Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giveaway: God is Able by Priscilla Shirer

I feel so blessed to be able to share this book with you. Priscilla Shirer is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. She is direct and lively, honest and passionate. B&H Publishing Group has graciously offered to allow me to host a giveaway for a copy of God is Able.

There are a couple of ways you can win.

1. Leave a comment below. And if you dare, tell me what your "it" is. What problem do want God to handle out of His abundance and riches in your life right now?

2. Share on Facebook or Twitter and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.

The entry deadline is December 2, 2013 at 11:59p.m. A winner will be drawn and notified on December 3rd.

Check out my review of Priscilla Shirer's book God is Able.

Book Review: Shirer is Able

B&H Publishing Group provided a complimentary copy of God is Able in exchange for an honest review.
     What can God not do for you? It seems impossible, right, that God could care so much for you? In fact, God can do so much more than you can even fathom. Your plans may be good. But, God's plans for your life are far greater than anything you can ever imagine. Your problem may seem giant. But, God He is a giant-problem slayer.
     Author and speaker Priscilla Shirer has written God is Able with you in mind. She investigates Ephesians 3:20-21 and unpacks those words for all they are worth. So, whatever plagues you, bothers you, haunts you God is able to take care of it. For instance, God not only took my anxiety away, but went beyond that and restored my peace and confidence out of His abundance. Sometimes we really just need to have the faith, believe and ask.
     We have a choice when adverse circumstances come our way. We can allow the enemy a win and claim defeat. Or...we can claim our victory in Christ and rest knowing He is far greater, far more powerful than our circumstances. God's ability is always greater than whatever issue looms large in our minds, in our world.
      Priscilla Shirer's passion and vivacity jump off the page. Her words ring so clearly it seems she stands before the reader declaring God's infinite goodness. Her writing is downright contagious. The only downfall is when the book ends, the cover is closed and the silence is sudden.
     I hope every woman grabs God is Able and claims for herself God's abundance. He is there working on our behalf, fully, powerfully and lovingly. So, ask yourself what is "it" that you want God to handle? Because whatever it is, God is Able!

Click here to enter the giveaway for a copy of God is Able.

Book Review: A Bible for the Journey

Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of The Wayfinding Bible in exchange for an honest review.
     I have read several Bible translations in the last few years and have never stumbled upon such an easy-to-use Bible. For many, at first glance, the Bible can be overwhelming. Which of the 66 chapters does one start with? The New or the Old Testament? A Gospel? It really can be a monumental task just to start reading the Bible.
     The Wayfinding Bible, a New Living Translation Bible, is written with a modern-day American vernacular while maintaining the integrity of the original meaning.  The Bible sets out three different reading plans to choose from depending on what you are looking for. If you want an in-depth plan, the orange-highlighted Scenic Route is for you. Maybe you want a fairly in-depth look, but don't want to commit as much time, then you will find the green Direct Route is suitable for you. Finally, there is the blue-coded Flyover Route, which will give you a quick, 52-readings plan. All three reading plans are in chronological order making the Bible a lot less confusing. Between reading 1 and 2 Samuel, Kings and Chronicles there are enough names to make your head spin, usually. This one takes the guess work out of it.
     For the sake of time and wanting a quick sampling I chose the Flyover Route of The Wayfinding Bible. I was completely enthralled. This bible brings such a fresh perspective to the Word of God. Each reading begins with a synopsis of the events leading up to that chapter lending a relatively good idea of the context in which the reading is based upon. I never felt I was missing something in between the readings of this route knowing full well many events occurred. The synopsis is concise and logical. With the context in mind your read the featured verses.
     Subsequently, an observation point and exploration point are read. These points are to further your understanding of the context and the applicable spiritual ramifications of those verses. The Wayfinding Bible is full of other features. I loved the points that painted a better historical portrait for me. Between book introductions, historical markers, side trips and more this Bible is engaging and fun. There are so many ways in which to enjoy this bible, it really could be treasured and explored for years.
     Honestly, there are times when I get bored of reading my Bible cover to cover. This Bible broke it up for me in a way that kept my attention. I was excited to see where I was headed next. Who knew an arrow could be fun to follow? I do now, after following the blue arrows that led to the next reading.
     The Wayfinding Bible is truly made for every believer, new and seasoned alike. For the seeker, this edition would be perfect and money well invested. May your journey into the Word be fascinating and rewarding.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review: Worth Your Time

Tyndale Publishers provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     Holiness seems to be a vague part of the Christian faith. Many pastors speak of holiness in passing, but never get to the root of holiness and what it means to pursue it as a means to worship the Lord. Yet, the Holy Spirit is key to leading a holy life as God has called us to live. Fortunately for readers young and old, editor Bob Hostetler has compiled the writings of Samuel Logan Brengle into bite-sized portions in this fabulous compact devotional, Take Time to Be Holy: 365 Daily Inspirations to Bring You Closer to God.
     "Do you want to know what holiness is? It is pure love." This excerpt from the reading of January 11 has to be my favorite line out of the devotional. Maybe some will find it trite and simple, yet Brengle points out holiness isn't any more complicated than that in thought. It is to love others. Of course, in deed it is far more difficult to love others purely, unconditionally and without want of anything reciprocated.
      Brengle further delineates the Holy Spirit, His work in and through us and the extension of love flowing out into the world. It is in awe the reader will stand in front of the Almighty day by day. Brengle's words are so concise and thought-provoking that it is a wonder when three paragraphs or so can dig deep into the heart of the matter.
     I thoroughly enjoyed each reading. Through doctrine and personal experiences the author draws upon the Holy Spirit to teach what it means to strive after and embody holiness to the glory of God. It is striking and inspiring to read of a man who lived a life working for The Salvation Army what seems to be as holy as humanly possible, perfectly imperfect this side of heaven, and humbly bestowed credit to God never losing sight of his eternal destiny.
     Take Time to Be Holy is a gem of a devotional. A page that will take one a minute to read each day can lead to eternal repercussions that far surpass that given moment dedicated to learning of the Lord. I highly recommend this book for any believer who wants to draw closer to God and know more intimately the Spirit within.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review: Plunging into New Territory

Bethany House generously provided a complimentary copy of The Secret Keeper in exchange for an honest review.
     Beverly Lewis transports the reader from the modernity of city life to the antiquated ways of the Amish. Jennifer Burns, referred to as Jenny, wants to part with modern life as she has been drawn to the Amish manner of living for years. Finally, Jenny makes the plunge into Hickory Hollow following her heart much to the surprise of her family. Samuel and Rebecca Lapp become her adopted family and teach her the ways during her time of Proving. Many in Hickory Hollow are skeptical of the seeker, however, many want her to succeed and join their family. What happens when an outsider wants to join an exclusive group? To what extent will one pain oneself to fit in?
      To complicate matters during Jenny's Proving Time, she meets Kyle. It is her initial desire to serve God and lead a simpler life. Yet, when Kyle walks into her heart she finds herself being consumed with thoughts of him rather than just of God. Throughout the story, Jenny learns that loving others as she goes about her day is the most tangible way to worship God.
      The Secret Keeper intertwines good intentions with human missteps. Sometimes secrets are kept to protect others. Other time those secrets do a lot more damage than good. Jenny and the
 characters surrounding her are no exception, harboring secrets and longings of the heart that separate rather than reconcile. The story hinges upon the desire for reconciliation. It is the fuel for the fire.
     I enjoyed the reading for the most part. It was interesting to have a better understanding of Amish ways. The storyline isn't much different from other novels in this genre. However, the theological and spiritual currents are the aspects that made this novel worth reading for me. Any reader of Amish fiction will most likely enjoy The Secret Keeper.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Useful, But a Tad Dull

Bethany House provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     The Jesus Story: Everything That Happens in the New Testament in Plain English by Dr. William H. Marty condenses the New Testament for readers in a very, easy-to-read book. Its main intent is to outline the life of Christ and the beginnings of the Church. It does a fine job of that. The retelling of events such as healings and miracles is useful, as the Gospels tend to cover the same events changing details dependent upon the author's perspective. This book defines the events in a clear manner.
     New believers or someone whom would like a better grip on the chronology of the life of Jesus and the Church's beginnings will find this volume a great help. However, one with a fairly decent grasp of New Testament times may find this book dull. The Jesus Story reads like a set of notes, though in full sentences. I found the language prosaic and somewhat comatose. The other downfall of The Jesus Story, at least in my book, is it is completely devoid of any theological insight. If that was included the book would have kept my interest a lot more.
      The Jesus Story will appeal to some who want notes and need a clear-cut grasp of the story. However, I guarantee it will leave seasoned believers who read their Bibles wanting. Let me leave with a positive note. The book is easy to read in a matter of hours. The chapters are well divided and make good sense. Certainly, every reader will gain something from Dr. Marty's The Jesus Story.