4 Stars: Preparation for Eternity with God by Rick Streight

Although not perfect, this book is a MUST read for all serious Christians. Preparation for Eternity with God by Rich Streight is about drawing closer to Jesus and find eternity in the salvation He provides. Streight has some very challenging and thought-provoking ideas and teachings about becoming Christ-like, the absolute importance of eliminating sin from your life, perhaps even Lordship Salvation. I think these ideas make this book an essential read (especially for more advanced Christians). However, I found this author to be untrustworthy because of his unusual interpretation of some scriptures and his adding to the Bible to make it say what it does not say - he exagerrates and embelishes the simple biblical stories. This being said, I would recommend others read this book because it has to do with salvation and REALLY living the life - not just claiming to be "Christian". It asks you the toughest questions on your Christian walk and challenges you to REALLY be Christ-like and not just go about your daily lives ASSUMING you've already got a ticket into heaven. I don't think we should ignore this book just because of the questionable parts - but I would warn readers to really use their discernment to seperate truth from things that are not taught in their bibles.


STREIGHT CLAIMS PAUL WAS NOT SAVED YET: Romans 7: “Paul is describing the role of the law in bringing a person to Christ. He is also describing ...an individual ...who has not yet laid hold of the grace of Christ for salvation.” Paul was convicted, but not converted (born again). ... The whole eighth chapter of Romans explains the born-again power of liberty... [Rick Streight. Preparation for Eternity with God (Kindle Locations 334-342). WestBowPress.]

STREIGHT ADDS TO LUKE 6:46-49: Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.... 48 They are like a man [who]... laid the foundation on rock.... 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Now read what Streight wrote: "Notice what the man did: 1. He came to the Lord—he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. 2. He heard God’s sayings—he read his Bible and allowed God to speak to his heart. 3. He asked God for wisdom as to how to apply the things he learned to his life (he “doeth them). 4. He dug deep—if he didn’t understand something, he asked God for wisdom, got out a Bible dictionary, and compared Scripture with Scripture. The other man—the unsuccessful man: 1. Read his Bible. 2. Was not a doer of the Word." [Keep in mind, the actual verses mention nothing about a Bible or Bible dictionary, which did not exist at the time]

STREIGHT ON HEBREWS 12:1-2:  1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus..." Now read what Streight wrote: "I had read in Hebrews 12:1–2 about the “cloud of witnesses” who would rather die than sin against God."

I am glad Streight asked about sin and stressed eliminating it from our lives but some readers may not agree with his emphasis on "sinlessness" as it relates to salvation. He seems to teach a type of "Lordship Salvation" which means that IF you really were saved, eliminating ALL sin from your life would be of utmost importance. Living in sin and being a true saved Christian are incompatable, according to Streight. His arguments really are worth reading because they will convinct and challenge you deeply. He also does a good job backing up his arguments with scriptures. Streight admits humans cannot be fully sinless until the afterlife, but he stresses the importance of eliminating sin as a sign that you really do love God above your sins.

"Why is it so important to “be made free from sin”? "...your sins have hid His face from you...” (Isaiah 59:1–2). Sin separates us from God. Jesus came to remove the obstacle (sin) so that we can be reunited back to the Father." Streight writes that we should "hate sin like Jesus hates sin and be separated from it. Salvation becomes a reality when we decide to love God" "Brethren, don’t let the word perfect overwhelm you. Only God is absolutely perfect....Greek word telios. It means “complete, a mature moral character.” The whole purpose of the gospel is to remove sin from our lives and prepare us for eternity." "The question is this: how can a true believer (God knows who is and who isn’t) continue in sin after knowing the price Jesus paid to have our sins forgiven? “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). Also, Peter says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Peter 2:20–21). “In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil” (1 John 3:10). “He that committeth sin is of the devil … For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). "can we really call ourselves Christians if we are in open rebellion to God’s will in our lives? “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (1 John 3:6). If you allow Satan to deceive you into thinking that continued sinning is normal, even for Christians; If you think that all you have to do is believe in Jesus (intellectually) and that sinning has nothing to do with your salvation; you won’t feel your need to keep your eyes focused on Jesus to maintain victory over sin!"

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

1 Star: Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge

Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge is written by a couple who take turns explaining their points of view on their own marriage. They talk about some of their difficulties and take turns explaining their perspective so that the reader will get both a male and a female perspective. The main point of the book is that marriage is SUPER HARD but it has a purpose in God's design and you will grow through it. But the authors warn you not to enter your vows lightly, because you are sure to be challenged.

I feel bad giving Love & War a 1 star but it was SOOOOO BORING! I appreciate the intention of the authors but this book dragged on and on and on. I forced myself through the chapters trying to find some gold nugget but nothing stood out. Nothing was memorable and I didn't have any "Ah-ha!" or "I could apply that to my life" moments.

The book was boring from the very beginning, where the reader is placed at a wedding and are forced to sit through the longest driest wedding speech from a pastor (John) I've ever heard! John goes through a 7 page long speech! And his topics are terribly unromantic! He talks about how difficult marriage is and pretty much sucks the "happily ever after" out of the room. He warns everyone "get read for pain, heartache and a super difficult ride". Now, I am not a dreamer interested in a fairy tale wedding (I've NEVER even dreamed of my "dream wedding") but this speech would just put a dark cloud over everyone's heads.

I could not recommend this book. I could not find anything "gold nugget-worthy" or even "silver-nugget-worthy"!

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

Unable to Rate: Healing Is A Choice

Requested this book from publisher for review but was unable to download ebook due to link being broken. Contacted Thomas Nelson but no response. So sadly unable to rate this book.

0 Stars: The Book of Man by William J. Bennett

Having a pre-conceived notion that William J Bennett was a man who knows about Christian morals based on his Book of Virtues, I predicted that I would love this book. I was so excited to be receiving from the publisher a book on the values that makes a man a real man. That being said, I was completely stunned and disappointed by this book and its glorification of un-Christian values. I did not find Christian morals or virtues in this book, but instead found the opposite! For those that care, the author demonstrates his political bias, with a completely obvious Republicans slant in interviewing about a dozen Republican presidents, generals and politicians. I don't see why these politicians would be held up as examples for Christian character.

The first section of this book glorifies war. Do we agree with Bennett when he writes "War promotes the highest virtues: honor, fortitude, service and sacrifice. The greatest moments of manhood are often found in battle"? We must ask ourselves: Fighting for freedom is one thing, but are most wars truly fought for freedom or are they fought for greed, human glorification, egoism, heroism and stealing material wealth from other nations? Bennett writes "Battle is the most significant competition in which a human can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base… duty is the essence of manhood. It turns boys into men." Is this true? Does war make our boys better men? Do they emerge from it, better off?

Bennett's own book interviews several Marines so that you can judge for yourself their motivations for joining the Marines and their Christian character. Donovan Campbell tells us that he "wanted others to admire him for his sacrifice", so he "joined the Marines". He describes his reasons for joining as "wanting adventure and to be in charge – be a leader - and not sit behind a desk and computer". "My thinking as a leader was, I need to make big decisions, show heroism and give an occasional great speech." And as a testament to his Christian character, he tells another story "One of my guys pulled me aside and pointed out how often I was using the cell phone (against clear orders, a few guys were sneaking using the emergency phone to call home every 2-3 days), when all the rest of the other guys were only allowed to call home once every 2-3 weeks. I felt about six inches tall." In Bennett's book, Marine Joshua Marcellino says “War isn’t what I thought it would be. It was boring. We marines are made to go after people. If you’re not killing someone or being killed, you’re not happy.” Are these the admirable Christian values you want your sons to adopt?

Bennett's book continues with Colin Powell justifying use of "hard military power" and the pagan Alexandar the Great justifying his blood-thirsty need for war "Does any man honestly feel he has suffered more for me than I have suffered for him? Show me your wounds and I will show you mine. I have sword cuts, arrow piercings, and bruises all for your sakes, your glory and your gain."

In this book, Bennett holds up politicians and athletes as examples of real men for our sons to admire. The majority of the men that Bennett includes in his book are either not Christian or we are not told of their religious perspective. Bennett holds up pagan and non-Christians as models for our sons. Christian morals are not addressed in this book. Self-centered, egotistical, masculine macho values are the main emphasis of this book.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.