God in my Everything Book Review and Recommendation

16 Sep

god in my everything

“God in my Everything” by Ken Shigematsu is a book for those readers who find it hard to have, but long to have a much deeper, closer relationship with God in their busy everyday life. Mr. Shigematsu offers a vibrant perspective on how to have a richer spiritual life and how all of us should strive to have one in our lives according to God’s command. It is all about creating a rule of life that we create in our life according to our current circumstances. The rule of life can enable us to live a life filled with more peace, power, integration, confidence and simplified multiplicity. The author does a great job of illustrating the rule of life so the reader can easily visualize the process of developing one which will enable them to flourish on your journey. He also discusses in detail the eight fundamental guidelines that will help others avoid some of the everyday pitfalls. The Sabbath, prayer, and sacred reading include the base of the rule of life called the roots. There are also three categories that contain the components that are shared by all which include relate (spiritual friendship, sexuality, and family life), restore (care for the body, play, and money), and reach out (work life, justice, and witness).

The roots are essential to the rule of life because we are able to deepen our relationship with Him and feed on God’s word through prayer and reading the Bible. First, he discusses how God wants us to have a day set aside for a Sabbath day where we are able to rest and reflect on all our daily blessings, cherish those close around us, and have time to worship God. If we choose to honor the Sabbath, we have the chance to prosper in our trust of God and more fully experience his faithfulness. On the Sabbath, we are to do something we enjoy doing, such as a leisure activity, that is not considered part of our work. Our Sabbath rule sets us free to enjoy our time with God and praise him in everything we do. When we come to worship with God’s people is when we are fully able to honor the Sabbath. Worship is an integral part of Sabbath and the core to our rule of life. It offers us a true understanding of God’s love which results in a real resting state within our body and soul. Second, prayer is another key element in developing our rule of life because it will enhance our relationship with God and will be shaped by our work life, our current life circumstances, and our temperament. Mr. Shigematsu offers The Lord’s Prayer, the acrostic ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication), and the Psalms as great patterns to follow in our daily prayer life. Prayer is a great way to deepen our relationship with God because it gives us the opportunity to go to Him about our trials, our blessings, our adoration toward Him and others, forgiveness, etc. Finally, time spent in God’s word through reading the Bible allows us to grow stronger in our faith because we are learning how God commands us to live our lives through His word. Memorizing scripture is a powerful means of worshipping God because it allows a person to meditate and pray the verses throughout the day. Once we are equipped with God’s word in our life we can live a life of obedience toward Him.

In the three categories containing the components that we all succumb to in our lives, we are able to share God’s love and word through our relationships with others, receiving God’s gift of restoration in pleasing Him, and reaching out to help others in obedience toward God. God created us to have relationships with other people because we are able to witness to others, pray for others, and share God’s love with others. Spiritual friendships help us flourish in our love for Christ because they are an important element in our spiritual discipline. When single people remain celibate for a season or for the rest of their lives, or when a married couple remains faithful to their spouse, they are choosing to offer an extremely precious gift to God. When a person chooses a life of sexual purity, they are saying yes to God in today’s secular society. Family members tend to be those closest to us in our life because they help refine us in a way that we are able to be more of a blessing to God and the lives of others we touch. Most families share a deeper connection with each other and draw them closer to Jesus to help demonstrate His love toward others. We are to honor God through our bodies through sleep, health eating, and regular exercise. How we choose to treat and use our body determines the quality of our relationships and our spirit. Certain levels of play time in our life can draw us closer to God if it connects us to things in life that are right. God wants us to enjoy the pleasures in life to sense His delight in us. We are commanded to give a tenth of our income to God through a tithe. God promises to provide for our needs if we do so, yet many of us are not able to grasp this concept due to our insecurities and materialistic views. When we truly feel blessed by all that God has given us in our lives, we feel the need to express that gratitude through more generous giving. Generosity is a way to help others in need and also a way we can minister to others through God’s love. When we choose to stay in our current workplace, God allows us the opportunity to grow and change. By asking God for discernment through prayer will help us discover if we should stay in our existing workplace or whether it is time to move onto the next chapter of our work life. It is through God’s love, we are able to express love toward others as He shows toward us. Two of the Ten Commandments demand us to love God and love our neighbor. Sharing God’s presence in our lives with others is one of the best gifts we could ever offer them. There are some different ways we can share the gospel with others which includes through our lives, through our deeds, through signs and miraculous works filled with the Holy Spirit, and through our words. In that season of our life when Christ is at work in our life, we naturally will want to minister to others as the Holy Spirit leads us to do so.

In conclusion, I can honestly say I feel blessed I had the opportunity to read this book about how important it is to include God in all aspects of my life through an ancient rhythm called the rule of life. I rate this book 5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed reading this author’s approach on how to enhance our relationship with Christ and include Him in all aspects of our life. After reading this book, I feel I have missed some opportunities to include God in my life but now have a second chance to make some changes in my life moving forward. At the end of the book, the author includes an appendix that includes sample rules of life to include other people throughout the stages of their life. Writing down your rule of life is a great way to start down the right path in developing your own based on your circumstances in life. Basically, anyone could benefit from reading this book since we are all looking for ways to enhance our relationship with Christ in the busyness of our everyday lives. It offers lots of ways a person can do that in all areas of their life. Plus, when we can find ways to include others it just makes our way of life that much stronger. It will serve as a great resource moving forward because it offered me ideas on how I can enhance my prayer life and time with God more during my busy moments throughout the day/week. When we are able to focus more on God in all areas of our life, we find we are more at peace and calm rather than restless and stressed about our daily circumstances. This is one of those books I wish I could have read years ago. Hope I have the opportunity to read more books by this particular author. Very enlightening read that will help me live a more fulfilling and joyful life in everything I do to glorify Him!

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

Compassionate Jesus Book Review and Recommendation

16 Aug

compassionate jesus

“Compassionate Jesus, Rethinking the Christian’s Approach to Modern Medicine” is a book that Christopher W. Bogosh wrote to discuss the limitations of modern medicine and the ineffectiveness of the trust people place on it in seeking a proper healing. The author does an excellent job throughout the book in explaining why seeking too much care to prolong your life is not always a good thing in the end when a person realizes the level of suffering one goes through during the process. Mr. Bogosh references his arguments with Bible verses throughout his book in a way to convince the reader about the underlying ideologies that often have a strong hold on the citizens of this country. He illustrates several dilemmas and stories where the wrong decision has led to more suffering and less hope in an attempt to extend their life. Christians need to focus their attention on the compassionate health-care model in order to make sound biblical decisions about their health issues according to God’s will in our lives. We need to make a concentrated effort to rely more heavily on His will for our lives rather than modern medicine so our decisions are in line with His plan for our life. Many times people become so consumed with their lives and the here and now, they lose the real meaning of a quality life and do everything in their power to extend it regardless of the costs. Constant prayer is necessary to enter into the presence of the Holy Spirit and seek the wisdom to understand God’s purpose for our lives and to better cope with the suffering, tragedy, and our impending death associated with our terminal illness.

Most people in today’s times have a desire to live a quality life and sometimes get caught up in doing everything they can to prolong their life through excruciating circumstances, massive costs, and a great deal more of suffering that is not necessary. The average age for a person to live since the seventeenth century has increased from fifty-five to seventy-eight years of age in the United States. Today, we have advanced technology and far better equipment and more treatment options available. Due to these discoveries, there is much less hope directed to Jesus and more on modern medicine. An overwhelming, yet agnostic fundamental view suggests we really don’t know what lies ahead for us in the future, but if our faith is used as a coping mechanism that is all that matters. There are many challenges and limitations placed on modern medicine that many people fail to recognize because physicians often use standard methods to prolong life and achieve a cure related to the most common diseases. Modern medicine is not medical science, but an approach to care based on ontological naturalism, evolutionary biology, and humanistic psychology. In this country today, we face an alarming dilemma due to the new health care laws enforced by Obamacare and the unprecedented costs of healthcare. Due to this fact, more people are concerned about the future of their life regardless of the consequences rather than turning to the very one who blessed us with life for the answers.

Christianity takes a much more extreme approach toward illness, disease, life, and death. For instance, if a person is still able to breathe on their own without the aid of artificial life support, they are still considered to be alive, even when diagnostic testing signals there is no brain activity. Christians are able to obtain spiritual healing from Jesus Christ from sin in the present life and a hope for healing in the future. We need to have a clear understanding about how the Bible views illness, disease, life and death so we are capable of making biblical medical decisions that glorify God. We need to constantly pray for spiritual restoration in Christ and physical healing according to God’s will. As Christians, we are to pray without ceasing because it is a faithful reminder of our dependence on God. Prayer should be a strong influence on your decisions in life since this is one way we are able to communicate with God and live out our life according to His plan. Whenever we feel distressed, we should pray for absolute evidence in the salvation in Christ, inward renewal, and confront our illness without fear through the Holy Spirit. When we are consumed by God and prayer in our last days, it helps us stay focused on Jesus and away from the hopeless answers offered by modern medicine. As Christians, we are able to feel a greater peace and comfort within ourselves in dealing with our death if we stay centered on God and the eternal life we get to spend with Him in Heaven. Based on the misconceptions about modern medicine in today’s world, it is evident how more people need to be made aware of Jesus’ answer related to death and eternity which is up to the church to reveal the doctrines in a bold manner. This is the only way we will be able to save people from the Asclepius fallacy, the empty promises of modern medicine, and the extreme sufferings of hell.

In conclusion, I found this book to be very eye opening and it lead me to have a different view about modern medicine and how important it is to look to God for the answers pertaining to your life and make the necessary arrangements to ensure my final wishes are carried out in order to honor God upon my death. Mr. Bogosh talks a great deal about Hospice care in his book since this is the area of his expertise from working in this field for many years. Hospice is a compassionate and supportive level of care shown toward patients when they have exhausted all possible curative treatment options and they are approaching their last days on Earth. This author clearly depicts the reasons why we are so easily deceived when it comes to our future health and how easy it is to fall into the trap of idolatry when we put all our attention on finding a cure rather than looking to God for spiritual healing through the Holy Spirit. The important thing I realized from reading this book is I need to make biblical decisions concerning my health according to God’s will in the future. One of the dilemmas the author discussed in his book, made me think back to the time I lost my late father because we came to the realization that compassionate care was much more vital to his remaining days than an aggressive treatment such as dialysis based on his condition and constant prayer. When caring for our loved ones, we need to do whatever deemed necessary to eliminate unwarranted stress on them through a biblically informed plan. As an organ donor, I found his discussion about donation of organs to be very profound since it gave me more confidence and newfound hope in my decision to donate my organs upon my death. Thanks to this book, I will definitely complete a living will to ensure that I am given biblically oriented medical care when I am incapacitated and to make the decision making process less strenuous for my loved ones. I give this book a “5” star rating because I can resonate with the arguments in this book and thought it was very well written by someone in an admirable field of health care. Also, I am an avid supporter of compassionate care over modern medicine options since I have a strong desire to honor Him in all circumstances. As a Christian, I can honestly say the thought of death does not scare me and now I feel more at peace knowing I have some real viable options available in honoring God upon my death. This book would prove to be beneficial for Christians who prefer to feel more at peace about their medical decisions in the future or those who have lost someone who dealt with a great deal of suffering in their last days. It is my hope and prayer that this book brings you much comfort.

A special thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

“Is God Anti-Gay?” Book Review and Recommendation

23 Jul

Is God Anti-Gay

By reading this book titled, “Is God Anti-Gay” written by Sam Allberry, a person who struggles with same-sex attraction, I was able to gain a new perspective on the subject of homosexuality. My views on this subject over the years has been different due to my lack of knowledge when compared to this author’s view, but will confirm that I agree with most everything the author said in the book since it made a lot of sense to me. Personally, I must say that I commend this author for admitting to his readers that he has these tendencies because in a way that reveals that he trusts us by opening up and sharing his views on the subject and how it has affected his life. Christians in our society should take a closer look at the problems homosexuals are struggling with today and try to reach out to them by sharing God’s love with them. It is important to realize that if we don’t make an attempt to reach out to them better, our society will continue to make excuses for this sin and not ever change. This book covers a wide spectrum of questions that most Christians are curious about related to this subject. Also, I found it interesting that this author repeatedly used the term “same sex attraction” rather than the term “gay” since that is how he sees himself today. Most people would think they were one and the same when talking about homosexuality.

Today, our western civilization believes that it is okay to have a homosexual relationship as long as both partners remain faithful and committed to each other. The Bible clearly points out that homosexuality is treated as a sin and not condoned by God. According to God’s laws, sexuality is to be taken very seriously between a man and a woman entering a coveted marriage. Sex was not designed to be used strictly for pleasure, but more importantly to join two people together as one union forever. It is to be treated as a sacred act between one man and one woman to validate their bodies coming together as one. The Bible does not discuss homosexuality to great lengths, but what it does mention is the truth and how God expects us to treat it in our society according to His word. These revealed truths include a man and a woman coming together as one flesh, new life is created as a result of this union, and how marriage is about the relationship between Jesus and the church. According to God’s word, two people of the same sex cannot replicate the same union of Christ and the church. We are all commanded to comply with God’s laws according to scripture when it comes to how Christians are supposed to think about sexuality today whether we are homosexual or heterosexual. In Genesis 19, the Bible discusses the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two “ungodly” people who were involved in sexuality immorality. In the Bible, Paul talks about how lesbian and male homosexual behavior is considered “unnatural” because these people are opposed to their normal orientation.

In the world of a homosexual, there can be a great deal of loneliness and suffering. When someone has same-sex tendencies it does not always indicate there is a lack of a relationship with God more than with others. We live in a fallen world today, where we deal with temptations and must learn to succumb to God by repenting for our sins. Heterosexual sin is just as serious as homosexual sin when committed outside marriage between a man and a woman. According to God’s laws in scripture, the only relationship that is recognized by God is a marriage between a man and a woman. Any other relationship is considered a sin or an abomination. Homosexuality should not be viewed as the only sin of our age because there are many more to be just as concerned about as Christians that includes greed, theft, drunkenness, reviling and defrauding others. Many homosexuals fear coming out with the fact that they have same-sex attractions because they may be ridiculed and rejected by others. When they choose to disclose this personal information with someone, they should thank them and listen to them because it means they are displaying a certain level of trust toward that person. There is a certain way a Christian should approach someone with these tendencies to share God’s love with that person. It is more vital to share God’s word with that person and encourage them to commit their life to Christ first. Then, at the time when that level of trust has been expressed and they are willing to talk about it, should you discuss the ramifications if one chooses not to repent and turn away from this sin. It is important that someone feel the love and support of others before they are likely to open up about this type of struggle in their life. Otherwise, if approached in the wrong manner a person can feel isolated or persecuted for their sin. It is critical that they continue to communicate with God in overcoming this attraction for someone of the same sex. Even though a person seeks help from God, the temptations and feelings may continue to linger for some time. But, if a person continues to submit their life to God and continues to pray about this issue in their life, a Christian can overcome any sin in His timing. If a person does not see a change right away, God has a reason since everything happens in His timing. We live in a world where free sexual expression is encouraged, but it is important that Christians remain single in order to refrain from this type of behavior or be influenced by others until they reach that season in their life where they are ready to commit to a flesh union. Living a life of abstinence and being single can reap a multitude of advantages and opportunities.

In conclusion, I tend to think that some readers may have a hard time getting through this entire book if they are not a Christian and or do not have an open mind to seeking a change in their life. It seems in today’s society, everyone is apt to making excuses for sexual immortality whether it be a homosexual or heterosexual relationship. We need to continue to share God’s word with “ungodly” people in hopes of drawing them to have that personal relationship with God whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. I have talked to a number of people who truly feel they were born this way and there is nothing that can be done to change their natural tendencies toward their attraction to someone of the same sex. Or, they have also told me that God loves them regardless of who they choose to love and they will still go to Heaven regardless of their sin. When I hear people express these feelings to me, it makes me realize how we are failing in reaching out to others in our world today. In all honesty, I commend those who have had same sex attraction tendencies in their past and have moved on to have a loving relationship with someone of the opposite sex. It seems this would not be easy for most people, but I know that anything is possible through Jesus Christ for those who long to share their life with Him and repent for their sins. Just remember, God is always there to listen to our hearts anytime day or night whenever we have something to talk to him about in our life. He is the one person a Christian can always rely on in our life because He loves us. There is a reason for everything that happens in our life since it all comes down to fulfilling God’s purpose for our life. We all have different temptations we are faced with in our life and daily walk with God because the devil has a way of enticing us into doing things that God forbids us to do. When the author talks about the bread of life in the conclusion, I thought this was an excellent metaphor in comparison to a life without Jesus. When we choose to have a relationship with God and turn our life over to Him, we are promised an eternal life in Heaven with Him. So, it is my hope and prayer that this book will lead more people to accept God as their personal Savior so they can one day experience eternal life. At first, I was not sure if I wanted to review this book due to the nature of the content. But, I chose to give this book a 5-star rating because I am so glad I had the opportunity to read the book since it gave me a deeper insight about homosexuality and the real effects it can have on someone and their life. As Christians, we are to love everyone whether they have homosexual or heterosexual tendencies by supporting them and sharing God’s love with them. If we change the way we view and react to this issue in our world, I truly think it could make a difference for the good of God in the future. It will take a lot of hard work and not be an easy task, since this lifestyle is more accepted by the norm in today’s world, but worth the sacrifice if it means witnessing more people turning their life over to Jesus Christ.

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

Did The Devil Make Me Do It? Book Review and Recommendation

18 Jul

Did-The-Devil-Make-Me-Do-It-by-Mike-McKinley

Have you ever wanted more background information about the devil based on the biblical interpretation of scripture? Well, this book titled, “Did the Devil Make Me Do it?” by Mike McKinley gives you that and so much more in a condensed version. This book offers a lot of biblical truth about Satan, demons and evil spirits that lurk around in our daily lives. This is one of several books that are part of the Questions Christians Ask series that is sure to draw people closer to God. There are a ton of biblical scripture references throughout the book. Some of the questions that are answered in the book include 1) Where did Satan come from?, 2) What is Satan like and what does he do?, 3) What is demon possession?, 4) How did Jesus defeat Satan, and 5) How should be live in a world where Satan still prowls? I can understand why a lot of people would be either indifferent or disenchanted after reading this book since so many Americans today still don’t believe the devil exists. For those who study the Bible, we know the serpent mentioned in the first book, in Genesis 3 is in reference to the manifestation of Satan (the serpent persuades Eve in the Garden of Eden). God does not reveal everything we would like to know about the devil in the Bible, but tells us everything we need to know.

Some important known facts about Satan that should be noted include: 1) Satan was created by God, 2) When God first created Satan he was morally pure, 3) Some of the angels created by God revolted against God, 4) Satan enjoys attacking and tempting God’s children to commit sinful acts, and 5) the evil formed by Satan comes from within him. Not all the evil that is evident in the world today can be directly credited to Satan, but stems from our actions and words due to a sinful human heart. Below is a list of the few personal deeds that are attributed to Satan.
• He speaks (Matthew 4:6)
• He lies (John 8:44)
• He prowls (1 Peter 5:8)
• He blinds unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4)
• He deceives (Revelation 20:2-3)

Some people may wonder why Satan has so many names, but a few of them listed below represents a different trait about his character.
• The devil (Matthew 4:1) – slanderer
• Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1) –adversary
• The tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5) – entice
• The evil one (Matthew 13:19) – wicked

In the Bible, every time the devil is mentioned, he is busy at work undermining and destroying everything that God created in this world. Satan and his demons are on the prowl to cause physical suffering, mental and emotional turmoil, false worship, entice God’s people to sin, and prevent God’s salvation. The devil does everything in his power to turn people away from God by keeping them focused on other things through attacks, deception, temptation and frustration.

Christians ultimately have to decide to trust God’s goodness and wisdom with all our heart in regard to all circumstances to fight the evil spirits. One of the God’s promises from the Bible supports that all things will work together for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). We need to constantly pray without ceasing against the evil forces in this world and actively resist the culture medium and perceived notions that are used by him to carry out his malicious agenda. God instructs people who are ensnared by sin to flee from temptation, confess your sins, and turn away from sinful behaviors. A way to help fend off Satan in our lives is through the Holy Spirit through obedience, prayer, faith, confession, and allow God’s word to fine tune our way of thinking. The best way to fend off the evil one is to study God’s word on a daily basis and meet with other Christians on a regular basis. Too many people in today’s world feel they are at the mercy of Satan and his schemes and that we can never conquer his power in our daily life. Luckily for all Christians, the outcome of the current battle has already been decided as explained in the book of Revelations in the Bible in which God is declared the winner and the devil’s destruction comes to a halt.

In conclusion, we must realize that God never puts anything in our path that we cannot withstand including the devil if we continue to be led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the spiritual guidance and wisdom to remain obedient to God and not be enticed by the devil. Satan cannot force me into doing anything since God gives all of us free will. The only person who can make me do anything is me. The closer one draws closer to God, the more you realize the devil is not deserving of our time, obsession and emotions. It is more important that we focus all our attention on God who delivered us from evil and gave us a sign of hope that one day he will cease to exist.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and give it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. The book was very easy to read and comprehend throughout its entirety. I always understood what the Bible had to say about the devil, but this book gave me a more concrete understanding. After reading the book, I wish the author would have gone into further detail about the secular world views of the devil since a large majority of people still do not believe in Satan or God for the sake of argument. Too many people still believe Satan is the evil version of God. But, in reality, God has control over Satan and can stop him dead in his tracks at any time, but He chooses not to since it is all part of God’s perfect plan for His good. The devil is very much alive and well in the world today and we must do everything in our power to steer clear of him to fulfill God’s plan for our life and glorify Him. All of God’s people can rejoice in the fact that one day we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him and all the good angels.

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

The Sin of Forgiveness Book Review and Recommendation

23 May

The-Sin-of-Forgiveness-by-Edward-F-Mrkvicka-Jr-225x300

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.

Radical Dating Book Review and Recommendation

6 May

radical dating

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.

Blessed

25 Apr

blessings

This is the third week of the Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study titled, Stressed Less Living by Tracie Miles. We are learning all about stress in this study and I hope I am able to keep it in check more often upon the completion of this study since it is a problem I have dealt with for a long time in my life. This week, I decided to talk about my most precious blessings in my life. It helps me put my mind into perspective and be truly grateful for everything God blesses me with each and every day. I know I don’t always show Him how grateful I am for everything He gives me, but know that He knows my heart and how much I love Him. I am learning to be more grateful for all my blessings because I realize at any time they could be taken away from me without a single notice. I cannot begin to think how my life would be different without my many blessings in life. This is why I think it is utmost important for us to be thankful for all the gifts we received from our Lord and Savior. When we learn to savor all the blessings in our life, it keeps us more focused on Him and less focused on our problems that cause us to stress out. Below I have listed some of my most precious blessings and the reason why they are the most important to me.

jesus loves me

My Relationship with God – I could never imagine my life without my Lord and Savior because He has been there for me to lift me up when I was down and helped save me from some pretty tumultuous times in my life. I asked God into my heart when I was 25 years old and felt it has been the best decision of my entire life. God is my peacemaker, comforter, strength, and salvation. Philippians 4:13 (NIV) ~ “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

family

Family – First of all, let me just say that I feel I was blessed with the best parents a person could ever have in life. My mother is my “rock” in life and someone I can always go to about anything because she understands me the best out of all members in my family. She is also not just a mother, but one of my best friends. My dad went to be with the Lord on August 1, 2010 and I will forever miss him. He is always in my heart and I will never forget about him. You don’t realize how much you love someone until they are gone. Luckily, I know I will see him and the rest of my loved ones in Heaven one day when He calls me home. I am the oldest of three girls in my family. I have two younger sisters who are both happily married with children. I am also a proud Aunt of 5 nieces and nephews who I adore as if they were my own. Last, but not least, I also have two of my own children, Brittany and Meredith, up in Heaven who I cannot wait to be reunited with one day. I learned a long time ago we all need people in our life, and I cannot imagine going through life without the people who I trust the most, my loving family. Exodus 20:12 (NIV) ~ “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Friends – I have always valued every single friendship I have in life because I hold my friends close to my heart and am thankful to God for having each one of them in my life. My dearest friend, Karen and I have been friends for nearly 26 years. She knows me better than I know myself sometimes, is always there for me, and always gives me great advice when I ask her for some in my life. Friends are someone we can always open our hearts to and someone who will always love us for the person we are today. I have met some of my dearest friends at church who have been absolutely amazing sisters in Christ. Romans 12:10 (NIV) ~ “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

My Health – I am also very thankful that God has provided me with good health all the years of my life thus far. I am grateful for every breath I take every second and each new day I am blessed to be alive in order to honor Him. You learn to be grateful for your health even moreso when you witness to one of your family members being sick in the hospital. All I can say is I felt somewhat helpless when my late father was in the hospital before he passed away because I felt helpless. I wish there would have been more that I could have done for him. But, in the end, I realized that he was grateful to have me by his side during his final days before his death. I will the first one to admit that I am not one who is good at tolerating pain, so I pray to the good Lord that I do not have many painful ailments during my lifetime. Luckily, He never gives me more than I can bear in life, so I can always count on that promise when I am sick. In Chapter 2, when Tracie Miles was talking about all the health risks involved with not getting stress under control in your life was a huge wake up call for me. I realized from that day moving forward that I want to do everything possible to keep my stress under better control, because I do not want to be at higher risk of developing severe health problems. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) ~ “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Doxie

Chloe

My Two Dogs, Doxie and Chloe – I am one of the biggest avid pet owners you will ever meet in your life. My two sweet and loving dachshunds are the joy of my life and I refer to them as my children. I love them and spoil them as if they were my very own children. Doxie, my 16 year old I have had since she was 6 weeks old, has been through some of the rough patches in my life and I am thankful I had her to come home to everyday. Dogs always have a way of cheering you up when you walk in the front door because they always act like they have not seen you in a long time. They are so happy to see you so they can love on you. Chloe, my 2 year old is a dog that I rescued from the street in my neighborhood. She has been a great blessing in my life too and am glad that she has come along to keep Doxie company when I am not at home. I never imagined having two dogs at once since I generally only have one at a time, but when I came across Chloe I could not imagine my life without her. Genesis 1:26 (NIV) ~ “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

The Holy Bible – I am also grateful that I can read God’s word in the Bible everyday. It draws me closer to Him and helps me stay focused on Him and His promises for my life. Anytime I am going through something in my life, I find I am at more peace when I go to His word. Psalms and Proverbs are my two favorite chapters in the Bible, but every chapter is important to the life of a Christian. I think it is important to commit to reading the Bible everyday so I can make an effort to read the entire book every year. This is the most important book I will ever read in my lifetime because it is our basic instructions before leaving Earth to spend eternity with God in Heaven when He calls us home. Joshua 1:8 (NIV) ~ “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Online Bible Studies – This is my fourth bible (previous studies include Unglued by Lysa Terkuerst, Greater by Stephen Furtick, and Let.It.Go. by Karen Ehman) study to complete on Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies and continue to enjoy it more and more with each new study. I have made some amazing friends through the small groups and have been blessed to have two great leaders. I gain a lot of perspective from others based on our chats in small group and reading all the fabulous blog posts every Thursday. The conference calls are also worthwhile the time and money because they always have some very inspirational speakers lined up with each study. Everyone is always encouraged to participate and spend time in His word during these studies. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) ~ “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

spring blessings

God’s Creations (Nature) – Isn’t it amazing to wake up each morning and enjoy all the beautiful creations that God created for us to enjoy each day? I love to look out the window at the sun glaring in my face, the smell of mowed grass, the smell of rain, the smell and feel of all the vibrant flowers, etc. I love going to the Hill Country this time of year and look at all the beautiful wildflowers along the way. It is also a lot of fun to watch the birds in the birdbath, eating off the birdfeeder, and the squirrels chase the acorns up the trees. I see many animals when I go outside because I live in the country. I see my share of rabbits, roadrunners, deer, raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, and possums which is great since I love all animals. Genesis 1:26 (NIV) ~ “ Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Shelter – I am glad to live in a house because it keeps me out of harm’s way and keeps me warm at night. I feel a heightened level of security where I live since God has provided a roof over my head every day. I don’t even take something like shelter for granted because I am truly grateful to God. I also like the fact that I like my living quarters better today than where I used to live in an apartment because I love the peace and quiet. You live in more confined quarters at an apartment complex, so there tends to be quite a bit more noise than in a house. Psalms 27:5 (NIV) ~ “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”

Food – I always thank God at mealtime for the food He has blessed me with for the nourishment of my body. Food is important because it gives us strength and the nutrients needed to maintain life everyday while we are on Earth. Food is vital for the growth and maintenance of the human body. There is nothing better than food fresh from the garden and farm. I have so much fun planting my own crops in the garden where I live because it beats the store bought items regarding freshness and taste. I am starting to learn the importance of a healthy and balanced meal in addition to a daily dose of exercise for overall well-being. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) ~ “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Water – I am even thankful for the water that God supplies me with each day so I can fill up when I get dehydrated. This time of year is not hard to get that way with the warmer temperatures and with summer being just around the corner. Water is one of those essentials we need in life to help maintain our living existence. I have started drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before mealtime because it makes me feel more full when I go to sit down and eat my meal. I am not tempted to eat nearly as much since I am all about portion control these days so I can lose some much needed weight. I am also grateful for ice because without water I would not be able to enjoy my cold drinks. John 4:14 (NIV) ~ “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

My Pastor – I am amazingly blessed to have my current pastor. I have never had a pastor quite like him before because he is very passionate about other people (mercy is his spiritual gift), he truly loves the Lord, and his sermons each week are filled with powerful messages and God’s word. I pray he is with the church for a long time because I am so proud to be a member of his congregation. I was in his wife’s Sunday School class before I joined an all lady’s class a few months ago. They are both such amazing people and I am glad they are both a part of my life. I will never forget the remarkable service that he performed at my late father’s funeral and how he came to visit my dad in the hospital before his passing. One can just fill the love in him whenever they are around him. Psalm 37:23 (NIV) ~ “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”

My Church – I am also thankful for my wonderful church because of all the wonderful sisters in Christ I have met and all the great opportunities I have had to minister to others. It is a big church that continues to grow each month so there are always lots of ways to get involved in the church. I have always felt very comfortable being part of a big church because it gives me the opportunity to meet and serve more people. I love to sing in the choir because I am constantly singing all the time. Also, I like taking part in Bible studies at my church so I can learn more about the Lord and grow closer to Him. Acts 2:47 (NIV) ~ “Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

My Part-Time Job – I am grateful to my local fire department for allowing me to assist them every day in assigned tasks in order to help reach out and help my local community. I was working with them on a volunteer basis for a few months before they decided to hire me as a part-time independent contractor. I am the Secretary for the department and I enjoy it because I get to work with everyone and help others. I have always thought of firemen, policemen, doctors, etc. as my heroes because they are out there saving lives every day in their profession. I admire them so much for their courage and for what they do each day to help others! I am being put through a real test right now because I have been looking for a full-time job over the last nine months and have not had any luck yet. I continue to pray about it and it is my hope that eventually God will lead me to my dream job that I have been waiting for several months. This is a true test of waiting on the Lord and His timing because it is easy for me to get anxious at times. I desperately want to work more hours in order to help others and a way to support myself. I continue to ask others to pray for me in this area of His plan for my life. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) ~ Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Volunteer Opportunities – I tend to look for ways I can help out in my local community while I am not working full-time because it allows me the opportunity to meet some new people and a way to network with other businesses in town. My current part-time job is primarily on the weekends and evenings, so I can easily work in a full-time job during the day. I know there is a reason God allows me to work in all my volunteer opportunities so I can still serve Him until He leads me to my next full-time job. I am not type of person to sit at home all day and do nothing because I tend to get bored easily if I am not doing something. I actually find more opportunities to witness to people in my volunteer jobs because I enjoy talking about God to others and share His love with them. I like to hand out little new testament Bibles to people who may not know about the Bible and do not have a relationship with the Lord. Lucky for me, there are several Christian organizations in my area where I am able to do volunteer work so I can minister to others in public. Acts 20:35 (NIV) ~ “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

After making note of my many blessings this week, it makes me realize how fortunate I am in life and how much God has truly blessed me and my life. Do you take the time every day to thank God for the many blessings in your life? He wants us to come to Him when we are stressed out just as much as He wants us to turn to Him and thank Him for the great things in our life. Thank you Jesus!