If God Is Good - book review

I've never read anything before by Randy Alcorn but early last year I went through a very hard season of doubt and struggle and someone recommended I read this book. When I saw it was available for review I decided to pick it up.

When I first saw it I was at Lifeway checking out more books (can you say book junkie?). It's almost 500 pages... to be honest that kind of scared me. Who wants to read that many pages of a non-fiction book, especially on the goodness of God? You could find yourself in deeper waters than you thought, right?

Well, don't let the number of pages scare you. I've read several chapters of this book and it is just so good!! One thing I absolutely enjoy about this book is how it's PACKED with Scripture. Few books nowadays have the Word in them and I think it's a great benefit, especially to a book this important.

Who hasn't asked, God, why does this happen? Why them? Why her? Why ME?

In the midst of trials and suffering and pain we get real and raw and we ask questions, but more than that we start to SEEK. Is this all there is? How do I live after something like _________? 

Randy Alcorn uses grace and truth to help guide you through the questions to find yourself growing closer to your Maker and having a better understanding of evil. I wish I had had this book when I was going through doubt and depression and questions because he so beautifully points out all the bits of truth I needed to hear. Not all your questions will be answered, but the ones that really count are addressed here and I think you'll be blessed for reading it. If you know someone who is a skeptic or doubting or just struggling through life, I definitely recommend this book. It's lengthy so grab some coffee or hot chocolate and your Bible and get to work.

Note: I received this book for the exchange of a review.


The missing ring

So the other day I was at work. I was in the middle of washing my hands when suddenly I noticed that the ring I wear all the time and has a very special meaning to me, was gone.

Um.. what?!

So I began looking through the trash quickly and couldn't find it. I looked through the other trash and still couldn't find it.

I told myself (being the drama queen I am) to calm down and not cry because this was not worth crying over. I began to look through more garbage and re-trace my steps and still couldn't find it. My co-workers helped me and still I couldn't find it.

I began to pray, because recently I've been trying really hard not to get overwhelmed and be overly emotional, but to tap into the self-control that God gives and be patient.

So I prayed and then went about my day content. I thanked God and tried to get over it.

As I prayed I began to realize that sometimes I get SO wrapped up in things that don't matter that I forget and take for granted the ones I love. More than that, I forget to show that love.

After work I made my way home and there it was... on my dresser. (If you were wondering... yes, I felt dumb.)

Maybe it took that experience to remember that love is important and things are not as important as people...

God works in wonderfully mysterious ways.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Plush Bible - review

Reading God's Word is SO important to getting through life, and not just getting through it, but enjoying every day of life.

Enjoying God's Word is also important. Finding the right Bible helps with this because if you don't understand the translation, then you can't apply what you read and application is just as important as reading and understanding what you read.

Zondervan's Plush Bible is an excellent Bible. It's good for pre-teens and teens alike because it comes in several different styles. The font is very easy to read (extra points for that) and guess what? It's fuzzy! That's right, they have a furry, fuzzy Bible for the older kids too now.

Benefits of this Bible:
- Hardback with a fuzzy cover, front and back
- Good size print
- Measurements table page listed in the back
- Words of Jesus written in red
- Durable (for those tough on things ;) )

If you have a younger child or teenager and you're looking for a Bible to get them for Christmas, this would be a great one. I'm not a big fan on finding "stylish" Bibles because I think that we need to remember that the words inside are the Life and Bread and that everything else is not of much importance, but teens will be much more satisfied with a Bible that looks good too and this Bible offers that.

Note: I received a free copy of this Book for the exchange of a review.


The mind and the mouth

The battle of the mind and the mouth is so difficult to overcome.

We're told in the Word to take every thought captive to Christ, but do you ever just get mad and not want to do that? Yeah, me too...  more than I care to admit. I allow those ugly, not good thoughts to fester and at some point the filth spills out of my mouth into the air and I'm left wondering how I could have failed in my words... again.

No matter how tired we get, we need to depend on God's grace and help to not even think bad things, because once the thoughts are there the actions surely follow.

Let me tell you that I have to pray about this A LOT. I'm a very emotional, wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve type of person and keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself is very difficult so I doubly have to watch my mind. I have not mastered this at all, but I have learned a few things.

One thing I learned is if you're thinking something rude or wrong or bad, sleep on it. Pray about it first and then leave it until the next day. If after prayer and some sleep (sometimes, ladies especially, we are just exhausted. Don't be afraid to take a nap.) you still think this is something worth saying and thinking about, then continue on in grace not with a hypocritical, rude, or mean attitude.

The second thing I have learned/am learning is not all thoughts need to be voiced. Sometimes it's a prayer sent up telling God alone what's on your mind and heart and sometimes it's worth journaling about, but telling your family, your husband or wife, your girlfriend or boyfriend, your best friends about what's bugging you can easily turn into a complaint, "here's what's in my head" ordeal. Be careful.

The third thing I have learned is to dwell on Truth. Read God's Word. If what you're thinking lines up, continue on. If not, reject it and find a verse or a prayer to think on. I promise this helps so much with the battle between the mind and the mouth because you'll find you slowly are becoming more like Christ because you're getting to know Him more.

Finally, pray for help in the battle. Pray for His help thinking pleasing thoughts and saying pleasing things.

Alone we cannot overcome, but through Christ victory is ours.

"Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always."
- 1 Chronicles 16:11


What's YOUR Story?

Being a girl, I know what it's like to have insecurities and constantly compare yourself to everyone around you. It's really hard not to get sucked into it when you're watching youtube videos, looking at instagram, and liking things on facebook.

Don't you ever just want to be content?

Me too.

Life is filled with more joy when we learn to be content with what God has given us now. We find it difficult to be thankful with our much and end up giving God less. I find it easy to get into a foul mood when I want something and end up thanking God for little to nothing when He has given me literally everything.

So I thought today, why do we compare our stories to other people's stories? God made us unique which means your story and mine may be similar, but they are vastly different. We may have struggled through the same things but in different ways and different thought processes.

Guess what? That's okay.

If we are following the Lord, then how your story turns will be different from other peoples but it will also be beautiful because His hand is on you. It may be messy and ugly at times, but there is redemption in Christ.

So what's your story? Be thankful God made you you. You are His. Embrace that and live in confidence.


Vanishing Grace - review

Philip Yancey is probably one of my favorite authors. I like his honesty and authenticity in his writing style. I enjoy how he humbly presents his beliefs in a very Biblical way without seeming like a Pharisee.

Vanishing Grace : Whatever Happened To The Good News? is a really good book. Yancey points out how in Biblical days, people were excited and joyful about coming to know the Christ (as he illustrates nicely), but how today people hear the name 'Jesus' and dread what follows.

I wanted to read this book because I find myself on the compassionate side (because I've dealt with it) of wanting to share the Gospel with the unnoticed and the skeptics. Yancey himself, struggling with doubts in the past, shows grace in a fresh, unique way that I think we can learn a lot from.

The whole purpose of this book is not to bash other Christians. That's hard to do when problems are brought up in the Church, however, we are called to love. If love were a person and you honestly think love would say, do, or think that word, action, or thought, then go ahead. If you have doubts though, think and pray.

I was impressed with all the stories that were included in this book. Stories that tell of heartache, faith, and how Christians have done a good job representing Christ and how others have done not so great a job and how we can learn from past mistakes to a better future.

This book is well written and I would recommend anybody, Christian or not, to read it. I would ask that you would read it through grace filled eyes and not judgemental. I hope you're as blessed and challenged by the writing as I was.

Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review.