Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel

I received this book from the BookLook Bloggers Program for free in exchange for my honest review.
It's taken me a while to write this review. I received this book before Christmas, got caught up in all the holidays, was working hard on my internship and finishing up school, and before I knew it my 3 months that I had to write the review had expired! Luckily, BookLook Bloggers knew I was good for my review and started my account back up again so I could post it. So, without further ado, here it is!

The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel explores the question, "Where can we find hope in a hopeless world?" These days, when we hear the hate spouted from the mouths of politicians, see the news of terrorist attacks across the world and even violence, homelessness, and heartache in our own city streets, it can be hard for some to find that hope. Some turn to other things for hope, but not of them can sustain them for long. Lee Strobel explores the Biblical basis for the case that our hope should be in The Lord. Strobel explores the hope of what Jesus did for us, dying on the cross and sacrificing himself so that we might live. He also relates many stories of people in his life who turned to Christ in their hour of need and found hope in the Lord. I highly recommended this book to anyone who is in doubt, from Christians who are having so much doubt that they are having trouble studying the Bible for the verses that may bring them hope to someone who has not even found Christ and needs somewhere to turn for direction. At the end of the book, Strobel offers a 30 Day Journey of Hope with a Bible verse to study each day to remember the hope that is in the Lord. This is a great book to anyone who wants to "look ahead with confidence and courage." The most profound thought that Strobel shares and that I took away from this book is the thought that we should take this hope out to the world. God died for all of us and this should be shared with everyone.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Say Something!

This time of year, just a little over a week before Easter, 15 years ago, I was at the lowest point in my life. I had always been a little “down in the dumps” from time to time. I was sort of a pessimist. I complained a lot, didn't have many friends, and just kept to myself most of the time. I had someone I loved in my life, but we were in a long distance relationship. I was also away from my parents and I had started to push away the few friends that I had with my isolating behaviors.

It's been said that one of the first things to be affected in depression is one's perception. With me, this was absolutely true. I felt like my life was spiraling downward and out of control, but things were actually ok! I was doing well in college, getting good grades. I had a couple of great friends and I had a boyfriend and parents that loved me, even though they were miles away. So why did I feel so awful? I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't know how to define it.

Until one day, my practicum supervisor (I was studying to be a teacher) pulled me aside after class. She wanted to speak to me privately. She asked me how my practicum was going. I lied and told her it was going fine when truly I felt that I couldn't handle it and I could barely drag myself to get out of bed every day. She asked me how I was feeling. I said fine even though I had been to the doctor recently trying to find out why I was so tired all the time. She looked, her eyes full of concern, and said, “It just seems to me that you are very very depressed.” That was the word. That was it. The truth hit. I began to cry, at first just a little, and then sobbing almost uncontrollably. She gave me some information about the student health center and help me set up an appointment to go see a counselor there.

I can't remember the name of that professor, but that first step; her ability to recognize the signs in me that I was denying in myself, set me on the path to recovery. If it weren't for that professor, I don't know if I would be here today. I hope that somewhere out there in internet land, this reaches her as a thank you. But even if it doesn't, I want her to know that I am thankful for what she did and said. You never know how your words may influence another. For me, her words set me on a path to recovery and eventually led me down the road to become a professional counselor. I encourage everyone to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of mental illness if you are concerned about a friend or a loved one. Let them know you are concerned. Sometimes it just takes a few words to change someone's life forever.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Word of Promise New Testament (Audiobook) - A Review

I received this book for free from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

I thought it would be a nice change of pace to review something different, an Audiobook! This is a review of an audio version of the New King James Version New Testament published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The Word of Promise is presented in "dramatic audio theater" and stars Jim Caviezel, the actor that played Jesus in Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, as Jesus. Other famous voices include Terence Stamp (General Zod in the old Superman movies, and more recently the YES Guru in Jim Carrey's Yes Man!) as the voice of God and Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Brad Paisley's wife and star of the Father of the Bride movies) as the voice of Mary, Mother of Jesus.

I have to admit that I am not used to listening to the Bible, or audiobooks in general. I started listening half-expecting to be hearing biblical passages read and recited like they are in church. So, the drama of it threw me off a bit at first. But after a few minutes, I was pulled in. I was wondering how Jim Caviezel was going to present the voice of Jesus when he became angry, turning over the tables in the temple. I was wondering how Mary's voice would sound when she was morning the loss of her son. I was drawn in and I found that this was a new and different way to "read" the New Testament. It may be a great way to present the New Testament to children, who may have trouble reading the words presented in the Bible or have trouble paying attention. Listening to the Bible may be a great activity for families. They can listen to a passage and then talk about what happened, learning about Jesus as they go. I also gave an audio Bible as a gift to my mother-in-law, who would need a very large print Bible in order to read it and would probably have trouble turning pages. An audio Bible is a great tool for her and she was very happy to have one. This is a great presentation of the Bible with big name voice actors to boot! I recommend it!