Thursday, September 29, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Elizabeth George, whose books have sold more than 6.5 million copies, is the author of A Woman After God’s Own Heart® (more than 1 million copies sold) and Breaking the Worry Habit Forever! She’s also a popular speaker at Christian women’s events. Elizabeth and her husband, Jim, are parents and grandparents, and have been active in ministry for more than 30 years.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Elizabeth George, bestselling author and mother of two daughters, provides biblical insight and guidance for every mom who wants to lead their daughter to a godly life through example, study, and prayer. Elizabeth includes questions to draw moms and daughter closer as together they pursue spiritual priorities and God’s heart.





Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736917721
ISBN-13: 978-0736917728

MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW:
My husband and I are blessed with one daughter (and 2 sons). Our one and only daughter is now 18 years old. In spite of our shortcomings, mistakes, and failures, God has graciously blessed us by molding our daughter into a young woman after His own heart. She is currently serving onboard the Logos Hope (ship ministry of Operation Mobilization) in Malaysia. She loves God and lives for God. We couldn't be more proud of her. We're truly thankful to God for what He has done in her, for her, and through her.

Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart is a practical and insightful book that will help moms, especially the ones with young daughters, in their parenting journey. Did you know that you're not only a mom, but also a prayer warrior, seed sower, coach, church lady, social secretary, teacher, homebuilder, cheerleader, shepherd, marathon runner, even bell sheep? You didn't realize all those roles you would have to take on when you signed up to be a mom, did you :)? The author offers Biblical principles/wisdom from God's Word, her personal experiences from raising two daughters, valuable suggestions (You Can Do It! section at the end of each chapter) and lots of encouragement. Each chapter also includes Mom's Think Pad which consists of action plans and questions that help readers to ponder and pray about. To sum up, we moms must first be women/wives/moms after God's own heart in order to raise a daughter(s) after God's own heart. And don't forget to pray and pray and pray (you get the idea..). Do your part, Moms, and leave the rest/results in God's hands.



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The Bell Sheep

Part 1  —  Earning Your Bell

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today
shall be in your heart.

  —  Deuteronomy 6:5





On a recent Christmas Sunday, my husband, Jim, and I and our family of 14 arrived at a church service extra early to make sure we didn’t end up in the “Standing Room Only” section for this special occasion. With my bulletin in hand and several minutes to spare before the service started, I opened my Bible and looked up the Scripture passage the pastor would focus on during his message. Then I read through some additional teaching notes and commentary in the margin of my Bible. One article was entitled “The Bell Sheep.”

The bell sheep? What in the world is that? I wondered. I read on. The article explained that when a shepherd noticed a sheep who willingly followed him and stayed near him, he hung a bell around the neck of that sheep so the flock would follow the bell sheep…who, in turn, was following the shepherd.

Knowing I would begin writing Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart as soon as the Christmas holiday was over, I almost jumped out of my seat when I read this. I was shouting out in my mind, “That’s it! That’s it! A mom should be the bell sheep for her daughter!”

And it’s true! When we as mothers stay close to Jesus—as close as close can be, and when we love Him with all our heart just the way Jesus said to, and when we willingly follow Him and His Word, guess what? We become His bell sheep for our daughters to follow. Our girls observe—and copy—our behavior. They can—and will—follow our example. We become their very own personal walking, living, real flesh and blood, visual example of what it means to be a child, girl, tween, teen, and woman after God’s own heart.


How to Be a Bell Sheep…in Three Verses

Finally Christmas was over, meaning it was D-Day for me—or more accurately, W-Day as in Writing Day. So I sat down to begin and wondered and prayed, “Where does Christian childrearing really begin? And what is Thing 1, Goal 1 for a mom?”

In a few seconds I had the answer! And it came from God’s Word. It was packaged in three verses I had discovered as a young mom, and also as a baby Christian. I flashed back on those early new-believer days of excitement, of newness, of need as I hungered to find out for the first time what God teaches about…everything! And especially “What in the world am I supposed to do with two little toddling girls?”

I’m so glad a wise woman had advised me to read in my new Bible every day. Well, the day arrived when I made it to the book of Deuteronomy. And there I hit gold when my eyes landed on Deuteronomy 6:5-7. I was stunned. Amazed. Thrilled! God was actually showing me His guidelines for raising my own little daughters, then only one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half years old. And in only three verses! How practical is that? Here’s what I read over and over again and finally memorized:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

I adore these verses because they are packed with clear communication to moms. God goes straight to the heart of the matter—the parent’s heart, the mom’s heart. He knows we become what we love. So He is utterly straightforward about where we are to place our love: We are to love Him supremely.


Two Questions to Ask Yourself

Believe me, I thought through this powerful passage—a lot! Then I took it apart word by word and thought by thought. And I came up with two questions I constantly asked my heart during those days with little girls, and still ask even today with two married daughters who are now raising their daughters. (After all, a mom is always a mom!)

Heart Question #1: What—and whom—do I love?

We “love” a lot of things for a lot of different reasons. But God prescribes perimeters and scope for our love. He tells us what not to love: “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). And He tells us what we are to love and where our love is to be focused—we are to “love the Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

But hold on. The Lord goes a step further and demands all of our love. He wants us to love Him with every fiber of our being—every breath, every ounce of energy, every thought, every emotion and passion, every choice. He wants us to love Him. He wants us to think first of Him and to desire above all else to please Him. And He wants that love to be intense and total, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” As writer Matthew Henry summarizes, “He that is our all demands our all.”

Matthew Henry continues on to point out that our love for God is to be a strong one that is lived out with great enthusiasm and fervency of affection. It is to be a love that burns like a sacred fire, a love that causes our every affection to flow toward Him.

Now, apply this information about the strength of this kind of love for God and think about the love you have for your daughter, for your children. I’m sure you’ve heard others say, “There is no love like a mother’s love.” And it’s true! From the split second we know a baby is on the way, all our thoughts, dreams, prayers, and goals are channeled toward that little one. We are completely consumed and preoccupied by this tiny being. As the baby grows within us, our love blossoms and our commitment to it grows right along with our expanding body.

Immediately we begin to prepare physically for his or her arrival by meticulously taking care of our health. Healthy mom equals healthy baby, we’re told. We also prepare physically by setting up a nursery area for the new little addition. A bassinet or crib. A blanket. A mobile. Clothes. Supplies. Loads of diapers! Sometimes we even paint or remodel a room.

Then we moms get to work preparing our schedule. Maybe we have to quit a job or arrange for a leave of absence. Oh, and we have to find a pediatrician, as well as make time for our own doctor appointments. And, if we’re smart, we begin to prepare by gathering wisdom and information from our own moms, other moms, and from classes, books, and the Internet.

But as much as we obsess and focus on an approaching child, God wants us to obsess and focus even more on Him. That’s because the more we love Him, the more we will know about love. And the more we know about love, the more we will know about how to love. And the more we know about how to love, the more we will love our baby, our child, our daughter. I like what C.S. Lewis wrote about his love for God and how it affected his relationship with his wife: “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.” Mom, your love for God will prepare you to love your child. The more you love the Lord, the better you shall love your earthly dearest daughter.

So…God’s first assignment to any and every mother is to love Him above all else. If you are a sold-out, on-fire, hot-hearted, committed-to-God woman, you will be infinitely further down the road to being the kind of mom who, by His grace, can raise a daughter after God’s own heart. Because all your love centers upon God, and because you follow Him with all your heart, you will qualify to lead your daughter to follow God too—to be…well…God’s bell sheep for her.

Heart Question #2: What’s in my heart?

I don’t know what’s in your heart, and I’m working on what’s in mine! But God tells both of us what is supposed to be there, what He wants to be there. Here it is: He says, “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart” (verse 6).

And here’s the scene surrounding these words: In Deuteronomy 6, Moses is in the final weeks of his life. It has been 40 years since God’s people left Egypt, 40 years of homeless wanderings in the desert. At last a new generation was poised to enter into the Promised Land. But before they move out, Moses restates the Law one more time to this new generation that had been born in the wilderness. Because this next generation had married and now had—and would have—children, he addresses their spiritual responsibility as parents. As Moses speaks, he doesn’t want these moms and dads to merely hear the words of the Law and the Ten Commandments. No, he wants more, way more! He wants the words of the Law to go beyond their ears and reside in their hearts.

You may want to look again at Deuteronomy 6:6, but it tells us that God’s Word, the Bible, is to be in our hearts. Other passages in the Bible send us this same message:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night (Joshua 1:8).

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).

My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you…bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 7:1,3).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16).

The message is repeated…and loud, isn’t it? And clear! God’s Word is to be in our heart. He asks this of you and me as moms. Why? Because when truth resides in your heart, then you have something to pass on to your daughter. She benefits! And you benefit too: As a mother you have something to guide you when you need help, strength, wisdom, and perseverance in your role as a mom, as a bell sheep. Don’t get me wrong—having and raising a child is perhaps the greatest earthly blessing you will ever enjoy. But, at the same time, it is the greatest challenge. But take heart, mom! God’s Word will always be there in you, with you, and for you as you guide your daughter in the ways of the Lord.

So…God’s second assignment for you as a mom is to be committed to His Word. You are to do whatever it takes to embed the teachings of the Bible in your heart, soul, and mind. As the saying goes, “You cannot impart what you do not possess.” The same is true of moms. To teach and guide, lead and raise a daughter after God’s own heart presupposes and requires that God’s truth be in your heart first. Then you possess something to impart. Then you have the most important thing to pass on to your precious daughter—the truth about God and the grace He extends through His Son, Jesus.


Becoming the Bell Sheep

I hope your heart is responding fervently to our initial glimpse at this primary role in the life of a mom after God’s own heart—that of being your daughter’s very own bell sheep. But maybe you are feeling like you need a little help. Well, read on to find out how to become the bell sheep. Practical help is on the way!




Part 2  —  Ringing Your Bell

You shall teach them diligently to your children,

and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,

when you walk by the way, when you lie down,

and when you rise up.

  —  Deuteronomy 6:6-7



When my girls were young, I didn’t know about the bell sheep. But if I had, I would have wanted with all my heart to be one. And I would have been praying, “Oh, dear Father! You know how much I desire to be a bell sheep for my daughters. My greatest goal in life is to lead them to Jesus and teach them His ways.” I’m imagining this same heart-cry is being lifted heavenward from your soul’s core too.

As you’ve probably learned, knowing there is something God wants you to do is crucial. And wanting to do what God wants you to do is vital. But if you don’t know how to do what it is God wants you to do, you can become extremely frustrated.

So now we come to the big issue of how do I do this thing God wants—and expects—me to do? Well, here we go!


Yes, but How?

How does a mom help her daughter develop a heart for God? Deuteronomy 6:7 comes to the rescue and answers this question for you and me. God says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children” (verse 7). A mom who wholeheartedly loves the Lord and holds God’s words in her heart is to teach them to her sons and daughters.

—  “To teach”   There are two key ways to teach—by model and by mouth. And there are some basic practices you can follow for teaching effectively. I have a degree in education and have taught preschoolers, students from grades seven through twelve, and adults taking night school classes. Teaching was a job and I took it seriously. I developed my lesson plans for each day, week, month, semester, and school year. And I studied and prepared in advance for each day’s classes.

I also have a daughter who homeschools. I am in constant awe of her commitment. She plans out each year. She searches for materials for five children and their respective grade levels. She orders curriculum to arrive well before back-to-school day so she can preview it. Then she plans in advance the best way to teach, lead, and guide the five of them through each day of study.

Now picture this: I taught subjects that had nothing to do with God or with being a Christian, and so does my daughter. Imagine the effort we both put into teaching information and facts. And here in Deuteronomy 6:7, God is telling both of us—and all moms—to teach our children His Word, His ways, His truth. Now, this is life-changing stuff! The Bible is wisdom that will guide their lives and their choices. It is truth that will pierce a heart and bring a daughter to Christ. So be aware that every time you teach God’s Word you, the bell sheep, are ringing your bell! You are signaling to your daughter the priceless value of the treasure of the Scriptures.

This is exactly what happened in the New Testament to Timothy. As the apostle Paul said of Timothy, his trusted associate in ministry, “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). God’s Word is dynamite! And Timothy’s mom and grandmom, a mother/daughter tag team after God’s own heart, were faithful to ring their bells! They were faithful to teach him the sacred truths of the Bible, which paved the way for Timothy’s salvation. Mom and grandmom did their part—they fulfilled their mission to teach God’s saving truth. And God certainly did His part!

Time out for a second. I’m thinking as we pause here, shouldn’t a mom after God’s own heart who wants to raise a daughter after God’s own heart take her teaching of Scripture seriously? If you are in this position, shouldn’t you be committed to…

…instructing your daughter in God’s ways?

…planning to some extent how you will accomplish this goal?

…scheduling a time each day for some kind of formal Bible time with her?

…encouraging her to have some time alone with God, a quiet time?

…coaching her in ways to have daily devotions?

…searching for age-appropriate materials and talking with other moms about how they teach their children biblical truth?

…praying daily about this mission from God, this teacher role He has personally given you?

—  “To teach diligently”   Next God tells us in verse 7 to “teach them diligently to your children.” The “them” is what you are to teach—God’s Word and His commands. And “diligently” is how you are to teach—being purposeful and conscientious in a task or duty.

Think about this for a minute: What are you diligent about? Some women diligently floss their teeth. Others are so diligent they would never miss their daily exercise or walk, or be late to work, or fail to pay a bill on time. I know women who are so serious about every bite of food they put into their mouths that they diligently record what they eat in a daily log. On and on goes the list of life instances in which women choose to be diligent instead of careless, or lazy, or negligent.

Now switch your thoughts to doing what God says, to being diligent to teach spiritual truth to your daughter…versus leaving this all-important assignment to someone else, such as a church leader or a Christian school or a grandparent. Don’t get me wrong! These are wonderful and needed resources. But they are to be your partners in imparting truth, not your substitutes. You as a mother are to be the bell sheep who rings the bell of truth like crazy! You, mom, are to be the primary model and teacher of truth to your daughter.

Well, thank the Lord He doesn’t leave moms on their own. This isn’t mission impossible. No, it’s mission possible. God knows most moms don’t have a degree in education or training in teaching. And, whew, God doesn’t expect this or demand it! Aren’t you glad? Instead, He tells us how to teach and what this teaching involves. He says, “You…shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (verse 7).

No matter who you are, or what you do or don’t know about teaching—or how busy you are!—God expects you to pour God’s Word out of your heart and into your daughter’s heart. All you have to do is:

Step 1, love the Lord with all your heart;

Step 2, have God’s Word in your heart; and now

Step 3, teach His truths diligently.

By…what? Talking?! You mean that’s all? That’s it? Yes, that’s it—by talking.

Now I ask you, you’re a woman. How hard can talking be? Why, we girls are the world’s experts when it comes to talking!

And note where all our mother-to-daughter talking and teaching is to take place—at home. Nothing could be easier or more natural or more convenient than home sweet home! You don’t need elaborate plans. You don’t need to dress up or go anywhere. You don’t need to start the car. And you don’t need to spend any money. No. God simply says that “when you sit in your house,” you are to talk about Him.

Whew again—this one’s easy! You sit to relax. You sit to eat. You sit to visit. You sit to read. You sit to work on a craft together. And you sit whenever you’re in the car together. No matter what your daughter’s age is, these natural, low-key, sitting instances provide prime opportunities to talk about the Lord and His love and His promises…and His Son.

And “when you walk by the way” you are to talk about the Lord. From babyhood, to toddler times, to little girl, to schoolgirl, you’ll be walking with your daughter. That’s your special time for talking about the Lord. So…

Got a newborn? You will walk…and walk…and walk each time you calm your crying, ill, or restless baby. And you’ll put in miles pushing her stroller. And you’ll find yourself talking baby talk to her. I laughed out loud when I read this true-to-motherhood quip: “Being a mom means talking to your baby all the time.” So go ahead and talk all you want. It will develop the habit in you—and tune your baby girl’s heart to your voice.

How about a school-age daughter? If you walk your young daughter to school or to and from the school bus stop, you get to talk about the Lord. Tell her how He will help her through her time at school, with her test or report, with making friends. If you walk to the mailbox down the road, take your daughter along and chat about the wonders of the Lord and what it means to know Him. Let her know how she can trust Him and talk to Him anytime, anywhere, and ask for His help. When you walk together through the grocery store or the mall, again, make that an opportunity to talk about God and His provision and blessings. If there’s a breathtaking sunrise, sunset, rainbow, or wonder of nature—a bird’s nest, blooming flowers, even something as small as a dandelion, go outside and marvel at God’s handiwork together. And while you’re at it, do as the psalmist did and “talk” of His doings. “Praise” the Lord for His mighty acts and His greatness. “Declare” His faithfulness.

And then come the teen years. Hopefully you and your daughter have developed the habit of talking to each other about any and every thing, and especially about the Lord. So during her teen years, when things can get a little weird, and she may even see you as a little weird, you can still talk because of your history of talking. Believe me, if you are available, and care, and give her your love and attention, she will spill all!

And if you haven’t developed this early habit of talking, don’t worry and don’t give up. Just be sure you start now. Start talking, even if your daughter doesn’t seem to be listening. She is hearing, and what you say in loving wisdom will be filed away in her mind and heart. And it won’t go away. She won’t be able to shake it or forget it. Draw your strength from the Lord and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And if your daughter won’t talk to you, that’s okay. Just know before God that you talked, just like He asked you to do. You faithfully rang your bell. You shared truth from His Word. And take comfort in the fact that God promises His Word will not go forth in vain but will accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 55:11).

And to end each day and start the next, God tells you what to do in Deuteronomy 6:7: “When you lie down, and when you rise up,” talk! Talk about the Lord, and keep on talking about Him. You can help even your tiny young daughter start her days and end them with thoughts of God in her mind. You can greet your waking girl with, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Or you can call out, “There you are, my precious blessing from the Lord! Good morning!” And at night, prayer is the perfect way to put a little—and big!—girl to bed. It puts her day and all that happened to rest. It calms all sorrows and soothes every hurt from the day. And it quells her fears. Like David testified, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me,” and “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 3:5 and 4:8).

So…another of God’s assignments to any and every mom is to constantly be teaching and talking to your daughter about the Lord you love. Teaching and talking. And talking and teaching. Or put another way, ringing your bell! I hope you are grasping that being a Christian mom is more than taking your children to church. Home is a sort of church too. Home is the natural 24/7, morning-to-evening place to impress truth upon your daughter. Home is where she gets to see and hear every day how important the Lord is to you. Wherever and whenever the two of you are together is God’s opportunity for you to tell her about Him. So take advantage of the gift of such times. And if they are too few and far between, make it happen. Create the times together. In his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, author Tedd Tripp gives this challenge to parents:

You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself and his needs from a biblical perspective.


But What If…

I realize this ideal scenario does not happen in every mother/daughter relationship. Maybe the family you grew up in was not a Christian family. God knows that. He knows all about it—all about what you missed, and all about what you know and don’t know about being a Christian family and mom. So know that your mission is to begin where you are to follow the Lord. It’s never too late to receive Christ as Savior, to begin loving the Lord and growing in grace and in the knowledge of Him and His Word. You can choose any day—today, if you haven’t already—to begin diligently teaching the daughter you love, and talking to her about the God you love and who loves her. Point her to God. Encourage her in the Lord. Teach her what you know about Him from experience and from study. Pray for her with your every heartbeat. See her spiritual growth into a daughter after God’s own heart as your calling, your mission assignment from God. Commit to doing your part, and trust God to do His.

Perhaps you are thinking, This woman is crazy! Well, I wouldn’t blame you. But I will tell you I am crazy about God, crazy about my two daughters, and crazy about my four granddaughters. I will also tell you that I am passionate and passionately sold out to my role as a woman, mom, and grandmom after God’s own heart. It’s just so clear what God wants His moms to be and do. Your daughter has no other mother. You are the one He has chosen to teach her. And if you don’t, what if no one does?

Here’s a powerful description of what an all-out, all-or-nothing love for God and our daughters looks like. Let it encourage you today and in the decades of mothering to come:

…my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity…I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or slow up.


You Can Do It!

Each of the following suggestions is something you can do to contribute toward becoming the mom you dream of being. And each one betters your life…and your daughter’s too. Here we go:

Analyze your day.

Think through the rhythm of your day and pinpoint your discretionary time, the time when you have a choice about how it is used, when you can choose how it’s spent. There is always time to do what’s important to you. You’ll need to find the time to get to know God—to put first things first.

Design a quiet time.

Once you’ve carved out a special time to be with God, begin reading your Bible—even for just ten minutes. It’s been calculated that if you simply read your Bible for ten minutes a day, you will read through all of it in one year. That’s a doable task for you as a bell sheep whose life goal is leading your daughter to Jesus. There are scores of activities that fill your day. So steal ten minutes from a nonimportant activity like time on the Internet, time talking on the phone, time watching TV. Make a daily appointment with God and allow Him to speak to your heart from His Word.

Memorize Scripture.

Here’s a statistic for you: People remember about 40 percent of what they read. Wouldn’t it be nice to remember 100 percent? Well, you can if you memorize verses from the Bible. That’s what someone told me as a new Christian, and I followed their advice. As I shared earlier, as soon as I read Deuteronomy 6:5-7, I learned it by heart. I also picked out some verses that would help me with my daily life, including the daily challenge of being a mom after God’s own heart. Like “I can do all things [including be a mom!] through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Once you store up some verses in your heart, you’ll find that wherever you are and whatever is happening, you can remember God’s words to you. And just think—as a bell sheep, you can draw your daughter to Jesus as you speak His words to her.

Read about parenting.

In my mentoring ministry, one of my assignments for the women I meet with and give my time to is that they read five minutes a day on a variety of topics. They can pick the topics and the books. They can buy them, borrow them, or check them out of the church library. I do this because I’ve been reading on my own topics for five minutes a day for decades! For instance, I’ve been reading five minutes a day on marriage and family for what seems like forever. The same goes for time and life management. And health.

If you do this too, you will amaze yourself as you become an expert on your subjects by merely reading five minutes a day on them. You will also be super motivated because the topic and your new knowledge is fresh in your mind. Instead of dreading something, you’ll look forward to approaching it differently and trying some new techniques or methods. Your reading will serve as a reminder and an instructor to pay attention to the areas of your life you targeted for growth. Pray, and then choose your subjects. Just be sure as a mom that childrearing is one of them.

Write a letter to God about your daughter.

Then read the letter to Him as a prayer. Prayer involves God. So now there are two of you taking on the challenge of raising a daughter after God’s own heart. It will seal your commitment to becoming God’s kind of mom so, Lord willing and by His grace, your daughter grows to be God’s kind of girl. File your “My Prayer to Be a Mom After God’s Own Heart” away where it is handy and can be prayed often, even daily. Your prayer is another good reminder each day to keep on keeping on in your goals as a mom and your goals for your daughter. And here’s an idea: Each year on your daughter’s birthday, slip a copy of your prayer into her birthday card. Be sure to tell her where you were and what you were feeling when you wrote it. What a gift!

Mom’s Think Pad

Before you move on to your next Mom Mission, take a minute or two to think about what you can do to track with God as a mom. Make some plans of your own to take a few small steps that make a big difference.

I’m awfully busy, but I want to be the mom God wants me to be! What are several things I can do—or not do—to create some time to get into God’s Word? I want to be a mom after God’s own heart!
I want to set a goal to memorize Deuteronomy 6:5-7. Here’s my checklist:
Write these verses on an index card and carry it with me.

Pick a daily five-minute time slot that works for my schedule, during which I can memorize these verses.

Write out each verse ten times.

Copy these verses on several more index cards and post them on the refrigerator door, bathroom mirror, computer, car dashboard.

Ask my daughter to help me memorize these verses, to listen to me recite them, to be my audience, my checker, my best helper!


What are some ways I can “teach” my daughter about God and His Word by “talking” about Him…
…when we are sitting together?

…when we are walking together?

…when she is going to bed or going down for her nap?

…when she gets up?

What are some ways I can be more faithful and “diligent” in passing on God’s truth to my daughter?
Do I need to be mentored in my own spiritual growth? Who could help me? Or is there a class I can take? A group I can join? A book I can read?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pro-Life or Pro-Choice (Pro-Death)? Watch and Decide...

180 Film Turns Opinions Around Regarding Abortion
New award-winning documentary is changing minds and saving lives!

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX—What would you do if…? Thus begins the question being asked by author and film producer Ray Comfort in his new documentary,180. Titled to reflect the complete turnaround in the mindsets of all to whom the question is posed, the award-winning film shows eight pro-choice people (mostly college students) changing their stance to pro-life just moments after the question is asked in its entirety. It is Comfort’s hope that the documentary, releasing online September 26th, will go viral.

While skeptics of 180 (Living Waters Publications) say they can’t believe anyone would change his or her mind so quickly, Comfort accepts and even understands their disbelief, stating that he could hardly believe it himself when he first viewed the footage in the editing room. Initially, 180 was not the film he meant to produce. At the time, Comfort was taping interviews for a DVD to go along with a book on Hitler and the holocaust. In the course of the interviews, one question led to another, and the discussion led to abortion. Comfort explains, “It began with two male university students completely changing their minds about abortion when we asked them this one question. We realized it wouldn’t be convincing to have only males speaking on the subject, so we took to the streets, asking that one particular question, and found that six women changed their minds from pro-abortion to pro-life in a matter of seconds. It was amazing!”

Though it was not Comfort’s original intention to create a documentary specifically about the abortion issue, when he saw the direction the film was taking, he quickly recognized its potential to open the doors of discussion. “I have held up pro-life signs. I have printed pro-life literature and spoken against abortion in pulpits and in my books, but I have felt that all my efforts were almost futile—that is, up until now. In 180 we have a nation changer.”

A spokesperson for Living Waters, the production company behind the documentary, further explains the abrupt change this way: “There really isn’t that much to debunk because there is no argument against it. Its message is very powerful, eye-opening and watertight. It leaves no room for a comeback.”
Comfort adds, “Most of us know that we should be doing something to stop this horror, but the thought of protesting is a little unnerving, especially with the demonization of those who do so. But here is something each of us can easily do—we can give this DVD out. We can pass them out on the streets, leave copies on park benches or on seats in malls or give it to the checkout lady at the supermarket. This isn’t hard to do, and it will save lives—perhaps millions of lives.”

As to the rest of the question Comfort asks in 180? You’ll have to wait to watch the video to find out what it is. “For me to tell you what the question is,” he explains, “would be cheating you. You’ve got to see the facial expressions change. You’ve got to see the people, when they are asked that one question, change from one of a hard look in their facial expressions to one of a light going off, as they change their minds and realize how evil abortion is. Their thinking makes an abrupt 180 degree turn, all because of that one game-changing question.”

Although the film is just now being released to the public, an early edit of 180 was submitted for consideration and won a 2011 Telly Award.

~Thanks to Audra Jennings at The B&B Media Group for the news release info. above.

The documentary is now available for free viewing online at http://www.180movie.com/ or you can watch it below (please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video).


By the way, my daughter (when she was 16) made a 2 minute video comparing abortion to Holocaust: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gqcj_651Rik (you can watch it below :)).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Furious

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.

How would you describe the magnitude or the intensity of God's love for us? No word could suffice. Jeremy Riddle attempted by using the word "furious" in this song :).

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17b-19
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1a
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Lord, I'm forever grateful for Your unconditional, everlasting love for me! I can never thank You enough! Lord, please love through me...help me love You and others with Your love.

P.S. If you like this song, check out my review and giveaway of Jeremy Riddle's CD, "Furious" here. The giveaway ends 9/30.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Jeremy Riddle's CD "Furious"

"Furious" by Jeremy Riddle
(9/20/2011 release date)

"It’s hard to come up with words that depict the magnitude of Christ’s love – the depth and width of it. Furious doesn’t work outside of the context of love; we tend to translate the word as angry, but I see it as a super-powerful force; stronger, deeper, broader than our vocabulary can fully describe." ~Jeremy Riddle

Jeremy Riddle is a gifted songwriter, musician, and worship leader. I love his song, "Sweetly Broken" very much :)! "Furious" is his 3rd full-length album from Vineyard Music. This CD has 13 songs:
  1. Fall Afresh
  2. Furious
  3. Love Came Down
  4. One Thing Remains
  5. Acquitted
  6. You Are Good
  7. Walk in the Promise
  8. One Thirst
  9. Glory to the Lamb
  10. The Lord Is My Shepherd
  11. Here
  12. Always
  13. Nations Rage (not included in the pre-release CD I received for review)
These are wonderful praise and worship songs. The theme throughout the CD is: God's love. These songs from the heart invite listeners to reflect on His amazingly intense love for us and to respond by worshiping Him wholeheartely. Some of my favorites on this CD include Fall Afresh, Walk in the Promise, One Thirst, Love Came Down, and One Thing Remains. Beautiful music...soulful voice...worshipful lyrics! Check "Furious" out!

“Worship songwriters should always ask if the content of their songs is really the word offering of our heart or simply a well-crafted lyric. I continuously tried to direct my focus onto delivering authentic expressions of my heart over something catchy and quotable.” (~Jeremy Riddle, from his website)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vineyard-Music/18257532074
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/vineyardmusic
Website: http://www.vineyardmusic.com/vm/

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.

Furious (New Album from Jeremy Riddle) from Vineyard Resources on Vimeo.

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD!

To Enter: "Like" Vineyard Music's Facebook page and then leave a comment here including your Facebook name. Make sure you leave your email address, too. Deadline: Sept. 30th at midnight (Pacific time)

For extra entries (please leave a separate comment for each one you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter
- Enter my Ginny Owens' CD giveaway
- Enter The Shunning DVD giveaway


~"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Shunning DVD


The Shunning is the Hallmark Channel Original Movie starring Danielle Panabaker & Sherry Stringfield. The DVD was released on 9/13/2011.

Beverly Lewis' The Shunning - About the Movie
Before she succumbs to cancer, the dying wish of Laura Mayfield-Bennett is to be reunited with the daughter she never knew. Unfortunately, that daughter, Katie Lapp, is a member of the Amish order. Katie is about to be married, but uneasy about the path ahead. Now she discovers the secret her parents have kept from her: she's adopted.

The film is based on the celebrated first novel of the best-selling "The Heritage of Lancaster County" book series from author Beverly Lewis. Stars Danielle Panabaker & Sherry Stringfield.

BEVERLY LEWIS - Author of "The Shunning"
Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is The New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Lewis to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with "The Shunning," which has sold more than one million copies. In 2007, Lewis' "The Brethren" was honored with a Christy Award.

Lewis has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Lewis lives with her husband, David, in Colorado.

Website: http://hallmarkchannel.com/theshunning
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheShunningMovie
You can watch the trailer and the interviews with the cast and the director/executive producer (Michael Landon, Jr.) here.

My Thoughts and Review:
Raised in an Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Katie Lapp struggles being an Amish. To conform to their beliefs, she has to constantly fight against her passion for music (guitar playing and singing) and confess as if it was sin. She's about to be married to the Bishop, yet she can't shake off the love and fond memories she still has for her deceased boyfriend. One name, Laura Mayfield, changes everything. The long-kept secrets of the past are threatened. The promise is broken. The family love is tested. The true identity is discovered.

I have never read the book but I was totally captivated by the movie :)! I've always been intrigued by the way the Amish live. I love their simple living but I don't agree with some of their beliefs/rules. I've heard of "shunning" before but the movie really made me feel so sad for those who have been shunned. It's a very cruel way of punishment. It's not a way to show the love of Christ for sure. The unconditional love of Christ leads to forgiveness, healing, and restoration. I had sympathy for both birth mother and adoptive mother in the movie. I cried and I did not want the movie to end. I wish it would continue; I wanted to know what happened next :). This is a touching movie of love, forgiveness, and family. It's a story of two worlds (the Amish and the English) colliding in a tangle of adoption, deception, and emotions.

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of The Shunning DVD.
To Enter: "Like" The Shunning's Facebook page and then leave a comment here including your Facebook name. Make sure you leave your email address, too. Deadline: Sept. 30th at midnight (Pacific time)

For extra entries (please leave a separate comment for each one you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter
- Enter my Ginny Owens' CD giveaway
- Enter my Jeremy Riddle's CD giveaway


"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If You Want Me To

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.

Trust...obey...surrender all...rest in God's love and His faithful promises! "And I will go through the valley if You want me to." I do desire God's will for my life and my family...nothing more...nothing less...nothing else. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me...Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." ~Psalm 23:4, 6
 
"This is God's universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world. I have never heard anyone say, "The really deep lessons of life have come through times of ease and comfort." But I have heard strong saints say, "Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God's love and growing deep with Him has come through suffering." ~John Piper
 
"It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ."
~Esther Kerr Rusthoi
 
If you like her voice, check out my review of Ginny Owens' new CD "Get In, I'm Driving" and enter to win a copy here. She is blind but she sees the world through her Heavenly Father's eyes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Fave Five #57

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My Fave Five:-

1. "Blessed are the husband and wife who humbly dedicate their lives and their home to Christ and practice the teachings of Christ in their home by being unselfish, loyal, and loving."(Anonymous) I'm a truly blessed wife! To celebrate our 20th Anniversary, my beloved husband took a whole week off work (last week) and we went to Crater Lake for four days (with kids :)). Thank You, Lord, for blessing our marriage & our family so much! Soli Deo Gloria!

2. No phone, no internet, no TV. Cabin by a stream, breathtaking views, outdoor fun. My kind of vacation! We enjoyed hiking, fishing, making memories, and marveling at the beauty of God's creation. God is beyond awesome! 

3. God answered our prayers (He always does)! It was something that was totally out of our control. It's so cool to see how God worked it out and blessed us.

4. Our first week of our homeschool 2011 went wonderfully. I continually thank God for that! Hope it will repeat every week :).

5. I won a $50 Amazon code just from tweeting something on Twitter. What a pleasant surprise! God is so good to me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Ginny Owens' CD, "Get In, I'm Driving"

Get In Cover
(9/13/2011 release date)

About Ginny Owens:
A three-time Dove Award winner, including the Gospel Music Association’s 2000 New Artist of the Year recipient, and multiple ASCAP Award winner, Ginny Owens has sold nearly one million albums. A top performer on the Christian radio charts with hits like “If You Want Me To,” “Free” and “I Wanna Be Moved,” among others, Owens’ music has impacted mainstream audiences at Lilith Fair, the Sundance Film Festival and the White House. Her music has received widespread film and television placement, including songs on the popular WB series’ “Roswell” and “Felicity.” Owens was featured on national television, including NBC’s “Today” and CNN, for her contribution to help rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Born and raised in Jackson, Miss., Owens was discovering melodies on the piano almost before she could complete a sentence. Songs began to emerge from her fingers as the vision began to leave her eyes and by the age of three, a degenerative eye condition left Owens completely blind. Despite her physical challenge, Owens pursued a music career. Songs provide a window into a world Owens can’t see and an outlet for her to express her thoughts and dreams. Owens’ unique musical style and inspirational lyrics continue to appeal to Christian and mainstream audiences alike.

In 2005 Owens launched The Fingerprint Initiative, a hands-on, non-profit organization designed to “bring hope to the world, one project and one touch at a time.” The organization has partnered with and raised money for groups such as Compassion International, International Justice Mission, and Habitat for Humanity.

Website: http://ginnyowensmusic.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GinnyOwensMusic
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/GinnyOwens
iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/before-you-fly-single/id442050145

MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW:
To be honest, I had never heard of Ginny Owens until I was offered an opportunity to review her newest CD, "Get In, I'm Driving." Wow...what a gifted musician she is! Her voice is so beautiful and pleasant. She writes most of the songs (words and music). It took her 5 years to finish this album. It contains 11 songs:-

1. Get In, I'm Driving
2. Mystery of Grace
3. Before You Fly
4. Rain
5. Joined at the Heart
6. Better Off
7. Lay It Down
8. Higher Ground (words and music by Stevie Wonder)
9. Daughter of Destiny
10. Better That Way
11. The Song

I enjoyed listening to this CD. Her music style is a blend of folk and R&B. Some songs made me want to dance :). Ginny's songs are songs of encouragement. Great lyrics. Her faith in God shines through and through. Some of my favorites in this album include Rain, Joined at the Heart, and Lay It Down. The Song (the last song) has really beautiful, soulful guitar playing. This CD would make a great gift for any girl/woman. Daughter of Destiny declares confidence in whom God made us to be. Mystery of Grace reminds listeners that they are loved, precious, and special in so many ways. Before You Fly encourages us not to give up but to take one step at a time. Ginny Owens is our modern day Fanny Crosby. She is blind but she sees the world through her Heavenly Father's eyes.

"As I make my way along this journey,
Wisdom and truth will walk beside me,
I’ve been given purpose and direction,
Oh I am master-minded by the Author of perfection"
(from the song, Daughter of Destiny)

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video. If you like her voice, check out the giveaway below.

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD!

To Enter: "Like" Ginny Owens' Facebook page and then leave a comment here including your Facebook name. Make sure you leave your email address, too. Deadline: Sept. 30th at midnight (Pacific time)

For extra entries (please leave a separate comment for each one you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter
- Enter my Jeremy Riddle's CD giveaway
- Enter The Shunning DVD giveaway

 
~"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Women of Faith Event 2011: Over the Top






I have never attended any of the Women of Faith events yet. My mother-in-law has attended at least 3 different times. She was blessed everytime. I was super excited when I received 2 free tickets for Over the Top in the mail! Thanks to BookSneeze for generously giving some of us bloggers free tickets! I immediately called my mother-in-law and invited her to go with me. She was, of course, very happy about that :).
My excitement grew when I found out who the speakers and musical guests will be. Lisa Whelchel, Sandi Patty, Patsy Clairmont, Andy Andrews, etc... And Selah! I love Selah :)! I just can't wait.

To find an event near you, visit here. Get inspired!

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the video.


If you plan to attend Over the Top in Portland, Oregon, please let me know. Maybe we can meet :)!

No Self-Importance...No Offense Nor Defeat

"He who has no sense of self-importance cannot be offended or defeated." ~ W. Phillip Keller
Are you easily offended or feeling defeated? I will admit that I am a sensitive person; I cry easily :). Sometimes I get defensive and once in a while, I throw a self-pity party. "Poor me!" "Me" is the key, isn't it? Self-importance means an overly high opinion of one's own importance (according to the American Heritage Desk Dictionary). It is equivalent to pride (an excessively high opinion of oneself) and arrogance. What happens when we are offended or defeated? Our pride gets hurt, doesn't it? Ouch! Our "self-importance" gets deflated.

What if we have no sense of self-importance? What if we die to self daily? What if we humble ourselves before the Lord and in humility consider others better than ourselves? Would that be an antidote to being offended and defeated? I think this quote by A.W.Tozer explains it well: "Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather,...he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over."

Having no sense of self-importance does not mean self-hatred or having no self-respect. Some people go overboard the other way. Sadly, they still feel offended and defeated even when they don't think highly of themselves at all. In my opinion, both self-elevation and self-defeat are forms of pride. Both show that we think we know better than God because we believe what we or others think about ourselves, not what God thinks. Both also reflect self-centeredness. We need to move away from self-centeredness towards Christ-centeredness. The cure for poor I-sight (the term I heard from Max Lucado) is dying to self daily and seeing ourselves as God sees us. Our identity is in Christ. We won't be so easily offended or defeated when we realize who we are in Christ and our goal is to glorify Him, not self.

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." ~Proverbs 16:18
"He who covers over an offense promotes love." ~Proverbs 17:9a


~You're invited to share your thoughts about the quote above on your blog and then link up your post here.To learn more about "In Other Words"(what it's about, how it works, and how it originated), visit here.
 


Note: I won't be having any internet access for about a week (starting tomorrow); therefore, I will not be able to visit your blogs and comment on your posts until next week. Thanks for your understanding :)!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review: Toweligator



What do you call an alligator that holds a towel? Toweligator :)!

DiMart, LLC. has invented this clever beach and travel accessory--the Toweligator®. Have you ever been frustrated with trying to keep your towel in place at the beach on windy days? Or trying to keep your belongings (such as cell phones, eyeglasses, or mp3) from getting sand all over? The solution is the Toweligator!

The Toweligator is a bendable alligator clamp that grips tightly with its teeth onto a beach towel or accessory and you can bend its tail to secure it down into the sand. You can also use one or two Toweligators to hang a wet swimsuit or a wet beach towel up to dry on a chair.

The Toweligator is practical and cute :)! It comes in various colors: green, pink, blue, and yellow. You can be really creative with its versatility...think: flexible clamp. We enjoy going to the beach and will definitely take our Toweligators along. Because we have not had a chance to visit the beach yet (since I received the Toweligators), I tested them out by hanging a damp towel to dry on a chair. I'm very pleased with my Toweligators. The tail is easy to bend and the clamp has good grip. In addition, the Toweligator has become my youngest son's new fun toy :).



~ I received a pair of Toweligators for free via Family Review Network in exchange for my honest review.

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