September Reads

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September Reads

I think reading is one of the best ways to better yourself.  If you are reading the Bible – it is about learning the gospel of God to know God better.  If you are reading a cookbook, then you want to make your cooking better.  If you are reading a comic book, you want to laugh better.  Get it?

Before I get to the list of mine for this month, I want to encourage you to go read this post by Doug Wilson about how to read more.  It will be of benefit to you.  I know lots of seminary profs who are friends that read several books a week.  I don’t read that fast.  I would love to get through 2-3 a month.

So here are some I’m reading this month (mostly finishing up, because I’ve started all of these – and only have a few pages left in some, but I want to complete!!)

French Women Don’t Get Fat: I am so far loving this book.  I read it at night and it gets my mind reset to keep on my healthy journey.

A Woman’s Wisdom: This is a great book and helpful to women.  Lydia Brownback writes clearly to help women in any stage of life know how to apply the Proverbs to their lives.  This will be extremely helpful to me this month, especially in my parenting journey.

Peter Pan: I love any movie about Peter Pan – and I want to get to know more about Barrie in the future.  My mister and I are currently watching Hook which he has never seen, which I personally think is one of the late Robin Williams’ best roles.

Fierce Convictions: This is a biography that is about God, the gospel, justice, and women.  It is great – and I only have a little bit left to finish it.

What are you reading this month?


Opinions are Overrated

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Friends of mine have a rule to not speak to each other before a certain time in the morning – mainly because I think they aren’t morning people (at least they have learned these things in their marriage). That is somewhat anecdotal – but how many times do our tongues get us into trouble.

My trouble?  Always (or a lot of the time) speaking what I think.  Sharing my opinion.  As of this morning, I think that opinions are overrated.  (Didn’t I just share an opinion – I’ve got a long road to recovery!)

Here is why and some guidelines as to whether you should share your opinion or not:

1.  Eph 4.29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  I won’t even give examples, but use your brain and heart to answer these questions about your opinions that you so are ready to share: 1.  Is it corrupting?  2.  Will it build up every hearer?  3.  Does it fit the occasion?  4.  Will it give grace?

2.  Deut 30: 14, 19-20a: “But the word is very near you.  It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and, blessing and curse.  Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him.”  Again – no examples, just questions: 1.  Is what you are about to say a biblically based opinion (of course I’m not talking about mundane things like choosing a restaurant).  2.  Will it bring blessing or cursing?  3.  Are you being obedient to the Lord in sharing or even having that said opinion?

3.  Proverbs 21:2, 23: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.  Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”  1.  Would the Lord agree with your opinion you are about to share (meaning what is in  your heart and why are you sharing it)?  2.  What is your heart motivation in sharing your opinion or being heard (often for me it is because of pride and I think I’m right)?  3  Do you daily practice “keeping your tongue”?

After some previous conversations and looking more in depth at these verses and asking these questions – I may do a lot less talking and a lot more listening.

Book Review: A Woman’s Wisdom (Brownback)

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Are you ever at a point in your life where you don’t need any wisdom?  I would venture to say the answer is probably “Kim, you are so funny, I always need more wisdom!”  Whether it is in how to live in your relationships, serve in your home or ministry positions, how to get along with your boss, how to parent your children, how to manage conflict which seems to creep up, etc.  There is always room for more wisdom in your life.

The reason I chose Lydia Brownback’s book A Woman’s Wisdom for my Crossway book to review was because my hubs and I are going through James – which some people say is the NT book of Wisdom (matching Proverbs).  This book is definitely that, as her subtitle says “how the book of Proverbs speaks to everything.”

This handy guide to everything in life is chocked full of Scripture that has the power to change and mold your life to what Christ would want it to be – more like Him.  Chapters include such topics as words, financaes, sexuality, friendships and more.  The book of Proverbs (as well as the rest of the Bible) speaks to EVERY area of our life.  I love how Lydia writes directly to women and doesn’t just spout off her own life advice (like so many secular authors do), but points her readers back to the TRUTH of God’s Word.

Here are some fave quotes from it:

“Wisdom is the realization that He is everything.” (pg 23)

“Wise women are governed by the principles of God’s Word, not by their feelings, hormones, or enjoyments.” (pg 28) – I loved this one because it is SO pivotal in my life right now, being in my third trimester and its the middle of the summer!

She helps us guard against pride by saying this: “Each one of us is, in some way, a foolish woman.” (pg 51)

As I had the chance the meet Lydia at the TGCW Conference in June, I found her to be delightful and personable, welcoming conversation by us “normal folk”.  And she has to be into health because she was eating a granola bar! 🙂

Peace and Wisdom

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There are two types of wisdom according to the book of James: earthly and “wisdom from above”.  Which one characterizes you and your daily interactions with other believers.  As I read some in Lydia Brownback’s book this morning, I was reminded of how we should act and be in our relationships with other believers, especially in corporate gatherings.

So often since I’ve been old enough to recognize it, I see and dislike politics within the church.  I am not talking here about Democrats and Republicans.  I am more referring to one-upping others to get one’s way or catering to the powers that be or financial preferences one can see any virtually any religious organization or denomination.  I’m referring to fights at religious gatherings or arguments over non-important matters.  Even in important matters, there is a way to discuss with “wisdom from above.”

As we relate every day as Christians in a world full of other Christians, all in need of saving grace, may we remember these verses:

James 3:13-18

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Tedd Tripp Live: Parenting Teenagers

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Ah, the joy. I don’t know which was worse for my parents: parenting me when I was little or parenting me when I was a teenager. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to be a parent, but I hope I apply some of these truths now.

Session 3 – Teenagers
Who are teenagers are: insecure, vulnerable, unstable, apprehensive, tend to resist authority.
Common mistakes parents of teens make: spy, disengage, authoritarian vs influence, reckless words, majoring on minors. Do I want to be a person of influence in my teenagers life or do I want to be just seen as an authority figure. There is a difference. Reckless words wound like a sword… Words can be so destructive. The tongue of the wise brings healing.

Goals of teenagers: internalize the gospel, You are parents want your teenagers to embrace God’s truth as their own living faith. They are actually believing, living, acting on the beliefs of the gospel. Even if you walked away from the faith, they would continue to live on the Word of God. Use Scriptures in the life of your teenagers. God’s Word is invaluable, sufficient, God-breathed. The Spirit of God works through the Word of God in the teenager’s heart. Bring objective truth of the Scripture to your parenting of teenagers. God wrote those words. If your kids have a problem with it – they have a problem with God, not with you. You want to shepherd and nurturing your teens interaction with the truth of the Word of God. There is wisdom and vitality in the words of God.
Who is wise among you? James 3. Let them see it by your actions.

There will be periods of doubt in your teenagers. They will doubt. They will wrestle with issues of the faith. Do I believe this because I believe it or that I’ve always been taught this by my parents? They need to internalize their faith. They need to make the transference. You do not need to be surprised by this doubt, but work with your child through this, pray with your teenagers through this. Engage with them, interact with them, study, pursue them,
Ultimately, you want to develop relationships that leads to mutuality of adults under God. There is a difference how you will relate to your teenager once he is an adult. Proverbs 1:
1. The Fear of God. Show the greatness and excellence of God. Proverbs 1.7. He is more than our friend. He is God. We emphasize the familiarity of God and deemphasize his God-ness.
2. Do not forsake your parents teaching. Remind them that no one loves them as you do. Proverbs 1:8-9, Deut 6:4-9. Corrective disciplines are ways of life. Don’t see teenage rebellion is inevitable. Plead with your kids to not walk away. It is far too frequent, but not inevitable. The importance of maintaining this relationship is crucial. Parents and adults should not irrelevant in your youth ministry, churches, or your teenager’s relationships. Give your kids permission to tell you when you have hurt them. Be open with them. BE mindful of the gospel with them.
3. Disassociation from the wicked. The attraction of association with the wicked is camaraderie with a sense of belonging. Make home a great place to belong. Proverbs 1:10-19. Unless you are living in a cocoon some place, this will happen. There will be influences who are pulling on your kids heart – to lure them away from the gospel of God. Sin is so pretty. We need to help our children know how to pull away from those situations. Why would our kids be drawn to sin? US. Us is a key point of Prov 1. (I think of a recent Criminal Minds episode here). Attraction of belonging. We are dealing with desperate, sensitive, unstable teenagers. Any place they belong will be great. Make sure they belong and are welcome at home. You must engage them. They are looking to belong. Welcome their friends. Talk with their friends. Open your home. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to engage teenagers. They crave belonging. It matters more than your carpet and your china. They will spill cokes and they will break your dishes. Which is more important? Your child’s heart or your dinnerware? It’s just stuff!

Point Life to Wisdom

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 Two words I love right now: point and wisdom. 

Point: an end or object to be achieved

Wisdom: the fear of the Lord (Prov 1.7)

As I sit to breakfast each morning, I’ve been reading through the Proverbs, a chapter corresponding to the day of the month.  This morning’s reading was incredible rich.  I thought I would share the scribbles as we live our lives under the Gospel.

What do I want to be: (only by the grace of God since there is nothing good in me and I can’t do this on my own)

1.  I want to walk in whole speech.  See: Col.4, Dt 30.19-20, Eph 5.  Titus 2 tells us to not be slanderers.  In DeYoung’s book he lists Question 112 from the Heidelberg Catechism on the 9th commandment.  This is the answer: “God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone without a hearing or without a just cause.  I should love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.  And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.”  More than that – I want my speech to always be gracious.  I want there to be something in my speech that offers the grace of Christ to everyone I meet – in everything I say.

2.  I want to have pure desires.  I see this a lot in movies, in the lives of young girls, etc.  They see something, they desire to have it, and they go after it without much thinking or prayer or seeking advice (see James 1).  How many times have I done this?  Let my desires be known and start day-dreaming about these desires without even really knowing what I’m desiring.  I pray this directly over my thought life, my heart and mind, this morning over a pb toast.

3.  I want to be quick to forgive.  This weekend I hung out with a family with 3 young children.  The mom said something to me, highlighting a grace trait of her eldest: he is quick to forgive, he shows me more of the gospel that way than I show him.  We, as selfish and sinful people, long to hold on to grudges.  I recount wrongs done to me in the past as a form of self-righteousness or illustration.  In many cases, I have forgiven the person – but by this action I am not practicing #1 and I am not letting the person live in the grace of Christ and the power of the gospel (Rom 8.1)

4.  I want to not be quarrelsome.  When anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, they usually got two answers: Barbara Mandrell or a lawyer.  I can sing and I can argue.  But, when I look at the traits for a wife, or even a child or Christian – we are not to be quarrelsome.  I don’t even like being around quarrelsome people, its irritating and makes me shrink back and get quiet.  I don’t like it.  So, why do I allow it in myself. 

5.  I want to be prudent.  I asked for prayer for this this morning in staff meeting.  M-W gives the definition as  skill and good judgment in the use of resources.  This is very broad – but here we go: wise use of food, of money, of time, of brain function, of skills and traits, or relationships.  All of these are resources.  How are you being good stewards (another fave word lately)?

6.  I want to be a listener to advice and an accepter of instruction.  This is undergirded with having wise advisors.  We shouldn’t take advice from everyone, because some will give us poor advice: (especially if we get all of our advice on family, relationships, food, religion from popular talk shows and magazines).  On a plane one time I sat ready Redbook I think.  Reading an article on relationships.  I felt crappy after that – not wanting to even get married or ever have sex.  (Note to self, don’t read this stuff).  But, I got off the plane and called friends who spoke wisdom and encouragement from a God-bent that guarded me against the fiery darts of the Enemy.  And I am surrounded by people now in life that speak truth and the gospel into my life at every stage.  So, by being shaped by them and their impacting me with the gospel – I in turn change and shape and pour into others – by the Impact and in the strength of the Gospel.

7.  I desire steadfast love.  Jonah 2.8-9 has been on my bathroom mirror almost since I arrived in RDU.  This has been something I cling to and desire to push towards (and most times doing a lousy job in some areas).  I can’t cling to worthless idols and have steadfast love.  God is SO GRACIOUS to me in this.  I can not live up to His example.  That is a good place for me to be – for me to know that about myself.  He is the only one.  I can push to live by the work of the Spirit to offer that steadfast love to others.

8.  I want to REST SATISFIED (v 23).  Striving, working, pushing, that is not rest.  This tells me how I can rest satisfied: in the fear of the Lord.  Knowing that God is God, I am not, I am sinful man, but He has made a way for me to know Him and be known by Him – the CROSS of CHRIST.  And for that, and in that, I can rest satisfied.  Even when I fail everyday at something.  Christ has completed the task.