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 | Eternity: Understanding Life After Death by Tony Evans

eternity

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 | Death on Hold: A Prisoner’s Desperate Prayer and the Unlikely Family Who Became God’s Answer by Burton Folsom Jr and Anita Folsom

death on hold
Death on Hold was the first book I’d ever read that was based on the life of an inmate.  Very intense at times, somber and sad at others, but told from the perspective of the one who lived the moments.  It’s an amazing story of growth, love, forgiveness and God’s redemption.

Mitch Rutledge made some bad choices after his mother passed and his dad abandoned him and his siblings.  He took to the streets and followed the path of drugs, alcohol and gangs.  Finding his “family” in the gang worked for a length of time, but eventually landed him in trouble.  He made a decision to take a life, and as a result, was found out by the law, and prosecuted.

Mitch’s story is told primarily by Mitch, however he begins to develop relationships with some families outside of prison; people who want to show him hope, the Gospel and love.  These families that wrote to him shared their perspectives through this book as well.  It’s beautiful to see their hearts and viewpoints during court sessions, meeting Mitch in the “yard” and during their prayers as he had to wait to see if he could get off of death row.

To Mitch, a young man who couldn’t read or write, it took a while to find out what the letter writers were saying, but he began to study English and believe that he had value.  Fellow inmates would read him the letters of those who wanted to teach him about Jesus, and as a result, he learned to read and write, and took what he was learning from his friends and the Bible to heart.  He ended up becoming repentant, and became a person known in prison for staying neutral and defusing tough situations.

Read this book to learn the story of a man who is rehabilitated, learn about Jesus in a new way, and/or see the work of the Lord behind bars.  No one is out of His reach!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Worry Less so you can Live More by Jane Rubietta

Worry Less so you can Live More cover

This title just leapt out at me!  When scrolling through the list of books to choose for my next review, I thought, “I’ll read this and pass it on to my friends: Worrier A, Panic Attack Freak B, and Hypochondriac C”.   And before you judge me, I don’t normally categorize my dear friends as such.  It’s just so easy to point fingers at the people in our lives who could learn (insert goal of book fix here), isn’t it?  And yet, not so surprisingly, as I began to read, I realized that I could use some focus as well.  Imagine that!

Author Jane Rubietta wrote a book that not only gives practical advice on how to worry less, but she also takes instances from her own life, which gives us readers relatability and points us in the ONLY direction that can take away our worry.  It was so refreshing to see a woman whose life is immersed in women’s ministry share her fears and worries amidst conferences and personal interactions.  Gone was the facade that doing the Lord’s work eliminates stress and worry.  Jane made it clear that it is very much a part of her life, and that she has a few ways to deal with anxiety.

Jane shares about the need to empathize with others, and how isolation takes away from our ability to heal and cope with some of life’s struggles.  Now, to give away all of the details of her solutions would take away the reason to pick this book up for yourself, so I will not divulge any further.  But I will share that the Lord indeed plays a huge part in recovery, and that reminding ourselves that it is okay to play, to have imagination, to go back to a time in our lives when time didn’t exist and childlike nature was acceptable…those moments can definitely relax and refresh you.  So often, I was transported to Jane’s visual destinations by her ornate descriptions.  I felt like I was in a field with wildflowers all around, and seeing lightning bugs at nighttime.  I genuinely saw her desire to go to (and her desire to take us to) the places where we were allowed to give ourselves permission to just be still.  As adults, we don’t do that.  And we certainly need to.

Her book is a fast read, with wonderful questions.  She also includes Votums and a Benedictus for the end of each chapter.  My recommendation: Grab a cup of hot, fresh coffee, a warm blanket, and curl up in your favorite reading spot with your Bible, and begin this journey with Jane.  You won’t be disappointed.  And you’ll also feel as if you’ve made a new friend, one who “gets” you and will continue to pray for you. 🙂

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Bethany House.  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 | Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields and Dr. Jill Hubbard

Book cover

As a woman who is new to women’s ministry and just recently began teaching a class on the biblical view of forgiveness using Dr. David Stoop’s book, “Forgiving the Unforgivable”, it made perfect sense to review a book on this topic as well to incorporate into my lesson plans.  The payoff was more than I realized initially.  The more I read, the more I realized that not only did I need to share this material, but I needed to pray about applying it in my own life.

The book is written by two women, Leslie Fields, a wife and mother of six who struggled with her relationship with her biological father, and Dr. Jill Hubbard, who is a clinical psychologist and co-host of the New Life Live radio program.  Leslie shares bold testimony of her encounters and forgiveness stages with her father.  As if reading her deeply wounded personal account isn’t enough evidence of the need to forgive, she shares snippets of other peoples’ family issues and how they were or were not resolved.  Getting a glimpse into how other people view wounds and what they do with them, is proof of a universal need to give grace and forgiveness, which can be achieved humanly, however is not complete without Jesus.  Dr. Hubbard’s additional insights lead you into ten questions at the end of each chapter, to deepen your understanding of what the chapter material was and Scripture readings for application.

As I read and processed the questions, stories, testimonies, and outcomes, I realized this book should be in the pew rack along with our hymnals.  Though Scripture talks about forgiveness, and our churches address this area, many of us do not apply the mandate to our parents.  Leslie realizes this and explains in chapter eight that “…forgiveness requires remembrance.  We cannot confess and name what was done without memory.  Neither can we extinguish what happened in the past by simply pretending or denying it away.” (page 162).  The need to face the past, our perception of it, and grieve the memory is essential.

The biblical mandate from Jesus is that forgiveness is immediate.  We are not giving permission to hurt, but releasing the offender “from our hook and placing them on God’s hook.”  God will work out the details.  The justice for our injustice is His to claim.  I’ve learned over time that the step of obedience in this area, leads to peace from Jesus that calms the soul beyond comprehension.  Leslie and Jill confirm this truth, and invite you to read their stories.

Are you ready to take the next step in seeing the grace of God work in your life?  Pick up a copy of this book, grab a highlighter and your Bible and spend some time alone with God.  Your time will be greatly rewarded and you will not be disappointed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com) book review bloggers program.  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.”