Book Review for “Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity”- Bible Study

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I was given a copy of “Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity” by the author, Gregory Brown, in exchange for an honest review. Though our doctrinal beliefs may be a tad different, I sure enjoyed this book. I think as a whole the Christian church desperately needs to grow up, and this book is a great tool to facilitate that. It is written so that it can be used in several ways. First it can be used as a study guide for a group, a teachers guide and lesson plan, and as an individual bible study.

The book takes a close look at Pauls’ writings to the church of Philippi and gives great examples of what spiritual maturity should look like.
This isn’t an easy read to just breeze through. You will need to take your time, ponder the questions, read the scriptures and pray about what you are reading. I personally think it would make a great group bible study and will be using some of the lessons in my own small group. I have been a school teacher, and am currently teaching adults and can appreciate a well laid out study guide.

I give it four stars. I can recommend for all any denomination, and for ages 16 and up (though I think it is more geared for adults).

Book Review for “Illuminated”: Book one in the White Road Chronicles- Christian Fantasy

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I downloaded this book ages ago when it was offered for free and just never got around to reading it. Man-o-man, it’s a good one. I’ll need to get the rest of the series. Christian fantasy/allegory at it’s best. This is the second series that I found this year by great Christian authors! Characters are fleshed out and flawed, just the way I like them, the story is fast paced and has a great message. I give it five stars, absolutely loved it. No sexual content or swearing, there is fighting and v I downloaded this book ages ago when it was offered for free and just never got around to reading it. Man-o-man, it’s a good one. I’ll need to get the rest of the series. Christian fantasy/allegory at it’s best. This is the second series that I found this year by great Christian authors! Characters are fleshed out and flawed, just the way I like them, the story is fast paced and has a great message. I give it five stars, absolutely loved it. No sexual content or swearing, there is fighting and violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

Some Christmas Love

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Luke 2:8-15 (AKJ), “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, see, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

I think that is good news don’t you? God’s message that night? “Peace on earth and good will towards man.” Aren’t you glad is wasn’t “Chaos and trouble on earth and I sure am angry with men.”

He had reason to be irritated with His creation. He could have left us to our own wicked devices and allowed the world to “go to Hell in a hand basket.” However, His message that night wasn’t that we get what we deserved, no! It was “I love you.”

Sure He knew how wicked man had become, that’s why He made a way, from before the foundation of the worlds, to show us Ultimate Love. God hanging on a tree. His love poured out to us, just like the blood that flowed from His broken body.

With God, we may reap what we sow, but we don’t get what we deserve. I deserved Hell, how about you? But, I won’t see it! Nope, the closest thing to Hell I will ever experience was my life without Him, before I surrendered my heart to His love. That was bad enough.

Now that we know this “good news” and have experienced it first hand- go and tell someone else!

Isaiah 52:7 (NIV), “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Sojourner

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Ephesians 2:1-10 (HCSB), “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by graces through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

You may see my physical body here on earth and, yes, I am a citizen of the United States of America. However, I am really a citizen of Heaven. This earth isn’t my true home. I am just passing through. Heaven is my real home. I am only on a temporary visit here.

I am a sojourner.

Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV), “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

According to orton.org the responsibility of a US citizen is:

We must obey laws or pay consequences. Good citizenship for adults also means serving on jury duty and paying taxes. Responsibilities: As an adult, being an informed citizen about our government and community is an important responsibility. Voting in elections is just one responsibility of all good citizens.”

Let’s take a lesson from the natural responsibilities. First we must obey the laws or pay the consequences. Let me first remind you, that in our Heavenly Citizenship we no longer obey the Law of Moses, but the Law of Love. However, there is still a law and our responsibility is to obey it. Jesus said if we loved Him, we would obey His law.

Luke 10:27 (NASB), “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Next, we must serve on jury duty (judge between right and wrong) and pay our taxes (give God His ten percent, a tithe of all our increase, time, energy, and resources). The most important, in my opinion, is to be informed of the government (God) and our community (fellow believers). For us, that means knowing who God is, what He has done for us, what His plan is, and who we are in Christ. It includes being a vibrant part of a local church and building relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Every citizen should know the laws of the land they live in. Now, I know that in the natural they pass new laws every day, but God’s ways are not complicated. He made everything simple. Though we don’t “vote” Him into office, we do choose to place ourselves under His leadership, so shouldn’t we know what He stands for? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to know His likes and dislikes? What is His plan for His people?

I think it also important to note, that even in the natural, these responsibilities are for adults. Children are a gift and a blessing, but they don’t contribute much in the respect of building a nation. Caring for them is very important and training them up to be good citizens as well. They will be our future adults and leaders after all. However, it takes productive adults to build a nation, those who are able and willing to work, to live right, to set good examples, and to be upstanding citizens, those who will represent their Sovereign well.

We all know some Christians who have the “Peter Pan Syndrome” and just don’t want to grow up. They prefer to have someone else doing the work and pressing in, while they get changed and fed and… babied.

If we remember that our visit here is temporary, we will want to grow up and move on, accomplish as much as we can in our short stay. Think of a vacation. For most of us they are too short. So we cram as much in as we can in the few days set aside. Who wants to waste time? The Psalms continue to remind us that our lives here are just a vapor. If we don’t get going on vacation the worst thing that happens is we don’t get to see everything we wanted to, or experience it all. If we waste time as citizens of Heaven, the consequences are much greater, we lose souls, and if we aren’t careful maybe even our own. Instead of adding to the family, we may hinder the growth of His Church.

Don’t get caught up in the cares of this world, it’s not your home. Change what you can change (always being led by His Spirit), pray about what you can’t, and move on. Don’t let yourself get anxious. “This too shall pass” applies to our short time here. Whatever we may suffer here is nothing compared to the glory we will experience and though it may seem to take forever for an answer, think about the situation in light of eternity. We aren’t waiting to experience Heaven, we should be experiencing it here and now. Again, think of a vacation, what if you could bring that cruise ship home and park it in your yard, or what if your daily budget on vacation was your normal daily budget in real life? Life would be pretty sweet wouldn’t’ it.

God has given it all to us, right now. We don’t have to wait for Heaven “one day”.

A sojourner doesn’t put any permanence on his stay; he knows that his forever home won’t be here. He isn’t building his mansion in his temporary country or laying up stores there. He knows he won’t be around to enjoy it. God wants us blessed here and now, but He doesn’t want our focus to be on temporary blessing. If we keep our eyes on Him, we will have what we need here and be laying up treasures in Heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

 

 

Book Review for “Christmas Traditions” Boxed Set/Christian Romance

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Christmas Traditions is a boxed set of Christian romance novella’s. Each one is a stand alone book, or the first book in separate series, and by different authors. All were good, some I loved! As a whole I give the set four stars. I really enjoyed them. Great read for the holidays. I can recommend for teens and up, though written for adults. Where I could, I wrote individual reviews for each book.