Saturday, January 12, 2013

Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After By Craig Groeschel

In my experience, the Christian world seemingly would like to ignore the topic of sex. There is much emphasis placed on "saving yourself for marriage", but there doesn't really seem to be a lot of discussion past the "don'ts". I feel that it is important to encourage healthy dialogue about sex. I truly believe that having a spiritual foundation is essential to a healthy marriage, but sharing intimacy doesn't necessarily have to be outside those spiritual boundaries. This book has good advice on growing spiritually both before, during and after meeting your mate. It is important to understand that when you embark on a relationship, it can be easy to lose yourself in that other person's identity, this leads to confusion and can be problematic. The author offers valuable advice on how to have a spiritually-centered relationship while still maintaining your individuality. I liked the fact that the book was not entirely centered around one particular topic, but rather was a compilation of a variety of subjects surrounding relationships. It was a good read and I would recommend it for individuals who are interested in having more spiritually-centered relationships. I was given this book by Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.

The Encounter by Steven Arterburn

The Encounter is a very easy, fairly short read. The book details the story of an angry, aggressive man that is given a change to redirect his life. The root of his anger is that his mother gave him up as a baby. Now that he is wealthy and successful, he finds that he is not satisfied by material possessions or fame. He wants to find his mother and figure out why she gave him up. Although I will not write a complete synopsis of the plot, I found many parts of the book to be somewhat predictable. The book seemed somewhat superficial to me. It is the type of book that you sit down with and finish in one sitting. At 176 pages, even someone who doesn't read too often will find it easy to finish. The overall theme of the story is of healing. A theme that is relevant to modern society. Many people carry around scars, both physically and mentally from past events that cannot be changed. This book can serve as a good reminder that you must first concentrate on your own healing before achieving success in other areas, as these successes will undoubtedly be short-term. Someone who is dealing with something negative that has happened to them will have a hard time convincing themselves that these past events have not shaped them and will not be repeated. I feel that the main character in this story, through all of his fame and fortune, felt unworthy and had developed issues with self-esteem at having been given up as a baby. He couldn't comprehend how his mother could choose to give him up. I appreciated the fact that the author chose to give us another viewpoint of the situation- of his mother. This allows us, as the audience, to visualize the situation from a completely different standpoint. Overall, this book is good when you are in the mood for something light-hearted and easy to read. Also, this book would be good for someone who isn't too much of an avid reader as the storyline is very easy to follow and the book can be read completely very quickly. This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson, the publisher. I have agreed to write this unbiased review in exchange for the copy of the book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Praemortis by Miguel Angel Moreno

Usualmente, yo no leo libros en espanol. Soy una estudiante en la universidad y los unicos libros que leo son porque mis profesores me lo mandan. Pero, estoy tratando de ayudar mi espanol un poco como voy a ser maestra y maestros que saben espanol y ingles se necesitan no solo en Tejas, pero en los EU enteros. Perdon por todos los erores gramaticos! :)

Esta historia fue muy interestante porque habla de la importancia de mantener la humanidad cuando uno tiene un proder tan grande en sus manos. Un doctor encontro una formula que pudo ayudar a su hijo, pero su hijo tomo esa formula y la uso para controlar toda la humanidad. Es un recuerdo que a veces los regalos que nos dan se pueden usar para danar. El doctor salvo la vida de su hijo, pero ahora el hijo esta usando un demonio para controlar la humanidad. Muchas veces, dios nos da bendiciones que nosotros usamos para maldad. Dios nos bendice con tantas cosas, pero nosotros habeces no conocemos estas bendiciones y decidimos que nosotros controlamos todos. Yo pienso que esto fue la situacion con el hijo de el doctor. Dios le dio la oportunidad de vivir, cuando estaba bien enfermo, pero el decidio que el hiba a tomar esa oportunidad para maldad. Esta historia fue muy interestante y tambien puede ensenar una leccion a cualquier persona que toma sus bendiciones sin considerar que estas bendiciones vienen de la sangre de Cristo.

Esta libro me lo dieron gratis de Thomas Nelson. No tube que escribrir esta resena de libro por que me dieron el libro gratis, pero yo decidi toda esta informacion.

Desiring God by John Piper (video)

Just completed Desiring God by John Piper. I found that this video released a lot of anxiety from my life. Rather than thinking that God wants us to mundanely follow through with our expected obligations without truly "living", this video made me realize that God wants us to delight in our lives. We should be happy and vibrant in our lives as Christians. The outside world should see us and know that we are followers of Christ due to our inner happiness. This is not to say that we should ignore unfortunate circumstances, but it is rather how these circumstances are dealt with that will show that we are Christians. Believing that God wants us to delight in ourselves is important in how we live our daily lives. We were designed in God's image, and therefore meant to be happy and fulfilled. John Piper is a very respected and educated man who has written many books about Christianity, but I found it awesome that this video (it is a book as well), is such a fundamentally simple concept of Christianity but so wonderfully important in how we conduct ourselves. I firmly believe that God wants us to delight and be happy in our lives. So many Christians believe we must live in guilt or sadness, and while I understand that we cannot be the stereotypical "giddy happy" Christians that we are sometimes made out to seem, we must also learn to handle situations that arise with the understanding that God is in control. We are not. This is a very liberating concept. Thank you, John Piper!

This video was provided courtesy of Multnomah Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the video.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Were Born for This by Bruce Wilkinson

I didn't know what to expect when I received this book. I was perhaps expecting a compilation of various miracle stories, but this book exceeded my expectations. There were many stories of everyday miracles, which kept the read interesting and light, but there was also a lot more. The author honestly makes you realize that you might be missing out on everyday miracles, if you are not actively looking for them. Small coincidences might be miracles, depending upon the faith of the beholder. How many times has one said "well, that's a coincidence". Maybe its not. This book makes you realize that in our skeptical culture, as Christians, we should expect miracles from God. When we are reborn, we are reborn into a new existence. The same world surrounds us, but our viewpoints drastically change, or at least they should. So, next time something amazing happens that seems too amazing to be a coincidence, maybe it's not!

This book was provided to me by Multnomah Publishers at no charge in exchange for my review. This review is completely my own opinion and I was not influenced in anyway by either the author or publisher.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why God Won't Go Away by Alister McGrath

I must confess that I immediately gravitated towards this particular book due to the fact that it was authored by Alister McGrath. After having read the Dawkins Delusion among other McGrath works, I have a deep appreciation for McGrath's common sense approach to "the God issue" as well as his tongue-in-cheek stabs at the "New Atheist" leaders such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. I find McGrath to be brilliant, but also have a good understanding of fairness and common sense. He has publicly debated Hitchens, Dawkins and several other members of the "New Atheism" movement and has held his own, quite admirably. My favorite part of this book was the way in which McGrath completely exposed the inaccuracies and overstatements that have plagued the "New Atheist" leaders. One of my absolute favorite parts was the description of how the "New Atheists" have decided to name themselves the "Brilliants". This move was an obvious show of intellectual cockiness and turned off many individuals, including those within the movement.

One of the strongest mainstays of the "New Atheism" is the concept that religion is evil. McGrath faces this concept with dignity, and an open-minded understanding. There are alot of things wrong with "religion". "Religion" has caused wars and bloodshed throughout history. This is why the "New Atheist" leaders declare that religion is evil and therefore so is God and both should be done away with. This intolerant view shows no understanding of the true root of Jesus and his ministry. Unfortunately more than a few Christians don't seem to understand the root of Jesus and his ministry, either. Jesus kept company with sinners and the "undesirables" of the time. He would have come across as a radical, preaching that one should forgive those that sin against us and love our enemies as our friends. Perhaps if the "New Atheist" movement bothered to study their Christian Theology more thoroughly they would see a loving, forgiving God that loves us all, including the "New Atheists".

McGrath has done a wonderful job in explaining the "New Atheism" and the inaccuracies that plague its handful of members. I would have liked this book to have been a bit longer, due to the importance of the information that is covered, but it is a very easy read and quite entertaining. I definitely consider it worth the time and it can even be read in a single sitting, although it took me 3 days since I read it sporadically.

This book was provided to me, free of charge, by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through the program. My review was not influenced by the publisher or the author and is completely of my own understanding of the book.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bible Verses Dealing With Identity in Christ

Verses Dealing With Christian Identity:
1 Peter 1:23- For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Ephesians 1:7- In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
2 Corinthians 5:17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.
1 Corinthians 6:19- Do you now know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not you own;
Colossians 1:13- For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.
Galatians 3:13- Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Ephesians 6:10- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 1:4- For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy ad blameless in his sight. In love.
Ephesians 1:6- to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
Deuteronomy 28:1-14- If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouses of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
Romans 1:7- To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:12- and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Deuteronomy 28:13- The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Revelations 21:7- Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
1 Peter 2:24- He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sings and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
1 John 4:17- This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus.
Ephesians 2:19- Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.
Ephesians 1:13- And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
Colossians 2:10- and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Romans 8:1- Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
1 Thessalonians 1:4- Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children.
Colossians 2:7- rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
John 13:34-35- A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Ephesians 2:20- built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
1 Corinthians 6:17- But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
2 Peter 1:4- Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Ephesians 2:10- For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Philippians 1:6- being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
John 17:21-23- that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved hem even as you have loved me.
Philippians 4:19- And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
John 6:47- Very truly I tell you, the ones who believes has eternal life.
Ephesians 1:14- who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are in God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
John 10:10- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
1 John 5:4- for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Philippians 4:7- And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts ad your minds in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:18- For through him we both have access to the Father by one spirit.
Mark 16:17- And these signs will accompany those who believe; In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.
John 14:12- Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Colossians 2:6- So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.
1 John 4:4- You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Philippians 3:14- I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:2- because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
1 Peter 2:9- But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Corinthians 2:14- The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.