Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review (And Giveaway) : A Journey into Deeper Prayer

B&H Books provided a complimentary copy of Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope in exchange for an honest review.
     Of course, the name of Beth Moore needs no introduction amongst Evangelical Christian circles. But, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the author, Beth Moore, is a sought-after, highly-regarded Bible teacher. She uses stories that dig deep into the biblical truths and words that penetrate the heart.
     I don't how many times I have asked myself if I pray properly, as if there is a secret formula. I know there is not. And I also have heard other believers ask the same of themselves. Beth Moore addresses this issue in Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer. The real secret is to actually spend time with the Lord and in His Word, of course. However, Moore provides a six-step guide to help you endeavor into a more meaningful quiet time with the Lord with some terrific fodder for thought.
     In 70 devotionals Moore hits upon a wide gamut of material and what it means to live a holy life. Each devotional is a page long and is accompanied by assigned Scripture readings. Then two pages of space are provided to lead you through your prayer time.
    I found the wide variety of material to be very thoughtful and enticing. Some readings are going to stir the heart more than others. Whispers of Hope isn't a one-time use devotional for that reason. As we go along our journey with Christ certain aspects of our walk will need to be deepened as we go. Though some devotional readings may not hit home now, it may later on down the road.
    I personally found Whispers of Hope to be engaging and helpful. It is the intention we put into our time with God that is going to help us be present for our growth. If you want a one topic study this book isn't what you need. However, Moore has given a great tool for those of us that are truly wanting a little assistance and guidance to deeper, more intimate prayer. This volume is wonderful and full of Moore's beautiful gift of teaching. I pray that your journey will deepen and be richly blessed.
B&H has kindly provided an extra copy of Whispers of Hope for a giveaway.
To enter simply do one or more of the following for one entry each.
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know.
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3. Like this post link on Facebook.
The contest ends January 7, 2014 at 12a.m.
A winner will be selected and notified by January 9th.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review: Real Life and Faith

Moody Publishers provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     Every time I open up a book I never know what to expect. Sometimes I am disappointed and at others I am pleasantly surprised. As I opened Live Free: Eliminate the If Onlys and What Ifs of Life by Kendra Smiley my expectations were completely wrong, and gladly so in this case. Smiley does not attempt to give you a one-two-three-and-check-it-off-your-to-do-list method. Instead, she offers you the stories of people that have been through harrowing, faith-testing trials that have instigated these women to face their problems with a heart of faith and openness to new possibilities.
     Life is going to hand us adverse circumstances, from meager financial resources to major health problems, from soured relationships to broken dreams. We always have choices in the midst of the storms. What sets believers a part is our hope we have in Christ. Are we willing to trust and believe that He is working things for our good? Or are we going to allow the circumstances to dictate our life, our dreams, our joy?
    Live Free doesn't just present examples of miraculous healings, though those are there, too. But, she takes care to present stories that have had outcomes that are far from ideal according to our fleshly desires. However, the women involved have chosen to see their circumstances in light of Christ. There is real power and hope in these pages.
    I also really appreciated how Smiley incorporated theology, application and the story into one, comprehensive reading in each chapter. Some times the three are written separately and loose their cohesion and power. I would recommend Live Free to any woman wanting to live free from the constraints that life places on us and live freely in Christ.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: More than Bubbles and Fluff

Moody Press provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     Erin Davis attempts to reconcile the discord between the noble nature that is motherhood and the self-infatuation and absorbency that is promulgated by modern media and propagated by many working, childless adults. In her book Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role other mothers will breath a sigh of relief and a bit of fresh air into their seemingly mundane routines of bath time, diapers and sleepless nights. (Please note here, those are not my thoughts or stances. I have never found mothering in any sense mundane.)
     After Davis cynically defines the onslaught of anti-child rhetoric in our society, she then gets to the happy part, the hopeful part of the book. God has called us to be mothers of worth. It will be our greatest lasting accomplishment and contribution to society. Raising children that follow God and seek Him out on their own is our highest goal as mothers. Christ called us to the Great Commission, not to put it on hold until our sons and daughters are grown. Our children are our mission field.
     Here I note, that it seemed her outlook was a little too harsh. I, of course, have no idea what experiences you have faced as a mother and for that reason cannot discount her criticism all together. I just simply did not find the cynicism relevant to my world. And then, Beyond Bath Time became good, really good. 
     Davis' passion for Christ is what makes this book worth your time. Her enthusiasm is contagious and captures the heart.Many books may seem daunting for mothers who are changing diapers and/or playing chauffeur amongst the many other tasks of mothering. The great thing is Beyond Bath Time is a mere 140 pages with fast-paced chapters. At least, that can get checked off the to-do list. I encourage mothers who are struggling with their identity as women and mothers to pick up this book. Beyond Bath Time will open your heart and eyes to see that mothering is so much more than bubbles and fluff.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: An Ambitious Success

Chosen Books provided a complimentary copy of R.T. Kendall's Finding Your Heart's Desire in exchange for an honest review.
     Everyone strives for something, be it success and fame in the fast lane or accolades and acceptance from colleagues in the suburbs.  Yet, what are we measuring our success with and exactly what is it that we desire? Author R.T. Kendall takes aim and challenges the reader to align their goals and measure of success with that of God's standard in Finding Your Heart's Desire: Ambition, Motivation and True Success.
     People can go all their lives always aiming high, wanting more and in turn are left wanting. It is when human desires lead to ungodly ambition that can leave us hanging high and dry. However, according to Kendall we can realign our hearts with God and have a godly ambition. For God has put in us a natural desire to succeed at something, whatever that may be, that when paired with motivation can keep us moving forward in life. We need to ask ourselves though whether our motivation and goals are God ordained or of simple selfish desire? God wants us to work with Him, so He may work through us all to His glory.
     Finding Your Heart's Desire  is a candid look at human desire. Kendall doesn't pull any punches with the reader or himself. One of his best assets is his honesty and personal insight. God has certainly allowed personal experience to shape this godly man. I was truly inspired and impressed with the author's transparency. He gives clear and poignant advice to the reader as well. There was a set of questions I found very helpful to see whether a decision or opportunity was one I could make without any inhibitions.
     The bottom line is that this book can be used for God's glory. God can use the words of Kendall to transform your life if you allow it to. Everyone needs to evaluate their trajectory in life and understand why they are striving after certain goals. It is all too easy to get caught up with the standards of success pressed upon us by the media at large. What will it matter when we get to heaven if our bank accounts are heavily padded or how much stock we own? Or how many trophies and awards decorated our mantles? Absolutely zero.
     All that matters is that we finish well knowing we gave our all to things of eternal importance. This book can really shape the lives of readers and those around them. God placed the content of this book on the heart of the author to minister to others. May Finding Your Heart's Desire lead you to true success.