Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria

I purchased The Name Book when I was pregnant with one of my children and spent a lot of time studying names before my husband and I chose names for our children. I wanted the meaning of their names to be significant. My eight year old daughter is especially excited with the meaning of her name and strives to live it. How cool is that?

The book lists the name followed by the Language/Cultural Origin, Inherent Meaning, Spiritual Connotation, and finally a Scripture.

For instance my name:

Language/Cultural Origin: English
Inherent Meaning: Shining Fame
Spiritual Connotation: Victorious Spirit
Scripture: Psalm 18:32 NKJV "It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect."

My husband's name:

Language/Cultural Origin: Old German
Inherent Meaning: Powerful Ruler
Spiritual Connotation: Benevolent
Scripture: Psalm 111:10 NKJV "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."

Once again, I'm studying the name book and making considerations for the new life that will join our family in December.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Prayer: A Holy Occupation by Oswald Chambers

This book by Oswald Chambers is one to take slowly so you can contemplate his powerful quotes and answer the questions he designed to challenge the reader. There are 18 chapters that complete this statement - "A Holy Occupation Requires:" Boldness, Childlikeness, Communion, Concentration, Desire, Discipline, Faith, Honesty, Intimacy, Obedience, Patience, Power, Purpose, Silence, Simplicity, Wonder, Work, and Worship.

The introduction says: "THE JOB of every Christian is to pray... He wants us to prayer. Always and about everything. During times of joy as well as sorrow. He wants us to talk to Him, not about Him. He wants us to talk to Him about unbelievers before we talk to unbelievers about Him. Prayer is our business, our only business. Prayer is our holy occupation. Plain and simple."

This book could be read quickly in a couple hours, or it could be savored over weeks as you make applications from the principles shared. The selections covered in this book were chosen from a great variety of books by Oswald Chambers. There is a listing at the end of the book that shares which book each selection was taken from. Check your local library or Christian bookstore for a copy.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Heart of a Mother by Ron DiCianni

A few years ago a lady from my church gave me this book, The Heart of a Mother by Ron DiCianni. It is a short book packed full of inspirational Scripture verses and encouraging quotes from various sources. Read a few pages at a time for a pick me up or to bring a smile to your face.

The back cover says:

God sees beauty in the heart of a mother...

Beyond the housework and the homework, beyond brown-bag lunches and red-eyed exhaustion is a living, loving thing called the heart of a mother.

This gorgeous book celebrates motherhood as God intended it. In this rich collection of Scripture, quotes and original artwork by Ron DiCianni, you will be inspired and challenged at the same time. Enduring themes such as prayer, God's protection, and faith versus fear will remind you that...Beyond the caregiving, there is soul care. Beyond the doing, there is being. Let this book make the difference for you.

Thank God for the privilege and responsibility HE has given you as you nurture, train and love the children HE has entrusted to your care.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

This was a challenging, yet inspirational book that I think all married couples should read sometime after the honeymoon period. Many of us seem to go into marriage thinking that it will be different for us than it is for other people. We keenly observe the downfalls in the marriages of others before we say, "I do." Once we the vows have been pledged and the bills are due we start viewing the marriages of others as perfect or close to it and our own as lacking. Look around your church some Sunday morning and count the smiling faces - it seems as if they don't have a care in the world. Then look inside your own heart and see the turmoil that you disguise with your mask much like the masks of those around you. I'm not saying we are all a bunch of frauds, but at times it is easier to paste on the smile than it is to share your heart. If only we had people willing to be authentic... But being authentic is risky and you could get hurt.

In his book, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More than to Make Us Happy?, Gary challenges the reader to consider that marriage is a tool to bring us closer to God and to transform our character to be like Jesus.

Some powerful quotes from the book:

Once we enter the marriage relationship we cannot love God without loving our spouses as well. (page 42)

Marriage is a spotlight showing us that our search for another human being to “complete” us is misguided. When disillusionment breaks through, we have one of two choices: Dump our spouse and become infatuated with somebody new, or seek to understand the message behind the disillusionment – that we should seek our significance, meaning, and purpose in our Creator rather than in another human being.”
(page 83)

What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness. (page 93)

I wouldn’t be surprised if many marriages end in divorce largely because one or both partners are running from their own revealed weaknesses as much as they are running from something they can’t tolerate in their spouse. (page 97)

If mountain climbing were easy, it would lose a great deal of its appeal. Our relationships can be looked at the same way. Instead of immediately thinking about how we can take a helicopter to the top, we might take a climber’s approach and think, This is really tough. This is a challenge, no doubt about it. How do I keep loving this person in the face of this challenge? (page 131)

I reach out to people because God has loved me and has asked me to love others in return, not because the people I am loving are “worthy” of love or because they’ll thank me for it in the end. It’s not for me to make judgments about their “worthiness.” I don’t know how I could do that anyway. It’s for me to love God by loving others. (page 188)

I could go on and on listing meaningful quotes from this book, but instead if you are married I urge you to get a copy for yourself and read through it with your spouse or another couple and work to make the applications that are shared throughout the book become reality in your marriage. If your marriage is already all God desires it to be, consider mentoring young or struggling couples and work through this book with them. Gary Thomas provides
discussion questions at his website. This is an incredible book with an even more incredible message - we can make it though whatever life brings us (marriage or singleness) and become the man or woman that God dreams for us to be if we apply the principles set forth in this book and in the Word of God.

For more information on books, conferences and more check out
Gary's website.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Deception by Randy Alcorn - Book Giveaway

Deception (a spin-off of two other novels - Deadline and Dominion) is a murder mystery with quirky, yet likeable characters. This book gives us a glimpse of heaven and encourages the reader to consider eternity, as each fictional book Randy has written does. Reading his books has helped me view life, death and eternity with fresh vision. Randy's website describes the book:

Ollie Chandler is a brilliant and quick-witted homicide detective with exceptional deductive skills and street smarts. He's a police department legend for his off-beat methods that solve crimes and coax confessions. But he's a risk taker and a rule-bender who drives his procedure-conscious superiors crazy. If not for his success rate, he'd have been squeezed out of the detective division years ago.

When a Portland State University professor is found murdered in his home, Ollie is called in. Some strange indications on the professor's body suggest a peculiar means of death. Tests confirm something even more bizarre than Ollie suspected. A motive of revenge seems likely. But revenge for what? The murder mystery gets more complex the deeper Ollie probes.

This month Randy Alcorn will be giving away three copies of his novel, Deception - for a chance to win this book go to his blog and leave a comment. Winners will be announced on his blog on June 3rd. During May, the paperback version of Deception is also on sale at the Eternal Perspective Ministries website for $8.99

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Books from my Daughter

For Mother's Day my eight year old daughter persuaded her father to shop for my gifts at the Christian Bookstore. I'm told that she marched up to the sales associate and politely asked if they carried books by Randy Alcorn. The associate asked her if she was seeking adult or children's books. My daughter told her, "Adult." The associate then asked if she was reading adult books already and she assured her that the book was for me. My daughter found the book, Heaven by Randy Alcorn and was just pleased with herself because she knows how much I enjoy reading Randy's books. She also picked up a little book called, God Thinks You're Wonderful, Mom by Max Lucado. She was quite thrilled to announce that both books were on sale - a woman after my own heart. My sweet, little girl also selected the most amazing Mother's Day card that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I'm so glad God blessed my life with the treasure of this little girl!

She is an avid reader - maybe I will let her share about one of her books on my blog sometime.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

This story set in the small town of Woodstock, Virginia challenges us all to become better individuals that we are today. When Jack and Laurel married Jack decided that his wedding vows weren't enough to prove his love to his bride, he committed then to write her a letter each Wednesday of their life together. The letters were sometimes details of his day and other times words of deep love or sorrow.

The book begins on the night of their death. Jack writes his last letter shortly after his beloved Laurel died and he joined her in his sleep. Their three children were brought together to say their final goodbyes. They came across their father's letters and found out that everything wasn't as it seemed and their world was turned upside down. Travel with Matthew, Samantha and Malcolm as they learn about their parents lives, choices, failures, secrets and love.

An excellent read that I enjoyed and highly recommend. The journey of these fictional characters, if we open our hearts and minds, can inspire us to share our time, memories and love with those who are important to us.

To learn more about the book, discussion questions, and Jason Wright check out the book's website.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

I found this short Christmas book on the shelves of my church library a while back and finally read it early this week.

Back cover of the book says:
It's only two weeks before Christmas, and Edith Ryan is disappointed to learn that none of her children are coming home for the holidays. Her large house, which doubles as The Shepherd's Inn the rest of the year, will feel so empty without them. And it's too late to open the inn for Christmas reservations - surely everyone else has their plans made by now. In a town where Christmas is a way of life all year long, going through the holidays alone is just about enough to bring her to tears.

Suddenly, Edith knows what she has to do - she'll invite strangers to book those rooms usually reserved for family during the week of Christmas. When the guest list shapes up to include a cantankerous old woman and a mysterious young couple with a broken-down hippie bus and a baby on the way. Edith wonders if she made the right choice. Will it blow up in her face? Or could she be entertaining angels unaware?

Journey to Christmas Valley, Idaho for a visit and meet some quirky characters that you may recognize from your town. Then ask yourself how Jesus would have you respond to the people you meet that may be different than you...