Positive Life Principles for Women by Karol Ladd

Karol Ladd, bestselling author of over 25 books, will be releasing her latest work, Positive Life Principles for Women, in February 2013. Positive Life Principles for Women is short, sweet, and easy to read, but by no means is shallow. Quite the contrary, actually, this book is full of convicting spiritual truth. If you have lived a less-than-perfect life wondering how or what God could possibly do with your spiritual ugliness, then you will find great encouragement in this book.

Positive Life Principles is unique in many ways. Each chapter includes a section titled: Powerful Truth, Plan of Action, Pay it Forward, Place it in Your Heart, and Discussion Starters.  Powerful Truth is just that, a powerful one sentence take-away from the text covered. Plan of Action outlines several easy steps to put what the reader learns into visible action. Pay It Forward describes simple suggestions to reach out and touch someone else’s life and get the focus off of self. Place it in Your Heart provides a suggested verse for memorization, to further aid the reader in internalizing and living out spiritual truths. Discussion Starters includes a few thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter perfect for group study or even individual use.

Within the text, Ladd addresses several key issues in many women’s lives; negative thinking, dealing with fear, being flexible, being an encourager (versus a discourager), and much more. Overall this book far exceeded my expectations. I have read many books addressing these issues, but Ladd approaches them in a new, creative way. My eyes were opened to personal areas of needed spiritual improvement, without making me feel like a reject or a failure. In fact, the only negative thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t long enough (the book is only 120 pages).

If you’re a Christian woman (perfect or not), or if you know one, this book is a must read. I have no doubt it will be used in many churches as a group study once it is released.

You can read more about Karol Ladd, her books and her ministry, at http://www.Positive LifePrinciples.com. Her newest book, Positive Life Principles for Women will be released on February 1, 2013.

(I received Positive Life Principles for Women by Karol Ladd from Harvest House Publishers for review purposes only. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)

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1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell

Jonathan Falwell, vice chancellor for spiritual affairs at Liberty University and senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church, has written a detailed account of the life of Jesus during His earthly ministry in 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ. Falwell does an extraordinary job chronicling the life of Jesus in an interesting, thought-provoking way. But this book isn’t just a list of activities; it delves the depths of Christ’s motivations, feelings, and experiences walking this earth in human flesh. The reader is not only informed, but challenged to apply spiritual truths to their own lives—to adopt the mission of Christ as their own.

“Jesus did not promise us a life free of trouble. He is called the God of all comfort—and if there were no troubles, He would not need to be called by this name. Jesus does not promise freedom from all problems, but He does promise that we will never face situations alone.” –1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell (pp. 9-10)

1000 Days addresses not only the ministry of Christ but the impact His ministry has for every person claiming to be a Christ-follower, both past and present. The text carefully walks through Jesus’ mission along with His expectations of those who follow Him. I particularly appreciated chapter four which walks through the first several verses of the Sermon on the Mount. He answers some important questions regarding this passage like what do the “beatitudes” really mean for you and me, and how did Jesus display them in His life? This chapter alone merits the purchase of this book and is something I will be referring to many times over.

Falwell also addresses the subjects of hypocrisy among believers, the doctrine of hell, dealing with temptation, authentic worship, pure motives, and what it really means to be a “Christian”.

“What does He mean that apart from Him we can do nothing? Jesus was not talking about what you and I can accomplish on a daily basis, what tasks to perform, what skills we can exercise, or how fast we can tick off our to-do lists, He was saying that we will accomplish nothing of eternal value unless what we do is based on the resources God gives. Without the life of Jesus flowing through us, our accomplishments don’t amount to a hill of beans.” (pg. 150)

Overall it is a phenomenal read and I highly recommend it. 1000 Days left me encouraged, motivated, inspired, and challenged to know and reflect the life of Christ more. Questions are also included at the end of each chapter for personal or small group study.

(I received 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and every opinion expressed here is my own.)

To purchase 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ Click HERE.

The Challenge

“The law shall be his constant companion. He must read from it every day of his life so that he will learn to respect the Lord his God by obeying all of his commands. This regular reading of God’s laws will prevent him from feeling that he is better than his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from God’s laws in the slightest respect.” Deut. 17:19-20 (The Living Bible)

I recently read an article in InTouch magazine (Dr. Charles Stanley) about a woman who cut apart and re-bound her Bible into 4 sections to help her read through it easier. Admittedly, holding the Bible in my hand and thinking about reading through the whole thing-cover to cover-seems rather daunting unless it’s divided into little bite-sized pieces over the course of a year.

Thinking what a fantastic idea this woman had, I was also convicted about my own scattered reading plans. God spoke to me there and challenged me to read from Genesis 1:1-Revelation 22 in one week. No, that wasn’t a typo, I said one week. My first thought was, how will I ever find time for that? But God is bigger than my excuses and quickly brought to mind many things I could give up for one week to accomplish this goal.

Taking on this challenge has been one of the best experiences I’ve encountered in God’s word. Reading through the books in order has opened my eyes to things I’ve never understood before. Stories are making more sense read in context. And by context I don’t mean the 12 verses surrounding one verse, but the books surrounding other books. For instance, many people (including myself) avoid the book of Leviticus. Granted, it’s not the “easiest” read, but is important since “the whole Bible is given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what it true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.” (2 Tim. 3;16-The Living Bible)

There was something so inspirational and special about reading the Bible continuously. I can’t adequately describe it other than to recommend doing it.

I wrote a 30-day Bible reading plan (understanding very few would be able to devote a week to it) and am challenging you, my friends and lovers of the Word, to ask if God would have you do this. It is a challenge, I won’t say it’s not. Prayerfully consider if God would have you do this or perhaps adapt the plan to suit your needs.

The average reader can easily accomplish this goal in 2-3 hours per day. I’ll list some tips I’ve employed to help me read the word in one week that will help you read it in one month. You may want to consider using a different version than you normally study from in order to provide a new experience. I chose a paraphrase (The Living Bible) so it reads more like a novel. This is for reading, not studying, so don’t get too hung up on the translation.

1-Get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later. (It’s only one month-a worthy sacrifice indeed.)

2-Listen to the Bible on audio while you drive, cook, clean, shower, etc. You’ll find there’s a lot of time for your ears to be working while your hands are busy.

3-Avoid the temptation of social media-the articles, cutesy pictures, posts, statuses, and other time-consuming reads. You’ll find those things add up quickly. 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there is an hour before you know it. In an hour you could have read several chapters in the Bible.

4-Give up the news or other programming you consistently watch on television. Even one or two shows is an hour or more that you could be reading.

5-When you are reading the Bible at length you will discover things you want to look up and research. Avoid the bunny trails! Keep a note-pad handy and write down the verse/subject so you can study it at a later time, once you’ve reached your reading goal.

6-Finally, don’t read just to read! Read the Story to grow in your relationship with Jesus and ask Him to open your eyes to new things each and every time you begin. He will answer that prayer and your eyes will surely be opened more than you’d ever imagine.

I can’t wait to hear your testimonies and pray you will be encouraged and strengthened in your journey. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much you’ll decide to do it a couple times every year. I know I’ve been inspired to do as much. Please let me know in the comments if you are going to be taking this challenge so I can be sure to pray for you!

Through the Bible in 30 Days

Day 1: Genesis 1-40

Day 2: Genesis 41-Exodus 30

Day 3: Exodus 31-Numbers 3

Day 4: Numbers 4-Deuteronomy 8

Day 5: Deuteronomy 9-Joshua 15

Day 6: Joshua 16-1 Samuel 7

Day 7: 1 Samuel 8-2 Samuel 17

Day 8: 2 Samuel 18-2 Kings 12

Day 9: 2 Kings 13-1 Chronicles 29

Day 10: 2 Chronicles 1-Ezra 4

Day 11: Ezra 5-Job 11

Day 12: Job 12-Psalm 10

Day 13: Psalm 11-51

Day 14: Psalm 52-92

Day 15: Psalm 93-133

Day 16: Psalm 134-Proverbs 14

Day 17: Proverbs 15-Ecclesiastes 12

Day 18: Song of Solomon 1-Isaiah 32

Day 19: Isaiah 33-Jeremiah 6

Day 20: Jeremiah 7-47

Day 21: Jeremiah 48-Ezekiel 31

Day 22: Ezekiel 32-Hosea 14

Day 23: Joel 1-Zechariah 5

Day 24: Zechariah 6-Matthew 28

Day 25: Mark 1-Luke 14

Day 26: Luke 15-Acts 10

Day 27: Acts 11-Romans 16

Day 28: 1 Corinthians 1-Galatians 6

Day 29: Ephesians 1-2 Timothy 4

Day 30: Titus 1-Revelation 22

 

 

 

 

Divine Recipes

Suggested Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

“All Scripture is…useful.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

The Bible is meant to be understood and followed as a whole, not solely in scattered parts. Look at Romans 8:28, the part about everything working out for my good is very pleasing to my taste-buds but what about verses 18-27? There I find content concerning suffering, future glory, weaknesses, and my great Intercessor. One verse is great, but consumed as a whole, it takes on new life, new meaning, and affects my heart the way it was intended.

I’ve discovered many books have provided unique applications when I understand the author, the audience, and the culture. All of these facts help paint a picture of the circumstances the passages were written under and enhance their purpose.

Can I take and eat a bell pepper?

Sure I can. In fact, I think they’re pretty tasty in their raw form.

But if I take the same pepper, follow the recipe,

 understand the other ingredients

 and use them as directed,

I create a masterpiece of delight for my taste-buds.

 

This not only pleases me, but those around me benefit.

The Bible is my recipe book for life. Each ingredient (verse) tastes good on its own and serves a purpose to my spiritual health, but when I choose to take the time to understand the entire recipe, how it fits together, what its completed picture looks like, and how to get there, the individual ingredients take on new life.

As I follow the recipe I get a result very similar to the original intent: a life manifesting the characteristics of Jesus, living under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Is the completed picture a perfect resemblance of the original?

No, it can’t be perfect, but it can be close!

One day the Master Chef will create in me that perfect glorified manifestation of his recipe book, and then I will look, feel, and taste exactly how I was meant to. Until then, I can follow the recipe as it was designed, as a whole, and resemble a likeness very similar to the One who created it.

People-Pleaser

Suggested Reading: Judges 8:22-27

What Sunday School hasn’t recounted the story of Gideon? He was called by God; he doubted; he looked for signs and he eventually defeated the Midianites without laying a hand on them. Gideon: what a hero! Even heroes fall when they take their eyes off the One who gave them their title.

All Israel prostituted themselves by worshipping [the ephod] there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.” (Judges 8:27)

This is the end of Gideon’s story. Just like Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 17-20), it ends on a sour note. Israel did have peace for forty years because of Gideon, but they also worhsipped idols. Gideon listened to the wrong voices. The people were so enamoured with what Gideon had accomplished they wanted him to rule. Rightly Gideon declared it was the Lord who would rule over them, not himself, (vs.23) but then the story takes a weird turn. After proclaiming the Lord’s rule over the people, Gideon asks them to hand over their jewelry which he proceeds to make an “ephod” out of. In an attempt to please both God and man, Gideon had a lapse in judgment by creating an idol the people would “prostitute” after.

Jesus tells us, “No one can serve two masters.” (Matt. 6:24)

We’re constantly going to hear voices from the world, family, friends, and other Christians, but the only voice that really matters is God’s. If we’re constantly trying to please people and God, something will falter; usually our spiritual walk. Let’s purpose to be God-pleasers; devoted to His truth and despising what opposes it.