Book Review: Note To Self (Joe Thorn)

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“Like the Israel of old, you tend to forget the most basic things.  Important thigns.  You need constant reminders, and what you have been gleaning from others is not enough.  You need to find ways to remind yourself about the things that matter, because when you aren’t intentionally setting the truth before yourself you forget.” (pg 135)

If you have ever heard the term “preach the gospel to yourself!”, made popular by people like Lloyd-Jones, Jerry Bridges, and CJ Mahaney – here is a how-to book.  I love Joe’s simple truths, yet ones that we need to hear every day.

He has given us 48 “sermons” that we can preach to ourselves.  They each take about 3 minutes to read – so its a perfect addition to your daily quiet time. 

Be compelled to start taking the Word that you are reading and putting it into practice in your daily life: life with children, life with your husband, life in the workplace or in your home community group.  Apply it to the areas of your personal life where you are struggling, apply it to the areas of life where you are winning!

God’s Word is applicable to every part of your life – not just the Sunday morning corporate worship time.  After finishing Joe’s book – write your own Note To Self book (this is what I’m doing for a friend as a gift).  Use can use personal verses that mean a lot to you and write them down, stick it in your purse or in your car – so you can read it often.

“God’s face shines on you when you are learning – experientially – His Word.  This means His favor and blessing are upon you, and that you have sweet communion with Him through Scripture, but only when you receive it for what it is; God’s life-giving Word meant to be believer, received, and obeyed – not only dissected.” (pg 130)

Here are just some of the “mini-sermons” that I liked from Joe:

“Thankfulness is the joyful and humble response of a heart that has been transformed by grace.” (pg 43)

“Small Jesus does not inspire awe, command respect, lead to worship, or compel us to talk of him (much less suffer for him).  And small Jesus is too little to arrest the attention of the world.” (pg 48)

“You have to make the most, not just of the day as a whole, but of all the parts that make up the day.” (pg 90) – This is helping me be like some other women I know who are industrious and not wasters of time.  I don’t do this perfectly, but God is working grace in me in this area.  Thankful.

“Stop thinking so small when it comes to teh church gathering for worship.  It is for God’s pleasure, your good, and the health of your church.  Prepare for such a meeting with God today, and worship out loud with your brothers and sisters.” (pg 116)

“You should be seeking God for wisdom and strength in the midst of your calling, whether that is in the home, at the office, or in the garage.” (pg 118)


Books This Week:

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Since I’m actually getting opportunity to read more, I’ll probably update this little list weekly. 

1.  This Momentary Marriage: I’m really loving this book by John Piper and how it includes singleness and divorce in a book on marriage.  His reasoning: to keep us from idolizing marriage.

2.  I do…Every Day: This is a quick Kindle read that offers practicle life suggestions for newlyweds.

3.  Note to Self: Be SBTS grad Joe Thorn.  Practical book (and short daily reads) to help you know what to preach to yourself.

4.  Lit!: Helps me with all this reading.

5.  Excellence: Mostly for Christian scholarship – but trying to apply it to everyday life as well.

6.  God on Sex: this book is very practical


You may ask yourself – what about the other books that were on your list.  Still in the currently reading pile – but these on this list are what I’m concentrating on this week.

Play Your Position – Mark Chanski

posted in: Books, Women | 2

A retired soccer coach talks to women.  It was a pep talk, a halftime hoorah speech.

Mark Chanski spoke last night at Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, NC.  I went to hear him after reading some of both of his books, Manly Dominion and Womanly Dominion during my years at SBTS.  I also wanted to go because I’ve recently been married so I wanted to be encouraged in my now-role as wife and helpmeet.

Mark Chanski is a husband, father, and pastor in Holland, MI.  He writes from three decades worth of husband-experience and shares his discernments from God’s Word in both of his books. 

1.  Play Your Position

2.  Win It!

Those were both of his exhortations to us ladies (ranging from 11-80ish).  (Side note: I was very thankful to see females from every age group.  True Titus 2 living!)  Pastor Mark would spend the next 45 minutes broadening his meaning of these two coach’s screams.

Womanly Dominion Culturally Challenged.

The Word of God is true and unchanging, living and active.  So, why would we think God’s commands and prescriptions for us as females would not come under attack by a world that doesn’t consider truth to be absolute?  The serpent under-minded God’s spoken word in Genesis when he confronted Eve’s understanding of God’s goodness.  The serpent still undermines God’s truth today.  But, God’s Word stands firm and will never fail.

The culture around us wants to challenge our personal intensity.  No matter the age – we will be bombarded with problems in this area:

In high school, we will be challenge by either extreme: set our minds and focus on the best GPA possible (at the cost of all other objectives) or to slouch and not do our best.  We will be tempted to not pursue callings and gifts that we have because the world will tell us that they are not a worthy cause.

In college, we may be tempted by a professor to pursue a PhD (which is not evil in its own merit) to the dismissal of marriage, which is obviously a patriachal institution.

As single women, we will be tempted to go forward in relationships that aren’t pleasing to the Lord or to be the pursuer in relationships – not willing to wait on God’s perfect timing in His giving us all good gifts (Romans 8:32).

As married women, we will be tempted to run hard after everything we can, forgetting we are called to be a helper suitable to our mates, a wife of a husband.  We will be tempted to have our homes live up to the latest Pinterest home or Pottery Barn catalogue. 

Chanski encouraged us no matter the assignment in life – to be tough minded, sober-minded in that and fulfill our assignment with excellence.

We will also hear the world questioning the positional authority God has given to us.  We need to be firm where God has assigned us and not let the world and all of its lies lead us astray.  God has called each of us to where we are.  It might change (like mine just did, more on that later), but God never changes.  Listen for His voice.

Womanly Dominion Scripturally Expounded.  Mark stayed in two verses for the evening: Genesis 1:27-28. 

Domination.  Since we have been created in the image of God, that is a given statement, we are to be like him.  In these verses, we are to be like him in our “bringing into bondage” the earth.  Subdue the earth, work the earth.  Before God spoke the world into creation – the earth was without form and void.  Since creation, it has order and design.  We are to not let our “given assignments” be chaotic or out of control.  That is not how we are to be like God, mirroring and imaging our Creator.

Procreation.  Through childbearing – we women (men can’t have babies, deliver babies – though we need them in the process) – we get to participate in salvation.  We get to have children that will help populate the earth who will be part of the throng around the throne from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  After the Fall, Eve’s “punishment” came in the form of pain during childbearing.  I was reading this morning that even though there is pain, motherhood is still worth it (and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity one day).  In the focal verses: we are giving the command and sacred focus on filling the earth.  What questions does that raise?  How many childrend should one couple have?  Should you/must you adopt?  What about sexual protection from pregnancy or medical help to seek out infertitlity.  This one verse touches on so many familial and birth ethics in today’s society.

Position.  Chanski affirmed our sameness in essence with men.  We are not higher or lower – we have just been given a different position.  He spoke briefly on the Trinity and how their positions in the Godhead give us great insight into our position as women – same in being, different in position.  To see more on that topic, see Bruce Ware’s book: Father, Son, Holy SpiritWe are not to be androginous which society would like us to lean toward: women in battle, women playing men’s sports, men wearing skinny jeans or wearing earrings, parents raising their children “sexless” until they can determine what they want to be.  We see it.  This denial of the truth of sexuality.  There is diversity in function in the created sexual genders. God has a beautiful plan for males and females.  He does all for His glory.

So, in a nut shell: know and play your position.  Don’t assume your position.  Know it.  Trust it.  Make sure it lines up with the Word of God.  Then, play your position with all your might as unto the Lord and not unto men.

Here are my take home moments.  My encouragement from my husband was to listen for the Shepherd’s voice.

1.  Assignment.  As we have been studying 1 Corinthians 7 this week in home fellowship group, I have been thinking about my current assignment.  It has changed.  I am not a wife, a helper (hopefully) suitable to E.  That is my primary role that God has given me.  How is it different from being a single living to the glory of God.  Being a wife living for the glory of God is quite different.  My brain goes a million miles a minute imagining the judgment and expectations from those around me.  I need to listen to the Word, listen to E, and listen to wise counsel around me (and not the voices in my head).

2.  A new book that I’ll be reading is Excellence by Kostenberger.  I’m very much looking forward to the hard read.  And that was Chanski’s whole entire second point – Win it!  Play your position with excellence.  So…how do I keep my home with excellence?  How do I love and serve my husband with excellence?  How will my relationships with friends change but still be lived with excellence? 

3.  My only caution: women – don’t focus too much on the domination.  When I think of the word domination I think of ego, power, complete control, mean-spirited, take over.  While E has given me “domination” over the keep of the home (meaning, he tells me the home is my domain), he is meaning that to be a blessing.  So, while I have complete “domination” over the menu each week, that doesn’t mean I should fail to get his imput.  That domination needs to still be lived out under our husband’s authority and the grace of God.

Play your position and win it!


Piper on Teaching Children

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Ok – I don’t have children (yet) but I write for children (and for teachers who teach children.  And some of those teachers are parents.)

“All of us are training our children both intentionally and unintentionally.  We need to make sure we aren’t leaving the important things to happenstance.  We know it’s crucial that they become familiar with God, our Heirloom and our only hope for real life.  We yearn for them to love and trust and follow Christ.  It would be foolish just to wait for them to learn that by chance.  We must plan to reflect God and teach about Christ in the repeated events of our lives.”

(Noel Piper, Treasuring God in our Traditions, pg 35)

EC and I practice things now that hopefully, one day, when our family grows, they will be able to follow us as we follow Christ, however imperfectly.  New Elder nomations last night at church were asked about this question.  Each answered sufficiently and were very emphatic that families are important in teaching Christ in the lives of children.

Currently Reading:

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My new normal: no internet at home and no cable at home: more time to read!  So excited about this. (Really, I’m not just saying this).  I’ve only watched one.25 football games this season.  so, I don’t watch television, I have laundry to do and time to wait for cookies to bake and sauces to simmer.  I read while EC is getting ready for bed.  I read in the mornings.  I read in the car (when I’m waiting, not driving). I don’t have kids so I can read more.  I read because it helps me think more, write better (don’t laugh) and it stirs my brain and heart.  I like to read.  So, let me make a suggestion.  Pick one of these and read it!  Let me know what you think. 

1.  Bonhoeffer.  On Kindle.  This is dragging for me primarily because of all the German history right now – but know it will get better.  Can’t wait to see how God uses it in my life!

2.  The Story Girl.  On Kindle.  LMM.  Just a fun story – nothing deep.  Just fun.  And its FREE on Kindle right now!

3.  Anne of Avonlea.  Borrowed.  LMM.  Love the movie – now to dig into the classic.

4.  From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife.  Marla Taviano.  Be praying for her and her husband as they have recently had medical problems in their family.  This book is out of print, but I was given an extra one by Marla to have a giveaway with – so stay tuned.  When I’m done – I’ll be offering one to a lucky reader!

5.  Walking in the Spirit.  Berding.  Such a great book on Romans 8.  Very readable.  I’m going to start reading through this one (again) with a friend.

6.  Lit!  Tony Reinke.  On reading.  Helpful.

7.  What Did You Expect.  Tripp.  Great marriage book.  Basically on how to keep short accounts and offer forgiveness.  Love it.

8.  This Momentary Marriage.  Piper.  A serious look at marriage and how it mirrors the gospel.  True to Piper style!

9.  Treasuring God in Our Traditions.  N. Piper.  Especially now as I have a family, I want to think through these thoughts that Piper offers more.

10.  Love That Lasts.  Gary and Betsy Ricucci.  Going through it together with EC.  Very good read to read aloud on a date night and ask questions.  Has prompted many good discussions and times together.

11.  God on Sex.  Danny Akin.  We sat with them at a wedding over the summer.  He blessed us with this book.  It is good – great on the power of communication.

12.  Note to Self.  Joe Thorn.  A little book on preaching the gospel to  yourself.

13.  The Hidden Art of Homemaking.  Schaeffer.  On the running of a home and how to make it an art form

14.  A Young Woman’s Guide.  John Angell James.  Sermons preached for women.  (If you have a kindle, this is only 99 cents right now – I recommend it)

15.  Prayers of An Excellent Wife. Andrew Case.  For EC.

So – in chronological snobbery style: I have two 1800s books (or early 1900s), some 80s, 90s, and even some 2011.  So, I have a broad spectrum. 

Keep watching for quotes from these and other books.

Tony Reinke: Lit!

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If you love to read, and you are a believer, this book is for you.

Joan Didion “When I’m near the end of a book, I need to sleep in the same room with it.”

About 8 years ago I heard a friend of mine deliver a talk to college students.  This talk was on how to watch movies (or any other forms of media) with a Christian worldview.  He didn’t declare that all forms of media were off limits except those produced by Christians with a “Jesus, Man!” hurrah at the end of it.  However, he did give some very specific pointers for how to watch media and engage with a lost culture by changing the habit of watching movies.  It has changed how I watch movies (and I love movies).

This book has done the same for me in how I read books.  I love to read.  I usually have about 10 going at one time: fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, journals.  Books for my personal life, for my hobbies, or for my job.  All of these can be read using a Christian worldview – even if it is a book on how to style food for photography!

Tony Reinke, in Lit!, gives his readers tips on how to read.  You may think we don’t need another book on this – but pick it up and you’ll see that this book is very helpful.  Whether you like to read fiction or classic literature, the latest Max Lucado book or you would rather pick up Andreas Kostenberger’s latest New Testament commentary – Lit! will give you some guidelines on how to read them.

Gospel-Centered reading?  You bet!  Reinke even devotes a whole chapter in how our sin and the gospel affects our reading.  Oh believe me, how true this is.  Sin and our sinful hearts affect what we read and what affects us.  We can live captured by these thoughts or we can pour our attention on Scripture and edifying books.  But, even if we don’t ONLY read biblical books, or Christian books (which aren’t always helpful and gospel-centered or true) – sin and the gospel affects our reading.

“Faith in Jesus brings with it a critically important benefit for the Christian reader – discernment.” (pg 35). 

Reinke shares personal stories and brings humor into this book.  It is readable and thoroughly helpful.

Mahaney on What is Precious

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One of my top ten books of all times…look forward to going through it with a sweet friend this year:

“Remember that we vowed in our wedding ceremony to love and to cherish till death do us part?  Do we even understand what we promised to do?  To cherish means to hold dear, to care for tenderly or to nurture, to cling fondly to, or treat as precious.”

(Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal, pg 44)

First Blog post Wedding

posted in: Books | 2

Well, sorry it has been so long.

I got married, went on a 2-week East Coast/Canada road trip with my new husband, got back, had about 2000 google reads to wade through, got back into editing and writing, and am just now sitting down to write a blog post.

Waiting on some more pictures before I do a wedding and honeymoon blog post – or several.  I promise you they are coming though.

Marriage: is not rated high enough.  I highly recommend it – to the right person who believes that Jesus makes all things possible and great!

PEI – a gentle island is a great name for this place!

Boom Burger – must eat when in Charlottetown PEI.

Books I’m reading right now: This Momentary Marriage, Vintage Church, What Did You Expect, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, and the Gospel of Mark.  Oh, and Walking by the Spirit and I need to start reading LIT! and Anne of Avonlea.  Wow – yes, I do have time to read, some.

More blogs coming.  I promise!  And I’m even cooking!

Book Review: Walking in the Spirit: Kenneth Berding

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This is definitely a concept I am learning so much about as I am about to get married.  When living that closely in relationship with someone else, life has to be lived in the Spirit.  I wish I could say I’ve always thought about living in the spirit every day of my life, but I haven’t.  We get in “I can do this” mode and forget that we must engage and submit to the Spirit every moment of our livs.

Kenneth Berding has written a helpful and deliberate book to show us how to do this and what this looks like in our daily lives.  With study questions at the end of each readable, short(er) chapter, this book would be great in engaging study with a small group of women or possibly reading through it with your spouse, or maybe a teenager son or daughter during family devotions.

Berding walks through Romans 8, such a powerful chapter of the Bible, and what this Scripture passage says and what is looks like in the every-day world.  Berding not only gives great insight into the passage from a Biblical studies aspect, but also from a personal aspect – with antecdotes and personal application.

Here is one ending paragraph:

“How are your spiritual ankle muscles?  Have they atrophied due to inactivity?  It will take time to get accustomed to a moment-by-moment, day-by-day walk in the Spirit if this is not the regular pattern of your life.  But is this not what you most deeply desire?  Can you hear the Spirit calling you to journey with Him?  My prayer and hope for you is that you will respond to the Spirit’s invitation to live a life of dependence and hope and wisdom and courage and holiness and prayer…all empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.” (pg 27)

May your whole life and all your relationships look and be difference after you read this book.  May the Spirit use it mightily in your life.

Savoring Living Water: Book Review

posted in: Bible, Books, Women | 8

Are your quiet times ever dry?

Do you feel like the Bible should be more nourishing to you than what you are currently receiving?

Do you need some “juice” to get your daily walk with God into a run?

My friend Lara and her writing partner and friend, Katie, have written a helpful and readable e-book to help answer these such questions.  There are times when every woman feels like that their quiet times just aren’t what they should be.  Maybe you are a mother of young children and its hard for you to even get in 5 minutes a day (while you are taking a shower, usually).  Or maybe you a mom of teenagers and you pray for them constantly.  Maybe you are married and you find your role as a wife to be overwhelming.  Maybe you are single and you are looking for direction.

God’s Word has the answers to all of these life situations and you CAN get the most out of God’s Word.  God’s Word is sufficient for all your needs and His Word is true.

Maybe, you are reading this, and you’ve never had a quiet time.  You don’t know how.  Katie and Lara address this issue – then take that deeper.  Its not just a scheduling how-to, its a heart how-to.  So, this book is good for you – wherever you are in your journey with Christ.

Hear these words: “I wake up wanting to hold the reigns of control and set my agenda.  Before my feet hit the floor my mind takes off.  I have to start the day low.  I am the needy one – empty-handed and thirsty for His presence.  I arise from my slumber into His day – His plan.  I’m the one who slept all night while He never wearied.”

Ladies – this book has great insight, honest feelings, and great resources to help you journey on and savor the Living Water of Christ through the Words of the Bible.

Savor.  Win a free e-copy of this by leaving a comment about your favorite Bible verse and what it means to you!  Thanks Lara and Katie!