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

Faith Seekers Amidst Doubt

Joseph Loconte, author of The Searchers A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt, uses literature, film, philosphy, history, and politics to examine the story of the Emmaus walk when two friends meet a stranger and begin the search for the truth in a world of madness, hatred, and doubt.  Loconte challenges the reader to thoroughly investigate his/her beliefs by pushing him/her to analyze Scripture in a manner that is fully immersed.  No more can the reader hold onto beliefs that have not been fully investigated and analyzed.  In our world of confusing and unsettling violence, many question God and His allowance of this evil.  However, Loconte uses all of the genres to push the reader to come to a better understanding of who God is and why He allows the evil.

Christianity Today states “This is a good book to give to someone who is looking at faith from the outside, but it will also be helpful to believers who have been led to expect tidy answers and neat resolutions and have come up hard against disappointment, absurdity, and loss.”  I would have to agree with that analysis.  Pick up a copy for yourself (put it on the coffee table after you read it!) and one for a friend or neighbor!

I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.

Questions and Lessons on Faith

In my lifeftime, I have had questions about faith, God, His will for my life, and the big one – why does God allow suffering in the world.  It is hard to reconcile the loving God with the violence, starvation, hatred, and desperation found around the world.  I, as well as many others, question how can God allow this to happen and yet expect me to only believe in His love and blessing.  Andrea Palpant Dilley, author of Faith and Other Flat Tires: AMemoir Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt, travelled this path as well.  Dilley had been born into a missionary family who served as Quaker medical missionaries in East Africa during the first six years of her life.  By age twenty-one, Dilley was facing that road of doubt over the dysfunctionality of the church, the perceived silence of God, and the age-old question of suffering.

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This story is her story.  Her story of doubt, questions, searching, and her journey of being a Christian refugee.  Her journey is similar to many others including myself.  She pushed the limits of what she had held sacred, she clung to the fleeting security of men, and she questioned everyone about their faith.  This story is also about her journey back to the security of God and the outpouring of His blessings.  I found her book to be truthful and upfront about the struggles of many to reconcile the church, God, and the world – especially the younger generation.  Her chapters are not too long and keep the reader interested in the next marker on her journey – whether that marker be an obstacle or an insight.

If you are facing that rough road of doubt, or know someone who is, then this book is for you.  I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and I would like to offer it free to a reader of my blog.  Please leave a comment on my blog and I will choose a winner using Random.org.

Author’s Web Site

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!

I review for BookSneeze®

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.

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!

Follow Julie Cantrell

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:

Artist Web Site

Follow on Twitter

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

Dross Is as Dross Was

Life. That one word brings everything from smiles and sighs to raging tirades. Life has both excitement and disappointments. Ephesians 5:20 says, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It does not say give thanks for the good only – for the great house, perfect job, and amazing spouse. It says to give thanks for EVERYTHING – the good, the bad, and even the ugly. That can be difficult. Kay Arthur talks about how to turn your disappointments in life into God’s appointments in her book As Silver Refined Answers to Life’s Disappointments. Just in reconfiguring your perceptions of life’s disappointments into God’s appointments begins to turn a cloudy, stormy day into just a partly cloudy day. It is the first step in moving from seeing life pessimistically to seeing life optimistically.

I chose this book to read because of the synopsis on the Blogging for Books website. One line jumped out at me and intrigued me – “You can be defeated by life’s unavoidable disappointments, or you can become stronger because of them.” Powerful words! First of all Arthur highlights the first point that disappointment is unavoidable. It is going to happen, the only questions are when, in what fashion, how bad, and how am I going to react to it? And that is the next point that she so aptly makes – are you going to react or intentionally act? Choosing to be intentional rather than haphazard is the way to turn those disappointments into His appointments. It kind of reminds me of a childish chant about “turning that frown upside down” but it is just that intentional.

You can keep up with Kay Arthur at:
Author’s Web Site
Follow on Twitter
Author Bio
More Info
I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.