Book Review: Grown-Up Faith by Kevin Myers

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Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life by Kevin Myers (with Charlie Wetzel)

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars

This was a super fabulous read! Grown-Up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life by Kevin Myers is one of those books that I feel like giving out to everyone. It talks about the basics of Christianity and the Bible, faith, and going deeper with God. All in all, I just feel like it’s a great read for Christ-followers, and also those who are young in the faith, struggling, or unsure if they believe at all. So yes, I very much recommend this book!

Spiritual maturity comes not from merely knowing about God, but rather from experiencing God with an intimacy that has emotion and affection. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 18)

Mature followers of Christ seek to be holy as He is holy. That require obedience to Him. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 20)

Grown-Up Faith is engaging, clear, and informative. Overall, an easy read … even though I took a little longer to finish it. I really enjoyed it. There were discussions that I’m already familiar with, and profound thoughts that deepened my understanding.

This is not merely a punishment; it’s a principle. When we disobey God’s life principles, the consequence is death. Why? Because by doing so, we disconnect ourselves from the source of life. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 53)

Everyone grows old, but not everyone grows up. Those who don’t grow up get stuck blaming others. They get stuck being a victim. Or worse, they become blind to their chosen victimhood … (Grown-Up Faith pg. 58)

Kevin Myers talks about reading and understanding the Bible correctly. It is one big story that points to Jesus Christ! He quotes a few great Christian authors and speakers. He talks about some of the tough questions that people ask about God, and shares thought-provoking scenarios to help bring understanding. He discusses our real purpose as Christians. He shares poignant and humorous stories and snippets from his own life. It was all very interesting, and I left this book feeling more passionate about living for God! Knowing Him and doing all for His glory is what I’m made for.

It’s less about being reformed and more about being transformed. This needs to occur from the inside out. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 175)

By obeying God, we become more like Christ and less like everyone else in the world. (Grown-Up Faith pg. 190)

If you are a Christian, this is a great book for you to read. If you are not a Christian, this is also a great book for you to read! I’m so glad I picked up Grown-Up Faith and am excited it’s now part of my Christian Living book collection.

I received a complimentary copy of Grown-Up Faith through BookLookBloggers program. This review is honest and all my own.

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Book Review: Freedom by Jennifer Renee Watson

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Freedom! : The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It by Jennifer Renee Watson

My Personal Review ~ 3.75 stars

I picked up Freedom!: The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It by Jennifer Renee Watson because I’m tired of me telling myself that I’m broken and I can’t move beyond it. (And, to be honest, the cover is quite gorgeous!) I enjoyed it, and, overall, feel like it had a truly great message!

God is not the voice in your head shaming you, saying you are not enough. God is telling you that He is enough. That He is the great I AM. Who He is inside of you is more than enough to take care of whatever you are facing today or what you will face in the future. Jesus is not tired of you. Jesus is waiting and unafraid of your questions. (Freedom! pg. 66)

For real, a lot of us Christians … perhaps especially women … willingly live in brokenness. We take on the victim mentality and try to survive each day and do the right thing and please all the people. Freedom! is here to tell you that it’s time to pursue freedom! In Christ, we can move into deeper freedom than we ever thought possible. We can stop listening to that negative, nagging, dark voice in our head that tells us we’ll never be good enough. This book hit on some important topics and gave me another boost in my journey of freedom & wholeness in Christ.

A couple things. For some reason or another, this book wasn’t as easy of a read as some. Some chapters took me awhile to get through. Also, there was just a bit of that You Deserve It!You’re a Strong, Kick-Butt Heroine stuff mixed into the message. And that tends to rub me a little wrong. But it wasn’t overpowering, because the biggest thing I got from this book was that I don’t have to stay broken, and Jesus Christ is my everything – He will help me break through.

Your safe person is always Jesus. He alone can mend and do what no person or soul sister can do. (Freedom! pg. 96)

Your grateful soul was what motivated you to service. You were too busy pleasing God to concern yourself with pleasing others. (Freedom! pg. 151)

So, Freedom! wasn’t a five-star read for me. But it still had some really, really good points in it. Paragraphs and prayers that brought just a little more healing to my heart. God is so good. Thank you, Jennifer Renee Watson, for writing this book. I look forward to growing in freedom and grace together, even though we may never meet. God bless you!

I received a complimentary copy of Freedom! from Bethany House Publishers. This review is honest and completely my own.

 

**Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on March 17th, 2019**

Sexy Christians

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As a Christian, how would you describe purity?

If we are image-bearers and adopted children of an absolutely pure God, how should purity manifest itself in our own hearts and lives?

We all know that pornography is a major issue for men … and increasingly so even within the Church. Something we may not realize is how big of an issue it is for women. Lately, it seems I’ve been coming across a lot of women giving testimonies of their struggle with porn and lust.

And it’s opening my eyes to the impurity that we as Christians have slowly allowed to saturate our lives.

I’m here to discuss entertainment and social media. Movies. TV shows. Books. Magazines. Blogs. Instagram. Particularly, faith-based entertainment. Christian movies aren’t as much of a problem, but women’s Christian literature is too often filled with sensuality.

Christian fiction.

It’s just a romance novel, you may say, It’s not pornography! It’s not like I’m looking at inappropriate images.

But if that scene is bringing up images in your head that you’re fantasizing over, how is it different from visiting a porn site? (And I know some women visit porn sites as well. But I just want to focus mostly on books in this post.)

There’s a different between reading about a sweet love story, and consuming a scene saturated with sensual imagery that stimulates a sexual reaction.

Christian authors, since when is it okay to write in a way that stirs up feelings that are only meant to be experienced between a husband and wife?

Married or unmarried, you should not be watching movies or reading books that awaken sexual feelings in you … That should come exclusively from your spouse! Not from peering into the private relationship of an imaginary couple on a screen or within the pages of a book. Why has this become acceptable?

Even if the books you read aren’t graphic or extremely explicit (most Christian books aren’t), would you watch your neighbor do what this fictional couple is doing? Why do we need to feel what she’s feeling when he kisses her? I know we want to feel like we are the character when we read a novel, but some things are better experienced in real life with the person you marry (married)!

Song of Solomon 2:7

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.

If you are going to romance books, Christian or otherwise, to awaken that type of sexual feelings, you have an unhealthy addiction. A sin problem. And even if you aren’t searching for that type of content, if you keep coming across books that are exposing you to an intimacy and awakening of feelings reserved for a different time, I would caution you.

And I caution authors. Be careful of what you write and send out to the public!

Dear sisters in Christ, your purity is precious and valuable. Guard it. Go above and beyond to honor God with your body. Think of how beautiful and exciting it would be to come to your husband as a new bride and let him awaken true and pure love in you … unencumbered by worldly expectations, confusion, shame, guilt, impure experience, and addiction!

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I am increasingly bewildered and upset by what Christian authors are selling us. Some of it is none other than a trap for young women. An endangerment to purity. An unexpectedly captivating luring into sexual temptation and sin.

An intriguing adventure and rich historical setting. Flawless writing and authentic characters. …And a scene of our main characters making out that goes on for pages. They never actually go all the way. Of course not. That would never do for a Christian novel! But I think I’m correct in saying that pages of describing sexual feelings and scenes is inappropriate and bound to cause many a Christian woman to struggle.

God created us as sexual beings. But it was not meant for us to be exposed to some of the things that we are. Like when a man is bombarded with sexy, half-dressed women on billboards, it naturally awakens feelings and causes a reaction. But this is not acting on one’s sexuality purely, and such feelings & following thoughts must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

The Bible says that marriage is honorable among all. And the marriage bed is undefiled. It is a devastating thing that Christian literature may be defiling the sexual relationship that you have, or will have, with your spouse.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

I want us to take note of this. Seriously consider it.

More and more Christian authors are coming out with books whose covers portray a sexy woman with a low neckline and sensual gaze. And many have scenes I feel are wholly inappropriate and uncalled for. Most of the novels in the Christian market have kissing scenes. “Scene” meaning it’s described in some detail. I’m not trying to make too big of a deal over kissing. Romance is a beautiful thing, and my heart always flutters when I watch a genuine, godly relationship unfold. But Christian authors, I just want to implore you to be careful. Crossing the line when it comes to sexual impurity is sometimes a very easy thing to do.

// Read my previous blog post on the subject of sensual content in Christian fiction – Does What I Read Honor God? //

If you’re writing a romance, be diligent in godliness. Pray and think. Ponder over the scenes you’re writing. Ask God for His imput.

Adding edgy details. Writing a glorified account of the past affair between two now-godly characters. Penning those swoon-worthy kissing scenes…

What is your motive? Is it glorifying to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Psalm 119:9-13

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.

Why, writers and readers … Christians in general … has sensuality become so normal that we have Christian women flaunting their bodies on Instagram and even in church, reading edgy romance novels, and watching sex scenes in movies like it’s no big deal? Normal and acceptable?

What happened to the call to holiness? And let’s be practical about this. We are called to be different from the world. And we can be. We have the power of Christ at work in us. We can be holy – set apart.

There is no such thing as sexy Christians.

We are called to absolute purity – no room for compromise!

Ephesians 5:1-7

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Colossians 3:5-7

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

So be careful about the books you’re reading, the movies you’re watching, the songs you’re listening to … all the things you’re filling your mind with. As an unmarried, Christian person, there is no room to be indulging in sexual gratification. And as a married, Christian person, there is only room to experience sexual gratification with your spouse. No exceptions. God created sexual feelings and such for a man and his wife. The end.

To experience sexual pleasure anywhere else is to pervert God’s beautiful, flawless design. And it is a grievous thing, indeed.

Now, this is not to say that young women mustn’t know anything about sexuality, or romance, or read books on this subject. In fact, I think it is important to get a healthy view of God’s design for sex before the world exposes you to its twisted, yucky version.

With that, here are a few Christian books on sexuality & romance that I recommend:

Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird

Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal (haven’t actually read this one yet, but pretty sure I’m going to recommend it!)

Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control by Elisabeth Elliot

Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Every Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn

Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge

And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity by Dannah Gresh

Answering the Guy Questions: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Relating to the Opposite Sex by Leslie Ludy

When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric & Leslie Ludy

Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Slattery

***

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

God and Your Health

I think it’s time to have a conversation about health.

God and Your Health

I know it’s a craze and you might get irritated by all the talk about natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, no MSG, essential oils, sugar-free, and so on and so forth.

Some people like to say: “I have Jesus. All I need to know is that He loves me.” But if you are using that as an excuse to be lazy about theology, I want to remind you that Christ is not a sparkly accessory to add to your life. He is Master.

He is master in every area of life. So He is master when it comes to health. Have you surrendered this area of your life over to God?

When you think of God, do you think of an obese, ignorant, slovenly dressed man with a careless attitude?

I didn’t think so.

So the question is, why do we, as His children – His representatives on this earth – think that we can be gluttonous, slovenly dressed, lazy, ignorant, and careless?

Ephesians 5:17-18

17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

I believe that God wants us to be healthy. In body, mind, and soul. This life isn’t for our pleasure, but for His glory! And heaven isn’t some dreamy, hazy realm. We’re going to live. So we better start learning how to live right now. Here on earth. Do your research. Study. Be wise. Be responsible. Be Christ-like.

No, you can’t eat whatever you want. For one, the Bible expressly says that gluttony is a sin. And two, your body is God’s temple! I think that’s a very good reason to be serious about taking care of your body and eating good, wholesome foods!

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 & 19-20

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Philippians 3:18-19

18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 

Have you thought about what you’re putting into that temple?

What are you putting into your mouth? High fructose corn syrup? MSG? Sugar? Palm oil? Tobacco? Have you considered whether these things are affecting your ability to do the kingdom work God has called you to? Whether you’re fighting fatigue, stomach aches, obesity, depression, headaches, irritability, frequent flus, or lung cancer, are you thinking about God’s glory when you eat, or only your pleasure?

If you can’t give up certain foods for the sake of your health – for the sake of the temple of your God – then it appears you have erected an idol.

Yes, food can be an idol. And I, in fact, believe that food is a very big idol to many Americans.

It is a sin to choose food over kingdom work. Food over submission to God. Food over kindness and sacrificing for your neighbor.

Proverbs 3:7-8

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Eating unhealthy food can affect our ability to love God and love people well.

And don’t just consider your current state of health, consider the future. Do you know the ingredients of the things you’re consuming? Have you looked into how they affect your body? Will they have a negative effect on you ten years down the road?

Proverbs 31:17

17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

What about what you’re putting on your body? Shampoo? Lotion? Soap? Hand sanitizer? Perfume? I’ve heard so many stories of women who were really struggling with health issues and things, and after getting rid of shampoo with parabens or some such in them, they were healed.

How about vaccines? Have you looked up what’s in them? Do you know that a large chunk of vaccines have aborted baby parts in them? Are you doing your due research, or are you blindly trusting your health (perhaps your children’s health) to doctors who may or may not know what’s in the vaccines they are giving out? And may or may not care?

These are truly important things to think about! What if vaccines do cause down syndrome, chronic migraines, SIDS, etc.? What if the junk in many shampoos and perfumes (and plastics) do lead to female problems, infertility, and inability to maintain a pregnancy? What if all the artificial stuff put in processed food does make the risk of cancer higher?

I believe a wise Christian cares about these things. We make wise, mature choices, and then trust the rest to God. Yes, we may die tomrorow. Or we might live to a ripe, old age.  Only God knows and He is in control. But it is our responsibility to make good choices concerning health.

Saying: “I’ll eat what I want, smoke, drink, and do whatever I want with my body … and when I die, I’ll be with Jesus! Don’t you want to be with God?” is just an immature way of declaring: “I don’t want to be disciplined and obedient. I want to do what I want, regardless of the consequences or what God has to say.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 15:30-34

30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

No, we are not going to just do what we want because we’re going to die anyway. We have something to live for! Christ! Our precious Lord and Heavenly Father! And our dear brothers and sisters in Him! We do not have to live in ignorance. We have a choice. We can either sleep in ignorance and shame, or we can awake to righteousness and truth. We can seek Him. We can make a choice to consciously make life decisions – big and small – for His glory.

It is to God’s glory that we take care of the bodies He intricately wove together in our mother’s womb.

This is not about being paranoid or obsessed. To me, being healthy does not mean obsessing about my weight, having a hot “beach body”, or saving myself from death and destruction. It means making choices about how I eat & live that are honorable to my Creator God! It means living to bring glory to Him – in the little things and the big things! It means being passionate about His kingdom and my part in it.

So what are you going to choose?

Perhaps God wants you to serve Him faithfully for a hundred years. So you better get in shape, and give up those dounuts and cigarettes, friend!

Pray. Study the Word. Love on people. Laugh! Move your body. Go on a walk. Work out. Limit your screen time. Read some good books. Try some new recipes. Limit sugar. Cook wholesome foods. Go to the chiropractor – get your spine all in order so that your body can signal and function properly. Research vaccines, parabens, microwaving food in plastic bowls, fake sugar, and the like. Get wisdom. Make informed decisions. God gave you a beautiful, complex brain … use it for the sake of your health! For the sake of the Kingdom. For the sake of Truth. For the sake of His glory!

3 John 1:2-3

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.