Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Bible to Give!

The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible is more than just a Bible. It's subtitle is Inspirational Applications for Living Your Faith. The version I reviewed is the New King James Version. What makes this Bible special is that throughout the Bible, relative to the passages you are reading, are "Life Lessons" which are divided into 5 parts: Situation, Observation, Inspiration, Application and Exploration. These are wonderful devotionals to use to help you understand how to apply the Bible to your life. It isn't so much a study Bible in the sense of studying the meaning of the words or the context or the history. It comes at studying the Bible more through how to apply it to life. This makes it an excellent Bible for new Christians or for those wanting to develop their faith in this way.
Also included are sections called Christ through the Bible which are helpful in seeing how Christ is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament.
Another section is New Life In Christ. These articles help walk you through salvation and discipleship.
There are "He Did This Just For You" verses which show what Jesus did for you.
There are "New Believer Studies" which answer a variety of hard questions new believers may have.
There is a two year reading program to inspire you in your daily readings, a "Where to Turn..." index and 30- day reading program that introduces you to key passages in the New Testament.
Another cool feature of this Bible is that it has a lifetime Guarantee through Thomas Nelson if you go online and register. It is a hardback Bible. The print is easily readable and the notes are not distracting to the Word, but add much in the form of devotionals. I would recommend this highly as a gift to someone who is a new Christian or who is studying the Bible for the first time, as well as to seasoned readers of the Word who enjoy Lucado's brilliant, simple style of writing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Be Intolerant

In a world where tolerance is praised as the socially acceptable attitude to have towards everybody and everything we are reminded by the author that there are some things we should not tolerate.
We are taught by media, schools, professors, peers, politicians ...that there is no "truth". That everything is subjective. No right or wrong.
Yet, that in itself is a paradox...are we not being told that it is wrong to believe there is no right and wrong?? How could that be if there is no right or wrong??
This book does an excellent job laying it on the line...talking of topics that we should be intolerant of in a loving Christlike way because we love others...not because we want things our way...but because we care enough to want to warn others when a way is filled with danger, despite how politically incorrect we may be perceived as being.
I think this book is an excellent one for high school students and upwards in age to read and discuss ...a youth group would be an excellent forum but a family would be even better. This can also rekindle the flame of standing up for what you believe in, knowing the costs...not to yourself but to others. Highly recommend this one!!!

God Gave Us you!

This is one of those children's books that you will want to read to your children every day. And one that they will request you to read!!
Not only is the message of love and acceptance and uniqueness made clear in this lovely story...but the artwork is wonderful as well!!
This would be a great gift for a new parent, expectant parent, or just for your child!

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris

I bought the sequel to Do Hard Things at my teenage son's request. I read the entire book in a day! What an encouragement to young people these two brothers are!
Within a day of completing this book, my son had formulated a plan of how to raise money to help a child in Ethiopia that he and his youth group are sponsoring. He had talked it out, worked it out, prayed about it and taken action. He stepped out in faith. He got up in front of a large group of people and spoke about it (this was a major step for him because he really does not like public speaking at all!). These two young men have started a movement among teens that I hope does not ever stop...one that shows them that you are not too young for the Lord to use you for His glory!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Energize Your Faith!

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

The subtitle to this book is "What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible". The author is a young man who pastors Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC which has been named one of the fastest growing churches in the nation.
The main theme of the book is based on the story of Joshua in the book of Joshua, chapter 10 in the Bible. This is the time when Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still so that the Israelites could defeat their enemy in battle and God did this...He delayed the going down of the sun for about a day. The author doesn't go into the details of the proof that this happened, however, I have read many accounts of a missing amount of time in history and how this would account for that time.
What the author does focus on is the audacious faith of Joshua in asking the Lord to do the impossible. He then develops this theme into reminding us as Christians that we have access to that very same God who is able to do miraculous things, who controls time, who created the sun and the moon and the earth.
I believe the author does a very good job of balancing this subject. It could easily have turned into a "do this and this will happen" type book, or be focused on what we "do" as to how God answers us. Furtick is sure to consistently turn the focus to the Lord and His power and strength and that it is not a "If...Then" type of faith we are to have. But he does bring up some wonderful things to think about, pray about and study as far as understanding the very nature of God and living a life of faith based on that understanding.
This book is very inspirational...but the author says he doesn't want it to stop at being "inspirational". He gives many examples in the Bible and in present day life of faith that has accomplished great things for God. Again, I want to bring to light the fact that he does not make one feel that the reason some of your prayers are not answered is because you do not have enough faith. There are things that we do not understand because we can not see the whole picture as God does, and sometimes our prayers are answered in ways we do not expect, or even do not want. But all is for His glory. I liked the statement he makes that it is not our faith that accomplishes miracles but God's faithfulness. We are only able to have faith because of God's faithfulness to us.
I believe this book can be tender to start a fire of faith in the hearts of believers who have backed down from demonstrating faith in God's ability. I found the writer's style of writing to be modern day language, easy to understand and clear. I will be suggesting this book for reading to many of my church family. Thank you, Pastor Furtick, for being willing to tackle the task of writing about our God of possibilities from such an energizing perspective!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Truth of the Matter

The Truth of the Matter by Andrew Klavan

Being the third in a series called The Homelanders, I wondered if I would be able to follow the story. Much to my satisfaction, I was. The author does an excellent job of preparing readers to jump into this book having read or not read any of the others. Klavan is an excellent story teller and develops his characters extremely well. This book would appeal especially to teenage boys because of the action and suspense that goes into the story.
The story is about a young man in his late teens who has lost his memory of the past year. He is searching for a man who can help him to remember. He knows that he was sent to prison for the murder of his best friend, that he escaped from prison and became a member of a terrorist group, but he cannot help feeling that he is not that kind of person. He finds the man who can clear things up for him but is unsure if he is a friend or enemy. Throughout his confusion, he depends on the Lord to get him through.
The applicablilty to today's world and the weaving of faith in God into the story made this a wonderful read in my opinion. I won't spoil the story for you by telling you how it ends. I can assure you if you pick this book up and start reading, you will have a difficult time putting it down again for several hours!! Loved it!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."