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How’s Your Soul? By Judah Smith

How's Your Soul? Book Cover How's Your Soul?
Judah Smith
Religion
HarperCollins Christian Publishing
November 15, 2016
224

How’s your soul?

Such a simple question, perhaps not such a simple answer. Full of vulnerability and personal stories, as is the norm with Judah, this book asks a question that needs to be asked, especially in today’s culture. How are you doing, or how is your day are questions that 99% of the time receive a one-word answer with zero reflection. I have done it, frankly, we all do it. Asking “how is your soul?” however, requires some introspection to answer properly.

Judah Smith’s book is aimed not only at Christians but those searching for more. It’s a book that can make you go through a field of emotions, from laughing to crying to deep thought and back to laughing… all in about three sentences! He uses his expository skills to show that our souls need rest, responsibility and restraint. This book is clear and easy to read, and the overall size of the book makes it a great gift as well.

Favourite Quotes:

“Guess what parenting is all about? Leading our kids to a place where they can say no for themselves, even when they want to say yes.”

In the journey of life, emotions make great companions but terrible leaders.”

What if we all counted to three and then simultaneously did whatever we felt like doing? Play it out mentally. It would be complete and utter chaos. You think zombies are bad? Imagine billions of people whose only criteria for decision making were their feelings and emotions and desires. It would be like shopping on Black Friday.”

Either life is meaningless and my existence doesn’t matter — or God is the only hope I have”

Even when we confront, we do so from an attitude and an expectation that our love is not going to be withdrawn no matter what happens”

Do I live according to who I really am, or do I live according to who people perceive me to be or want me to be?”

Rather than asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we should ask a far more important question: “What do you want your life to look like?” Or maybe, “What kind of soul do you want to have?””

Too many times as Christians we imply that people have to first behave and believe the right way before they can belong to our communities. We don’t do it on purpose, but our actions and reactions when we see their flaws leave little doubt that they are outsiders.”

All we need to have healthy soul identities:

  • We have our identities set firmly in Jesus, the source and definition of who we really are.
  • We have a Saviour who is superior to all authority and power, and he declares that we are blessed and approved.
  • We have a salvation that is great, that is complete, final and free.
  • We have a community of Jesus followers where we belong even if we don’t believe or behave exactly right.

Whatever God starts, he finishes. Think about that. You can’t find one place in the Bible where God started something and said, “Actually, I’ve changed my mind. I lost interest. This is too much work. I’m out.””

Life’s complexities and challenges would be far less complex and far less challenging if we could approach every day like Jesus did: from heaven to earth.”

 

 

Parables by John Macarthur

by Ben Silk 0 Comments

“A parable is not merely a simple analogy. It’s an elongated simile or metaphor with a distinctly spiritual lesson contained in the analogy.”

I have actually been looking for a book like this for quite a while, so when I saw this I was pretty excited. Parables delves into the parables that Jesus shares throughout the Bible. John Macarthur does an amazing job of clearly explaining the background behind the stories that Jesus shared. I found it super helpful to have the parables unpackaged so comprehensively and clearly. It allowed me to gain an appreciation for not only the cultural but the eternal and timeless messages Jesus imparted to us through His Word.  Macarthur also did a great job of showing how the parables Jesus shared are connected.

For example how the parables about the servants, the virgins and the talents.

“The three parables combined give us one clear message: “You do not know when the master of the house is coming-in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster or in the morning” (Mark 13:35). “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44). Meanwhile, keep watching, waiting, and working  faithfully.

Jesus Swagger by Jarrid Wilson

by Ben Silk 0 Comments

To be honest, when I decided to review this book I wasn’t sure what to make of the book, especially with the title, Jesus Swagger. However, also being a millennial I decided to give it a shot. So, what is Jesus swagger? Jarrid Wilson states that “Jesus swagger is all about your life being infected with the love of Christ. Being different, noticeably different , so much so that people wonder, What is different about that person?” As a millennial and a Christian young in the faith, this book spoke to the heart of things I struggle with and provided useful scripture to overcome them. He shares the differences between someone who believes in Jesus and someone who actually follows Him. Jarrid focuses on making sure we are not just being posers of Christianity but actually living out the life Jesus has called us to live. It turns out Jesus doesn’t like posers; as he states in Revelations 3:16 “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Jarrid covers how to not be lukewarm for God, and reminds us “it’s time to stop making up excuses about why we can’t be what God has made us to be. We should care less about the coffee shop lady’s shallow opinions, and only focus on the one that matters: God’s.” This book will definitely challenge you – if you are poser now, after reading this book you shouldn’t be. Ultimately Jarrid demonstrates how to equip yourself to live ”a lifestyle that resembles Jesus to the fullest, not worrying about the opinions of others, but instead holding firm to a foundation in Christ alone; one that is able to withstand anything the world throws at you.”

Life Is ___ by Judah Smith

Even though I feel he has a secret mission to make us all Seattle Seahawks fans, I love this guy. I love his writing style and his sense of humour, he makes reading fun. Judah Smith has a way of making stories of the Bible relevant as he paraphrases them into the lingo of the day. Before I read Life Is, I borrowed Jesus Is from a friend and couldn’t put it down, so I knew coming into the book I would have the same problem. I love that he is raw about where and who he is and how he makes Jesus and the Bible relatable.

The book is centered around the question; what is life about? He completes it by saying Life is; to be loved and to love, to trust God in every moment, to be at peace with God and yourself and to enjoy God. His stories are simple yet profound and have helped to give me a greater understanding of different stories in the Bible and what it means to be a follower of Christ.

One of the habits I have gained when reading is to highlight key sentences or passages that stick out to me and I found myself doing this quite a bit in this book. I encourage you to read this book and then share it with a friend. I am always looking for a book I can give to a friend that may not yet be a Christian and this is one of them that I would definitely with confident and comfortable passing on.

 

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

 

“Selfishness is the essence of Sin.”

“God doesn’t give us what we think we deserve. He gives us what he wants to give us, and he asks us to trust him that it is right.”

“When I die, I want to be known as a man who knew Jesus, enjoyed Jesus, was loved by Jesus, and focused on Jesus.”

“It comes down to this: Do we trust God? Do we trust that whatever he deems right will be enough? Do we trust that he is just, that he is right, that he is good, and that he is merciful?”

“The key to handling the distractions of life is to focus on Jesus, the source of peace.”

 

The Jesus Code by O.S. Hawkins

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Even though this is a devotional, it is very tempting to read the book through as I find myself growing in confidence and faith as I learn the full meaning of the questions asked throughout the Bible. In the Jesus Code, O.S. Hawkins breaks down critical questions that every believer should answer. As a newer Christian, I must admit that these are some great questions that I have found myself searching for answers for and I am grateful to have them answered in details all in one place! I love the way he brings out the story behind each question and explains how to apply the answers in your life.  Although I have only read a few of the devotionals so far, I find them leaving a last impression on my entire week. The devotional allows me to view the questions in a different light and have a better understanding of the stories throughout the Bible. The Jesus Code has equipped me to know how to answer the tough questions that I did not know how to answer, for example “If the Lord is with us, Why then has all this happened to us?” It was amazing to receive an extra copy in error and be able to share it with someone so that it may impact them as much as it has for me. I believe this a great devotional for any believer no matter where they are in their journey with Christ.

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Loving yourself (part 2)

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Last night, I attended a women’s event at my church Living Hope, that was titled going from Ditzy to Ritzy. And so this is the 2nd part of the ‘Loving yourself’ series.
When she began she talked about the many masks that many of us put on. Sometimes it might just be one and sometimes its more than one. But regardless of how many we put on, they are still masks and they are not us.
Here are some of the masks we put on:

– Ditzy mask: where we dummify ourselves to seek attention from one thing especially, Men. Specifically she used the example that there’s a new guy at the office who is just absolutely handsome and his cubicle just happens to be right near the water cooler and so time after time we will walk and back forth to that cooler with our ditzy mask on. And yes sometimes its not men. Sometimes we have a friend or group of friends that are very smart and we put on this mask around them in fear they will talk about things we dont understand. So to be safe we just act ditzy. A lot of, if not all, men don’t find the ditzy mask attractive. They don’t find the ‘easy girl’ routine even remotely cute.
Men want a confident women. That is what makes you attractive, so please don’t go lowering your standards just to fit in, don’t go lowering your standards just so that one guy can finally notice you. Don’t go lowering your standard just for attention. There’s already someone who loves you more than anything in the whole wide universe and wants your attention. One who wants to let you know just how much he loves you. And his name is Jesus. The one man whom your standards should matter to. Yes we have our spouses and everything but even then. What he did for you and I on that cross is irreplaceable, it means SO much. He loves you just the way you are. When God looks at you and I he sees princesses, Queens even. I dont know about you but I would rather be a Queen in His eyes than an easy target in some guys eyes.
I pray that maybe if there is a mask out there that you are wearing maybe its the ditzy mask, that God will put his finger on it and reveal it to you.

– Religious mask: this mask is especially for all you christian ladies out there. This mask is the one we put in church that says that we have got it together and everything in our walk with God is amazing and that nothings is wrong. This mask is most often worn when we are going through tough times but instead of being real we put this facade on. It says in 2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” And that means also being real which each other. We dont always have it all together and that’s okay. I dont expect you to and neither does God. And thats the great news.
– The Guru mask: these are the know-it alls. Now dont get me wrong there’s a difference between knowing a lot of things and being a know-it all, someone who is NEVER wrong. No matter what happens or what you say, that person is never wrong especially when they are wrong they will do everything in their power to prove you wrong. Because humbling themselves and saying you know what ‘I am sorry, I was wrong’ is a pride thing. We are not willing to be humbled and so we are prideful. Pride says im never wrong, a humble attitude says forgive me for I was wrong, thank you for correcting me. Like I said knowing a lot of things is different than acting like you know it all. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. There is something humbling about someone who is not afraid to be wrong because that means growth is taking place.
And so I challenge you to really look at yourself and see if sometimes or even all the time do you wear this mask?
The world has so many standards for us, for me, but thankfully there is only one that really truly matters and thats Gods standards. You are royalty!!! A co heir with Jesus. So lets remove all the masks and lets be who we are meant to be.

Loving yourself (part 1)

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Ladies, this is a touchy subject when it comes to loving ourselves. This is an area I have struggled with and I am still learning and growing.
When you look at youself, what do you see? How do you feel? This question isn’t always easy to answer. There are tons of bible verse that talk about how God sees us.
For example;
* You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
* Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Philipphians 2:15

So why is it that we have a hard time seeing or even believing what He says?
I believe that as we get closer to God, continue to walk in obedience with Him and get to know Him, he reveals more of himself to us. As we know, if we try to hang on to our lives we will lose them but if we will lose our lives for Him we will find them.
I honestly believe that when we find our lives through Christ he provides us with the strength we need to face up to the hurts that may have caused us to look at ourselves negatively.
I encourage you to get into his presence and let him reveal and heal those hurts. In that, we will be set free from past hurts that used to define us and we can make room for God’s truth (which now defines us, who we are in Him and how we are to live).

So to begin this series, for today just take the time to look at yourself and try to look beyond the physical. Do you like who you are? Whether yes or no, why? What are the things you like about yourself?