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

daring to hope

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE!  ON SALE AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2017! GET YOUR COPY NOW!

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 | 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 and Update :)| Come With Me by Suzanne Eller

come-with-mecome with me devo

Update:  Suzanne Eller has just released a yearlong devotional that is available at Amazon.  Click the book below to get your copy!! ❤

I love Proverbs 31 Ministries, and I love their authors as well.  Suzanne Eller writes with such fervency that you begin the Introduction with a faith challenge, and one very deserving of attention:  “What would you say if Jesus walked up to you today and said these words, ‘Come with me.  Wherever I lead.  Whatever the price’?”

She lays out her chapters by beginning with Simon Peter and going through an intimate account of his genuine encounter with Jesus.  Interwoven into each chapter are personal accounts of her own encounters with trusting Jesus and the outcomes of some of her life lessons.  They are deep and moving, but real and transparent.  In the last chapter, she invites us to be the 13th disciple, and begs us to examine our hearts and motives for following Him.

The devotion questions are quite deep, but so is the level that the Lord wants to take our personal relationship with Him.  Comfort is not one afforded to those who follow Jesus, and to be challenged in faith is something the Holy Spirit desires for growth.  I loved reading this, and the way she made my faith deepen and my longing to hear Jesus more clearly.  I invite you to read the invitation firsthand, and then determine your next step.

come-with-me-1 come-with-me-2

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House 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 | Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson

your-sacred-yesThis book was a strengthening journey of confirmation for me on the benefits of saying yes and no.  Choosing whether to say yes or no to something can be hard, especially if you are a people-pleaser and want to make everyone happy (hopefully by now, you know that’s an impossible, futile task).

This is the first book I’ve read by Susie Larson, although I’m sure I’ve heard her radio program over the years (http://myfaithradio.com/programs/live-the-promise/).

What a phenomenal writer!  I enjoyed her perspective, her insight, and her godly wisdom. She shared personal stories, lessons learned and ways to say no without feeling guilty. We can honor God by using our time the way He means for us to use it, and it doesn’t mean every obligation is ours.  This theme of listening to God for time management is paramount in the lives of Christian women today.  We have duties to our relationship with Jesus primarily, spouses, families and then wherever God needs us.  When we let that slip, we become overwhelmed and drained.  That is not the way the Lord wants for us to live.

Her chapters are organized very intelligently: Sloppy Yeses, Shackled Yeses and finally Sacred Yeses.  Sadly, we all fit somewhere on the spectrum.

      your-sacred-yes-3  your-sacred-yes-2  your-sacred-yes-1

My prayer is that you will take some much needed time to read this book, as time allows 😉 and tuck away the Scriptures she gives, so you can give yourselves permission to steal away time for rest and regeneration with your Lord.  It’s an essential reward.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. 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 | Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer

delighting in god

“Delighting in God” is a follow-up to “Knowledge of the Holy”, and is published posthumously from Tozer’s sermons. Aiden Wilson Tozer used his words to speak TO the church about finding peace and contentment with God.  He had a conversational style approach to his words, reminiscent to me of how Dr. Charles Stanley  speaks when he preaches.  He really gets your attention, and states his case as if he’s processing Scripture with you and then comes to an important conclusion.

A. W. Tozer writes as a man determined to point the church back to the Word of God, so as a church family, we can be content in the Christian life and realize the peace Jesus brings.  His words are timeless, and any one of his sermons are still relevant today.  I’ll share with you one point he made about Apostle Paul in speaking on Paul’s passion:

“To know God was Paul’s passion, and nothing else really mattered to Him.  Three things helped Paul focus on God (from the Scripture quoted [Philippians 3:10-11]).

 The first was ‘the power of his resurrection.’  Becoming a Christian is not just nodding to a few truths and then saying, “I accept Jesus.”  It is infusing into your life the divine power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  This is the tremendous work of the Holy Spirit to bring you into the divine world of redemption.

The second was ‘the fellowship of his sufferings’.  This was Paul’s identification with the Christ who died on the cross and rose the third day.  What Paul meant by this was that his Christianity was a result of his relationship with God.  And Paul was willing to follow Him at all costs.  This passion of Paul got him into a lot of trouble.  I think I can safely say that Paul’s attitude was that Christ’s enemies were going to be his enemies and Christ’s friends were going to be his friends.  Paul did not expect the world to treat him any better than people treated Christ.  They crucified Christ, and they finally killed the apostle Paul.  All of this was the result of his love for God that could not be satisfied with anything but God himself.

Paul’s third focus was ‘being made conformable unto his death’.  This was the key to the apostle Paul’s ministry and the passion he had for God.  When Jesus died on the cross, it was for our sin.  It was his desire to bring his life into conformity with the death of Jesus Christ so that the resurrection power of Christ could usher him into worship and praise.”

Grab this book for spiritual, Scriptural truths from a man steeped in godly wisdom.  It will benefit your spiritual life and challenge your faith.  And once you’re done, pick up some of his other titles.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Baker Publishing House (Bethany) 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 | 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 | Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships with the love of Jesus by Jessica Thompson

Everyday Grace

So, this past year, I’ve been doing some soul searching (aren’t I always?) and Bible reading and it has occurred to me that even though I’m waking up every morning and living my life, sometimes there are still areas I’m struggling.  And I’ll even admit that sometimes I don’t allow the Holy Spirit to do what He does best, which is transform me.  #imaginethat

I have wonderful relationships, but they could certainly be better.

You may be significantly different from me by color of your hair, skin or eyes, but I’m pretty sure grace is not something any of us are born with. Sure we see children who have compassion for each other, but take their favorite toy away and see if they’re still as gracious.  And I’ll admit, sadly, I’ve seen some adults who still have that reaction; faster than you can say “Golden Rule”.

What makes this book so special?  There are many books on the topic of grace, loving others, even having the love of Jesus.  What made this book stand out to me, and why am I recommending that you take time out of your precious day to read it?  Because it’s unlike any other “Christian help book”.

Jessica starts out by addressing what we all need to know: that we are all sinners who need a Savior.  One line from her book that struck me (and will resonate with you too) is the following: “We are a performance-based people, which is completely ironic, because our performance every days is far less than perfect.  We live in performance-based relationships.”  We tend to ask what others can do for us, instead of seeking to meet their needs.  From there, she goes right into the truth of our need for a Savior who can meet us in that place, and change us.  Once we recognize our need for love and grace, we can accept it with the help of the Holy Spirit and then let Him transform us so we can give those inhuman attributes to those around us.

The other beautiful thing about this book is that she ACTUALLY goes into HOW to give grace in the relationships we tend to have: children, friendships, communities, marriages, families, church families, and coworkers.  She doesn’t give step-by-step instructions with bullet points, but provides relevant and Scriptural sound advice on how to deal with our own insecurities, so we can give the best parts of ourselves to others.  We can move from “what can you do for me” to “what can I do for you” without batting an eye.

It seemed to me that every word written was necessary in this book; there wasn’t a ton of “filler”.  Everything was beneficial to tie the ends together and I think it’s a lovely read, with a powerful message.  Do you want to have healthier relationships?  It starts with us loving like Christ.

Pick this book up today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Publishing’s 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.”

Book Review | I’m Happy for you (Sort Of…Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma

wpid-41bf-bdnj9l._sy344_bo1204203200_.jpg.jpeg

I loved this book!  Kay Wills Wyma has such a way with words.  The topic is one that women everywhere can relate to, and I love the humor she infuses into her stories.  In answering a question that makes most of us squirm, she really points us in the right direction of how to recognize when we are in the business of comparison, but also what it says about us, and how to deal with our insecurities that are motivated by our socially driven culture in America.

One of the stories she shared was about having women over in her home for bible study, and then all of the sudden getting consumed with the idea that her girlfriend Alyssa opened the fridge and found whatever shape the lettuce was in that had been placed in a towel from possibly two weeks prior!  I could not stop laughing.  I’ve had similar moments when I’ve realized there were chicken parts in the garbage and a friend just lifted the lid!

If you’ve not had that type of panic moment in the presence of other women, you may not get the gist of this book, but there are so many other examples she illustrates that I’m sure you’ll connect with.

I highly recommend this book for the pure joy of laughing at the parts of ourselves we wish we didn’t have. But I also recommend reading it to see how she redirects us back to the arms of our Father for comfort and contentment.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books 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.”




 


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.”