Friday, February 28, 2014

Heaven or Hell? Fact or Fiction?

It's not often you want to read a book about Heaven and Hell, but I actually enjoyed reading this book by Christopher Hudson, aptly entitled, Heaven & Hell: Are they Real?

The book is broken down into two sections, Part 1 - Heaven; Part 2 - Hell.  Within each part are sections.  As such the book is organized as follows - 

Part 1
  1. The Moments After Death
  2. Life in Heaven
  3. Descriptions of Heaven
  4. Residents of Heaven
  5. Looking forward to Heaven
Part 2
  1. The Reality of Hell
  2. Hell as a Choice
  3. Descriptions of Hell
  4. Hell and the Final Judgement
  5. Challenges to the Belief in Hell
  6. How Can the Truth about Hell Affect our Choices Today? 
Overall, Hudson seeks to answer 61 different questions concerning heaven and hell.  Since this is not a long book, his answers usually are no longer than 3-4 pages.  He looks at many different topics.  If you are looking for a deep theology, then this is not the book for you.  But if you are looking for some basic answers and hints at some starting points, then this book may be good for you.

The end of the book contains an appendix in which he seeks to give all scripture references pertaining to heaven and hell.  He also speaks about how to know Jesus Christ and avoid the pain of hell.  He comes from a conservative theological understanding.

Other features include
  • 30 days of reading on heaven
  • 30 days of reading on hell
  • Additional content from contemporary and ancient scholars
Overall, this was a nice book, and easy to read.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Olympics -- Good and Bad

Hey Folks - 

Now that the Olympics are over, what stands out for you?

What images are in your mind and heart?  

They can be good or bad, what jumps out first?

Let me know.

Send me an email at

Friday, February 21, 2014

To Judge or Not to Judge . . .

I saw this and really loved the picture and what it depicts.  Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1-5?  

Check it our or read below ~ 

1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Have you ever wondered why we often experience such great joy in judging others?

If we were to be honest, we don't like to admit that.  And we try not to judge others.  Yet how many times are we making those small, even subtle judgments about others – what they’re doing or not doing, what they’ve said or what they’re wearing, how they’re driving or acting – and each time we do, for some perverse reason it makes us feel better about ourselves.

I this we do this because we are not comfortable in our own skin.  We are insecure and we think we will feel better if we find fault in others -- if we can look into their heart and cast our 'divine' judgement.  

Of course, this gets us to the center of what Jesus is talking about.  He's interpreting the law for us.  Remember, when Jesus talks about judging, He's talking about looking into one's heart and knowing the condition and motivation of the heart.  Friends, we don't have that ability.  That's for God and God alone to do.  When we do this, we find ourselves subject to God's judgment.

We also struggle with this because when someone does something obviously wrong, we exclaim, "I'm not to judge!!"  But, we have misuderstood what judging is versus holding another accountable.  Accountability is about looking at another's actions, not their heart.

We are to hold one another accountable.  We view the outward actions and help our brother or sister to find redemption through Christ, knowing that we are no better, for we have our own sin issues which we struggle with as well.

Just a thought on a Friday afternoon.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Erase the Negative Chatter!

I have always gone back and forth on how much I like Steven Furtick’s books.  I received this book, Crash the Chatterbox, yesterday and have finished reading it.  I really felt it was an honest and straight forward book.

Pastor Furtick’s premise is that we need to stop listening to the noise, the chatterbox which speaks the negativity in our ears, but which reaches into our hearts, spirits and minds.  This negativity leads us to think and believe we are less than, instead of more than, since we were created in God’s image. 

There’s nothing amazingly new in this book, but it is a great reminder of who we are called to be.  The book is broken into 4 sections.

Section 1: God says I am.
We overpower the lies of the enemy in our insecurities.

Section 2: God says He will.
We overpower the lies of the enemy in our fears.

Section 3: God says He has.
We overpower the lies of the enemy in our condemnation.

Section 4: God says I can.
We overpower the lies of the enemy in our discouragement.

This is an easy read and a helpful book for all people.  I would recommend this book.

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No Cape Required Devotion!

I am always on the lookout for devotionals to read for myself, or to read as a family endeavor.  I want something that will engage my teenage sons and this book has a great deal of potential to do that. 

In her book, No Cape Required: 52 Ways to Unleash your Inner Hero, Kristen Parrish provides 52 devotionals, each about 4 pages in length.  They are easy to read and focus on traits found in different characters from different movies, television programs and books.  They range from characters like Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games to John Coffey in the Green Mile to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and more.

She also looks at different virtues for each hero.  These include forgiveness, faithfulness, truthfulness, optimism, strong will, leadership, gallantry, courage and more.  At the end of each chapter Parrish ties the story to a passage of scripture.  Sometimes she might be stretching for a link, but overall, this is a fun book to read as a devotion. 

We need to remember that these are fictional characters and we may not always agree with the character used, but the point she is making is what is important.  So, our focus should be on the positive character and characteristics of these heroes. 

I would recommend this book!

I received this book free from the publisher through the® book review bloggers program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Thursday, February 06, 2014

A Godward Heart by John Piper

Ever since I was in seminary and read John Piper's powerful book, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, I became a John Piper fan.  John's style is straight forward, no punches pulled.  I like that style.

In his newest book, A Godward Heart, Piper invites the reader to go on a journey so that they will experience the power of a relationship with God.  I will admit I didn't expect this book to be quite as heady as it is.  Being more of a devotional book, I expected more cute stories about how to grow in my relationship with Christ.

But I was surprised and challenged by the words of Piper.  The book contains 50 chapters which progress from knowledge of God to where will your final destination leave you.  The chapters are short, usually about 4 pages.  But they will challenge you.

If you are looking for a book which will challenge you, and help you to question what you believe, this is an excellent book.  You can read it quickly, but I would suggest moving through it slowly, so that you gain the most from Piper's words.

This book would make an excellent gift.

I received this book for free from Multnomah Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Fun Kids Devotional

God Gave Us the Bible: 45 Favorite Stories for Little Ones is a very well done, hardcover introductory Bible for parents to read with thei...