Saturday, February 26, 2011

Questions for Self-examination (a needed exercise in our day.)

Useful Questions for Self-examination adapted from Joseph Alleine
Ps. 4:4 Commune with your hearts upon your beds.

Was I sleeping when I should have been praying?  Ps.5:3
Have my prayers been full of wandering thoughts? Jer 12:2
Have I neglected or read God's Word to not profit?Deut. 17:19
Have I digested the last sermon I heard? Have I repeated it  and prayed over it? Ps.1:2
Have I denied myself in any way this day for God? Luke 9:23
Have I overslept in a world full of needs? Col.4:5
Have I been selective about whose company I keep, including characters in the movies I watch and books I read? Prov.13:20
Have I neglected some duty or sinned against my parents or siblings? Eph.6:1-3
Do I lightly brush off my sins? Ps.38:4
Do I mourn for the sins of the land? Ez.9:4
Do I refrain from doing what I know or fear to be sin?  Ps.119:101,104
Have I prayed thoughout the day? Neh.2:4,5
Has God been far from my thoughts? Ps.16:8
Have I disciplined my thoughts? Ps.119:113
Have I nurtured pride or wrong passions?  James 4:5-7
Have I bridled my tongue? James 1:26
Have I spoke evil of no man? Titus 3:2
Has the law of the Lord been in my mouth as I sat in my house, went by the way, was lying down and rising up? Deut.6:6,7
When I have talked to people, have I said something of God and left some good savor behind? Ep.4:29
Did I sit down with a higher purpose than a pig at the trough ( fill my stomach); did I eat and drink for the glory of God? 
1 Cor.10:31
Did I eat more than I needed to? 2 Peter 1:6
Did I participate in the dinner conversation with no mention of God?  Luke 7:36ff; 19:1ff
Was I merely going through the motions when I asked God's blessing and gave thanks for the food? Col.3:17
Did I work hard?1 Cor.7:17
Did I cheat anyone? 1Thes.4:6
Did I lie? Ep.4:25
Did I make promises and not keep them? Ps.15:4

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recommended Reading List

Raising children is time-consuming but I would urge you to evaluate your commitments and carve out some time for reading. Good books can be a source of incredible instruction, encouragement, correction and hope for you. They can be true mentors.

All written by people who actually have children, the following books cover the nitty-gritty establishing of good habits and attitudes in our children.
 ESP (Explain, Show & Practice) Character Training by Kim S. Doebler.
Practical Parenting Tips by Ray Bradley
Hints on Child Training by Clay Trumbull
This article is FULL of practical wisdom on how to transition our children out of the home life into the world
“Outgrowing the Greenhouse: A conversation with Gregg Harris”

The following link takes you to a booklet by J.C. Ryle that is one of the best for the practical spiritual training of our children.  

The next two books help us use the Bible to guide our children.  The first one is the Proverbs, but in categories such as  "Reverence for God," "Wisdom and Instruction," and "Self-Control."  The second book is broader, gleaning from all of scripture, and shows how to use scripture to address specific sins in our children such as  jealousy, laziness, discouragement and ingratitude.
Proverbs for Parenting by Barbara Decker
For Instruction in Righteousness by Pam Forster

These two books teach us how to get past the outward behavior of our children to discover and address what is in their hearts.  Heart sins are sin too and must be repented of.  God must give clean hearts and clean hearts will bear fruit in obedience.
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp
Age of Opportunity  (teen years)   Paul David Tripp     

This CD teachs us how to encourage our husbands to lead.  We may want them to lead while unconsciously discouraging them in a number of significant ways.
"Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing Her Husband's Vision" by Doug Phillips (CD from Vision Forum).

 God made men and women equal in value and dignity but he made beautiful and rich distinctions in their roles.The fall of man messed it up pretty bad (along with everything else) but the fall did not erase the distinctions.   If God made them, it is well for us not to ignore them.
What's the Difference? by John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  

One of my favorite writers is Doug Wilson and his wife Nancy Wilson.  He had oodles of wisdom about raising children -- and on how raising boys is different than raising girls.  He is published by Canon Press. The two books by Nancy Wilson are specifically for women and very encouraging. The last book is also from Canon Press.  I haven't read it personally but have read excellent reviews of it.  And I love the title.
Future Men by Doug Wilson
Standing on the Promises by Douglas Wilson
Her Hand in Marriage by Doug Wilson
The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson
Praise Her in the Gates by Nancy Wilson
Loving the Little Years:  Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic

Kevin Swanson knows that our culture is God-hating, devoid of truth and meaningful relationships.   He has practical, biblical wisdom for how we can recover the rich biblical culture that we once had in this country.  It is an uphill climb but the alternative is very dark. Go to   to order these resources.
The Second Mayflower   by Kevin Swanson 
 Proverbs Study Guide by Kevin Swanson

Puritan Titles:
First, a word on why I believe that the Puritans should be read today.  Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson summarize it very well in their excellent book Meet the Puritans:  they say that the Puritans "shape life by scripture....marry doctrine and practice....[addressing the mind, heart and conscience] focus on how to handle us how to live in two us true spirituality."  Beeke and Pederson recommend the first five books below if you are just starting into the Puritans.  I added the last one.  As I mentioned I read sometimes just a few paragraphs at a time (they are so rich -- like Godiva chocolate), and I like to copy great quotes into my journal -- with or without commend. An excellent source for the Puritans is Reformation Heritage Books.

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices  by Thomas Brooks. This book teaches how to recognize the devices of the devil and fight them.
Keeping the Heart  by John Flavel.  Flavel calls keeping the heart THE great work of the Christian.  If our heart strays, we stray.  We follow our hearts.  So for our joy, safety and growth in grace we must learn to keep our hearts.
The Fear of God by John Bunyan.  This is the author of the classic Pilgrim's Progress.
Heaven Taken by Storm by Thomas Watson.  This book is excellent, passionate instruction on how to grow in grace through such things as self-examination, prayer, scripture reading, conversation  and use of the Lord's Day.
Glorious Freedom by Richard Sibbes.  Here Sibbes shows the great liberty of the Christian and its relation to the law.   Spurgeon said of Sibbes: "he scatters pearls and diamonds with both hands."
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs.  How can we find contentment amidst the troubles and disappointments of life?  Burroughs gives deep, satisfying, biblical counsel.

Therefore I will boast all the