Book Review on Love That Last by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke

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If you are looking for a book that talks about the great, good, bad, and ugly of relationships, then this is it. Love That Lasts does not hide anything. Jeff and Alyssa did not sugar coat a thing. They talk straight from the heart about their past struggles and how God worked in them individually to bring them together. This book also has workbooks for him and her that go along with the chapters.

When you read the title of the book and look at the picture, the first relationship to come to mind is a marriage. But this book is for everyone. There is something in here for the singles, the dating, the engaged, the newlyweds, and the not so new newlyweds. Different chapters relate to different relationship phases of their lives. I absolutely recommend this book for anybody!

Okay, back to the book itself. What I thought was really clever was the fact they used different song titles for the name of each chapter. The song title related to what they were talking about in that chapter.

From the very first line in chapter 1, I was hooked. Jeff started with his past, which was not so great. My first thought was “Woah. This just got personal.” In this chapter, Jeff said we see love “as something we feel instead of something to commit to.” And this is so true. Especially with my generation, people think love is a feeling and not an action. If the relationship makes you feel good, then you stay and if not, then you leave. Which is totally wrong!

Anyway, they talk a lot about each phase of a relationship as the book progresses. The first few chapters are about their times of being single. Singleness is looked at as something bad and “You still don’t have a bf/gf yet?” And this shouldn’t happen. Both Alyssa and Jeff talk about how being single should be the best because you have that time to do whatever you want and grow closer to God. That changes when you’re in a relationship with other responsibilities.

The next few chapters talk about how they met and fell in love and started their dating relationship. Oh and there was a break-up. She wasn’t into him at first and he said he was going to marry her. They talk about the highs and lows of long distance relationships and how that can really put a strain on things, but also be a blessing. While she was in Maui, Jeff flew out to visit her. She felt doubts about their relationship after he left, and he fell madly in love. Then what happened next? They broke up! But they both say it was probably the best thing because they were able to rely on God so much and grow. God was all they had.

The last couple of chapters talk about the second time they dated and about getting married and their marriage itself. Because they broke up and had time to mature and think about what they both wanted, they realized it was each other. They pursued the relationship with better, Godly intentions this time around. This led to an engagement and ultimately marriage. Marriage is not easy, but it is a blessing. They talk about what they expected going into the marriage and what reality was.

All in all, I truly enjoyed this book. I felt both Alyssa and Jeff were very honest about every phase of their relationship, whether that was good or not so good. In the very last chapter, the question is asked “What if marriage is not about making you happy but making you holy?” I had never thought about that before. But it makes so much sense. If you are in a marriage to make you happy, then you are going to fail miserably. Marriage is not always going to make you happy. But if you are in the marriage to reflect Christ and become more like Him, holy, then you will be more happy because you are doing it the way God intended. I want to leave this review with a quote from Jeff, “A true marriage, and one that brings the most joy when lived in, is one that celebrates and grows each person simultaneously.”

 

If you would like to grab a copy of Love that Lasts, click here.

If you would like to grab the corresponding workbooks for him and/or her, click here for him and click here for her.

 

Good fruit, Bad fruit

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Do you produce good fruit or bad fruit? Not the kind of fruit you eat, but spiritual fruit. There are fruits of the Spirit and bad fruits of your sinful nature. Would you rather receive love or hostility? Self-control or outbursts of anger?

Galatians 5: 16-26 talks about living by the Spirit’s power. If you are living by the Spirit’s power, then you produce fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Your sinful nature produces other fruit, which I refer to as bad fruit because they are no good to you or anyone living a Godly lifestyle. These bad fruit are sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these (Galatians 5: 19-20). I’m not perfect by far, but when I take a look at the fruit of the Spirit vs the bad fruit, I want people to treat me with the fruits of the Spirit!

Yes, I struggle with all the Spiritual fruit. I don’t always show love or patience or self-control, just to name a few. But I think God laid this on my heart so that I am more aware of how I am acting towards others and even myself. I can’t do it on my own. I am human just like everyone else on Earth. God says let the Holy Spirit guide your lives so that we don’t do what our sinful nature wants, which is evil. I’m not saying you won’t still struggle. We are told that the Spirit and our sinful flesh will always be fighting each other. So it’s going to be a long, hard road. But then I think about what I will get if I follow the ways of this world. You know what I will get? Nothing. Living as the world does will not let me “inherit the Kingdom of God.” And that is not what I want! I want to be in the Kingdom! I want to praise Jesus everyday! I want to walk the streets of gold! And that starts with me following the fruits of the Spirit and letting the Holy Spirit lead me.

Let’s read Matthew 7:17-20. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. This sums it all up. Would you eat an apple from a tree that is rotting? No! If the tree is rotting, then you know the apple isn’t going to be any good. But if the tree is good, so is the apple. Jesus says that every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown in the fire. Think about it…if you are producing bad fruit, you are going to be “chopped down” and thrown in the fire like firewood. Do you really want to be used as firewood? I know I don’t.

In a garden, you have trees and bushes that you expect to produce good fruit and vegetables. In order to get the most out of the tree, you have to prune the branches. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, prune means “to cut out useless or unwanted parts,” “to cut off dead or unwanted parts of a bush or tree.” If there is one branch on a tree that does not produce, you cut it off so that when it grows back, it will produce even more! It’s the same way with our fruit! Look at yourself as the tree. You are producing jealousy, selfish ambition, and anger. In order for you to produce good fruit, you have to cut off the unwanted branches. So you cut off jealousy, selfish ambition, and anger, and grow joy, self-control, and peace in it’s place. And you keep doing this until you have pruned all the dead branches and grown good fruit in its place.

John 15:1-17 talks about Jesus being the true vine and how God is the gardener. He cuts off the dead branches and prunes the rest so it will produce even more. Verse 5 says, Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. If you are producing Spiritual fruit, you are a branch that will not be cut off. You will remain in God, as He will remain in you. If you are a tree producing bad fruit, you need to cut off those branches. You don’t want to be a useless tree.

It is never too late to prune the branches in your life. God is a forgiving, merciful God. His is your gardener. Don’t wait another day. We will always fall short and need some pruning, but that’s what’s so awesome about having God as your gardener! So which fruit are you producing?

My Morning Ritual

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What do you do in the mornings? What is your morning routine? I used to not have a morning routine. Then I got married and found out very quickly that I needed a quiet time with the Lord.

I am so far from a morning person, it’s unreal. But what’s crazy is that I wish so badly to be a morning person! Those people that get up at 5 AM everyday like its nothing make me look like the laziest human being ever. They get more done before 8 AM then I could get done in a whole day! My husband is an early bird and I have tried asking him what his secret is, but he always tells you either you are or you’re not. I’m starting to believe that. I have tried so many times to get up early consistently and I always fail. But the few times I do manage to roll out of bed before 6 AM I feel so much better.

Recently, I decided to get up early and workout, have my quiet time, and eat a good breakfast. To me, that’s a lot to do before I have to leave and go to work. I’ve learned I do not get up early enough to accomplish all those things in the morning. If I do not work out in the mornings, I know I won’t when I get off work, because who wants to go home after work and exercise?! Not me! I want to sit in my chair and relax. I have very little energy when the work day is finally over and I can’t give my all in a workout like I need to. I’ve also realized that my day is very messy and frustrating and I am not a nice person when I do not start it off with God. I may not have an extra 30 minutes or an hour in the mornings to sit and read my Bible, but I do have 5 to 10 minutes to read a devotional.

My devotion of choice for this season of my life is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. There is a devotion for each day of the year. She wrote it like God Himself is talking to you. That in itself draws you in. At the end of each devotion are some verses that relate to the devotion for that day. These devotions take no longer than 5 to 10 minutes to read. For me personally, what I read each morning sticks with me throughout the day. I write one of the verses on my hand to be a reminder each day about what God is doing in my life and how awesome He truly is! It may just need to be something that I need to work on, like patience. Or it may be a reminder about how He is always there for me. Whatever it is always speaks to me in some way, and that’s exactly what I was looking for in a devotional.

If you are interested in having a copy of the Jesus Calling devotional for yourself or someone else, click here. You will not regret it!

So what does your morning routine look like? Do you have a devotional that you really like? Leave a comment below and let me know what it is!

Hello, world!

Hi everyone! This is my first ever blog post! I am very excited about this! I’m just going to tell y’all a little bit about me and why I decided to start a blog. Here goes…

My name is Casey and I  live in a small Alabama town with my wonderful husband of almost three years!

Here’s a little bit about my upbringing. I was raised in a Christian home and brought up in the church. I always knew God was real, but never really had a personal relationship with Him until my junior year of high school. I transferred schools that year and didn’t really know anyone at my new school. In February of my junior year, there was a weekend camp for high school students called Ekklesia. It was AWESOME!! God showed up and showed out in the lives of the other students as well as mine. There was a band that played music that just tore me up inside. As I listened to the words, I began to realize that I can’t keep living without a personal relationship with Him. That is also where I made some of my best friends.

After the camp was over, we all went back into our regular routines and tried to live like we thought we should. We had what is known as a “spiritual high.” About a month later, I started going back to my own ways. Not because I didn’t want to be close with God anymore, but high school is difficult for most people.

Fast forward to my college years. I worked and went to school. I grew in my faith and walk with Christ that first semester of college. It was so much different than high school and at times it was scary. I had no other choice but to trust in God. I was not perfect by any means, and I slipped up a lot. Then in January of 2014, I met my amazing husband! I had been longing for a Christian guy to come along and sweep me off my feet for a long time. I just couldn’t seem to find a guy that had the same morals that I did. Then Chad came along and here we are now! But he was not scared to be up front that he was a Christian and I admired that so much. We started dating and did Bible studies together and both grew in our walk with God! I thought it was awesome!

We got engaged in October of 2014 and came up with a date of May 9th 2015, I think, to have our wedding. Obviously, from the “I think,” you can gather we didn’t get married on that day! Instead, we decided one Monday to get married that Friday which was February 27th, 2015. I was tired of people trying to tell me what to do and how to do it when it came to my wedding. So I said FORGET IT! And we just did it! We told family, close friends, and of course our preacher. We got married when I was 19 and he was 21. Nowadays, 19 is looked at as way too young to get married and we faced a lot of opinionated people because of our ages. As you can imagine, the first thought people had as to why we moved the wedding up so abruptly was “Am I pregnant?!” The answer was NO! And here we are, almost 3 years later! And no, I still do not have any kids nor am I pregnant! HA!

Today I work a full-time job at a pharmacy, but I don’t think that’s what God wants for me forever. He’s been heavy on my heart lately about starting some kind of ministry to bring people to Him. I tried to think of a way I could start a ministry without having to quit my job, and I could hear God say a blog!

So, back to why I decided to start a blog. “Aren’t there a ton of blogs out there already?” Well, the answer is yes. “Why are you starting one then?” I believe everyone has something different and unique to share. No two blogs are the same. For me, I have felt God telling me to start a blog for a while. I just never knew what I could possibly write about that would pull people in and make them want to stick around. So I decided to blog about different resources I use in my walk with God, as well as different struggles I am facing, encouragement for people of all backgrounds, etc. I don’t want this blog to look like somebody else wrote it. I want it to be real. Everything you read here will be straight from my heart.

 

I also want to hear from my readers! What would you like to hear from me? Specific topics? How I study my Bible? Anything that you can think of! I’m open to suggestions! I will not be answering any crude or inappropriate questions, so don’t even bother.

My prayer for this blog is to bring people to know Christ. I pray that each person receives something positive from a post I have written each time they show up. I want my heavenly Father to be glorified throughout this process; not me. Below is the verse that is behind this whole thing.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

Until next time,

Casey