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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A Path to Healing

Death.  That one word brings to mind heartache, lost moments, grief, and questions of why.  Death by a bear attack.  Those few words bring even more pain and horror as well as a deeper questioning of why.  When that death is your parents the pain is buried so deep that it leaves you crying and heaving in the dust while tears stream down your face and your heart feels as if it will disintegrate.  How do you cope with that kind of pain and keep living?  That is what Shannon Huffman Polson both faces and answers in her memoir North of Hope.  Polson combines her path to healing along with the story of her journey to retrace the steps that her father and stepmother took while traversing a river in Alaska.  She brings to life the flora and fauna of the wilderness of Alaska which were the sights before her own eyes and the journal entries by her parents.  As she travels to the very spot that her parents were killed, she draws closer to healing and acceptance of the event.

Polson’s memoir is one of those books that you will find yourself torn between wanting to voraciously read the pages and desiring to read slowly while mourning with her. It is a wonderfully written story of her grief and healing, her faith, and her acceptance of life and death. I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and find the book to be excellent.


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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

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

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.

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A Tangled Tale

I have just finished reading a book that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the Lebensborn program that Heinrich Himmler began during World War II.  Michele Phoenix has written a book that has two distinct stories that are also interrelated.  Tangled Ashes is the story of romance, intrigue, recovery, and history.  Readers will find themselves immersed in France during the renovation of a chateau in the present day and at other times in France during the occupation of German forces at the same chateau.  The storyline follows the lives of two French girls who begin working at the chateau during the occupation as well as the German officers at the chateau. It also follows the story of the angry, alcoholic  contractor who is in charge of the present day renovations as his path crosses with the nanny and children of the owners.

Marie and Elise are young French girls who begin working at the chateau before it becomes the site of one of the Lebensborn programs.  The Lebensborn program provided maternity homes to wives of the SS and to unmarried women.  It also was a program that espoused the ideology of perfecting the race with racially pure children.  Elise falls in love with a German stable boy and begins to embrace the ideology.  She becomes pregnant and a resident of the chateau rather than an employee.

Becker (Marshall Becker) is both battling demons from his past and heads the renovation team of the chateau.  Jade comes face-to-face with Becker and forces him to battle those demons and overcome them with her confrontational style of “friendship.”  While all of this is going on, there are also late night happenings, a reclusive old man living in the gatehouse, and a French interior designer who clashes with Becker.

This story is filled with so much to capture your interest!  It is a wonderful story both in the past and present of the chateau.  I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing.

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Filling Your E-Shelves

Today’s post is about the options you have to fill your e-shelves with quality books at discounted price or even free. For those that are avid readers, this can be like a Christmas sneak peek or a birthday gift for each day of the year! The first site that you can visit for great Christian books is gospelebooks.net. This week they are celebrating their birthday and so they are offering not only books but giveaways. Each day they post free, discounted, and cheap e-books for the Kindle. Check them out! The second site is bookbub.com. This site offers all genres of books that are listed on various vendors for the Kindle, Nook, and IPad. The books are all free.

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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.

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!

 

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