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Archive for March, 2011

If there is any book that every college or college-bound student should read, it’s Thriving at College by Alex Chediak. This thick book isn’t fat because of big text; it’s fat because it needs to house all the profound wisdom, advice, stories, examples, and discussion questions found between its covers.

The moment I opened my package to pull out my copy, I was surprised at its length. I wondered why it would be so long, until I looked at the table of contents. Then it all seemed logical that all this information requires a large volume. Alex takes the reader step by step through the college process, from choosing a major to planning your social life, and of course all the technicalities in between. He offers scriptural guidance, testimonies, stories, examples, and anecdotes to prove his point: that college can be the best four years of your life, if you so choose to make it that way. It is also the best time to keep your faith, contrary to the horrifying rising rates of Christians leaving their faith in college. It teaches you not only to survive, but also to thrive. Now that’s one big attribute that makes it stand out from all those other “college survival” books.

Endorsed by many well-known authors such as Alex & Brett Harris (Do Hard Things), Jerry Bridges (The Pursuit of Holiness), Tedd Tripp (Shepherding a Child’s Heart), and Randy Alcorn (Heaven), this book deserves all the acclaim and praise it did. I’m already recommending this books to a few high school seniors I know, and strongly encouraging them to get a copy. And of course, if you are also a high school senior or a college student, you should buy or borrow a copy as soon as possible. Thriving at College is just too awesome a resource (and blessing!) to miss.

Click on the picture to buy Thriving at College from Amazon.com when it comes out on April 15, 2011!

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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Prayer is essential to the daily Christian life. What good is reading the Bible, evangelizing, attending church, and fellowshipping with other believers when you don’t talk directly with your Creator and Savior? On that note, transforming, impacting prayer is also essential for a solid Christian life. Without it, God cannot show His true power to His children. Transforming prayer brings about changes, blessings, deliverance, and revivals. Without prayer, the world will be left to its own devices, and it won’t last very long.

In his impacting, powerful book, Transforming Prayer, author, leader, and pastor Daniel Henderson explains how you can renew and revive your prayer life, and in doing so experience profound changes in your faith and worship-based prayer.  It is a resource you won’t want to miss, especially if you, like me, are struggling to develop a consistent prayer life that strengthens your faith beyond what you can imagine.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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The history of the Bible is very unique. It’s the world’s best-selling book of all time, but is also the most persecuted. It was written by about 40 authors over a period of 1400 to 1800 years. However, the facts don’t just stop there.  In fact (no pun intended), the history of the Bible is so vast and exquisite, Larry Stone has researched and written an account of the Bible from when it was first written to today, detailing not only its personal history, but how it has and still impacts people all over the world.

When I first requested The Story of the Bible, I was expecting a small “Bible facts” book. Therefore, the package lay among all our other packages while I waited for it to be delivered to my mailbox. When I finally found out that that big box was addressed to me, I tore it open to find a huge reference book, complete with pockets inside containing Xerox copies of different Bible pages. I was elated to begin delving into the Bible’s history and scrounging out the details.

The Story of the Bible is very thorough, and is perfectly designed to last for generations. I would highly recommend every scholar or family to purchase a copy for their library. It is an invaluable resource that you can use for years to come.

I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for a review. I was in no way obligated to write a positive review.

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I’ve noticed that blogging has become somewhat time-consuming as well as energy-draining for me these past few months.

I also found out today that Lent has begun.

Therefore, I’ve decided to take a break from Revine until Saturday, April 23. Lent lasts 43 days, starting from today: Wednesday, March 9.

This season I will spend more time building my personal relationship with God. Without having to worry about what to do for Revine, I can actually have more time apply the truths I’ve learned from writing all these articles. I can also rest and formulate new articles to write for Revine once I get back.

Also, you may notice a long list of books on my Updates page that I need to review. I will be taking some time to review these books, and I might be posting some of the reviews periodically during this season so that I keep up with the review deadlines. However, I will not be posting anything in addition to these reviews.

So for now, I will be going on hiatus. I hope that you also can give something up this Lent season, and instead spend more time with your Creator and Savior. It will be a time well spent. =D

Check back periodically for the book reviews, or come back on April 23 to read the new articles. =) Also, you can flip through my Archives (found under the Storehouse section of my sidebar) and read the posts you’ve missed or haven’t seen before.

See you soon!

In Christ,

Kyle

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I’ve always been a lover of allegorical novels. How skillfully people can weave subliminal truths into their stories is always a fascination to me. In fact, allegories are seemingly the only kinds of stories I can write. Therefore, you can imagine my anticipation of reading The Chasm by Randy Alcorn.

The Chasm is actually supposed to be part of a larger story called Edge of Eternity. I plan on getting a copy soon so I can get a wider scope of events and the storyline. However, I wasn’t all that into this story because I’m not exactly a fan of business men or anything to do with the financial field/industry — no matter how big or small a role it plays in the actual story. I’m sure it is better for many other readers, but not me.

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for a review. I was in no way obligated to write a positive review.

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“Hide God’s Word in your heart.”

This single phrase is one of the most popular among Christians and the Church today, and for a good reason. Not too many people know the true value of the Word of God, for if they did, they would be cramming as much of it as possible into their minds.

One thing a person must know is that the Bible is no mere book. Yeah, jabba jabba habba. You’ve probably heard messages on the importance of the Bible a million times. But have you stopped and really thought about the power of God’s Word? How it governs whole nations, brings hope to the hopeless, impacts thousands through different messages, and drives demons away? How desperate some Christians are to read just one or two pages of the Scriptures in their own language that they travel hundreds of miles on foot just to get a copy? How other Christians risk their lives to bring God’s Word to restricted areas? How imprisoned Christians can only rely on the Bible passages they’ve memorized to learn more about their Lord, for they may never gain access to a Bible ever again – or at all?

The Bible is a privilege. Here in the U.S. you can buy Bibles for less than a dollar… where in other nations some give their lives to provide Bibles for others. Just what is in this Word that compels people to take such great measures to obtain it? Maybe because the Word is like a refreshing drink of water after years spent in the desert. I believe that many Christians, since they are regularly exposed to the Word of God, have become somewhat desensitized to the power of God’s Word. We take its accessibility for granted, and depreciate how important it is to the daily Christian life. What we really need is a new perspective on the value of the Word of God… and why it is important to hide it away in our hearts.

Bible memorization is key in understanding the Word. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we are allowing its power to work in our lives. The Word is a living creature that encompasses the souls of people and points them in God’s direction.  It was there since the beginning of time and governs everything we say and do, being God’s written law to us. Through meditation it helps our picture of God to become stronger and clearer. In the face of sin and temptation it is a lethal weapon, as well as a shield against the enemy’s lies. It guides us towards God, governs what we say and do, and provides rules for us to follow so that we don’t stray off the path of life. There are so many layers in the Scriptures; you can never fully comprehend them all. And that’s reflecting who God is. Man’s mind can never fully understand God, but they can know Him in part, and the same goes for His Word. There is always something new to learn. Why else are dozens of books on the Bible being published every year?

Think of the persecuted Christians in the world. Most have limited or no access to a Bible, relying on scraps of paper with Bible passages or people who have memorized portions of the Scriptures to hear or read the Word. They crave for more of the Word, but sadly cannot obtain it most of the time. We are given the privilege to read God’s Word every day, and yet we leave it for another time. How ignorant can we get? If the Word was to be removed from our lives, the World would be in chaos. There will be no morality and no order, for where would these laws come from?

I hope you have all had those times where you desperately needed the Word of God. Maybe when you were struck with a sudden opportunity to share the Gospel. Maybe when a hurting friend could have used some comforting words and promises. Maybe when you were trying to live for God but just couldn’t recall those passages on whatever you were struggling with. Whatever the case, think of those incidents. How awesome would it have been for you to have God’s Word at the tip of your tongue, ready to dispense at a minute’s notice? Your life will be profoundly different, your morals strengthened, and your impact on other people lasting. In my personal experience, I find that delving deep into God’s word, memorizing and meditating on it, gives me unspeakable joy. I laugh and smile to the point that some think me crazy, but hey, the joy of the Lord is undeniable! His Word is compelling me to glorify God’s name; how can I sit still and stew in anger and dissatisfaction with the world?

We should approach the Word all the time with that same mentality, with joy in finding out new truths and promises. Meditating on God’s Word will help us uncover layers after layers of these truths. Hiding God’s Word in your heart is not meant to be cliché. The Word is so wonderful, so powerful, that it will be a welcome ally in times of trouble and need. That’s why every believer should take every opportunity possible to create a storehouse of Scripture in their hearts, easily accessible at any place and at any time.

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Handshakes. People do it all the time, in many different countries and for almost every occasion. But what exactly does a handshake do, other than being a polite habit whenever you meet someone?

Personally, I used to be pretty conscious about giving handshakes. I don’t know why; maybe because I was shy. But now I’ve progressed to initiating them. The reason for this sudden change? Getting to know the person right away.

Most people don’t know this, but the way you shake hands tells a lot about you… or in other cases creates a lot of impressions about you. There are several factors involved:  who shakes first, the way you shake hands, and the strength with which you shake (mostly for guys). According to proper etiquette, the younger person waits for the older one to inititate the greeting. If you are meeting someone’s parents or gaurdians, you also wait for their initiation. However, if that person is a peer, within a reasonable age range, or younger than you, it’s up to you to shake their hands first. It’s all out of respect, and respect is key when giving first impressions.

Confidence is key when you are meeting someone new. Let’s admit it: it can be intimidating sometimes to be introduced by a mutual friend, only to have that friend say “I’ll leave you two to get yourselves introduced” and head off somewhere else and leavint the two of you standing there awkwardly. I know for many teens this sis a pretty tough situation. You don’t know the other person, if they like you or not (as a person), their hobbies, interests, what to talk about… the questions just drag on and on. Therefore it is imperative to exhibit confidence to help the other person relax. People are more likely to talk freely if the other person seems to know how to keep the conversation going. And in that case, YOU’RE the person with the confidence. And it starts with that handshake. Make it firm. Strong. Especially if you’re a guy. A weak handshake won’t get you anywhere. A strong one will likely get you some comments (‘Strong handshake!’, ‘You work out?’, ‘Any athletics?’). Then that only serves to ignite a conversation. For girls, make it firm but don’t overdo it. The girls I shake hands with are usually pretty sensitive to a strong handshake… I get my fair share of “ow’s!” from time to time. D:

You might be thinking: this is fine and all, but what does this have to do with a Christian blog? Easy: the evangelistic mandate for all believers. To the people we don’t know very well, it’s important to put them at ease. You’ve got an important message for them that you wish to deliver in all its power. A weak handshake, a sign of lack of confidence, won’t exactly power up your message. In other words, be confident about your message. You will meet and greet people, and most of these encounters involves a polite handshake, so make the most of it and make it one that they will remember.

I believe Jesus Himself would give a sinner a nice, firm handshake and a loving gaze… instantly drawing them to Him. We can do the same, except that we point them to our confidence from our God.

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