Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Jesus, Continued...by J.D. Greear is a book dealing mostly with Christian's relationships with the Holy Spirit. Greear proposes that Jesus told His disciples He would always be with them. To fulfill that promise, He sent the Holy Spirit. And we, as today's Christians, can have a loving relationship with the Holy Spirit as well. Greear asserts that for us to have a relationship in which we commune with God, as disciples in the past did, that we need to do that through the person of the Holy Spirit. We can do nothing apart from Him. The Spirit is responsible for taking God's truths and making them alive for us, for showing us how to implement them in our own lives, and for empowering us to accomplish them. The Spirit is not just part of the Trinity, but He is an essential part of our lives. In the first part of this book, Greear discusses who the Spirit is and why He is vital to the Gospel and our lives. In the second part of the book, he discusses how we can experience the Holy Spirit, and why it matters to our lives that we do experience Him. This book draws on important truths and helps show us how to develop a more true walk with God in our lives. It is a practical guide drawing on Scripture to help make God's truths alive in us. It is easy to read and understand, yet full of deep insight that will keep you thinking and praying long after you finish the book. It is a book I will return to any time I am feeling burned out and need reassurance of the the Spirit with me. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
No Greater Valor: The Siege of Bastogne and the Miracle that Sealed Allied Victory by Jerome Corsi is a very different book from what I expected. I normally do not read non-fiction history books. I enjoy history when it is coupled with fiction and told as a narrative. I enjoy historical fiction. I also enjoy learning about history, particularly about the people involved. I like the personal stories. I expected this book to follow that pattern and tell a story. I expected it to share the perspectives of those involved in this part of the war. To some extent, this book did do that. However, it did not read like a fictional novel. For someone like me, who struggles with memorizing historical dates and facts, this book was somewhat hard to follow. There is so much information, and I felt as if it jumped around too much for me to keep track of who was who and what each person's connection to the story was. I had to re-read some sections to understand them better. However, this being said, I greatly enjoyed the premise behind the story. Although parts of it read like a textbook, the idea behind the story is faith. Everything was against the soldiers in this story. They were outnumbered, the weather was against them, there were gaps in communication. From all outward appearances, Bastogne should have been a failure. Yet, the men involved believed they could win. They believed they were not alone in this battle. And their faith and courage helped seal victory for the Allies. It was enjoyable to read of their faith and the miracles that occurred during this time. If the book had been told in a more narrative form, I would have enjoyed it from beginning to end. It is definitely worth the read, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history. There is vivid imagery and the reader can feel the surroundings that enveloped these men. It is well-researched and inspiring. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Friday, October 31, 2014
Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold was a book I received from Handlebar Publishing in return for posting a review of the book. The book points out all of the obstacles that face today's children in our society: the amount of media available, their exposure to unfavorable things such as violence and sexuality, lack of family time, busyness, stress, academics, etc. The book assures us we are not resigned to allowing these things to cause our children a lifetime of resignation. We are able to help children today, to navigate the world and help it to be a better place. We are not resigned to a downtrodden society. One argument in the book is that we need to restore the values that make society a great place. It is not enough to say we need to help children, but we need to be sure our resources and time support that stance. In other words, we need to start from the top and change our priorities so children can be taken care of. This includes national spending, budgeting, prioritizing education, and reclaiming family values. We also need to model for our children balance in our lives. We cannot expect them to learn to balance their time and priorities if we are always busy, rushing from activity to activity and complaining about the stress in our lives. We need to model appropriate budgeting and finances. We need to demonstrate the importance of family by making time for others. We need to model healthiness by exercising, eating right, and living balanced lives. The book goes on to argue parents need to be there for their children, especially fathers. Parents need to take an active role in their children's lives, setting boundaries and helping to educate them on the important things in life. The book makes a good case for helping children so they can grow up and live healthy, balanced, lives. However, I would have liked to have seen more practical suggestions that could be implemented in families, rather than some of the generalized ideas from the author. The book does cause us to pause and truly think about what we are modeling for our kids and whether our actions are teaching them what we want them to learn. Reading it will help people focus on making changes to give kids a better chance at a better future.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul by Ralph K. Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott is a book that discusses the principles for leadership and personal success. The authors point out that leadership is not just about being a good or kind person; it is not about wanting to do the right thing or about having the right knowledge. Leadership encompasses many traits. And sometimes knowing what NOT to do can be just as helpful as advice for the right things. After all, we have all learned from our own experiences and gained wisdom from our mistakes of the past. This book demonstrates that leaders can learn from mistakes as well, and it is to a leader's benefit to learn from the mistakes of others. King Saul was a failed leader. He started with good intentions and did not set out to be a flawed leader. However, his own flesh got in the way. As he gained power, he also became more arrogant and off track. He stopped following God's plan and tried to become his own god. This book offers valuable lessons for those in leadership based off these mistakes. Saul failed in many areas: he wasn't humble in his authority, he isolated himself, he spoke without thinking, he failed to love people, and he failed to consult God. By looking at these and other areas of failure, the authors are able to show where Saul went wrong and how leaders can choose better. Sometimes it helps to see the pitfalls of another leader and how they affect others and the leader. This book does just that. While I found it interesting and a different way of looking at leadership, I would have liked to see more practical suggestions within the chapters to help leaders avoid these pitfalls. I did like that there were additional reading suggestions and questions for discussion and personal reflection. This would be a good book to read through in a small group. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Friday, September 19, 2014
I received a copy of the book Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her Joy Jars by Erik Rees from Handlebar Publishing. After finishing the book, all I can say is Wow! Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor at age eleven. However, she did not let that stop her from her mission on this earth. She was determined to do as much as she could for others in her short time on earth. Jessie was a kind-hearted, warm soul who focused her love on others and was determined to be a light for God. She was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare cancer that usually does not allow children to survive even a full year after diagnosis. Jessie made the most of her time, and even when she was in pain herself, she was never selfish. Jessie's story demonstrates love and grace. She helped her family deal with the situation. She showed courage beyond her years. As I read this book, I was at times crying over the unfairness of it all, and at other times smiling and laughing at the wonder that was Jessie. She created her Joy Jars to distribute to kids who were in the hospital because she wanted them to have something to smile about and to know they weren't alone. Although she did not get a chance to grow up, she impacted many more people than she could have imagined. The book takes the reader on a journey of one family to try to help their daughter and themselves cope with a tragic situation. You see the positive outcomes of the situation, and you feel the frustrations and hurts of the family throughout this process. Erik Rees (Jessie's father) is honest in his struggle to find peace within the situation, and he shares many of his thoughts and fears throughout the book. It is an inspirational story, and one I think needs to be shared. Jessie's attitude throughout the book gives us hope that there are good people in the world, who want to make a positive difference and show God's love to others. Because of Jessie and her Joy Jars, many families and children have been given joy and courage. Jessie's motto was Never Ever Give Up, and her prayer warriors became known as the NEGU Nation. NEGU lives on, even after Jessie's short life ended. NEGU reminds all of us daily to never give up and never take one another for granted. This book was truly inspiring. #NEGUBook.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Jesus Code by O. S. Hawkins is basically a series of questions. Fifty-two questions, to be exact. Hawkins takes 52 essential questions from the Bible and asks them of the reader. Thankfully, he also provides background, context, and answers from scripture. The questions Hawkins addresses are ones that believers need to understand and be prepared to answer. Many of them are questions asked by Jesus within the Bible. The format of the book is simple to follow. Hawkins begins with the question and the verse of scripture from which it is taken. He then provides the context and background for the question. What was happening at the time the question was asked? Who was involved? It is important to see the cultural context and understand the purpose of the question. He then ties the question into a more modern context and looks at ways it may apply to modern believers. He wraps up each chapter by repeating the question with a summarized answer.The introduction states the book is set up into 52 chapters, allowing for readers to study one chapter a week for a year, really taking time to dig into each question, go back into the Bible and read the references, and pray over the answers. I enjoyed reading this book. Each chapter was short enough to fit into a small window of devotional time in the morning, yet the concepts covered required much more thought. The book was easy to follow, and it felt as if I were having a conversation with the author each morning as I read. The questions covered topics ranging from what new believers must do, to following the Holy Spirit. This would be a great book to give to new believers to help guide them into Bible study. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to deepen their relationship with God. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Woman of Courage is the story of Amanda Pearson, a Quaker determined to become a missionary to the Nez Perce Indians. When she discovers that her fiancé is in love with her friend, she sets out on a journey of over 3000 miles. Traveling in 1837 is not easy, and she has difficulties on the way. She suffers loss that leaves her wondering if she on the right path or not. She also meets many people on her journey, and has effects on them in ways she did not expect. There are twists and turns in the story, catching the reader off guard. However, the ending was somewhat predictable based on the genre and some of the foreshadowing in the story itself. There are many interesting characters, and I enjoyed reading about the diverse cultures represented in the book. However, I did have some difficulty with Amanda's speech at the beginning of the story, as she used "thee" and "thou," which sound foreign to our ears. It did help me understand her background as a character, though. Overall, the story was enjoyable and a quick, easy read. I actually liked the character Jim the best, and his transformation as the story continued. Although I liked the premise of the book, this is not normally a genre I read. I would recommend this book, though, to anyone who enjoys Christian literature or historical fiction. I received this book from Handlebar Publishing.