Monday, July 31, 2017

47. Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship

I am so behind in my reviews. I always forget to add this little gem into my reading every year. It is a lovely little prayer book with Scripture for each day of a three month cycle. I have use it regularly so go through the whole thing at least once a year. :) I just found it on Kindle this last round. Now I don't have to take my book with me on my walks anymore! 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

46. The Black Moon by Winston Graham

The writing is still superb! I wish I would have read this much sooner. It has been delightful to read it over the summer months. My husband is reading them at the same time. So it has been so fun to discuss them! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

45. Warleggan by Winston Graham

He is a more modern day author (even though he has passed away), but he captivates me like an Austen or a Dickens. Some people were just born to write. I don't want to give anything away. I suggest the whole series. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

44. The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith

I really loved this book. It is simply about falling in love with God. Each chapter deals with a characteristic of God and the false narratives that we believe about Him and what is true through the life of Jesus. I loved the soul-training exercises at the end. If someone says "Meh" about it (as I read one review), I wonder more about that person than the book. I think this would be especially good for someone with a poor concept of God based on their parental picture. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

43. Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham

25365698I continue to be so impressed by this author. He rates pretty high up there in my book. I get totally lost in his stories!

The new television adaptation follows the books much more closely than the 70's version. 

It is interesting to hear that Caroline is the one who is tall with red hair in the books! So different from both television versions. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

42. Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg

I have read two other John Ortberg books (well three, if you count Living in Christ's Presence which is a transcript of a conference he did with Dallas Willard), and I always enjoy them. He has a very casual and easy writing style. This is a foundational book if one wants to understand the care of the soul. It is also very sweet because it is somewhat of an ode to his mentor, Dallas Willard. It chronicles their relationship over the years until Dallas' death in 2013. 

We often joke that John Ortberg is "Dallas for Dummies" as sometimes Dallas is difficult for people to understand. (But so worth the investment of time to get to understanding.)  Much of this book is a simpler version of book #41 on my 2017 reading list, The Renovation of the Heart. I adored that book, and I adore this book as well. They are both worth an investment of time with this book perhaps being a good place to start as it is more accessible. I also highly recommend, The Good and Beautiful God which I am currently reading and EATING UP! YUM! YUM!

soul-keeping 500x325

The book starts out with an analogy that is explained in this YouTube video:

The stream is your soul. And you are the keeper. 

Then it goes on to talk about care of the soul. So rich.

“A very simple way to guard your soul is to ask yourself, “Will this situation block my soul’s connection to God?” As I begin living this question I find how little power the world has over my soul. What if I don’t get a promotion, or my boss doesn’t like me, or I have financial problems, or I have a bad hair day? Yes, these may cause disappointment, but do they have any power over my soul? Can they nudge my soul from its center, which is the very heart of God? When you think about it that way, you realize that external circumstances cannot keep you from being with God. If anything, they draw you closer to him.”  

“Our problem is that this world does not teach us to pay attention to what matters. We circulate résumés that chronicle what we have accomplished, not who we have become. The advertisements we watch, the conversations we hold, the criteria by which we are judged, and the entertainment we consume all inflame our desire to change our situation, while God waits to redeem our souls.”

“Whether with an entire day, or periods of time set aside every day, your soul needs rest. Not a change of scenery or a spiritual retreat — those are fine and may contribute to rest. But to remain healthy, our souls need solitude with no agenda, no distractions, no noise. If someone asks you what you did in your “time apart,” the correct response should be, “Nothing.” Doing nothing does wonders for the soul.” 

“Your soul is what integrates, what connects, what binds together your will, then your mind (those thoughts, feelings, and desires going on all the time), and then your body (with all of its appetites, habits, and behavior). God designed us so that our choices, our thoughts and desires, and our behavior would be in perfect harmony with each other and would be powered by an unbroken connection with God, in perfect harmony with him and with all of his creation. That is a well-ordered soul.”

“When we reach out to God, we are lifting our souls up to be nurtured and healed. A soul centered in God always knows it has a heavenly Father who will hold its pain, its fear, its anxiety. This is spiritual life: to place the soul each moment in the presence and care of God. “My soul cleaves to you, your right hand upholds me.” It is much harder than it sounds to keep our souls centered on God. We hold on tightly, but often to the wrong things. But staying centered on God — his word, his ways — is the essence of life for the soul.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

41. Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard


This might just be my favorite book by Dallas Willard. I suppose Living in Christ's Presence is really my favorite, but that is a transcript from a conference, and they made a book out of it. So it is a little different.

This is The Divine Conspiracy with feet on it. It is about spiritual transformation. It is lovely in every way, and I highly recommend it.

I listened to the audiobook, and it is a treat because it is actually Dallas Willard reading the book in his peaceful and calm voice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

40. Demelza: A Novel of Cornwal,l 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga #2)

I wanted to listen to the audiobook of this so I waited and waited while I had it on hold. That meant almost a three month break between books. I wish I had just started to read the hardcopy that my husband had picked up for me back in April. 

Still waiting for the audiobook, I finally started reading that hard copy (yes, he kept renewing the checkout) last weekend, and I could not put it down! THEN, my audiobook came in while I was about 1/4 of the way through, and I finished it quickly. Needless to say, I am NOT going to wait for the audiobook of the third book (they did not have it so I had a purchase request that they fulfilled, but there were two people in front of me) and go pick up the hard copy that is waiting at the library.

The story is so compelling. Graham is a superb writer. This narration was not as good as the first one which was narrated by a man. This one was by a woman, and I just did not like how she portrayed Ross Poldark's voice. But many of the other voices were quite good. 

Here is my first review for background of the whole series:

And here is a link to my review of the gorgeous photo book of Cornwall that makes the whole series come alive:

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

IndepenDANCE Day Freewrite 2017

Yes, I know how to spell Independence, but I misspelled it in my journal today, and God whispered that "Independence makes you DANCE!" :) 

I feel a little freer this morning after some pointed conversation with God. Stemming from 2 Chronicles 15:17 in Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship 

"May I remove the places of idolatry from my life,
and like King Asa, let my heart be fully committed (blameless)
to You all my days." 

I sensed that "still, small voice" say, "Your #1 place of idolatry is people." 

Yes, people, their inclusion and somewhat their approval. Dallas Willard quoted George Mueller (Dallas and George are both literary mentors for me) in the book I am reading. I learned this quote in the early 80's, and it used to be on my wall:

"There was a day when I died:
- Died to George Mueller: to his tastes, his opinions, his preferences and his will
- Died to the world - its approval or censure.
- Died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends.

Since then I have studied only to show myself
approved unto God."
(from George Mueller: Man of Faith, Warren Myers, Singapore)

For me, it is inclusion in the activities of my friends. Also, I admitted that I wanted vindication of a nasty rumor spread about me eleven years ago. I was vindicated, and the person was discredited, but no one came back to me to apologize for believing that person's vicious lies about me. So, that is idolatry. I want approval from them. God said I don't need it. 

God led me to "Whom have I in heaven but Thee . . . You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:25). I know people don't mean to be this way, but God has this plan.

He led me to telling me some pretty awesome things about a precious gift He has, and we must wait (leading me into Psalm 37 and resting in Him and waiting patiently for Him, not fretting because of others).

You said I must keep on going deeper with Him and never stop. Others do stop. He told me to be an aroma to those who are perishing and those who have stopped growing and do not know this full, abundant, abiding life (that I have only tasted a glimpse of but am pressing in every farther on it)! It means feeling excluded from good things, but it isn't the BEST thing for me. 

Idolatry of people. Yep, that is it.

Then . . . 

"There is no one (including YOU, Carol) who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake who will not receive a hundred times as much in this present age - houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life." (Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:29-30)

"Let goods and kindred go
This mortal life also"

IndepenDANCE Day Baby! Go ahead and DANCE!

Monday, July 03, 2017

39. The Global Refugee Crisis: How Should We Respond?

33540542A fascinating pro/con look at the refugee crisis with the transcript of the debate and pre-debate interviews of the four participants. I learned quite a bit. They poll the audience before and after and the difference is quite substantial with one side winning the audience over with their argument. They certainly helped me decide!


Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...