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Mark and I love Southern Seminary. Mark is currently working towards his MDiv and has had a great experience there. He has taken a number of online classes, and on the occasional Saturday I have been caught listening to his lectures with him. I majored in Biblical Studies in college and can’t seem to help myself. I love learning about the Bible!

A neat opportunity came up through the school in July of 2010. A women’s devotional called A Walk Through Psalms was published in order to help fund more women’s scholarships at Southern Seminary. I had the privilege of contributing to the book. I had so much fun writing the devotion for Valentine’s Day.

I am so excited about how the Lord is using the book. It is encouraging readers and is allowing more women to study God’s word.

To date the devotional has raised $26,000 dollars for scholarships. Southern recently contacted me and the other contributors and asked if we would share about the book. So if you are looking for a yearlong devotional, check out Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms. It may be purchased from the LifeWay campus bookstore or by calling 502-897-4506. There are still a few red Women at Southern journals available ($15 value) that are given free (as long as they last) by sending or bringing the receipts to the women’s office, 502-897-4085 or women@sbts.edu.

 

 

 

*Second photo provided by Southern.

 

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Pilgrim’s Progress

By: Mark Baker

Charles Spurgeon, the 19th Century “Prince of Preachers,” loved John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He referred to the work often in his preaching. He read it at least once a year. It is said that he read the work over one hundred times in the course of his life. Many newer Christian books have become popular and quickly soared to the top of the charts, but Pilgrim’s progress still holds the record of the best-selling book of all time second to the Bible. Since its publishing date in 1678, it has been translated in over two hundred languages. It has never gone out of print. For many popular Christian books, the verdict is still out as to whether or not it is truly a good and profitable book. For Pilgrim’s Progress, time has already given the verdict: Bunyan’s work is a timeless classic. Now it is up to us to read it and receive the benefits from this monumental work.

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John Bunyan was imprisoned multiple times for preaching the gospel. He spent over twelve years in jail. He had a series of dreams during his imprisonment that depicted the events that he tells in the book. I suppose if there is any way to receive inspiration for your next writing project, this is the way to go! The beauty of the work is how instantly relatable it is to any Christian. For example, in one of the most moving and powerful scenes in the book, Christian loses his burden as he gazes upon the cross of Christ. No other remedy or treatment had worked; only the power of the crucified and risen Christ could loose Christian from his burden! However, as Christian then proceeds on the way to the Celestial City, he soon finds himself trapped in the “Slough of Despondency.” He looks to his right and his left and sees others who are living in the City of Destruction who seem to be having an easier time than he is, even though he is trying to live according to God’s plan. Christian is finally pulled out by a man named Help, who shows Christian that God has heard his cries (Psalm 40:2). These allegorical stories are ones that every Christian will be able to relate to, and they will serve as a great encouragement to believers who, like Christian, are on the “way” to God’s Celestial City.

Sacred Parenting: Book Review

“Raising a child shapes a parent spiritually every bit as much as a parent shapes his or her child.” -Gary Thomas

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In his book, Sacred Parenting, Gary Thomas shows this reality. He explains that parenting is a sacred enterprise and that children are one of the ways God intends to make us holy. Thomas explains that through the dirty diapers, toddler tantrums, or even the teenage silence, God can transform us to be more like Jesus.

Thomas addresses subjects like sacrifice, guilt, listening, prayer, laughter, fear, inadequacy, and ultimately how we must rely on Christ in our parenting. Because of how Gary Thomas shows that Jesus can shape our character through having children, I would recommend his book.

As Thomas says in his book, “We are living in the midst of holy teachers. Sometimes they spit up on themselves or us. Sometimes they throw tantrums. Sometimes they cuddle and kiss and love us. In the good and the bad they mold our hearts, shape our souls, and invite us to experience God in newer and deeper ways.” Pick up Sacred Parenting, it is a great read.

Here is what Gary Thomas has to say about his book.

Not The Way It Is Supposed To Be

By: Mark Baker

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It is not often that you hear about a book entirely devoted to the theology of sin. If you were to think about the content of such a book, you would probably imagine a book that would produce depression, legalism, liberalism or some kind of a mixture of all three. Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., however, treated the topic so well that it does not produce these results at all. Rather, his book is sobering, yet witty; convicting and inspiring. By the end of this brief theology (or “breviary”) you will be humbled and convicted because of your own sinful condition, yet inspired to cling to the gospel because of the hope we have in Christ. For theologian and lay-person alike: take, and read!

What Are You Reading Your Baby?

Elias loves to read, and I really want to encourage him to keep the books open. I love it when I peek into his room, and he is sitting on his yellow beanbag with a book. Often times I will catch him rambling non-english words interspersed with “ball” and “hat” thrown in. It is a precious sight.

Right now some of our favorite books are:

1. Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond. In this story a cute bear meets his friend for a special morning treat.

2. Psalms For Young Children by Marie Helene Delval. This book has forty different Psalms paraphrased and illustrated for kid’s understanding and enjoyment. Mark reads this book to Elias as a devotional right before bed.

3. The Dragon and The Garden by N.D. Wilson. This book highlights the Gospel in the first few chapters of Genesis in a kid friendly and exciting way.

What is your favorite children’s book?

If you are looking for books and have a pre-school aged child you can get a free book every month if you sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

What Are You Reading?

In the words of Dr. Seuss…

I love reading. Reading stretches both imagination and mind. Books can excite, inform, and create different worlds and experiences. Stories can take me to far away lands, or keep me on familiar soil. Through black printed letters, we are given secrets of past generations. What a gift to see what geniuses penned and left to future generations. What a privilege to gain knowledge through another’s mind.  

This is my bay window that I recently turned into a  reading nook. After a long search, Mark and I found these chocolate-colored chairs that seemed to invite us to take a seat, pick up a book, and stay a while. Inclosing them with vintage embroidered curtains, I can’t help but want to grab some coffee and a book.

I am currently reading Beneath The Night Tree by Nicole Baart. I’m about half way through and so far Baart has told a gripping, and life-like story. She is a gifted and talented writer.  

I am also reading The Narnian by Alan Jacobs. It is so fun to look at C.S. Lewis’ life and get inside the imagination that created Narnia.

Next time it snows and you are trapped in your house for a day, or if it is a  rainy day I challenge you to curl up with a new book. If it is warm and bright and the sun is hanging perfectly in the sky, take a book outside and read for a while. It will be fun–I promise. 

If you want to keep up with what your reading or what you have read, you can go to  Goodreads. On Goodreads you can rate the books you’ve read and review them.

So, what are you reading?

Let me know because I am always looking for new books to read.