Book Review: “Essentials For Life” by Marcia Ford

I am a member of  BookSneeze which is the book reviewing arm of Thomas Nelson Publishing.  I love it.  Each month or so they have books available for you to either download or get a free copy of to read and review.  It’s a win-win. 

I just finished a book they mailed to me called “Essentials For Life” by Marcia Ford.  I really enjoyed it.  It’s a great book to use as a reference for years to come.  Marcia really simplifies different strategies and goals that pertain to your walk with God.  She uses Bible verses, examples and quotes to help you understand and put together your own plan of action.

In some ways it’s a “to-do” list, but more importantly it’s full of great reminders and inspirations that I plan to use in my daily life.

She covers all areas from how we see God, to knowing the Spirit, understanding the Bible better, spreading the Good News, cultivating our relationship with God,  serving and dealing with our time, relationships and money.   I can’t think of many topics or concerns we have as Christians that Marcia doesn’t cover in this book.  It’s easy to read and set up in a very organized manner.  You could even treat it as a devotional and read one chapter a day.  Each chapter is only 3-4  pages, but filled with great information.

For instance, one of my favorite subjects to talk about with people is spending time with God.  Marcia has a chapter devoted to this topic, of course, and in that chapter she gives some great inspiration.  For those that feel overwhelmed in making time for God she speaks truth about common obstacles (fear of solitude, annoying sounds, etc.).  She uses quotes from very famous authors about how important time with God is, despite our fears and distractions.  She ends with the mere reminder to ask God to help you find the perfect time for Him.  She quotes A.T. Pierson  in saying ” God knows how to save for you the time you sacredly keep for communion with Him.”  I love that.   He will help us save that time…if we let him.

This book is filled with wonderful nuggets of truth and inspiration just like I described above.  I want to read it over and over again to remind myself of these truths and simple acts that can keep me grounded and focused on what truly matters. 

I really think this book offers some great “how-to’s” for living intentionally, simply, and on purpose.  I would highly suggest buying this book, reading it once and then going back and reading it once a year to keep you focused and on track.  Our lives get so busy and we need to always remember the essentials!

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What are you afraid to give up?

Last night during my Young Life small group meeting we talked about Jesus asking his disciples (Peter in particular) to leave everything to follow Him.  He asks the same of us, but fear holds us back sometimes.  Fear of being uncomfortable.   What are we most of afraid of letting go of?

Think about that for a minute.  What is the first thing you think of as you imagine Jesus knocking on your door telling you that you need to come with Him….and leave everything.  Every single thing and person.  Can you imagine?

For me, it was my family.  I really can’t imagine life without them.  However, if I had to choose, I would choose Jesus.  I would walk out the door behind Him.  Because without Him, my life is nothing.

The point isn’t to sit around scared that He is going to ask you to leave your family because odds are, He won’t.  The point is to put in perspective what it means to follow His lead.   Obeying God should be our #1 priority.  Period. 

It should come before your comforts, your to-do lists, your schedules, your hobbies, your job,  your friends and even your family at times.  Making time for, talking to, listening to and obeying Jesus should be your #1 priority.  Today. Tomorrow. Everyday. 

What if at the top of your to-do list every single day you wrote “Obey Jesus” as #1?   Think how that could change your perspective, your priorities, your focus and your life.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Wow!  That’s how I felt after this sermon.  I’m noticing I feel that a lot after hearing Matt Carter speak truth.  However, this sermon may just be the very best sermon I have ever heard.  It is such a wonderful explanation and exploration into what Jesus was feeling and thinking as he spoke to God in the Garden of Gethsemane just before he was going to die on the cross. 

I’ve read these passages before, but never understood them like this.  Hearing it this way gave me a totally different perspective and created such a feeling of overwhelming gratitude for Jesus.  Not only am I incredibly thankful for what Jesus did, I’m in awe and I’m completely engulfed with the love He has for us.  Amazing Love. 

Watch or listen to this sermon and let me know if you are not changed, encouraged or comforted in some way.

Garden of Gethsemane Sermon

Passionate About What Does Matter

The other day I was listening to a clip on the radio of the lead singer of Casting Crowns talk about their new song “Courageous”.  He talked about what sparked him to write this song.  He’s a youth pastor and he mentors to teenage boys and in doing so he has gotten to know many of the dads.  He said what he realized is that men today have gotten really passionate about what doesn’t matter and passive about what does matter.  Ouch.   He talked about how that can lead to the demise of our famlies and many other things and how men were made for so much more.  He was specific to fathers, but again, this message spoke to me as well, it should speak to all of us.  We were all made for more.

I definitely do NOT want to be passive about Jesus, and honestly He is all that should matter.  Every day.  Ever hour.  Every single second. Jesus.  Without Him you and I would have no hope for a future, we would struggle in our own sins and guilt forever and we would never be made new.  We would die and never know everlasting life. 

So we need to focus on being passionate about what does matter and passive about what doesn’t matter.  All the time.  If we put a lot of time into what makes us happy and less time in to Jesus, what are we saying is more important?

If we find time to read many things of this world, but no time for the Bible.  Again, where are our priorities? 

Do you spend more time filling yourself with Jesus or the world? 

Don’t be of the world, be in the world only to change it and to turn as many people as you can to Jesus Christ.  Period.   That is our job.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Here is the video for the song courageous.