Monday, December 25, 2017

Book Review: True Feelings by Mahaney and Whitacre


Have you ever considered that God uses our feelings as opportunities to point us to Him?

This book was a helpful tool to show the reader how our emotions are indicators of where we are with God. Emotions are not bad but God-given. They are part of every human. Jesus felt them. Jesus had a big range of emotion. The Bible does not irradiate the emotions that the characters feel. Emotions are part of being human. Some people feel them in a big way, some feel them in a smaller way. It all depends on how God made each unique individual.

How we interpret our emotions is important. It will matter to the well-being of our soul. Different emotions are different occasions for us to be directed to God. For example, if you are feeling self-pity, you are focused on self. This feeling shows us where our hearts are focused. We can evaluate, is it on God or self? It is time for joy when our hearts are drawn back to God through repentance and faith.

This is a book that all Christians should read. It sheds light on something complicated like emotions but makes it simple to understand biblically. You will benefit from reading it.

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

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Blessed Are The Peacemakers...Holiday Edition



Every Christmas, I remember drama when my extended family got together for the holidays. It unsettled a young me. However, these times were used by God to draw me close to Him, like a magnet to metal.

I remember retreating to a sky light window, the closest place I thought I could get to God. I cried out to God. I didn't know at the time what I was doing but I believe now it is what God desires us to do (pray) in the face of conflict.

Conflict, in and of itself, is not bad. We all have varying opinions and perspectives. It is healthy. We learn from one another. However, conflict is bad when it turns into fights and quarrels. It is bad when it is not loving or assuming the best of the other party. The evil of it comes from our hearts.

                                            WISDOM FROM JAMES
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don't they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:1-3, CSB

God doesn't pull any punches. His word shows us exactly from where the trouble comes; within us. And if it comes from within us, why do we fight with others? Maybe it would make better sense to fight within ourselves.

Practically, how does this play out at our various gatherings?
In the face of conflict, how do we respond?

The main question to ask is, what is most loving in this situation?

We must wrestle with our own hearts and honestly ask, why do I want to fight about this? Is it a selfish motive? Do I want to win? What do I want? Do I want to be right? Do I want the best for that person? Do I just like to hear myself argue? Am I representing Christ well as I disagree?

We must make our own hearts submit to Christ. This is when we cry out to God and ask for the grace to humble ourselves. We must walk as He did and die to our own selfish motives for the sake of love.

Further on in James it explains, "But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 

Don't criticize one another, brothers and sisters. Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:6-12, CSB.

We must learn to humble ourselves before a mighty God. The one and only proper judge will convict and work in the persons heart with whom you disagree. At the same time God will work in your own heart. There is no room for pride in Christian love.

Now, what if there is a certain family member who just won't let peace reign?

You can walk lovingly in grace toward them and refuse to engage. The best thing to do is say, "that is an interesting viewpoint." If they persist just ask non defensive questions (your tone goes a long way). Questions like, "How did you come to that conclusion?" What makes you so passionate about this point?" Seek to understand. In doing this, it may give you room to speak into their life as well. 

However, most importantly, we need to keep our eyes focused on Christ. When we remember what He did for us, the lengths and depths of love He has for us, what He endured for our salvation, we can die to our own self. He will give us the grace. Just remember and ponder;

Philippians 2:6-11

Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
Instead he emptied himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when he had come as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth
11 and every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Review: Adorned by Wolgemuth


This book is a look at Titus 2 in depth. It is challenging and asks hard questions that help you assess how you are living this out in your own life. It reminds me some of the author's previous book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. However, this book focuses on Titus 2.

Since Titus 2 is short, this book takes a deep look at it and how to apply it to your daily life. I have been challenged in many ways, convicted, and encouraged. God has used it to move and change my heart. That is always a good thing. Sanctification is a journey and this book has played a good part in my own sanctification.

This book is better than a commentary because it is personal and makes it feel like you are in a friendly teaching session, full of stories and practical real life examples. It has questions at the end of each chapter as well. It is appropriate for a group study or as an individual.

The layout is easy to read. The spacing and font make it pleasant as well. It is a book that is written for young and old women alike. It is for the full range of ages.

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

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Book Review: Sing a New Song by Brownback


This book is brilliant.

 Do you desire to read the Psalms in a deeper way?
Would you love for them to just come to life before your very eyes?
If you answered, yes, This book helps with that! Each Psalm is listed for you, separately and in order. The book gives you the basics of why it was written, what was happening, and further Scriptures that connect it to the New Testament.

It is a must-read aid to help grow you in prayer and worship of our One True King. I was so drawn to worship that a new passion for the Psalms burned within me. I know I will use this book over and over again. It is one of my all time favorites. I highly recommend it.

It is a book that you do not need to sit and read in its entirety. You can go to whatever Psalm you are studying. Either way it is a wonderful resource. It is written more like a devotional, not a stuffy commentary so it is helpful in getting you to think for yourself as you read the Scriptures.

Whether you are a new Christian or have been one for years, this resource is helpful.

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

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Book Review: Lies Moms Believe by Hargraves


This is a great book for young moms. It is written in a way where a lie is listed that many moms are tempted to believe, then gospel truth is presented to combat that lie. It is a needed book today that helps assist moms in "taking those lies captive in order to make them obedient to His promises". This is freeing for moms. It is also important because the mind is our biggest battle ground. Especially in motherhood when it is difficult to get out and be with others.

The book lists many different lies that moms are tempted to believe. You could read it straight through or flip to the lie that is a struggle for you and read that. As a biblical counselor I found this book helpful and important. It would be especially nice to read in a group. That could be very encouraging.

I am an older mom, I wish this resource was available for me when I was in this early stage of life. It is extremely important that we keep our minds surrounded by the Word and train them for right thinking in those promises. This is why I highly recommend this book. It is worth your time.

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

Today is book launch day and you can get a copy from here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review: Irenaeus Children's Biography


I really like this series of Christian biographies for young readers.

This one, about Irenaeus, in the series is no exception. They are good for young readers because they are interesting and filled with beautiful pictures. This keeps the young person's attention.

Also, the stories are easy. They even include a time line to help you as the adult explain those things if needed. For the older reader, there is a section of "Did you know?" questions for further study.

Overall this is a good book for young kids on the topic of Christian history/biography.

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

You can get a copy of this book on here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: Making All Things New by Powlison


This is a must read for all Christians. This is the go to book for our time. We live in a sexualized culture and many people have been a victim or perpetrators of sexual sin. We all need to hear the truth of God's love, judgement and grace in this mess.

This book is unique in it is written for the  sin struggler and the hurt all at the same time. Both issues are addressed side by side. It is a beautiful thing to see both issues equally addressed. This makes this book a must read for everyone.

As a biblical counselor, I would like to pass this book out to as many people as I can. It is worth the time. I think if you read it you will feel the same way. It takes a look at biblical passages to help navigate this topic and years of wisdom gleaned from the author.

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

You can get a copy from here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review: Alive in Him by Furman


This is a great companion book to read alongside your study of Ephesians. Gloria is witty and clear in her writing. She helps biblical truths become practical for our everyday life. This book will enhance your bible study time.

The book of Ephesians is helpful to enrich your study of doctrine and practical walk. The book is interesting and easy to read. It is helpful for any student of the word. It is worth your time and will be a tool that God can use to help draw you nearer to Christ.

I was encouraged personally and grew in depth of my understanding of Ephesians after reading this. One thing I especially like after reading Gloria's books is her increased understanding of different cultures and points of view. This increases understanding of the word which she passes on to the reader. She lives in the culture of which the bible was birthed. There is something about that that enhances her writings but also makes it practical enough for the western reader. That is a great gift.

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

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Book Review: Nothing to Prove by Allen


I loved this book! I think it is definitely worth your time. It is helpful and applicable in a world where "selfie" is a regular daily term. We live in an age where we are so consumed by what people think of us. We wonder if we are good enough? We wonder if God loves us if we just rest in Him alone? We have lost or way. We think we  need to earn our way in God's kingdom. We equate this world with the world to come. Yet, sadly we have it all wrong. God's kingdom is an upside down kingdom. This book will help you find that freedom.

I just felt peace over and over after reading this. And peace is good because Peace is also a person; Jesus. As I read, I was continually pointed to Jesus. This book was focused on Him; not us. It did give practical tips on how to walk out our walk in a God honoring way that is filled with hope in Him alone, not striving.

This book is divided up so that you can read it alone or in a group. At the end of each chapter there are practical steps you can take or study further.

I was encouraged by this book and would love to see more written like this out there. We don't have to be a product of the selfie culture. We don't have to strive. We just have to train ourselves to be. In that being comes the good works He has given us to do for our good and His glory.

I received this book free of charge for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book on here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

How God Revealed My Love of Money


"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  

So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” 
~Hebrews 13:5-6

When God drew me to Himself, I had a dream. In that dream He rescued me from death and said very clearly, "I will not leave you or forsake you." I had no idea that was scripture at the time. I was only twelve years old and did not know the benefit of being in God's word. 

However, later on in life, I discovered that those very words were Scripture! I also learned that context is important when interpreting scripture. The words around, "never will I leave you or forsake you", would give me the context of the deeper meaning. I was astonished to see that these words are framed around contentment and the love of money. (Though these verses do occur first in the book of Joshua encouraging him not to fear entering the land of promise.)

This season is tough. My husband is losing his job as a contracting company comes in to restructure. It is a time of revealed trust or lack there of in our Savior as provider. The pressure from this situation helped me see that I was loving money. Not because I am wasteful or like expensive things. I lack trust when I don't know if money will come in. This is a lack of trust in my Savior as Provider. I was trusting money as my savior.

Once that was revealed it was necessary to confess it. Then walk forward in faith that he will provide as He always has. It is only through trials or pressures that our hearts will reveal what we truly worship. If I was not walking through this season, I would think I was trusting God for our needs, but really, I was trusting in a steady paycheck.

I am thankful for this revelation. I am thankful God cares enough to reveal our hearts so we can confess this idolatry and move in fuller allegiance to Him. He gives more grace. In the process of dying to worry and dependence on a paycheck, we become more Christ like because we walk without fear knowing that God will provide. It is His promise. We must walk in it. This doesn't make it easy but a regular realization that I need to trust Him instead of any other thing. 

As we journey this path of the unknown for the next few months, I know God will provide. And at the end of this test, He will strengthen our faith. He is a good Father. He is always there. He truly will never leave or forsake us.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Struggling with the Unknown


Did you know that nothing is under your control?

Nothing. Let that sink in a minute. Because this perspective will save you from much pain.

Often in life we have the illusion of control. We think, if we plan hard enough, if we do this or that, we will be in control. Yet, it is all an illusion. We are fooled by it until something crushes our grip. Then we grasp for any small bit of control left but we come up lacking.

The good news is that God is in control. He is also a good Father who loves His children. He holds the world in His hand and the lives of His children. He is the one who establishes our steps. We can let go of grasping and fall into His loving care and leading guidance. Life is much easier when we learn to do this.

The alternative is making an idol for ourselves to worship called control. That is going against God. It is sin. Plans are fine until they become demands, then they are idols. The quickest way to determine if you are dealing with an idol of control is having your plans ruined. This exposes your heart in this area. Do you respond in trust or despair?

We have the opportunity to trust God with all of our plans. We can plan, order is wise, but learn to plan loosely. Leave room for change. Then we are trusting when God alters our plans which we can more easily walk in faith.

I am currently living in a state of unknown and it has been painful because I have held onto my plans too tightly. I am thankful that God is a loving Father who loves me enough to show me this error and discipline me toward trust and faith in His perfect plan. We know His love by His discipline in our lives (Hebrews 12).

Walking with God is an adventure and as we grow in grace, God will be certain to help us grow in Christ-likeness because His Spirit lives in us working change. Let us let Him do His work because it is glorious.

How do you struggle to trust? Are you a hard core planner? How do you respond to change? Did you ever see control as idolatry? How is God using change to make you more like Christ?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Review: How Does Sanctification Work? by Powlison


I respect David Powlison and his work in bringing Christ back to counseling. I like reading anything by him and this was no exception. He, again, speaks to us with wisdom that comes from a life of walking with God and His people.

This book is instructive for the reader because it helps you think through progressive sanctification. It helps us see that as humans, we are complex, so the sanctification process is not simple. God uses many things to work and draw people to Himself. He continues this work through our life as we are conformed more and more into His image.

Christians could benefit from reading this for a good understanding of how people change. It is helpful for learning how to do life together. It is a good read.

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

You can get a copy of it from here.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Review: Reformation Women by VanDoodewaard


Biographies are always encouraging reads. This one in particular was encouraging to me because it focused on the long left out women of the time of the reformation. It is unique to have a book that recorded the importance of women in the events of the reformation so this is a much needed resource.

I love to give my girls a resource that will show them that women have equally important roles in their Christian walks. God places and purpose our lives and times to bring Him supreme glory. It doesn't matter who you are, if you are His, He is at work in you and using your life to bring glory to His name. This book brought this thought home for me.

The book is written in an interesting way that keeps the reader interested. Some biographies are dry and hard to digest but this book was not like that. It will keep you desiring to read all about each life included. It will spur your faith and encourage it. It is worth the time.

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

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book Review: He Calls You Beautiful by Brestin


Dee Brestin is a mentor and friend. She has been used in huge ways to grow me in my faith. I always praise God for her work. This is no exception. The book continues to bless and use God's word wisely. She tackles a hard to understand book, The Song of Songs, and makes is accessible to the everyday reader. Yet, keeping God as center view. You can tell she was passionate about this work. It comes through her writing.

I think this book would benefit the reader the most if it was done with someone else so you can discuss what you are learning. It truly is a Bible study and at the end of each chapter there are questions to take you deeper into the word and application. This can be done alone (which was how I read it) but a group of women would be best.

If you ever wanted to look into the Song of Songs in a balanced, God-centered way, get this book. It will bless you immensely.

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

You can get a copy of the book from here.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Reinke


This is a must read for our times! This little book is informative and helpful. It is informative because it exposes information about how technology really changes us--not just our phones. It also gives a brief history of technological changes and the effects they had on society. It is helpful by being convicting and offers solutions to help one be certain they are wise in the use of today's technology.

We are made to be worshipers. We all worship something. The age of the smartphone displays the priorities we value in our times. I am thankful for this resource for the way it is balanced in view and approach. It was life-changing for me because it aided me in the thought process of what our phones are doing to us and others by perception and the time we use on them. It can be productive or wasteful. Technologies always come as a two sided coin, one for good and the other for bad. I wonder how many people really just take the time to think about their smartphone uses and how it really is changing our minds, relationships, and worship?
Do read this. It is timely. It is needed. It is good.

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

You can receive a copy of this book on here.(aff. link)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pray About Everything by Tautges


 This was a good info-packed, yet concise and easy-to-read book on prayer. It gave a good practicality to prayer which is important. It was presented in a gospel-centered way. For all of those reasons, I really enjoyed this book. More books are needed like this on prayer. You will benefit from reading it.

The book also included practical resources on prayer in the appendix. It helps put the theory to action. This is also a great added bonus. I have found many people need this direction when it comes to intentional prayer. This book will be a great help for that.

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

You can get a copy of this book at Amazon here. (aff. link)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review: This Changes Everything by Crowe


I wanted to review this book because it was geared toward teens. I am a mother of two teens and I know that there is a lack of strong biblically sound resources out there. They are really hard to find so when Crossway published this book; I had to read it.

I loved it! It touched on all things that teens need to know and be encouraged in. It is written in a friendly manner by someone who is close to their age. It is biblically sound in doctrine and life. It is a great resource to give to a teen you love or read along with them. There are great discussion points.

The book also encourages the youth to not waste their youth. They are to live for the sake of the gospel now. They don't have to wait. They can serve wherever God moves them now. As this is addressed there is sound advice regarding authority and life choices.

It addresses clearly issues of identity, the over arching story of the bible, community, sin, discipline, growth, time, and relationships.

I highly recommend this book for any teen in your life.

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

You can get a copy of this book at here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review: Crossing Cultures in Scripture by Newell


This is an incredible book that is a helpful aid for deeper Scriptural knowledge and study. One key to reading Scripture is to understand the original hearers context. Only after this can we rightly begin to apply it to our own lives. This book does an incredible job at relating the Scriptures to the original cultures for whom they were first written. I have grown greatly in my study of the word through reading this book and using it as a tool to aid in my deeper study.

The book begins in Eden, at the beginning, and spans the redemptive historical timeline of the Bible ending in Revelation. It is beneficial to read and helpful to any student of the word. It is important to understand the culture to rightly understand the word. This book also helps you understand how the Scriptures can be applied to similar cultures today. The stories are engaging and helpful.

I think this book would be helpful for any Christian. It will help you understand the word better. I received a copy of this book free of charge from publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon here (Aff link)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Why Killing Sin Should Be Violent


I have been reading straight through the Bible and find myself located in Leviticus. I am praying, each time that I read, that I do not give up or become discouraged as I read things that I do not understand in this Old Testament law book.

These people had rules and regulations from a different time. Yet, even this Scripture points us to Christ. Sometimes it takes work to find the connections but they are worth it. I pray and ask God to connect things for me to help me understand how to apply this to my own life today and to see God clearer for who He truly is. One passage that really made this connection was Leviticus 4:27-31.

Basically, it speaks about someone sinning unintentionally. This would be something that I did not intend to do yet it was still a sin. The passage says once the person is aware, he is to place his hand on a goat as a sin offering and kill it. Can you even imagine that? It would be bloody, smelly, and messy and your sin caused this innocent animals death. All for something you were not even aware that you did; at least for awhile until it was made known or you realized it yourself.

Sin is serious business. Yet, when I sin today, I do not have to kill a goat. How does this even apply to me? Why do I even care?

First, I can be thankful that Jesus died once for all (Romans 6:10). It was His sacrifice that took away all my sin. That once for all sacrifice is a BIG DEAL. It appeased the full wrath of God; forever!

However, in the here and now, we must also have a hand at killing the sin that tries to reign within us. We must get a handle on it and slaughter it, just like the goat. We can do this by trusting Jesus finished work on the cross taking our deserved wrath but also taking the door He gives us to chose not to sin when tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Colossians 3:5-10 states, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."

We can either trust Christ to bear the wrath or we must bear it. Once in Christ, we are a new creation. We can now confess our sin and He is faithful to forgive us, restore us, and make us right again. As we are being renewed by our Creator, we will desire sin less and less but even the unintentional sin must be put to death. I am thankful that the New Testament, gave us a better way. Sin must be dealt with and taken seriously but Christ, in His love, took the full wrath of it that we deserve. This is truly a gift of the best kind.

Have you trusted Christ to take the full wrath of your sin for you?
How are some ways that you kill sin in your life? 
Have you thought much about the sacrificial system, Jesus, and modern day confession of sin?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Review: Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal


This is very much a comprehensive guide because it is packed with lots of information! I found it to be an interesting read because it takes an Integrationist approach to Christian counseling. What that means is they mix Christian faith with secular counseling methods. This guide was written to help a Christian counselor properly view or apply Christian approaches to a variety of counseling issues and diagnosis's.

I am not an integrational counselor so I do not agree with this approach in every way but found this book to be very helpful. It is well done for someone in that camp of Christian counseling. And it really does cover tons of information. I think if this is your field of study you will not be disappointed in this book.

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

You can get a copy of this book from here. (Aff. link)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review: No More Faking Fine by Fleece


Lament. It is an important concept that the Christian needs to understand. Esther Fleece explains it well in this title. She uses her wealth of personal stories to practically explain what the art of lament looks like. 

She has lived a hard story but her dependence and love for the Lord is encouraging and evident to the reader. I was encouraged by watching the process of growth in grace work in her life. It is eye-opening when you can see theology walked out practically.

This takes a good look at a theology of suffering and the proper response of lamenting. I believe this would be helpful for others to understand. Lament is a lost art that many neglect to this day. There needs to be more stories that show others how to live this. Living out lament truly sets the sufferer free in Christ.

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

You can get a copy of this book on Amazon here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book Review: Enjoy by Newbell


This is a book that should be read to help believers know how to delight in God's good gifts. It addresses specific areas of gifts like relationships, food, and work and takes the reader through practical ways to enjoy them and why it is good to enjoy them.

Some believers are better than others at accepting God's good gifts and enjoying them. This book would be good for everyone even if it is only a reminder. We all need to be reminded to enjoy the good gifts that God gives us as His children.

At the end of each chapter we have something called the enjoy project. It is a list of practical steps that the reader can practice in each area addressed to help them learn to enjoy the gifts that God gives. There are also discussion questions in the back of the book making it easy for a group bible study.

This book is easy to follow and read. It is a good read.

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

You can get a copy of this book here. (aff. link)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Book Review: Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures by Georges and Baker


Have you ever had an interaction with someone who is different than you that made you feel completely awkward? I think this comes from not really understanding the person in context of their cultural background.

This book is a great resource for understanding other cultures. In the west, we see things differently from the majority of the word. The reason for this is the cultural upbringing we are raised in. We are very individualistic as westerners. Because of this, we don't rightly understand the importance of group approval in many other cultures. We are tempted to think we understand this because we do want group approval in certain situations but our entire lives are not truly wrapped up in a collective group for survival. We don't live and breathe in groups as westerners. Our very well being is not up to a certain group.

The westerner is able to leave a group and find another to join. They are more to themselves and view themselves as an individual whose actions don't affect everyone else they come in contact with. There is a distinctive difference between those of us raised in the West and those in the East.

The answer to understanding and helping others; is in understanding those cultural contexts. The author reminds us that Scripture was actually written in this collective cultural mindset. Viewing scripture in this way is natural. The authors give examples of this throughout.

The interesting thing about this book is showing how the gospel has power in both cultural contexts but how you approach each cultural context with it will be very different. We have the same gospel but a different approach. You have to read this book to understand more about what I am saying here but it is well worth your time.

If you do any kind of work or have friendships with others from different cultural backgrounds, I suggest you read this book. It was eye opening to me and a resource I will go back to again and again.

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

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

When We Are Tempted to Worry




I am waiting to see if I passed my counseling certification exams.

I am waiting to see if I have life changing health-related test results.

I am waiting to see what God has in store for our future.

I am waiting on my article edits to see if I need to make corrections once again.

I am waiting on the school year to end so I can enter into the home school journey with my son.

So many things I am waiting on and this is not an all inclusive list. There are other things, lurking in my mind. I am sure you can relate too. For we are all waiting on something.

I can easily be tempted to agonize over these waits. It is tempting to worry or fret over these things. Some of the issues seem more worrisome than others, of course. Life altering test results can be a heavier burden than an article edit. But waiting seems to look the same for each one.

If worry could speed up the time process of the wait then I would say go for it! However, God says something different. Worry is essentially forgetting that God has promised the best for us.

Sometimes that is hard to accept when the test results come back less than expected or you are rejected by a peer. These things are painful, however, God promises that we will be more like Christ as we look to Him and His promises in the midst of them.

This is a great Scripture to meditate on when you are tempted to worry.

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you" (Isaiah 26:3, ESV).

When I feel myself losing my peace, I am not trusting in God. My worry is taking on the problem in my own strength instead of God's.

This happened after 40 days with the children of Israel. God was clearly present because He was on the mountain with Moses. Yet, Moses stayed up there too long for the people to stomach so they gave in to fear. Fear, worry and anxiety are all connected. When we give into these things we are not trusting God's best for us. We are saying that God is not good and I can figure out a better way. If we give into this worry, we will do stupid things.

The children of Israel did this. They thought God was taking too long with Moses. They forgot how God saved them from Egypt. despite the great miracles He performed for them over and over again. Not only the rescue but also sustaining them in the desert. But as they daily depended on their manna, they still forgot God's goodness.

After they deemed that God took too long with Moses, they decided to make something they could worship. Something they could control and make with their own hands. It was a golden calf. And Aaron, their leader went along with it, in fact he oversaw it. 

 It is devastating that we would ever forget God. Just thinking of the fact that Jesus came, lived the life we could not live perfectly and then died for our sin on the cross is enough for us to not ever worry. God was so good to send His son to take the punishment for sin that was owed to us. Jesus stood in our place. That is enough for us to know His goodness. 

Yet God does so much more in His goodness toward us through all of the promises He gives us in His word.   God poured His love out on us so that we never need to fear. Yet, we forget. We try to make our own idols to worship. Idols that we can control. Things like a impenetrable schedule, or anger that continually bugs or harasses the people with the answers we need, or impatience so we step in front of God in stepping on others for that new position. There are many subtle ways we do this that we do not consider idolatry but it is idolatry. 

Do you think of worry as a subtle form of idolatry? Have you ever considered it to be sin? What are some ways you cope with worry?
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