22 December, 2010

If God is Good, by Randy Alcorn

If God is Good, written by Randy Alcorn addresses a common question that those who seek to share the good news of the Gospel may someday face – if they haven’t already! “Why would a good God create a world where so much evil exists?” or “If God is good, why is He allowing me (or my loved one, my child) to experience suffering?” These can often intimidate as we search for answers!

In this book, Randy Alcorn seeks to disband disbelief with God’s word as he tackles these and other difficult questions posed by those hurting and by Atheists who are seeking to discredit the Lord. His logic is biblical, refreshing, and realistic as he compassionately yet firmly teaches who God is and equips the reader to effectively share their faith more deeply than before.

To be honest, I have a very difficult time with reading some of the examples written of this book. When I read about atrocities committed against children, in particular, I struggle emotionally and have very vivid pictures in my mind. Because of this I need to be careful of what I allow myself to watch or read (I do not believe that this causes me to be naive or ignorant). So for others out there like myself, I would encourage you to have someone who will support you if you choose to read this book (and I will admit that because of the above issue I skimmed pages where I caught on that the subject was to be addressed). It is probably not a book I will read again, although the content and message is excellent.

*This book was gratefully received from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.

Voices of the Faithful, with Beth Moore and compiled by Kim P. Davis

Voices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World, will open the readers eyes to hardships and joys experienced by countless individuals around the world who daily put their life on the line as they seek to share the good news of the Gospel with the unreached. Many of the stories in this book come from areas hostile to Christianity and to those whom profess belief in it.

As with the second book in this series (which I posted a review about earlier), I would encourage anyone who is desiring to have their prayer life for the unreached and for missionaries challenged, shook up, and set ablaze to read this book. With the ease of life and of worship we typically experience here in America, it is easy to lose realization of the persecution many undergo just to serve God or to be His. With its daily devotional format, this book will assist you to keep the world and large in your prayers and to develop fervency that the Gospel might reach every heart to the ends of the earth. The daily tales are also a reminder to me that these dear people who are overseas aren’t “super Christians” and that is why they are being actively used in God’s work. They simply desire to do whatever God wills for them and to do His work regardless of hardships they come against. Likewise, God can use my life to further His Kingdom when I desire to do all for His glory and be faithful in sharing about Him!

*This book was gratefully received from Thomas Nelson at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.


Slave, by John MacArthur

Slave, is authored by Pastor John MacArthur is an eye-opening book revealing truths of God’s Word and of a critical understanding of our standing in Him which is marred by current biblical translations of the words ebed and doulos. So often in Christian circles we are encouraged (and encourage others) to make Jesus our “personal Savior” or that “He just wants us to be happy” or there is an overemphasis on our freedom in Christ which is wrongly equated with our being able to do whatever we want. In this book, Pastor MacArthur teaches how the words ebed and doulos ought to be correctly translated as slave rather than the common translation of servant or worker.  Although this might at first glance not seem like a major deal, he wisely points out how this can steer us to incorrect theological beliefs of our relationship with God, and displace His holiness and ownership of us in that as Christians we are to be completely controlled by God and His will and doing everything with Him in mind realizing we answer completely to Him and everything about us is in His control and hands. He alone is sovereign. As you read this book, any prior misgivings about being a “slave” of God on historic slavery issues here in the United States or United Kingdom will be replaced with joy as we understand how deeply we are His.

*This book was gratefully received from Thomas Nelson at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.

15 December, 2010

UnStuff, by Hayley & Michael DiMarco

UnStuff: Making Room in Your Life for What Really Matters, is co-authored by husband and wife team Hayley & Michael DiMarco, founders of Hungry Planet – a company focused on producing books and media geared for modern generations that share God’s truth regarding issues of faith and relationships. This book is an outflow of their decision to simplify life and alongside with their young daughter, focus on what really matters by taking three months to travel around the United States in an RV (recreational vehicle), visiting homeless shelters and discovering how much freedom less “things” brought along the way as they found stress lifted and their relationships strengthened.

This book addresses the strong attitude of consumerism which controls so many of us, distracting us from the things in life which really matter and becoming idols which separate us from God’s best for our lives as we find our fulfillment in things and business, while at the same time succumbing to the pressures and stress which the same items and activities incur!

I appreciate the message this couple is bringing, however I find their approach to be rather unrealistic. Even “unstuffed,” their life is rather affluent compared to the vast majority of families or readership. I personally would find it more practical and inspirational if they had downsized to a smaller scale of living post “tour,” rather than simply decluttering, taking a 3-month vacation, and then returning to life deciding to purchase used instead of new in regards to clothing and fancy cars and other items. An interesting read, however, it does not rate very high on my bookshelf.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale Press. 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.”


Voices of the Faithful, Book 2, compiled by Kim P. David & created by Beth Moore

Voices of the Faithful, Book 2 is a compilation of devotions for each day of the year that will bring the reader’s attention and prayers to the worldwide spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly to the unreached people groups of Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.  Compiled by former missionary Kim P. Davis along with the series creator and well-known Bible teacher, Beth Moore, your heart will be stirred with compassion and a fervency to pray that the world may come to know the true Redeemer and Savior.

Each daily reading briefly tells the story of a new believer or of one who is sharing Christ, both in regions where religions other than true Christianity have deep strongholds.  As with the previous book in this amazing series, I was challenged  in my own Christian walk and witness, and humbled at the lack of persecution I currently have and yet my failure to witness and share the good news with the freedom I possess. It would be my hope that this book would not only continue to inspire me to prayerful action on my knees, but also that it would do the same for each reader; that as we pray for each individual we read about we would desire to pray more and to be faithful about sharing of how God has changed our lives with those we come in contact with.

*This book was gratefully received from Thomas Nelson at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.


05 December, 2010

Everything Christmas, by David Bordon and Thomas J. Winters

Everything Christmas is a compilation of various Christmas recipes, songs, and stories. I loved the vintage feel of the stories which spanned a variety of times and ethnic origins. There were many fun aspects of this book, I especially enjoyed reading about how different cultures celebrate Christmas and how this book shared recipes and ideas for incorporating that particular celebration into one your family could enjoy. I do plan on trying many of the recipes, even during other times of the year.  They did look tasty! And I enjoyed reading the various poems and holiday carols which the editors chose to include. Although the book may seem to "jump around" since there is so much material included, I can imagine that that format may seem fresh and engaging, particularly to a generation with a shorter attention span.

The stories were heartfelt and many were tales which I hadn't read before. That is saying something for originality since I adore Christmas books and read every one I can obtain! I particularly enjoyed the story of the Appalachian boy who found family on Christmas Day. I cried - but I'm known for being a bit on the weepy side at times! Oh, well!

*This book was gratefully received from WaterBrook Press Publishers at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.


04 December, 2010

Lies the Government Told You, by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Lies the Government Told You, written by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, is a book written for those interested in government and civic affairs as well as for those who cherish the rights given to us through our Constitution and desire that our government and the laws and regulations they put into order truly protect and honor our rights. Once you begin reading this book, you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve turned the last page!

Although dishonesty and politicians are often assumed to be inseparable, that ought not to be the case. In this book, Judge Napolitano brings to the reader’s attention a variety of ways where the American people have been deceived in order to bring awareness of the truth behind the laws and heart of this land – whether the famous line “All men are created equal,” to the more current Patriot Act, which robs Americans of freedom in their personal lives and homes under the pretense of patriotism and heroicness. Even though I am not the most informed regarding current and past government affairs, I found this entire book to be riveting as a gleaned from a Judge with a passion for history, freedom, and governmental integrity. If only we could elect more officials like him!

*This book was gratefully received from Thomas Nelson at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.

Seeds of Turmoil, by Bryant Wright

Seeds of Turmoil, written by  Pastor Bryant Wright, is a fascinating book telling of the biblical roots of the crisis in the Middle East. Through historical and biblical illustrations, the reader will discover that although the conflict rages today, it is hardly a new trouble that brews. Beginning with Abraham’s disobedience to the Lord in taking matters into his own hands of means of providing himself an heir, the author skillfully traces through the ages the conflict and God’s hand amidst it all. Not only will you gain understanding of the relationship between the Jewish and Islamic religions, but also of the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

I found this book to be very well written and appreciate the added insights the author provided through maps and scriptural references. He addresses the issue of Middle Eastern conflict with honesty, respect, and boldness. With a subject that can at times be frightening and unknown, he provided a faith-building narrative that will bring wisdom, hope, and renewed faith that the Lord is sovereign over all the affairs of men. This book will give the reader renewed focus for praying for the nation of Israel and all Jews, as well as for Christian believers and for Muslims as we await the second coming of Jesus Christ.

*This book was gratefully received from Thomas Nelson at no cost in exchange for my agreement to post this review.