Book Review | How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God by Erwin Lutzer

eternity with God

From the Back Cover:

“Be wrong about social security, be wrong about baseball, be wrong about your career choice, but don’t be wrong about where you will spend eternity.”

How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God—it’s a big promise, but this short book delivers. It answers a host of questions, such as:

  • Will good deeds help me get into heaven?
  • Who goes to heaven and who doesn’t?
  • What role do I have in my own salvation?
  • Can I lose my salvation if I commit a serious sin?
  • Is it wrong to doubt my salvation, and what should I do if I doubt?

Dr. Lutzer takes many scriptural teachings and siphons them into clear, cohesive truths. The result is a concise, accessible book about how to be saved and be sure you are saved. It is straight gospel—applicable to the skeptic, newly saved, and long-time believer alike.”

Do you know with absolute certainty where you are headed when your physical life on Earth is over?  There are many temporary things in life we can afford to be uncertain about, but this is one question that needs to be answered by every living person, who will one day stand before the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.

If you’ve ever heard a sermon by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, then you know he is very blunt and direct, however he is Scriptural and truthful.  I’ve been listening to him for years, and have read several of his books.  I have absolute respect for him as a pastor, and fellow Christian brother.

This book was a fast read, and one that gave me a lot of things to think about.  As a practicing Christian for almost twelve years, I have been asking the Lord many things about my future, salvation, who is in and who is out, how do we know for sure, and where do I stand?  And because of a desire to know the truth, I have been digging deeper into the truths of the Holy Bible, and chose to do a book review for Moody Publishers.  When I saw that it was from Dr. Lutzer, I jumped at the chance.

If you are seeking confirmation of your eternal future, this book is for you.  And if I can shut some doors on false teaching for you, let me start by sharing this truth from page 18,

“Recently I was discussing the credentials of Christ with a woman who said, ‘I believe that there are many paths to God.  People can come in their own way.’ I told her I wished that were true, but I was confronted with a choice- do I believe her well-intentioned opinion, or do I believe in what Christ Himself had to say?

…Christ insisted that there was a narrow road that led to eternal life, but in contrast, there was a broad road that led to spiritual death.  Clearly there are separate gates, therefore two roads and two very different destinations.”  This can be found in Matthew 7:13-14.

Dr. Lutzer explains three different approaches to eternity: The Ladder Climbers, The Religious Types, and The Mystics.  To get a better understanding of these, please pick up a copy of this book today to see how these three groups are misguided in their attempts to reach Heaven.  You may feel an immediate offense, but I can assure you, that he makes his case airtight against these methods.

Now if you are like me, you may have tried earning your salvation, using religion, and even questioning other methods that didn’t involve sitting in a church pew.  But the truth is that salvation is not secure in any of these routes.  The grace of God is sufficient for anyone who realizes their humanity and their helpless condition.  Because Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He not only fulfilled years of prophecy to be the ONE and ONLY MESSIAH, He made the way for us to be in relationship with His Father, GOD, and we can therefore declare our salvation in Him alone.

“God has entered the cemetery.”

Did you know that before your life with Christ, you were considered “dead in sin”?  Ephesians 2:1 declares us to be.  And the wonderful truth is that when we turn to Jesus, we can become ALIVE in Christ.  Be reassured by Romans 6:11.

I loved this book, and will keep it on hand for family, friends and even myself, if I should end up on the spiritual treadmill inadvertently.  Knowing for sure that I will be with my Lord is the only thing that matters on Earth for me.  And the other thing that I’ve been tasked with is to make sure that others know how as well.

“…when you come to Christ, you do not come to give, you come to receive.  You do not come to try your best, you come to trust.  You do not come to be helped, but to be rescued. You do not come to be made better (although that does happen), you come to be made alive!” – Dr. Lutzer

Do you know Him?  https://needhim.org

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

Book Review | The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn

unexplainable church

The Unexplainable Church is incredible! It’s a ten-week study, or fifty-day journey into the book of Acts, starting in chapter 13 and continuing through 28. Wiggenhorn’s first Acts study is called An Unexplainable Life and focuses on Acts 1-12.

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Erica begins the study with a divine invitation for us to listen to the Holy Spirit. He calls in Acts 13:2, to “Separate yourself for the special work I have planned for you.” And from there, we chronologically work through the rest of Acts. I found the workbook format to be easy to read, each section is timely spaced, and engaging for groups or individual study. I liked the detailed questions and areas to reflect. I would highly recommend it for groups or individual believers who are looking for a deeper study that makes you think, makes you dig deeper into God’s Word and ignites a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit’s insistence on the urgency to share the truth of the Gospel.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Moody Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken by Katie Davis Majors

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Katie Majors is the author of “Kisses from Katie” and the founder of Amazima Ministries in Uganda.  She adopted 13 girls and made them a family.  And her second book details her life in Uganda, heartache when children are taken away to live with biological parents, friends and loved ones die from disease, and endings don’t go as planned.  I don’t want to share any details, simply because I wouldn’t do them justice.

I grabbed a box of tissues and curled up on the couch, only to weep, read her words and have my heart break with her.  But her story isn’t all sadness and despair.  Her words of truth in describing death and pain draw us nearer to our Heavenly Father and point us to Jesus and the hope that HE is for us.  You just have to read it for yourself.  Allow your heart to break, to hear the Lord’s voice, to see the Lord move and to find a renewed sense of faith in Him.

I am grateful to be a part of Katie’s launch team as she publishes her second book, brings awareness to another part of our world we’d much rather not focus on, and shares the pursuit of hope.  Thank you to Waterbrook/ Multnomah for the Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  Keep Katie on your list for future publications.  Her eloquence and wisdom is necessary for today’s journey with Jesus.

Book Review | To Have and To Hold (Autumn Love Stories) by Betsy St. Amant, Katie Ganshert, and Becky Wade

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‘Tis the season for pumpkins, spice, leaves falling, love in the air!

First and foremost, thank you to the authors for allowing me to be an “influencer” of these novellas. These were quick reads, but with amazing depth.  Each story was rich with romance, uncertainty in how to reach out to love, silly faux pas that ensued with each of the believable main characters, humble lessons learned and believable end results! It was the first time I’d read from each of the three authors, but I would definitely read them again.

In each of the three stories, I could see myself, a woman who has been scorned once before, but is ready to accept fault and try again. And each of the characters developed nicely throughout their stories. I loved these and recommend these to any reader who loves Hallmark movies. These stories could easily fall into those feel good, happy ending scenarios!

Book Review | The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

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I loved this book!!  It follows the story of Esther who is a high risk analyst at a very high profile bank.  Her ability to see trends and decipher some kind of pattern in her bank’s behavior alerts her that something heavy will affect the stock market and result in a 2008 mirror effect of today’s economy.  She goes to her bosses with her urgent intel, only to find out that they have an escape plan for what’s coming, and she’s not part of it.

Among the constant urgency that can be felt throughout the book are two additional subplots: one is that her brother was in a very tragic accident that left him in a nursing home and she is the only survivor in her family to take care of him.  Due to his dependency on her, she is forced to deal with some painful memories from their childhood.  And in addition to visiting him on a regular basis, she also meets a man who has quite an effect on her, and helps her learn to let go of some things and to love again.

I enjoyed the overall story line, even though I’ll admit, some of the banking and economical words were over my head.  But even for a layperson reading this novel (hoping it’s not prophetic!), it’s a simple read with depth page after page.  I would definitely read another book by this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Larissa Murphy

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Eight Twenty Eight was a very easy, yet emotional read.

Larissa Murphy writes a first-person account of meeting a young man and falling in love with hopes of a picture perfect wedding, only to have those dreams shattered when her new love survives a very tragic accident that changes both of their lives forever.  She writes deeply about the love that she has for him which was maintained during learning what it’s like to live with someone who can’t do things by themselves anymore.

Ian and Larissa, both young Christians, demonstrate intense faith amidst great tragedy.  Much of what is in the book comes from Larissa’s journals during that time, and she struggles very candidly with whether or not she has the level of love needed to continue the new relationship with Ian.  Trust in God becomes a new trial and she questions God’s grace and purpose in all of it.  But with a renewed sense of who she is and who God is making Ian, she pushes forward to care for, live with and pursue a relationship, and ultimately a marriage with the man she knows God had in mind for her.

It’s beautiful how she writes through the pain, allows us to see the heartache, and the hunger for God during her questioning, struggles and uncertainty.  With raw emotion, she details exchanges between herself and Ian’s family, friends and others whom she encounters.  And she’s not afraid to admit her anger during her grief.  I enjoyed this book a lot and shed many tears through its pages.

The flow of the story was disjointed at times, and I believe it was because her emotions were the focus of the story and not a chronological timeline.  It’s still understandable, but that would be my only con.  Other than that, a great read about faith being strengthened, relationships growing and grace persevering.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through B&H Publishing and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | And Then She Was Gone by Christopher Greyson

and then she was gone

I love mysteries, and this one did not disappoint. This story follows Jack Stratton, a 17-year old, who has goals of going into the military and becoming a police officer, mostly a detective. In his neighborhood, a woman goes missing and he jumps into the case, interviewing coworkers, family members and those in the vicinity of her disappearance. When her body finally turns up in a park, he continues to interview bystanders, and gets a slap on the wrist from the local police department for impeding the investigation. But he just can’t seem to help himself. He is drawn to figuring out who the killer is, and won’t believe that the police have the right person in custody.  He continues his own investigation amidst attempts by his parents, police and others to stop, but his persistence is unmatched.

Jack is an adopted child who had a very hard upbringing until he landed in a loving family. His desire to prove himself is evident and though sad at times, he grows up and learns lessons throughout the book.  When certain testimonies don’t add up, he keeps pushing until it makes sense.  This is definitely a novel that will take off into other novels, and Christopher Greyson has them laid out on his website. I found it to be a little juvenile at times, but I think that is because the main character is a young teenage boy, who hasn’t fully grown up yet.

I liked the book and would read other works by Greyson. Much thanks to him, NetGalley and Greyson Media Associates for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Best wishes on your future works!

Book Review | Eternity: Understanding Life After Death by Tony Evans

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We’ve all heard the saying, “You only live once”, but I believe what the Bible implies, “You only die once.”  The unsettling truth is that we’re all going to die a physical death at some point, but our souls live forever.  The question is will it be in Heaven or in Hell?

This was a great book on the afterlife from a biblical perspective.  It was also a short read (took me two days in the sunshine to finish) and answered many of my questions.  In today’s world, we seem to have so many different interpretations of what Heaven will be like, but God gave us clues and insight to our eternal home in His Word.  Tony Evans put together a concise book filled with answers from the Bible to our most asked questions, such as: Will we recognize each other in Heaven?  What will we do there?  And how can I get there?

A relationship with Jesus Christ is essential to our eventual outcome.  Knowing God’s Word but not knowing His Son is not enough to be with our Heavenly Father forever. And Tony Evans shares how to know the Lord and accept His Son into your heart so you can be with God for all of eternity.  If you’ve read “Tony Evans Speaks Out on Heaven and Hell” from 2000, then this book would be repetitive, as most of the material comes from that book, but there’s enough here to glean the truth of life after death and the urgency in making a decision that affects everything.

If you think we’ll be strumming harps and floating on clouds, I’m sorry to disappoint you.  Dr. Evans pulls back the curtains and shares about our roles, our gifts and how we will spend time with God.  It gives me hope and encourages me to stay the course.  Life on earth is fleeting, and time is temporary here.  Longing for our Home needs to stay forefront as we journey here.  And from what Dr. Evans shares from the Bible, it’s worth it!

Thank you to Moody Publishers for their advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest, unbiased review.

Book Review | No More Perfect Marriages by Mark and Jill Savage

no more perfect marriages

Wanting a perfect marriage is typical of newlyweds and romantic hopefuls.  And for a while after the wedding bells are rung, things seem to be just that.  But then dust settles and life takes over, and the real “US”es start to show.  Could it mean that a perfect marriage is unattainable?

Instead of answering that question, I think the question should be, “Are we focusing on what marriage is really supposed to be?” Because the truth is that, if we are, we will realize the truth of what Mark and Jill have written about in their new book, “No More Perfect Marriages”- there is no perfect marriage.  They give very real and candid examples from their own lives and long-standing marriage, which I found to be incredibly admirable, and they discuss many changes that many of our marriages may face.

Understanding that each marriage is unique (remember two of us are becoming one), we have to also understand that both people are bringing their pasts, experiences, understandings, expectations, and realities to the center.  And trying to blend those things doesn’t always work out without understanding, grace and forgiveness at the ready.  So needless to say, we need help for our marriages, picture-perfect or not.

One section of the book that I loved was right in the beginning.  They addressed the masks that we wear.  In any marriage, it’s easy to resort to old habits or hide when we don’t get our way, but the problem lies in what those actions do to our spouses.  We need to be realistic and admit when we let selfishness creep in where God wants us to put the other first.  It’s hard, but can be done with Christ’s help.  And Mark and Jill show us how.

I also love how they laid out some God-tools- relevant for all of us, and practical items that we need on a daily basis to consistently put our spouses first, and recognize how our behavior affects each other.  This book has some additional links for support, a link to Jill’s page (http://www.jillsavage.org/) and many fun, practical ideas for how to get over trying to pretend our marriages are perfect.  You’ll love their honesty, raw emotional stories and uplifting outcomes.

This book is (dare I say, PERFECT) for marriages of any length of time, those who are thriving and those who are struggling.  There is help, and these two, along with Gary Chapman are some great Christian resources!

perfect 1 perfect 2perfect 4 perfect 3

I received this book, free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  I am very thankful to Moody Publishers for giving me this advanced reader copy, and providing me an opportunity to post about it with all of you.  Pick up your copy today!

Book Review | The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

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Barry Eisler captured my attention within the first few pages by citing names stripped from today’s NSA headlines. I was interested in the book simply because I love a good mystery, but I’m even more drawn to a conspiracy driven mystery that seems to give a glimpse to hidden networks and clearances mere civilians will never see. I work for our nation’s government, and also am prone to wondering if there is more than meets the eye.

This story follows an NSA employee who knows too much and sees things she’s not supposed to. Of course, she must be dealt with, and the person in charge of ordering that, appears to be someone who would not normally be suspected-unless of course, he has something to hide. I didn’t find the plot to be unbelievable. Interlaced in the story are code names for projects and programs that the NSA has in place, and the possibility for these to be a reality, made me question whether this book was fiction or non-fiction.

I loved the suspense, the romance, and the outcome. Worth the time to read, and I would be interested in reading more of Eisler’s work.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”