Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Can With I AM Sheila M. Luck, a book review

Sheila Luck's book, I Can With I AM, is a wonderful book. It's small but filled with Biblical truths and practical helps. I received a preview copy of this book from Aneko Press in exchange for my honest review and it's my honor to give it a big thumbs up!

As I read Sheila's book, I was impressed with her optimism. She admits she didn't always feel this way but felt a deep desire to be somebody. It took her years to understand her definition of being somebody and God's definition of the same thing were vastly different. She says, "Simply by our faith in Jesus Christ, we are somebody. But it doesn't end there. With God, the Great I AM, we can become somebody by the way we live. We can make a real difference in the world around us."

Throughout her book, Ms. Luck helps the reader understand God is the One who sets the plans for our lives. She quotes Jeremiah 29:11 from the Holy Bible and reminds us God's plans are good for us. They are plans to prosper us and not to harm us. They are plans to give us a hope and a future. Ms. Luck includes an example of her daughter, Chelsy, and how she discovered God's plan for her life through stepping out in obedience. Chelsy had no idea why she felt the need to travel to Guatemala but as she surrendered to God's will, she found complete peace in her decision.

Sheila says we must do what we can. She says it's important to understand the concept, "start doing what I can where I am. What I can is something i can do today, with the time, materials, and skills I have today. It is step one. Maybe if I take step one, step two will become apparent, and the means to accomplish step two will become available."

I Can With I AM, is a book that helps the reader first grasp the concept of the great I AM by explaining a little more about God's character and plans for our lives. By using Scripture throughout her book, we don't have to assume Ms. Luck knows what she's talking about. The very Words of Christ give clear direction to the reader on how to live, how to love, and how to show compassion to others.

Each chapter of the book goes into great detail on understanding how we, as Christians, can learn to follow the example of Christ and live out that example in our daily lives. One of my favorite chapters in her book was titled Love God Out Loud. Ms. Luck says, in that chapter, "When we love, it causes us to do things for the one we love. We love out loud." I'd never thought about my love for others being displayed in action but as Sheila points out, "Love is a verb, a word of action."

Along with her practical instructions on how to walk in love, Ms. Luck also gives helpful tips on carefully loving. Using the example of her relationship with her daughters, Ms. Luck explains that sometimes, when she offers to help, her daughters see her wanting to help as criticism. She says, "sometimes unsolicited help is viewed in the same manner. Our daughters occasionally view my help as criticism. Their perception is that I don't believe they're sufficiently competent to handle the situation on their own. That is not my intent. In my heart, I'm trying to help make their lives more pleasant." As I read this, I felt like Ms. Luck was describing a recent situation with one of my children. I was impressed, as I continued to read, her next piece of advice - "To do love, in the most loving way, we must understand what the one we love wants us to do, and not just assume we know what's best." Wow! I'd never thought of that concept before. I would certainly implement it at the next opportunity to assist my daughters.

If I had to sum up the message contained in I CAN with I AM, I'd have to say Ms. Luck wants the reader to understand the capability to do anything rests in the strength God provides. As we understand who we are in Christ and how He equips us to love others, we can do anything if we are only willing.

Purchase the book here from Aneko Press.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Overcoming Life by D. L. Moody, a book review

Dwight Lyman Moody was one of the greatest evangelists of all time. He was the sixth child in a family of nine children, and was born February 5, 1837, in the town of Northfield, Massachusetts. After accepting Christ, his passion for seeing others come to know and love the Lord consumed him and caused him to work diligently to see the gospel spread far and wide. 

In his book, The Overcoming Life, D. L. Moody presents practical information on how to live a life that not only pleases the Lord, but one that overcomes life lived in the world. He helps the reader understand we are constantly in battle. He explains how to recognize the battle and equips us to fight it. Not only does he equip us to fight, he provides detailed strategies on learning to live life abundantly.  

According to Moody, the Christian life is a life of conflict and warfare. We can only fight by living a life of faith in Jesus Christ. Moody says, "A young believer can often become discouraged and disheartened when he realizes this warfare. He begins to think that God has forsaken him, and that Christianity is not all that it claims to be. Instead, he should consider it an encouraging sign. No sooner has a soul escaped from his snare than the great adversary takes steps to ensnare it again. He utilizes all his power to recapture his lost prey. The fiercest attacks are made on the strongest forts. The fierce battles the young believer is called on to wage is the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart. God will not desert him in his time of need any more than He deserted His people of old when they were hard pressed by their foes."  

D. L. Moody presents Biblical information throughout his book that equips the reader to not only understand how to live a life that pleases Christ but how to life a life that overcomes all obstacles the enemy presents on a daily basis. He gives a list of internal and external foes the believer has to constantly face and explains each one in great detail. Regarding internal foes, Moody says, "An enemy inside the fort is far more dangerous than one outside." As I read this statement, I realized how very true his statement to be. Some of the internal foes included in Moody's list are temper, covetousness, and pride. External foes, Moody explains, are found listed in the Bible in the first chapter of John chapter 2 verses 16-17. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away and the lust thereof, but he that does the will of God abides forever." A few traits from the list of external foes include pleasure, worldly habits, and persecution. 

Not only does Mr. Moody want us to understand our enemy and how to fight the battle, he wants us to learn valuable lessons from a life of repentance. By understanding how to ask for God's forgiveness and accept His free gift of grace, the reader learns all aspects of successful Christian living. 

I found this book to be a wonderful teaching tool on living an abundant life in Christ. Mr. Moody's evangelistic heart shone brightly throughout each chapter. His clear and concise explanations would prove helpful to not only the baby Christian, but also to the mature person of faith. 

I would like to thank Aneko Press for providing me with this complementary copy of  The Overcoming Life in exchange for my honest review. I was not encouraged to provide a positive review but it is my pleasure to give this book a big thumbs up. It is important for believers to walk in victory and the lessons included in this book will help them do just that. 

To purchase the book, click here

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, a book review

I love Ann Voskamp's books. Her book 1000 gifts is one of my all time favorites so you can imagine my excitement when she released her newest book, The Broken Way. Ann has a unique perspective on things and always manages to find a deeper spiritual insight where most of us merely miss them.

The Broken Way grabbed my attention as soon as I read the title. You see, I've been going through my own season of brokenness. For the past two and a half years, I've been fighting breast cancer. My body has been broken but also my spirit. Breast cancer does that to you. For a Christ follower, it causes you to reexamine your faith and learn to reevaluate your life. Brokenness becomes a gift if you receive in the way it was intended. I know that's a hard statement for some to swallow but believe me, I am evidence of the fact. The brokenness I have experienced in my journey with cancer has been eye opening and I am thankful God chose this trial specifically for me. I'm thankful He chose to break me of my self sufficiency. In the words of Elisabeth Elliot, "To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss." The loss of my breasts caused me to experience a loss of identity. My brokenness was extremely difficult but necessary. I needed to see my life as Christ saw it. I needed the brokenness to facilitate healing in my life.

In Ann's book, The Broken Way, she explains one of the main tactics of Satan is to attack and distort our identity. She says, "You can feel the hiss slithering up your neck like this deafening replay in your head: Did God really say you were worth anything? Look at you - your're damaged goods. you're too broken to be chosen." And if we believe that lie, Ann says believing that is the same as believing a lie that God isn't enough.

I loved the way Ann uses analogies through her book to help her readers get a clear visual of what she's talking about. Since she lives on a farm, she uses the example of grains of wheat for a lot of her life lessons. She talks about the necessity of the wheat needing to be broken so it can sprout new life and compares it to her own life.

Ann is very open and real in her book. She shares her struggles after the sudden unexpected death of her sister and how she struggled to deal with that. She shares about her deep depression and how she began cutting herself to try to understand the pain she was feeling. She uses her own times of brokenness to help the reader see that brokenness is a necessary part of growth.

This book is deep. It will cause you to do a lot of thinking if you read it. It's a really good book and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's one I'll keep in my collection forever.

I would recommend this book and I give it a 5 star rating. Ann's faith shines through every paragraph of this book. She's so in tune with God and her writing style will immediately draw you in. If you're looking for a life changing book, this one is it!

You can purchase the book here.