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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Better Than Before - Gretchen Rubin

What I learned about making and breaking habits - to sleep more, quit sugar, procrastinate less, and generally build a happier life. The author has also written a book called The Happiness Project, and is host of a webcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. This is an interesting book about habits, good ones and bad ones, and how to start good ones and drop bad ones. She writes from personal experience, and the experiences of friends in the real world. That is what makes this book applicable to the average person, it uses real life examples to illustrate food habits, procrastination, and time usage habits. An endorsement by Susan Cain, author of Quiet, adds credence to this book.
In a chapter called Free From French Fries, she describes two types of people, Abstainers and Moderators. You will see yourself and your habits falling into one of those. In the chapter titles, It's Hard to Make Things Easier, she explains the Secret of Adulthood, and it is to Make it Easy to do right, and hard to go wrong. Simple, yet very effective advice that many of us have heard from many other sources, but always good for a reminder. Simplicity, Abundance, and Overbuyer are descriptive terms that you will see yourself and others.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to break a bad habit, or start a good habit, which is just about anyone. I found her suggestions and advice easy to read and practical. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter add to the subject.
Publisher by Broadway Books, www.broadwaybooks.com, There is also extra content included, a notes section, and Suggested reading. All in all, a good book and an easy read.
I have been provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Born to Be Free - D. A. Horton

Escaping Performance to be captured by grace. This book is broken down into two parts, the performance trap and the trap of God's grace. In part one, the author talks about the subject of trajectory, relationships, affirmation, and peers. In part two, he tackles trust in God, reconciliation with God, affection from God, and partnership with the saints of God. He relates a lot of his stories on growing up, family and school life, and his experience in the music industry, and rap music in particular. Those of us who are not into this style won't recognize the names he mentions, but he has worked with a lot of the big names in this industry. Regardless, the points he makes are universal. Some are wake up calls, from family and friends, that something needed to change.
The main point in the first part of the book that struck me the most was, we always seen to want to do good things for God so He will love us more, when nothing we do will make Him love us more. It has already been done on the cross, and we don't need to add everything to it.
He is describing contrasting traps, one good and one bad.He even throws in a quote from John McArthur and the Westminster Confession, extra points from me. His views on total depravity and the sovereignty of God makes me think he is Reformed in his thinking, at least leaning that way.
On page 122, He says "Remember-God has given every believer the same job description: the great commission. We are all missionaries serving on the mission field we are living in." True statement, and one to always keep in mind in evangelism.
Also, on page 170, "Look around you. This dark world is inhabited by people who not only love darkness, but are content in remaining in it. Masses of people are running from the message of the cross because the life of Christ exposes the guilt and shame of their indwelling sin." And, a lot of people do not want to admit their own sinfulness and depravity.
You don't have to be a fan of rap music to enjoy this book, but if you are into this style, it may help with the name he mentions. Despite that, I enjoyed this book, and found it very readable. I can say that the author is sincere, and wanting to get his message out. The points of the traps that one can fall into, especially about the performance trap, that we have to keep performing for God to love us, and that by ding more God will love us more.
I have been provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review.