Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nelson's Cyclopedic Bible Index - review

This is one of those books that is very difficult for me to describe. I have never been an avid studier, nor have I spent hours doing research in any subject. However, the Bible is a book that has required much study during my life (some times more than others, unfortunately).

Yes, I have the Strong's Concordance, which goes into the Hebrew and Greek translations, but this is more a topical index if you will. This Index will be easy to navigate as you are looking for corroborating verses in the Bible, whether it be for corporate teaching or just a personal study time.

The problem in this day and age is that there are so many online resources that do much the same as this book. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to delve into the Bible and teach on specific subjects or topics. It would be a great resource to have on hand for any believer, and I am glad to have mine!!!

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm Ready!!!

Earlier, I was talking about how quickly Christmas had snuck up on me. I was talking about how unprepared I was for Christmas this year. It got me thinking in a different light...how prepared and ready am I for the coming of Jesus? When I thought of the title "I'm Ready", the first thought was of Spongebob Squarepants...sorry, but I have a five year old Spongebob fanatic in my house.

Many times, we Christians talk about how ready we are for our Heavenly home...the peace, no tears, the grand reunions, etc...but are we making preparations in our own lives for our meeting with the Lord??? I started searching for the Scripture reference for this subject and came across Matthew 24.

Let's take a look at Matthew 24:42-44..."Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (43) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. (44) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

The Amplified puts it this way..."Watch therefore [give strict attention, be cautious and active], for you do not know in what kind of a day [whether a near or remote one] your Lord is coming. (43) But understand this: had the householder known in what [part of the night, whether in a night or a morning] watch the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have allowed his house to be undermined and broken into. (44) You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him."

Looking at the first verse, we are warned to be watching, giving strict attention, being cautious and active...do you realize the ACTIVE part??? We aren't called to just do for ourselves, but be active in our Christian walk. Don't rest in you assured Christian world, but be reaching out to others who need to know the peace you have.

In the second verse, we're made to think how we would respond if we knew the hour when a thief would come. How would we prepare for that? Would we be on the lookout? Would we be cautiously waiting? Or, would we just rest without heeding what was to come? Sounds ridiculous, I know...but why would we rest and just take it easy when we know the Lord may come at any moment?

We are once again reminded in verse 44 to be ready...I know this doesn't quite fall into the scope of decorating for the Christmas season, but we do need to prepare for the coming of the Lord, and our lives should be ready at any moment to appear before Him.

What do you need to do to be ready for the Lord's return? Have you asked Him to forgive you of the sins in your life? Have you confessed that Jesus is the Son of God? If you haven't, don't let another moment pass without praying a simple prayer. If you need help or just want to talk to someone about this Jesus, please reply to this post...I will keep it confidential and will help in anyway possible.

As we come closer to Christmas Day, I pray that we each take advantage of the opportunities to share the true meaning of Christmas with those we come in contact with...will you accept that challenge?

Let's team up together to reach those around us...and let God work in our lives corporately, as we make preparations for Christ's return. Remember Titus 2:13..."Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" Let's be prepared, so we can state "I'm ready"!!!

If you have a special prayer request I can word on your behalf, please let me know!!!

Have a blessed Christmas season,

Friday, December 17, 2010

If God is Good - Book review

My latest book to review is If God is Good by Randy Alcorn. I was intrigued by the subject matter, which is one of the most asked questions...if there is a God, why does bad happen???

During my lifetime, I have probably heard a version of that question asked of me a million times. Through the duration of this book, Mr Alcorn delves deep into theological observation and Scripture references.

Over the years, unbelievers have said that if pain, suffering, evil and war are allowed to be, then there can't be a God. From the differing perspective of Christians, we tend to think more along the lines that suffering and evil can cause believers to trust more deeply and rely more on God. He is our Strength in troubled times. The outlook of Christians is also that going through sufferings allows the possibility to reach unbelievers with the Hope that carries them through the tough times.

This is a brilliant work, touching on the most sensitive of subjects. It isn't a quick, one-night read...but the time invested on the subject will leave you inspired and hopeful, even in your lowest days. It also includes a topical and scriptural index at the back to help with certain issues. This is a must-read for Christians, especially those who are trying to reach to others with their faith.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wild Goose Chase - Book review

The title of this book by Mark Batterson would make one think of a life out of order. *Wild Goose Chase* would bring up mental images of someone just being pulled to and fro with no particular end or means in sight. The Christian life, however, is nothing close to that. In this book, Mark describes how to live a life chasing the proverbial "goose" or Holy Spirit's will for each day.

What we don't see is the final outcome of our daily meanderings that appear as unorthodox to some, if led by the Holy Spirit will have a particular goal as the result. We are finite beings who have only a slight sense of Who and What the Holy Spirit is in our lives. We see things in the scope of our minutes, hours, and days...while time is of no real relevance to the Lord.

When we truly follow the Lord, this "goose chase" will lead to great personal growth and building of a relationship that will be more valuable than anyone can express in mere words.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking to deepen their relationship and understanding of the Holy Spirit. Mark's writing is easy to read, but will challenge you to the core!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible - Book review

My latest review comes in the form of a Study Bible. This is the second review of such a work. Max Lucado has long been a favorite of mine in the work of walking through this Christian life. His insights are very unique and profound, so I was intrigued to see how this Study Bible would turn out.

This is my first Bible in the New King James Version translation. The main difference I find between it and the KJV is simply the dropping of the "Thee"'s and "Thou"'s into more updated vocabulary. I don't want to dwell on the translation in this review, but rather the study materials that are found throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

Each book of the Bible starts with a short synopsis, as well as author, date written, major themes, key verse(s) and outline of the major contents. But, that's not the extent of the study portion...in the side margins, there are lessons throughout the entirety of the Bible. Each "lesson" shares a passage of Scripture...it tells the situation, makes an observation, talks about the inspiration for the passage, gives a life application and also references more exploration on the related subject.

Max Lucado's writing style conveys the message of living our faith out in our everyday life, while also being concerned with sharing it with others. This Study Bible has so much to offer, including a couple of in-depth looks at Heaven with study questions as well. In the back of this Bible are included very good reference helps including: (1) He Did This Just for You Verses, (2) Spiritual Growth Verses, (3) 30 Studies for New Believers, (4) The Big Picture: A 30-Day Overview to the New Testament, and (5) "Where to Turn When" Index. Each of these sections are handy in so many situations, both personal and sharing with others.

I would recommend this Study Bible for anyone looking for a new perspective in their quiet study times. While I enjoy Max Lucado's writing, his words are no substitute to how the Holy Spirit will speak through Scripture. All-in-all, this is a great reference for use in so many situations that everyone could benefit from having this edition.

Now for the legal stuff...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Radical - Book review

These days, there are so many books out there giving us this formula or that formula in fixing our lives. But, the major problem is that they are based on US fixing our own lives and problems. In the book "Radical" by David Platt, the formula is based upon principles grounded in the Bible.

Are you currently in a church environment where the members do works "because that's the way they've always done it"? Are things just ho-hum and blah-blah-blah in your spiritual life? In this book, you will find the essentials in living the life you've been called to live.

Many times, we look for a quick fix that doesn't stretch us too far from our comfortable lives we lead. Radical doesn't call for us to make decisions based on comfort, but hits us squarely between the eyes and confronts us with the truth. This confrontation will cause the reader to do one of two things: change the way you live or just go about the norm unchanged.

Not only does Radical call for personal change, but also the way we "do church". Are we truly reaching out to those around us, or simply huddled and secluded? I'm reminded of a quote a preacher used to say..."the church is so worldly and the world is so churchy, I can't tell them apart". That's exactly what David Platt is talking about. We are too busy trying to live the American dream to really portray Christ in our personal and corporate settings.

I would recommend Radical to any believer as a guide to living with a missional mindset.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Life Without Limits - Book review

Several months ago, I was referred to a video on YouTube of this man who was born with no arms and no legs. This was my introduction to Nick Vujicic, the author of the book "Life Without Limbs". I have since watched several videos and read some of the journal entries from his travels worldwide. What an amazing story of how God can use an individual in spite of their circumstances.

This book not only tells about the life lived without limits, but one of hope when things seem utterly hopeless. Nick has fought through obstacles that most would succomb to the depression and simply give up. And, not only has he not given up, but has given proof through his walk with the Lord that we truly can have "...a ridiculously good life".

One of the best rules to live without limits is found in Chapter 7 Don't Let Your Face Plant Grow Roots. In this chapter, the lesson learned is if you fail and give up...you will never get up. In his life, Nick has faced the obstacles and knows perfectly well how hard it is to get up when you've fallen. Physically, it would be nearly impossible. But, as Nick states, if you fail 99 times and give up you will never get up.

There are so many good points in this book, but I would hate to give away too much. If you are looking for inspiration, or just love to pull for the "underdog", this book is a definite must-have. I would recommend this for anyone high school and above.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Voices of the Faithful - Book review

My latest book to review is the Beth Moore daily devotional "Voices of the Faithful". This daily devotional is full of inspiring stories that were written by missionaries from all overthe world.

This is a brilliant compilation of works that is perfectly set up for your daily reading and contemplation. Not a book I would recommend reading at length, because each essay is a completed work in itself. This devotional is categorized by the month, with each month being based on a theme, which is followed closely throughout.

This is my first reading of a work by Beth Moore. Though she is not the writer of the majority of the work, her added thoughts really bring more inspiration from each story of the missionaries. Too often, we just think of the people who are reached by the missionaries, while we seem to forget the struggles associated with being a missionary in foreign lands. The stories shared will bring out the struggles that are faced and the blessings received from heeding the call placed in each of us. I believe everyone who reads these essays will be motivated to accept the challenge to do more each day to reach others.

I would recommend this book to all believers, especially those who are actively participating in the work of their local church. As I stated before, this is my first Beth Moore but will most definitely not be my last!!!

Now for the legal stuff...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Living Life in the Zone - Book review

The latest book up for review is entitled "Living Life in the Zone" by Kyle Rote and Joe Pettigrew. This is a 40-day devotional geared towards men and the stresses and difficulties they endure on a daily basis.

The general theme for this book is sports and how we can apply "sports" themes and ideas into our mindset to conquer each day ahead of us. Being an avid sports fan, I found the subject matters to hit home and convey new ideas for coping with life. There are ample resources cited throughout the book, including inspirational quotes and Bible references.

I would also be quick to point out...this is intended for a male audience. That said, there are elements of this book that can apply to both genders. Overall, "Living Life in the Zone" is an excellent devotional guide that inspires the reader to be a better person, to strive for our goals in life, and you can truly make a difference in the world you live in.

Overall, "Living Life in the Zone" is a great devotional book that I would recommend ALL men to read and grow from. It is short enough to fit your daily readings comfortably into any schedule, and the difference you will see in your life and those around you will amaze you!