Monday, October 22, 2012

Grace by Max Lucado

Grace : More Than We Deserve  Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado

I don't think we really understand the word grace. I know I didn't. I thought of it as something you say before you eat, a pretty girl's name, an adjective describing someone's personality or ability to do something. What is grace? What can it do for us? Max goes into great detail in his book with typical Max style.

Grace happens in big and small ways everyday. Max's book is full of examples. He describes biblical examples such as Zacchaeus, the woman caught in adultery, and the ungrateful servant who went and threw a man into debtor's prison for a small debt owed right after the king forgave his enormous one. He also gives examples of modern day people. People like you and me going through things that we may be going through too. People like Victoria Ruvolo, the Amish in Pennsylvania whose daughters were killed by gunman Charles Carl Roberts, and Max Lucado himself who describes times when he was given grace by those around him and God.

On the back cover of this book several questions are asked: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? and my favorite: Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace? Grace is God given and it never ends. It is abundant and overflowing according to several versions of 1 Timothy 1:14. It is sufficient for us, for in our weakness He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I really enjoyed this book and as an added bonus it has a discussion guide in back so that you can use it as a personal devotional or a group study. I always enjoy Max Lucado's books because he brings a unique God-given perspective to godly subjects. But the point in all of his books is this: God wants us. He is so desperate to have us in his family, to be with Him and fellowship with Him. He went to the extreme to give us a way to overcome the sin that separates us. To cleanse us from that sin, He sacrificed His son. Because of this cleansing, He floods us with love and grace. We only have to accept Him and He will fill us to overflowing until we are drenched in His love and mercy and grace.

One more point to make and it is this: If God is so very gracious to us, should we not be gracious to those around us? Whether they are deserving or not, because we certainly are not.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Breakthrough by Jerry B. Jenkins

When I got this book I expected a good story and I got one. I had only intended to read a page or three a day so that I wouldn't finish it too early since I was instructed to wait to post my review until September 19th. Well, that didn't work. Once I started reading it I devoured it in 2 days. I could not put it down and was constantly on the edge of my seat.

So here I sit 3 weeks after finishing the book, finally posting my review.  It was good. It is part of a series and I felt a tad lost when it would reference his past stories but, that did not detract from the story.

Boone Drake is the main character and a newly appointed bureau chief.  After a series of unfortunate accidents (may have to read the first books to get the background and for more reading enjoyment) he is finally getting his life back on track. He is newly married to Haeley, adopted her son and most importantly rediscovered his faith.

But as in all good stories the poor hero must go through more trials. A kidnapping brings Boone to Beijing and into the world of human trafficking at a time when Haeley needs him the most. Boone relies on his skills and those of his fellow officers to remedy this situation before it's too late for the child.

Jerry B. Jenkins is a good story teller. He keeps you rivited from page to page. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action stories. 

I received a complimentary copy through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson

Girls have many challenges facing them these days. They are facing them at younger ages than generations before them. As parents how are we guiding them, equipping them to make wise choices. This is the ultimate guide to raising our daughters - written by a trusted family counselor, Dr. James Dobson.

I picked this book because I wanted to see what specific things  he would say about girls. I have read Dare to Discipline and The Strong Willed Child. I read those two books at a time when I felt that my 3 older children were handfuls. Let me just say now that years later my fourth makes her three older siblings look like easy and laid back children.

I was definitely impressed with the way he wrote this book and has current information which is relevant to the issues I am and will be dealing with. I should say "we", as I read many passages to my husband, who is not a reader, so that we could both implement Dr. Dobson's suggestions into our teachings.

I probably underlined half of the book. I needed to have places I could go back to, so that I could remember what was suggested for each situation I encounter with my youngest daughter. I would strongly suggest to anyone with a daughter to get this book and take his advice to heart. I know that with prayer and Dr. Dobson, I may just survive raising this last daughter and she may actually survive childhood and become an admirable and beautiful young lady.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick

Miracle for Jen is an amazing true story about a family whose lives are changed when they are hit head on by a drunk driver. It is a story about their road to recovery and a deeper faith in God. Especially for 15 year old Jennifer who has a severe brain injury and the family is told she may not live through the night.

Her mother wants her daughter to be healed and whole again and begs God to make her normal. But God has another plan, one that involves answering Jen's journal prayers in a way that no one would ever imagine or ask for. When Jen finally wakes she can not remember anything or anyone but knows the words to many worship songs and scriptures. She can hardly form words except when she sings worship songs and prays to God.

This story is inspiring. It made me long for a deeper relationship with God. I was jealous for what Jen had even though I would never wish for the way it happened. Jen desired to be a bold witness for God before the accident but she was terribly shy. She often wrote in prayer journals asking God to give her a boldness and the words to say. She asked Him to change her life, to give her a testimony. God answered.

Sometimes we may not like the way things happen in life but God's ways are so much higher than ours. We don't see the future and what influence our struggles may have on someone else. We have the choice to gripe and complain or to praise and worship. We go through seemingly impossible and unfair things because He sees the greater purpose for us down the road. He loves the weak because His glory will be all the greater for that weakness.

God was able to use Jen to spread the gospel even if by our standards He didn't heal her completely. Jen often said in this story that God heals her everyday. He never stops healing. I want to say so much more about this story but that would give the whole book away. It is a must read.  It is a life changer if you allow it to be.

I received a complimentary copy through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A really cute book.

A young polar bear asks her grandpa why we must love others, even the unlovable, when some otters disturb their quiet fishing trip. Grandpa tells her; "Anytime we show love, Little Cub, we're sharing a bit of His love."

This little book was cute. My daughter really liked it. It tells a story and demonstrates how we are a treasured gift from God. It also lets us know that we are to share the love that God gave us with others even if we don't think they deserve it.

There is not much else to say about this book without writing down the whole story for you.  The story was written so that the young can understand it. the illustrations are colorful and attractive.

One part I found hit home for me was when little cub tells her grandpa; "I love the otters. I just don't like them right now." There are many times we all feel that same way with the people in our lives.

We are to love everyone all the time. Even when it is difficult for us to do so. God gave us all kinds of love, such as the love between friends, spouses and siblings. But the greatest love He gave was from Himself. He gave us the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, so that we will never be separated from His love once we chose His gift to us.

I received this book for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Healing Is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them by Stephen Arterburn

"The power to heal-physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually-is in God's hands. But the choice to be healed is ours. Everyone, at some level, needs healing. In this book, Stephen Arterburn outlines ten choices crucial to receiving healing and ten lies that can prevent us from making them. Readers will find the wholeness God desires for them in a practical and prayerful way through this book."

I struggled to get through this book. Not that it wasn't good or relevant for so many people. I just didn't feel it was relevant for me.  He made many good points in this book through pointing out the truths and lies of healing. It did make me rethink many things, for example: the ninth big lie.. Until I am completely healed and strong, there is no place for me to serve God. We have a choice to serve regardless of what we are going through. We can let our "illness" work for God's glory or bring us down into misery.

Many of us go through life struggling with emotional and physical pain thinking God and I will work it out and when we really need to connect with someone to help us through it. We can connect with professional counselors, pastors, others who have gone through the same problems and have overcome them or a trusted friend or spouse. We need to avoid disconnecting ourselves and from relying solely on prayer and our own faith.

Galatians 6:2 " Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (NIV) There are many out there gifted by God to help each individual with his or her problem. We need to connect with these people. God does not want us to struggle alone.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

Book overview:  Where angels walk the ground and the future is told in song, does a man of low rank have a chance at love with a princess?

In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the King sends Trevin on on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains—captains in the king’s army—he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince.

Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Striving to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the nightmare that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?

I ordered this book because it sounded good, I lean toward fantasy genres because I find then fascinating. It is a second in a series and I was hesitant about that because, as often happens in these genres they expect you to pick this up having already read the first and anxious to find out what happens next. I didn't want to be "lost" not understanding the background of the previous book. Well, as I started to read it I thought to myself that the characters seem familiar and the towns sound like towns I had read about before, then by chapter 2, I realized that I did read the first book Breath of Angel back in April.

So I dove in with an excitement to find out what happens next.  As to whether it would stand alone, ehh I'm not sure, I didn't remember all of the details of the first book and since my daughter spirited away my copy of it and I didn't feel like searching for my blog on that book at that time, I struggled to remember what had happened and had many "Oh yeah, that's right" moments.

It was a very good book and I finished it rather quickly and now I will be hanging on till the next book. I can't wait to find out what happens. Hopefully I will remember to be on the lookout for it. But then again if it's close to another year before that happens, I will probably forget...which reminds me I think there are a few other book series that I need to follow up on. :)

I received this book for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl

In this third book of The Triple Threat Club series, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw, Federal prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI agent Nicole Hedges meet Elizabeth Avery She seems to be a stunningly beautiful woman but under the surface lies an ice cold heart. She pretends to be Cassidy's newest  best friend all the while manipulating all those around her. She persuades an old classmate to commit a crime for her and even convinces a shy young man to kill for her.

As she quickly leaves behind a trail of dead bodies, the authorities struggle to put the clues together and solve the seemingly unrelated crimes. Will she be caught before she finishes her selfish crime spree?

I have mixed feelings about this book. As a crime novel it was good, but being a third in the series I felt a little lost with the 3 main characters. Their pasts were hinted at and it left me a little confused and therefore I could not relate to them as much as I would have liked to.  It did give great detail into the antagonist of the story.

It was lacking in a "godly" aspect, but crime isn't godly at all. The only character that had a presumed Christan belief was Allison, she is portrayed as having an avid prayer life. Cassidy is into holistic and "higher power" beliefs while Nicole had no such reliance on either beliefs. I was somewhat disappointed with that aspect although in "real life" that would probably be the case amongst any random group of friends.

All in all the book was interesting and was a fast read. If you are into crime novels this is a book I would recommend. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Princess Stories by Carolyn Larsen

I picked this book for obvious reasons. One my 4 year old is obsessed with princesses and two I thought it would be a great book or her. I have not read it to her yet as she is visiting family at this time.

I enjoyed the way they told the stories of God's princesses from their point of view. The stories are not just about the good women of the Bible but also of the women on whom God and Jesus made a great impact and changed their lives. The ones who made wrong decisions until they met "the King" and turned their lives around.

I felt it was a great way for young girls to know that God loves them despite the choices they make and how He only wants for them to be His princess. It also showed how each woman was known for a particular strength given to them by God and used for His glory. For example:Rebekah is the helpful princess, Ruth is the loyal princess, Esther is the daring princess, and Mary(Martha's sister) is the listening princess. Those are just a few examples.

So this book teaches a lesson about each characteristic through the example of each "princess" in the Bible. Not just the Disney version of princesses. I cannot wait to read these stories to my daughter and wish I had this book when my older girls were younger.

I received a complimentary copy of Princess Stories by Carolyn Larsen through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions are my own.