Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: Real Help for Real Emotions

Bethany House provided a complimentary copy of Take Charge of Your Emotions in exchange for an honest review.
     Author Dr. Linda J. Solie has truly lent her years of experience in an easy to read book, Take Charge of Your Emotions: Seven Steps to Overcoming Depression, Anxiety and Anger. Even if you aren't one of many who deals with deep depression, crippling anxiety or enraged anger, all of us must deal with our emotions. Please don't let the "seven steps" scare you away, as these steps are very flexible and applicable to your personal situation.
    We have to two choices when faced with emotions. One, we can allow our emotions to drive us and run the show wreaking havoc in the choices we make. Or, two, we can take charge of them by realizing we can intervene with productive thoughts positively influencing our behavior. The key is to reframe our thoughts in sight of our worth in Christ. This process isn't about sugar-coating the scenario, but realistically accessing the situation. There are some things we can do to make a difference and other things we have to let go as we have no control over them. For instance, I can proactively pack moving boxes, but I cannot make escrow close quicker. I can control my reaction to a problem, but I cannot control the manner in which others will react.
     Take Charge of Your Emotions really is a book that can assist overcoming difficult emotions. When anger festers bitterness rots our bones. When anxiety attacks the panic can literally stop us in our tracks. When depression hovers darkness consumes our very being. Solie shows that retraining our minds is possible, though it will take a diligent effort. They say it takes 21 days to begin a new habit. Solis suggests writing down the seven steps for each of our problems for 30 days. If any of these emotions is plaguing you it would be well worth every moment.
     As some of my readers know I have dealt with anxiety and depression myself. I still do at times. I must applaud Solis for coming up with a plan that seems feasible for those that are tired of sitting in the toxic waste of damaging emotions. I  know it's hard to be in the pit. It will take initiative on your part to work your way into the light. The writing isn't meant to be fun. Yet, when you write out your rationale (or lack of ) in black and white, you will come to see there is a clearer way to think. In light of that, your behavior and life will begin to look different, better. I pray that you will give Take Charge of Your Emotions a chance to restore your joy. You'll wonder why you didn't start writing it out sooner.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Review: Joy Begins with Gratitude

It would be inappropriate to start this review off without a big thank you to Moody Publishers for providing a complimentary copy of Choosing Gratitude in exchange for an honest review.
      Author Nancy Leigh DeMoss has really done an exemplary job penning Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy. Joy eludes many as they grasp at chaff blowing in the wind in hopes of happiness. Ingratitude seems to be our culture's default setting. Blessings abound all around and yet, are all too often missed. The correlation between gratitude and joy is a concept that needs to be taught and learned. cultivated and practiced. When we choose to worship in thanksgiving, even in difficult circumstances, it can change our heart and perspective. One of the greatest aspects is that gratitude is not simply self-serving. It benefits us for being grateful yes, but, it also flows into the heart of others when we tangibly extend our gratitude.
     DeMoss in no way condones a rose-colored glasses point of view because frankly, life can get sticky and stinky. In the face of death, we can choose gratefulness for being allowed the time we had with the individual or we can sulk and let darkness consume us. Choosing Gratitude means just what it says; we have a choice to choose gratitude and subsequently, joy will follow.
     I appreciated DeMoss' frankness and compassion, which is often a paradox. There is this vulnerability she lends the book that allows the reader to connect with her, manifesting in a deep understanding, a shared secret. She knows pain, she knows life and she knows a woman's heart. Through biblical references and personal accounts that span a rather wide gamut, DeMoss brings clarity to the matter and practical application. Gratitude is something that needs to be nurtured within our hearts, cultivated to bloom.
    Choosing Gratitude is a wonderful read. In the back is a 30-day devotional that will further your quest for joy. Just think, it takes 21 days to form a habit and DeMoss is giving you 30 days to instill a life-long habit of giving thanks and reaping joy. This would be a terrific book for many believers, especially for those that want to renew their relationship with the Lord. God has given us blessings out of His goodness. The question is: Do we acknowledge those gifts with unceasing thanks?


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review: Hearing His Voice

Moody Publishers provided a complimentary copy of Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God is Speaking by Priscilla Shirer in exchange for an honest review.
     Author Priscilla Shirer does an amazing job presenting understandable material that will enable the reader to further their relationship with the Holy Spirit in Discerning the Voice of God. The Spirit is often misunderstood and believers chalk it up to a gut feeling rather than the inner working of God Himself. Shirer first addresses the manner in which He speaks and then describes the how-to discern His voice. The latter third of the book covers the Spirit's purpose in our lives.
      I really cannot applaud Shirer enough for writing an all-encompassing book about the Spirit. My accumulative knowledge thus far on the subject was the product of many books. Yet, in one softcover the subject matter is truly delved into in an applicable way. Shirer thoroughly explained the difference and the symbiotic relationship between soul and spirit. Our spirits are instantly renewed when we receive Christ but, our souls are sanctified in time as the Spirit infiltrates our entire being.
      Discerning the Voice of God also gives credence to the various, harmonious ways that God will speak to us. One thing alone may not stand up well but, if we add in other credible things then we may ascertain God is indeed leading us down a certain path. For instance, if we listen to our "gut" only, we may lead ourselves to disaster with good intentions. However, if we our wise and choose patience we may find that God is not leading us where we thought as we read Scripture, pray, seek counsel and if we are gifted by the mercy of confirmation, i.e. corroborating circumstances, Scripture passages and other believers. It is this type of information that can help us in our journey. It seems in many Christian circles that believers are just suppose to instantaneously know every thing about being a Christian the moment of salvation. Yet, the beauty of our journey is we are never finished learning about God. The Spirit is all too often overlooked. How sad it would be to miss out on a third of the Trinity.
     This book can become a catalyst to draw you closer to God. It will be an eye- and heart-opening read for any believer. He wants you to know Him intimately. Priscilla Shirer's intimacy with the Lord comes through her writing. I hope you pick up this book to share in her gift. Discerning the Voice of God is her invitation (and quite possibly His invitation) to you to build a deeper connection with the Almighty through His ever-present Spirit.