Thursday, May 29, 2014

Book Review: Passion by Louie Giglio and Various


This book is a great resource of gospel grace and hope. It is filled with messages from the Compassion conferences from speakers/authors Giglio, John Piper, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, Christine Caine and Judah Smith. Some different but great messages. It is worth the read if you want to be encouraged in the Lord.

Compassion is a conference targeted at reaching college students but the messages in this book are for anyone. It was enjoyable to read. It is also not overwhelming because you can easily take in one author (which consists of a chapter) at a time. I appreciate the work of the conferences and this book which takes God's truths to yet another audience. All good stuff. It is hard to write more about this because it is very self explanatory based on what I told you. If you like the authors listed above you will like this book.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers for the purpose of an honest review.
If you want to get a copy of this title you can get it here.

Book Review: Growing Up God's Way for Girls and Boys by Dr. Richards and Dr. Jones


Let us just be honest, talking about puberty with our children is just awkward and hard but it does not have to be. The hardest part for me about this topic is that I feel like I am robbing them of some innocence through this talk. However, it is part of life and something that needs to be discussed and talked about as they grow at age appropriate levels of development and discussion.

These particular books are targeted toward children who are ages 9-13. I highly agreed with the written caution in these books where the author's stated that speaking of these things and thinking on them too much is not good for our souls. The reason I love that being said is because this book has technical and accurate age appropriate pictures. It mentioned a little blip about pornography which I also though was helpful since we live in a hugely visual world.

The books are basically the same in outline. I love the parts of how they address marriage and God's plan in our growing up. The way these books are different are the specifics regarding boys and girls differences. There is minimal detail of each sex in the opposite sex book which is good as well.

I had my 12 year old daughter read the girl book and she said it was good and explained things well. She read it in one night and had no questions, we have already talked about this stuff though previously. My 10 year old daughter did not like seeing the pictures as much because they were a bit disturbing to her but she is very visual in nature. I think in a year she will be ready for it. It really depends on the maturity of the child and you will know your own child well enough to determine if it is right for them. I recommend you read it first. It is an easy read. Overall it is a good resource on a much needed and important topic for all boys and girls.

I must add as a side note that this book was written with an English flare so some words are spelled that way but it was not distracting just a note to be aware of.

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

You can get a copy of the book for girls here. or the book for boys here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things Learned When My Husband Was Out of the Country


Though I missed my husband the past fourteen days he was away and value him incredibly, I found out that I am really okay on my own. This experience was a good one for me because I never want my husband to be an idol in my life. He has been my best friend since I was 16 years old so it seems he has always been there. I suffer with physical weakness often so it is easy to rely on my man. I do think it is okay to rely on him, my life partner and spouse that the Lord has provided for me however, there is a fine line regarding this. Ultimately the Lord is to be my strength. While my husband was away I could really tell the Lord was my strength.

It was good as well to depend and know that the community that God gives us was available to me which keeps me from being self-sufficient. I was so thankful for the help from the community of God.

How could I tell I would be okay with God alone?

When things got so rough with the children that I just wanted to give up all hope, I could redirect my mind to the good news of the gospel and the promises of God's word. God by His Spirit would work those truths into my heart and in Christ they would bring me great comfort and provide the strength I needed to move forward. His love redirected my steps back to Him.

When the trash needed to go out, I did it. I did not hold a secret grudge about my husband's choice to ignore it because well, he was out of the country. I realized it is not a big deal to take the trash out. It does not have to be solely my husband's job who is just as tired as I am at the end of a day.

When the pool over filled, I was able to take instruction to fix it. I was also able to maintain it and keep it running well. God gives the strength for this.

When a light bulb went out up high, I just pulled out a stool and changed it.

When a scary bug tried to scare the life of me, I squashed it.

When I was so very scared at night, God gave me the peace to sleep well knowing He never sleeps or slumbers and watches over us. God truly cares for us, even in the simple things like a bad light bulb or a scary bug. He will never leave or forsake us. He gives us all we need.

There are so many little things, but they are huge to me, that my husband does. I appreciate him so very much. I appreciate his help. I am so glad we are a team together in life. I did learn, however, that if he were to return to me never more I would be okay. God provides us all that is needed. His grace overflows to us in our times of need. Now instead of making my husband my world, I am free to enjoy him as a great gift from the Lord who is actually my world. The Lord is my strength and my song. He is everything. I am thankful for these observations.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: Spoken For: Embracing Who You Are and Whose You Are by Gunn and Bethke


I enjoyed this title. The author's take a good look at our romance with Jesus. It is definitely a girly book but this is needed. So often it is easy to lose sight of who we really are in HIM and that He is the pursuer of our souls. He not only loves us but likes us. This book just takes you through this by looking at personal stories and Scriptural truths. It was a great reminder for me.

Each author takes turns writing a section per chapter. It is written as if you are speaking with them over coffee. It is a very easy read. It also includes questions to ponder at the back of each chapter. I envision young high school/college girls being the audience for the book. It was encouraging and pointed clearly to Christ. It is overall a good book.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of an honest review.
You can get a copy from Amazon here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book Review: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman


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

After I read the author's first book, Glimpses of Grace: Gospel Meditations for Your Home, I did not know how another book could be any better but this one was just as good. I highly recommend it and would even say it is in my top favorite books on parenthood. I honestly think every mother should read this book. You will be better for doing that. Any book that encourages and continually points you to Christ is worth the time. Get this one! You will not be disappointed!

Books on motherhood are a rarity when they focus exclusively on grace. This book is a gem in doing that. The author writes in a style that makes you feel as if you are speaking over coffee so it is easy to read which is a must for busy moms. The author is a young mom to young children but she writes with a wisdom beyond her years and experience. I also love how the author is authentic in sharing her own mistakes and failures but also how the gospel gives us hope in those.

This is not a try harder and do better kind of book. This is not even an instruction or how to book. This is however, the most important book because it points you to God's grace which is the only power that will rescue us. His grace abounds in motherhood and this book will remind you of this. Grace just flows from this book and to be completely honest, I read it at just the right moment because I was struggling hugely as a mom. I lost my focus and this book helped bring me back. I am thankful for it and will be reading it again. It is a must have! You can get a copy of it on Amazon here.

Book Review: Memorial: The Mystery of Mary of Bethany by Delores Kimball


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

I think it was a hard undertaking for the author to tackle this subject just because there is not much written in Scripture about Mary of Bethany. I have always been fascinated by Mary of Bethany and her faith and this is what drew me to this title. I appreciate the authors effort but this was just not what I expected. It was not entirely bad. It just had much more added that had nothing much to do with the topic specifically of Mary of Bethany and her mystery. Yet again, there is not much written about her in Scripture so I should have realized this before picking the book up.

The author explores all the Scripture where Mary of Bethany is mentioned. There is then a lot of information that may or may not relate to those texts specifically. There was one specific section that discussed prayer and was critical of some other Christian authors that I was uncomfortable with. Yet then later there was a big emphasis on grace and the cross. I just got mixed messages and really tried to like this title but it fell short. I hate writing any review that is bad or discouraging so this is the best I can do for this title.

Again, it was a brave undertaking for an entire book. If you want to get a copy from Amazon you can here. If you read it I would love to hear your opinion.

Friday, May 2, 2014

You Must Die to Live - Thoughts on Christian Living


"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me" (John 12:24-26).

This is the passage I taught from when I spoke to the ladies at New Friendship Baptist church in Cleveland. I am so thankful that they were an amazing group of women who were mission minded. They were those rare women who desire Christ with their all. I was so blessed to be there to share what God has been speaking to me specifically. In my life right now it is specifically regarding relocating my family for the sake of the good news of Christ. However, dying can mean many different things to many different people. All used for His glory. We are never forced to lay our lives down but those who know they are loved respond in love and chose to freely. 

We must count the cost of what it means to be a disciple and must determine He is worth it.

Jesus tells us that "If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me (Luke 9:23, CEV).

How this looks for each of us will be very different.

Maybe it is:
  • Forgiving when it is not deserved.
  • Doing what others want when you desire something different.
  • Raising a special needs child.
  • Loving the unlovable.
  • Caring for aging parents.
  • Living with chronic illness or depression but getting up anyway.
  • Going on the mission field, giving up everything even your literal life.
  • Forgetting self, becoming self-less.

These are just some examples of the crosses we pick up and they are nothing like Jesus's ultimate cross. Yet because of His amazing, non-stop, rescuing love for us He, "Because of the joy awaiting him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne" (Hebrews 12:2).

How do we live a life like this? Is it by trying harder? Not particularly though we do have some part in choosing to die to self yet the Holy Spirit is the one who changes us more and more into His image.

2 Corinthians 3:16 says it this way, "
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne."

As we behold Him, as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, the Spirit changes us little by little in His perfect timing. And that makes it worth it. Because He came He has made us perfect in the eyes of the Father, when we trust His finished work on our behalf on the cross, as we are being perfected. It is a beautiful thing. A glorious mystery that makes anything worth His supreme glory. Anything.
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