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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