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Showing posts from 2016

Reviewing Nine Books I Read in 2016

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My goal for the year was to read 12 books in 2016. I have finished nine of them to date and want to share my reviews with you. I have made similar goals in the past and have yet to complete them 100%. However, my only competition is against myself, so I guess I earn the "Most Improved" award in this category.


I love non-fiction books and self-help. I read a lot from christian authors and I am an author myself. I have been told that better readers are better writers. Let's hope that is true! So with no further ado, here is my list:
1. Returning to Holiness by Gregory R. Frizzell

I started 2016 with fasting and prayer, personal repentance and what I like to call a Spiritual Retreat. I retreated away from family, social media and work to press into a time of refreshing from the Lord with this book. Needless to say....it WRECKED m whole life! The soul-searching questions were just what I needed to plunge deep into the reasons behind my actions, my motivations and my fears. E…

Annual Marriage Accounting & Evaluation

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It would not be strange to have an end-of-the-year job evaluation.  We are used to assessments in other areas of our lives,  but why should marriage any different? Let's score how well we did this year.

Using the Bible itself as a reference point, we can objectively grade ourselves and our marriages on performance as a spouse and as a couple.

First, let us set the benchmarks. Read Ephesians 5:21-32, KJV.

Husbands represent Christ. The goal is to be like Jesus. How is a guy supposed to meet that standard?! Well...the Bible doesn't say to BE Jesus, but to love LIKE Jesus. How have you loved this year?

Wives represent the Church. They are to follow after Christ & submit to Him. Rate your submission to your husband in areas where he is being Christ-like. Did you make it hard for him to love you this year?

Like a business that has to re-evaluate in the fourth quarter, we should take stock of how our marriages have grown. Did we yield a good return or did our marriage market cr…

Planning Holiday Giving Together

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We decided to do the craziest thing this year. We gave all of our Christmas gifts out already to our family members. They have been bought, paid for and delivered to their recipients. We decided to do it over Thanksgiving to really emphasize the "giving" part of the holiday. People were definitely surprised  and that was the point.  They had another reason to be grateful and our hearts were full from giving. After paying off all of our credit cards not too long ago, we realized that debt had us enslaved. Never again! Yeah we know, it is a little non-traditional and different to spend for Christmas this way, but let us tell you why we did it.
One of us, {Anita}, is the spender of the couple. The other one is the saver. In order to really enjoy the Christmas season (which for a lot of Americans begins the week of Thanksgiving), we decided to do something different in order to focus on each other, the real meaning for the season and less on money. Many married couples struggl…

Staying married over the Holidays

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When we first got married the holidays were the best times for us. We look forward to meeting each other's families and growing relationships. Then it was the children! Oh boy, what fun it was to share our newborn bundles with everyone. There was plenty of picture taking and sharing stories.
Then, as our family grew, it was a matter of who was hosting during the holiday season. Who has an apartment large enough? Who has a house? How many people can you accommodate? There was always a question about the food. Who is bringing what? So and so is a vegetarian, pescetarian or they're just a super picky eater. "I don't like the way she/he makes this/that". Then there was the matter of the activities. What are we going to do after we eat? Should we watch a movie? Should we have a singalong? Share testimonies? Maybe we should read a Bible verse or two since we are christians and everything.
After a while, holidays can get to be a hassle because it is more of a chore th…

Even Me

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The Bible says that I am supposed to be an Ambassador for Jesus Christ, a minister of reconciliation. That is the most scariest thing in the world to me. However, I like to be a little bold sometimes and therefore I was up for the challenge. So the best thing to do when you are afraid is to bring a friend or two. I began Wifestyle image Network with the intent of surrounding myself and networking with other women who will take on the bold and daring challenge to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others using the Titus 2 model. It was a risk as following Jesus Christ is, but I felt an urge in my spirit that I should be doing something more than what I was doing. Working as a nurse and sharing the gospel here and there was students was amazing, but there is always a tug in my spirit that I could be doing more. What about after work? What about before? What was I doing on my off days? Nothing. Nothing eternal anyway. I can no longer go with the thought of doing nothing for Jesus. 
E…

Called or Driven

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When we live in doubt, we are driven by emotion. When we act in faith, we are living out our calling. James 1:6 explains about how this affects our prayer lives. He compares it to being tossed like a wave on the sea. Driven people are going along with the flow and are unsure of why they do what they are doing. They only know that they cannot stop.

However, being called is purposeful and has an eternal destination because of the One who is calling you. When God calls you to His agenda, you must go. Look at Jonah. God called him to preach so that the people of Ninevah would repent. He rebelled against his calling....to no avail.

Although these are similar references and they both propel a person, the difference is the person who is providing the force. IF God be for you, who can be against you (Romans 8:31). David was called by God to be more than a shepard. He would be King. Saul tried to stop him, but David declared, "What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6).

The force of man i…

Weep with those who Weep

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Weep with those who weep? I find it interesting that Jesus calls those who follow Him to enter into the emotions of others. Rejoice with those who do rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15, kjv). Unlike many other deities that are worshiped, the Almighty God is personable and those who honor and obey Him are deeply touched with concerns of others and not just themselves.

To know that God has an emotional side is such a relief to me. I cannot imagine serving a God who has all power but remained untouchable and uncaring about me. As I read the Bible, I notice that in many instances, there are references to our five senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste. Our whole neurologic system is made of motor and sensory functions. God designed us to experience life and really FEEL!

Entering into the sorrows and joys of others makes us more like God, who entered into our human-ness to know us and to love us.
At the tomb just after the resurrection, Mary hears the voice of her Lo…

Three Purposes for Marriage

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A wise author wrote "What if the purpose of marriage was not to make you happy, but to make you holy?".

Scores of people marry out of pure selfishness. They want someone to love them. They want a beautiful wedding, children and well....happiness. Most people will tell you that those are not bad goals, but are they God's goals? Why did God invent marriage in the first place? Was it for our happiness, our growth, His glory? I would venture to say that the answer to all of those is "Yes"!
Our Happiness
The Song of Solomon hints to the happy parts of marriage. A man is to rejoice with the wife of his youth. (Proverbs 5:18, kjv) Sounds happy to me. The word happy also means "blessed" in Hebrew. Marriage is a holy union that makes the Lord happy. Our holiness is His happiness. Our happiness in marriage makes God smile :)
Our Calling
Marriage changes a person. It is a call from the Lord that some will answer and others will not. The Apostle Paul declared that…

Frustration: 2 Ways to Handle Our Thoughts

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Frustration is that negative feeling we get when things are not going the way we planned. Married couples know this feeling well. When frustration happens, we have to choose between indulging in the feeling and getting in the slumps or deciding to shrug it off and be positive despite the negativity. It is an unwelcome interruption in our thought process and a distraction to our purpose.
Sometimes I have experienced frustration when I have attempted to do something over and over again without success. I feel like a failure. For example, I felt like a failure as a mom when I had difficulty nursing. I have been frustrated in trying to be a perfect wife (good luck with that!). It is discouraging and self-defeating to wallow in this feeling. Currently, people are frustrated with the racial climate in America. Understandable!

Frustration can quickly lead to anger, self-pity, depression and a host of other unhealthy emotion. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts and our thoughts (Proverbs …

When Should my Children be Baptized?

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Good Question!! When our youngest asked Jesus Christ into his life at 8 years old, we were excited and willing to help him to grow as a christian, but we honestly were a little apprehensive when he asked to be baptized. I guess we should not have been surprised since we raised him to know the Word of God and to live it. "Don't be just a hearer of the Word, but a Doer", we said! 
My husband and I needed to re-research the Word on this. In Matthew's gospel, it is clear that making disciples includes baptizing them and teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commands (Matthew 28). Well...the Bible also mentions children reaching the age of accountability when they can answer for themselves before God, but how old is that exactly? (Isaiah 7:15, Ezekiel 18:2-20, Matthew 18:3, Romans 14:10,12). 


The Bible also mentions to "forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:14). We are not Catholic, so they had never been sprinkled or dunked o…

Guardians of Ancora Game Review

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Our boys love Guardians of Ancora! This is why we love it for them:
1.   Getting the Word of God to our boys and regular engagement with the Bible DAILY!! The boys ask to play this game regularly and we get to reward them online for doing so. They are really learning true bible content and not just fluff and entertainment. Everything about this game is biblically-based. Even the title means a keeper for the Anchor which is Christ. It was developed in the UK, but is spreading like wildfire!
2.  The game is not cheesy. It is completely dynamic with amazing cinematic color, movie-like musical scores and it is extremely easy to interact with from the very beginning. They boys would say that is is EPIC...lol!
3.  You can choose your own character! I love this feature because, honestly, you can be yourself with your skin color and choice of hair and outfit. Letting our boys be in the Bible as themselves is priceless! As a family, we each have our own unique character to play with and can co…

Four reasons why God will give us what we ask

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Almost everyone knows The Lord's Prayer. There is a part that says "Give us this day our daily bread". Isn't it amazing that Jesus instructs us to ask things of God? It is the right and privilege of the child of God to have things from their Father. I tread lightly even when I ask my husband for something. I should have a good reason. I consider the likelihood of him saying "Yes". I try to position my point to my advantage and present a reasonable and undeniable proposal. Sometimes I get shut down, other times he sees my point of view and we agree.

However, when we come to God, it is up to us to come around to His point of view. We are not to manipulate and attempt to convince Him. When we say "Give us", what we are really asking for it for God's will to be shown through us. Give us what we need in order for Your name to be glorified God. Give us more patience, self-control and long-suffering to more like you God. Give us opportunities to over…

Cut it out

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I just had a chat with one of my mentees the other night about the married man who had been hitting on her. It was disgusting really. This person, who was "supposed to be in ministry" was developing a relationship with a younger woman online. It all appeared rather innocent actually. She is cute. He is smart (and married) and they had quite a bit in common.

With a history of sexual abuse on both ends and the right situation, they had been developing an emotional attachment to one another, and...well, she liked it even though she knew she was wrong. Dead wrong! Initial, innocent conversations grew a bit sexual in nature. She led him on even though she hated what was happening. He asked for pictures. They looked forward to hearing from each other, and that was all the fuel the enemy needed to lure them both into sin. No, not physical sex, but mental captivation. You see, the bible is very clear about WHEN sexual sin starts!

"...but I say unto you, That whosoever looks on …

Promoting Christian Blogs!!

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Hey fellow bloggers, let's follow, comment and share our posts to grow traffic for the first 2 weeks of September! For every follow we follow back. For every comment, we leave a comment. It's easy. Just add your link. Let's go! An InLinkz Link-up

Friends by Blood

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Mary and Elizabeth were not sisters by blood, they were cousins, but they had something amazing in common! Elizabeth and her husband, who were too old to be pregnant, had conceived. Mary did not have sex with any man, yet she was pregnant as well. Imagine the gossip happening among their family! One would carry John the baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, and the other carried Jesus, the Messiah Himself (Luke 1:46-55). These two women had a relationship unlike any other seen in the entire bible.

Some people we meet are potential friends and we get to know them and decide that they are not. Other people that we do not suspect at times, can end up being the closest friends imaginable. It is these people who become kindred to us. Some may even refer to their friends as family. In Mary and Elizabeth's case - family became friends. They saw potential in each other and encouraged each other in what God had called them to do. Not everyone may experience this blessing but perhaps we c…

Aliens

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Aliens. They are making a comeback. It used to be funny that people believed that they existed. Now, even scientists are entertaining the possibility for real. There is more and more expanding research on alien life, UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) and life on other planets. Aliens are defined as another people who claim home as another place - other than earth. They are strange. Strangers. The bible even talks about them! Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges [those dishonorable desires] that wage war against the soul. (1 Peter 2:11, Amplified) Well, there definitely are odd people among us. Peculiar people just don't fit in with everyone else. They stick out. They do not assimilate or acculturate and they do not mind. It may not be popular, but that is not the point.
If you are a Jesus follower, this may be you, an alien to this world. When you are born again, Heaven becomes your home. You do not conform to this world, b…

Your daddy loves you

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Your daddy loves you. He always has. No, not your earthly father, your heavenly Father. He may not hear from you much, but He is always around.

Let me tell you about my dad. I was his first born daughter and he was disappointed. He wanted a son, his namesake. He never really told me but it was noticed, especially when he had two more daughters after me. No worries though...I am over it. How could he resist my chubby little face and eyes that had me mistaken for an asian baby? No way. I was his like it or not.

No so with God. He not only wanted you, but He chose you from the foundation of the world to be His chosen possession. He designed you and fashioned you in your mother's womb... to be His own special treasure. You may not feel wanted or deserving, but let me tell you that God thinks that you are both. He wants a relationship with you and you deserve that. We all can have forgiveness and love and acceptance in Christ.

Do not let the enemy tell you otherwise! God is jealous for…

Jesus Pursues

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Jesus will never stop pursuing you. He is after your heart with a relentless, passionate love. He won't let go and He won't give in. He will not stop. He will not let your other Idols distract Him. He is on a mission for a relationship with you, for your eternal love.
It is the greatest love story of all time. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
He was born, lived and died for you: and because death could not hold Him, He rose again for you and now sits at the right hand of God, making intercession for you. All of it...for the love of His life. You are the reason and He wants all of you in return.
The Lord not only wants you to love Him with all of your heart, mind, soul and body, but He wants you to tell others around you that He is in real pursuit of them as well. He pursues you with passion on purpose. You see, it is not His will th…

It's Not Fair

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Life is not fair. At least it seems that way. It seems that at times God may not care what happens to us. We may feel overlooked, rejected or even hated because things are unfair in this life. How is it that those who deserve justice for their sin and wrong gets set free? Then there are those who are innocent who are greatly punished for even up to half their lives in prison. There are unjust politicians, shady car salesmen, unfair pricing and wrong grades. It happens every day. Where is justice? Where is God? I have heard people say that God is just but he is not fair. Well I disagree. I think God is more than fair. He not only does not give us what we truly deserve, but he gives us more than we do deserve.
His grace is greater than our sense of what is fair.
We cannot even begin to fathom the mind of an all-knowing, all-seeing God. Who are we to question His judgment, His wisdom, His verdict, rewards and punishments. In a sense, we place ourselves on equal footing with God when we c…

Power

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When we think about power we think about so many different things. We think about powerful people. We think about strength versus weakness. We may even think about God. When someone has power they often have influence. They may also have popularity. In any case, they have control. Power is the ability to control something or someone. If you are not the one who is in power then you may be being controlled by someone else. In my American culture, that is a bad thing. We are often taught to be in full control over everything and not to allow others to control us. However, in Christian thought, the opposite is true. As we submit to God who is the one who is all-powerful, our control is limited. We completely relinquish control to the one who has all the power. 
But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the world. (Acts 1:8, KJV)
When that happens…

Secret Prayer - 3 Reasons

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I had not recognized until recently how often Jesus was in secret prayer with his Father. Majority of the prayers done in the New Testament are those in secret, not corporately. They is certainly power in corporate prayer and it is something that we should do, but there is great potential in private prayer as well. The Bible instructs us to go into a secret place a secret closet to pray (Matthew 6:6). It says that the Lord who sees us in secret will reward us openly (Matthew 6:18). The movie "War Room" has encouraged many many people to spend personal in prayer to petition the Lord on the behalf of themselves and others. Many people who have not taken their prayer life seriously now had a better idea of what it could look like for them.
But why pray secretly?
There's a story in the Bible that talks about one person who wanted to be seen as they prayed and had a prideful spirit versus another person in the shadows who cried out for mercy (Luke 18:11-13). There is somethi…

Pressing into Prayer

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Sometimes it is hard to pray. Sometimes we may not be in the mood to pray or we are not sure what to pray, but prayer is a BIG thing. How many things do we do before we "get to prayer". Sometimes we may even feel unworthy to pray for whatever reason. When we neglect prayer, however, we neglect asking for God's intervention and guidance. We need to major on the majors and stop making excuses.

Zacchaeus was not like some of us. He pressed his way to Jesus. He made the time to seek Him. He was not ashamed about what people thought of him and was rewarded by a visit from Jesus. Prayer is like that. When we move in faith believing God to take notice of us, He does. He sees us and will visit us. He will come into our house as well. We waits for your invitation to intervene in your life.

Prayer is two-way communication. We speak to the Lord and He speaks back to us. Sometimes we only share our hearts with God and do not wait to see what He has to say to us. We do not want our p…

Wholiness

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Think of the idea of holiness as wholiness. Something that is whole is complete. It is a whole deal, not half or a quarter. If we are not completely holy, then we are not holy at all! Light does not dwell with darkness. God cannot abide in an unholy vessel. It really is THAT serious! If you don't believe me, believe the Word of God.

"...God is light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5, KJV).
No darkness. At all. God also goes on to tell us to be holy as I am holy (1 Peter 1:16). That is a tall order. It is impossible really....without a holy God. Nothing intrinsic (internal) about us will measure up to the holiness that our God requires.

I have learned that the key to holiness is wholiness. The whole of your life must be pure which means that we must be in a constant state of repentance and striving to live a sinless life (sinning less and less and less). The truth of the matter is, that not even being sinless is up to us but repentance is! If you say that you have i…

Family First!

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Our children are not our priority. Our marriage is. *GASP* Some people may not agree with me on this, but our marriage is the foundation of our family. We love our boys something fierce, but we have to put our lives in right order. It goes without saying that God is central to our lives, but He is not on my list of priorities. He is EVERYTHING! He is not after, He is intertwined into all other facets of life. Marriage is the first and most important relationship, then that our our children.

Marriage

We did things "the right way" and waited until we were married to have children. We actually waited five years! That was a blessing. We had met online and we needed that time to really get to know each other and do the marriage thing. Honestly, we had only had three real face-to-face dates before we were living with each other as a married couple, so it was time well-spent.

In our 15 years, we have learned the importance of communication, forgiveness and loving each other in the w…

So Thankful!

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What things do you remember that make you happy? Thankful? We are thankful for our marriage, our family and so many other blessings. You have probably heard of how powerful a thankful heart can be. Here are just a few ways that the habit of thankfulness has been a blessing:

Being thankful make you a better spouse.

Maurice and I have definitely avoided some arguments because we chose to see what we could be grateful for instead of emphasizing what was negative. No one wants to argue. It is time-consuming and counter-productive really. We both feel better and are able to resolve our differences without hating each other. When the spouse is happy so am I.

Being thankful decreases depression.

That makes sense. It is merely a change of perspective that tells your brain to concentrate on one thing versus another. We can choose our attitudes and our responses. The brain is powerful enough to convince itself to be happy or sad. Did you know that the bible tells us what to think about (Philipppi…

Children

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What does the bible say about children? Plenty. They are important to God and should be important to us as well. Children should matter to you whether or not you have your own. Children may enter your life in a way that is planned or quite unexpectedly, through blood or not. In any case, they are our future. Whatever we leave for them is all they have to work with. They are the next church, the next disciples!

Children are wonderful (Isaiah 44:3; 8:13). They are easy to believe and have faith in God. They need to be trained, taught and reared in holiness. They are impressionable, so impressing righteousness into their lives is our responsibility!

We must be intentional with raising them naturally as well as spiritually (Ephesians 6:1-3, KJV).
The next generation is being formed by our diligence in spiritual nurturing or lack thereof.
Whether the children you influence are yours or not, you can make a difference. Many children are looking for love in all the wrong places. They are seeki…

Power in the Blood!

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As a nurse I know that it is true! There is power in the blood. It is good for cleansing, washing away heebee geebees like bacteria and viruses, for carrying oxygen (which could be useful if you want to breath) and giving our bodies volume so we are not dehydrated. It's good stuff for humans.

Now the blood of Jesus is a different story altogether! He was human AND divine. He had holy blood batman! Let's just think about this. He was born without being naturally conceived, lived, died and rose again. Sounds supernatural to me. So what does His blood have to do with us?

Since we are speaking of spiritual things, you need to think spiritually. In Bible days, the priests and Levites of Israel would offer regular animal sacrifices to God for their sins. Blood was required to cleanse them spiritually, but it was a messy business as you can imagine! The poor innocent animal was slaughtered before the people and the blood spilled out. Every time the people did wrong (imagine how often…