Monday, November 19, 2012

"Dreams and Visions" by Tom Doyle

I just finished "Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening The Muslim World?" by Tom Doyle with Greg Webster. Wow! What a great reminder of what God is doing in the Middle East! Mr. Doyle did a wonderful job of compiling amazing, true stories of how God is reaching out to the Muslims of the Middle East through dreams and incredible "coincidences."

"Dreams and Visions" takes stories of real people encountering Jesus through dreams and visions in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iran, just to name a few. I had chills reading the true accounts of people encountering Jesus for the first time or maybe they had heard of Him before. Not only did this book encourage me to pray even harder for the people of the Middle East, but it reminded me that the Lord is always desiring for every tribe, tongue, and nation to come to know Him in a true, saving way. It makes me think of the verse, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9 ESV) God wants ALL to know Him and it is so beautiful to me that He uses dreams and visions as a means to draw people that may have no other opportunity to hear His message of love and grace.

I loved the stories in the book, but the writing style of Mr. Doyle would probably appeal to an older reader, maybe one who is not familiar with the Muslim world. His explanations would be great for someone who is new to the more "out of the box" ways that the Lord reveals himself to men and women.

Overall, I highly recommend this book I anyone who would like to see a real picture of how God is working on the hearts of Middle Easterners. "Dreams and Visions" is an incredible account of the heart of God for all the world.

"I Exalt You, O God" By Jerry Bridges

I have loved going through this 30 day devotional focused on worshipping God. "I Exalt You, O God: Encountering His Greatness In Your Personal Worship" by Jerry Bridges is a phenomenal devotional that will lead in into worship of God for
• His Greatness...beyond measure, beyond compare
• His Holiness...transcendent majesty
• His Wisdom...skill and splendor on display
• His Love...the infinite love of an amazing Father for His child (from the book description)

I think Mr. Bridges does a wonderful job of defining what is worship, both corporate and private. I felt convicted, challenged, and encouraged in my journey to worship the Lord more in my personal life and in corporate settings. I think he does a great job of clearly defining hard to understand terms and he does it with Truth straight from the Word. I like that whatever he was saying was totally backed up with Scripture. I loved learning about all the places in the Bible that talk about worshipping God. I also loved the quotes that he used from different theologians and writers through the years. 

Each day of the devotional was quick, thorough, and packed full of new ways to approach worship. Each day also has a large amount of Scripture to reference what Bridges is discussing. I loved the prayers at the end of the days the most, though. I love being able to pray Scripture and much of the prayers were just that. He referenced each verse in the prayer so you could go back and read it on your own later.

 I would recommend this book to anyone high school age or older. It would be a great devotional to go through with your spouse because they are quick chapters each day, but leave plenty to talk about and discuss. 

These opinions are my own. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"What You Need To Know About Bible Prophecy: 12 Lessons That Could Change Your Life" by Max Anders

"What You Need To Know About Bible Prophecy" is a great resource! I really respect Max Anders as an author and I read his book, "30 Days To Understanding Your Bible" a few years ago. So, when I saw this become available for review, I was excited to read it. "What You Need To Know About Bible Prophecy" is broken down into 12 easy to teach or read sections. Thomas Nelson says, "Prophets. Rapture. Tribulation. Judgment. End times. Learn what the Bible has to say about prophecy, how Christians differ in their views of the end times, and what the universal aspects are on which all Christians agree." 

This is the perfect book for a Bible teacher, Sunday school teacher, or small group leader to read and teach from. I've never seen a book with a better flow for its chapters. You can definitely teach each section in an hour or less. The writing style is engaging and the questions are thought-provoking. I like the way he set up the end of the chapters to really reiterate the information, making it very easy to learn and remember the key words, phrases and ideas of the chapter. I also appreciated that at the very end of the chapters he gave you outside resources so you can continue learning more about that section. I think Max Anders has a very balanced approach to prophecy, even though I did not agree with everything he said. I felt like I learned so much about the big picture of prophecy, not just the issues that many Christians tend to disagree about. 

I highly recommend this book to teachers or a small group that is looking for a great introduction into what the Bible says about prophecy. It is harder to stay focused reading it on your own because it is so full of information and really meant for discussion, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning lots of new things from this book!

I received this book for free from Booksneeze and these opinions are my own.

Friday, August 10, 2012

No Greater Love by Levi Benkert

I was able to review "No Greater Love" by Levi Benkert and it did not disappoint! I love memoirs and "No Greater Love" was an amazing story of one family's decision to follow God's calling on their lives. It's not your typical Christian memoir because Benkert doesn't sugar coat his life, family, or decisions. "No Greater Love" details the crazy story of Levi Benkert's decision to leave California for Ethiopia. Through an astounding series of events, he leaves for the African country in order to help organize a rescue of children destined to die due to tribal superstition, known as "mingi." When he arrives, he realizes that this is where he is supposed to be and calls his wife to ask about the possibility of moving their family of three young children there for good. I won't ruin the rest of the story because some parts of it are just incredible, but it is a must read for anyone with a heart for African orphans.

I really appreciated Benkert's transparency and authenticity. It is obvious that he is growing in his relationship with the Lord and it was really cool to read how he allowed God to work through him to do amazing things. I was encouraged as I read "No Greater Love" because it just confirms my belief that God can do anything through anyone. He uses all kinds of people through crazy circumstances to show that He loves and cares for the people of this world.
I would recommend this book to someone who wants to learn more about African culture, how ministries do (and don't) work in Africa, ways to pray for Ethipioa and the orphans and orphanages there, and if you just want a great, gripping true story to read!
* I received this book for free from Tyndale House in exchanged for my opinion.*

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Daniel Fast Review

I had always wanted to read The Daniel Fast so I was really excited when I saw that it was offered by Tyndale. The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory was great! The book is broken down into two sections. The first part is about Susan Gregory and why she wrote the book, what is fasting, the story of Daniel and his decision to fast, and tips for a successful fast. The second part details acceptable foods for the fast, menus, recipes, devotionals, and frequently asked questions.

I loved reading it and I loved the recipe book in the back. Susan does a great job of explaining the reason behind the title of the book. I loved learning about Daniel and why he chose to fast. It is not really a book to learn about fasting, but more of a practical how-to guide for those who want to start fasting. If you are looking to learn more about the spiritual discipline of fasting, I would highly recommend Richard Foster's The Celebration of Discipline.

I think the best part of the book is the 21 day devotional and the recipe book in the back. The recipes look awesome and really easy to make. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to start fasting and would like a day by day guide to follow. With any book that isn't Scripture, read it carefully and take what you have learned right back to the Word to see if it lines up with what it says. Fasting is one of those grey areas and it can easily become a source of pride if you make it legalistic or about yourself. I enjoyed reading this book for the new perspective it offered and I tried not to read it looking for flaws or as absolute truth. I encourage you to do the same!

I received this book for free from Tyndale. These opinions are my own.

Want to read the first chapter? Click here:

Monday, January 30, 2012

"This Thing Of Ours" Book Review

When I saw "This Thing Of Ours: How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage" by Cammy Franzese offered by Book Sneeze, I just had to get it. I know very little about the Mafia and I thought it was incredibly interesting that a woman married to a mobster would have written a book, talking about faith of all things. "This Thing Of Ours" goes through the tumultuous years of the Franzese marriage. It tells about their meeting, engagement, marriage, jail sentences, children, and how Cammy learns and grows with each stage.

I was genuinely surprised at how little she knew of her husband's involvement in the Mob, but I really enjoyed reading this book. Cammy does a great job of describing different events in her life and weaving her belief in the Lord through it all. This is book is not to read looking for perfection. She is a real person with real struggles and is clear from the start that she is not without sin. I think if you keep that in mind as you are reading, it isn't disappointing when there are some parts of her book that are hard to believe or there are situations that don't align with God's Word.

She gives great encouragement to persevere in marriage and life. I really liked when she said, "But not only that, it's also important to persevere in our marriages, even if we don't feel like it, or the romance is gone, or it gets too hard. After all, we've chosen to marry the men we have. Too many people want to walk away from marriage when the honeymoon is but a faint glimpse on the horizon. God doesn't call us to a perfect life or a Hollywood-romance marriage. He calls us to be obedient. We we are obedient to Him and the sanctity of marriage, He will be faithful in working through our union to bring the good. (If you are in an abusive marriage, however, I am certainly not tell you to to stick it out. If you are the victim of abuse, talk to your pastor or a counselor and get help immediately.)" (page 93)

It is a really crazy story and I flew through the book! Cammy writes in a way that makes you feel like you have known her for a long time. I appreciated her honesty and authenticity.

If you enjoy biographies and stories of redemption--this is a winner!

*I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. These opinions are my own.*