Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Purpose Driven Life

   Sorry for so many book reviews and recommendations so fast but lately my study time with God has been so rich and full so I really want to share with y'all the amazing resources that are making it so. Of course, your time with God will never be rich unless you make sure to invite Him to teach you through whatever you're doing! :)
   A good friend and I are reading a book called The Purpose Driven Life together. It has 40 chapters and you're encouraged to read one chapter a day. The book talks about how to live with and for a true and eternal purpose, God's purpose. There are some bits I would phrase a little differently or don't fully agree with but for the most part this is a great read! It is written by a man named Rick Warren and provides extremely interesting insight and thoughts regarding living for Christ as an individual and with others. 
   There is a variety of study journals and Bible memorization books to accompany the devotional if you want but I just have the book and am getting a lot of out of it alone. 
To buy The Purpose Driven Life, click HERE.
To visit Rick Warren's book website click HERE.
My version of the book is pictured below but, as always, the same book can and will come with different covers! :)

My Utmost for His Highest

   This year I started reading My Utmost for His highest, a daily devotional featuring exerts from the sermons of Oswald Chambers and compiled by his wife after Oswald's death. Everyday God speaks to me in astounding volumes through this books and my relationship is growing before my first month with the devotional is even over. I strongly recommend My Utmost for His Highest for anyone who is ready to listen to God in a new and convicting way and follow Him wherever He leads! 
   Oswald Chambers and his wife lived a very long time ago so a lot of the words in the original devotional are a bit old fashioned and out dated. My particular book was actually edited by a man named James Reimann so that the words were a tad easier to understand but the content is still the same! I would recommend the edited version but since I've never read the original I'm sure it's really good too! 
Click HERE to buy/order the original devotional book.
Click HERE to buy/order the edited version of the book.
My version of the book looks like this but there are many different covers.

The Power of Love

    Due to my frequent posts about love I'm sure you've picked up on the fact that I've been think a lot about love lately. This is because pretty recently God has been revealing to me the magnitude of His love for me (and you!). I'm constantly being amazed by the strength with which God loves us and the more aware I become of His love for me, the more I desire to love Him back and follow Him in everything I do.
    Earlier this month I was writing Valentines Day cards to soldiers and I put in some lines about God's incredible love for them when I thought popped into my head. Like we saw in last weeks post about books and the war one the week before, love is an extremely powerful force. In fact, (for those of you who didn't read previous posts) I believe that it is the most powerful force because it alone has the power to change the heart and with the power to change a heart comes the power to change the fate of that individual. 
    So, the thought that popped into my head was that love is the most powerful force in existence and will continue to be that through eternity. Because God's love for us is greatest possible love, the most powerful force in existence is directed at us for all of eternity through God! I think this is absolutely incredible and I'm so thankful to God for this realization and the countless others regarding His love! I hope you find that fact as wonderful and intriguing as I did! :)

Biblical Evidence:
   For any of you who are wondering where I'm basing this Biblical I commend you for that! And will now proceed to answer you question.
   The Bible supports the idea that love is the most powerful force by saying the God is all powerful! He is capable of all things (Matthew 19:26). He is Lord and creator and His understanding is unfathomable (Isaiah 40:28). The Bible also says that God is love (1 John 4:8). And that God gives of His spirit to us (1 John 4:14) therefore His love is directed at us. So if love is the force that embodies the all powerful God (God/JC) and He gives us His spirit then the most powerful force in existence is directed at us through all of eternity through God!

Frozen (love and fear)

   I know that y'all are already aware of my love for the Disney movie Frozen but I just wanted to give y'all a cool connection to the Bible to think about. The in my opinion, the thematic summary of the movie would go something like this:
 Elsa was extremely fearful that her lack of control over her      powers would cause her to hurt those around her. Because of 
 this she distanced herself from those she loved (aka everyone)  to prevent them from ever being hurt by her. In doing this, 
 she also lived in great fear that she would end up hurting  people despite her distance. During her years alone her 
 immense love continued but her plan left her unable to share 
 it so she had to keep it hidden away inside of her. It wasn't  until she allowed all the love she'd kept inside for years to  overflow  out of her that she learned to control her powers 
 and, therefore, banished fear.

   This directly relates to 1 John 4:17: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear.

   That is the theme of Frozen, really and truly! So even if not every aspect of Frozen is Biblical sound, it's theme most certainly is! Hope y'all find that as cool as I did! :) 

To watch the Love Thaws Scene click here!

Frozen (love-part 2)


   I know I did a post on love in Frozen earlier but I thought of a couple more cool examples that I wanted to post! :) Once again, this WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! So if you have not seen the movie please go watch it and then come back and read this post!!! :)

1) Anna's love for Kristoff:
     Anna's love for Kristoff is shown most in her excitement and  openness towards him. This is especially evident in the new    sleigh scene. She is so excited about every tiny aspect of what  she gives him and makes sure it's perfect and that he'll love  it. She is also completely aware that it's a gift he'll never  be able to repay her for but her only concern is him. This is  like how God cares about every tiny aspect of our lives and  each little aspect is a perfect gift from Him. He knows that we  can never repay Him for anything He gives us but any  hesitations due to that fact are completely overridden by His  astounding love! 

2) Kristoff's and Sven's love:
     Sven loves Kristoff more than anyone else because of the  unique and perfect way Kristoff understands Him. Just as  Kristoff is the only one who understands Sven completely, God is  the only one who will always understand us. No matter what we  say or how we say it, God knows our heart and intentions and  never doubts or misinterprets our meaning. This is a truly  amazing God quality because it is unique to your relationship  with Him and eliminates all misunderstandings. God knows our  hearts (Luke 16:15).
3) The Troll's love for Kristoff:
     As the "Fixer Upper" song makes us well aware of, the Trolls  know all about every bad characteristic Kristoff possesses but  that in no way lessens their love for him! God is the same way  with us. Every bad quality we have is out in the open with God  but His affections for us are just as deep as if we were  perfect. 

Frozen (love-part one)

   I am completely obsessed with the newest Disney movie, Frozen! It is probably my all time favorite! :) If you haven't seen the movie this post will be chock full of major spoilers so please do not continue reading until you have watched it!
   One of Frozen's main themes is love. Remember this scene?

I hope so because it's a really great one but for those of you who don't know, Anna confesses to Olaf that she doesn't even know what love is and Olaf responds with his own definition: Love is putting someone else's needs before yours.
    I believe this definition is spot on and is depicted beautifully in Frozen and well as in the Bible. Below I've complied 3 examples from Frozen with connections to Jesus's love for us!

1) Elsa's love for Anna:
     Many people interpret Elsa shutting Anna out as cruel        because that's the way Anna sees it but in reality, Elsa was not  spitefully shutting her out the exact opposite. Elsa condemned   herself to a life of loneliness and isolation in  order to  protect her sister. Hiding her powers from Anna was the  last  thing she wanted to do (as we see in her conversation with  Grand Pabbie troll) but because of the trolls warning  she  did  it  out of love for Anna. Later, when the pain and sadness was  over,  Anna finally understood the great love her older sister  had for  her because she knew the whole story. This is very  similar to  what Jesus's disciples must have felt like when  Jesus died on  the cross. They had spent the past three years  following this  guy and they knew that He was capable of saving  His own life but  He didn't do it. If I were a friend of Jesus  at that point I  probably would have felt like He      was purposefully abandoning me  without any explanation.  However, once He rose, His great love  for all of  us becomes clear because we, at last, understand the  whole story.
2) Kristoff's love for Anna:
     Olaf's example of love is how "Kristoff brought you back  here to Hans and left you forever." This example of love is so  genuine and true in every aspect. If you really love someone,  you are never going to keep them prisoner in any sense of the  word. Even if letting them go isn't what you view as the  right decision or is painful for you, giving someone freedom is  a necessary part of loving someone. God gives us the freedom to  choose to love Him back and accept his gift in Jesus, or not to.  When we choose to love Him He is overjoyed and delighted but he  is not going to force us to make that decision. And when we  don't, when we choose to push Him away, He agonizes over the  loss of His beloved creation but does not force our path  or decisions. In the end the choice is ours not matter how much  pain and sadness He endures because of it. 
3) Anna's love for Elsa:
     Anna love Elsa enough to give her life for her. Even though  she doesn't feel that Elsa returns that love, she is still  willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for her older sister.    This is very similar to Jesus's sacrifice for us. He gave His  life and pride, He underwent torturous physical pain and  spiritual agony all on our behalf fully aware that we aren't  even capable of loving Him back in the same way. 

Hope you enjoyed the connections! And here's some Biblical love to finish off the post: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Harry Potter

   I read the Harry Potter series over winter break and fell in love. In fact, I enjoyed so much that I wrote a little theme analysis type thing I will share here. Brace yourselves, it's pretty long! :)

Caroline’s Summary of the Ideas Found in 

Harry Potter

   It’s not up to us to get revenge. We must stay safe through innocence and with no opposition of the same kind, evil in forced to turn on itself because it is never satisfied, it must continue to hurt and destroy in order stay alive. If our hands are clean and our hearts pure then we have created an impenetrable shield of love and sacrifice that evil cannot break because it lacks understanding. The pure of heart do not understand evil but that doesn’t matter because the pure of heart never wage war. In their purity, they are led to sacrifice through love which binds all things together in perfect harmony and because evil is the opposite of both love and harmony it has no choice but to kill itself. The pure hearts cannot kill because only evil knows true death. 


  • It’s not up to us to get revenge (if we say that someone is evil then commit a deed equal to that of which we have condemned them for, our deeds are equal and so is the measure of our evil.)

  • We must stay safe through innocence and with no opposition of the same kind (This is not to say we should not fight back against evil. It simply means that we should not fight to harm but to save. When we choose to fight evil by inflicting pain and fear then we are fighting evil in the exact same way it is fighting us therefore we are trying to conquer evil with evil. If instead we retaliate by trying to prevent the infliction of pain and fear on others, then we are fighting to save rather than harm and we remain innocent and free of blame.)

  • evil is forced to turn on itself because evil is never satisfied, it must continue to hurt and destroy in order to stay alive. (Evil cannot continue to exist without people who are willing to harm others for selfish gain. If we remain innocent and unwilling, evil cannot grow. Because blame and selfishness are found in the foundation of all evil, those who are corrupt will often try to excuse themselves by blaming those around them and evil wages war against itself. They do this because they want to avoid the pain of remorse, not realizing that it is only through that pain that they may feel true joy later on.)

  • If our hands are clean and our hearts pure then we have created an impenetrable shield of love and sacrifice that evil cannot break because it lacks understanding. (When we allow evil to enter into us and control how we behave, we become evil’s prisoners. Remorse (as afore mentioned) is the key which unlocks our prison. However, we can skip all of that by not allowing evil to enter into us at all. When our deeds stem from love and sacrifice, we strengthen the shield that protects us from evil but selfish motives that are often part of our nature create kinks in the armor.  They allow passage for evil to slip in, often without us recognizing it for what it is. We must remain close to Jesus in order to recognize and expel evil from ourselves. Without selfish motives, our shields are impenetrable. In war, an army cannot successfully attack against the opposing side if they don’t understand the other sides defense. Because love and sacrifice have no place with fear and destruction, evil doesn’t understand our defense, if it did, it would no longer be evil.)

  • The pure of heart do not understand evil but that doesn’t matter because the pure of heart never wage war. (The innocent cannot understand the appeal of hurting others therefore do not understand evil, but because the innocent don’t want to hurt others, they do not wage war against others and their lack of understanding of evil keeps them pure.)

  • In their purity, they are led to sacrifice through love which binds all things together in perfect harmony (Just as Jesus, who was completely pure, sacrificed Himself for us due to His love for us, we can do the same for those around us. Love leads us to sacrifice our own interests for that of others and the joy and blessings that come from our sacrifice creates a life much fuller than if we followed our own hearts because to listen only to your heart is selfishness at its finest.)

  • and because evil is the opposite of both love and harmony it has no choice but to kill itself. (Evil cannot coincide with love and harmony so it will leave any place in which love and harmony reign. If our shields are working and evil has no where to go it will turn on itself (as is its nature) and destroy itself instead of us defiling ourselves in our attempts to destroy it).

  • The pure hearts cannot kill because only evil knows true death. (Those of pure hearts are those who know Jesus and, consequently, are given eternal life after earthly death. In the end, only evil will truly die/be forced into nonexistence. Because the pure of heart don’t know death, we cannot dish it out and remain untouched.) 

I hope you enjoyed my spiritual and thematically connections and will think of them(e) whenever you read these wonderful books!

Library's are pretty awesome and you'll probably be able to check them out any where but if you would like to own this wonderful series click HERE to buy them.
To visit J.K. Rowling's website click HERE.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Follow Me

     I'm just finishing up what is probably the best book I've ever read (excluding the Bible)! It is called Follow Me and is written by David Platt. The book explores what it truly means to follow Jesus and spread His love and word in everything we do. It also explains why it is so important for us to do so. For more information (or to buy the book) click here. The book will look like this: 
I strongly recommend this book and if you like it, you might also enjoy David Platt's other book, Radical. Click here for more info about Radical. Enjoy! :)

Valentines Day

    Valentines Day and love are always connected to each other but in reality, the superficial of pink hearts and teddy bears that line the shelves of Walmart are nothing in comparison to the love that Jesus has for us. 

     The verse above is John 3:16 and perfectly explains the magnitude of the love that God has for us. He sent His only son, Jesus, into torture so that some meaningless, sinful people on earth could be saved. And even more amazing, Jesus willingly went! True love is selfless and sacrificial and that is the love Jesus gives to us. Romans 5:8 say this, "But God showed His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Keep His great love and everlasting gift in mind today and for the rest of eternity!