Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Perfect Facebook Life

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Please don't let my Facebook posts make you think my life is perfect, because it is not. I struggle daily like the rest of the world. I am not always having fun or loving my kids or husband the way I should. I am a complete mess. I hope my Facebook page does not deceive you.

I have a real problem with Facebook. My problem is the lack of authenticity it portrays. People make posts about how great their lives are and post photos all the time about it, myself included. However, if we really posted what was happening, how messy and hard life is, it would make it easier for me to stomach.

Yet, every time I decide to secretly shut my Facebook account down, someone inevitably ends up telling me how encouraging my posts are to them. Then I am torn. I want to glorify God in all I say and do. I am not deceived though that posts may end up bringing the glory to me. This is not what I want. I try to post and live authentically. I try to glorify God as the center of all I do, yet I often fall short.

It is nice to be able to share Christ and encourage others in Christ through social media. I love that so much! However, I do not like how people use that same means to bash and boast. We can all get roped into this at times. We are desperately messed up people who continually battle narcissism and are in need of a great Savior. Who will save us from ourselves? Facebook shows me this desperate need. It exposes it daily. It grieves my soul.

We need to be encouraged to think of ourselves less. Facebook helps us think of ourselves more. I don't like that. Yet I stay because if one thing can point someone to Christ then the mess is worth entering in to. And as my Spirit grieves for those who are harsh, worshiping false idols, or faking life through the net, I can also pray. I pray we will develop into people of grace and truth who focus solely on our Savior.

So who will save us from ourselves? Christ will! Believer, He is the One who knows our hearts to the core and loves us anyway. There is nothing that is hidden from Him and He still chose us before the foundation of the world was ever laid. He died willingly because of His great love for us. He can save us from our narcissism and bring our eyes back to a right focus on Him and help us be more authentic on our journeys. Thus leading me to conclude for now, I will continue on in Facebook as messy as it remains.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In Bible Times There Was No Processed Food but People Still Got Sick

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I find an interesting trend these days in regards to physical health. It is a very passionate thing for people today and to me it is looking more and more like idolatry. I see it more while I am sick. I have gotten dozens of messages with advice on my health journey. I really do appreciate those and the concern but the thing that is so frustrating is that no one seems to take the time to see the spiritual well being in this journey.

God allows real physical suffering so that we will be refined. It is not a bad thing. It can be used to make us less and Him more. It is a way for us to decrease and Him to increase. It is for His glory. We would be better if people would listen. We all have stories. God is in our suffering. He is good. He is a loving Father who knows our best. Instead of judging or offering fixes we need to focus on suffering long with others. We need to get comfortable with entering into peoples sufferings and walking with them side by side. That is love.

People are so quick to jump to a solution or a permanent fix and they soon discount you if you are unwilling to try their preferred fix. People are so passionate for you to buy into what they are doing on their health journey. Again, I am so happy people have found things to work for them but we are all very different and on different journeys so not everything applies to everyone regarding physical health. Because our bodies are so greatly complex there are often mysteries.

The Bible says, “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:23-24,31). We must do what we do by faith and conviction while not causing others to stumble. We must make the gospel first in all things we do, with that said, we must also respect the things that God gives others the faith to do. I may be free to do what I want but my friend may be living under a conviction of only eating fruit. Both are okay unless taken to extremes. The most important thing is that they do not become idols to us. That they do not become our salvation. Christ is our salvation. So processed food is okay. Sugar is okay. Fruit is okay. Meat is okay. Exercise is okay. Medicine is okay. Television is okay. You get me here? If not done in the extreme, it is all okay if done in thankfulness.

God is very specific in instructing His children to not be like the world around them both in the old and new testaments. People still got sick eating good diets in biblical times. There is much more to it than our eating. (Though I do see what we eat and put in our bodies is important.) Sin is here now as we wait for His return. It is the reason why our bodies are slowly decaying and dying. Each of us has been given a number of days. This will not change if I eat a clean diet or a messy one. This statement will be hard for anyone who puts their hope in diet but it is true. Ultimately God is in control no matter what I do.

I know in wisdom we should take care of these temples the best we can. This, however, will look very different for each of us. Some of us have been given more freedom and grace from God to live in certain ways. We all must walk our own journey trusting in what God shows us and how the Holy Spirit leads. We cannot judge the brother or sister in Christ who chooses to do it differently than us.

Sin in this world is what makes us sick. The weak and sick around us are reminders of our very temporary life here. Maybe that is why so many run from it but I embrace it as a reminder that this world is not my home. I do not want to be to comfortable here. And if so many people had the right and best solutions for us to be healthy then why don't they not make them easier or cheaper for others to do? It reminds me of the works based salvation mindset, the steps of getting right with God that people easily buy into. The truth is that God sent His Son to die for us and to rescue us from the sin-stained world for eternity with Him in Heaven. He did this because of His great love for us. He uses every trial, including sickness, to help us decrease while we let Him increase in us.

Food is not the problem, though it can contribute, sin is. Let us not forget that. Let us keep Christ as our center and make the best decisions we can by faith. Let us walk together hand in hand in order to help and love well. Let us look to Christ. Let us trust our lives, no matter what they hold, to Him.

Book Review: Salvation by Crucifixion by Phillip Graham Ryken

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I received a copy of this book at no charge for the purpose of an honest review.

This is one of my favorite books read this year! I think that all believers and unbelievers should read this book. It is short, simple and straight to the point but do not let this negate how important this book is. This book addresses the importance of Jesus and the cross. When you live in a place saturated by churches you tend to lose the wonder of the cross, it reduces itself to something that happened in history and that is it. However, Jesus laying His life down for ours is such an amazing miracle that deserves being looked into day after day, after all, the Bible tells us the angels long to understand this mystery (1 Peter 1:12).

This book was formulated after a group of messages the author preached to the community. These messages were to help people see the importance of Christ and the crucifixion. I am thankful that these messages were recorded in this book. The reason why I say unbelievers should also read this book is because of the fact that the crucifixion is history. It really happened. There also are many Christians in the world and this book will help them see the beauty of the bloody cross that is the center of Christians' lives. It also will show Christ's amazing love toward sinners and Christ's including love for them if they desire Him.

This book includes seven short chapters with an introduction. It is something you can read over and over and sit in His glory as you ponder how great a Savior we have in Christ. The chapters are about the necessity, offense, peace, power, triumph, humility, and boast of the cross. You should get this one!

You can get a copy of it on Amazon here.


Book Review: Guiltless Living by Ginger Hubbard

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I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Guilt. It is something that many live with daily, yet the truth is, if a person is in Christ they do not have to live under that guilt. True guilt for the Christ follower does not exist anymore because Jesus put an end to it when He said, "it is finished" on the cross. This is truth and most of us in Christ know it is truth in our heads but in our hearts we often fail to live it out. I believe the author's book is a help for us to trust Christ in His finished work for our mess ups.

The author is very honest and vulnerable about her own heart issues and how Christ covers those. The specific sin areas she addresses in this book are being critical, proud, controlling, impatient, miserly, selfish, and religious. She follows with solutions and Scriptural truth but mostly with Jesus as the answer for these through His finished work on the cross. There is also a Bible study guide in the back of this title that coincides with each chapter.

Overall I did like this book. The author is sure to let you know that you are not alone in acting in these ways and helps us see we are in this together as children of God who Christ saved despite our behavior. It is encouraging and helpful
You can get a copy from Amazon here.

You can watch a great book trailer here.

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Book Release! Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Furman

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My friend, Gloria Furman, releases her second book today. I just loved her first book, Glimpses of Grace, and recommend you read it if you have not yet but this second release looks just as great! I have not had a chance to read this title yet but did get to read the first chapter and it looks like a great book on gospel grace and motherhood.

You can get a free study guide of the book from Crossway here.

I know you will love this book because mothers need more encouragement in Christ instead of guilt. Gloria writes with that beautifully balanced gospel centeredness of grace and truth. Even reading a little at a time will keep your eyes fixed on HIM which is where our true joy is birthed. Get your copy from Amazon HERE


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: A Godward Heart by John Piper

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*I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

It is probably no secret that I am a huge fan of John Piper. You can just tell that he is in love with the Lord, so naturally, all that I have read that he has written exudes the exalting love of Christ. He is exactly like this in all I have heard him speak as well. He is just the real deal and I highly respect this man. Of course I jumped at the chance of reviewing something of his. I knew it would not disappoint and it did not fall short.

This book is a simple title from Piper. I love it because it is an easy to read devotional book. It includes 50 meditations of treasuring Christ and how that relates to everyday life. Each meditation points you clearly to Christ and helps you focus on Him which is helpful because we need help as to how to live the gospel daily.

In this top speed, hectic world, it is so easy to lose the focus of Christ as the center of our lives. We live with so many distractions today. This book is great to just take along with you to help your refocusing efforts. Also, it would be an excellent gift book for someone. It would also be great if more of these were published.

I highly recommend it for anyone. Anything that points you to the beauty of Christ is worth the read. Get this one, you will not regret it! You can get a copy from AMAZON HERE.

Book Review: Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

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I did not know anything about the author before I picked up this book. What initially drew me to it was what I had heard others say about it. I then liked the idea of "living intentionally in a chaotic world" since I try to live this way so reading a book about it was only natural.

This book is made up of mostly of little stories from the authors life. She weaves these stories through the topic of living less hectic, simple lives. She has an interesting life so it makes these stories interesting. It is an easy read. It reads like you are listening to a friend over coffee. It tackles common areas of normal life.

I liked the book okay. It was interesting to read another person's story. If you want a light read for the beach with  Christian worldview then this may be your book. It also includes discussion questions in the back so perhaps it could be a light summer read with friends. Overall the author does make you think and evaluate your own life (toward simplicity) in different areas like food, money, school, work and entertainment. The topics from the book would also make good conversation starters as you talk with others about these things. You can get a copy from Amazon here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 
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