Friday, December 02, 2016

Great Devotional for MEN

There are very few good Men's Devotionals out there.  When I saw this book, I immediately wanted to get it.  In Roger Patterson's A Minute for Vision for Men: To Kick-Start your Day, was a very good devotional especially geared toward men. 

I have found over the years, that men want to grow in faith, but have fewer resources to do this than women.  This devotional is written with the hopes that men will be drawn in and engaged; which will lead to greater Christian maturity.  This book, as Patterson states, is to kick-start your day, and not be a replacement for Bible reading.

There are 365 daily readings, each ending with a scripture passage.  Most devotionals are sports related.  Because I am a sports enthusiast, this book drew me in.  There are quotes and illustrations used by Patterson to help make his points.

The cover is nicely done and this would make a very nice Christmas present.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Important Book for Kids

I don’t read very much fiction, but this book just seemed to jump out at me, and I was really glad I read it.  Larger-Than-Life Lara, written by Dandi Daley Mackall was very well written.  This is a book which drew me in, it was a quick to read book at under 200 pages, but had a great, deep message as she tugged at my heart.

In short, the story is about Laney Grafton who is a 10 year old girl, who does not have a very good home life.  Then one day a new girl shows up in her class, named Lara.  Lara is larger than life in her appearance, and the fourth graders go at her and bully her.  Yet, Lara will have none of it.  She doesn’t fight back as we think of fighting back, instead, Lara smiles and smiles.  Laney was picked on before Lara arrived, and she finds this a reprieve, but learns through the way Lara handles herself.

This would be an excellent book to be read by 3rd through 5th graders in school to help them understand bullying and how to deal with it.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Excellent Reading!

I had not read anything from O.S. Hawkins and I have now become a fan.  The book, The Daniel Code: Living Out Truth in a Culture that is Losing its Way, was an exceptional book.  It is 25 chapters long, but each chapter is only about 8 pages.  This book would make a great Christmas present, as it has a signing page and has a great hardcover.

Hawkins chronicles the life of the Old Testament prophet Daniel to help the reader better understand and learn how to go against the culture and demonstrate our faith in Christ to the world. 

This book was easy to read, but it was very thought provoking.  I used it for my devotions, as there is a Bible verse to begin each chapter.  Even though Hawkins is talking about culture wars, the book is very encouraging and not demeaning to other groups.

Hawkins writes from a conservative Evangelical Christian worldview.  This book is also helpful to understand the way the world reacts to Christians who are willing to speak about their faith or speak on issues they support, while the world is against them.

Hawkins has written a number of other “Code” books, which I look forward to reading. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book through in exchange for an honest review.

Seeking Your personal Vision!

I enjoy listening and reading books by Andy Stanley.  Having read, Make Vision Stick, I was looking forward to reading this revised and updated edition of his book, Visioneering.  This was a very good book, informative and engaging.

Stanley uses the story of Nehemiah to illustrate how a person can seek to fulfill their God-given vision.  In a sense, the main point or thesis of the book is his point that everybody ends up somewhere, but not everyone ends up somewhere on purpose. If we would seek God's presence and God's vision, we have the potential to end up in the right place with the right God given purpose. 

In order to tell the story about personal vision, Stanley uses his engaging style of telling personal stories, sharing various illustrations, using humor; all in a down to earth style which is easy to read and follow.

He asks the reader to seek, inquire, learn, discern what is it that you have always been dreaming about.  What is it that makes your heart skip a beat.  He wrote about how the Wright Brothers got started, wanting the reader to look at their own life and follow their passion and seek the dream God has placed within them.

This was a very good book, one I would recommend to someone who seeks to better understand or even discover their purpose.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Excellent, Inspiring Book!

I was not sure what to expect when I received the book, A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve, it is by Mother Teresa, and edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk.  So many people have heard of Mother Teresa and all the wonderful works of mercy, compassion and love she demonstrated to the world.

I had not read anything written by her, and I must say I was overwhelmed with her writing.  This book CANNOT be read in one sitting, a chapter cannot be read in its entirety, you can only read this book, section by section, maybe even page by page. 

There is so much richness in this book.  This is a collection of her words, teachings, prayers, as well as comments and testimonies from people who knew her well.

This book is organized from the collection of letters, speeches and interviews she gave.  There are 14 chapters in which they are broken down according to the 7 corporal and 7 spiritual works of mercy.  Each chapter has a brief intrdouction, then Her Words, then the Testimonies of others about her, and finally there is a reflection and prayer. 

The greater impact for me were the words of Mother Teresa.  The testimonies were nice and added to the book, but I greatly appreciated her words and point of view.  

A Call to Mercy is an excellent book, which helps the reader to know Mother Teresa through her words, as well as those of others.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an open and honest review.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Excellent Devotional

I have read many of John Maxwell's books on leadership.  So, I was happy to be able to receive this devotional, Leadership Promises for Every Day.  Each day there is about a 2 - 3 paragraph devotional, along with a scripture passage.  At the end of each day's reading is the original source of that message.
Maxwell's hope is that this will spur the leader to blaze the path and lead others in a manner which is more God centered and effective.  Each devotion has a nugget for us to take and incorporate into our daily lives.
Overall, this is a very good, easy to read devotional.  It is originally from 2003.  So, you may have this on your shelves with a different cover.  This one would make a great Christmas present.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through the  I received this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Well Worth the Read!!

I have been a Tim Tebow fan, but would like to think I can have an unbiased opinion of someone I admire.  So, I was thrilled I was selected to be part of the launch team for his new book.  I was looking forward to the release of Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms.  Let me tell you I was not disappointed.

This is an easy to read book of just over 200 pages.  Tebow starts out in the New England training camp and talks about being cut from the team.  Basically, he was the last cut, thinking he had possibly made the team.  You don't sense resentment or bitterness, just joy at being given the opportunity.

He moves on from there to talk about his journey in life.  His ups and downs.  This is part autobiography and part how to live life as you fully rely on God.  He wants to make an impact on this world, and shares in the final chapters how we can all make a difference.

Tebow does not come across as a woe is me, martyr.  Instead he is one who has walked through life with great humility, even though he has been afforded many luxuries.  His hope is that the reader would become proactive in their relationship with Christ and then go into the world and make a difference! 

Here is a link

I received this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Answering the Tough Questions

Often times we have questions about God and / or about the Bible which go unanswered.  Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz seek to answer some of those questions in their book, Answering the Toughest Questions about God and the Bible.  The book was written, in part due to an ex-evangelical leaving the faith because of unanswered questions.

As a result, they surveyed many young Christians and asked what their questions were, and some of those questions were used as the basis for this book.  Each chapter could have been a book in itself, which in some respects is part of my frustration with this book.  I would have liked more of an answer to many of the questions.  I wanted more from the authors.

Yet, this was a good book, it was easy to read, touched on many points and had multiple sections within each chapter about points to reflect on. 

Chapters titles include ~
  1. Is God real? How can you know?
  2. Why did God create us?
  3. Why Doesn't God make Himself more Obvious?
  4. Can I trust what the Bible says about God?
  5. Why is the Bible so hard to understand?
  6. Why does God seem so violent While Jesus is so loving?
  7. Is Jesus God?
  8. Why do Christians say Jesus is the only way to God?
  9. How do God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit relate to one another?
  10. Does God really care about me and my life?
Overall, this is a good resource and a good book to hold onto for questions about God and the Bible.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an open and honest review.

Jesus' Bad Habits

I always look forward to books by Leonard Sweet.  He helps me to get out of my comfort zone.  In his newest book, The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing us the way to live right in a world gone wrong, Sweet seeks to show the reader the ways Jesus went against the norm, to show us a better way to live.

For example, some chapter titles are ~
- Jesus Spit
- Jesus Appeared Wasteful
- Jesus was Constantly Disappearing
- Jesus Loved to Party
- Jesus Broke the Rules
- Jesus Hung Out with Bad People

Part of the power of Sweet's writing is that he finds the normal ordinary everyday things we take for granted and looks for that which is extraordinary, something which leads us to discover Christ in a more personal way.

At times I felt like Sweet was stretching something to make it work, but overall, he helped me to look at some different situations in the life of Christ a little differently.  He led me to think a little more about the little things in the Bible, which make the Bible more alive.  Jesus went against the everyday social norms, and Sweet captured many of those events in the life of Jesus.

In the back of the book, there are discussion questions, generally 2 or 3 for each chapter of the book.  Overall, this is an easy to read book, which may help the reader grow a little deeper in their relationship with Christ as they discover a freshness in Christ.

I received this book from Tyndale House in exchange for an open and honest review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wonderful Christmas Devotional

This new devotional by Zondervan, Devotions for Christmas: A Celebration to Bring You Joy and Peace would be a great addition or gift.

The devotion is a no nonsense devotion, as it starts out right on December 1 and ends on December 31.  Each devotion should only take a few minutes to read.  They are insightful and thought provoking. 

In addition, the pictures on each page are great.  They are clear and crisp and add to the devotional.  There is a scripture verse for each devotional.  At times, there is additional scripture at the end of the day's reading.

Overall, this would make a great Christmas present, but be sure to give it to someone at Thanksgiving, so they can start reading on December 1!

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

A Fun, Creative Journal

I found this new book, really, it's a journal to be fun.  Extraordinary:Ordinary Moments, by Jorey Hurley is a journal like no other I have come across.  It is extremely open-ended, yet it offers suggestions, but loosely.

Each page has an idea, a thought, a comment for the reader to consider.  Then it's up to the reader / writer to begin journalling.  The prompts are simply one sentence thoughts.  For example ~
Something Unique
A Place to Hide
Something that brings you into the Moment
Something Underappreciated
Something Full of Possibilities
Something Difficult
Something Peaceful
Something that feels nice on your skin

The list goes on and on.  There are no page numbers, but Amazon tells us there are 368 pages.  The cover is fun, with an orange peel.  The only thing I didn't like was not having a table of contents.  I know that may sound strange, but I would have liked to have been able to find a page which matches what I would like to journal about. 

That notwithstanding, for the person who enjoys to journal, and is creative about it, this would be a great present.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nice Devotional for 8-12 Year Olds!

I do not often get to review Children's Devotionals, so I thought it would be great to review this one, Jesus: A 365 Day Devotional.  This hardcover devotional is built around a quick walk through the Bible in 365 days, starting with Genesis and ending in Revelation. 

The devotional works its way through the Bible, as each devotion has a one or two verse scripture passage, followed by the devotional section and a one line prayer.  Each devotion is one page, so it does not take long to move through the devotional. 

This devotional is designed for children ages 8-12.  The only negative I had was that this devotional was not interactive and engaging for the child.  I would have liked to see more questions asked of the child to help them think through how they may have reacted if they had certain situations before them and decisions which needed to be made.

This is a good basic devotional, which if the parent / guardian works through this with the child, they can ask some questions to make this more engaging.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.