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Unlock Your Dream by Philip Wagner, a Book Review

Philip Wagner writes about finding your God dream in his book Unlock Your Dream. “God gave you a specific desire, an assignment to complete, and it’s something that will be larger than you and will fulfill you completely.” In Psalm 37:4 the Bible talks about “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” God wants to give them to you because he put them there. Philip Wagner goes on to say that “Our greatest pursuit will be that dream.”

“The greatest discovery you can make is to learn what God has created you to accomplish.” In Unlock Your Dream you will find practical steps, great examples from the author’s life and those around him, and who you should invite on your journey to finding your dream.

Philip Wagner’s book backed a lot of the things I have already discovered on my own. It was great confirmation. He also gave me some great insight into “surrendering my will and attitude to God”, that He develops our character. “Usually the worst thing that can happen is for us to reach our dream before our character can handle it.” I have been there. Fortunately I do not tend to make the same mistakes twice. This book was great in giving me tangible things to put into practice. Like surrounding myself with encouragers and not those that put you down.

At the end of each chapter he lists: Dream Locks, Dream Keys, and Scripture Key. Basically, what you need to watch out for, what you need to seek out and what Scripture backs up his key points within that chapter. Very helpful!

I enjoyed the fact that this was Philip Wagner’s story. His struggles, his dreams, and all the roads taken to get where he is today. Unlock Your Dream was just what I needed to help get me out of my current “Dream Lock” and focused on a “Dream Key”.

 

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

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The Water-Saving Garden by Pam Penick a Book Review

This year I started a rock (pretty little pebbles really) garden. I pulled up all the weeds, covered the ground with special material and then wheeled in a lot of stones to cover the area. I now have potted plants and garden decorations on the stones. Much lower maintenance. My biggest problem isn’t so much saving water but finding the right plants for the intense direct sunlight the garden receives. And the fact that I tend to forget to water.  My hope with this book is that she, Pam Penick, would offer some good ideas. She did!

The Water-Saving Garden has some amazing pictures which helped me visualize what might work for my garden. I was aiming for cacti but was hopeful for some color too.  I learned a lot about ways to hold water, different methods and different types of containers.  I’m not a ‘gardener’ and receive a lot of help from my neighbor.

I enjoyed Pam’s section on “oasis or mirage”. I never would have thought that trimming a hedge in a wave-like pattern would evoke an ocean-like feel but after seeing the picture I can say that it did. Also the idea of small blue stones gives the impression that it is really a small pool of water.

In the Water-Saving Garden I believe Pam Penick offers some great and doable ideas. I have a friend who is a true ‘gardener’ and I plan to send her this book.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”


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Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers A Book Review

I am so excited to have this book in my information arsenal. Tox-Sick is written by Suzanne Somers. Not just an actress but a woman on the front-lines of the effects of so many toxins around us. Not only her but most of her family as well. Little makes us more passionate about something than being personally effected by it. She shares all the stories of her family’s trials to diagnose, treat and overcome the damaging effects of toxins in their lives. It was no small feat!

In Tox-Sick Suzanne gives details of the symptoms they were experiencing and the many steps it took to get to the root of the problem.  She records conversations with specialists on gut health, environmental illness, good fat and bad fat, why your hormone therapy may not be working for you, how mold effects your health and how to protect yourself from these evil no-see-ums.

She lays out the details of her protocol and gives the information on where to find them. Most are available from a resource she is connected to but not all. And they all makes sense after you have read the details within the book.

In chapter 2 she talks about some symptoms that are common signs that something is wrong. Common symptom number 3 is unexplained weight gain. “The world has changed. Toxicity is slowly killing us in a variety of ways. These changes in the environment as well as to our food supply, compounded by every day stress (which is at an all-time high), and the reasons we’ve hit a wall not only in our wellness but in trying to lose weight. Toxicity is not going away, so how do we survive and how do we lose weight?” I think about the rise in obesity around the world. Is it all because people simply eat too much? Think about all the foods that leave us still hungry so we eat more until our stomachs hurt. What is in that food? I have seen the difference first hand with one food verses another. Having experienced it I was able to relate to her discussion on this. One example for me would be McDonald’s. When I would eat their food in the USA I was bound to run for the bathroom within a half hour. So often this happened that I stopped eating it thinking it just didn’t agree with me. Now, in Germany, I was in a spot where my only option to fill my hunger was a McDonald’s. Nervously I ate it. Much to my amazement I had no issue. I have had it multiple times since. What I learned is that Germany makes the McDonald’s company change their ingredients to their standard before they will allow them to serve their people.  Makes one wonder what else the USA is feeding us that other countries refuse to. Sure, Germany allows some other not-so-good for you things but this was just one example that I am aware of and had first-hand experience with.

Suzanne Somers offers us help in her book Tox-Sick that I have not seen anywhere. I am really excited for the knowledge learned from her and highly recommend other to read it.

 

“I received this book from the Blogging for books program in exchange for this review.”


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(UN)QUALIFIED By Steven Furtick A Book Review

I had read another of Steven Furticks books and thoroughly enjoyed it.  At that time I was not one to question context as in taking a verse out of context. However, now that I am learning more about context, it seems to pop out in all I read.

Overall this book, (UN)Qualified, is an easy read, full of interesting stories, and a lot of honesty on the authors part. For a major portion of the book he talks about our third word. I am… Stating that our third word is a direct reflection on how we view our God and that when we make these I am statements it is actually blasphemy. I agreed with this for a good part of it. I can understand that by calling myself ugly, worthless, or unimportant it can reflect my Creator. As I am supposed to reflect Him. With these as my third words I am basically saying the Lord messed up and made me wrong. I can see this. But not the second part of his statement on blasphemy.

The part I initially got excited about was the whole idea that God’s name is “I AM”. That when we put anything negative after our “I am” we are using the Lord’s name in vain. At first this made sense and then I dug deeper. What Steven Furtick is implying with this is a stretch, to me. There is a big difference between I AM and I am. I in no way feel I am on equal ground with God and His name is all capitols in the Bible. My I am is never all capitols, with good reason, I am not as mighty as my God. I am not my Creator.

“Remember, God’s name is I AM. So anytime we take his name and fill in the third word with things that are contradictory to what God says about us, we are taking his name in vain.”

He goes on about “Jesus is the I AM. God is the I AM. Therefore Jesus is God.” I agree with this statement 100% no question. Then a few pages later he states this. “But here’s what’s sobering, a lot of us come to the point of making a correct theological assertion about who Jesus is without ever making the connection between who he is and who we are now in him.” This is where the slope gets slippery. Yes, God is in us via the Holy Spirit. I have access to His strength, His gifts, and given His eternal life.  But when I make an I am statement, according to my interpretation of Steven Furtick’s writing, I am making myself equal to God. I am good, I am beautiful, I am fun, etc. My I am and God’s I AM are equal to each other, according to Furtick.

(UN)Qualified lives up to its name in regard to theological correctness. Again, in my view. I am not a scholar by any means. I learn as I go just like most people. I would only recommend this book to those that have a very discerning eye and will question things with those they trust. I was all excited about this segment in this book and then I ran it by someone in Seminary. He is learning all about context. After his explanation I went back and read the whole section again. I was highly disappointed that I saw his point and agreed with it. Disappointed because I would have run with Steven Furtick’s interpretation and may have led others on a different path away from the true meaning. There is only one I AM and I am not it.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


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Ignite Your Passion for God, a book review

I was drawn to Ignite Your Passion for God by Kay Arthur and Mark Sheldrake for a few reasons. One is that I enjoy Kay Arthur and two was the idea of a no homework study. I got a lot more than I bargained for with this book.
Kay Arthur and Mark Sheldrake open with “How To Use This Study”. This is fantastic! This section gives you the reason behind the book. “for people who are interested in learning for themselves more about what the Bible says on various subjects, but who have only limited time to meet together.” They also state that it is ideal for small groups that “want to devote only a portion of their time together to actual study, while reserving the rest for prayer, fellowship, or other activities.”They also give some helpful tips to facilitators.

In each week it opens with a short blurb getting you ready for the Scripture to follow. The ‘observe’ section leads you to the Scripture. There is a section just for the leader to help guide them along the class. Scripture is right there on the page for highlighting and easy reference. Ignite Your Passion for God also offers ways to mark references to different words as well as corresponding synonyms and/or pronouns.

The next sections is the discussion questions. There are roughly 3-5 questions to encourage the group to verbalize their thoughts and the process.

The last section is called “Wrap it up”. In this section they summarize a bit and point to you to apply it to your life. This is a section worthy of its own discussion time.

The categories or topics discussed in this book are:
*Fan the Flames
*God’s Word
*Passion for Prayer
*Passion for God’s Worship
*Sharing the Gospel
*How Suffering Ignites Passion

On the back cover of the book it says this: “Through this six-week study, your eyes will be opened to the distractions that can undermine your interest in the things of God, and you’ll discover practical steps you can take to ignite a fire that will propel you toward a deeper, more meaningful faith.”

This book does just that!

 

 

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”


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The Heaven Promise by Scot McKnight a book review

I have actually avoided books on the topic of Heaven. Mainly because a friend had read many and it was all she talked about. I prefer to live in the present and not think too much about what comes next. Not because I have zero interest, I do, but I have enough to learn about how to live for Christ now. I do understand the ‘why’ of her reading so much about it. She is in her late 70’s and is getting excited about where she is going next.

Scot McKnight’s book The Heaven Promise turned out to be a very good read with a lot of Biblical backing for all of his beliefs on Heaven. Unfortunately, for me, I almost stopped at page 10. Unfortunately, because what came after that was well worth the book. You see I got sidetracked by his discussion on page 10 about the Apostles Creed. Mr. McKnight was explaining how there is not a whole lot stated in the Bible about Heaven or Hell. Here he is talking about “the classic creeds of the Christian faith – the attempts by the best thinkers in the church to get back to the basics of the faith –“He points out “The grand-daddy of all creeds, the Apostle’s Creed, where we learn that Jesus descended into hell and ascended into Heaven, where he now rules, and that he’ll come again to judge the living and the dead.” I was sidetracked by this because even though I was raised in Catholic school and had memorized this creed, I had never given any thought to what it actually meant or implied. Seeing this in The Heaven Promise threw me off and started me on a goat trail.

I have never seen it in Scripture that Jesus descended into Hell. I also was not sure what the definition of a Creed was. A Creed is meant to highlight important facts from the Bible. As I researched I found some comments by John Piper. One of which was that he refused to say this line when it was recited as it is NOT in Scripture and it is not true or fact. He listed some Scriptures that others have interpreted as ‘hell’ but I, Piper and others strongly disagree. Also the fact that Creeds are written by man uninspired by the Holy Spirit so they are not to be followed and used as if they were Scripture. OK end of goat trail.

It took me several days to get past page 10 but I did! I am also very happy that I did. Let’s jump to Chapter 6 about God’s 6 promises. Scot McKnight puts all the focus on what the Bible DOES say about Heaven. “These are the big ideas about the Heaven Promise as found in the Bible:

First Promise: God will be God

Second Promise: Jesus will be Jesus

Third Promise: Heaven will be the utopia of pleasures

Fourth Promise: Heaven will be eternal

Fifth Promise: Heaven will be an eternal Global fellowship

Sixth Promise: Heaven will be an eternal beloved community”.

I love the way he lays it out like that. There is nothing extra painted in this picture. As writers often do, they will add words to make it more appealing, fancier or more exceptional. However, the Bible does it for you and does it beautifully. Mr. McKnight goes into some great detail on each point including stories from his personal life and other historical stories.

As he moves past the 6 promises he leads us through some great chapters, or should I say great-er? For instance:

  • The First Hour of Heaven
  • What about near-death experiences?
  • Who will be in Heaven?
  • What about children who die?
  • What about cremation?
  • Will there be pets in Heaven

Several more I did not mention but are well worth reading.

This book The Heaven Promise by Scot McKnight is great, no question. I feel he stayed right on target with what the Bible has to say on the subject and did not add any fluff or sugarcoat anything to make it ‘feel’ better. There were many places that he left open for the reader to decide their thoughts on things that are not black and white. I like that. We will never know, during this lifetime at least, all that God has, can and will do. There is a lot that remains a mystery but He has proven trustworthy.  Let’s leave it at that.

 

 

 

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


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Taking you from “hit or miss” to getting that “great shot”.

12194780_456354234548818_2825590127675304484_oI like to use a camera but have never taken the time to learn to do more than point and click. It was always just a fluke if I got the good shot. In Sarah Wilkerson’s book Capture the Moment she gives some great info to get you started. I believe she gives a basic understanding of:
Natural Light
Composition
Storytelling
Fine Art
Black and White
Low Light
As well as some other helpful tidbits for us beginners.

I was very grateful this was not a technical book. “During daylight hours, turn off the overhead lights, lamps, and other light sources in your home before you start shooting. Pay attention to the natural beauty of the light around you, and allow it alone to illuminate your subject or scene.” That just sounds so simple and easy to do. And it was:)

I used my favorite model and our own backyard to test out some of Sarah’s ideas.It was so fun to play and have a guideline like her book to follow. Make no mistake, this is basic, but if you are at all like me and are used to winging it this book could be just what you need to purposely get that great shot.12191213_456354277882147_1310959169744221086_o