Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: Comfort for the Day

Moody Publishers provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     Everyone wonders at some time whether circumstances are mere chance happenings or if there is reason behind it all. Is there a God who reigns? Paul Enns argues in Everything Happens for a Reason: God's Purposes in a World Gone Bad that our lives are not only purposeful, but so are the goings-on of our lives. There is not one circumstance that goes undetected or unused by God.
     Besides this book providing biblical examples of people enduring hardships, Enns draws on examples of everyday trials and life challenges that ordinary people have withstood. There are two presuppositions that are assumed from the get go. First, God is sovereign and good- period. And second, we don't have all the answers this side of heaven. We simply don't. If those two tenets of faith are believed then the rest of the book will subsequently make sense.
      There are some circumstances that are completely horrific in human terms. Yet, if we are willing to lift our eyes up and believe that God has our good in mind, as well as His purposes, then our circumstances can be endured with a new, hopeful perspective. Enns tackles the hard questions such as: Why does evil occur?, What is Satan's role? and What is the purpose of it all?. Certainly, there aren't easy answers, but Everything Happens for a Reason certainly attempts to answer them in terms that are as easily understood as possible and with empathy and comfort.
      This book is well-written and biblical. The answers aren't concocted by Enns to make you feel good. They are derived from the Bible and are God's answers to your questions. With that stated, I did find one chapter hard to swallow as it dealt with sin. I personally didn't feel that contributing one's disregard to the speed limit and therefore, sin, necessitated in the man's death. So, if you are not of the fundamentalist mindset, this book probably isn't going to sit well with you.
       Everything Happens for a Reason is a book that may bring great comfort in your time of need. We are going to face challenges as we live in fallen world. We can rest in knowing that God sees a greater picture that someday in glory we will see fully. We can live knowing that Everything Happens for a Reason.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Back to Faith

Moody Publishers provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     Some believers get lost at one point or another wandering from their faith. It may be for but a brief season; other times their detour lasts longer. Come Home: A Call Back to Faith by James MacDonald is a small book that can hold great significance for those that are wandering. The bottomline is that Jesus loves them. MacDonald conveys that warmth and love dispelling reason to doubt and invites them home in belief.  
      Drawing on the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, MacDonald categorizes wanderers into four types: the fearful wanderer, the doubtful wanderer, the sensual wanderer and the willful wanderer. Each has their own set of doubts or hardships defined that have drawn them away from the Father. Subsequently, every chapter unpacks the possible reasons and the potential solutions for these prodigals.
      I was quite pleased with the helpful information in this compact volume. Come Home could be suited for many. The wanderer or those that are beginning to question, could benefit from reading this book. Come Home can validate one's doubts and allow for a more open dialogue.  It could be that you want to encourage the lost believer in your life. Questions and rising doubt can be addressed in love. MacDonald explains the thought process of each type of wanderer. With that knowledge a brother or sister will be better equipped to assist the wandering soul.
      This is an easy-to-read book making it a great, quick resource. I found some points to be addressed a little harshly. I would hope that the tone wouldn't steer the lost away. Overall, the book is direct and firm, but gentle and loving. Maybe a chapter will strike a chord and speak life back into their soul. This book could be given as a gift to the lost with a word of encouragement and a lot of prayer, for it may be just the call they need to wander back home.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Review: In Business with God

Kickstand Books provided a complimentary copy of the featured book in exchange for an honest review.
     Believers turn to the Bible as their road map to life. Yet, when it comes to career and business God is often left behind. Working under the capitalistic mechanism of our society often belies our faith and in turn, morals are negated to nothing more than a whimiscal thought. So, what is a believer to do when he wants to work within and uphold the guidelines of God, his Authority?
     Author and entrepenuer, Joseph James Slawek, walks the reader through biblical principles for business that have propagated his company to become a leader within the private sector. In his book, Ingredients for Sucess: 10 Business Practices for Business and Life, Slawek breaks down the parables within Matthew 25. Between these 46 verses we can create a feasible working plan to build business and people up at the same time without sacrificing morally, upright priniciples.
      There aren't any fail-proof instructions or methods being handed out, but rather lessons that can be applied to daily life. The Parable of the Ten Virgins can help us be more prepared in life, to plan ahead for the daily chaos and any impending disasters. In The Parable of the Bags of Gold we can learn how crippling fear can be and inhibit us from maximizing our potential. In 10 chapters (113 pages) Slawek uses parables and principles he has actually utilized himself. There isn't a greater teacher, besides the Bible, than experience. It is with a big heart that Slawek shares his journey with his readers.
     I was quite pleased with Ingredients for Success. Given, I am not a CEO, nor ever will be. I am primarily a mom of three. However, I garnered some new insights and wisdom for the road. I still have a tendency to allow fear to dictate my decisions, so obviously, the relevant chapter was particularly helpful for me. Certainly, there will be a chapter that will encourage your heart. If you are a business owner (or a mom), I pray this book will help you become the leader God has called you to be. Sometimes the right decisions aren't always easy decisions, but as Slawek can attest to, the right decision is one with God in mind.