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.
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.”
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.”
As you may know by now I love listening to podcasts. I have shared two of them in the past, Sheologians and Relatable but this time I decided to focus on five short podcasts. If you are looking for a quick lesson on theology, I hope you’ll find this post to be super helpful. Most of the podcasts I will mention here are typically shorter than ten minutes, so you can catch them on your way to the store, taking out the trash or any activity that doesn’t take much time. They are quick and informative. Check out the list below:
5 Minutes in Church History
5 Minutes in Church History is exactly that, 5 minutes. In these 5 minutes, you can hear short clips informing you of various topics and characters involved in church history, from Martin Luther to C.S. Lewis. I really enjoy this one because I learn something new every time. (As I write this, I am reminded of a book I’d like to find thanks to their podcast titled The Tyger and the Lamb)
Ask Pastor John
Ask Pastor John features John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church for 33 years and author of many books including “Don’t Waste Your Life” (I did a review of this book a few months ago), answering questions submitted to him in this podcast. There have been many interesting questions that I myself have had and I’m glad John Piper is willing to answer them. Not only was he a pastor for many years and an author but he is also the founder and senior teacher of DesiringGod.org, which makes him all the more credible. So, if you have theological questions, maybe you should submit them -maybe he’ll even answer them on the podcast.
Open Book with Stephen Nichols
Open Book with Stephen Nichols is a Ligonier Ministries podcast. Stephen Nichols quickly discusses books read and studied by R.C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier, and John MacArthur, author and general editor of the MacArthur Study Bible and founder of Grace to You. In this podcast he discusses books that have shaped the way R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur think. Most segments are shorter than 10 minutes and if you are like me and love reading, it’s worth listening to, with a notebook at hand, to jot down books to buy, because we all know, you can never have enough books, much less theological books for our spiritual growth.
**As a disclaimer, any Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you order from the link, I get a small advertisement fee at no additional cost to you.**
Renewing Your Mind Minute with R.C. Sproul
Renewing Your Mind Minute is exactly one minute long, I kid you not. Every segment is one minute. The podcast involves Mr. Sproul, briefly introduced in my last podcast, who answers questions and provides quick insights into reformed theology. It goes through topics such as Legalism, Escaping the Wrath of God and so many others. One minute lessons from R.C. Sproul are great for obtaining quick and useful information about the Christian faith.
Simply Put is another Ligonier Ministries podcast, but rather than going through books or topics it provides definitions for theological terms we all may have heard and are learning about. It can help you increase and build your christian vocabulary. This podcast’s episodes are typically less than 5 minutes and provide insightful and simple explanations to words and terms we may have heard thrown around during sermons or at conferences -words such as theophany and imputation. Save this to your list of podcasts and check it out whenever you come across any theological term you may not understand. This podcasts’ episode list is pretty expansive and continues to grow.
I hope you enjoyed this list and have saved each and everyone of these to check out later. It is always a pleasure for me to share any tidbit of information I come across with other believers. I am by no means an expert, I am just a girl seeking to know Christ more and live like Him. If there are any other short podcasts out there, please feel free to let me know about them in the comments section below. I’d love to check them out.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Now that we are all hunkered down, for the most part due to COVID-19, we have more time to study, and for that same reason Ligonier has made their entire library of hundreds of teaching series free to stream!!
If there is something I consider to be a complete waste of time, energy and breath, it’s complaining, huffing and puffing at a fast-food chain because they are understaffed and not getting your order out as fast as you expected. I see this all the time. Obviously, these workers are running around trying to do at least two jobs at once and your huffing and puffing is of no use, it will not make then work faster than they are at the moment.
Don’t grow up to be that cranky old person, set in their ways who only care about themselves and what they want. Maybe it’s because I live in New York, and New Yorkers seem to be the rudest, most self-centered people on the planet (I exaggerate here) but you get the point. New Yorkers are known to be rude, they always want things their way and when they don’t get it, they huff and puff like the big bad wolf. Don’t be like typical New Yorkers, be considerate.
I was recently at a KFC waiting in line for my food, I brought up the understaffed scenario because that is exactly what was going on here. I was stuck in line in front of a man, who from the very beginning came in with a bossy and demanding attitude. He wanted to know if they had chicken tenders and he wanted his answer fast. To his surprise, he came into an understaffed KFC that had employees running everywhere and no one was getting to him as fast as he wanted, which led him to mutter under his breath complaints about how he just wanted a yes or no answer to a simple question. After getting his answer (yes, they have chicken tenders FYI) he stood in line behind me. All the while I waited patiently for my food, this man shifted back and forth and often complained that they only had 3 workers and the line was getting longer, obviously anyone with eyes can see that. He proceeded to complain about the service and even tried to engage in conversation with me as if I was going to agree with him.
There are a few things I have learned during my few adult years, here are a few of them.
Complaining Usually Does Not Result In Much
I mean seriously, has constantly complaining helped any? I know there is a saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, however, I don’t think that applies to complaints, they fall into a constantly inquiring category. You constantly ask for the status of something and eventually, the person being questioned resolves what you want, but complaining… That’s different. As much as I dislike my job at times (I have noticed I complain every chance I get and I shouldn’t) it doesn’t make the problem go away. Complaining about the pains of my job and difficulties I face on a daily basis, is not going to get my work magically done. It just doesn’t help resolve anything so why spend our precious time in it (I am really speaking to myself here, its something I struggle with, to be honest)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”
Philippians 2:14 (ESV)
Be Nice To People, It Usually Has Good Results
Have you ever heard the saying “ you catch more bees with honey” well you do! Being nice to people has never resulted in a negative way for me. Sure, not everyone is nice, some people are just plain rude and nasty but that doesn’t mean you have to be also. I had a client who disliked me from the moment he met me, I have no idea why he was just always rude to me and constantly compared me to his prior paralegal. He always found a flaw in everything I did, to be honest, I hated when he called because I knew he was going to complain about something but I picked up the phone and kindly answered every question he had, I figured I’d kill him with kindness. Well, after a year of being kind to this man who was always rude, he started calling me nicknames, like “love” and “sweetheart” (in Spanish), I was taken aback the first time, but soon after getting used to it.
It was not something I would have expected from him, by the time his case settled and everything was done, he actually thanked me for all the help I provided him, this after he had a small fit, left my office only to come back half an hour later and apologize to me because “I have always been kind to him and I did not deserve for him to have acted that way”, he asked me for a hug before he left and walked out of my life forever. I think I will remember forever, my toughest client turns nice and acknowledges my kindness, see, being kind pays off. You also get people to help you out more if you are kind to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have been kind to someone who I haven’t even met in person, and they are also kind back. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
Admit When You Are Wrong
This is something I need to do more often than I would like to admit, especially at work. How many times have I made mistakes at my job? I have no idea. I know I wrote a blog post on this topic before, you can find the link here. I have grown so much from admitting I made a mistake, preferably, I would rather not make them in the first place but at least there is always a lesson. From every mistake I have made, I have learned what not to do and how to correctly handle a situation.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8 (ESV)
Own Up To Your Mistakes
Also aligned with the point above, owning up to my mistakes has grown me so much. I have learned many lessons and God has humbled me every time I had to admit I messed up.
“Repent, therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out”
Learn From Your Mistakes and Keep It Moving
I have met many people who are stuck in a rut, why? Because they do not want to admit they made a mistake, it takes humility to do that and humility is not a trait that comes easy. It is the complete opposite of pride, the sin that is the root of many other sins.
“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,”
Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)
Adulting is by no means easy, I think most of us who have entered adulthood can admit, we can relate to a young bird who is pushed off the ledge by his mother so he can learn to fly except, we hit the side of the cliff 40 times before we achieve takeoff.
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment on any of your adulting lessons below.
If I had to write a letter to the teenage me, it would go a little something like this.
I know you are at a critical time in your life right now and think what is happening right now is the most important stuff that will ever happen, the most crucial, and important. But what if I told you that’s not true. What if I told you (yes, this is a pun, and at your age you probably wouldn’t get it because memes are not a thing yet but you will grow to love memes and also watch the Matrix…) that what happens in your teenage years is not so pivotal? One day you will look back and laugh, you will scold yourself for the time wasted and the emotions spent on nonsense. So here would be my advice to you.
Stop worrying about what other people think about you. In a few years you will no longer see these people and their opinion will be the last thing on your mind. Let go off all the things that make you anxious, trust me you will thank me (yourself later). With all the time you spend being angry, you can be doing other things. Your current friends will not really be your friends in a few years, in fact, you will all go your separate ways and you will really only message one of them sporadically via social media. Oh and on social media, at this point in your life it is not a big deal but boy will it take over, so be careful and mindful of the time you spend on social media (facebook and instagram) you won’t really see these until the late 2000’s and early 2010’s.
Try a few different genre books and listen to more 90’s R&B, that is some good stuff. Spend more time reading and less time arguing. Try and look at the world from another person’s perspective, do not be swayed by what the world tells you. I know at this point God is not very big in your life but I would ask that you think about eternal things more. Think about where you will go and how your actions will affect you and others. Now, I don’t want you to think that being “good” will get you into heaven but it’s just nice to be considerate and mindful of your actions and their consequences.
Talk to your parents more, do not hold grudges, understand that your parents came from a different place than you did, they had a different upbringing and that may explain why they do and act the way they do.
I know this sounds like a lot but if you slowly implement these suggestions soon they become second nature and can help you grow to be a smarter young woman and be more compassionate and kind.
When it comes time to register to vote, do not register democrat, turns out in college you will get an in depth lesson on political parties and their beliefs and yours will not lined up with democratic values, you’ll save me some paper and time filling out a form to change my political party.
You are going to turn out ok, even if you don’t follow these suggestions just remember, what others think now will not matter later so might as well stop caring about it now.
Today we are faced with mass reportings on whether or not the United States will go to war with Iran and we are so concerned with the current state of things. I see memes about drafts and memes about gender equality shifting back to women in the kitchen, not seeking equality anymore to prevent being drafted. We click, like, we laugh it off, but at the end of the day, we worry.
We worry because there are troops out there putting their lives on the line for America. There are terrorist making threats against the US. This is real and it is happening. We keep asking will there be a war? Will we be safe?
People even question why the US president would even consider killing a terrorist (this part makes no sense to me as the US has been at war with terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and even prior to that ) tensions may have risen in some aspects and now we are confused and worried, but if there is one thing that helps me put all of this madness into perspective is that at the end of the day God is in control.
It may seem very simplistic to think this way, but it is true. The earth may be dying (as many people are claiming) the US may be going to war with Iran (as many depict will happen in the near future) babies are being murdered by the millions (as we can statistically see, and yet many won’t admit this is murder) but through it all God is in control.
He is sovereign over all. He created this world and He can destroy it if He sees fit, however, He promised He would not destroy it in a flood, so He won’t, but He can destroy the earth in any other way He deems proper.
I know that sounds morbid but it should be reassuring for those called according to His purpose. Why? Because no matter what happens here on earth, God has called us and will keep us. He will bring us home. I don’t mean to belittle what is happening in the world right now, I just want to encourage you to take heart. Whatever happens will happen because God, in His sovereign will allowed it to happen.
Anything that will come to pass is not outside God’s power and since we belong to Him, the worst thing we can face is death and then what? We will be with Him in eternity. What greater prize is there?
So if you are worried about the state of things, remember God is in control. He rules over all kings, presidents, leaders, etc. He is King of all. He is the Lord of all creation, and we are His children, we need not worry for God is with us.
If you are unsure of being one of His children, check out this sermon “The Gift of God” by my pastor Peter Nicotra.
I had mentioned the podcast Sheologians before, I think they are great and do a good job of breaking down current events and bringing the truth of the gospel into them and today’s podcast is pretty similar. Today’s featured podcast differs in that it podcast is run by one female instead of two. It’s called Relatable by Allie B. Stuckey.
In my opinion, Allie is relatable as the title of her podcast suggest. Why is she relatable to me? Well, she is also a millennial and shares my conservative views when it comes to politics. I find myself agreeing with her almost 100% all of the time. It is so refreshing for me to come across someone out there sharing their views in such a clear and understandable way.
I find her to be an exceptionally credible source. It’s not just in the way she speaks and explains current events but also she really knows her stuff. If you listen to her podcast you will notice she studies prior to every podcast, she catches up on current events and does her research.
She is often featured on Fox News and is clear and concise when explaining her views. (She has even spoken in congress against abortion.) She is knowledgable of current politics and what is going on in America. It is not often I come across conservative believers who are openly sharing truth even when it comes to politics, who can clearly explain and put into words why we believe what we believe and why we don’t follow the crowd and current progressive ideals.
She does not waver from the gospel and always seeks to match her beliefs and thoughts with God’s truth. I really like how she brings the gospel into every podcast no matter what the topic is. Her doctrine is solid and even my husband enjoys listening to her podcast with me.
If you are looking for a podcast that will keep you updated with current events, politics and theology seek no further. I encourage you to check out her podcast and also follow her on social media.
Just so you know, I am not being sponsored, this is my honest opinion. It’s a great podcast.
As this year is ending, I have been striving to complete my reading challenge for this year. Every year I set a goal for myself of how many books I would like to read; this year’s goal was 16. As of today, I am 13 books in and have 3 to go. I am super excited, it has been a few years since I fully completed my goal.
The reason I am writing this post is because I want to share one of my current reads with you. This book is titled 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke. I had mentioned it in a previous post for which books I intended to read over the summer. I must admit, I only made it half-way through that list but that is better than nothing.
Anyway, this book caught my attention a few years back when it was released. I always see how we are all, and I am including myself, sucked into our phones whenever we get the chance. We walk, we sit, we wait, we linger about all while holding our phones in our hands and scrolling through an infinite feed of new posts. I agree with the author that phones are not evil in and of themselves, but rather the way that we use our phone is what could be a problem here.
I noticed in myself, that whenever I was waiting around or in an awkward situation, I immediately reach for my phone. I know I am not the only one. I see it all the time. Mr. Reinke goes on to explain some of the reasoning as to why we behave this way.
I will talk about a few of the points he makes in the book but not too many as I would rather you check it out for yourself. Here are a few ways he mentions our phone is changing us:
1. We Are Addicted To Distraction
Remember how I just mentioned reaching for my phone while waiting, yup, I can honestly say I prefer to be distracted from the waiting so much that I reach for my phone the moment I notice there is something I need to wait for. What this does is help me lose track of time until the thing I am waiting for happens, be it waiting for the train, or waiting in line to order some food.
Sometimes to stop myself from reaching for my phone I remember a scene from one of my favorite books The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. In this book the main character finds himself in a town where the inhabitants are seen rushing back and forth through an invisible building, the explanation for this being, they were so busy looking and down and walking fast that no one stopped to admire the building and so they disappeared.
Of course, this is fiction and many loopholes can be found, but I tell myself that I must stop and look at my surroundings before they disappear. Now, of course, they will not turn invisible but with all the construction going on, it could be a familiar location that can be quickly replaced because I even take a moment to look up and see what is going on because I will rather be distracted by my phone.
2. We Become Like What We Like
This I can also personally attest to. I love books and follow many bookstagrams. I just love to see piles of books, shelves of books, all neatly organized and picture-perfect, it is one of my little pleasures. But this can also take another turn, what if we begin to follow celebrities, we like their post, laugh at their jokes and next thing you know we find ourselves relating to them more than before.
I wrote a prior post briefly touching on this. The issue with this is we can become influenced by what we are seeing and liking that we will neglect our own views and where we stand.
As Christians, we are called to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Are we doing this often? How does who we follow affect this? Mr. Reinke also went into a similar topic in this book.
3. We Neglect Our Flesh and Blood
I love the way Tony Reinke began this chapter, he does a good job of illustrating just how detached we can be from other humans when we have arguments on the internet. It’s like that other person is less than human because we do not see their actual flesh and blood through a screen.
Isn’t it almost crazy that a took we claim to use to draw closer to family members actually does the total opposite? We tend to have a conversation online but when it comes to being in person we are distant and awkward.
The fact that we put on a persona for our friends and then find ourselves unmasked in person we feel defenseless, it is so much easier to hide when we are not in the same room. Imagine how this can affect social interactions. We would much rather hold conversations online rather that meet up in person, this is definitely a way our phone if changing us.
Overall, I highly recommend this book, I will not give more details about it because I would really like you to read it on your own and come to your own conclusions. This book helped me see some of the unhealthy ways I was using my phone, it is a real eye-opener. We should keep in mind who our Savior is and how we can live our lives to honor Him. If our phone usage does not draw glory to Christ, we may need to reconsider how we use this technology He has given us.
I hope you enjoyed this brief review and really encourage you to check out this book, you can find a link in this post to purchase the book on Amazon. *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.* Thank you so much for checking out this post, see you next time.