means to be a Christian and who Jesus is. My 1st Books and More gives a year’s worth and more of bible readings, devotions and memory verses.

Living Water in the Desert: True Stories of God at Work in Iran by Rebecca Davis  $8.99 value

One man was overcome by the missionary’s kindness. Another was stopped by a vision of men in blue.  One became sick and tired of his own religion. Another saw a man named Jesus in a dream, coming to him on a donkey.  A girl found a strange book on the floor of the library and visited a secret prayer meeting. All of them eventually came to Jesus Christ for His full and free salvation, becoming missionaries to their own people. Seventeen chapters tell true stories of the Living Water pouring out on the country of Iran, even up to the present day.

Lights in a Dark Place: True Stories of God at Work in Colombia by Rebecca Davis (ages 7-12)  $8.99 value

Colombia has been known as a land of violence, but God is at work! Even though the Colombian people have reacted with violence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God has delivered people from burning houses . . . God has healed ones who cursed . . . God has given people dreams and visions . . . God has rescued kidnapers . . . God has conquered demons of darkness. Read fourteen true stories of the Light of the World shining in the land of Colombia, South America.

Jungle Doctor’s Monkey Tales by Paul White $8.99 value

The wisdom of monkeys is proverbially small. They never could remember not to get too near to the hind feet of zebra, nor to throw coconuts at Chewi the leopard, nor to look into the eyes of snakes. Luckily for his little nephews, Uncle Nyani, the only survivor of a family of seven, is always near at hand to tell them how they can live to be as old as he is!

Jungle Doctor’s Tug-of-War by Paul White (ages 5-11) $8.99 value

Even by monkey standards, young Toto is pretty dim! Those baddies of the jungle, Crunch the Crocodile, Mbisi the Hyena, Slinki the Jackal, Vibi the Vulture and Gnark the crow look as though they are going to have an easy time finishing him off. However, Toto soon finds himself in the middle of a tug-of-war, for his real friends, Elephant, Giraffe, Parrot and Hornbill are determined to rescue him from the clutches of the jungle underworld.

The Bible’s Big Story: Salvation History for Kids by James M. Hamilton Jr. $4.99

With easily remembered rhymes and Bible verses take your child through the span of Salvation History from Creation to the Fall, the Flood to the Exodus, the Exile to the Crucifixion and beyond… James M. Hamilton writes about real history, God’s Salvation History, and our future.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership $97

1000s of topical pages, themes, and designs . . . Perfect for any subject or study A to Z!

Art Study ♦ Copywork ♦ Character Study ♦ Famous Men & Women ♦ Geography (state/country studies, continental, world maps) ♦ History of the Ancient World, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, and Modern Times ♦ Music Study ♦ Nature Study ♦ Science ♦ Timelines ♦ and more!

Mom’s Toolbelt Lifetime Membership $24.95

A customizable home management planner for every area of your life that craves order.

Hal and Melanie Young: Mom & Dad Special: Raising Real Men (book + audiobook) plus a free registration to both Boot Camp 9-12 AND Boyhood Boot Camp. $101 value

If this is God’s chosen gift to us, then why does it seem so hard? How can we prepare these boys to serve God when we can barely make it through the day? Isn’t there a better way? The answer is yes.

When You Lie Down: Lullabies and Scripture Songs CD $12.97 value

These twelve songs remind us that true rest, comfort and hope come from God alone. This music is an awesome way to experience God’s Word with your baby, kids and family. You will discover that this album will be a powerful addition to use in your personal time with God.

Seeds Onesie- Psalm 139:13-14  $14.97 value

Seeds Family Worship Onesie featuring Psalm 139:13-14 on the front with a small Seeds logo on the back.

Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN $14.99 value

The later elementary age years are among the greatest times to build responsibility in children. Heart transformation takes place when parents use other tools than behavior modification.

Elementary Foundations: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 5-8by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN $14.99 value

Many new things happen during the ages of 5-8. Children start school, develop significant friendships, learn to think abstractly instead of just concretely, and have a greater ability to draw close to God. Parenting during this stage produces a number of challenges and opportunities so you’ll want to be prepared.

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, age 18 and older. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, April 20 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced at the Wonderfully Made Facebook Release Party (winner does not have to be present to win, but we hope you’ll be there!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You’re Invited!

Join us for the Wonderfully Made Facebook Release Party on Thursday, April 21. We’ll have even more giveaways and freebies, too! The party begins at 9pm EST, and you can RSVP on the event page

Please RSVP!

Wonderfully Made Facebook Release Party, Thursday, April 21, 9pm EST

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Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Book Reviews, Currently Reading, Life, Mommyhood, Thinking Biblically