The CSB Study Bible for Women – Book Review

This is the Christian Standard Bible translation offered by Holman.  The exterior of this Bible has a hardback light turquoise with a cream bookend.  It comes with a very pretty flowered paper jacket.  The appearance of this Bible is feminine and the only thing I would like to see changed is that the flower jacket covered the entire exterior.

The interior has a lot of features to review, starting with the wife and husband family trees located in the very front of the book.  It then lists the Ketubah, which is a Jewish marriage contract, I found the information about this interesting and it also gives space for your own personal contract to be written.  Next comes the listing of family milestones and spiritual mothers.  Since there are events and people in our lives that shape us, this is a great way to honor them.

The introduction to the Study Bible had some very relevant suggestions and ideas that were written by Dorothy Kelley Patterson (professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).  There is also a section on how to actually study the Bible.  There are essays from various women throughout the Bible and also different charts and maps to help.

One of the many items I liked were the word studies located throughout.  Each one picks a single word and gives a more detailed breakdown; origin, different locations in the Bible, etc.)  The concordance is the back has many different features including related terms, color coding for old, new or both.

Now to the meat of the review.  I checked the translation against my ESV, NIV, and NLT and found them to be similar.  I like the format of the study notes and how much information is provided.  The essays and study notes were extensive and I did not read all of them, but the ones I did were in line with the Lutheran doctrine.

However, if anyone should have questions about any notes in a study Bible, I would suggest a discussion with your Pastor in case the notes are not conducive to your doctrine.

That being said I would purchase this Study Bible and give it 3 out of 4 stars.

You may purchase it at:  https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/the-csb-study-bible-for-women-light-turquoise-sand-hardcover-P005787303

 

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I’m a Hypocrite

Yeah, I came to this realization a few days ago.  Over the past several months I have been assaulted with negativity in the political arena, social issue arena and just about ANY arena you can think of.  I do okay with it for a while, but then it happened.  I allowed my human nature to transcend my spiritual nature by responding hatefully to a post on Facebook.    The worse part of this whole situation is – I was pretty proud of myself.

As a Christian, I believe that it is important to stand by my biblical beliefs, but as a Christian I should do that without being nasty – I should react out of love.  I failed in that terribly.  It took several days to come to this realization and several more to get the courage up to admit this terrible failing.  I am fortunate though, because, God still loves me.

I should state here and now, I will probably fail again – not probably but WILL – but remember to remind me that I am to act out of love and not condemnation. I may not agree with your stand on certain issues but I can allow you to have them without negativity from me, please afford me the same courtesy.

 

No matter how much of a total butthead I am being – Always remember

 

God Loves You And So Do I

 

Michele

Loving Fruit

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Praying For Strangers

Well, my last post was on a book I read long ago about prayer.  This post is about a book on prayer I have not even finished.  It’s called Praying For Strangers-An Adventure of the Human Spirit by River Jordan.

The book is a memoir about a year in which the author resolves to pray for one stranger every day.  Of course, we all sometimes pray for strangers … someone we heard about on the news, the relative or friend of a friend, etc..  River’s resolution went beyond this.  She prayed, for the most part, for someone she actually saw and felt drawn to.  When possible she spoke to the person, telling them about her resolution and saying “you’re my stranger for today.”  She asked if they had anything special they would like her to pray for, if not, she told them she was praying that they would be blessed, that their day would be good.

She often found it inconvenient, but realized it made her take time during her daily activity and errands to speak to someone and really listen to them.  She found out that almost everybody needs prayers.  Some of the people she felt called to pray for didn’t seem to be likely candidates … a nurse in the ER instead of one of the patients;  the young girl who looked “perfect” in her stylish clothes and make up, an attractive middle-aged lady getting out of an expensive car. Yet often, the person chose had a very specific prayer need.   River was hugged, often thanked, occasionally the person asked to pray for her as well, once or twice the person didn’t respond or want to accept her prayers.

She says,

Am I learning to trust myself?  No  But I’m learning to trust something greater than myself.  The offering of a prayer to heal and mend people is like the smallest offering in a sea, like one gold coin dropped in a plate.  But my willingness to do this, my faith to do this, makes things right in spite of myself.  There are no right people or wrong people to pray for.  We all need it.  This big old beautiful, tired, worn world is full of souls hungry for prayer.

So how about it?  Will you try praying for a stranger every day? How would you feel if a stranger told you they were praying for you?

 

 

The Prayer that Never Fails

“And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.  And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’  And he withdrew from the about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke 22:39-42

This post is in response to Beth Ann’s “Unanswered Prayer.”  On first reading of the verses above, you may think that Jesus’s prayer to the Father was not answered.  He asked to have the cup of suffering, which he knew was coming, removed.  That didn’t happen.  However, take note of the rest of the prayer … “not my will, but yours.”

If you have read any of the Mitford series of books by Jan Karon, you will remember that the main character, Father Tim, calls this “the prayer that never fails.”  Here’s a quote from another Christian book (Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson)I was reading recently:

“Your faith grows as your heart, led by the Holy Spirit, perceives and understands the invisible realm of spiritual reality.  That unseen realm governs the visible realm and brings your mind and will into agreement with the reality of the Kingdom.  In essence, what I have just described is the process of renewing the mind.”

In some of our posts, we mentioned that prayer is about listening as well as talking.  If prayer is a conversation, it should not be one-sided. But I would challenge you to add,  prayer is about talking, listening, discerning the will of God, and lining our will up with His.

Wow, this is a hard teaching!  I cannot always do it.  It seems as if many of the things I desire and pray for are “good.”  I want that person I love to be healed;  I want my church to grow;  I want my friend to find a job.  It only seems reasonable to think that God must want these things, too.  But God’s ways are not my ways, and He does things at the right time, not my time.  Jesus knew this and He is my example.  To truly trust God, I must learn to add “the prayer that never fails” to my prayer repertoire.

My prayer partner sent me an email this morning and I read it as I was thinking about this post.  Here’s what she said about her recent doctor visit:

“So I’m praising God and thanking Him for whatever outcome He knows is perfect for me.”

I have learned so much from our prayer partner program.  These ladies are constantly reminding me of what prayer should be.  So, at least for today, I too thank God for whatever He has in store.  How about you?  Can you pray the prayer that never fails?

 

 

A Praying Mother

…Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teachers of good. In this way they can train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, managers of their households, kind, and subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be discredited.…Titus 2:3-5

Mother’s Day was Sunday so I just want to say, if you had a praying mother, give thanks.  She was one of God’s gifts to you.  And if you didn’t, give thanks to the Christian woman who taught you to pray, because I bet there was one.

One of the things I learned on my Via de Cristo weekend is, we are all leaders because we all influence others. I am a shy, private person so even as an active Christian, I never thought of myself as a leader.  The Bible tells us otherwise.  In the quote above we learn that we are constantly teaching others through our life and our behavior.  Did you know that when people are asked who has had the greatest influence on their spiritual life, the most common answer given is “my mother”?  I bet grandmothers and other older women are in that mix as well.  Did you know that the Bible says many husbands are ” won over without words by the behavior of their wives”?(1 Peter 2:1)

If you are not a mother or wife, you can still teach someone about prayer.  I challenge you to watch War Room (mentioned in one of Beth Ann’s posts) to see “passing it on” in action.  Each of us can and should be a mentor to someone else.

In the meantime, think about who taught you to pray.  Was it your mother, your grandmother, your Sunday School teacher, your friend?  Please comment, I am waiting to hear your answer.

God loves you and so do I!

 

Many Ways to Pray

“Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow?  I doubt it.  I believe some people, lots of people pray through the witness of their lives, through the work that they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people.  Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?”

Dorothy Day

Years ago I took a two year course in spiritual direction.  We spent a lot of time reading spiritual classics and learning about prayer.  The first thing I learned is that most of us, like Beth Ann, are not completely satisfied with our prayer lives.  Remember, even the disciples asked Jesus, “teach us to pray.”(Luke 11:1).  The second thing I learned is that there are many ways to pray, and that we should pray as we can, not as we can’t.

This month in my posts I want to tell you about some different ways to pray.  Beth Ann has already mentioned three:  having a quiet place and time to pray, sending up quick prayer arrows throughout the day, and writing in a journal. All of these are good.  Give them a try.  You don’t have to do them all at once, and you don’t have to keep doing what doesn’t work or isn’t comfortable. See what fits into your life, and what works fits your personality. In my own life  I’ve  found that a method of prayer will work for me for a while, and then it just doesn’t. Maybe that’s just me or maybe that happens to you, too.  I used to feel this was a kind of failure, but now I’ve learned it’s just time to change and try something else, at least for a while.

Frank Laubauch, a Christian missionary, once said, “I really do believe that all thought can be conversations with Thee.”  I’ve come to see that in all my busy thinking, I’m constantly talking to God.  I tried to describe to my husband once how God is always on my mind, and part of my thought processes, even if it’s not completely obvious.  He said, “so it’s as if God is your operating program, always running in the background?” I guess that comes pretty close to explaining my experience. And if God is my operating program then, I can say that in some sense, my whole life is a prayer.

I hope this doesn’t sound conceited.  I fall down in my prayer life all the time.  Sometimes that operating program is running and I still ignore for a while. Saying my thoughts and my life are prayer doesn’t excuse me from other kinds of prayer:  corporate prayer, intercessory prayer, studying the scriptures prayerfully, singing prayerfully, etc..  In fact, I think I need to be doing some of these things regularly in order to keep my mental conversation with Christ going.

Anyway, in all this rambling, what I really want to say is KEEP PRAYING. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not doing it right. It doesn’t matter how you do it,  what matters is your earnest desire to know Jesus and be with Him.

I hope this month we’ll get lots of feedback about the prayer life of other Christian women.  What have you tried?  What worked or didn’t?  We’re interested in hearing from you.