Category Archives: Bible

Financial Peace

(Decided not to ruin my record of only posting once per full-moon…)

Tim and I are “financial” people, some might say. Tim is the CFO (how hot is that?) of United Cotton Growers, Co-Op and I run our tax and bookkeeping business, Bynum Financial Management, out of our home. I also take care of our church’s offering, paying bills and making deposits every week. So, we deal with money all the time. Tim mostly takes care of our personal finances himself, and I pop in and out and ask things like “well, WHY can’t we go to Hawaii this year, again?” Helpful, I know…

So, in January, our church offered a half-day family finances workshop and we thought we would be “good leaders” and make an example for our newly weds class and attend. We were the only ones from our class to show…and patted ourselves on the back for attending. Then…we actually learned some things. We were thinking we might get some good investing tips or a new way to budget out of this. Wow, let’s just say it sort of showed us that we know nothing about personal finances and needed to make a change.

We started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in February. It is 13 weeks long and we are learning so much! I am so thankful for a church that offers classes like this so its members and the community can learn to live a much better life. One that helps us increase the margin for giving our time and our money to much better causes than vacations and filling our closets with more junk. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes and Tim and I have big dreams for traveling and enjoying this world God gave us, BUT we’re just learning how to prioritize those things. They are not bad things, we just had them on the list in the wrong order.

I’d like to write some updates on this process as we go through it, much like my fab sister-in-law has done for their family. They are really living it out by tackling debt and teaching their sweet kids to save and give before buying for themselves. Tim and I are already noticing big changes in how we handle our money and even how we communicate about it. I feel really blessed that we can do this class together. If you can attend this course, a one-day workshop, or just read Dave’s book, I highly encourage you to!

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Book Review: Twelve Extraordinary Women

Twelve Extraordinary Women, by John MacArthur

I bought this book to use as a study. I usually need a lot of structure and am working on just reading my Bible. This book is probably a quick read to most people, but I decided to break it down and just go section (or short chapter) by section. I’m really glad I did, I had me really digging into the Bible and re-reading stories I thought I “knew”.

Bear in mind, this is the author’s opinion in many ways, but I do think he used truth from the Bible to form his opinions and I found myself agreeing with almost everything. He chose 12 women from the Bible and told their stories. There are others I wish he had written about, but the ones he chose were all great. The women he chose and their central characteristics are:

  • Eve – perseverance in faith and expectation
  • Sarah – steadfast hope
  • Rahab – remarkable conversion
  • Ruth – devotion, love, trust and humility
  • Hannah – dedication of motherhood
  • Mary, mother of Christ – humble submission
  • Anna – faithful witness
  • The Samaritan woman – eager response to the Gospel message
  • Martha – devoted servant
  • Mary, of Bethany – worship above all else
  • Mary Magdalene – great love and devotion
  • Lydia – a heart willing to receive the Good News

The author did a great job of citing these women’s flaws as well as their “redeeming qualities”. He made a point to state that they were not perfect, but God’s perfect plan was able to manifest through them. Each one of them also had the central theme of faith in the promised Messiah or faith in the King that has come. This theme was so important in connecting the people of God of the Old Testament and the witnesses and converts of the New Testament.

He also acknowledged that sometimes, in our feminist world, we forget that the Bible is really good about promoting women as equal as men. None of these women were extraordinary because of who they married or what family they came from. They had their own unique qualities about their person, as well as exemplified women’s virtues to accomplish things in a way no man could. I appreciated that because sometimes the world tries to label Christianity as too traditional, as if that’s a negative thing! They view the Bible as something that puts women in the background. In reality, women were created as a helper, or equal, and there are roles that only we can fill. These women played the main character in their stories and I’m thankful for these reminders. It just goes to show, no matter who you are, or your background, God can use you!

One of my favorite little things from this book: The first chapter was about Eve and it was one of the longest ones, rightfully so. It begins with creation and follows Even through the exile from the Garden. The very last thing he talks about is that even through Adam and Eve’s original sin, they were given a promise. The promise actually came through the curse of the serpent, “I will put enmity…between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:15) The mere mention of her Seed means she would have children, but not just any children. Her line would produce the Messiah. The thing that stood out to me was he also mentions that heaven will be filled with Adam and Eve’s offspring – ALL of us! It gave me chills to think of being in Heaven one day, praising our Savior in the flesh while being in the midst of all the ancestors of faith. The last line says “After all, heaven will be filled with her redeemed offspring, and they will be eternally occupied with a celebration of the work of her Seed.” Extraordinary!

Reconnecting in Ruidoso

Last fall, our life group leaders, George & Cathy, told us that for several years now, they have taken at least one night, sometimes a weekend, and just get away from it all. They have two college-age children and so for a night or two every year, they would leave them with family/friends, step away from the cell phones and computers, dis the laundry and dishes for another day and focus on each other. Tim and I were really encouraged by this idea. The point is to remind each other “this is why I love you” and to asses the previous year and set goals for the coming year. Awesome!

So, we decided to take a weekend and get away to Ruidoso last month. I cannot describe how wonderful and uplifting this little retreat was. We know that this could be a relatively calm time in our lives, no kids, I work at home, etc…and we need to cherish it now so that we can still cherish is later. So, we headed to the White Mountain Cabins in the Upper Canyon of Ruidoso, NM. This cabin is just for couples, teeny, tiny and perfect! This was one of the nicest places we’ve ever stayed and it was basically just one room, no doors except for a tiny, ummm, water closet. HA! Look that one up!

We knew we had three nights and two full days and decided not to plan a dang thing. This would normally be excruciating for me, the planner extraordinaire, but something about the whole meaning of this trip and God’s peace just helped me relax and not care about plans for once. We spent  a lot of time eating good food (Log Cabin twice? Thank you very much!) and more time just talking, praying and enjoying each other. Talking might sound horrible to many guys out there, but really, speaking to your wife about what you think of your relationship and your future is sexy! Trust me…

We devoted time to our past, mistakes and even some shameful things that we knew we needed to confide in each other and to our Almighty God. I’ve had trouble in the past feeling “really” forgiven. Like, really really? It’s gone…really? But actually putting mistakes into words through a journal or through telling your spouse and then praying about it out loud is powerful! We were able to move past these things and focus on what’s next. Which, by the way, we kind of have no idea what’s next! But we talked about many possibilities with our church, our family and our jobs. We ended up making a goals list. Some of them are things we could change right now such as a dedicated time for quiet time with the Lord. Other things were things that we know we want to do but aren’t sure yet how to accomplish it. Such as, praying about where to serve in our church and finding that place as soon as possible.

Many of these goals were a starting point and really helped rev us up to do this year right. I’m so thankful for the man God has blessed me with. He knows exactly how and when to make me laugh, when to be serious for me and when to tell me to get over it and move on. 🙂 So, I want to encourage you! Take a night, even if you just go to a hotel in town, and put everything aside to focus totally on your sweetie. You’ll be absolutely amazed at what can happen. Maybe you need some quiet space to hash something important out. Maybe you just need to remember you not only love your spouse, but you actually like your spouse. Do this for each other. I hope God blesses you greatly for it.

Love this man!

Book Review: Get Out of That Pit

(Disclaimer: This is actually a review of the journal based on the book Get Out of That Pit…went the cheap way!)

I started this book back in February, so I’ve been done for a while but have been waiting for a few good minutes to tell you all about it! Ladies, if you haven’t done a Beth Moore Bible study before, I sincerely recommend that you do! I knew she had some great things to say but kept thinking “oh, that’s for moms, or grandma’s or you know, anyone but me“. HA! Last fall the ladies Bible study at our church did a study called “Loving Well” by Beth. It was fantastic! Well, long story short I had been wrestling with the fact that I wasn’t learning God’s Word very much other than Sunday mornings…no quiet time and God was really calling to me, “Come back!” It’s been way too long. Tim and I have been focusing on strengthening our individual relationship with the Living God as well as our marriage (more on that in another post). I need a lot of structure and sometimes lot’s of help getting started. I did some research on the internet and thought “Well, I’ll do this one…” No real big commitment, huh? Like the disclaimer says I went the cheap route and only bought the journal. Little did I know, it would hold EXACTLY the words that my heart would need to hear…

First off, Beth Moore is a wonderful teacher. She knows how to talk to a woman without being saccharine sweet. The way she words things just made me say “WOW!” But, also, of course her words are helpful – they are TRUTH filled! This book/journal is filled with Biblical truths about what a pit can be for each different person, how we easily fall into it, how living in it feels, and, most gloriously, how to grasp onto Jesus, our Savior, and RISE out of that pit! Before beginning this, I could definitely equate my spiritual life to that of living in a pit. I definitely knew that’s how it felt but didn’t realize all the things that led up to that or how God had been working so hard to prepare me to be removed from the pit. It was eye opening. One quick example of my own personal pit: I had definitely replaced Jesus as my first love and had been suffering the consequences and shame for a while. Once I traced it back as far as I possibly could, admitted my specific sins that led me down that road and believed that the Almighty God truly does forgive me, it was like taking a breath of fresh air. Things have changed so much since that, I don’t have time to write it all down, but I hope to tell you more through more posts about my life out of the pit now.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not a “get fixed quick” type of book. I truly believe that through the “happenstance” of finding this book at B&N it was just exactly what God wanted me to read. He knows how my mind works, how I need the structure of a journal like this, how I need to be pried out of my comfort zone. The journal itself worked really well for me how it is laid out. There is a short devotional type point, a question relating to what it teaches, a question for relating it to your life specifically and then a section for prayer journaling. And of course, scripture to back it all up! I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into His Word and began to notice so many fascinating things through this study. I also am not great at journaling, but this encouraged me to do more of it and made it really easy.

If you’re struggling with anything, doubt, shame, depression, loneliness, or you just feel stuck in one place, you should give this book and journal a try. I believe Beth has been blessed with a talent for explaining things succinctly and in a new way. A way that will get your attention and make you see the Truth. Jesus wants us to live a life of freedom!

Word

Words are powerful. Words can bring death or words can bring life. Do you realize that everyday you are presented with situations where you can bring life or bring death just by what you say?

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

This has been my prayer for the last week. It hasn’t been easy and I have certainly failed at times. But, through prayer and meditation on this verse, I’ve seen when a simple thing can become a big thing by how I respond to it. I didn’t realize how often I would need to refer to this verse but I’ve said it several times this past week.

Memorize it, study it, pray it. You will be surprised by what you learn!

The next thing is finding the parts of my heart that are wrong and bringing the wrong words to my mouth. It is actually the heart that affects the mouth.

The last verse of my Bible study this week was Psalm 139: 23-24

“Search me oh God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

My prayer tonight is: Lord, lead me in your way of truth and life. Find the dark spots of my heart and clean them! Help me to bless others with my words.