The Suprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages

HHM

I had the opportunity to receive a copy of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages in exchange for an honest review.  And honestly, this was a difficult read.  Don’t get me wrong, there is some great information in here, and I took about a page of notes and there are lots of nuggets of wisdom that I plan to incorporate into my own marriage….

But…this book could have been SO MUCH better.  The “secrets”, while potentially transformational, are not complicated or difficult to understand, but the reader has to wade through pages of material and background and case studies to get to the information that you need.  I wish that “meat” of the book would have been about 40-50 pages long, with the option to dive deeper into the details in a separate section of the book.  Also, a review of the material would have been helpful as well.  The list of secrets that I culled from the book could have easily been printed on a reference page that could be accessed easily and perhaps provide some usefulness to the reader.

While there is some great material in here, reader beware, you are going to have to go out to the deep end to learn the secrets.

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“Based on New Information” – Said God Never

I admit that I have been fascinated with the tragic story of Malaysian flight 370 and its disappearance over 3 weeks ago.  It is still amazing to me that in the modern era, when my office can pinpoint the location of my laptop, we have the ability to lose a plane.  I just don’t get it.  But it also reminds me of just how huge and unknown and savage the world is that God has created for us to live on.

Over the last few weeks, there have been repeated changes in the search area.  Typically, these changes have been the result of some “new information” that has been discovered or disclosed.  They have changed the flight’s direction, speed, altitude.  Virtually every detail that could be changed from the original flight plan has been changed. They also turned off the plane’s beacon signal, which makes it impossible for the plane’s owner or manufacturer to locate it.  Combined, this is making it very hard to find this plane.

I realized this morning that this is not the way that my life operates in God’s economy.  There is no “new information” with God.  He knew my beginning and end before the foundation of the world.  He knew every detail of my life.  He has been surprised by nothing.  He knows exactly where I am, where I am going,  and when I am going to arrive at the destination.

How foolish of me to think that I have done something or experienced something that will change or disrupt God’s plans!  He was aware of every decision and hardship that I would face in life before the world was even created.  He knew that my parents would divorce.  He knew that my father would die and that I would stubbornly refuse to reconcile. He knew that I would not finish college.  He knew that I would fall in love and marry at a young age.  He knew that we would struggle financially and make some poor decisions with money.  He knew that our children would be born prematurely and the stress that it would bring on a young couple.  He knew that I would fall into addictions.  He knew that the economy would weaken and that I would find myself unemployed.  He knew that our house would lose its value.  In this world you will have trouble….  He knew all of it and he still created me, in this place and in this time. And with a purpose.

But God’s purpose always has been and always will be about him.  It has never been about my circumstances or decisions.  It has always been about using this life for his glory.

So I hope that they find that plane. I hope that they discover what happened so that the families can have some closure.  And I hope that I will continue to accept that this life is God’s original and perfect plan and I will stop searching for significance . Stop thinking that I have somehow gotten off course and that God can’t find me based on this “new information”.

Today I hope that you embrace the fact that you are who God created you to be. You are in the place and time that God chose for you. And your circumstances and your responses to them are all tools that God is using to draw you closer to him.  All for the purpose of knowing him and revealing him to the world.

For his glory.

Heaven Is For Real Book Review

Many of the independent Southern Baptist churches that I have attended over the years have occasionally held “Testimony Services”. At these services, the members of the congregation would have the chance to stand and testify to what God had been doing in their lives or some trial that he had brought them through. Sometimes, the speaker would be nervous and uncomfortable speaking and their testimony would be a little disjointed in places, but the content of what they shared would be amazing.

That is how I felt reading this book. It reads much like a testimony. Although it is a little disjointed (primarily because it covers several years of random revelations about Colton’s visit to heaven), the content of the book is well worth the short amount of time required to read the book.

I confess that it took me a couple of chapters to really get into the book. In brief, the book shares the story of Colton Burpo, who during an emergency surgery, had an experience that can only be described as miraculous, in which he went to heaven and returned. Colton, only 4 at the time, did not immediately share this with his family but rather shared specifics over the course of several years as circumstances brought them to light. The initial details of the family’s trials leading up to Colton’s event at first seemed a bit superfluous. They did not seem to be moving the story well, however, once we had arrived at Colton’s surgery, the details proved to be necessary in establishing the mindset of the family at the time.

The majority of the book is spent revealing details that Colton shares regarding his experience. The story is truly remarkable. While being a little scattered, the information that he shares is so very encouraging. His descriptions of heaven, Jesus, and family members that he sees offer us a glimpse into what we all hope to see someday. In a world that is in turmoil due to wars, and the economy, and life in general, this story is very powerful and needed.

This book is a wonderful confirmation of the faith that we have as Christians.

I read the movie tie-in edition of this book. This edition includes pictures of the family and movie cast, as well as interviews with some of the family and those involved with the movie. Because the story of the book was so interesting and moving, I found the movie tie-in material to be unenlightening.

Read the book. It will encourage you in your walk of faith.

I was given this book by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.