Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ultimate Debt Forgiveness

Easter is my favorite holiday.  Doesn't it sort of encapsulate everything we as Christians believe?
'Palm Sunday Cross' photo (c) 2007, NapInterrupted - license:
This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday, a remembrance of when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem as King.  As is customary, we received palm leaves at church.  I like to fashion them into a cross to represent the week from Palm Sunday through Good Friday and Easter.  This is a week to remember just what Christ suffered for our benefit.  For how many people would you lay down your life?  Jesus did that voluntarily for me and for you.  It's almost more than I can comprehend.  Do we ever take that in stride?  Taking communion is certainly a reminder, but do we think of Christ's tremendous sacrifice more frequently than that?  Do we get desensitized to the beating, the blood, the pain, the humiliation of that sacrifice?  If so, what does that mean for our spiritual walk?

I am by no means perfect in this (or any!) regard, but if I'm drifting, Easter week brings me back on track.  What brings you back to focus in your walk with Christ?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace (Book Review)

A while back I received a review copy of The One Year Devotions for Women:  Becoming a Woman at Peace, by Ann Spangler.  It's taken me some time to review it because I wanted to read the devotions daily, rather than just skimming the whole book in a few sittings.

According to the back cover, "[This book] helps you take hold of the peace God offers--a peace far richer and more satisfying than anything you can imagine."

Since my One Word for 2014 is Peace, I was eager to read this book.  The devotion for each day begins with a verse or two from the Bible; both the Old and the New Testament are represented.  Following that is an illustration and a principle, maybe three to five paragraphs in total.  Each day's entry ends with a short (one or two sentences) prayer about applying the principle to our lives.  The topics include things like fear and anxiety, wisdom, trust in God, and self-control.

I like The One Year Devotions for Women:  Becoming a Woman at Peace.  The word illustrations are effective and the lessons are solid.  I especially enjoyed reading it at bedtime, at the end of a stressful day.  I found that I was reading every second or third entry to my husband.  (Obviously he's not a woman, but many of the principles are universal.)  It's been good, and I recommend it.

The One Year Devotions for Women:  Becoming a Woman at Peace is available at Christian bookstores, from, and directly from the author (click on her name in the first paragraph).  For more information, visit the Tyndale House Publishers page or see the Google preview page.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Would Jesus Post? (Book Review)

"With great power comes great responsibility." ... And make no mistake:  social media gives us great power indeed.

We're all online, so what responsibility do we have as Christians?  This is the question addressed by author Brian D. Wassom in What Would Jesus Post?  I received a free-to-me e-book in order to review this title.

Wassom breaks down his thoughts into seven principles:
  1. Think before you post
  2. To your own self be true
  3. Guard your heart
  4. Don't miss the forest for the trees
  5. Don't be a stumbling block
  6. Be a peacemaker
  7. Build genuine community
Of course you'll have to read the book to see how he expounds on these principles.

Here are some of the ideas that I found interesting enough to highlight.  Parts in [brackets] are my own notes.
  • "If you're not paying for it, then you're not the customer--you're the product."  Social media companies make money by gathering, and selling access to, as much information about us as possible.
  • We may be drawn to think and behave in a certain way online that we would have never done anywhere else.  But if we nurture that second life to the point that it becomes what we truly desire, the role becomes our true self, both inside and out.  [That is, if we allow ourselves to get carried away with our online lives, we risk compromising our real lives.]
  • Social media magnifies the temptation to covet ... by showing us the things and relationships possessed by hundreds, if not thousands, of people on a daily basis.
  • [Some sites may cause us direct spiritual harm.]  But in many cases, the indirect effect of distraction is just as consequential.  By constantly providing new streams of data tailored to our personal interests and inclinations, social media can become an enormous time-suck, distracting us from more meaningful activity and effectively putting our souls to sleep.
  • Is love evident in what we're saying online?  And if it isn't, what are we accomplishing for God's kingdom?
That one about distraction really hit home for me!

What Would Jesus Post? is a short book:  I read it in two sittings.  While some of the points are common sense, quite a few were worded in thought-provoking ways or are things that I'd never really thought about.  I appreciated the reminder that we are ambassadors for Christ, and people are watching everything we do through that lens.

For more information, including a Google preview, an author bio, and purchasing information, visit the WestBow Press Product Page.