Archive for July, 2013

Summer Book Reviews

Posted in Book Reviews on July 26, 2013 by Annette Budd

I’m very excited about all that God has for me this summer.  He is teaching me how to rest.  This is a HUGE challenge for me.  Part of my problem is that I really, really enjoy the things that God has called me to do. I enjoy them so much that it is easy for me to get out of balance.  It has been so long since I have really rested that I have no idea what this looks like.  This is something that He has to teach me and something that I really want to learn.

One of the ways that I like to rest is to read. For many years I have filled my reading time with books that I was going to use in my literature classes. I enjoyed those books but it wasn’t the same as just reading for me. This summer I am reading books because I want to read them and with no other productive purpose in mind. I’m enjoying this so much that I thought I would write about the things that stand out in these books. I’ve read eight books since the beginning of June.  Most of my reviews are about how these books touched my own personal life.  I also want to keep a lot of these things close to my heart and mind and I know if I write about them, they will reside deeper in me.

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Summer Book Review #1: Kiss your Dentist Goodbye by Dr Ellie Phillips

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , on July 26, 2013 by Annette Budd

I have had some HORRIBLE experiences with my teeth in the last few years.  Last fall, I knew I had an infection in the root of one of my teeth.  I had an x-ray of the tooth that I knew was the problem but the dentist assured me that a root canal wasn’t necessary.  She wrongly thought that the solution would be to replace an old filling in my tooth. It turns out that this old filling was actually letting some of the infection leak out. When she replaced it with a new filling, the infection was trapped inside and made my face swell up so much that I couldn’t see out of one eye.  I had to go the doctor and get an antibiotic shot. They were concerned that I was in a life threatening situation.

This represents the worst of my tooth trouble but, unfortunately, it was only one of many other root canals and fillings.  These problems were not only extremely painful and expensive, but they were also frustrating because I was doing the things that every dentist told me to do: flossing, brushing, using dental rinses – but still I continued with these problems.

Dr. Phillips has given me new hope when it comes to my teeth.  She operates under the theory that cavities form much more rapidly when mouth conditions are acidic.  She teaches people how to maintain an alkaline environment in their mouths. There are two basic elements to this:  xylitol and a four step tooth care system.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is often made out of the sap of birch trees.  It tastes a lot like sugar but the granules are a lot bigger.  I use it as a sweetener in tea. It also can be purchases in mints, gum and an oral spray. There are other health benefits, aside from just dental, in consuming xylitol. I find it to be a very pleasant addition to my diet.

She also recommends the following tooth care system. 1) First enhance your tooth cleaning by using a chlorine dioxide rinse. (I use Closys; I found a large bottle of this at Walgreens for $15) 2) Brush your teeth with a small amount of Crest regular toothpaste (Don’t use the whitening pastes or other enhanced products) 3) Disinfect all surfaces with an antiseptic rinse. (I normally spend a few moments soaking my toothbrush in this while I rinse) 4) Use a fluoride anti-cavity rinse (ACT for instance, although I use the equate brand of this)

One thing that really surprised me was how wonderful my teeth felt after I did this routine the very first time.  Now it feels like I just got a tooth cleaning at the dentist after each time I do this.

I still have two more crowns to put on the two root canals that I recently had.  After that, I am really hoping that my dental health improves greatly. I also put together one of the dental kits for each of my married children. I am hoping that this works so well that my children and grandchildren NEVER have to go through what I have gone through.  I guess time will tell.

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Summer Book Review #2: Culture of Honor by Danny Silk

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , on July 25, 2013 by Annette Budd

culture-of-honorMy son, Daniel, introduced me to this book.  He just returned from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministries in Redding, California.  The senior management pastor at Bethel Church is Danny Silk. While Daniel was there, we would frequently tell me about this culture of honor that exists there.  Many churches wanted to replicate this way of life and the book A Culture of Honor provides an excellent picture of this.  The title of the book really threw me. I had read other books about honor before and I was guessing it would be similar; it wasn’t at all.  I wasn’t at all expecting him to say the kind of things that he did.

He told many stories of Christian’s who had sinned and the churches response to these sins.  I don’t know one evangelical Christian who wouldn’t say that God completely forgives sins – even the destructive sin of sexual immorality in a church leader.  Almost every one of these Christians would say that God can/does use these fallen leaders again.  But there is quite a lot of division about what that restoration process should look like. There seems to be a standard operating procedure that most churches follow. Either the leader is shunned, leaves the church and his denomination, time passes and he either starts a new church or joins an established church far from the church where the sin took place.  And whether they admit it or not, most Christians stand in judgment of these fallen leaders – harsh judgment.  Or sometimes, the leader is dragged before the church, his sin is exposed and everyone watches “the sinner in the hands of an angry God” suffer public humiliation – and the person may never serve in a church setting again.

Danny Silk demonstrates a different way to deal with sin.  His primary focus is to help those who have fallen understand, in a very honoring way, why they made the choices that they did. Godly repentance is, of course, an essential element and it is followed by accountability.  The stories he tells look nothing like the way these things are normally handled.

The reason for this is that he is not at all concerned with the relationship a person has with the rules (law).  He is only concerned with the relationship that person has with God.  In John 14:15 Jesus is not saying, “If you love me, you will let Me control you” when he says “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments”.  He is NOT saying “Keep your relationship with My rules!”  He is saying “If you love Me, you’ll adjust your behavior to protect My heart.  It is clear that the way you manage yourself in our relationship is going to be a clear indicator to Me of your love.”

Both the books of Romans and Galatians make it clear that you can’t both be under the law and under grace. If we are seeking to ensure that those around us have a right relationship with the rules, we are enslaving them to the law of sin. This is certainly not the why Jesus died on the cross.

Summer Book Review #3: The Small Biz Balancing Act by Victoria Munro

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , on July 25, 2013 by Annette Budd

The Small BizGod really, really loves me and He shows me this over and over and over again. One recent expression of His love for me was when He provided Victoria Munro to be my mentor. Victoria has owned and operated nine different businesses in her lifetime. Wisdom just flows out of her mouth.

Her book, The Small Biz Balancing Act, gives small business owners practical and usable advice. She spends a lot of time making sure that you know who you are and where you are going. One of my favorite chapters was about goal setting.  Even though I am a goal-orientated person, I often don’t do the big picture down to the daily grind approach in setting my goals.  I have a tendency to let the little things drive my “to do” list.  This keeps me busy but doesn’t necessarily get me to where I am going.  I found the exercises in the section very helpful.

Victoria helps business owners to identify and understand their own personal sources of stress.  She gives insight in how to deal with these obstacles and minimize the effects they have. She also has a whole chapter on boundaries, which is an area in which I really need to grow. I also found her tips about determining which activities have a high payoff and which things I really shouldn’t be doing to be very helpful.

This book is real.  The reader doesn’t have to cut through a lot of useless fluff in order to get to the meat of the matter. A business owner can (and should) pick up this book and easily apply its principles. I’m looking forward to applying these ideas and making the most out of what I put into our business, while at the same time enjoying it.

Summer Book Review #4: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , , on July 25, 2013 by Annette Budd

BoundariesI actually read this book over a decade ago and I really didn’t have ears to hear what it had to say to me.  But as I reread it this time, it spoke to me much more.  It may be that I am still in a place now where I can’t take in all of its principles. I will probably read this again in a few years and get a little more out of it still.

I am a very busy person.  I have six children, grandchildren, a home to keep, a business to run and I’m still homeschooling my youngest two.  I recently stepped down from Crossroads Christian Academy, a homeschool high school that we helped to establish back in 2005. There I was the director, registrar and taught many literature classes. I’m also a precinct leader for the GOP and do many things at my church.  My husband is also a ministry leader and I do lots and lots of administrative and other things to help him. So finding things to fill my time has never been an issue for me.

When I say “Yes” to something – or initiate a plan – it is almost always because I feel led by God to do so and I usually am very passionate about it. And because of this I very rarely feel anger or bitter about all of the things that I am doing. But, as one can imagine, there isn’t a lot of margin in my life. Because I love what I do so much, I tend to overdue a lot. So balance is, by far, my biggest issue. And having good boundaries should help promote the balance that my soul craves.

One of my biggest takeaways from this book was something from the Word of God. Galatians 6:2 tells us to “carry each other’s burdens”.  I’m really good at identifying someone who needs help and walking alongside that person.  This gives me great joy. But I often overlook what is said just a couple sentences later in 6:5, “each one should carry their own load.”

I know that I don’t spend enough time analyzing if I am helping someone with a burden or helping someone with an individual load that they should be carrying themselves.  Since I’ve read this, I’ve really started to examine my actions.  I know that I especially shouldn’t carry the loads of those I love the most, my family members. It is my honor to walk with them when they have burdens but I actually am harming them if I do very much load carrying.

I guess I am learning boundaries bit by bit. But the more I grow in this area, the more I understand my need to master this. Hopefully, with God’ help and amazing grace, this will one day cease to be an issue in my life.

Summer Book Review #5: Renewed by Lucille Zimmerman

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , on July 25, 2013 by Annette Budd

Renewed

My mentor, Victoria Munro, introduced me to Lucille Zimmerman the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. The three of us sat down on a lovely June afternoon and listened to each other’s hearts for about an hour.  I am very impressed with the godly woman that Lucille is.  She has a sweet spirit and a lot of insight in what it means to rest and learn self-care.

She introduced me to the Dutch word gezellig (heh-SELL-ick). Its meaning is a combination of cozy, quaint, nice, friendly, comfortable, relaxing, enjoyable and gregarious. I’ve decided that I need to pursue more gezellig in my life.

Summer Book Review #6: When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , on July 25, 2013 by Annette Budd

When Heaven Invades EarthA few years ago I read the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  If I had to list in order the books that have impacted my life, that book would be somewhere near the very top.  And as my understanding of and excitement for heaven grows, my desire to see as much of it manifested in my life also increases.

When Jesus taught people to pray he said, “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”     Johnson says, “Everything that happens here is supposed to be a shadow of heaven.” He continues, “Conversely, if it is not free to exist in heaven, it must be bound here.  Again, through prayer we are to exercise the authority given to us” (Mat 16:19)

Johnson also poses the question of why some walk with a greater sense of God’s presence than others. The simple answer is that some people place high value on the presence of God and others don’t.  The ones who do enjoy fellowship throughout their day with the Holy Spirit are extremely conscious of how He feels about their words, attitudes and activities.  The thought of grieving Him brings great sorrow. It’s their passion to give Him preeminence in everything.  That passion brings that believer into a supernatural life – one with the constant activity of the Holy Spirit working through them.  It is my prayer and desire to place the highest value on the presence of God in my life.

I love one of the prayers that Johnson prays and have a whole-heartedly prayed this for myself.  “Father, you know that I don’t do so well when I look inward, so I’m going to stop.  I am relying on You to point out to me the things that I need to see.  I promise to stay in Your Word.  You said that Your Word was a sword – so please use it to cut me deeply. Expose those things in me that are not pleasing to You. But in doing so, please give me the grace to forsake them.  I also promise to come before You daily.  Your presence is like a fire.  Please burn from me those things that are unpleasing to You.  Melt my heart until it becomes like the heart of Jesus.  Be merciful to me in these things.  I also promise to stay in fellowship with Your people.  You said that iron sharpens iron.  I expect You to anoint the “wounds of a friend” to bring me to my senses when I’m being resistant toward You.  Please use these tools to shape my life until Jesus alone is seen in me. I believe that You have given me Your heart and mind.  By Your grace I am a new creation.  I want that reality to be seen that the name of Jesus would be held in highest honor.”

This book renewed my excitement for the things of heaven. It increased my desire for the power of God to be evident in all parts of my life.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is seeking after these things.