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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Daddy’s, Donuts, and Donations

Jeff Anderson’s book Plastic Donuts is a straightforward and simple format for investigating “giving that delights the heart of the Father.”  Anderson begins by showing the correlation between the simple and heartfelt gift from his eighteen-month-old daughter when she gives a plastic donut from her kitchen set to him.  She waits expectantly for his response and when he “eats” the donut with great animation, she is filled with such joy that it shone across her face and countenance.  She continued to bring “gifts” to her father as he continued to show his pleasure and approval.  That is the feeling that our Father experiences when we give simply and with heartfelt joy.

Now if that was the whole of his story, it would have been a very, very short book!  Granted his book is short, concise, and to the point, but he also visits the most frequent questions that one asks about tithing.  Some of those questions are:

  • What’s the “right” amount to give?
  • Does the tithe still apply to modern-era people?
  • Is the first 10 percent required, and everything else is a freewill offering?
  • What should be our motivations in giving?
  • Does it even matter what we give as long as we have good hearts?

The rest of the 115-page book is divided into chapter entitled:

  • What is acceptable (chapter 2)
  • Does the amount matter (chapter 3)
  • Rule #1: there are no rules (chapter 4)
  • A two-percent perspective (chapter 5)
  • Because you can (chapter 6)
  • All the difference (chapter 7)
  • That chair (chapter 8)

As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:18, “I am humbly supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.  They are a fragrant offering, and acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God,” let our donations (offerings) be fragrant, acceptable, and pleasing to our Daddy in heaven.  He waits expectantly for our donuts!

For additional resources visit their website:  www.acceptablegift.org

Liz and Ruth

No Liz is not someone from the Bible, but Ruth is.  Liz is Liz Curtis Higgs, author of The Girl’s Still Got It, as well as many other books such as Bad Girls of the BibleMore Bad Girls of the Bible, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible.  The difference between this book and her “Bad Girls” series is that Ruth is not a bad girl.  In fact Liz has a rap about Ruth called “Righteous Ruth.”  Watch this:

Higgs style of writing draws you in with humor, truth, and “aha” thoughts. For anyone who has read or participated in a Bible study about Ruth (Kelly Minter, for example) knows the story of Ruth. Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi who was a Moabite and refused to return to her homeland after the death of her husband. Instead she moved to Naomi’s homeland and eventually married Boaz, a relative of Naomi. Ruth becomes one of the few women listed in the lineage of Jesus.

The difference in this book and other studies is that Higgs shows you how we are all a little like Ruth. We are all worthy to serve God. We all have still got it! Jump into this book which features a Bible study at the end and re-assess your worth and value! I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Study Guide/Discussion Questions:

Author’s Web Site

The Bad, The Mean, and The Downright Ugly

Men will tell you that “women can be mean and ugly.” Of course the same can be said of them as well, but Liz Curtis Higgs addressed this issue in Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn From Them. She delineated the lines of women into those girls who were bad for a moment, bad for a season but not forever, and bad to the bone. Higgs uses humor to tell the stories of some of the most well-known women of the Bible. We all know that the Bible was written for teaching and reproof so the lessons that can be learned from these women is monumental.

You will learn about Eve, Potiphar’s wife, Lot’s wife, the woman at the well, Delilah, Sapphira, Rahab, Michal, and the sinful woman. Before you read the book, try to determine what Higgs said about each woman’s label. Was Eve bad for a moment, for a season, or just plain bad to the bone? Why did Higgs place each of these women into the lines that she chose? Can we really learn from women who lived over 2000 years ago? You may be surprised! You will enjoy Higgs humor, wit, and the lessons that she teaches through all of this.

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  Rank my review by clicking on the picture and you might win a book for yourself!

 

Author’s Website

Prose and Song about Ruth

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group is proud to announce the release of Liz Curtis Higgs’ new book Girls Still Got It. Higgs is the author of Bad Girls of the Bible where she use wit and humor to talk about women that she calls bad for the moment, bad for a lifetime, etc. In her new book, she has written about a good girl of the Bible – Ruth. I have not read the book but WaterBrook graciously offered a video from Higgs and the first chapter. Please enjoy!

Visionary Life Planning

A good business person begins with a plan. The business starts with a vision; then a purpose and goals are outlined. The same is true for someone who desires a life that filled with passion, purpose and definition. Craig Groeschel, author of Chazown Define Your Vision, Pursue Your Passion, Live Your Life on Purpose, has written a how-to of life planning. He has also explained the “why” and “what” behind the Hebrew word – Chazown. God created each of us with a purpose. However many of us live in a manner similar to bumper cars. We drive fast seemingly with a purpose in view and then someone else’s vision brings his/her path directly into ours resulting in a crash.

Groeschel begins the life plan by exploring your core values, spiritual gifts, and past experiences. He then moves on to naming your chazown and developing action steps in five spokes – your relationship with God, your relationship with people, your finances, your health and fitness, and your work. Chazown is an easy book to read with questions and activities to help you develop your chazown. In addition, there is a website that enhances your experience and journey.

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Chazown Web Site

To Fear or Not To Fear

This is the first time that I am writing a review of a book that I hope to read. Fearless by Eric Blehm is the story of Adam Brown a Navy SEAL, husband, and father who lived with astounding faith and died fearless. Please take the time to check out this book!

Adam Brown was a proud Arkansas father of two who embarked on the mission deep into the Afghanastan mountains on the search for enemy combatants. He never returned home to his wife, children, and parents or the dirt of Arkansas. This story is about Adam, his faith, determined strength and his upbringing to “do what is right.”

Download and read the first chapter

You can order this book here.

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.

Blossoming Love

In the very beginning of 2 Corinthians 6:14 it says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” That is what caused the ripping apart of two young lives in “The Scent of Cherry Blossoms” by Cindy Woodsmall. Annie Martin was Old Order Mennonite and Aden Zook was Old Order Amish – never shall the two meet, at least when love blossoms into a marriage is concerned. The story centers around these two characters in a wonderful depiction similar to the blossoming of a rose – layer upon layer opening and revealing the true beauty. The story is also about Roman Zook, Aden’s twin brother who had been injured in a farm accident and is left a paraplegic who is angry and scared to truly live. It is also about the relationships between Aden, his family, and Annie’s grandfather (Daadi Moses) as well as Annie’s relationship with her mother and grandfather.

The layers draw you in and capture your heart so that you are cheering for the relationship between the two young lovers. You also find yourself wanting to know more about the culture of the two communities and the deep faith of the characters. As usual, Cindy Woodsmall has written a fabulous book with language that causes your mind to see what she is describing with infinite detail. I would encourage anyone who is interested in Amish/Mennonite culture or someone who desires a greater faith in God to read this book. Just as the springtime beauty of the blossoming of the cherry tree leaves you with the heady scent and cocoons you with the beauty of the red-tinged and pink blossoms, this book will become a favorite on your shelf and wrap you in faith, love, and hope.

I received this book for free to review for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. You may preorder your copy now from WaterBrook and Amazon with the book being released February 21, 2012.

Not Close Enough

I love books! I would rather read than almost anything. I usually pick a book because it provides me with an opportunity to learn something or is a genre that I like. So it is a rare occasion that I find a book that I either didn’t like or felt it didn’t muster the high regard that I felt when reading the recommendation or review for it. Living Close to God When You’re Not Good At It by Gene Edwards is one of those books. The book is not a bad book. It does not have untruths in it. It is not hard to understand. It just did not grab me and make me want to read it voraciously.

I was pretty excited about the book when I read the synopsis of it. I was ready to read a book that addressed issues that I struggle with – inconsistent time with the Lord, wandering mind, falling asleep while talking to God. However, when I read the book, I felt that in some parts it was too simple. Now you may be saying that simple is good. I agree, but sometimes simple leaves you begging for more and searching even harder. There was much that I enjoyed of this book. I think that maybe if I had read this book as part of a Bible study with others I would have garnered a deeper love for it. Mr. Edwards does include a six session group study and seven week individual deeper study.

The author has a deep knowledge base about the subject and advises that none of the suggestions are quick fixes. The book is easy to read. I would definitely suggest either a group study using this book or the deeper individual study rather than just reading the book straight through.

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. The book can be purchased through Amazon.