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Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage

Podcast Recommendation: Stop and Think About It

If you are looking for a Christian podcast that is theologically sound to add to your list, look no more. The podcast I am talking about is called Stop and Think About It and it is run by one of my pastors, Phil Sessa, and one of my closest friends and brother in Christ, Glenroy Clarke. I have known both Pastor Phil and Glen for many years. Both are very solid in the faith and I trust their judgment. 

Pastor Phil in addition to pastoring my church, and running this podcast, also has his own ministry called Soul Fishing Ministries created to help equip Christians with tools to better evangelize. You can find the website here

Glen is also a writer and actually co-wrote one of my first blog posts.

The podcast is in the style of a conversation. It gives the feel that you are at the table with Pastor Phil and Glen and they discuss various topics affecting the church in this day and age. Topics range from theological questions to cancel culture. They have, in my opinion, valuable information and input to what is happening in today’s culture that we as Christians, should be mindful of and ready to discuss at any given moment. 

Hope you enjoy it!

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Book Recommendations, Pilgrimage, Reading Journey

Free Books!

Crossway is currently giving away a few free books if you are willing to fill out a quick survey. One of the books is titled The Gospel Comes With a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield. I had heard my pastor’s wife speak highly of it and intended to purchase it at some point. It touches on the topic of hospitality and how God can use it to draw unsaved souls to Himself. I am very glad I was able to snag this ebook for free and look forward to reading it in the future. You can find the survey for this book here. It’s is quick and does not request much personal information aside from your email, gender, marital status, and parental status. 

The other four books that are currently also being offered in exchange for filling out an identical survey are Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin, Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney, Side by Side by Edward T. Welch, and Awe by Paul David Tripp. Although I had not heard about all of these, I figured why not get them while they are free. I am familiar with David Tripp and had heard about the one titled Praying the Bible and now I own them in ebook. Can’t complain that I got them for free. I like free things! You can find the survey for those books here.

Enjoy!

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

You Are Not Enough Book Review
Adulting, Book Recommendations, Life, Pilgrimage, Reading Journey

Book Review: You Are Not Enough, (and That’s Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

I had been listening to Allie Beth Stuckey’s podcast for a few months, maybe a year, when I heard, she was writing this book, and before I even knew what it was about or its title, I was excited. The book is titled “You Are Not Enough (and that’s okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love.” I knew it was going to be a good book, and I was right. Is it for everyone? I’d say so, but considering the topics, I’d say not everyone would agree. 

I say this because we currently live in a time where “self-love” and “self-care” are being pushed on us. We hear things like “you need to love yourself first,” “you need to take care of yourself and your feelings.” We hear people constantly say, “your emotions are valid” and countless other similar sayings, but these are not necessarily correct if we want to be biblical. Not to say you shouldn’t take good care of yourself, but you should not only focus on, well, you. There is more to life than bettering oneself, and as Christians, we are called to be Holy, for He is Holy; thus, the focus is not on us but Him. 

In this book, Allie covers the latest “self-care” trend and how we react to it as Christians, but she also touches on a few political matters and how we are to regard them through a biblical lens. She talks about “equality,” “social justice,” and many more. I put these words in quotation marks because although we hear them often, they tend to have different meanings based on who is speaking. “Equality” to a Christian is not the same as what “equality” is to the world. 

This is a book I would strongly recommend to my female friends and any bible believing woman. It is a much-needed book for the times we are in. I also recommend you check out a previous post of mine titled “You Will Never be Perfect (and that’s ok)” that touches on a few topics Allie discusses in her book, you can find that link here. I don’t want to give too much away but I will include some quotes below along with an Amazon link, in case you decide to purchase it. 

*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect on the price you pay.*

“Without the Bible as our basis for justice, we get a system based on the only tool we have without a supreme moral Lawgiver: the self.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“The self isn’t enough—period. The answer to the purposelessness and hollowness we feel is found not in us but outside of us. The solutions to our problems and pain aren’t found in self-love, but in God’s love.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“When we follow Christ, we are never at risk of “losing ourselves,” because our identity is eternally found in him.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“Social justice is concerned not with equality of opportunity but equality of outcomes. In order to achieve this, it must hold back those who are ahead and push forward those who are behind. Equality of outcome is NEVER possible without government force.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“While it’s true that we have experiences and trauma that shape us, these things don’t equate to moral truths. They just happened. And maybe they were significant, and maybe they taught us something. But in order to know whether these lessons we learned are truths worth building our lives on, we have to compare them to the standard of truth, God’s Word.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Book Recommendations, Pilgrimage, Reading Journey

Free Resource for Christians: Investigating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Here is a free Kindle book I was recently told of. I think it would be a great resource for any Christian who wants to dig into Christ’s Resurrection. Below is a brief description of the book and the link for download.

**As a disclaimer, any Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you order from the link, I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you.**

“This book provides an original and comprehensive assessment of the hypotheses concerning the origin of resurrection Christology. It fills a gap in the literature by addressing these issues using a transdisciplinary approach involving historical-critical study of the New Testament, theology, analytic philosophy, psychology and comparative religion.

Using a novel analytic framework, this book demonstrates that a logically exhaustive list of hypotheses concerning the claims of Jesus’ post-mortem appearances and the outcome of Jesus’ body can be formulated. It addresses these hypotheses in detail, including sophisticated combinations of hallucination hypothesis with cognitive dissonance; memory distortion; and confirmation bias. Addressing writings from both within and outside of Christianity, it also demonstrates how a comparative religion approach might further illuminate the origins of Christianity.

This is a thorough study of arguably the key event in the formation of the Christian faith. As such, it will be of keen interest to theologians, New Testament scholars, philosophers, and scholars of religious studies.”

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Pilgrimage

Reflecting on this Past Year

As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to take some time and reflect on what this year has been. Oh, and what a year it has been!!! I can’t even count all the disappointments and I won’t because nobody has time for that and it won’t change a thing.

Although it may not have been the year I expected it to be, it was still a year full of blessings and much joy. God has been faithful even through the negatives. 

The world was suddenly changed within a matter of weeks beginning in March. Most of us were forced to stay indoors, jobs were lost, the economy plummeted and rose. There was an insane election, also much death but through it all God was faithful. 

As much as I would like to hop on the bandwagon and bid 2020 “good riddance” I must admit that God was good to me and has been sovereign through all this. 

I ask that you too look on the bright side of this year and remember that, instead of the bad parts. 

Below I wanted to share a few Bible verses to help bring us hope for the new year. 

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭31:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy New Year!!!

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage, Politics

How to Be a Better Informed Voter: 5 Non-Biased News Websites

With the Presidential Elections just around the corner and early voting in effect, I wanted to write this for those who are still undecided and haven’t voted. In this day and age, there is a huge amount of media bias in practically every news source out there. For years, I grew up watching the news and because I was young and not very into politics, I was not aware that I was being swayed to think one way without even noticing.

When I became an adult and obtained my own set of values and morals, was when I realized how biased some of the channels I watched were. I have since become pretty skeptical of many sites and TV channels. I do have my political leanings but I think it is important to get up to date news from websites that are mostly unbiased.

I think it is important, as an individual, to think for yourself and make up your own mind, regardless of what your family and friends may think. I typically don’t discuss politics outside of certain family members and close friends because of how polarized politics have made everyone. I am open to trying to understand why someone thinks differently than me but there have been times where I alluded to my own leanings and was immediately mocked. Hence why I don’t discuss politics with just anyone.

Anyway, I wanted to provide this list of websites where you can get your news and be able to formulate your own views and opinions without being swayed by media bias.

All Sides

All Sides gives your varying news articles on a subject from different websites and shows you which way they lean.

Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics provides articles from a mostly non-biased perspective.

C-Span

C-Span is a site with factual news and marked least biased by Media Bias Fact Check.

Gallup, Inc.

Gallup, Inc, is a research-based site providing factual information.

Media Bias Fact Check

Here you can check out most of the websites out there and see how they lean.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Pilgrimage

Book Review: Do More Better by Tim Challies

“Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

I’ve known that we must be good stewards of our money but I didn’t always apply it to time. The way we spend our time is something we ought to think about more often. Do I do this always? Absolutely not. If you ever see the amount of playtime time I’ve put into Animal Crossing, you’d see I wasn’t kidding.

I don’t always look at how I spend my time on a grander scale but this book goes through practical ways in which we can do this. This is a book that would indeed help you “do more better”, and with that I end my review…Just kidding. 

In this book Challies explains why we must seek to be productive. Everything we do should be done for the glory of God and we must organize ourselves to do this as best we can. 

Godly productivity is a mindset. Challies makes sure to emphasize this. He actually tells the reader that if they are solely looking for ways to be productive to skip to the last chapters. What he does in this book, is break down what we need to be productive with and how it’s involved with our spiritual lives by breaking down tasks into categories and subcategories. I actually found this to be very helpful. It helped me organize myself better. 

For example, I am in a ladies discipleship group, this would be a subcategory under “Church” for me. Also in my church category is “Translation” a ministry I am a part of in my church. Here I would designate tasks revolving around the Spanish translation of the sermon. Usually, I need to gather all the Bible verses and have them ready in Spanish for when the preacher reads it, that way I don’t have to paraphrase. I’m not a fan of paraphrasing God’s word during sermons. So I set the task that needs to be done on my app, set a due date and a reminder because let’s face it, we don’t all remember everything always. 

Challies breaks down why it is important to be mindful of our time and how we manage it. He gives his own examples of how he does things and give life examples that are informative. 

This book will help guide you on how to practically set up a task management app, calendar and an information management tool such as Evernote so that you can do more better. It’s not a long book, you can definitely read it in a week or less and even setting up all the tools isn’t too complicated. I got a lot from this book. It’s worth the read. If you are looking to get your spiritual life together and want to be more productive definitely check it out. 

Here are a few quotes from the book I thought were notable: 

“You need to structure and organize your life so that you can do the maximum good for others and thus bring the maximum glory to God.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

“Your good works are like a light, and when that light shines, it illuminates God. When people see that light, they aren’t meant to look at you and say, “He’s incredible” or “She’s amazing.” They are meant to look at God and say, “He is awesome.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

“You haven’t begun to live a focused and productive life until you have said no to great opportunities that just do not fit your mission. There are many good things in this world that will go undone or that will have to be done by someone else.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

“If you are a student and apply yourself to your studies, you are doing a good work that brings glory to God, because what you learn can and will be used someday to benefit other people. If you work in an office environment and do your job with consideration to your clients and coworkers, you are doing good works that bring glory to God, because you are living outside yourself, doing what benefits the people in your life.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

“Busyness may make you feel good about yourself and give the illusion of getting things done, but it probably just means that you are directing too little attention in too many directions, that you are prioritizing all the wrong things, and that your productivity is suffering.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

“There is no task in life that cannot be done for God’s glory.”

Tim Challies, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity
Pilgrimage

Journey With Ang: Two Years Strong

Today is my second Blogiversary! Yay! I’ve been reflecting on the past two years of doing this and I am glad I started this. Initially, I wanted to monetize my blog, and possibly use it as a side hustle type thing because after all, every “Start a Blog” related post on Pinterest only talks about how to monetize your blog. But over time, I’ve discovered that I genuinely enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts in my very own space.  Thank you all for sticking around.

Here are a few things you can expect from me this year are:

  • More book reviews! I enjoy reading, and I especially enjoy sharing my thoughts on books. I intend to be a bit more structured when it comes to these reviews. I’ve made a list of questions to ask myself as I read so that way, I can provide better insight into the book. 
  • More recommendations for biblical resources. You can never have too many.
  • I’ve been dabbling in Cricut crafts lately, so I might also write about the projects I’ve made. What software I use and how I make my crafts from start to finish.
  • My personal view and convictions on current and not so current events. 
  • And as the subtitle of my blog indicates healthy habits. It’s been an interesting year and I’ve been making some changes, subtle, but good changes nonetheless, which I will share with you here. 

Again, I want to thank you all for coming along with me on this little journey and hope you continue to enjoy future posts. And remember, do all things to the glory of God.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Book Recommendations, Life, Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

Book Review: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

I’ve had many people recommend The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. After hearing about it for a while I have now finally read it. I saw that Allie B. Stuckey’s book club would be reading it and figured, now is the time. I had never read a book with an online book club before and thought it would be cool. Although I did not comment on any of the review questions, I thought it was nice to be reading the same book with many other women in the faith.

When I began reading the book, it took some time to get into the style it was written in. The book is a series of letters written by Wormwood’s uncle Screwtape.

In these letters Screwtape gives instructions on how to keep his patient from growing in Christ and being saved. He offers suggestions on how to keep him distracted so he doesnt grow, such as being dissatisfied with his church, looking at other believers as if they fall short (which we all do) and thus he should not be part of them or that because they fall short, then the whole faith must be false. He suggests having the patient become good friends with the elite because that will keep him grounded in worldly things. He discouraged godly relationships, basically anything to distract him from the faith. 

I’m sure in our experience we have come across seasons where we are dissatisfied with our church or are holding onto relationships that are not good for us. I just find it fascinating how a book written some time ago still resonates with what is happening now, kind of mind boggling really!

*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect to the price you pay.*

Here are a few quotes from the book so you can get a taste of what I mean:

“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them for eternity.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts, Your affectionate uncle SCREWTAPE”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours. For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

You can find a link to buy the book in this post. I think this book is worth the read. You will definitely see how concerns of the past are still relevant today. It is an interesting perspective to see how the enemy (the real enemy not the enemy in the book who is our Lord) might be plotting to keep up away from Christ and seeking spiritual growth. 

SDG- “Soli Deo Gloria”

Book Recommendations, Pilgrimage

Book Review: Corovavirus and Christ by John Piper

There is a lot going on right now, so this review will be brief. As we are all aware we are currently in the middle of a pandemic, or at least what I hope is the near end of the pandemic. So much has happened in the past two months, that it’s hard to put into words.

Because of the lockdown in New York, I have been working from home for a little over 2 months. I rarely leave my home and when I do it’s only to walk the dog. Going outside is a weird feeling, it’s as if we are living in Bizarro world, barely anyone is out and if they are, they are wearing masks.

Most people avoid walking on the same sidewalk as us, (possibly because our dog looks aggressive, but really she’s a sweetie who just loves smelling and jumping on people) but also because people are afraid to come into close contact with any other humans. I can only imagine how strange things will be when the city reopens. 

I began to read Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper, at the height of the pandemic, when the death tolls were in the thousands on a daily basis. I watched Gov. Cuomo almost everyday religiously just to keep up with what was going on. This book’s release was very timely. As I read through it, I was both informed and reassured that there is nothing outside of God’s control. I am a strong believer in God’s sovereignty and this book went into various reasons for the virus, many of which revolved around the sovereignty of God.

Although I was receiving bad news on what seemed like a daily basis, this book brought peace to my mind, until I didn’t, but it wasn’t the book’s fault I lost my peace of mind. A little over half way through the book, I was informed that a family member of mine was admitted to the hospital and that the doctors didn’t believe they would come out alive. Although I know God is sovereign, I was wrestling with the thought of my ill family member. 

About a week later, the doctor’s words became true, my aunt passed away due mainly to the virus. It’s a bit hard to write this because it is still recent, but I want to share my heart with you, because I think it might help give a different perspective. Now I have mentioned many times that I am a strong believer of God’s sovereignty, but at the time I found out, I was shaken.

I was sad and overwhelmed. You see, I knew my aunt was unsaved and I was struggling with the thought that she did not go to heaven. I do hope that in her last days she may have contemplated the gospel that was shared with her through the years by my mother and grandmother, and that she repented and was saved, but that is a mystery I will not know the answer to for some time. 

Of course I still feel sad, but trusting in God and his sovereignty has helped me. 

In this book John Piper gives many reasons for the virus, one being that God is showing what sin looks like, just in a form we are not used to. We know that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but we aren’t always able to see the weight of sin as we can now, with the virus. We know that there will be a second coming and that the earth groans waiting eagerly for Christ’s return, this is just one example of this. 

Things may look grim but we know who we have believed and we know He is faithful to keep us. I finished the book about a week after the bad news, the book helped me see again where my faith is rooted, and who my foundation is. God is in control of everything, even this virus, even all the bad things going on, everything is in His hands. I know that this virus has brought many to Christ, and the gospel was shared continually throughout this difficult time. God works in all situations, let us remember where our faith is. 

Check out the book for yourself, I tried to be vague because I do want you to check it out. I got a free copy from Crossway.org, they also have the audiobook available for free, you can find that here. A physical copy of the book was released and you can purchase it here. I would recommend this book to anyone, or any age, believer or non-believer, it helped put our current situation into perspective and I think you would enjoy it and learn from it. 

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

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