Category Archives: Christian books

Believing Jesus is eye-opening and so real

Several months ago, I came across a book study with FaithGateway. It was a study about Believing Jesus and it was more than your typical book study, it came along with a video teaching series that discusses each chapter of the book. It was like doing a book study with other women, from my own living room! 

  

Little did I know, the devil would sneak up on me and my plans to enjoy this series with other women as I quickly fell behind. However, I persevered and completed the book on my own. Believing Jesus by Lisa Harper keeps you engaged as she throws her personal testimony and that of people she knows into the mix of scriptures and ideas.

I especially love it when Ms Harper uses modern modes of transportation for how the apostles traveled. It places them in the modern world which helps me to better understand the scriptures themselves. It places personality into her book and I love the attention to detail provided to assisting the understanding of what happened some two thousand years ago.

Ms Harper eloquently explains her experiences with the little girl, Missy, who she adopted from Haiti. HIV positive and transplanted to the States, little Missy seems to enjoy life and sparks a love for Jesus at her young age. As a single parent, Ms Harper expresses the challenges she’s been through and doesn’t shy away from absolute honesty.

Believing Jesus by Lisa Harper is a book I highly recommend to anyone struggling with how or why they should believe the words in their Bible. It’s one thing to know and understand the scriptures, but it’s something totally different to believe those words and live it daily.

One day at a time for 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom

A few months ago, I asked my son if I was a “happy mommy.” His response? “Not really, Mommy.” This cannot be a good sign if even my child can recognize if I’m happy or not, can it? This gave me a reason to read 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane.

  
This book is a day to day read, targeting one area of motherhood at a time. Each day brings the author’s personal stories along with scripture to back up how to depend on Jesus for the situation. There’s even suggestions for what to do as a stepmom, which I found helpful as I also have step kids. 

Some of the topics I found especially interesting was controlling the use of electronic devices, such as not allowing devices at the dinner table, not even allowing anyone to answer the phone. Another topic focused on spending quality and intimate time with your spouse. I am guilty of a lot of areas that is not helping this family be healthy, which doesn’t help my happiness as a mother.

As a mother of a seven year old and a stepmother of a twenty and a sixteen year old, I found 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane 5o be quite useful as I attempt to incorporate many of these 31 ideas into daily life. I’d have to admit, when everyone else is following their uses, it makes my life much easier.

There are a few areas I find especially challenging, but we are taking these in baby steps and slowly becoming happier and happier as a mom. 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane is a fantastic book for any mother with children of various ages and I highly recommend it!

A complimentary electronic copy of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane was provided for an honest review from NetGalley

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When discouraged, pray with power to get results!

“Pray about it,” my pastor’s wife would say when I approached her about something that was on my mind. When you spend time in prayer, God hears you and will respond. How much effort do you actually place in prayer? How do I know He’s responding? How do I know if what I’m receiving is His answer or my own thoughts?

 
Prayer is huge in pastor’s wife’s daily life and I’ve only wished it were so important in my own. I’m learning, though, that prayer is as important as you make it. I’m reading so much about prayer lately as it is a topic that has captured my heart these last few years. Most recently, I read a book by Pastor Abolaji Muyiwa Akinbo, or Pastor Bo. He titles his book, Prayer, Power & Results, and it is about the power of prayer, along with the Holy Spirit, and the magnificent results that can take place.

Pastor Bo dives into scripture and examines the topic of prayer using examples from stories in scripture along with real life examples of people close to him. It is in these examples that the reader can see how the power of prayer can move mountains.

“Without us calling, there is nothing for God to answer.” -Pastor Bo, Prayer, Power & Results, p. 25.

Prayer, Power & Results fills readers with tools they can use to not only learn about prayer, but also where to find various topics in scripture and how to overcome satan and his followers. Generally a quick read, this book is stuffed with useful prayer tools and prayer suggestions. 

Do be on alert when digging deeper into scripture and learning to pray as it causes the enemy to be distressed and will be on attack to keep you from your goal. If you follow me on Goodreads, you can see that I started Prayer, Power & Results back in December 2015, but only finished it last night. In the last two months, my family and I have been attacked by the enemy in many shapes and forms. 

It is very useful to know that Jesus overcomes and so can you. Prayer, Power & Results by Pastor Bo was sent to me complimentary for an honest review. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to learn about prayer and has the willingness to work towards achieving the Godly response.

Peli – a rhyme of courage and salvation

A pelican named Peli is different from the rest. He doesn’t flaunt it, but instead calls himself blessed. Peli hears a call (is it a little fish? or is it God?) that requires some courage, to save a little fish from an angry shark. The little fish is stuck in the seaweed and the shark sees it trapped. As Peli gets closer, the shark snaps at Peli. Will Peli save the little fish and get away from the shark? 

  
This is an adorable rhyming story of Peli and his adventures. The story shares how God speaks to each of us differently and we just need to listen. When we hear God’s calling, it is up to us to respond. Are you prepared to answer God’s calling? Are you strong enough to evade a shark’s persistent attacks? Then the story takes a very different turn than expected, going from saving the little fish to becoming a father.

Personally, I found it to be more like two stories placed together, one with saving the little fish from the shark and then the ending where Peli meets a female and is having a baby. It might flow better as two different stories instead of thrown together as one. As a Christian based book, placing more emphasis on the relationships between male no female prior to the coming baby should be emhasized more than the living happily ever after part. 

Peli, by Tammy Dominigue and illustrated by Jared Knight, was provided complimentary for an honest review, via Reading Deals. The copy I received was only capable to open on my Kindle Paperwhite device, which is black and white. Therefore, I am unable to view any colors that a color device might be able to see. However, I find the black and white version to she very artistic and simple enough for kids like my six year old. I am sure he would appreciate the color version, but he got the storyline and enjoyed it. 

When A New Life Begins, it is adored and loved

Whenever a baby mammal is born, it’s mother instinctively watches over him. Parents share their love and affection for the baby and it is common for babies to enjoy the company of other babies. This is no different with Zealy and Whubba in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins by Roe De Pinto.  

 

Zealy is the new seal pup born one winter to loving parents. Zealy is carefully watched over by her parents. One day a young orca whale, Whubba, splashes by and quickly becomes friends with Zealy and immediately finds himself protecting the pup from whatever might harm her. 

Typically, a seal pup is on the food chain for several creatures. There is no indication of the dangers that are present for Zealy. But with Whubba, Zealy is safe. 

 
Adorable and loved book that my son and I read together. I especially love the images of Zealy and Whubba. Zealy’s parents are a bit on the dark side, but their soft eyes make them live able, too. A New Life Begins is a brief story that can be enjoyed by many young children. My son wished it continued on as he’s been reading longer stories lately and gets disappointed with shorter stories, especially when he enjoys the characters. 

A complimentary hard copy of Zealy and Whubba in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins by Roe De Pinto was sent to me by the author for an honest review. As this is Book 1 Series 1, I hope to catch the next adventure. 

The Great Carp Escape is wonderful

A young girl, Beth, and her younger brother, Paul, live near a huge lake where they loved to play on the sandy beach. There was an area nearby where there were swampy reeds with carp swimming in the water. Beth and Paul are curious children who find interest in nature around them.

Sometimes, they would walk along the shore and find a dead carp that they thought was ugly. Their father reminded Beth and Paul that God thinks the fish is wonderful, just like them. Summer’s were great for swimming and looking for clams. But in spring, when the snow melted, everything seemed underwater. At least until the water started to dry up. This is when Beth and Paul find several carp trapped without a way to get back out to the lake and the little pond they were in was starting to dry up. What will happen to the carp? Will Beth and Paul be able to save the carp?

The Great Carp Escape by Irish Beth Maddock pulls young readers in with its detail and realistic activities. Trying to save the trapped carp is only natural for a young curious child. Finding a way to help the carp escape comes naturally to children. It’s quite interesting to ask a child how they would help the carp before getting to the answers given in the book.


The situation in this story reminds me of a similar situation in an episode of Curious George. But, the answers in the book didn’t jog my Curious George memory until I began writing this review.

This is a great book for youngsters who are looking for a small adventure. It is also a wonderful message that even ugly carp are wonderful to God. A beautiful message for anyone who doubts their own beauty, especially for impressionable children.

The Great Carp Escape was sent to me complimentary for an honest review by Bostick Communications and Irish Beth Maddock. It was a pleasure to read this wonderful book and admire the gorgeous images. My family will treasure this book for many years to come.

Is Jesus truly “Boundless”?

Your typical “Christian church” in the West, has worship music often played to popular tunes, a sermon in a lecture-style format, and possibly small groups the congregation and break into throughout the week. At least, that’s been my experience in the last 20 years. What if the parameters were different? What if the worship was in the music style of the local community? What if the message was discussed as a group? What if learning was more effective through a storytelling and probing questions to follow?

This is sort of the route that Bryan Bishop took in his book, Boundless. As a researcher for Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Bishop traveled the world and discovered hidden movements of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and others experiencing Jesus without the cookie cutter Western Christianity. Can people who live in communities of these other cultures still experience Jesus?

At first, Boundless seemed similar to a book I’ve already reviewed, Jesus without Borders by Chadd Gibbs. In both works, the author goes on these trips around the world and visits the Christian groups in the areas. There are remarkable similarities to their findings, even as they travel to different places. However, Boundless has a few additional topics:

  • Bishop summarizes a few principles that reveal the boundaries of Western Christianity being broken
  • There are additional videos that go along with a 10-week study that groups can go through

Personally, I enjoyed reading Boundless and the revelations that it reveals. I am not surprised that there are groups meeting and using their own cultural aspects to share the Gospel. We should meet others where they are at, or so that is what I’ve been taught. When we share our own experiences, it places perspective in other peoples eyes, just as if we were sharing about a trip we went on and what we did.

I received a complimentary copy of Boundless from Net Galley.

Boundless can be found in various places, but I highly encourage purchasing from http://bryanbishop.net/resources/ or http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/boundless/353540. I am purchasing a copy for a friend, who i think will absolutely love it!

Tatiana: wild and free to domesticated and humble

A typical carefree child, Tatiana Bergman says and does what she feels. She reminds me of a child who says what she thinks and does whatever she pleases without a care in the world. The effects of her words on others nor what others might think of her are any concern of Tatiana’s, even resulting in getting attacked by wolves late one night with a half-Indiana boy she will soon befriend, Jonny Creek.

Tatiana is the youngest of three daughters of Hans and their mother had already passed away, leaving the girls to run the chores their mother would normally have completed. Set in rural Pennsylvania in the 1840s, it is common for the women of the home to do the gardening and cooking and cleaning while the men did everything else. Young Tatiana would have nothing to do with chores or embroidery. It is not until she grows into her teen years that she’s willing to become a young lady who sews, cooks, gardens, etc.

One day, Hans falls off a ladder and breaks some bones causing him to be bedridden until he heals. This results in the girls doing extra work outside the home so they can earn more money to keep their home. Tatiana is a bit older now and worried about their financial situation, so she soon becomes the nanny for a Reverend in Philadelphia, who has two young children.

Suddenly, Tatiana finds that she is also obligated to cook and clean for the Reverend. The Reverend is a widower and insists the family is still mourning their loss with the drapes always closed and everyone needing to wear black. He also does not allow laughter, braided hair, or any form of disrespect. Will Tatiana be able to conform to these new rules?

The personalities in Tatiana, by Madeline Brock, are described as if the individuals lived in my own neighborhood. Details in the setting of the town as well as each interaction with the characters are realistically portrayed. Tatiana is published by Rosway Press. I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Are you a Horizontal Jesus?

Often heard in many Christian conversations, sermons, podcasts, etc, there is a common saying that we need to work on our vertical before our horizontal. In other words, we need to work on our relationship with God before reaching out to others. The book Horizontal Jesus by Dr Tony Evans describes the opposite.

Dr Evans describes in his book that we should emulate Jesus through our actions. Why are we waiting for someone else to do feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and shelter the homeless when we can do just that ourselves? It reminds me of the song by Matthew West, Do Something. Like the book, Matthew West describes how instead of just waiting or watching something happen, we do something about it.

In Horizontal Jesus, Dr Evans shares that we need to live as Jesus did, do what Jesus did, react the way Jesus did, and be the example of Jesus here on earth. It is our job to be the example that non-Christians can see Jesus in us.

Recently, I also heard on the radio that we should live in a manner that causes others to look at themselves and wonder what they’re missing in their lives. Horizontal Jesus makes that same point. We need to be the hands and feet for Jesus while we are here on earth.

Horizontal Jesus was provided to me complimentary through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. There is a study guide version that goes along with the book. Published by Harvest House Publishers and available at your local or electronic bookstore, Horizontal Jesus is an excellently written book that places the reader on the edge of going out and doing something.

And what a great place to be!

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Have you ever felt like you should Keep It Shut?

Several months ago, I learned that there was a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study study that was going to use the book Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman. Just the title alone had me attracted to this book. After all, I really do not know when to keep my own mouth shut.

Keep It Shut book coverIt just so happens that at the same time this book was released back in January 2015, I was placed in a situation at work where I needed to be extra careful with my words. There was an individual being placed into my office (literally the cubicle next to me) that could likely frustrate me the moment I stepped into the office. Here was my prime opportunity to practice keeping it shut!

However, I did not get very far with the study itself. As I often do, I fell quickly behind and gave up trying to keep up with the study and read this book at my own pace. Instead of keeping it shut at work, I tended to simply avoid any situation that I thought I might have to be extra careful. This can be super challenging considering the person in the cubicle next to me was always right there next to me.

“Spending time in God’s Word shapes our hearts – it keeps us on the path of knowledge, which includes knowing the truth behind our motives.” – Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman

It took me several months to finish this book. Keep It Shut is full of great tips on when to keep our mouths shut and when not to. It’s all about being aware of those around us and the emotions and feelings we may hurt. It’s also about saying things when we should, but with grace and forgiveness.

After reading Keep It Shut, I’ve learned that scripture is very detailed about how we use our words. Isn’t it amazing that a book written centuries ago can still apply to life today?

“Spending time both reading and memorizing verses from Proverbs is a practical step anyone can take to tame the tongue.” –Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman

Keep It Shut is a perfect book for anyone who communicates with other people. Wait a minute, that means you, too! I highly recommend reading this book for parents, siblings, managers, employees, anyone that has to deal with anyone. It is so easy to really say what we’re thinking and feeling without any care for how it will affect those around us. But the moment we step out of our own shoes and into someone else’s, we can better shape the words that we say.