Blog Tour: Bible Revival by Kenneth Berding

Bible Revival: Recommitting Ourselves to One BookBible Revival: Recommitting Ourselves to One Book by Kenneth Berding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This little book packs a big punch! Lack of knowledge of the Bible among American Christians is rather appalling in this day and age. Biblical illiteracy is rampant! This book points us back to the importance of knowing the Bible. It addresses some of the reasons why Christians don’t take the Bible more seriously and counteracts those reasons. A huge reminder that the Bible gives us everything we need to know to live a godly life. What is needed to live a godly life is clear in Scripture. That doesn’t mean everything in Scripture is clear, but what is needed to live a godly life is clear.
We need to get back to learning the Bible and that will only happen if we value the Bible. One reason we don’t value the Bible is the individualistic nature of the society we live in and the independent spirit that we are self-sufficient and don’t need anyone else. In reality we are completely dependent on God for our very lives. We may think we are in control, but ultimately God is on the throne. And He has graciously given us His Word to show us how to live godly lives.
Other points brought out in the book include understanding the Bible: reading and learning it in context as well as what it originally meant in the cross-cultural environment in which it was written. Then we can apply it as we see how it applied to the original audience. We then need to obey the Word. It’s not enough just to know it, but we need to obey and live it in our daily lives. This includes speaking the Word, talking about it with our family and friends in regular conversations. It’s not just for the pastor to talk about God’s Word on Sundays, but each of us as Christians to talk about it with those around us, in a respectful, loving manner.
A very quick read, but a lot of great points to think about and consider. How important is the Bible to your daily life? Do you see the sufficiency in it or are you handling life on your own?

The appendix includes a way to memorize Scripture, one way to get God’s Word in us and make it part of our daily lives.

*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.

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James Chapter 5

Wrapping up the book of James

In chapter 5 I saw a correlation to the Beatitudes. The rich who live for pleasures are denounced. Those oppressed by the rich cry out to God.
Patience for Christ’s return
Repeated – be patient; Christ’s return is near
Don’t complain – particularly against each other
An example of suffering and patience is the prophets.
We call blessed those who endured (see Matthew 5, the Beatitudes).
Job is an example of endurance. The Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Let your word be true (also in Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7).
Pray during suffering. Be cheerful, sing praises.
The sick are to call elders: pray and anoint with oil.
Prayer in faith – the prayer of a righteous man is effective. (Example – Elijah)
When see others stray – show him his error that he may turn back.

The rich have stored up treasure in the last days. Fattened hearts in a day of slaughter – led life of wanton pleasure and their hope is in treasures not God. Those oppressed by the rich – take heart (their day of judgment is coming). When one strays, bring him back – approach him and try to turn him back.

The theme of James is working out our faith – sanctification. The fruit of our faith will be seen in our actions.

Leadership for Women in the Church by Susan Hunt & Peggy Hutcheson

Leadership for Women in the ChurchLeadership for Women in the Church by Susan  Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Focusing on Jesus rather than our circumstances will enable us to run the race with wisdom. Notice that it is not the responsibility of the runner to determine the course of the race. We are to run the race that our sovereign God sets before us with Jesus as our model.”

“As Christians, we are a people in process; and in God’s economy the process is more important than the program we desire to see implemented or the change we desire to see occur…Our sanctification, our being conformed to the image of Jesus, is our Father’s goal for us. Over and over in his Word he tells us that often it is through adverse circumstances that the Holy Spirit brings about internal, sanctifying changes in our hearts.”

“Because we have been chosen we have been freed from enslavement to sin and we can now make choices that bring praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. Not only can we choose activities that are blameless in his sight, we can also choose to have attitudes that reflect the holiness of the Father. Christ gives us the ability to make these choices. Our first priority is to spend time with Christ so that his love will infuse our actions. Then we can serve with a loving spirit in the areas best suited to our gifts. This will produce a proper balance between piety and practice and will help us avoid disastrous distractions.” (emphasis mine)

James Chapter 4

Thoughts on James 4:

Cannot be friends with world and God both
Quarrels a result of sinful desires
Humility is needed
Leave judging to God
Don’t presume on tomorrow
Boasting/arrogance are evil
Sin of omission – knows right to do but doesn’t do it

What are our motives when asking God for things?
Theme = > Humility

Righteousness sown in peace (3:18)
Non-peace is due to unrighteousness
To avoid these unruly passions –

  •    Submit to God
  •    Draw near to Him
  •    Resist the devil
  •    Cleanse your hands
  •    Purify your hearts
  •    Mourn over your sins
  •    Humble yourselves
Arrogance and presumption – only God knows future
Judging others – we do the same and so condemn ourselves

Worry Free Living by Arnie Cole and Michael Ross

Worry-Free Living: Finding Relief from Anxiety and Stress for You and Your FamilyWorry-Free Living: Finding Relief from Anxiety and Stress for You and Your Family by Arnie Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very practical book on dealing with the worry and stress in our lives. It begins with what causes people to worry. Another chapter deals with actual disorders related to worry and anxiety, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Then steps are given to help break the fear-worry-stress cycle that we often find ourselves in. There are 3 components to fighting worry and stress. Each is addressed – the mind: telling ourselves truth statements, the body: eating healthy foods and exercising, and the spirit: growing in our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Some of the material deals with how to handle worry and anxiety in children and teens, as well as parents interacting with their young adult children.
At the end of the book is a 30 day devotional to help engage our minds with the Bible and combatting worry.
I would recommend this for people who feel that their lives are out of control with stress as it gives practical advice for lowering stress and worry.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Horger Alsup

Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily LivesPractical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives by Wendy Horger Alsup
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have a passion and love for theology. However, I often feel that I am in the minority in my desire to study more about God. In this book, the author addresses the need for every Christian to know theology, as it has practical implications for our daily lives. Geared toward women, the truths still apply for all Christians. She gives examples from her own life of trials that she and her husband faced that having a knowledge of Who God is was extremely important to help them get through these struggles. We cannot trust someone that we do not know. In order to better trust God through the trials and blessings of life, we need to know Who He is.

The book gives some of the basic information regarding the attributes of God, looking at each Person in the Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then it focuses on how we develop this relationship with God, through prayer and study of His Word. Throughout the book, the author continues to point out the practicality of knowing these things about God and His Word in order to better live our lives. Growing in our knowledge of God helps us to grow in our Christian lives to better reflect Christ to those around us. Throughout the book, Scripture is quoted over and over again to show Who God is and the importance of knowing Him, not just about Him, but having a relationship with Him. And we learn Who He is through His Word that He has given us. All we need to know about God can be found in the Bible.

A practical book for Christians to remind us the importance of knowing God and having a correct theology of Him in order to better live a life of faith. We have a theology whether we realize it or not and it is important to make sure that what we believe is based on God’s Word and not just what we see around us or through our experiences. I would definitely recommend this book to encourage Christians to see the importance of how theology affects their daily lives and the need to know God through His Word.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Quotes:
“…the power of theology to transform us as women where it counts most.”
“theology is the root, foundation, and framework for practical living that reflects wisdom and understanding.”
“Faith is the theological concept. Worry and anxiety are the practical issues of life. Here is clear evidence that the practical issue of worry in our lives is intensely affected by our theology.”
“The instruction is simple-set your heart and mind on Christ and eternity. Change your perspective and refocus.
“Proper theology is not complex, but it is fundamentally important for all believers, because knowing our God and understanding his character are essential tools that enable us to exercise wisdom in our daily lives.”
“We need to know what we believe about God and then act consistently with those beliefs when confronted with the daily issues of life.”
“We are called to willingly give up our rights and welcome the sacrifices that accompany being a servant to others.”
“We are called to humble ourselves-to forget ourselves, let go of our reputation and rights, and pour ouselves out in service to Christ and others.”
“The first temptation faced by all believers is the temptation to go to something or someone other than Christ for sustenance and encouragement.”
“Justification is the act in which God declares us righteous in heaven by switching our sins to Christ’s shoulders and Christ’s righteousness to ours.”
“…the things in our lives we can see that distract us from the greater, deeper things God is working for us in places we cannot see.”
“But prayer is first and foremost praise and adoration to the One who has purchased our salvation for us. It’s only after praising him and praying that his purposes be accomplished that God then invites us to bring our requests before him.”

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung

Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and MeTaking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful book on the importance and value of Scripture! Starting out with Psalm 119 – a love poem on the vast beauty and delight of Scripture – the author takes us through why the Bible is important and valuable for us. It is sufficient – containing all we need for faith and living. It is necessary – the only way to a relationship with God is described in its pages. It is final – there is no more revelation from God, Scripture is complete. It is understandable – everything that is needed to believe in God and have faith in Christ is able to be understood.
A very easy read, this book is also encouraging for us as Christians who love the Bible to see why it is important for us to value it. Without getting into the nitty-gritty arguments for the reliability of Scripture, it gives the Christian reassurance that this is God’s Word to us and necessary for our daily living in this world. As biblical illiteracy seems to be rampant in America, this book is a call to go back to God’s Word and read it, to learn, understand and follow its instructions for us. It is necessary and sufficient – for something so valuable it needs to be an integral part of our daily lives, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, sharing it. Highly recommended read!

Quotes:
“Psalm 119 shows us what to believe about the word of God, what to feel about the word of God, and what to do with the word of God.”
“Psalm 119 is the explosion of praise made possible by an orthodox and evangelical doctrine of Scripture.”
“The goal of this book is to get us believing what we should about the Bible, feeling what we should about the Bible, and to get us doing what we ought to do with the Bible.”
“May God give us ears, for we all need to hear the word of God more than God needs any of us to defend it.”
“The goal of revelation is not information only, but affection, worship, and obedience.”
“The word of God is more than enough for the people of God to live their lives to the glory of God.”
“God’s word is final. God’s word is understandable. God’s word is necessary. God’s word is enough.”
“It gives us something the Internet, with all its terabytes of information, never could: wisdom.”
“The purpose of Holy Scripture is not ultimately to make you smart, or make you relevant, or make you rich, or get you a job, or get you married, or take all your problems away, or tell you where to live. The aim is that you might be wise enough to put your faith in Christ and be saved.”
“You and I simply will not mature as quickly, minster as effectively, or live as gloriously without immersing ourselves in the Scriptures.”
“Sticking with the Scriptures may seem like a light thing now, but we will feel the weight of it someday. There will come a time when it will be shown whether our lives were founded upon trivialities or realities.”

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

The Hyperlinked Life by Jun Young and David Kinnamen (Barna Frames)

The Hyperlinked Life: Live with Wisdom in an Age of Information OverloadThe Hyperlinked Life: Live with Wisdom in an Age of Information Overload by Zondervan Publishing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short, succinct book on the positives and negatives that come with living in the digital age. We have constant access to information through our phones, the Internet, and social media. What do we do with this information? How does it affect our lives? Particularly as Christians, how can we honor God with our use of this technology.

After going through the good and the bad of having a constantly “on” type of life in this day and age, the book gives some practical steps and questions to consider how to make the best use of this technology without letting it control us or becoming an idol in our life. Taking periodic breaks from technology (“a digital Sabbath”) to keep our focus on what is truly important is one of the suggestions. Also making sure that we don’t forget the art of real conversation face-to-face with those around us.

A very practical book for use in this day of instant access and knowledge, it talks about the importance of wisdom in our use of technology and how to best honor God with it. It also discusses the need to not let the narcissistic tendencies of online life to take over how we portray ourselves.

This was a very quick read, likely could be read in an hour or two and recommended to help face the modern day challenges of the digital age.

*I received this book free from the publisher through Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my review.

James Chapter 3

Thoughts on James, chapter 3 –

-Teachers are held to stricter judgment
-Can tame animals but cannot tame the tongue
-Wisdom contrasted – Earthly vs. Heavenly (Above)

Earthly/Unspiritual Wisdom
Heavenly/Spiritual Wisdom
Jealousy
Pure
Selfish Ambition
Peacable
Disorder (Unstable)
Gentle
Vile Practice
Open to Reason
Full of Mercy
Good Fruits
Impartial
Sincere

Perfect – meaning mature/complete

The tongue is compared to the rudder and a bridle. What’s done with the tongue affects the whole person. Controlling our tongue requires wisdom. Meekness of wisdom – need humility. Proper wisdom leads to peace.

What comes from the tongue – is good and bad both coming out?
Comparison of fresh and salt water – should not be so, these do not come from the same source. A fig tree doesn’t produce olives.

Wisdom is applying knowledge to practical living.