Archive | May, 2013

The Sin of Forgiveness Book Review and Recommendation

23 May

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A Challenging and Bold Effort – The Sin of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of those things that a lot of people find it difficult to do when one has been wronged or sinned in life based on the secular world common belief. According to the author, Edward F. Mrkvicka, Jr., forgiveness is considered a sin if not followed according to God’s word in the Bible. The author, Edward F. Mrkvicka, is a lay minister/counselor and lifelong Bible student. “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” – Luke 17:3 Mr. Mrkvicka states God’s word in the Bible says we should not forgive someone unless they repent for their sin first. If we forgive them before they repent, we become a facilitator of the sin. Christ will forgive those believers who repent their sins and are able to stop their willful disobedience. Godly forgiveness saves the sinner and makes the one who was sinned against whole again. Sometimes God’s word can be a hindrance when it comes to our earthly desires, but if we make the mistake of avoiding the truth it will ultimately harm us and cost us eternity in Heaven with our Lord and Savior.

The secular world believes people should be given forgiveness no matter what the circumstances are, but Christians forgive those who choose to repent. As Christians, we must follow God’s word according to the Bible for the truth, no matter what the secular world wants you to believe. Satan is a good deceiver and can make people in our society believe falsehoods at every whim. The secular world has been taught that all we have to do is say “I’m sorry” when we have done wrong in the world and then everyone can go about their business as usual. The problem is most people do not fully grasp the true meaning and purpose of forgiveness. People are often misunderstood or misinformed due to all the lies reported by the secular world rather than the truth of God’s word. This is not the way God intended for us to pay the price for when we have sinned in our temporary life here on Earth. Jesus Christ faced crucifixion and an Earthly death to wash away our sins. He paid the ultimate price for all our sins because He loves us so much and wants us to spend eternity with Him. The secular world has taught us that once we are saved, we will all go to Heaven and spend eternity with Him, but that is not what God’s word says in the Bible. The enemy is good at changing the rules and lowering the standards when it comes to manipulating us into believing a bunch of lies. The devil makes people think God is cruel because he allows bad things to happen, but Christians know Satan is the only one responsible for all the evil in the world. “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8:44 The worldly view concludes that repentance is rejected by society since it holds no relation to forgiveness. Consequently, the secular world wants you to believe there will be no consequences for our wrongdoings, since they say to forgive ourselves but not the one who sinned against us.

One day when it is our time to leave this temporary life, we will all be judged by God according to our good works on judgment day. It is imperative we all know the biblical truth today because it could be a matter of where we spend eternity – heaven or hell. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” – Matthew 7:13 The author pleads with the reader not to believe anyone when it comes to our faith since we should only rely on God’s word in the Bible for the truth. God does not tolerate disobedience and gives us all free will to either accept or deny His word. When the day comes that we stand before God, we will be judged for what we do instead of what we say. Christians are at a variance with the secular world because they go to God’s word for the truth rather than the propaganda the secular world is being persuaded to believe today. Today, we live in a fallen world where repentance is considered a sin while sin is viewed as a virtue.

In conclusion, I found this book helped give me a different perspective on the subject of forgiveness (how to forgive and how to be forgiven) in the way it is viewed by Christians versus the secular world. Christians take forgiveness much more seriously due to their faith and relationship with God than non-believers because they know it comes down to an eternal life in Heaven. I am unable to offer an objective and positive recommendation as I am not sold on all the facts noted in the book. Forgiveness is key to a Christian’s healing process and will only result in more turmoil if a person waits until they have confirmation that the person who sinned has repented before we forgive the person. It is important for the reader to have an open mind when reading this book because some people will have adverse views about this book based on their bible teachings and religious views. Others will find this book to be a challenge because it lacks an overall balance to give the reader a clear view of everything the author is trying to interpret to the reader. I would like to encourage others to read this book and come to their own conclusion if you find the subject of forgiveness an intriguing read. We have a choice in how we choose to comply with the act of forgiveness in our life that can either make or break our eternal salvation. Mr. Mrkvicka provided some excellent research in the book and quoted God’s word verbatim as quoted in the Bible throughout the book to share the truth with the reader. We can pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in learning the truth when we read the Bible. This author was right on target when he stated we should only look to God’s word for the truth in scripture and our faith and never rely on anyone else. The questions submitted by former readers in the question and answer section in addition to the candid and biblical feedback is to be commended, since I found it to be a good overview of the important truths cited from the previous chapters in the book. As I was reading this book filled with scripture, I was reminded of how important it is that every Christian study God’s word faithfully in order to have a close relationship with God and gain the truth in how He expects us to live our life to carry out His plan. We must rely on the word of God to be obedient to Him and live our life in a way that glorifies Him.

A special thank you to Crosslink Publishing and Cross Focused Reviews for providing me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Radical Dating Book Review and Recommendation

6 May

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Radical Dating, a book written by Diane Montgomery, Gabrielle Pickle, and Sarah Bubar, that discusses the subject of dating based on scripture. This book was written to offer help to other sisters in Christ in better glorifying God and how they can experience the ultimate relationship through Christ. This book is divided into five sections which include: 1) why you date, 2) how you date, 3) who to date, 4) what you do on the date, and 5) when the date ends. The authors discuss the difference between radical dating and societal dating which comes down to who you choose to follow in life – God or flesh. “Dating can be frivolous and futile or Christ-honoring and life-changing – all to be determined by how you go about it.” – Dorothy Kelley Patterson. This book shares a lot of truth about dating according to God’s word which is a great outline for you to follow whether you are searching for someone to date or already in a committed relationship with someone. According to the gospel, there are certain rules that a Christian should follow when dating to fully glorify God. How you choose to date is a reflection on God because it either glorifies God or harms His reputation. It is an integral part of your Christian life because how you live your life is a witness to the world and a sacrifice of worship to the Lord. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) ~ ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

When it comes to love, women want to be pursued/romanced, make a difference in the life of someone else, and to be seen as a beautiful person. We have learned about great love stories throughout history over the years that have defined cultures, captivated entire generations, and last long after civilization that created it lies in ruins. There is no greater love than God in your life because of His sacrifices for us which includes: he prevailed the battle of sin for us, conquered death so we could live, and His eternal love for us. Christ is ultimately the only way you can truly experience joy, peace, and love. In Genesis 24, the Bible illustrates a true testament about Isaac and Rebekah’s love that grew because God was in control. He always put God first in all aspects of his life. On the flip side, they also discussed some stories in the Bible where the individuals were in control of their love life instead of God such as Sarah and Abraham (Genesis 16), Tamar and Judah (Genesis 38), and Bathsheba and David (2 Samuel 11). Our relationships should be in the form of a triangle because we should be focused on bringing each other closer to God. God should be the center of your relationship so He is the one in control of it. This allows Him to fulfill His plans and purpose for your life rather than you trying to manipulate the events to make them happen. We learn we are safer living out the perfect will of God in our life instead of trying to control things ourselves and end up getting hurt.

Based on societal love, one can never be fully satisfied since it is not even close to God’s love. In today’s world, we live in a society where we are so consumed by love to the extent of nothing more than personal gratification. God wants us to date a Godly man because we end of getting hurt when we choose to date someone with immoral qualities. Our society is lacking the true meaning of love because we have removed God and never know the importance of living a life of purity. The authors also discuss several myths and lies about dating based on scripture. Purity is an important aspect of dating because it affects what you do and think and a testimony of our walk with God. He purified us in order to have a relationship with Him and save us from our own well-deserved destruction. A life filled with the Holy Spirit allows us to live in righteousness and win the war against Satan. The more you focus on what you don’t have in life, the more discontent you will become with your life and God. When you learn to change your perspective on how you think, God’s peace and joy will begin to flow from your heart and you will become more content with your life. We need to learn to be blessed for all the good that God has immensely rewarded us with in life. Sometimes, God allows us to enter a relationship to become more like Christ rather than marriage. Everything that happens in our lifetime is for a reason, not a mistake. God allows us to learn valuable lessons in life through other people and our experiences. One of the hardest parts about a relationship is when you learn it did not work out for whatever reason and it must come to an end. There is a biblical way to break up with someone because He is still your brother in Christ. There are some awkward stages involved in this process, but must be handled appropriately to glorify God.

In conclusion, it is most important to always focus on your relationship with God first and foremost. You should base your relationship/date in the same manner as you would with God. God likes to be in control of our relationships because He knows what is best for us and loves us. If we do not have a loving relationship with God, we can never fully experience love for ourselves and another person as God intended for us. As Christians, we are to love God more than we love ourselves or someone else which is the exact opposite of what the media teaches us today. In today’s fallen world, society tries to portray dating do’s and don’ts in a different light than Christians. Many people in today’s times believe that you can experience true love without having a relationship with God which is a fallacy. God is the ultimate and only true love relationship that anyone can experience in life if they choose salvation over sin. When you feel pressured about issues facing your dating life, you need to take it to the Lord so He can help you overcome wrongful thoughts, fears, etc. When you desire to find love in your life, you must remember that it will be more successful when God is in control and will happen in His timing if it is in His will for your life. If you are currently single, there is a reason why God wants you to be single so you can fulfill a service to Him and is part of His purpose for your life.

This book was very thorough and covered all aspects of dating through biblical principles. It is a great book that is ideal for all singles currently dating someone. The authors give several examples of what can happen in your life when you choose to control your dating life rather than turn it over to God and how to handle the many pressures of dating in our society today. After I finished reading this book, my first thought was I wish this book or a similar book would have been available to read back in my younger days when I first started experiencing the dating world and being single. It is my hope that this book will answer questions for many Christians about dating and help several people when it comes to being single in today’s society.

A special thank you to Christian Focus Publications and Cross Focused Reviews for providing me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.