Category Archives: Christian women

The CSB Study Bible for Women – Book Review

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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…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

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“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.

 

 

 

New Month/New Theme

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I’ve been amazed since the Lutheran ladies started this blog at how thinking about the topic for each month affects me.  Often I start out wondering how I will write one post about this, yet the more I study, read the posts of others and most of all, PRAY, the more thoughts come flowing into my mind.  I am actually sorry when the month comes to an end and we have to move on.

This brings me to our May theme, PRAYER, which was suggested by Karen, prayer partner coordinator for the Eastern District AFLC women.  Here’s what she had to say in an email to me:

 “we’ve(husband & I) been acknowledged in public seen silently bowing our heads…We were eating and a man came and stood by our table, we were wondering who he was, if we knew him and didn’t recognize him, what he was wanting…his clothing and appearance was a bit shabby and it sent a red alert flag…he acknowledged our meal prayer…you never know where angels are- what they look like…we were a bit shocked…we pray before meal time at home and it’s just become a good habit to do so wherever we are…how humbling and special he made our day.  How do others acknowledge grace before meal time in public???  Easter dining out???  Grace with family not interested in Christ/at home gatherings.. Ya..we pulled into the eatery (Denny’s type) on a large motorcycle and wearing many layers of clothing for warmth/ helmet hair/ and perhaps didn’t meet the textbook description of a Christian-whatever that is- (even so he looked worse than us) people are watching our actions!!! “

So, bloggers, how would you respond the Karen about praying in public?  Should we pray in public places? Does public prayer have an affect on unbelievers?  Have you had an experience like hers?

Of course, prayer is a big topic, so feel free to move on to other aspects, thoughts, verses and songs about prayer.  I’m looking forward to it and I hope you are too!  Happy blogging everyone!

Send us a comment on the blog, or email us at freelutherns@myactv.net with your suggestions for the June theme.

Joan’s Journey part 3

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I thought my life was fine and wouldn’t change much until we retired.  I loved my church and could not imagine leaving it.  Looking back, I see that I loved my church so much I made it into an idol.  I would never have said we were perfect, but I was proud of my congregation and my place in it, and I did think we were really special.  And I had my own version of the prosperity gospel.  I didn’t expect God to make me rich, but I thought He would give me peaceful, harmonious relationships at church and at home.  Didn’t God owe me that … after all the work I put in being a good Christian?

 That is not the attitude God wants in His servants and I see that now. Eventually my self-satisfied life began to dissolve.(Here comes the death and rebirth part). Our oldest daughter hit adolescence and had a lot of problems. We tried all sorts of things, including counseling, but nothing seemed to work.  Years later Beth was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and by then we had all been through a great deal of pain.

At the same time things were going wrong at church.  Some friends were angry at the Pastor and the situation kept escalating.  Eventually they left. I was in anguish seeing the congregation I poured my life into torn apart.  To top it off, Terry decided he was called to the ministry.  I didn’t mind him being a pastor, because that would just be Terry’s job.  However I didn’t want to move to St. Louis and become the primary breadwinner so that he could go to seminary.  I told him this was just too much to ask, with one child in college and one with mental health issues.  He could move, but I would not.

 Terry thankfully, agreed we should stay together, and said if God wanted him to be a pastor He would make it happen.  And He did.  Terry found a Lutheran denomination that offered seminary courses via distance learning.  He kept his job and began the process.  When he came to the point where this denomination would have required him to go on a one year internship, he found another Lutheran group that agreed to ordain him immediately.  So Terry had his wish, or rather God’s wish.  Now what?

 The denomination that ordained him did not have an open pulpit, so Terry decided he would have to start a mission congregation, a daunting prospect. We knew from experience how much effort that took.  Then a friend asked Terry if he would fill in at his church. They were between pastors. We came to St. Paul’s where something clicked for us, and I believe, for the congregation very quickly.  They were small but lively and not afraid to keep the church running on their own.  They appreciated Terry’s gift for teaching and preaching.  They encouraged me, too, and allowed me to participate in the way I saw myself:  an active layperson, not just the Pastor’s wife.

 Terry and I have now been at St. Paul’s for more than ten years.  The church joined the AFLC and Terry is on their clergy roll.  I’ve written articles for the Lutheran Ambassador and a Bible study for the national women’s group.  I serve at church in many ways.  Since retiring, I am a part time caregiver for my granddaughter, Katelyn, and my mother with dementia. Now I’ve become a blogger! Many of these are things I would never have imagined doing.  Life with God is a continual surprise.  I’m humbler now and don’t pretend to know what my future holds.  John Wesley once said,                                                  

When I was young I was sure of everything.  In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before.  At present, I am hardly sure of anything except what God has revealed to me.”

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know God has a plan and that He will continue to work it out in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Transformed

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“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

Last month we talked about sacrifice, and this verse comes right after the one about being a “living sacrifice” to God.  I think that’s interesting.  When we present ourselves sacrificially to God, our minds are renewed and transformed.  We are able to better discern God’s will for our lives, instead of giving in to what the world tells us is right.

How does our mind become renewed?  Although we are reborn in our baptism, and justified with God through the sacrifice of Christ, our sanctification is a process in which we participate.  Renewal of our mind is part of our sanctification.  We learn to see things through the mind of Christ, we learn to do the things the Bible tells us are right, we have a different viewpoint than we had before.  There are many tools that may help us to “renew” our minds.  This past weekend some of my fellow bloggers were on a Lutheran Via de Cristo retreat weekend.  I am hoping this week they will blog about how their weekend was a renewal and a transformation.

A Via de Cristo weekend is three days of concentration on the fundamentals of Christianity, concentrating on the teachings of Jesus Christ and how individual believers can influence the environment of their homes, communities and churches.  It is not just academic, there is much fellowship and singing;  there are times of worship.  Often participants come back feeling they have changed.

So, I am asking those who have attended a Via de Cristo weekend to send us your comments on how this experience renewed and transformed you.  (There are similar retreats in other denominations:  Cursillo, The Walk to Emmaus, Tres Dios )