Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chosen Book Review: "My Life and Lesser Catastrophes" by Christina Schofield

Christina Schofield has been a children's illustrator and writer for the last ten years, working with Zonderkidz, Group Publishing, Standard Publishing and Cook Communications (www.artdiva.biz).  She and her husband, Allen, a campus pastor, have one daughter, Lily, and live in Rolla, Missouri.





Christina's blog:  http://myscintillatinglife.blogspot.com/

I received this book for free to review a couple of months ago, while taking a sabbatical from reading books to study the Bible. However, I felt a persistent tug from God to read this book, "My Life and Lesser Catastrophes" by Christina Schofield.  I didn't quite know what to expect, all I knew was that God wanted me to read this book.  So I obeyed and boy was I blown away!

The premise of this book was about how she and her husband Allen got into a terrible motorcycle accident.  Christina had a bad concussion, and her husband Allen tragically broke his neck and became a quadriplegic.
Christina Schofield chronicles her physical, emotional and spiritual journey in this beautifully written memoir.  This book is about faith, hope and love in the midst of tragedy. I can't even begin to tell you how much this book spoke into my life.  The second I began reading it, I just couldn't put it down.  Christina Schofield's heart was poured out on each page and God's signature was all over it.

I have never fell in love with a book so much in my life.  I related to and empathized with Christina Schofield's life in many respects.  But she really won me over when I read that she liked Bananarama.  Anyone who likes Bananarama is cool in my book! 

On a serious note though, my heart broke by what happened and how it translated and played out in all of their lives.  But to read her faith journey with God throughout this tragedy was simply amazing.  I consider Christina Schoefield a modern day saint.  I love her heart and deeply admire her faith.  She is a talented writer with an incredible sense of humor.  I found myself laughing a lot as she has such a way of describing things even in the midst of such bleak circumstances.

Christina Schofield's book was uncompromisingly honest, raw and real. I really didn't want this book to end, I enjoyed it that much.  All I have been doing is telling people about it and will continue to.  I highly recommend this book!

I want to thank Chosen Books for blessing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.  I also want to thank Christina Schofield for writing this book and sharing her life with all of us.  

You can purchase this book at the following links:

Christian Book Distributors
http://www.christianbook.com/lesser-catastrophes-unflinchingly-honest-journey-faith/christina-schofield/9780800795115/pd/795115?product_redirect=1&Ntt=795115&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

Family Christian Stores:
http://www.familychristian.com/my-life-and-lesser-catastrophes-an-unflinchingly-honest-journey-of-faith.html

Parable Christian Stores:
http://www.parable.com/i.My-Life-and-Lesser-Catastrophes-An-Unflinchingly-Honest-Jour.9780800795115
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Lesser-Catastrophes-ebook/dp/B005LQR49I/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-life-and-lesser-catastrophes-christina-schofield/1103093562?ean=9780800795115&itm=1&usri=my+life+and+lesser+catastrophes

Walmart:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/15210225

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Prosperity Gospel Exposed by Michael D. Fortner

I just happened upon a website that discussed this book and it really piqued my interest.  I'm one that does not subscribe or believe in the prosperity gospel, so I decided I wanted to read and review this book.  I review books for free, so the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.  I took my time reading this book and after reading it, I am now even more against the prosperity gospel.  I am able to really see the dangers in following the prosperity gospel and other false doctrines.

Micheal D. Fortner did an amazing job in writing this book.  I was able to see just how much work went into it.  Everything he wrote was well documented with real facts and not just his opinions.  Michael D. Fortner also included his own personal experiences which I believe also helped in authenticating this book.

Not only did he write and prove that the prosperity gospel is a false gospel. But he also adequately covered exposing other false doctrines as well.  Michael D. Fortner included references and also backed everything up with Scripture.

I learned a great deal from this amazing book and will continue to use it as a guide and reference in the future.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone to read, especially those who call themselves a follower of Christ.  I honestly believe it is a very important book that every Christian living in this day and age should read and study.

To order this book, please click on the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Prosperity-Gospel-Exposed-Other-Doctrines/dp/146373798X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320014725&sr=8-2

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bethany House Book Review: Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy

Leighann McCoy is a sought-after speaker and writer. She is the prayer and woman's minister at a large Southern Baptist church where her husband serves as pastor, and she has written a number of devotionals and Bible studies for women.  She lives with her family in Franklin, Tennessee.

ISBN 978-0-7642-0890-4



This book was written as a means of equipping women in spiritual warfare.  Leighann McCoy wrote this book from her own personal standpoint with regards to her struggles with spiritual warfare. 

She stated in the Introduction, that while writing this book she was experiencing her own battle with spiritual warfare.  As she was diagnosed with colon cancer, her church faced $250,000 in flood damage, and her eighteen-year-old daughter had just moved in with a boyfriend. 

The book is written in four sections:

1.  The Most Powerful Weapon of All - the Love of God
2.  The Enemy Exposed
3.  The Targets in Our Lives
4.  Victory is Mine

Unfortunately,  I didn't find this book to be the best book I've ever read on the topic of spiritual warfare.  I honestly had difficulty reading this book as I thought it was a bit long winded.  However, on the upside, I can appreciate Leighann McCoy's transparency and humility in her writing.  She really conveys her heart and desire for women to really know who they are in Christ.  Her personality definitely shines through the pages and I took a liking to her as a result.  I also believe she is a good teacher.  I enjoyed how she incorporated analogies and also retold bible stories with her own creative twist which made the characters alive.

I would recommend this book to women who are new believers.  I believe it gives a good breakdown, helpful tools to memorize scripture and heartfelt prayers at the end of each chapter.

Disclosure: I want to thank Bethany House for sending me a complimentary copy of this book as part of their book reviewers program.

To order this book, please visit:

http://www.christianbook.com/spiritual-warfare-for-women/leighann-mccoy/9780764208904/pd/208903?item_code=WW&netp_id=871921&event=ESRCG&view=details

http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Warfare-Women-Winning-Friends/product-reviews/076420890X/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Discussion with Pastor Jon Tyson at Barnes & Noble

RUMORS OF GOD: Experience the Kind of Faith You've Only Heard About
Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson
Thomas Nelson
Christian Life/Spiritual Growth
ISBN: 9781595553638

Gabe Lyons Bio: http://www.qideas.org/contributors/gabe-lyons.aspx

Jon Tyson Bio:  http://www.qideas.org/contributors/jon-tyson.aspx

Recently I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing "Rumors of God".  On Thursday evening, I had the opportunity of attending the book discussion at Barnes & Noble with Gabe Lyons and Jon Tyson.  This was actually my first time ever attending something of this nature.

Gabe Lyons interviewed Pastor Jon by asking him some questions such as his book, reflections on 9/11 and then there was a question and answer segment.  I am going to share what I took from this book discussion and what touched me personally.

One of the things that Gabe Lyons mentioned was that there have been people that have said that 9/11 was a judgment from God.  He asked Pastor Jon what his thoughts were on this and he disagreed with this assessment.  Pastor Jon simply responded that Jesus is about grace and not judgment.  He believes that the Muslim extremists were attacking the worst of America as we have the highest suicide, divorce rate and poor quality of life, etc...

Pastor Jon also spoke about there being a clarity of perspective, in that our heroes went from being famous athletes to policeman and fireman.  I do personally remember everyone coming together on 9/11; helping, volunteering and serving in any way they could.  It was actually quite beautiful, I just wish it had lasted.

Pastor Jon mentioned that one hundred years ago America's reputation was one of great citizens.  However, today, America's reputation is one of great consumers.  I thought this was very poignant and sadly true.

The topic then moved from 9/11 to discussions about the book.  Pastor Jon mentions that a poll was given to see others perceived Christians.  Sadly, people voted that Christians are anti-gay, judgmental, hypocritical and too political.  Also, there is no tolerance for anyone who is different.   As much as this troubles me, I have to admit, they are right in their assessment.

During the question and answer segment, I was able to ask Pastor Jon a question.  My question was along the lines of how can we truly be authentic Christians today in this city?  Whereby people are basically being hurt in churches and/or by religious people, etc... How can the stigma of Christians being judgmental and hypocritical change?  I, for one, am truly passionate about seeing this change. My prayer daily is that others around me would see Jesus in me.  I don't want to come across as hypocritical or judgmental, but of one who is authentic and real.  I desire that people in this city experience His love and presence in such a powerful and life transforming way.  I was glad to have had the opportunity to articulate this to Pastor Jon.

His response was equally challenging in that he said, be what you want to see.  He told me not to focus so much on what I'm doing as much as being that person to others around me.  He's right.  It all begins with us, looking within and asking the Lord to change our hearts to reflect His love and grace toward others around us; i.e., our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers.

Yesterday while walking to Port Authority, I passed three teenagers, a young man and two young ladies, sitting to my left on the stoop of a boarded up Broadway theater.  One of them jumped up as I passed and said she would dance for a dollar.  I kept walking and then felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go back and give her three dollars.  I took a deep breath, turned around and walked back toward them, all the while thinking, I need to get home, I have so much to do, I have laundry and dinner to make.  But thankfully, the prompting of the Holy Spirit was much stronger... so I walked over to the girl that offered to dance for a dollar and handed her three.  She immediately thanked me and shared it with the other two.

I felt such a heaviness come over me, as I realized they bore a sign stating they were homeless.  So I asked if it would be ok to ask them a question and they all said sure.  I asked them why they were homeless.  The friendly girl who would dance for a dollar said that it's a long, long story.  The other two merely said they were traveling cross country.  My heart broke for them and I couldn't hide it.  I told them with tears in my eyes that I felt bad that they were homeless.  They all said, that was sweet of me and reached out to shake my hand.  They asked me my name and then introduced themselves.  I was so overwhelmed with emotion that unfortunately I don't remember their names.

The friendly girl finally said that she is homeless because she had to get away from her parents as they were crazy.  The other two just kept silent. The young man had a rat sitting and crawling on his head.  I looked into his eyes and saw such sadness.  The other girl was more hardened and quiet.  I just kept looking into each of their eyes and feeling such an overwhelming compassion for them.  Then I told them that I would pray for them and the friendly girl said that they'd pray for me too.  I thanked her and told her I could definitely use it.  They all chuckled... it was nice to see them smile.


I said goodbye to them and as I walked away I couldn't help feeling so sad.  I immediately started to speak to the Lord, telling Him how awful I felt that I couldn't do more for these young homeless teenagers.  There are homeless shelters throughout NYC but they are always full.  So that's why you see a lot of them on park benches, in the subway and living on the streets.  Homeless people actually feel safer on the streets than they do in homeless shelters.

But, there is something about seeing and speaking with homeless teenagers who ran away from home for whatever reasons.  I think no one should be homeless, but especially not vulnerable teenagers.  I am still not settled about this and am praying for these children and others who are in this same predicament.  I honestly wish I had the money to buy a building, take them all in and help them in some way.  It just seems tragic to me that these kids would have to live and survive on the streets.  It just doesn't seem right or fair to me. 

So there you have it...  

In conclusion, I want to take this opportunity and again thank BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishers for blessing me with this awesome book.  And Pastors Jon Tyson and Darren Whitehead for writing it.

If you are interested in reading this book, here are some links where you can order it:

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rumors-of-god-jon-tyson/1104779757?ean=9781595553638&itm=1&usri=rumors%2bof%2bgod
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Rumors-God-Experience-Faith-You%C2%B4ve/dp/1595553630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315682341&sr=8-1

Christian Book Distributors:
http://www.christianbook.com/rumors-of-god-darren-whitehead/9781595553638/pd/553638?item_code=WW&netp_id=873126&event=ESRCG&view=details

Monday, September 5, 2011

MOODY PUBLISHERS BOOK REVIEW: "All In" by Mike Guzzardo

MIKE GUZZARDO travels the United States and the world speaking to over 150,000 people per year inspiring them to a deeper commitment to Christ. He spent six years serving full time at Teen Mania Ministries where he helped mobilize students and young adults for short term mission trips. Mike is a frequent speaker at conventions and conferences such as Acquire the Fire. Mike currently resides in Texas with his wife, Alicia and daughter, Bella.




Life is so amazing.  I was able to read and review this book, thanks to Stephanie Smith's tweet on Twitter.  I now know it was the Lord's doing.  He made it possible for me to read and review this awesome book.   I want to take this opportunity to thank Stephanie Smith and Moody Book Publishers for the opportunity in sending me this free book to review. 


Have you ever asked yourself these questions:  Do you feel like you are missing out on something?  Do you feel overwhelmed by choices or temptations?  Are you spiritually dissatisfied?  Do you want to live an overcoming life?   Well then, this book is for you! 

I admit that for years I've asked myself these same questions and more.  Just prior to reading this book, I was thinking about how I wanted to experience joy and live a more abundant life in Christ.  But I couldn't for the life of me figure out how until I read this book.  Let's just say, that "All In" goes all in and then some!

This book was so tremendously helpful to me, that I want to read it again.  It is like an instruction manual on how to live a victorious life in Christ.  It was written with practical applications to make this a reality in your daily life.  I know this book was written with young adults in mind, however, even though I'm 44, I got so much out of this book that it was mind blowing.  I have to admit that it both challenged and convicted me. 

The subtitle "Finding true life on the path to total surrender", is the premise of this book.  It is in our surrendering that we find true freedom.  I so related to Mike Guzzardo's life story as well; one of the things he mentioned is how he struggled with insecurity and being accepted by others.

Mike Guzzardo takes you on a personal journey, that once you finish, you won't be the same. This book is definitely life transforming and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BookSneeze Book Review: Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

Todd Burpo is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan, a wrestling coach, a volunteer fireman, and he operates a garage door company with his wife, Sonja, who is also a children’s minister, busy pastor’s wife, and mom. Colton, now an active 11-year-old, has an older sister Cassie and a younger brother Colby. The family lives in Imperial, Nebraska.

Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer of Same Kind of Different as Me and Going Rogue: An American Life. The author or co-author of nine books, Vincent is a senior writer for WORLD magazine and a lecturer in writing at the King’s College in New York City. She lives in San Diego, California.

Before I review this book I wanted to make mention that I am not obligated to give any book I read a favorable review.  However, I have had the blessing to be reading (and reviewing) excellent books lately.  So I haven't come across any which I haven't enjoyed as of yet and this book is no exception.

Several months ago, two different people I know told me that I should read this book.  Needless to say, I went and purchased the book, but never actually got around to reading it until last week.  Reason being, I was a bit skeptical.  But lately, I have been pondering heaven a lot and so finally decided to read this book. 
 
This book was simply written as it was a quick read.  It is the kind of book that once you get into it, you don't want to put it down.  I don't think there has ever been a book written about heaven like this one.  It is so believable, authentic and real.  As I said, I started reading this book with a lot of skeptism, but slowly, my skeptism changed to awe. 
 
Heaven is for Real is narrated and co-authored by Todd Burpo on behalf of his son Colton.  I must make mention of the other author, Lynn Vincent.  I really enjoyed her writing style and am now interested in reading her book called Same Kind of Different Me
 
This book is about a boy named Colton who is the son of a simple country pastor in Imperial, Nebraska.  While on a family vacation, Colton who was four, suddenly gets ill. They took him to see a doctor because he was in pain and vomitting so much.  But the doctor who saw Colton determined that it was just a stomach virus, however, it wound up being much worse, a burst appendix. 
 
Colton wasn't getting any better, so they had to admit him to the hospital.  However, while he was in the hospital a few days, he was getting worse.  So Mr. Burpo decided to sign Colton out of the hospital and take him to another hospital.  It was in this
other hospital that they finally discovered that he had a burst appendix and they had to do emergency surgery on him.  Colton was in such bad shape at this point, that the doctors didn't think he would make it.
 
I really empathized with Mr. Burpo and his wife Sonja in their suffering as it's not easy to watch your child suffer, much less, dying. I related to Mr. Burpo's raging against God, afraid that he would lose his only son.  But thankfully, Colton survives the surgery and shows signficant improvement.  It was a miracle and from this point forward, things really start to get interesting.   
 
When Colton was released from the hospital and home, he begins to innocently mention what he saw while he was in heaven.  Needless to say, his parents were really taken aback.  At first, they both had difficulty believing that their four year old son was in heaven.  The doctors didn't mention that he died and came back to life on the operating table.  But as time went on and Colton continued to mention things about heaven that he couldn't have possibly known.  So they both started to believe him and began asking him specific questions.

 
At this point, you don't even want put the book down.  Colton's experiences are so real and tangible that they leave you feeling hopeful.  Not only that, everything he describes about heaven seems to align with the bible.  There is just no way a four year old could have known anything about heaven unless he was really there.  I guarantee that after you read this book, you will believe "Heaven is for Real" too.
 
I conclude by mentioning one of my favorite parts, when Colton is describing what Jesus looked like to his father. He says, "And his eyes ... oh, Dad, his eyes were so pretty!"  I just loved that! I can't wait to see into the eyes of Jesus one day.
 
I can't recommend this book enough, it was just amazing.  It will definitely bless you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waterbrook Multnomah Book Review: Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

David Gregory is the coauthor of two nonfiction books and a frequent conference speaker.  After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning two master's degrees.  David lives in Texas, where he works for a nonprofit organization.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/53092260/Dinner-with-a-Perfect-Stranger-by-David-Gregory-Chapter-1-Excerpt


Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory was such a treat.  I never read a book so quickly in my life, I just couldn't put it down. 

The premise of this book is that Nick Cominsky receives an anonymous dinner invitation. The invitation reads, "You are invited to dinner with Jesus of Nazareth at Milano's Restaurant."  Nick believes he is being set up by his co-workers and figures he has nothing to lose by going. 

When Nick arrives to the restaurant, he is escorted to the table where Jesus sitting and Jesus introduces himself.  At this point, Nick is looking around for his co-workers to see if they're hiding.  But as time elapses, Nick couldn't help being intrigued by the conversation.

I honestly felt like I was eavesdropping on their conversation.  Not to mention, wishing all the while I could savor what they were eating.

I related with the character Nick; from his work schedule, to his doubts and questions.  I found myself laughing at his questions because they were so eerily similar to mine. 

Think about it, imagine if you received a dinner invitation from Jesus?  What would you do?  Quite honestly, I think I would have been just as cynical as Nick was. 

Especially by the way Jesus was depicted; he was dressed in a business suit.  At some point Jesus even mentions he didn't like neckties.  I chuckled when I read this, "God doesn't like neckties.  Note that for future reference."

Even though this book was a simple quick read, it is very meaningful and makes you think.  I also enjoyed reading the refreshing twist on the Gospel.

I actually cried at the end of this book.  I really didn't want that dinner to end, nor did I want Jesus to leave.

I recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who have a lot of questions or are plagued with doubts.

Lastly, I want to thank Waterbook Multmonah for sending me this free book to review.  I really appreciate the opportunity. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BookSneeze Book Review: Rumors of God by Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson

Jon Tyson is the pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City.  Originally from Australia, Jon Moved to the United States fourteen years ago with a passion to understand and help work out the future of the Western Church.  He lives, works, and serves in one of the largest cultural and missionary contexts of the world--the global city.  www.trinitygracechurch.com

Darren Whitehead is originally from Australia and has lived in the United States for more than thirteen years.  With a passion for the global church.  Darren joined the staff of one of the most influential churches in North America as a teaching pastor for Willow Creek Community Church.   www.willowcreek.org


There are no words to adequately describe how brilliant this book is, but I will try.  What initially piqued my interest was the description of the book... "Where is the life God promised us?  Life is busy. We live like slaves to our fast-paced, suffocating schedules. But Jesus calls us to a better way.  Another dream--an unimagined future.  Close the gap between what you hear about and what you see."  Thus the book title, "Rumors of God--Experience the kind of faith you've only heard about."

Each chapter defines a rumor; i.e., abundant life, generosity, love, community and justice. Pastors Darren and Jon take you on a journey which will compel you to love and serve others.  I loved every chapter of this book, but what especially stood out for me were the rumors of community and justice.

The rumor of community was about loving beneath the surface.  Pastor Jon states that one of the great challenges we face in moving into community is the incurable need for the approval of others.  This approval drives us to put on a mask or hide behind a profile, but doesn't give others the chance of loving us for our true selves.  In a true biblical community there needs to be intimacy and acceptance through transparency.  He states that by learning to lower our masks, we begin to love one another for who we truly are.

Over a year ago, I was part of a small woman's bible study group which met at every Wednesday at 8:00am.  What started out as just a formal bible study, grew to be something so beautiful and wonderful.  Little by little, our masks came off.  There was no judgment, condemnation or criticism; only love.  We all looked forward to meeting together and share the things that were on our hearts.  Then we began to earnestly pray for one another.  I can truly say that God met us in a special way and started answering our prayers.  We also began functioning as a community; if someone in our group had a need, we would all try and help.  I can truly say I never experienced anything quite like that.  I know that it would not have been possible if we all didn't risk being vulnerable and transparent with one another. 

The rumor of justice was equally provoking.  Pastor Darren states as Christians, we have an obligation and responsibility to answer the clarion call of injustice not just with our cash, but also with our very lives.  Oh my, this just went to the core of my heart.  I have always been passionate about justice.  There is this restlessness in my spirit to want to be proactive and "do something" to solve problems of injustice.  As some of you know, I am passionate about children; hungry children, abused children, abducted children and sex trafficked children.  This chapter on justice brought it all home for me.  I learned that while it is good to be compassionate, compassion without action is fruitless.

What I also learned from this book is that our Christian walk has to mirror Jesus' walk.  Jesus came to love and serve others, we also need to love and serve others too.  This is called love in action.  I am thankful that I've experienced this rumor, and the rumor is true.  I personally know missionaries serving in other countries, loving others unconditionally.  I am grateful to have experienced that first hand.  This verse came to mind while reading this chapter, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (James 1:27) 


I highly recommend this book to everyone.  This book will definitely change your life.  I'm not just saying it, I  mean it. 

In conclusion, I want to take this opportunity to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers (BookSneeze) for sending me a free copy of this book to review.  It is by your kindness and generosity that I am being blessed beyond measure.  I am so thankful and appreciative.




Monday, August 1, 2011

WaterBrook Multnomah Book Review: PrayerWalking by Janet Holm McHenry

Janet Holm McHenry is the author of numerous books, including Daily PrayerWalk and PrayerStreaming.  A high-school English, journalism, and creative writing teacher, she is the mother of four adult children.  Janet has been prayerwalking for more than thirteen years and is the leader of her church's prayer ministry.






How many of us have made New Year's resolutions that we didn't keep with regards to eating healthier, losing weight and praying more?  I know I am guilty as charged.  Well, if you are like me, then this book is definitely for you. 

This book can be called an instruction guide on praying and walking.   Janet Holm McHenry really does a superb job in thoroughly describing the benefits of praying and walking in her book. 

She begins with a motivating, "If I Can Do It, You Can Do it."  She describes her personal struggle with depression and her overall health.  She explains that she needed to make a change, by exercising and also spending more time in prayer.  So she decided to incorporate both by ''Prayer Walking".

She then tackles the old adage, "I have no time or there isn't enough time..."  This really stood out for me because I really don't have much time.  But after reading the following excerpt, I realized I had no excuse, "The problem for us Christians is that we often can get so entrenched and busied by many good things--even things done in Christ's name--that these good things actually distract us from the Lord and what he would want us to do."  So true.

Janet Holm McHenry touches on the why, what, when, where and how of prayer walking.  I guarantee you that after you finish reading this book, you will find yourself wanting to find the time to walk and pray.  I can say that as a result of reading this book, I too started to implement what I learned from this book.  I am now praying while walking to and from work in the morning and evening.  I'm realizing it's a great time to pray and intercede for my city and community.

I want to say thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah for sending me a complimentary copy to review.  I am so grateful to have read this book, it is truly a gem! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Harvest House Publishers Book Review: How Can I Believe When I Have So Many Doubts? by Michael A. Babcock

Michael Babcock lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, with his wife and two children.  He is a professor of humanities at Liberty University.  He earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Dr. Babcock is the author of The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun (2005) and UnChristian America: Living with Faith in a Nation That Was Never Under God (2008).  He is active in the teaching and missionary ministries of his local church. 

Do you struggle with doubt? Do you feel guilty about your questions? I can say I did, which is why I was so blessed to read this book. I was plagued with guilt because I had so many questions and doubts. This excellent and profound book helped me so much.

In his introduction, Dr. Babcock states that doubt is not the same as unbelief – and that a faith that asks questions is a stronger than a faith that never thinks. He also mentions that we’ll never stop asking questions because doubt is a normal part of our lives. I also learned that doubt is necessary and even useful as we ask questions about ourselves, others and the world.

The chapters begin with a Key Idea and end with a Summing-Up and For Further Reflection. This awesome book consists of 14 Chapters that are jammed packed with profound wisdom. I truly believe this book could be used in any college curriculum.

Here are just a few excerpts I’d like to share that stuck out for me:

“When you describe a world without doubt, you’re no longer describing the world we live in. You’re describing heaven – and we’re not there yet. As long as we’re bound by flesh and bones, we’re stuck with doubt. As long as we’re held by time and space, we’ll have questions we can’t answer.”

“Unless I doubt myself, I’ll never be able to grow.”

“If I had no capacity to doubt, then I couldn’t spot deception and test character.”

“Without the freedom to ask questions and weigh alternatives, scientific progress would be unthinkable.”

Oh, and there is much more where that came from.  All I did was underline throughout this book. There was just so much to learn and glean from. It definitely isn’t a quick read, so you won’t be able to just skim through this book (and you won't want to). There is way too much information that you will just want to sit, ponder and ruminate on.

This book helped me think and see things from a different point of view and perspective.  I appreciated how Dr. Babcock interwove biblical and personal references throughout this book.  I will definitely be referring back to it from time to time. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone.

I want to personally thank Mr. Aaron Dillon from Harvest House Publishers in sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. I am very grateful to him and for the opportunity to review such a great book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BookSneeze Book Review: Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron


Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopal priest, speaker, and acclaimed author of Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale.  His literary debut received accolades from the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; Brian McLaren; Fr. Richard Rohr; Phyliss Tickle; Tony Campolo; Brennan Manning; and artist Fujimura.  Ian is currently the curator of the Conversations on Courage and Faith Series at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a doctoral student at Fordham University, where he is studying Christian spirituality.



I am so grateful to BookSneeze, in sending me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  I appreciate the opportunity of reading such great books such as this one and being able to review it. 

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I was totally intrigued by the title.  Ian Morgan Cron calls his book a 'memoir of sorts' and that it is. 

Ian Morgan Cron grew up with a father who was a CIA agent and who also had a massive drinking problem. As I read, I sensed the underlying disconnect and suffering that this reality caused him. He was desperate to have a 'normal' and 'healthy' relationship with his father. He blamed himself and believed that there was something terribly wrong with him for his own father not to want to interact with him and love him.

As a result, he grew up questioning everything, especially given the fact that things were kept a secret, such as his father being in the CIA. He also had to endure the verbal and physical abuse caused by his father drinking and mental illness (which he learned later on). He even lost his faith in God too. However, in the midst of surviving the chaos and insanity, there comes a pivotal moment by which he has an encounter with Jesus.

All I can say is... what an amazing book!  The title cleverly depicts what this book is about. His memoir is filled with metaphors and humor. Ian Morgan Cron is a brilliant and entertaining writer. He writes so well that I was able to visualize and feel everything. I laughed and cried throughout this book.

I have read many memoirs in my lifetime, but not like this one. I highly recommend it and truly look forward to reading his next book.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

God's Law vs God's Grace

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the grace of God.  I guess the reason is because I am having some difficulty embracing God's grace and love for me personally.  I have no problem believing it for others, but when it comes to me, well... that's another story.

I also realized I have a bad habit of condemning myself.  Whenever I do something wrong or make a mistake, I beat myself up for days about it.  The concept of grace, forgiveness and love seems to go out the window.  How can this be? 

Why is it that I can embrace God's law and judgment so easily, but when it comes to His grace and love, I have so much trouble?  I can go about telling others about how much Jesus loves them, but when it comes to me, I have no mercy. 

Something tells me I'm not alone either.  I think there are many of us walking around like this; broken, hurt and unable to receive His love and grace too.  For all I know it could be you? 

You know what I'm learning, when Jesus came to earth He set up a new covenant, by which we are no longer bound by the law. (Hebrews 9:15)

But I have a hard time reconciling this in my mind.  God's law vs God's grace.  The old covenant vs the new covenant.  Yes, we need the law, but we also need grace.  There has to be a balance.

When there is too much focus on the law, there is the rigidity of legalism. I honestly find more legalism expressed by believers toward one another than love.  I am guilty of this too, as I practice the art of legalism on myself.  It may have something to do with how I grew up, it's sort of an ingrained pattern of perfectionism and cycle which just repeats itself.   But I'm realizing that the Lord wants to set us all free of this bondage. 

My prayer has been to have a personal revelation of God's love and to be able to receive and accept His grace too.  I believe that by having a personal touch from Him will allow me the ability to see myself and others differently. 

We can never truly love ourselves or others if we don't experience His love for us first.  We can never truly forgive or extend grace toward others, if we don't fully accept His forgiveness and grace toward us first.  This is the truth.

My prayer is that the Lord reveals His love and grace to us today.  That He will touch us all in a very special way.  That He will change our hearts and lives to radically serve and love others, the way Christ loves us.  That can receive and embrace His free gift of grace and love through His Son Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit and be set free.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

I end this with a song about Grace: http://youtu.be/qMdxnvFvoA8

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tyndale House Book Review: "Making the Best of a Bad Decision" by Erwin W. Lutzer

Erwin W. Lutzer is senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and Loyola University, he is the author of numerous books, including the Gold Medallion Award winner Hitler's Cross and the best seller One Minute After You Die. He is also a teacher on radio programs heard on more than 700 stations throughout the United States and the world, including Songs in the Night, The Moody Church Hour, and the daily feature Running to Win. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in the Chicago area and have three married children and seven grandchildren.

http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-1143-2.pdf

I am so honored to be reviewing my first book from Tyndale House.  They were kind enough to send me a complimentary of this book for review purposes. 

Have you ever asked yourself these questions (I know I have): "I made a mistake that changed my life forever.  What do I do now?"  "Is there a way to move past what happened and start again?"  "Will my situation ever get better, or have I missed my chance at a great future?"  Well then, this book is for you. 

It definitely was for me.  I can admit that I have made some bad decisions in my life and reading this book really helped me.  Erwin W. Lutzer touches on various topics, for example, "When You've Married Trouble -- You regret that foolish vow" or "When You're in the Wrong Vocation -- You hate going to work." 

All I know was that by the time I hit Chapter 3, I couldn't put the book down and just began underlining.  I equated this book to a counselling session.  It was that enlightening, helpful and informative. 

Erwin Lutzer does a brilliant job articulating different scenarios, using biblical references and offering practical advice throughout his book. By the time I finished reading it, I was left with hope.

I guess if there was one word I could use to describe this book, it would be "surrender".  Surrendering to God's will and not my will; which is a big one.  I learned that most of my bad decisions or choices have been connected with not surrendering to God in my life.  So that was something that this book help me realize and understand fully.

I really enjoyed reading this book because of the fact that it was so revelatory and full of wisdom.  There were points while reading this book where I had to stop and ask the Lord for forgiveness. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling in their life right now.  If you are living with regret or guilt as a result of bad decisions you have made in your life, I would strongly encourage you to get this book.  It is a must have!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review for Blogging for Books: Ninety Days of God's Goodness by Randy Alcorn

This book is precisely what I needed.  I have to say that since I signed up to review free Christian books, I have been so blessed.  These books have been an answer to prayer. 

Ninety Days of God's Goodness by Randy Alcorn is an awesome devotional.  Last week, I found myself in tears after reading it and immediately went into prayer.  Randy Alcorn writes with such truth, depth and intensity.  I really like how he incorporates true stories within this devotional as well.

This devotional talks about why there is suffering and how despite all of the pain and suffering that we experience here on earth, God is good.  Each day presented a new nugget of truth that left me ruminating. 

He starts out each day with a portion of Scripture, then his devotional and he ends it with a short prayer.  It's just absolutely wonderful to start your day.  I really enjoyed reading it each morning.  I will read through it again, there is just so much information to glean from and it's very encouraging. 

If you are looking for a devotional that will speak into your heart and life, I highly recommend this one.  You definitely won't be disappointed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What is Love?

The Bible says, God is love. In 1 John 4:8 it says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”.

The Bible also says in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Now, as much as I would like to believe that we as Christians love one another, the fact remains that we really don’t.

In the course of my life, I have met very few Christians that truly exemplify the love of Christ in their lives and toward others.

What made me start thinking about this… is a book I am currently reading called “Now I Walk on Death Row” by Dale S. Recinella. It’s a book I received for free from Baker/Revell Publishers to review it.

I have to say that what started out as my doing this out of an act of service toward God, is now blessing me tremendously. I would have never known that my choice to use my gift of writing to blog and review Christian books was going to turn out to speak into my life to such a degree that it is.

I never heard of Dale Recinella in my life. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book, but it sounded interesting. He was a Wall Street Finance lawyer, I work in a law firm, so I figured I would relate to him in some way.

The minute I opened up this book to read it, I was immediately drawn in. He is a prolific writer. I love the way he writes. I haven’t cried and laughed so hard reading a book in a long time. But what really got to me was his journey from being a finance lawyer to a true servant of God.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I would encourage everyone to get the book. You won’t be disappointed. This book is having me really think about my walk with God in a deeper way.

I can say that Dale Recinella’s life exemplifies the love of Christ. I’ve only met a handful of people like him in the course of my life.. I can freely admit that I’m not one of them.

Of course, I dream about being this selfless, self sacrificing, loving child of God, but I know I’m not. And books like this, totally have me face where I’m at. Mr. Recinella asks a profound question while reading the bible, “Did Jesus mean what He said?”

We as Christians, read the Bible every day, but do we ever ask ourselves this question? I know I haven’t. Yes, I try the best I can to follow Christ’s teachings, but I fall short. Yes, I try to be faithful to attend bible study and church on Sunday. Yes, I tithe and I pray for people. Yes, I try to be a good wife and a good mother. But yet and still, I know for a fact that I’m not exemplifying the love of Christ in my life or towards others.

I have a very predictable and complacent existence as many other Christian’s. We have our little communities, our little cliques and rarely do we step out to reach out to others. Rarely would we put our lives at risk for others . Rarely would we step out to be inconvenienced. Rarely do we step out to get our hands dirty. And if we do, we just feel so full of ourselves with our “good works” as if we’re doing some great feat. As if we are scoring brownie points with God or something.

I’m really not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here or be pessimistic… I’m just telling it like I see it and notice that I’m including myself in this. I’m not exempt you see.

So my question is, what kind of a Christian am I? Do I really love others the way Christ loves? Do I love my enemies? Well, the answer is, I’m a nominal complacent Christian, that just does enough to get by. My concern is for my family and myself. I don’t really love others and especially not my enemies! That is the truth.

Now that I’ve admitted this… now what? I have no idea. All I know is that between reading the Bible and reading this book, I realized that I’m not in a great place. I’m not such a great Christian. Perhaps I would have liked to consider myself a great Christian, but I’m not. I realized that my heart is hard and when push comes to shove, I don’t really love others the way Christ would want me to. Yes, I like people… I like people that are nice and behave respectfully towards me. I like people that don’t give me any trouble. Yeah, I like people alright, but now love people?… Well… that’s another story.

I am suppose to be a follower of Christ, but my life does not signify that. Seriously, I’m not just saying this. I really mean it. So the question is, how in the world does one become a true and authentic follower of Christ?

I’m not talking about doing good works now, because I know a ton of people that do good works. They serve in their churches, do missions work, but simultaneously they aren’t the nicest of people. I could very well be one of them for all you know HA HA HA. But seriously, I mean, what is it going to take for any of us to really believe and take Jesus at His Word?

I wish I had the answer for you. I wish there was some magic formula and Poof… you become this exemplary Christian in no time. I can only speak for myself, but that hasn’t been the case. I have had people pray over me, fast with me, lay hands on me, you name it, I did it… and guess what, it didn’t change me one iota. My heart condition is still the same, and when your heart is polluted so is your vision. You can’t see anything clearly when you got a bunch of smoke in your face.

Sometimes I wonder, how long oh Lord? I kind of feel bad for God… I mean, here He goes and decides to create me… He goes through the trouble of forming me in my mother’s womb. He says, He knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11). And then He has to sit back for the majority of my life, shaking His head wondering why He even created me in the first place? I can’t do anything right. He tells me to sing… I tell Him, I don’t think I can… I obey Him and then totally make an embarrassment of Him and myself while I’m at it. He told me He wanted me to go to Colombia and I heard Egypt… the frequency was off I guess… (some of you know what I’m talking about here and are laughing).

I’m telling you, I don’t know how in the world God puts up with me. I really don’t. I admit it… I’m an utter failure to Him… but He still loves me. I sense His love, I tell Him I’m sorry that I’m a big old flop… and I ask Him to help me. He has a lot of compassion, I thank God for Jesus, because if it was anyone else, they would have gotten rid of me already. Some already have tried… but I’m still here, because God wants me around for some reason. So I just take it a day at a time. Every day, I ask the Lord to help me. Some days I do better than others…

But when I read books like the one I’m reading now… it really makes me look at my walk with utter disappointment. I really admire people that go all out for God and succeed. My hat goes off to them. They truly live a life giving it all to Him.

Whenever I die… I hope to see Jesus face to face… my deepest desire is that He would tell me, Well Done… I choke up every time I think about that. I’m not exaggerating… my eyes well up with tears… my desperation for God is something fierce… but yet, I fail Him… what a contradiction huh? When will I ever get it right? I haven’t a clue… but the desire is there.

I end this blog with a song that deeply touched my heart this week and I want to share it with all of you.

May it encourage you today… http://youtu.be/dUMRqJCV9Q4

Monday, May 9, 2011

Booksneeze Review: Reggie

I just had the pleasure of finishing a book I received for free to review from Booksneeze.  The title of the book is called Reggie by Reggie Dabbs with John Driver.

I have to admit, that I never heard of this guy before in my life.  I didn't know anything about him at all and had no reference.  I actually like the title, "You can't change your past, but you can change your future." and he does just that by using real life and personal illustrations throughout his book. 

Without giving too much way, Reggie Dabbs was considered another statistic, however, throughout his book, he walks you through how he overcame his past and changed his future. And he believes, you can too, which is the premise of his book.


When I first received the book, I wasn't sure what to expect.  But I couldn’t put this book down; it was amazing.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his life.  I cried in some parts and laughed in others. 

His book is so refreshing and full of wisdom.  I was left thinking a lot about what he wrote. Especially when he interweaves biblical stories and creatively connects it to his own story.

Reggie overcame great odds from his childhood to adulthood. He didn’t have it easy, which is why he is such an inspiration to me. Despite the various challenges he faced, he never gave up by the grace of God.  He also maintained a healthy sense of humor as well.

This book gave me a different perspective on adversity and viewing one’s own life. I honestly got a lot out of reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone; young or old. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Battle Is Not Yours

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5

God put the above scriptures on my heart, because I am currently going through something in which it applies. 

Have you ever been falsely accused and judged by someone?  I'm sure if anyone has lived long enough on this earth, they have been plagued by this by either family or friends.  People have the innate tendency to judge others without being privy to all the details.   They get a snapshot of something, and then build their entire case around it.  They come up with their own conclusions and fill in the blanks with their own stories.  They come up with their own theories which are not at all based on reality or truth whatsoever.  They don't have the facts, but yet whatever they make up suits them fine, even if it's wrong.

Unfortunately, judging seems to be the modern day plague of the church.  Jesus speaks of grace, love and forgiveness, but we as believers tend to be the worst to each other when it comes to judging.

I can say I've been a victim of people's false judgements, criticisms, accusations, claims, etc.  It is very hurtful and damaging to say the least.  My tendency is to want to set the record straight and exonerate myself.  However, God continues to remind me to hold my peace.  In His Word He shows me that in His time, He will reveal the truth and my accusers will be put to shame. (Psalm 71:24).

The tendency for us, as believers, is to want to do something about what is being said or done and fix it.  You are aware that things are being thought and said about you and you want to do something about it.  You are privy to all the gossip, slander and false judgments... and so you just want to walk over to that person or persons and let them have it.  Sound familiar?

Believe me, I can totally relate.  Which is why, most times, I don't hold my peace.  I'm the confrontational type.  I really don't have any tolerance for hypocrites, gossipers or slanderers.  If I have something to say, I've learned to go directly to the person.  But I know it is very tempting and easy to get sucked into gossip.  However, gossiping is wrong. (Proverbs 20:19)  If you have an issue with someone, you really should deal directly with that person. 

But, most people are not confrontational, they are passive aggressive.  They put up a front, meanwhile they are thinking and saying things behind your back.  But when they see you, they pretend everything is fine, when it's actually not.  It can be quite confusing.

I don't know what it is, but God gave me discernment early on and I tend to see right through all of that.  I don't know why people waste their time trying to pretend when it's blatantly obvious.  Perhaps they think they are doing a great job masking it or something.  It's actually quite the opposite, but this is frail humanity for you.

I can't be fake, it's just not in my DNA.  Some people do a really good job at hiding or masking their feelings.  But I'm not one of those people.  The bottomline is this, when you have an issue with someone, just go speak to them.  Because if you don't... sooner or later, the truth will come to light and it will be exposed for the ugly infection that it is.  Most people seem more comfortable with putting bandaids and pretending the problem away, than actually dealing with it.  Another word for that is... Denial. 

I challenge you today, to move out of your comfort zone and operate in truth.  There is only freedom from bondage when you untangle yourself from all the lies and deception and move toward truth.  The truth shall set you free, not lies.  You are better off knowing the truth than making up your own stories, coming up with your own theories or by gossiping.

At the end of the day, we all get offended. Who doesn't get offended?  If you are a human being living on planet earth, you are bound to get offended at some point.  But the true test comes with what you do with the offense?  Will you bury it?  Will you deny it?  Will you run from it?  - OR - Will you look at it?  Will you confront it?  Will you deal with it?  Will you reconcile it?  These are questions we all have to answer for ourselves.

God ultimately reads the motives of our hearts and He knows our thoughts too.  We can't hide anything from Him.  He knows everything about us, to the minute detail.  You can perhaps justify why you are offended, why you do what you do, why you are gossiping, why you are judging and why you are slandering?  But it ultimately comes down to this... it's wrong.

So why not do some spring cleaning of our hearts and begin with a clean slate by examining ourselves?  Do you have an offense against a brother or a sister in Christ that you refuse to let go of ?  Why not talk to them about it?  Instead of holding a grudge or speaking badly about them to others.  Believe me, it's easy to hold a grudge... but it gets you nowhere.

As I was mentioning above, I find it challenging to hold my peace when I'm wronged and allow God to avenge me.  I'm the type that takes matters into my own hands and address things head on.  I'm a doer.  I have no qualms about confronting anyone.  Especially if I believe something is blatantly wrong.  However, there are times when God just wants me to wait on Him.  He doesn't want me taking matters into my own hands.  He wants to work out the details in my life.  I have to admit... He does do a much better job setting people straight than I ever will that's for sure.

So if people are talking falsely about you or gossiping behind your back... take heart... God is with you and He will avenge you.  He allows all things to happen for a reason and for our growth.  Through these adverse situations, which are no fun, we actually learn how to lean on God more and trust Him to fight our battles for us. (1 Samuel 17:45-47)  The battle is not yours.  If we wait on Him, He will give us the victory.

To all you Mother's out there... Happy Mother's Day.  I am looking forward to spending some peaceful and quality time with my husband and two little boys.  We aren't doing anything fancy, just spending it together which is more than enough for me.  The gift is that my family is healthy and happy; I need nothing more than that.

The Battle is Not Yours by Yolanda Adams http://youtu.be/GXbV1axOxZ8

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Exhibitionism

The weather is definitely warming up and along with that comes something else. 

Did you ever wonder why so many women nowadays have to walk around half nude?  I mean, I don't know about you, but I personally wish I didn't have to see half of what I see as a requisite to walking down the streets of Manhattan.  It seems that no matter where I turn, between the billboards, advertisements, commercials, soap operas, reality shows and movies; there is a constant barrage of the human anatomy.

Not only am I bombarded walking down the street, but I'm bombarded from every direction.  Everyone seems to be on a mission to wear the least amount of or tight fitting clothes.  But is it really necessary?  And what is the point?  Is it to try to get attention and why? 

Sometimes when I walk, I observe men standing and waiting on the sidelines, just to watch and check out the women that pass by.  It's like a sport for them.  They absolutely love to gawk and comment about it too.  It's great fun for them.  I have to wonder about these women though.  I mean, don't they know they are being gawked at?  Don't they realize they are being objectified and lowered to the category of a piece of meat on a window display in a supermarket?  And people wonder why there is an epidemic of rapes, pedophilia, sexual abuse and exploitation in our country?

Think about it, men are visual.  God wired them this way to desire woman for the purpose of procreation.  Even godly men struggle not to look, because they are still men.  I mean, if a woman is flaunting her goods for the world to see, how in the world are men not suppose to even notice?  And forget about men, what about women?  It's like you are forced to see what you are not even remotely interested in seeing because it's blatantly in your face. 

I feel like saying, "Does your business need to become my business?" or "Why not just take all your clothes off and walk around naked for goodness sake?"  The sad part is that even Christian women are falling into this trap too. 

I mean, hey, it's great that you have a nice body, curves, cleavage and cute butt... However, what happened to the word "modesty"?  Do I need to see your cleavage or buttocks?  I personally don't even like to see men in tight pants, shirts or displaying their goods either.  I think its rather distasteful if you ask me.

I thank the Lord that I married a man who loves to dress conservatively and classy.  I find it such a complete turn off when I see men or women displaying their goods and their personal business for the rest of the world to see and have to deal with.  Half the time, I just look toward the ground when I'm walking in order to avoid having to see anything.

I'm not meaning to sound like a prude or anything... but I've learned in life that you have to have standards and not everything goes.  And from what I read in the Bible, woman are suppose to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). 

Now, there will be some of you who will argue with me on this, claiming that there is nothing wrong with showing a little cleavage or booty so long as it's done tastefully.  Well, I disagree, which is why I'm writing about it.

I personally don't think it's at all tasteful for a godly woman to be dressing like the world, even if it's considered fashionable by the masses.  I have personally witnessed woman of all ages walking into churches, looking feminine, but displaying their goods... short dresses, mini skirts, tight pants, tight shirts, tight dresses, cleavage and buttocks of all shapes and sizes being displayed.  I've also witnessed other Christian men, single or married, gawking at them.  Can you really blame them though? 

So my question is, why are these women going to church then?  To be gawked at or to hear the Word of God?  To attract men or to become more like Christ?  I can tell you, I need all the Word I can get.  I really don't need to be worried about the latest fashion statement.  There is nothing wrong with dressing up and liking clothes if that's your thing.  However, it does becomes a problem, when you are attracting unnecessary attention to your body parts, especially in church.

People criticize some women for dressing in long skirts, long blouses or long dresses.  They say, it's too old fashioned, or it makes you look too old.  But quite frankly, I think covering in church is proper in the sense that it helps men not to be distracted.  You say, well then, a man should exercise self control and not look.  And that's true, however, we all have our weaknesses and some men struggle with a wandering eye.  Please help these struggling brothers in Christ from sinning, by dressing modestly and not causing distraction.  Unfortunately, we have not all arrived or are sanctified.  And just because you become a Christian, doesn't mean you are dead.  Whatever you may have struggled with before getting saved, could be the same exact struggle after being saved. 

Oh boy, I can just hear it now, I know a lot of people are going to be like, what is her problem?  What is wrong with the way I dress?  I can't help it if God gave me a great body?  What's wrong with showing it?  There is nothing wrong with flaunting what God gave me?  I mean, it's all natural?  It's how God made me?  Why should I be ashamed of what God has blessed me with?  She's just jealous because she doesn't have a hot body like me and she don't want her husband checking me out.   I'm not going to be dressing modestly... as far as I'm concerned she needs to step up her game in the fashion department instead of telling me how I should be dressing!

And my rebuttal is this... and I'm saying this humbly... I know a lot about fashion.  I used to design clothing, and was accepted into F.I.T. full time based on my portfolio.  I also modelled for many years and went to professional make up school as well.  However, during the course of time, I became a naturalist.  I stopped wearing make up.  Occasionally, I may put on some lip gloss.  And please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with make up.   I just made a personal choice to stop wearing it.  Anyway, my husband didn't like kissing my lipstick or make-up. So it worked out brilliantly.

But, my blog is not about fashion or make up, but rather exhibitionism.  Fashion is one thing, showing cleavage and buttocks is another.  My point is, you can dress classy and tasteful without showing an ounce of skin.

When I first met my husband, I was dressed very conservatively.  I was wearing an Italian pin striped grey pant suit. The jacket went down to my mid-thigh, meaning that I wasn't showing an ounce of flesh.  He had nothing to check out, other than my face and my nice suit.  He asked for my hand in marriage 9 months later.

I honestly wish I can actually tell women they don't have to show every nook and cranny of their anatomy to be loved.  A real man is going to love you for your virtue and heart, not your booty.  What really lasts is an attraction that goes beyond dressing like a hoochie.  You want a man to treat you with honor and respect, then you have to demonstrate it by the way you carry and conduct yourself. 

The days are getting more and more like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The bible does talk about the last days and describes everything that is happening right now.  In order for people to see a difference in us, we can't dress, act or be like the world.  We have to be different, not fit in and be like everyone else.  There is no grey area, wrong is wrong and right is right... and our compass in living is the Word of God. 

We really need to get back to the basics in our walks and honestly evaluate what we are doing.  We need to examine and ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing, what are our motives and does it line up with the Word of God. 

I know this blog was kind of rough, but I don't really hear anyone addressing this issue.  Yes, we should be more concerned about sin and our heart condition, but the way we dress and carry ourselves is a direct reflection of the motives of our hearts and minds. 

I pray that the Lord open our hearts and minds to see the truth and make the necessary changes needed to be able to truly exemplify Christ in and through our lives.  In Jesus Name, I pray... Amen.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday, Earth Day & Resurrection Sunday

I just love the fact that Earth Day fell on Good Friday.  It was kind of symbolic for me.  Lately I've been getting in touch with some truths about our food.  Basically what we reap we sow.  We pollute the earth, we will eat what we pollute too.  People wonder why so many people are getting cancer, it seems like an epidemic.  Well, I challenge you to start reading about genetically modified foods... known as GMO's.  I purposefully purchase non-GMO foods now.  We have a bunch of rich people who decided to be clever and act like God... by genetically cloning corn, soy, etc...  I have to say that my mouth dropped open in shock from the information I have been reading about what we are actually putting in our mouths.  It explains why my son was born with massive food allergies, chronic asthma and a host of other health issues.

I've always been a good eater and very open to try different things.  Basically, I was never picky... but now, it's a whole other ball game.  You know, I used to think these people running around trying protecting the earth were a little extreme, but they are not.  I was just ignorant, I wasn't read on the subject.  But now that I am, oh boy, it's like the veil lifted and I know the truth.

It sort of reminds me when I first got saved... my eyes were opened from darkness to light.  I was able to discern the spiritual realm.  It was kind of overwhelming at first... all was brand new and so much to learn.  But it was as if I woke up and was seeing the world around me in a whole new way.  Much like my awareness of how our food is being processed.  How we are polluting the earth, which is making us sick.  People are being born with illnesses and there is an epidemic of how many people get cancer.

I just thought it was more than a coincidence that Earth Day landed on the same day as Good Friday.  Both are important to me, besides being very symbolic at this stage and new chapter in my life.  A right of passage, so to speak, on my new journey toward caring about our planet and organic nutrition.  God gave us this earth to take care of it, to be good stewards of it and our bodies too.

In conclusion, I just wanted to share a devotion I finished reading called Thirty-One Days of Drawing Near to God:  Resting Securely in His Delight, which I received for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group to review.  I really enjoyed reading this every morning for 31 days. I especially loved reading about the author's life, experiences and the obstacles she had to overcome. I was left meditating and contemplating on the truths I learned from this devotion. Ruth Myers prolifically draws you into her life and shares her spiritual wisdom throughout the book.   It was refreshing, especially in preparation during this time as we are ushering in Resurrection Sunday.

Happy Easter everyone:  http://youtu.be/B2lhR2aBpo0

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thus saith the Lord...

Lately I've been struggling with something.  It's when I come across believers who tell me they heard from the Lord and He told them to tell me ... "Blankety blank blank".

At the risk of sounding cynical, I have to share.  A majority of Christians are walking around acting like a bunch of psychics.  Thus saith the Lord, the Lord told me, the Lord showed me, the Lord wanted me to tell you... and on and on. 

Now granted, I'm sure they mean well and all... I know I certainly did when I was doing the same.  However, the more I read the Bible, the more I realize I was missing the point.  We are not suppose to be going around speaking Prophe-Lies.  God takes that sort of thing seriously.

In my humble opinion, I believe that the people that go around saying they heard from the Lord, just want to feel important. They want to feel like they are special to God and that they have some unique gift or calling that sets them apart from the rest.  That they were hand picked by God exclusively to speak on His behalf.  They want accolades, they want recognition, they want to be noticed... but that's all flesh, ego and pride.

You see, I understand this, because I too was one of those people.  I've always struggled with my self esteem based on the schmorgesborg of abuses I've endured through the course of my life.  So, of course, I was the perfect candidate for the devil.  And I lapped it up like a hungry and wounded dog that I am. 

The enemy is going to feed on our vulnerabilities and weaknesses.  He is the master of lies and deception.   Presently, he is using many well intentioned Christian's to carry out his work, not God's will. 

I mean, take a look at the majority of our celebrity preachers today... what do you hear?  Mostly feel good positive messages... but you hear very little of the Bible... They strategically pick and choose what they are going to focus on and tell you.  They pick on one or two character traits of God and purposely leave out the rest. They are very manipulative and cunning.  But looking from the outside, it sounds and looks good... as they focus on love... Love is in the air... such positive and inspiring fleshly feel good messages. 

So you had sex with your father's wife, so you had sex with your daughter, so you are molesting your nephew, so you are having sex outside of marriage, so you cheated on your taxes (uh oh), so you are committing adultery because you say your wife or husband doesn't understand you...  They say, No worries, God loves you and He forgives you (which is true, but only when you repent and forsake the sin, Proverbs 28:13 )... but then they add, You were born for greatness... Thus sayeth the Lord... you will do great exploits for God... you will be a prophet to the nations... So with just a slap on the wrist and feeling pretty good... off they go, right back to their own vomit. (2 Peter 2:22)

Granted, being encouraged or inspired in and of itself isn't a bad thing.  However, it is bad when it's just all about that... as you noticed above.  Just hearing good and encouraging messages, with no true repentance and forsaking of sin, grieves the heart of God... because He is a holy, righteous and just God. 

But I guess it's not in vogue to preach on sin or anything negative.  Everything has to be upbeat, charismatic and positive.  As they have to keep up their image, popularity and celebrity status.   Meanwhile, these jokers are making a mockery out of Christianity.  What it truly means to be a true Christian.  We have a bunch of hypocrites speaking prophe-lies to people who are on their way to hell.  I know these are harsh words, but someone's got tell it like it is, since obviously they won't.

I'm sorry, but there are too many Christians running around saying that the Lord told them to do this or that, or giving you a word.  Meanwhile, their lives are a mess, in a shambles, their homes in chaos and they are in blatant sin or rebellion.  Their lives do not line up with the Word of God in any way, shape or form.  There is no evidence or fruit showing the signature of God is upon their lives, in contrast, only the stench of this world. 

But they go through the motions, "acting" pious, attending Church every Sunday religiously, go to bible study, go to conferences and retreats, going here and there looking for some new sensation, listening to this preacher and that preacher.  However, they themselves lead very selfish and sinful lives, only gratifying their own flesh and not glorying God whatsoever.

Meanwhile, we as Christians are suppose to be living epistles to this lost and dying world.   Our lives are suppose to show evidence that Jesus lives in us and that we are one of His.  How can it be that the Church looks more like the world  now than it ever did?  I don't see much of a distinction between the saved and the unsaved if you ask me. 

Just so you don't think I'm casting stones... I'll cast the first stone at myself.  I personally do not believe I am exemplifying Christ in my life at all.  I also believe that I'm the biggest disappointment to God that ever lived.  I'm a moral failure to Him.  I'm only here by His grace... that's it.  I am insufficient and can offer nothing... only the hope that exists in Jesus Christ.  All I can do in my imperfect flawed state, is point people to the all knowing, loving and perfect creator. 

I have been walking this walk for a long time and unfortunately haven't shown much for it.  I have been stubborn and rebellious and God has had to take me through many, many things, to break me and have me surrender.   But yet and still, I continue to grit my teeth of self will despite it. 

But simultaneously, I have been a seeker of truth.  I've explored many religions and faiths searching for truth.  I have been saved for over 20 years, but when I take a synopsis of my life, I have to say I haven't come very far in my growth and maturity as a believer.  I think to myself... Would someone who didn't know me, know that I am a Christian just by looking at me?  I would have to honestly say, No.  And I'm not being hard on myself, this is the truth, I can face the truth about myself as disappointing as it is. 

Thankfully though, I have come to various realizations in my broken journey.  I'm glad God woke me up and had me see that there is an abuse occurring within the body of Christ today.  People walking up to others and telling them whatever they believe God told them.  Meanwhile, it could be their own imagination, their own flesh, and possibly an unclean spirit.  We must be watchful, careful and test the spirits. (1 John 4:1)  We just can't take things at face value, believing whatever anyone tells us, just because we think they are believers and seem nice or loving. (Matthew 10:16)

We have the Word and the Word is the Final Authority.  God speaks through His Word... any word of prophesy you want to know is in the Bible, you don't need to get it from a human being.  So please don't run to others for a Word.  Christians are not to function as psychics.  If you want a Word, just sit quietly before Him and ask Him to reveal Himself and His Word to you.  He is God, He formed you in your mother's womb, it's not hard for Him to get something across to you. (Jer. 32:27)  You don't need another human being to tell you anything, if you seek Him, He will answer you. 

But, people don't want to wait... they want a temporary fix.  We live in a microwave society that's addicted to the word "quick".  Noone wants to wait on the Lord... everyone wants an answer now.  Saul didn't want to wait either, he wasn't hearing from the Lord, so he took matters into his own hands by going to a witch, but things didn't wind up good for Saul by doing that (Read 1 Samuel 28).  If you really think about it, modern day Christianity has been cheapened to a circus. 

Yes, yes... We have many Christians going around doing a lot of good works, and that's great.  But my question is, did God actually tell them to do it?  Many just take the steering wheel away from God and drive where they think God wants them to go... Meanwhile, God may not have been in it the entire time.  In and of itself, it's not bad to do good works, however, is it really God's will or our want?  He may want us to do something entirely different than what we think or believe.  It may even be something we are not even interested in doing or going.   But because it doesn't line up with our desires, we say, No, this can't be of God.

We have to face the truth... We all want to be our own director and we don't want to submit to an authority.  We want to be free agents, start up our own ministries, prayer groups, etc... However, God wants us submitted under an authority, that being a pastor.  God is not a God of confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33)  We are not suppose to start our own thing apart from the covering of a church and permission of a pastor.  But you have so many Christians that are not accountable to anyone but themselves. 

This is what is causing so much confusion... everyone wants to do their own thing and take matters into their own hands, without consulting anyone.  Everyone wants a ministry, everyone wants to feel special, everyone wants to be important...

However, God may just want you to sit and do nothing but wait on Him.  We are chasing things, doing good works to fulfill ourselves.  But instead of chasing all these things... why aren't taking the time to read the Bible, pray and seek the Lord?  Instead of doing all of these superfluous activities? 

Jesus is our reward and our rewarder. We are not suppose to go to other people for a Word, we are suppose to go to God ourselves through prayer and His Word.  We need to learn to seek His face and be satisfied not in good works, our giftings, callings or rewards, but in Him alone.  

In conclusion, I'm going to share scriptures that opened my eyes to the truth last October:

"The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading."  (Lamentations 2:14)

"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deut. 18:20-22)

"Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart." (Jer. 23:25)



"The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him." (Jer. 28:9).

"Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. (Jer. 28:15)

Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD.(Ezekiel 13:2)

"They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word." (Ezekiel 13:6)

"Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end." (Ezekiel 21:29)

"And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken." (Ezekiel 22:28)

Last but not least:

"I can't stand your religious meetings.

I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want." Amos 5:21-24 (from The Message Bible)



Dear Lord... Be Thou My Vision... http://youtu.be/5XZ3ja-quhA