Touches of Tenderness

Books are words linked into sentences that make up a paragraph which form pages but they are also the thoughts, experiences, and lessons of the author. Sometimes a book is hard to get interested in making it difficult to truly become a book that you can embrace. Other times, a book is interesting but not one you would recommend to friends or family. Then there are the books that grab you and become the impetus to change you. Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry is such a book! I am not going to give a spoiler alert but I will tell you that this book is about the ways that others can effect you and affect changes. Treha is the unassuming main character that soon fills up your mind and heart as you want to stand in defense for her as well as cheer her on in her search for her mother along with the answers to her past. Miriam is her greatest cheerleader and protector but there are other great characters who intersect in the lives of both of them that shape the story into an outstanding book!

Chris Fabry, a West Virginia native, has written several books, of which two won Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, and he hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. His style of writing draws you in and invites you to drop whatever you are doing for a long visit amidst the pages of his books. I have never read his other books, but I was very impressed with this one which makes me excited to find others. I encourage you to pick up a copy today! I received this book free for review from Tyndale House Publishers.

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Sneak Peak – Chapter 1

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Boldly Go!

I recently received a book from Handlebar Marketing to review that I must admit is a MUST READ book. Bold as Love What can happen when we see people the way God does by Bob Roberts, Jr. is one of those books that causes you to ponder God’s Word and your faith. God’s Word tells us to love our neighbors and it does not specify only certain neighbors or the distance between neighbors or even only Christian neighbors – it just plainly says neighbors. This includes Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and even atheists. That can be a difficult task sometimes, but to live and love radically as Jesus did requires each of us to step out of our box – not to a soapbox, but to just stand up and go boldy where we have not trod before.

Roberts dissects what bold faith and connectivity looks like when we “love our neighbor” locally and globally without boundaries of likeness. His book is radical and his point of view is challenging of your faith. The synopsis on the back of the book includes this statement, “Take the risk! Your faith wasn’t made to live in isolation. It’s something you do face-to-face, heart-to-heart, hand-to-hand. Whether you are in a suburb of Houston or a village in India, put away the fear and suspicion and, instead, answer the call to radically love others the way God loves.” Roberts does not merely write about what is means to live radically and boldly with love and faith. He stepped out first in his community by connecting with religious leaders of other faiths and brought that relationship to his church. One man reaching out to another spreading to others. Are you willing to take the risk?


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Faith that Overcomes

Anyone who has ever read about Nick Vujicic or seen his YouTube videos usually walks away amazed and maybe a little guilty.  Amazed at the fact that Vujicic has accomplished so much standing in his faith and guilty because he does all of this without limbs as compared to our own capabilities with limbs.  Vujicic’s latest book, Unstoppable, is just as powerful and moving as Life Without Limbs.  In this book, Vujicic addresses the adversities that can plague individuals making their life journeys difficult and destructive.  He uses his own life story as well as other’s stories to show how circumstances don’t have to derail you.

One of the most profound statements that he made can be found in the first few pages of the book. He says, “To simply say ‘I believe’ in something is not enough. If you want to have an impact in this world, you must put your beliefs and your faith into action.” For many of us, when difficult circumstances enter our lives we believe that God can move mountains but we don’t put that belief and faith into action by praying. Others may sit and bemoan the horrid circumstances without actually reaching out to the One who can change those circumstances. Vujicic has taken what could have stopped him and turned it into an unstoppable life of faith and action. Another life-altering phrase from his book is actually a subtitle in the first chapter – “Custom Made For A Purpose.” Wow! If we all just would believe that each one of us is custom made for a purpose, we could change the world! We may be able to cite the Scripture talking about each of us being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), but do we truly believe that we have been made specifically for a purpose? Vujicic does and he lives his life with purpose!

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah.

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Novel Crossing - The Intersection of Fiction and Faith

Love Lessons

Beth Wiseman is a well-known Amish fiction writer as well as a Christian fiction writer.  I was lucky to have been able to review Wiseman’s book His Love Endures Forever which is the story of an English girl who is friends with an Amish young man, Levi, and  is also pregnant by another Amish man, Matthew.  Danielle, the young pregnant girl, learns about love in this book.  She has been living with an older couple after her mother is abusive toward her.  She is lost and falls in love with an Amish young man who has dreams of something more beyond the boundaries of his Amish village and Amish church.

Wiseman’s book, the third book in her A Land of Canaan series, is a journey of reflection and lessons of love – true, unconditional love.  Not only does Danielle learn about the unconditional love of God, but Levi’s mother learns about unconditional love for others.  Daniells’s mother learns about seeking forgiveness and Danielle learns to forgive.  Danielle, Levi, and Matthew all learn about themselves in this coming of age story.

This is an excellent story of love – the love of family, the love of others, the love of God – and it is a story of forgiveness and learning.  I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.

Author’s Web Site

Ancient Blessings Spoken

There are many Scriptures that foretell of the blessings that will flow from God but none are as impressive as  the blessing given to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 which states, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land [Israel] that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you [Israel and the Jewish people], And I will curse him who curses you: And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (p 6, The Power of the Prophetic Blessing).'”  From that one blessing flow the blessings for all mankind.  John Hagee, author of The Power of the Prophetic Blessing, outlines the meaning behind the blessings detailed in the Holy Bible as spoken for His prophets, how those blessings pertain to the current generation, and how to claim the blessings for yourself and your family.

Hagee strongly ties the blessings to the Jewish people through which everyone else is blessed and also warns against any prejudice or malice toward the Jewish people to avoid the loss of the blessings.  His book is written so the average reader is able to follow his thoughts.  He backs all of his opinions with Scripture.  I enjoyed reading his perspective and would recommend his book for those interested in delving into this topic.  One specific highlight of this book was a description of a demonstration that his wife, Diana, uses in her Women of God seminars based on the book God Uses Cracked Pots by Patsy Clairmont.  “…Diana displays two urn-shaped vases on a table.  She takes a candle and places it in the first vase, which is beautiful and flawless in every way.  Diana lights the candle, covers the opening of the vase, and holds it up for the audience to see.  The vessel, though perfect, does not allow the light within it to shine through its unblemished exterior.  It is useless to light a path for those needing to find their way.

Diana then places a candle in the second vase, which is cracked and scarred.  She lights the candle, covers the opening, and holds up the ugly vessel.  The radiant light from within the vessel floods through the broken places, providing a beautiful glow that guides those who have lost their way.

And so it is with out lives!  We all have ugly cracks and scars caused from the heartbreaks of our past.  Maybe those cracks and scars were caused by sexual abuse; perhaps they were caused by the rejection of your mother, your father, or even both your parents.  Maybe those cracks were caused by a bitter divorce, or a secret abortion, or the time you spent in the penitentiary in the dark past no one knows about.

God, the Master Potter, could have allowed your life to be flawless – but those ugly cracks caused by the setbacks of life allow the light of God’s love to shine through you to give guidance to those searching for truth in life’s journey.  Blessed are those who are cracked pots, whose imperfections of the past are the source of courage, strength, and inspiration for those searching for the Light of the world (p 169-170).”

I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing.  You can win this book by commenting on this blog!  Winners will be chosen by Random.org on September 10, 2012.

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Promises Fulfilled

On the cover of Pete Wilson’s latest book, Empty Promises, features a fortune cookie. For most people, the fortune cookie uncovers a small slip of paper that “promises” great things in our future. The same is true for horoscopes and dreams – we reach for a brighter future filled with promises of wealth, status, success, true love, and our every desire. However, those are only empty promises compared to the one true Promise, God. Wilson’s book is twelve short chapters with titles like: “The Seduction of Achievement,” “Addicted to Approval,” and “Chasing a Dream.”

Empty Promises was an enjoyable, informative book that encouraged me to look deeper into what gives me joy and purpose in this journey called life. I also found myself guiltily looking into a mirror through several of the chapters. However, the greatest thing is that even though I found myself seduced, addicted, and in a chase, I also found the truth about what promise was real and long-lasting. In Luke 10:41-42 Jesus said, “‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'” The only promise needed and able to fulfill is the One who is truly able to promise joy, peace, and satisfaction.

I received this book free for review from Booksneeze. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with life to get a copy and settle in for some soul-searching time with the greatest Promise you will ever find or need!

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He Answers Your Every Need

Sometimes our deepest hurts are masked so well that only God can see. God then places “angels” in our life to address those hurts and assisting you with learning to trust while He illuminates the pain as well as the path to freedom. In Beth Wiseman’s newest book, Need You Now, the Henderson family must deal with danger in their hometown which leads them to the small town of Round Top, Texas. The three teenaged children deal with the move in different ways, but the youngest, Grace, is utilizing a dangerous coping mechanism. When the mother, Darlene, begins her first job outside of the home, the children begin to feel a sense of abandonment. Darlene connects with the neighbor who has buried the pain of her child’s death and marriage break-up behind a facade of indifference. Darlene also connects with the special needs child that she is employed to teach which opens a dam of emotions from the child’s widowed father. All of these “hurts” are seen by God and each connection opens the door for the alleviation of that pain.

Wiseman’s newest book is an ebook and is only the first half which is a first for her. However, we all love a cliff-hanger so it only leaves you craving more! I had not read any of her Amish fiction books and so this was my introduction to her writing style but I found her to be engaging. I would encourage readers who are interested in reading this book to order the ebook at Ebook Part 1
or you can order the complete book or other Beth Wiseman titles from the publisher Thomas Nelson Publishing at Print Version

Author’s Website

I revieved this book free for review from netgalley.com.

Life + God = Hope

When you combine a small town in the South with “the way things have always been done” and then insert faith-filled people and God into the center, what you get is a Kim Cash Tate’s new book Hope Springs. The story is centered around the Dillon and Sanders families who attend Calvary and New Jerusalem churches. The Sanders’ clan comes home for a reunion and Christmas in Hope Springs, North Carolina at the matriarchal home of Grandma Geraldine “Geri” Sanders. Her children, except one, and her grandchildren, except one, gather round her as well as the Dillon family and other friends of the family. They have arrived just in time to bury the pastor of Calvary Church, Jim Dillon.

This story is the story of finding your faith in trying times, of finding your “sweet spot” in spite of yourself, of burying the dead and painful memories, and of the resurrection of hope. The story is about Stephanie Sanders London who finds herself in Hope Springs. The story is about Janelle (Sanders) Evans who finds love and happiness following the death of her husband by reconnecting with her past. The story is about Libby Sanders who finds she can bury the past and find the grace of God’s love with her lost love who now pastors New Jerusalem Church. The story is about Becca Dillon, wife of Todd, who finds that in order to be blessed and exalted, she must first learn to be emptied and humble. The story is about the uncovering of secrets and the reconnection of family when Todd Dillon finds out his father had had a child by Gwynn Sanders. The story is about the building hope in the small Bible study group meeting at the local diner facilitated by the unsure but faith-filled waitress that unleashes hope in the two churches, one for the white families and one for the black families, that bridges the past and blesses an entire community.

Hope Springs is one of those books that is like opening a flower – petal by petal- that leaves you breathless, crying, exhuberant, and praising God. It is a book that will keep you in your seat hungrily reading the words until you find yourself between the pages. Then you will be on your knees bowing before your God and Father with tears running down your cheeks and your arms raised in worship.

I received this book for free to review for netgalley.com.

Free From the World’s Captivity

Since the beginning of creation, God has desired daily interaction with His children. At the same time, His children have desired to interact with the world that He created rather than Him. That has left each of us, at times, feeling a void and deep pain. God has also desired to teach us His ways instead of the world’s and yet we are continually held captive by the world and its many snares, oases, and traps. In Into the Free by Julie Cantrell, we are introduced to a cast of characters, each with his or her own desires, snares, oases, and traps. Millie Reynolds is a young girl who is trapped by the conditions of her home but also by the fears and disappointments of her life. Her parents are trapped by failed dreams, addiction, and loss. Millie’s foster family is trapped by outward appearances, lost dreams, and blindness.

However, within this imperfect world are guardians and angels who teach us about God’s love, grace, and mercy. They teach us how to forgive and unconditional love. In Millie’s world she encounters Sloth, her elderly next door neighbor in the former slave quarters where Millie and her family lived. Later she meets the gypsies, the Romany travelers who teach her about herself and her strength. There is also Mabel, the housekeeper who works for her foster family, and Bump, the cowboy who wins her heart by teaching her about love, patience, forgiveness, and ultimately freedom.

If you have battled with the forces of this world and feel trapped, downtrodden, and scared – then this book is for you. If you are a champion of the outcasts of this world – then this book is for you. If you are a child of God – then this is definitely for you!

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I received this ebook free for review from Net Galley at netgalley.com.

Rainy Days and Mondays

Just about anyone who listens to contemporary Christian music has heard Laura Story’s song “What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops.”  If you have not hear this song before, please listen to it here:

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Story’s book by the same title breaks down the verses of her song into thirty chapters that can be used as a devotional. For instance, in chapter 18 entitled “When We Cry Out in Anger,” Story writes, “Sometimes, it’s very easy to become angry: angry with ourselves, angry with other people, and even angry with God. Sometimes, we face life-threatening situations that shake us to the very core of our souls. but more often than not, our frustrations are of the more mundane variety. More often than not, we are angereed not by earth-shaking events, but by the inevitable distractions and disappointments of everyday living: jammed traffic, difficult people, financial headaches, and a near-endless stream of minor inconveniences masquerading as major hardships. Our challenge is this: to display anger when it is appropriate and to rein in our tempers when it is not. How can we learn to maintain better control over our tempers? We do so by learning to focus our thoughts, not on the inevitable disappointments of life, but instead upon the innumerable blessings that God has given us (Philippians 4:8). When we allow our faith in God to become the cornerstone and the touchstone of our lives, we cultivate trust in the righteousness of His plans. When we do so, we begin to see God’s hand as it works in every aspect of our lives – in good times and in hard times – as He uses every circumstance to fulfill His plan for us. So the next time you become frustrated by the inevitable challenges of life, do yourself a favor: turn away from anger and turn, instead, to God. Turn to Him, as best you can, with open hands, a clear mind, and a trusting heart. When you do, you’ll discover that defeating anger is difficult but not impossible – because with God, all things are possible.”

In each chapter, Story also includes quotes from notable Christians that are related to the subject of the chapter. She also includes Scripture and a section to journal your own thoughts. She ends the book with additional Scripture on a variety of topics. This small book of 220+ pages is an excellent addition to any library or better yet – your coffee table! Share it with friends and strangers alike.

If you are interested in keeping up with Laura Story:

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I received this ebook free for review from Net Galley at netgalley.com.