Friday, July 29, 2016

Battlefield of the Mind

It's a miracle - I finished another book!!!!  My mother-in-law, Jan, gave me Battlefield of the Mind for Christmas in 2014.  I started reading it in April of last year.  I finished it about a month ago.  Yeah.  Haha!  I'm not the best reader around.  But I do have an almost 15-month-old, two part-time jobs, and a life to live.  Haha!  I'm working at becoming more of a reader, that's for sure!

I've decided to write about every book I read from now on ... to remember what I read and to, hopefully, encourage others to read some good stuff ... assuming that everything I read is good. ;)  I usually think it is.

I've heard lots of debate about Joyce Meyer.  I used to be pretty skeptical about her, myself, because I saw her as a female pastor, and I've been taught that female pastors are not biblical.  Yes, it's true that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 talks about how women should not authority over men.  And I believe that is God's Truth.  It's in the Bible; therefore, I believe it.  I do wholeheartedly believe that God gives women the ability to teach His Truth, and He has called them to do so.  I'll say I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable if a woman pastor one day took over for Pastor Roger.  But to me, the "women should have no authority over men" is a gray area in the Bible because it is not specific enough.  I'm still not totally sure what I believe about this issue is what I'm really trying to say.
I don't know if Joyce would call herself a pastor anyway.   And honestly, I don't know if it really matters.  I do know that men listen to her preaching and sit in on her seminars (I've seen them on her teaching DVD that I bought).  But isn't that their choice?  Joyce believes she has been called to teach God's Truth, and so she is.  She shares what God is teaching her, and she can't help who decides to listen or not listen.  All I know is that I have been pretty blessed and challenged to a closer walk with Christ because of what I've read and listened to by Joyce Meyer.  Her ministry is also flourishing.  I think God blesses people and ministries that honor Him, so I'm gonna believe that Joyce is good to go.  Just throwing my two cents in there ...

Either way, I read Joyce Meyer's book, Battlefield of the Mind, and got a lot out of it.  I took away four powerful points ...
#1 - We must PRACTICE taking every thought captive in order to obey and glorify Christ.  It is a daily (even moment-by-moment) battle that goes on in our thoughts.  See 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.
#2 - This battle in our minds for a positive, uplifting, Christ-honoring thought life is a war against Satan and his minions, not against flesh and blood.  I must believe the Truth about WHO I'm really fighting so that I can win!  Again, see 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.
#3 - I have control over what I think about!  I don't have to wallow in self-pity, self-condemnation, self-mutilating thoughts, or any other negative thought.  I can SPEAK God's Truth out loud to combat Satan's lies.
#4 - Sometimes, our "thorns in the flesh" are there because God wants to use them to grow us closer to Himself.  See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  No matter how far we get in this sanctification process, there will always be something that we struggle with - perhaps it's our "thorn in the flesh" - and maybe God gives it to us, or allows it to continue in our lives, so that we will be continually dependent on Him.  So let's thank God for our progress and expect more change.  Let's thank God that we are totally dependent on Him!

The way we think really does affect our lives!  Thinking and speaking God's Truths instead of complaining and wallowing in sinful thoughts really can transform our entire lives for the better!  For Christ-likeness!  And isn't that the goal???  I'm slowly but surely putting these Truths into practice and seeing the transformation first hand.  Hopefully, someday, y'all will see it in me too. ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Our Baby Names: Hadassah Ruth

Alright, Haddie girl, it's your turn, babe!
A year or two before Darrell and I started dating, I read through a book series called The Mark of the Lion series.  It was a Christian historical fiction series written by Francine Rivers, just in case you're interested in reading it! ;)  In the first two books of the series, the main female character's name was Hadassah.  She started out as an ordinary, fearful girl who lost her family to the violent Romans, and she became an extraordinary woman of faith, determination, and trust in the Lord in the midst of some unbelievable trials.  I was totally inspired and amazed at this woman's journey of faith ... yes, even though she is a fictional character.  It was just that good of a story!  And from that point on, I wanted to name my first daughter Hadassah.  I pray that Haddie will grow to be a woman of this kind of undying faith in her Savior.
Darrell and I agreed that we'd really like to pick strong, Biblical names for our kids, and thankfully, Hadassah is found in one sentence of the Bible!  Hadassah is Esther's Hebrew name and can be found in Esther 2:7.  So, boom!  We have our strong, Biblical name for our first born girlie!  In addition to the Francine Rivers' Hadassah, we really admire Esther's strength and courage to follow God and risk her life for her people.  Also, we chose Haddie's middle name, Ruth, from, yep, you guessed it, the book of Ruth in the Bible.  Ruth's story of courage, loyalty, and humility is inspiring and such an amazing example to follow.  Hence, our strong, Biblical middle name for our Hadassah.  I worked through a Bible study of both the book of Esther and the book of Ruth while I was pregnant with Haddie, and I remember being even more convinced that we picked the perfect name for our girlie!

God is so awesome!  I'm so thankful for my Haddie girl!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Our Baby Names: Bethel Grace

My husband, Darrell, and I found out a few weeks back that our second baby is another girl!!!!  We are absolutely excited and can't wait to meet her!  And we are totally in love with the name we've picked out for her!

Bethel Grace.

I was lying on my bed upstairs thinking about Bethel's name recently ... and then I started thinking about Haddie's name and thought "a blog post is in order!"  Darrell and I wanted incredibly meaningful names for our kids even before we were married.  Meaningful and Biblical.

This post is a bit backwards, seeing as Bethel is our soon-to-be second born child, but her name inspired the blog post, so I'll write about her name first.  I'll get to your's soon, Haddie girl! :) ..... I think it's been at least two years now since our Pastor taught through the book of Genesis, but his sermons about Bethel really stuck with us.  You can find the story surrounding our Bethel's name in Genesis 28:10-22.  It's all about Jacob's dream of a ladder reaching to heaven.  When he awoke from his dream, he exclaimed, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it."  So he named the place Bethel.  Over and over again in Pastor's sermons, he referred to Bethel as "God of the house, and He's home."  Wow, we loved that!  And that's exactly what we want for Bethel.  We want her to be a house of God and for God to really and truly reign in her life every single day.  And what a beautiful name for a girl!  We also chose Grace for her middle name because God's grace is God's greatest lesson in my life ... at least so far.  I have struggled to grasp and accept God's grace for myself (recovering self-condemner and all), so Grace is perfect and beautiful for our Bethel girl.

So there you have it ... Bethel Grace Thompson.  We can't wait to meet her ... 14-ish weeks and counting! :D