Monday, March 24, 2014

The Road We Must Travel

*I received this book from Worthy Publishing in exchange for this review*

The Christian life is a life that is full of a variety of experiences. Some of these experiences are amazing, glorious, and fulfilling while others are painful, difficult, and exhausting. Yet to learn from those who are ahead of us, taking their wisdom and applying it, would be a wonderful benefit.

The book The Road We Must Travel is a way to do some of that. Various authors have come together to encourage, guide, warn, and be authentic with Christians who are following them in life. These authors talk about the lessons they have learned in the areas of: self assessment, correcting errors, handling difficult situations, refueling, and mentoring others.

The first staring point is one's self. Christ said that before you go to correct someone make sure you do not have some glaring fault you are not addressing. Four authors have written some insights on assessing yourself in life's journey. If someone is not regularly assessing their life, learning from both positive and negative circumstances, then there is the possibility that growth may not occur. However, if one assess, takes corrective measures, growth can occur.

This is the second part of the book: Necessary Repairs. This section is about the tools to use to take corrective action. From praying, reading Scripture, listening, and confessing, these tools are needed to align a life with what God desires. Many Christians go through life without realizing how important these tools are and thus ignore or dilute their power. Yet, when a Christian sees that without these instruments, that damage will come, they will hopefully take corrective measures; necessary repairs.

The third part deals with the difficulties in life. Hard times are bound to happen; it is inevitable. How a person responds will either show character or lack of it. As Christians we should see that troubles drive us closer to God. Seeking God for wisdom in trying situations, strength for exhausting difficulties, but also to see what God would have us learn is the meat of this section. If a Christian responds properly to tough times it will show God to a lost world. This may drive them to seek God; a diamond to come from coal.

The next two sections deal with not burdening oneself with things and possessions that hold no eternal value and to not get too self-focused so as to ignore the trials of others. Materialism is so prevalent that fending it off could almost be a full time job. These distractions get in the way of helping others because a person is focused on getting and getting. Christians must heed the warnings of Christ that we cannot serve two masters. When we serve Christ we should see other people as He saw them; hurting and lost. When our eyes see it should drive us to get involved and redeem a broken life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a yearly read to make sure that a life is aligned with what God wants, and does not become distracted and tired by trying to do too much, but seek God during the dark times, and aid others to do the same.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Masculine Mandate by Richard D. Phillips

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reformation Trust in exchange for my honest review.*

I desire to be man. A man that follows the principles set forth in Scripture for being both a Christian and a man. It is a responsibility that I can very seriously realizing the implications that can occur should I shirk this responsibility. Enter The Masculines Mandate by Richard D. Phillips.

Upon reading the first few pages I could tell that this book will get at the heart of the responsibilities God has placed on men. God desiring the best for this world has equipped men with the tool necessary to spread His love and show His glory. It first begins with understanding our mandate.

Phillips did a masterful job explaining from the Garden of Eden why God placed man on the earth. It was for two reasons: to cultivate and to protect. All responsibilities of man find their foundation in those two responsibilities. This is God given. It is our sacred work. As image bearers of God we are to demonstrate His love for us as He nurtures us and protect us. From this foundational knowledge, Phillips lays out how this mandate finds its way into our lives. 

 There is marriage. Man is made for marriage, "it is not good that man should be alone." Men do better when women are in their lives. A man succeeds far more when he loves and cherishes his wife. By cultivate her and protecting her, a man is fulfilling what God has created him to do. Phillips makes this very plain: to release this responsibility is to go against God.

A man must make it a priority to be the champion of his wife. She must feel confident in him so that she can grow herself knowing that she can lean on him when she needs strength. A man must also protect his wife from not just outside influences but, should he deviate from truth, himself. By being a safe haven for his wife, a man can protect her from temptations and fears that satan would love to hurl at her. Phillips again does a wonderful job of why a man is vital in this role and how he can benefit when a man gives his all to protecting and nurturing his wife.

From a great marriage comes children and Phillips gives excellent instruction on cultivating children and protecting them. Too many fathers would have others raise their sons and daughters but Phillips challenges men to step up and change the next generation via his children. It will not be easy as discipling and disciplining take great care.

Phillips goes to some length in helping fathers understand that training children is their role. The training starts young by first being an example of masculinity and then being a teacher, mentor, guide, and leader in the home. Sometimes being a teacher requires disciplining wrong doing which is why Phillips has the two so close together.

However, Phillips gives a warning to be careful about disciplining. The goal is to raise men who are equipped to raise men themselves. This cannot be done by either being tyrannical or by being absent. Men who act without love are sinning against God and misusing their leadership status for personal means.

Yet, the father who has patience and knows that he is to correct the sin, not the errors will succeed in seeing children who not only love God, but also will be free to be as God created them.

Last, a man lives our his mandate in the areas of: friendship, church, and being a servant of God. Men need other men to hold them accountable to what God requires of them. This can be done by friendships and being an active participant at church. When this is done, the servant of the Lord will shine brightly for he seeks to serve God and rid himself of all that will stand in his way.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Awakening by Ralph Reed

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Worthy Publishing in exchange for this review.*

I throughly enjoyed reading this book. It starts with the history of great changes in the American society and how those changes began.

From the break from British rule, the battle over slavery, Prohibition, Roe v. Wade, and more, Reed details how men and women came to action for a cause.

His challenge in this book is that Americans must stand up for their beliefs and Christian heritage not only as a people but as a nation.

I really enjoyed reading about struggles and hardships that the founding fathers faced as they gave their all to build this wonderful country. I also was captured by how great men took action in the face of opposition for what was right. Our country needs men, RIGHT NOW, that will fight for the rights they adore. Men like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan, knew the power they had as president and led with conviction and passion.

Sadly, many choices are made for popularity and tyrannical reasons. Reed realizes this and is sounding the alarm to urge Americans to turn back to what has made us a great nation: liberty, personal responsibility, and faith. An awakening can occur if America's people will but rise to the call and defend this great land. Ralph Reed is sounding the call. Will you answer it?

The New Answers Book 4 (Editor: Ken Ham)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for this review.*

Once again the Answers in Genesis (AiG) group has put together a great book for aiding the Christian in defending their faith in the arena of science. The scientific community is livid in ways to undermine or confuse Christians but AiG is at the vanguard of equipping believers with scientific data that proves the existence of a Creator.

As for the book, what is enjoyable is the diversity of the topics discussed. They range from physics, geology, and biology to chemistry, mathematics, and astronomy. Seeing as how God is the cause it is so wonderful to see men of God discover their Creator in all the sciences.

I will say that some of the topics discussed had some very technical language which may make it difficult for some readers to grasp. However, there are many subjects discussed that do not require a elementary understanding of various scientific studies. Thus the book appeals to a broad audience making it an ideal resources.

It does my heart good to see scientists seeking God out and finding out as much as possible about His awesome creative power. This book may be the teaser that prompts many more Christian scientists to seek after their Creator God.

Letting Go of Your Limitations by Sandie Freed

*I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for this review from Chosen Books.*

Would you like more of God's power in your life? Are you struggling to have an abundant life? These questions, and more, are what Dr. Freed is addressing in her book: Letting Go of Your Limitations. Dr. Freed gives challenges and encouragement that God is with you and that His power will defeat limitations placed on you by others or yourself.

I found this book to be decent and an easy read. While I agree that our mind and our tongue can put us into more trouble that we should be in, I do disagree that every thought is an evil spirit trying to seduce us. Sometimes I have a bad thought because I am a sinner and need Christ to rid myself of the old man. The thought comes from me; not outside influences. However, I do agree that some thoughts do come from the outside and need to be attacked.

The book did do a good job of attacking some lies about performance and religious "perfectionism". Many would do well to understand that God does not call us to performance but to righteousness and obedience. On this book Dr. Freed and I agree wholeheartedly. That said, this book gets a three stars out of a five star rating.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Dude's Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick

*I received this complimentary copy from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.*

The first that hit me was the that one of the forewords was written by Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. That in, and of, itself is a reason to get this book.

All quacking aside, this is an amazing book on manhood. I have read several books in the recent months on manhood and this by far has been the best I've read.

The book goes into twelve characteristics of what a Biblical man should be. Some of the topics deal with work, family, God, sex, contentment, and connecting. Men need to understand that we are created for a purpose. Masculinity reveals God in some facet provided that masculinity is rooted in devotion to God.

What Patrick has done is put into plain English what a man is; not what he thinks it is. There is a difference that if not

discovered will lead to an unsatisfied life and a yearning for more.

I really enjoyed the chapters on family, fatherhood, and being a wife-loving husband. Too many man see these responsibilities as secondary to work and hobbies.  Patrick puts the proper perspective in print. Do what God wants from you; not what you want for you.

Every man should read this book. I repeat: EVERY MAN SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. Take my advice and just do it. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Every Man's Bible, NLT

I picked this Bible up a few months ago and really like the study helps and thoughts for men. It really takes Scriptural teachings and how a man is to respond to it. It is also a great Bible for personal devotions as the topics in the helps really challenge a man to be what God would like Him to be.

Masculinity is in desperate need of reclaiming its foundational sense of being. Many men are lost today and have no clue as to where to find themselves. Society and culture dictate that which can be contrary to God and His Word. This Bible does an excellent job of bridging the gap between what a Biblical man should be and how God wants him to get there.

I would recommend that this Bible be given to young men entering into their college years and also as a gift to those in men's ministry. However, I would hold off for a bit until the updated one arrives later in the year. I've been in touch with Tyndale and the current Bible is the 1996 edition of the NLT. They have since updated this translation but the Every Man's Bible has yet to incorporate the newer edition. I was told that was happening this year. Wait for the new edition. It will be well worth it.

*Update - I found out that the updated Bible has a release date sometime in April of 2014.