Archive | February, 2014

Eternity Changes Everything Book Review and Recommendation

19 Feb

book

Do you long for more patience in your life while you are waiting for something in God’s timing or waiting for an outcome in anticipation? Or, do you long for more restless behavior when things do not seem to go your way in life or often feel disappointment or despair? If so, I encourage you to read this book, “Eternity Changes Everything” by Stephen Witmer. The author does an exemplary job of providing a heightened level of hope and glimpse into our everlasting life with God. We have so many choices in our life which often results in regret, despair, and disappointment when we are more tuned into the now in the world we live today rather than our real and future home in Heaven. God never promised us that life would be easy but we must learn to accept the daily challenges we face and realize we can get through anything through our faith and trust in God. This book teaches you how to live your life today in the light of what your future will hold tomorrow. Everything that happens to us in this temporary life called the biological life, God is using to shape us for our eternal life with him as a citizen of Heaven. This book allures Christians to be more excited about where the world is headed and be certain about where they are headed in the future.

Chapter 1|Your future in your present
Chapter 2|Everything new
Chapter 3|He will dwell with them
Chapter 4|The future is certain
Chapter 5|Your future is certain
Chapter 6|Tightrope walking
Chapter 7|Restlessness
Chapter 8|Patience
Chapter 9|Heavenly citizens
Chapter 10|Needing this world less
Chapter 11|Loving this world more
Chapter 12|Restless patience
Bibliography
Thank you

This book basically covers every aspect in our life that we face daily which includes our past, present and future. The author shares many stories from his life and others to gain an easy understanding of everything discussed in the book. From reading the book, I could tell this author is a very compassionate man in regards to his wife, children, his relationship with God, and his future home in Heaven. Our future life is based on how we live our present life. When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, God was able to change the world forever. Once we are able to grasp this truth, we will begin to see a change in ourselves. Our life can change for the better if we are able to develop more patience and restlessness within ourselves to live the enriched life God had planned for us. The author illustrates a great example of how we can live with more confidence about the present and future in our life through stories about a tic-tac-toe tournament and walking on a tightrope. As we face our daily struggles in life, we might get lost along the way or go down the wrong path, but our common goal should be to reach the new creation, our everlasting life with God. The main focus of this book is that Christians are intended to live and be able to live in a strong, happy, productive, challenging, and agonizing tension between restlessness and patience.

Restlessness is best defined as a fervor for our future life in the new creation. Our perspective must be aligned with the future rather than settle for the current moment of now in regards to our identities, thoughts, actions, and goals. We must ask ourselves if we are determined to live for today or tomorrow. It is easy to get caught up in our past due to our past failures and accomplishments in life. Also, it is just as comfortable to live in the present when things seem to be going well in our lives or just the opposite. Either way, we are letting it define us and who we are as individuals because we are settling by living in the now rather than the future. Since we live in a fallen, sinful and imperfect world, nothing will ever be perfect so we should never settle for anything. If you are looking for the perfect man to share your life with, the perfect job with a six figure income, the perfect vacation, or that dream house you have always longed for all these years, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. Our life is meant to be enjoyed and a preparation for the next life, not to settle for what you think can make you happy today. We must remember the best is yet to come in the new creation. There are a couple of reasons why we find it difficult to be more restless in our life which includes misconception that it will be dull and the uncertainty that it is our future. To help change our mindset, we must remain alert of the present world flaws, realize our pain and inconvenience in life is preparing us for our next life, and live as though the new creation will come tomorrow.

We currently live in a secular world that lacks patience. Christian maturity is gained through restlessness with patience. Restlessness can only lead to disaster without patience. If we learn to develop patient trust in God and His timing, it makes us more resilient and hopeful in times when life is hard. The author best sums up patience when he states “Patience comes from knowing that God’s future is ours and God’s future is great. When we know it’s sure, it can be slow. When we know it’s great, we can wait.” There are three beneficial ways to help us grow in our patient waiting for the new creation. First, we can seek help from God through prayer. Second, we can practice waiting when we encounter our everyday situations because rest assured there is always a reason God calls us to wait. Finally, we can wait in light of the cross because it demonstrates God’s patience and offers forgiveness for our impatience. We need to remember that Jesus is the only answer when it comes to our failures and our only hope for us to grow more in Christ. There is no need for us to rush through life through impatience because God already has our life planned out for us and the best is yet to come.

In conclusion, if we realize the new creation is our forever home, we will learn to shape our behavior in a new way and develop a different perspective about our biological life by looking forward to our eternal life with God. When we have developed a restless patience for the new creation, we realize we need this world less and love the world more. We can move forward with more help when we are content with restless patience because it helps us persevere in times of suffering, yearning for our future with Jesus, no longer consumed with regret from the past, and our trials in life are God’s means of getting us to the new creation. We can rejoice in heavenly citizenship whether life is hard and/or good because it draws us closer to our eternal life in Heaven with God. We can be certain this life is just part of our story and not the whole story and as a result will make us feel more freedom for this short-lived portion of it. On the other hand, we must be convinced that this current existence is worth improving by loving our neighbors as God has commanded us to do in this life. The best possible way for us to make this a better place is by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are able to end so much suffering in this world and draw more people to God so that they may also have eternal life with the new creation. Come, Lord Jesus! This book really hit home for me because I struggle with impatience in my life and hopefully this book will shed some light on this in my life and I can seek help through God’s help. As I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down because I was drawn to every word and enjoyed reading every page. I truly want to thank this author for writing such a great book about the new creation because I know it will give a lot of readers a new perspective in regards to their own life and how to have a more optimistic outlook on the future and be more certain about their eternal life with God. When I saw the title of this book, I knew it was one I was interested in reading and now I can say I am so glad I did since it is filled with so much hope for the future.

Rating: 5 Stars

A special thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and The Good Book Company for the complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective Book Review and Recommendation

17 Feb

book

The book titled, “Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective” by Mr. Brian Borgman and Mr. Rob Ventura is a book designed for all Christians. It is a scripture based book that is very well executed by these two authors. The main focus and reason for this book is based on scripture in the Holy Bible, Ephesians 6:10-20. This is a book ideal for those readers who do not know a lot about spiritual warfare and/or not sure about what it says about it in the Bible. The authors wrote this book in a format that makes it much easier for any Christian to understand it. These authors put a lot of emphasis on this book about what happens when we choose not to stay close to God in all aspects of our life. They also discuss in great detail the six crucial elements that make up the armor of God and why they are necessary in defending ourselves against the enemy. Mr. Steven Lawson, Senior Pastor at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama wrote the foreword in the book and states, “The Christian life is not a playground. Rather, it is a battlefield of spiritual warfare.” This book is a dire warning to all believers of what we will face in the present and the future when we do not follow Jesus Christ and the forces of darkness we will encounter along the way. The more we know about Satan and the more prepared we are for battle, the more likely we will overcome all evil forces we face in everyday life.

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: One Side of the Horse or the Other
Chapter 1: Be Strong in the Lord
Chapter 2: Put on the Full Armor of God
Chapter 3: The Schemes of the Devil
Chapter 4: The Nature of Our Conflict
Chapter 5: The Belt of Truth
Chapter 6: The Breastplate of Righteousness
Chapter 7: The Gospel of Peace Footwear
Chapter 8: The Shield of Faith
Chapter 9: The Helmet of Salvation
Chapter 10: The Sword of the Spirit
Chapter 11: Warfare Prayer
Chapter 12: Warfare Prayer and Proclamation
Chapter 13: Spiritual Warfare Debriefing
Appendix 1: The Sovereignty of God and Satan
Appendix 2: Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed?
Appendix 3: Christian, Pray for Your Pastors?

This book is very much needed in today’s times when we are faced with so much uncertainty and some troubling times in the remaining days of our temporary life in this fallen secular world. Ephesians 6:10-20 that is the basis of this book helps free us from the worldview fallacy that minimizes our spiritual battle. This book teaches us how to engage in this spiritual battle the correct way and can greatly impact our daily life. We can imagine ourselves as a warrior faced with a daily battle against the relentless enemy and the only way to win this war is by wearing the full armor of God each day. This book clearly points out that we cannot only wear partial gear because when Satan cannot wound us in one place, he will hit in another place when we are caught off guard. Satan is on a mission for us to turn our backs against God so he can knock us down and away from God. The devil has us right where he wants us when we choose not to have faith and stay close to God. The devil makes us weak and God makes us strong so we can ward off the enemy. The only way we can identity his lies is through God’s word in the Holy Bible and this is why it is so important to stay in His word all the time. If we are constantly in prayer and in His word, we stay closer to our protector, God and it makes it harder for the devil to touch us or come near us by causing us to falter to sin. The bible verse passage that really stuck out to me the most in this book is Ephesians 6, verse 12 and 13: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” It is important to stress this important scripture because it describes the very evils that exist today within our socioeconomic political structures instead of the evil and very real enemies in our world.

In Chapters 5 through 10, the authors discuss the effective instruction and forceful armor that are monumental in our defense against Satan. First, the belt of truth is an indispensable piece of armor because truth must remain a central part of our lives since it helps tie everything together in our life that is loose and could cause us to stumble. The devil loves to devour us with lies to make us fall prey to sin. Second, the breastplate of righteousness covers one of the areas that the devil prefers to attack the most which is the heart. All of our actions and thoughts are tied to the heart because this is where our values stem from in each one of us. We fall vulnerable to the devil when he reaches the core of our being because it can affect us emotionally through depression, guilt, anxiety, fear, etc. We must remember that biblical purity and a holy character are the fruits of a true Christian. Third, the gospel of peace footwear is necessary for solid footing in order to fight well through decisive and rapid movement. Our feet help us travel to other places in order to share the gospel of peace with others so they may come to know the spiritual freedom through Jesus Christ. Our feet must also be prepared to stand defensively against the devil in His word of truth. Fourth, the shield of faith spiritually protects us from the devil’s attacks and helps us keep our trust in Him and belief in His words in the Bible. The authors discuss the five ways that we can keep our faith active in the book and references scripture. Fifth, the helmet of salvation will spiritually protect our minds against the enemy’s attacks in our life. Our human behavior is linked to our mind, so when Satan can manipulate us through our mind he can have a bigger and more destructive impact on our life. We must stay focused on our eternal life in Heaven with God when He calls us home because that is the day we will no longer have any struggles. Finally, the sword of the spirit is applicable and used when His word is felt in our heart and mind. We must learn to wield the sword of the spirit to conquer the spiritual warfare in our lives in evangelism, to make our fellow warriors stronger, against sin and temptation, to make our faith stronger, in worship, and against the enemy.

In conclusion, prayer is the core of spiritual warfare and the most effective way Christians gain more strength by God. Prayer is not considered to be a piece of armor, but the means by which the armory is used effectively in our lives. Without prayer in our life, the armor of God is useless in fighting the enemy. The armor of God is comprised of sacred truths that Christians receive through biblical prayer. When we fail to realize our deep need for God in our lives, we often lack consistent prayer time and quiet time in His word daily. When the devil tries to lure us into sin through temptation and his lies, it is our goal to not give in to him that we can gain through God’s strength within us. In the end, we can win this battle because God has supplied us with the six pieces of armor and through constant prayer. Speaking from experience, I can honestly say that I have gained the most peace in my own life through constant prayer and daily scripture reading because it allows me to have the quiet time I need with my Savior and stay focused on Him through my faith. We live in such tumultuous times today and the best thing we can do as Christians is to remain faithful to God because He will pull us through anything we face in life. This is by far the best book I have read on the subject of spiritual warfare and I want to thank both these authors for taking the time to write such a well written book for all Christians to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the subject and for all Christians to gain a better understanding of how to fight off our enemy. I will continue to pray for all pastors as they continue to speak God’s truths with the world.

Rating: 5 Stars

A special thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for paperback and Kindle copies of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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