Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bend Your Brain (Book Review)

I think we can all agree that exercise is important for strengthening muscles and building healthy bodies. Right? Well, the brain is no different. It needs to be exercised in order to remain strong and healthy. As the saying goes, "use it, or lose it."

BEND YOUR BRAIN, a new book from MARBLES: THE BRAIN STORE, has been developed to give your brain the exercise it needs to remain healthy. It is meant to enhance memory and build problem solving skills. A quote from this book says,"Breakthrough research has been shown that you can generate new brain cells as you use your brain to focus, create, and play!" 

The book is separated into five different categories:
  • Visual Perception
  • Word Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Coordination
  • Memory

And, each category is separated into five different levels of difficulty:
  • 1 = mind warming
  • 2 = mind stretching
  • 3 = mind growing
  • 4 = mind bursting
  • 5 = mind blowing

This book will keep you (and your mind) busy for hours. It is fun, engaging, and keeps your interest - thanks to the variety of puzzles. I really enjoyed trying to solve the puzzles, and even involved my son and my husband at different times.

If you like word puzzles, mazes, dot-to-dots, and brain teasers, you will love this book. And, with the upcoming holidays, it would be a great stocking stuffer idea!

NOTE:  I received the book free from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS for this review.

HYMN: 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

For today's hymn, I want to take you back to an old post I wrote four years ago. Click here to read it:

At the end of the post, you will see a video of TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS, sung by Casting Crowns. It is a beautiful hymn, written by a young missionary in 1882 who wrote the words shortly after she watched her husband die while trying to rescue a young boy from drowning. Here are the words:
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!
O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

HYMN: Lord, Speak to Me

Frances Havergal was the youngest daughter of a hymn writer in England. She was very intelligent, reading at the age of 4, and writing poems at the age of 7. She followed in her father's footsteps by becoming a deeply spiritual hymn writer, and also wrote several devotional books.

This hymn was written in 1872 as a help to those who minister in the church. It is written like a prayer, and I especially like the last verse, as it is a prayer of my own heart that the Lord will use ME wherever He sees fit to do so.  

1872 – Frances R. Havergal
Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou has sought, so let me seek
Thine erring children lost and lone.
O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet.
O strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the rock, and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.
O give Thine own sweet rest to me,
That I may speak with soothing power
A word in season, as from Thee,
To weary ones in needful hour.
O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart overflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.
O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where,
Until Thy bless├Ęd face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.
Two verses that go along with this hymn
Ephesians 6:20 - For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
2 Corinthians 1:4 - Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stop Listening to the Lies

We all have weaknesses - we are human, after all - and I feel a little vulnerable telling you about one of mine; but maybe if I share, some of you can relate. Maybe I'm not alone in my weakness, and maybe this can help some of you. So, here it goes...

More often than not, I am insecure in who I am as a wife, mother, sister, or friend. And, occasionally (or maybe even a little more often than occasionally), I allow my insecurities to get the upper hand in my life, causing me to go into seclusion mode and wallow in self-pity. Yep, I sure do. It all starts by comparing myself to others, and then I begin thinking I'm not good enough. Can you relate?

What exactly are insecurities? They are the things that make you lack confidence in your abilities, to be hesitant, indecisive, or doubtful. To put it another way, though, they are lies from Satan meant to disable Christians in their service for the Lord.

Satan loves to whisper in my ear and tell me:

  • You're not important.
  • You have no real purpose in this world.
  • If you were to disappear, no one would really notice.
  • Compare yourself to HER. You should be doing what SHE is doing.
  • You are ruining your children's lives.

Why does he love to whisper these things to me? Because I tend to listen. (After all, everyone likes to be listened to, right?) And, when I listen to him, I stop listening to God. And, when I stop listening to God, I become useless as His servant. That's Satan's goal! That's what he wants to make happen in EVERY. CHRISTIAN'S. LIFE. He knows that he can't take away our salvation, but what he CAN do is put lies into our heads and make us feel worthless. Can you relate?

How do we combat the lies, then, and STOP listening to those negative thoughts? 

1.  STOP AND THINK. Does this thought agree with Scripture? If not, then it is not from God.

2.  STOP AND PRAY. Ask the Lord to help you think only on the truthful thoughts that HE gives us in His Word.

3.  STOP LISTENING TO THE LIES.  Look up Scripture verses that tell you the truth, and let your mind dwell on those things instead. Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Should we be listening to "the father of all lies" or should we be listening to our Creator? Our Creator knows us. He formed us in our mothers' wombs. So, why on earth would we choose to listen to anyone else!

Its hard sometimes, but it has to be a conscious decision to dwell on truth rather than lies. It is something I still struggle with. But, when I listen to what God tells me about myself, I am much more content.

What does God tell me about myself?

I may not be an "important" person by some standards. I've never done anything AMAZING in the eyes of the world. But, that doesn't matter. What matters is that God has ME here for a reason. I'm not supposed to compare myself to my mom, or my sister, or my friends, or to the pastor's wife, or to  anyone else who I come in contact with. I only need to do my best at using the gifts and talents that have been given to ME to serve the Lord on this earth.

One reason I am sharing this is so I can have something to refer back to when my thoughts take me in the wrong direction. This world is only temporary, so I don't want to be wasting my time listening to the lies. I want to focus on the truth and be busy for my Lord. I hope you can relate.
Linked up with:
Missional Women

Sunday, September 14, 2014

HYMN: What A Friend We Have in Jesus

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

Proverbs 18:24 - A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NKJV)

It is hard to go through difficult times in our lives - illnesses, betrayals, fears, deaths, and so on - but, even in our grief-stricken loneliness, the Lord can use our circumstances to help bring encouragement and support to others. One example comes from Joseph M. Scriven, a natural born Irishman who later moved to Canada. When his mother became ill, and he could not return home to Ireland to be with her, he wrote her a poem to encourage her in her time of distress. He never would have been able to write these words if he had not understood what it was like to share his sorrows with the Lord. In fact, great sorrow encompassed his life through the loss of two different special ladies (whom he was engaged to be married to). It was his faith in Jesus Christ that helped get him through his grief. 

Joseph's poem to his mother was never intended to become a hymn, but it's definitely a memorable one that is still loved by many today.

Words by:  Joseph M. Scriven
Music by:  Charles C. Converse
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
For more information, you can watch a 10-minute video on You Tube about Joseph Scriven and THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

HYMN: I Gave My Life for Thee / What Have You Given Back?

Last Sunday, my husband preached at our church to fill in while the Pastor was out of town. He spoke about the question, "Why are we here?" In other words, what is the meaning of life? Is it meaningless?

The answers can be found by looking into God's Holy Word. Take a look at these verses: 

1 Corinthians 8:6 - yet for us there is [but] one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we [exist] for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we [exist] through Him. (NASB)

Colossians 1:16 - For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created by Him and for Him. (NASB)

1 Corinthians 10:31 - Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (NASB)

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 5:15 - and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (NASB)

These are just a few of the verses that actually tell us what our purpose is here on this earth. It really can't get any clearer. We are here for God's purposes. We aren't here to just have fun, live for ourselves, then die and no longer exist. We are meant to worship our Lord, serve Him with gladness, and glorify Him in all things. THAT is the meaning of life! So, no... if you believe in what the Bible says, life is not meaningless.

In that case, here's another question:  What are you DOING for God? How are you living your life? What have you given back to Him for all the gifts He has brought to you? Think about the ultimate gift He gave... Our Heavenly Father not only created us, His unfading love also sent Jesus to DIE for us. Why? Because, when sin entered the world, we were separated from God, and He hated that! So, He sent Jesus to provide a way for reconciliation to take place. That means, because of the ultimate gift of Jesus, we can now have a relationship with God. (For more information about this, click over to one of my informational pages about WHY WE NEED SALVATION. My husband gave a more detailed explanation of it there.) Have you placed your faith in Jesus and what He did for you on the cross? If not, don't put it off any longer. God gave the ultimate gift for YOU, and He's waiting for you to accept it.

The hymn we sang at the end of the message on Sunday gave a good summary of all of this. It was written in 1858 by Frances Havergal, an English poet and hymn writer. I like this hymn because it reminds me to ask the question, "If God gave the ultimate gift to me, what am I giving back to Him?"

Words by Frances R. Havergal
Music by Philip P. Bliss
I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou might'st ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead;
I gave, I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou giv'n for Me?

My Father's house of light,
My glory-circled throne
I left for earthly night,
For wand'rings sad and lone;
I left, I left it all for thee,
Hast thou left aught for Me?

I suffered much for thee,
More than thy tongue can tell,
Of bitterest agony,
To rescue thee from hell;
I've borne, I've borne it all for thee,
What hast thou borne for Me?

And I have brought to thee,
Down from My home above,
Salvation full and free,
My pardon and My love;
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee,
What hast thou brought to Me?