The Inscribed Collection is a series of four books, written by different authors on different topics. They are intended to be used as Bible studies although they would be enjoyable books to just read.
I’ve never agreed to review four books at the same time and I found the thought of it a bit overwhelming until the books arrived in the mail. These are quality books, printed on nice paper with that special, rough-edge page edge that gift books sometimes have. They are paperbacks but the kind of paperbacks that I would give as a nice gift. That extra special “feel” to these books made it easier to dive into reviewing them.
Leaving Ordinary by Donna Gaines
I found this book disappointing because of the way the author constantly came back to her own personal experience as she learned to pray in a deeper way. I felt that it was very experiential and might be disheartening to struggling believers who did not feel “successful” in their prayer life. In my opinion, a successful prayer life is one that continues in spite of flucuating feelings! Nevertheless, this book might be helpful as a study to many women.
“The deepest longing of the human heart is to know and be known by God. God longs for an intimate relationship with us as well. But how do we develop that kind of relationship with a holy God? It is one thing to long for such a relationship, but quite another to experience intimacy with Him. In Leaving Ordinary, Donna Gaines shares from her personal experience how prayer can become the channel that links the believer’s heart to the heart of God.”
Living “So That” by Wendy Blight
“Living “So That” is a fresh approach to understanding God’s Word, focusing on many of the powerful “so that” verses in Scripture, including Jesus Came So That. . .; God Spoke So That. . .; Pray So That. . .; Trials Come So That etc. Through her approachable style, personal examples, and biblical teaching, Wendy equips readers to take what they study in the Word of God and live it out in order to impact the world around them.”
Wendy does have a very fresh and appealing writing style. She is down-to-earth and very real. I found this book to be the most helpful of the series.
Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel
Most people have prayed for something or someone in earnest, seeking God’s will, only to be left confused by God’s response. Sometimes we ask, “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?” In Amazed and Confused, Heather Zempel tackles this question head-on by exploring the book of Habakkuk.
“When the prophet Habakkuk prayed that God would bring change to the backsliding nation of Israel, this issue came to the forefront. Habakkuk begged God for revival and that He would turn the hearts of faithless people back to Him.
God’s answer to Habakkuk was, “Take a look at the nations and watch what happens! You will be shocked and amazed” (1:5, The Voice). The vision God gave Habakkuk was one of warfare and exile. How do you respond when God answers your prayers in a way that seems out of line with his character and promises?”
This book tackled an important topic and did it well.
Dive Deeper by Jenifer Jernigan
“Equip yourself to fall deeply in love with God’s Word through this unique, interactive Bible study. Delving into the book of Ephesians, Dive Deeper is a tool for women—those who might be satisfied and content with their Bible study and for those who find themselves fearful or numb—to dive deeper into the living and active Word of God.”
The author uses the acrostic DIVE to help the reader study the bible as they; define, investigate, visualize and embrace. I found that approach to be helpful.
This collection of books is, indeed, a practical, helpful resource for women who want to grow in their knowledge and application of God’s word. Helpful study aides are included in each book as well.
I received these books from BookLook for review purposes only.
I don’t remember if I first believed on a Friday. It could have been a Monday or a Saturday but that day was a good day, a miraculous day for me.
It was the day that despair (disguised as cool-hippie-girl) met her Savior and was cleansed, redeemed and set free.
I’ve never forgotten that day. On that day, I stuffed a year’s supply of birth control pills into my college dorm dumpster because I wanted God to know that I was turning His way and leaving mine behind.
His way was hard because it was so very different.
Sometimes I walked in no joy and just plain old obedience.
I was determined to follow Christ because that peace He gave me when I confessed my sins and found His forgiveness?
There’s nothing like it. Nothing in the whole world.
It’s worth having.
And that’s why the Friday before Easter is called Good Friday. Because this day commemorates the day when our sins were nailed to the cross and He overcame death on our behalf.
It’s not just Good Friday. It’s the best Friday...ever.
It was on the cross that Jesus, the lamb of God, took away the sins of the world.
The biblical account of Jesus’ death on the cross, or crucifixion, his burial and his resurrection can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30.
We have accounts of the deification of men in pagan mythology. But I do not remember any account of a god becoming a man, to help man. Whoever heard of Jupiter or Mars or Minerva coming down and attempting to bear the burdens of men? The gods were willing enough to receive the gifts of men, but Christianity is unique in the fact that our God became a man with human infirmity and emptied Himself of the glory of heaven, in order that He might take upon Himself the sins, diseases and weakness of our humanity.~ A.C. Dixon
Jesus, I love you.
“Satan wants nothing more than for us to run from God’s goodness …blaming God for someone else’s bad behavior and disengaging from Him and from life usher in isolation, anger, distance, and that high wall around our hearts. And, when we live behind that wall, our hearts grow cold, bitter and unwieldy.”
The Wall Around Your Heart; How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You by Mary DeMuth is not your average get-healed-by-Jesus book. Mary addresses pain from experience and her solution takes the reader straight to God, using the Lord’s Prayer as a template.
I found Mary’s book to be very helpful because she doesn’t skirt around the issues that plague those who have been deeply wounded. For example, how do you confront someone who is treating you wrongly when you are used to being the victim? And, how do you deal with the “woe is me” pattern that so many wounded people live in?
The solution is understanding who God says He is and what He says about you. He is truly our father and that fact is glorious even if our view of fatherhood has been warped by a rotten earthly father.
Mary also explains that forgiveness is multi-layered and complex. What does it look like and how does God use it profoundly in our lives? Mary addresses that hard-to-answer question (as well as many others) as one who has lived through an abusive childhood. She speaks from a place of robust tenderness.
“The hallmark of growing, vibrant, infectious Christians isn’t their ability to abstain from sin. It’s their willingness to let the cross highlight their sin so they can repent, ask forgiveness and move on in the light of Jesus’ outrageous grace.”
The book includes discussion questions and an Appendix entitled; Dealing with Wolves (How to evaluate and identify abusive Christian leaders who are wolves in sheep’s clothing) which I think is worth the price of the book.
In short, this book will serve as a real-as-potatoes warning to all of us as we deal with past pain and learn to walk in forgiveness.
I recommend this book and received it from Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.
Hebrews 4:10, “…for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
Celebrating or reverencing the Lord’s Day has fallen out of favor among professing believers. In a misguided effort to avoid legalism, many Christians don’t think that keeping Sunday as a special day is an important issue. Is it? Yes it is!
As our family has made a weekly day of worship a priority, we have discovered rich blessing. “Losing” a day of work for a day of rest and worship has not hurt us at all. Instead, we find that the God has redeemed the remaining six days of the week and stretched our time so that we get more accomplished!
Here’s what has worked for our family (and, more specifically, for me since I manage the practical details of running our home). I want to give a round of hearty applause to Karen Burton Mains and her book Making Sunday Special which helped transform the way I approached Sunday many years ago.
1. We recognize that it is a day set apart for worshiping together with God’s people. Christianity is not just “me and my Jesus.” We cannot read the whole counsel of the Holy Scriptures without understanding that it is a message to the church! It goes without saying that to commit to a church you must be willing to be under the leadership of other Christian men.
So plan ahead to meet with other believers, take communion, worship and be taught by the word of God.
2. We prepare ahead of time. For a large family this may mean starting early in the week. For our family with the never-shrinking laundry pile, I try to have Sunday clothes washed, ironed and ready to wear by Wednesday. Yes, that’s early, but time flies after the middle of the week and I often forget. I really hate that frantic late night Saturday night feeling as I paw wildly through the laundry pile trying to find some clean clothes!
Having the Sunday clothes clean and ironed early works for us. Preparing ahead also means making sure to get to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night. Everyone wants to have fun on Saturday night but staying awake and alert during Sunday worship is high on our priority list so…we get to bed!
3. Plan to break bread together as a family (and, if possible, with other believers). The meal doesn’t have to be fancy but it should be satisfying and (if possible) something a little special.
a.For a family with small children or one who travels a distance to church, a hearty stew put in the crockpot to cook during church makes a nice meal to come home to. It is wonderful to walk into the house and smell the aroma of something yummy. Make (or buy) special muffins or dessert to accompany the meal.
b. For a family who is heavily involved in the church (and exhausted after a day at church), a Saturday night meal may be the kick-off to your day of rest on Sunday. You can enjoy a special meal, clean it all up on Saturday night and arrive home to a clean house and a simple meal of cheese and fruit after church on Sunday.
c. For an morning celebratory meal, enjoy a “Sabbath breakfast” before church.
d. For a family with young children, make Sunday special by serving simple finger foods on paper plates and letting your family eat on a blanket on the floor. Keep it simple but make it special!
Whatever you choose to do don’t do what I have done; skip planning any meal at all! When my family comes in the door after church everyone is hungry (and on their way to cranky!). It’s a big let-down to have to scrounge through the fridge to find something to eat!
I must add that for Sunday to be a day of rest for me, I really love to come home from church to a decently clean house. So, for our family, that means grabbing as many children as I can on a Friday or Saturday and cleaning hard for several hours. If we happen to get the van cleaned and vacuumed as well, I feel that I have reached the pinnacle of preparation! Boy Howdy!
4. Keep treats and surprises to a minimum during the week so that they can be enjoyed on Sunday. Some folks eat chocolate only on Sunday or keep a “Sabbath box” of special toys just for Sunday. This creates a sense of anticipation and joy for the day of worship.
We want our children to grow up with sweet memories of Sundays. All the preparation in the world is for nought if your family’s day of worship is permeated with the smelly aroma of an angry and impatient mother. Of course, those days happen but don’t let them happen on a regular basis!
Oh, that we may make the Lord’s Day a day of joy and thanksgiving and sweet fellowship with other believers.
ABC's of Love, covenant marriage, Don't Be a Dumb Cluck, Fighting Feminism, Get the most of of the Sermon, Glorious Distraction, God keeps His promises, godly wisdom, raising children, The Chicken or The Egg?, The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller
Here’s a great PDF on how to get the most out of the sermon (mamas of littles, no guilt! Just do the best you can!).
A short post along the same lines about how to keep God foremost in our hearts and minds throughout the day is The Glorious Distraction.
A fun project for Sunday school classes that I plan to do with my kids at home is to make mini-books of Bible knowledge.
If you look up one link this week, watch this video. In a day and age when you people are living together “because their love doesn’t need a piece of paper”, here is a thoughtful and passionate presentation on the purpose and meaning of marriage. Tim Keller (pastor, author speaks to Google employees on the Christian view of marriage.
Deep down inside, most of us suspected the truth of this study; a mother’s love overcomes the effect of poverty and improves immune function in children.
What did you read or learn this week? Share it with the rest of us in the comment section! You don’t want to be a dumb cluck!
I’ve posted this list before…what would you add to it? Share your wisdom in the comment section!
1. Be a learner, a questioner, a mom who can be heard saying things like “Hmm…I wonder why they have to put so much gravel down on the road before they pave it?” or “You know, God sure did make a wonderful world!”
When your child asks a question you can’t answer that’s o.k. Wondering about something for awhile without the answer is part of the learning process.
A study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that just having books in the home (even if they weren’t being read!) has a greater impact on children than the education of the parents. Imagine the even greater influence of parents who read those books they have in the home. Mind-boggling!
3. Look your child in the eyes and talk to him. Listen, ask questions and converse! This means looking up from the electronic devices.
4. Give your child the life-changing experience of quiet time with nothing to do.
Let him hear the sound of his own breathing and the beat of his heart.
6. Eat meals together regularly. Studies have shown that your family will be closer, your children will be more secure, less peer-dependent and smarter! Who knew?
7. Worship Jesus Christ together. Here are some Helpful Hints for a Holy Day. His peace is vital in this broken world.
Tell your child, “Who knows what great things you are going to do to change the world?” Raise a world-changer.
a woman discovers her worth, blessing your husband, covenant marriage, Fighting Feminism, God keeps His promises, godly wisdom, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, pleasing your husband, Revive Our Hearts, the Holy Bible, The True Woman Manifesto, trusting God
My purpose in writing Generational Womanhood is to remind women that, just like Eve in the great Garden of Genesis, they are created to influence others. Whether that influence is for good or for evil is up to them.
Christian women have the benefit of knowing what is true, being strengthened by God to do what is right and being prompted by the Holy Spirit to desire what is good and true but we certainly can choose to be an ungodly influence on others.
What an awesome responsibility we have!
This is why I choose to read great things and encouraging words. I need to renew my mind. I need to remember that I really am on this earth for a purpose and so are you.
The True Woman Manifesto is the result of hours of prayerful work by fellow believers who thought such a statement was important. They did it for you and for I, to counter the evil of feminism and to strengthen our resolve as Christian women. The words are strong, as well as, inspirational and visionary.
Read this daily to remind yourself of your glorious womanly calling. Preach the gospel to yourself and influence the world for Jesus!
*Leave a comment and let me know if you have signed this!*
The True Woman Manifesto.
WE BELIEVE that God is the sovereign Lord of the universe and the Creator of life, and that all created things exist for His pleasure and to bring Him glory.
WE BELIEVE that the creation of humanity as male and female was a purposeful and magnificent part of God’s wise plan, and that men and women were designed to reflect the image of God in complementary and distinct ways.
WE BELIEVE that sin has separated every human being from God and made us incapable of reflecting His image as we were created to do. Our only hope for restoration and salvation is found in repenting of our sin and trusting in Christ who lived a sinless life, died in our place, and was raised from the dead.
WE REALIZE that we live in a culture that does not recognize God’s right to rule, does not accept Scripture as the pattern for life, and is experiencing the consequences of abandoning God’s design for men and women.
WE BELIEVE that Christ is redeeming this sinful world and making all things new, and that His followers are called to share in His redemptive purposes as they seek, by God’s empowerment, to transform every aspect of human life that has been marred and ruined by sin.
As Christian women, we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world.
To that end, we affirm that. . .
Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.
We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.
As redeemed sinners, we cannot live out the beauty of biblical womanhood apart from the sanctifying work of the gospel and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Men and women are both created in the image of God and are equal in value and dignity, but they have distinct roles and functions in the home and in the church.
We are called as women to affirm and encourage men as they seek to express godly masculinity, and to honor and support God-ordained male leadership in the home and in the church.
Marriage, as created by God, is a sacred, binding, lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.
When we respond humbly to male leadership in our homes and churches, we demonstrate a noble submission to authority that reflects Christ’s submission to God His Father.
Selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for us.
Human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected, from the point of conception until rightful death.
Children are a blessing from God, and women are uniquely designed to be bearers and nurturers of life, whether it be their own biological or adopted children, or other children in their sphere of influence.
God’s plan for gender is wider than marriage; all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity in their various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.
Suffering is an inevitable reality in a fallen world; at times we will be called to suffer for doing what is good—looking to heavenly reward rather than earthly comfort—for the sake of the gospel and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.
Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith, by discipling younger women in the Word and ways of God and modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.
BELIEVING THE ABOVE, we declare our desire and intent to be “true women” of God. We consecrate ourselves to fulfill His calling and purposes for our lives. By His grace and in humble dependence on His power, we will:
1. Seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
2. Gladly yield control of our lives to Christ as Lord—we will say “Yes, Lord” to the Word and the will of God.
3. Be women of the Word, seeking to grow in our knowledge of Scripture and to live in accord with sound doctrine in every area of our lives.
4. Nurture our fellowship and communion with God through prayer—in praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and supplication.
5. Embrace and express our unique design and calling as women with humility, gratitude, faith, and joy.
6. Seek to glorify God by cultivating such virtues as purity, modesty, submission, meekness, and love.
7. Show proper respect to both men and women, created in the image of God, esteeming others as better than ourselves, seeking to build them up, and putting off bitterness, anger, and evil speaking.
8. Be faithfully engaged in our local church, submitting ourselves to our spiritual leaders, growing in the context of the community of faith, and using the gifts He has given us to serve others, to build up the Body of Christ, and to fulfill His redemptive purposes in the world.
9. Seek to establish homes that manifest the love, grace, beauty, and order of God, that provide a climate conducive to nurturing life, and that extend Christian hospitality to those outside the walls of our homes.
10. Honor the sacredness, purity, and permanence of the marriage covenant whether ours or others’.
11. Receive children as a blessing from the Lord, seeking to train them to love and follow Christ and to consecrate their lives for the sake of His gospel and Kingdom.
12. Live out the mandate of Titus 2—as older women, modeling godliness and training younger women to be pleasing to God in every respect; as younger women, receiving instruction with meekness and humility and aspiring to become mature women of God who in turn will train the next generation.
13. Seek opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with unbelievers.
14. Reflect God’s heart for those who are poor, infirm, oppressed, widows, orphans, and prisoners, by reaching out to minister to their practical and spiritual needs in the name of Christ.
15. Pray for a movement of revival and reformation among God’s people that will result in the advancement of the Kingdom and gospel of Christ among all nations. _____________________________________________
Signature Date _____________________________
Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)
Sign the True Woman Manifest online at TrueWoman.com.
You can visit Revive Our Hearts to download a PDF of the Manifesto or order a beautifully printed copy of it. All scripture references are also available there (I chose to print is without the lengthy list of scriptures).
I’d read the missionary stories (God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom are two that come to mind) and those people made prayer seem vital, real and exciting.
But for me? Not so much.
Yet over the years I’ve prayed a lot and seen God work. I would pray when I was in great pain, pray for others who were experiencing sorrow and sickness and pray for my children when that middle-of-the-night-anxious-worry hit me.
In other words, I was good at crisis praying.
Almost two years ago I began praying weekly with an acquaintance who was going through struggles similar to ones I had experienced. I prayed to encourage her. I marked a date on the calendar and drove to her house just to keep her going. I didn’t want her to quit.
Together, we prayed.
Honestly, in the beginning, our commitment to a regular time of prayer wavered. We
shared prayer requests talked too much before we got around to a short time of prayer.
It was a struggle but we kept meeting.
We had been praying together for a year when I moved to a new city with my family and our prayer time had to become a once-a-week phone call at an awkward time of day.
Strange to say, Thursday afternoons at 3 p.m. became the only time that mutually worked for us.
One hour…once a week.
Life is busy when you are middle-aged and the parents of adults, teens, in-betweens and an almost eight-year-old but, believe it or not, one year after my move, we are still praying.
Each week I feel like I’ve gotten a deep, wonderful gulp of life-giving oxygen as I lay my burdens down.
Life is so busy that we don’t want to use up our time together with small talk so we email our requests to each other beforehand. We fight hard to keep our commitment to pray together and it… is… hard.
Life goes on, you know?
Each week we both give all glory to God that we have remained faithful to this one hour of prayer.
It is our life-blood, our oxygen, our giving back to God our worries, fears and problems.
We’ve seen answers and we praise Him for that but, mostly, we’ve found peace and rest in realizing that prayer is not complicated. It is (like a simple budget) not just for the “experts”.
We simply join our voices and our hearts in giving glory to our Great God. We lay our burdens down and we lift up the weak hands of others as we pray.
A faithful prayer partner is a gift from God. You might find one (like I did) through a shared trial. Ask God to bring you a sister in Christ with whom you can come to God in prayer.
“Come let us know, let us press on to know the Lord, for His coming is like the rains, like the spring rains watering the earth.” Hosea 6:9
How do you get enough oxygen for your soul?