Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review: A Conversation With God by Alton Gansky

I was given the opportunity to read and review the book "A Conversation With God: If You Could Ask Any Question, What Would It Be?" by Alton Gansky. Let me first start off by stating that this book was given to me for free by the website BookSneeze in exchange for the review I write. I was not asked to write a good or bad review, just to give my opinions about this book.

"A Conversation With God: If You Could Ask Any Question, What Would It Be?" by Alton Gansky is what I wold call a self help book. Alton Gansky has done a great job at providing questions that a lot of both christians and non christians ask most about. This book was written in a format so that you do not have to read it in order nor do you have to read it all at one time. If one particular section appeals to you then you can read that question and skip past other sections that you aren't interested in.

When I first received the book I was actually quite shoked at how think it was. There are over 300 pages in the book and I was a little overwhelmed by looking at it. I flipped to the contents page and skimmed over the questions that are asked in the book. There are a total of 55 questions in the book, but as I found out some of the questions have more detailed questions so sometimes it got a little confusing. "A Conversation With God: If You Could Ask Any Question, What Would It Be?" by Alton Gansky is also written as you asking the questions and characters from the Bible answering them. God, Jesus, John, Moses and plenty of other notable people from the Bible are included in this book. I would say that if you are looking for basic answers with no meat and juice to the answers that this would be a good starting point for you. The one thing that this book lacks is scripture references in the actual answers. You can flip to the back of the book and the answers have the scriptures to back them up but I like being able to see the verses quoted or at least referenced in each answer. Flipping back and forth between the answers, back of the book and then my Bible really made it hard for me to follow.

Over all, I would that this book is a good starting point if you are a new believer or just have those basic questions about the Bible. Don't expect to get any real in depth answers to your questions though. I think this would be perfect for a teenager just discovering their faith or to anyone who just wonders about those basic biblical principles.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wonderful Gifts

Our pastor at church gave us a bible study guide a few months back when we asked him for one for couples. It is a Masterwork guide for the Spring 2010 featuring lessons from "He Chose The Nails" by Max Lucado and "Desiring God" by John Piper. We had put it away on our bookcase because we didn't think that is what we were looking for. Well, while cleaning our room a few weeks ago I came across it again and tonight I decided to start it by myself. "He Chose The Nails" is the first lessons in this guide. I like this guide because the publisher has broken it down by day. So here is what hit me tonight.

On day one it is labels "His Love" and the topice is You Did This For Me? Now when I think about what Christ endured during his crucifixion I think of the cross. The cross is the main symbol of what people see as God's gift to us during that time since that is where Jesus died at. Now, I have just barely scratched the surface of this guide and I am already getting a lot out of it. God didn't just give us the cross, He also gave us the nails, the crown of thorns, gaments taken by the soldiers... the list really does go on and on. The power of the cross is amazing in of itself but when we think about all the rest of the things that Jesus had to go through, those gifts are also amazing!

Thank you God for the gifts that you gave to us, for it is those gifts is the reason that we are saved!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Love Chapter

Well, I am sure most of you who are Christian know what I am talking about when I mention the love chapter: 1 Corintians 13. It really has some pretty deep stuff in there. Part of this chapter is included in many, MANY peoples vows of marriage, myself included. Here's the part that is usually included:

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails..."

So that is the background passage. I was in my small group study last night and we were getting pretty deep into this week chapter. A lot of progress was made in opening up our minds to other people thoughts. This passage wasn't even part of our lesson but the instructor closed with this. He said that this passage alone is said so often at weddings but often it means nothing to those saying it. He said that what we needed to do is replace the word "love" with "your name" and then recite it to our loved ones. It will really change the way you see yourself and it will really change the way your spouse sees you. So here is my passage to my husband, James:

4 Dawn is patient, Dawn is kind. Dawn will not envy, Dawn does not boast, Dawn is not proud. 5 Dawn does not dishonor others, Dawn is not self-seeking, Dawn is not easily angered, Dawn keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Dawn does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 Dawn always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Dawn never fails...

Talk about some deep DEEP stuff. So I am breaking this down even further for myself into each seperate promise. Because that is what these are, promises.

Dawn is patient= A hard one for me as seen in some of my previous blogs. But I am going to work harder on this.

Dawn is kind= I think that I am a pretty kind person but I know I can do better.

Dawn will not envy= I have never been an envious person so this one is easy for me.

Dawn does not boast=This one can be hard to do but I will check myself from now on when I am boastful.

Dawn is not proud=Another hard one because both of us like to be right all the time.

Dawn does not dishonor others=I know I can make James feel horrible sometimes. I am going to stop dishonoring him.

Dawn is not self-seeking=OUCH! Really, really eye opening here!

Dawn is not easily angered=This goes right back to the patience.

Dawn keeps no records of wrongs=Yeah, this is the biggest problem with me. When I read this it really touched a nerve which is actually a good thing.

Dawn does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth=Sometimes I find myself happy about others failures. Does that make me a bad person? No, just something else I need to work on.

Dawn always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres=Another thing I think I am pretty good at but can always improve on.

Dawn never fails=Funny that all of this is stuff I have to work on but I know by this that I will never fail at my marriage, my friendships or whatever is in my life.

So yeah, pretty deep things. But I think by putting my name in the places that I have, that I have been given a more important vision as to how God wants me to be like a good wife, mother and friend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watching Children Grow

Last week James was on vacation and we spent some time cleaning out our bedroom closet. In the back of the closet we found "The Picture Bible" that his mom had given to us some time ago when Carly was a baby. Carly has a baby bible but it is really too young for her now so we told her last night that we were "giving" her a new bible but she had to give her old bible to Logan. She was so excited to have a big girl bible!

We were all sitting in bed last night reading her bible to her and Logan and a feeling of calmness just rested on me. I had this feeling of desire to learn more myself. So after we tucked the kids in bed I did something I have never done before: I picked up my bible and started reading. I don't know why I have never read the bible before, I guess maybe because the language is hard for me to understand. But I was determined no to let that get in my was.

My Sunday school class is studying 1st and 2nd Kings right now so that is were I started. After I finished the lesson for this Sunday, I flipped open to Proverbs and skimmed over that. Next I went to Revelations. I have always wanted to read Revelations but after attempting to read the first chapter I got so lost and confused I had no idea what I was reading! So I just read the study questions in my bible in Revelations.

I was done after that since it was a little on the late side. But what really got me thinking about this is how my children's growth in the Lord has really given me a desire to grow in Him myself. Children are so young and pure and speak whatever is on their minds and that is such a great quality. Having children is the single most important thing that has happen in my life because if it wasn't for them, I would not have any faith in God. I wouldn't know who He is and I would continue to be a lost soul. I thank God for my kids and one day when they are older I intend on telling them exactly what they have done in my life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A revelation...

‎"Love is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the costs." ~Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel

What a statement?!?! This is what was in the bible study class that I went to this week. I am taking a Grace Based Parenting course to go right along with my One Word for the year. I can really tell that I am growing in my spiritual self as well as in the way I treat others. But this week the lesson really hit a home run with something that I have been struggling with my whole life. I am going to break this up into two sections.

Dr. Tim Kimmel made this remarkable statement in his book and study guide: ‎"Love is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the costs." Talk about some deep stuff. The first part of this statement I have no problems with at all. Anyone that really knows me, or shot has had any contact with me at all, will tell you I put others needs before my own. I am a giver, that's my love language. I will give and give until I can't give anymore. But that is not good enough and here is where the second part comes in.

Regardless of the costs... This is where I run into problems. While we were discussing our lesson in class a question was asked in the book: Which part of this statement ‎"Love is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the costs." is the hardest for you to carry out? Since our class is very small we are allowed to just talk freely with whatever is on our hearts. So I started just talking and eliminating the first part of the statement I was left with the last part. I dug a little deeper because I didn't think that would be it. I don't ask for money in return for anything I give. I don't ask for anything to be returned to me. So this can't be it, can it?

But wait! It is! Why? I dug down deep and found my answer. Regardless of the cost is it for me. I always, ALWAYS expect something in return. Recognition, praise, time... SOMETHING!!! And as I was talking all this out the instructor really saw the light bulb go off in my head. Praise to Jesus that this was brought to my attention in this way. He has a plan for everyone's life and if we aren't going in the direction that He wants us too, He will find a way to bring it to our attention and boy did He do that to me this week.

Now back to the original statement. After reading this I went back and re read the whole chapter. The statement here Dr. Tim Kimmel has classified it as the defination for the word "love" and I can whole heartedly agree that this is the true deffination for it.

God is great and He is working on making me a better woman! Thank you God for not giving up on me!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Listening to His voice...

For a long time I have just been going through the normal things that Christians go through. You know go to church, spread the word of God... Sterotypical Christians. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But sometimes God wants more from us, actually, I think He wants more from all of us all the time. So lately I have been really trying to listen to what He wants from me.

I was going to go talk to my Pastor a few Sundays ago and tell him that I wanted to serve somewhere. Anywhere really, that needed an extra hand. In Sunday School, I found out that there was a need in the First Wednesday night food service. So I went to him afterwards and told him that I was interested in helping out with that. He told me that he would think about it and then call me about it.

A few days later he called me to talk to me a little more about it. I happen to mention that I was good at organizeing stuff and saw that there was also a need in our food pantry. It is totally unorganized and is in desperate need of help! He agreed and now that is what I will be doing! I feel so at peace with this decision and I feel that God has really laid it on my heart to help out in this area. He really knows what our strengths and weaknesses are and He will use those areas in our lives to glorify Him! Amen to that!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Here's a news flash: I am human. Surprise! I bet you didn't know that one! But seriously, I am human and I will make mistakes. Some big and some small. But what is funny is how we react to those mistakes. We as humans are programmed to let small mistakes slid but the big mistakes we get punished in the fullest extent possible. Now here's the thing with that: In God's eyes, sin is a sin is a sin. Period.... No matter what. Nothing is worse than others. It is all the same and is judge all the same. Scary feeling isn't it? I know that I am scared to think that. Until I realized something...

I have noticed that a bunch of my friends have chosen one word to live by for the year. I am jumping on here a little late, but I guess better late than never, right? Now my most obvious word would be patience. But I am not going to choose that word because let's face it, that is one thing that I have been asking for a while now and it is such a large task for me. I have to break it down into a "smaller" task. And trust, by "smaller" doesn't mean easier. So my word for the year is: GRACE.

Back to the first topic I was talking about. Sin is sin. God doesn't care the type of sin you commit. It is all the same. So how is it that we are all not damned to hell for the sins that we commit? Well, first off you have to be saved, but that is for another post. God's grace is what helps us get through these sins. As long as we come to Him and tell Him our sins his grace is going to cover us. He knows that we are going to sin but He is going to cover us in His grace.

So that is the word I have chosen for the year. I am going to show grace towards everyone. And anyone that knows me knows that I am not a very gracious person. When I want something done, I want it done my way the first time, and that follows through with everyone in my life. I am taking a course at my church called Grace Based Parenting and I really think that this course is going to open my eyes to how I have been treating everyone and God is going to use this course to help me change for the better.

It is not going to be easy and it is not going to happen overnight but I know that if I put my faith in Him that He will help me be more gracious.