Sunday, December 11, 2011

His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parson

His Steadfast Love
by Golden Keyes Parsons

This was an interesting historical fiction book placed in the time of the Civil War. I think it brought out an important part of the war that few people realize. What I am referring to is the idea that not all slave owners beat their slaves, however it was still wrong to own another person. This was a concept that many Christian slave owners had a hard time coming to grips with. This struggle is brought out in the story.

Amanda's father is a preacher and devoutly religious. He owns slaves and refers to some of them as family. But through the book the reader is shown the discrepancies of what the Bible teaches us about treating each other and being a slave owner. Amanda begins to question her lifestyle especially in connection to slaves when she begins a friendship with a soldier on the Union side.

This book blends interesting facts about our country at war, the emotional turmoil of having friends and family on opposite sides of the war and the power of God's forgiveness.

The only thing I didn't like was that they made the women a little too helpless in various situation. But I have to remind myself that back in the 1860s perhaps women appeared helpless because they did not have the freedoms and independence that women enjoy today.

I appreciated that the love story showed a friendship that deepened into commitment. It was refreshing to have the couple show respect for each other and honor each other as their love grew. I also thought it was important that while they loved each other they did not rebel against their parents who were opposed to the relationship. Instead they endeavored through love and prayer to “win” their parents over to understand why they felt God had brought them together. They were patient as they waited for God to show them if they could be together forever.

I received this book free from the publishers through I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

Wrapped in Rain
by Charles Martin

This is a fanastic book about redemption and the power of unconditional love. It shows that one person can truly make a difference and that sometimes the prayers and love of that person outlast the person's life.

The story begins with a frightened child and chronicles the terror and abuse he lived through from his drunken, unloving father. But God sent a Nanny to the family who loved him and taught him that His Heavenly Father was tender and compassionate.

The child grows to manhood not really fully understanding or embracing God as His friend or savior. But the young man does believe in the love of “Mama Ella”, who was hired by his father to be maid and child care provider for him.

The truly amazing thing about this story is that even though it is a novel the spiritual truths are so profound and real! God IS like this. He CAN do miracles beyond our imagination. And it inspired me because I work with children every day and I pray to be a light for children as “Mama Ella” was.

As the story continues there are many twists and turns and the words and love of “Mama Ella” save many lives from destruction and despair. It reminds us that our prayers for someone else may seem to be fruitless but we don't know the ways that God is reaching out to that person to draw them to Himself.
I received this book free from the publisher through I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Healing Hearts by Beth Wiseman

This book is composed of three novellas written by Beth Wiseman. Each story focuses on the need for the main character to receive or impart forgiveness. Ms Wiseman uses the Amish lifestyle as a backdrop for each story. While the particular beliefs of the Amish may differ from the reader's beliefs there is a lot of spiritual truths and practical applications in relationships that anyone can gain a blessing from.

The author brings out the importance of forgiveness for the receiver and the giver. It is interwoven in an interesting and sometimes surprising way. It is written with a lot of emotion and as the reader you begin to feel what the characters are feeling and you ache for their loss, confusion, anger, bitterness and longing to reconcile.

The first story deals with a lost love. The second story deals with a daughter longing to be accepted for herself. The third story deals with a husband and wife who have grown apart and now face an empty nest. Each story brings out the tug-of-war of forgiving or holding on to a grudge. In each case the character has a valid right to not extend forgiveness. But the author, through the story, shows that forgiveness is always beneficial to all involved and can often bring the healing and love the misused person has longed for.

I would recommend this book because it is easy to read, kept my interest and also gives spiritual insights on forgiveness, faith in God and healthy family relationships.

I received this book free from the publisher through I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, July 1, 2011

God's Love Letters to You by Dr. Larry Crabb

This book is a 40-day devotional. Each day has a worship message followed by a thought provoking question and prayer. The only problem I had with this book was that Dr. Crabb repeated himself on the same topic over and over through the book. To me it was redundant but perhaps he really wanted to stress his opinion on suffering. While I do not agree with his interpretation of God/suffering humans there were some things he explained to perfection. He uses his writing in a way that helps you imagine God speaking to you personally. This really touched my heart. There were some messages that were so profound I had to read them over and over to let them fully sink in to my heart and mind.

I really enjoyed the way the author emphasized that God has a plan for each person and that God will go to any length to reach us. I especially gained a blessing from his thoughts on Joseph, the tabernacle in the desert, references to Aslan, God's love overcoming all obstacles and God's vision for us being grander than our vision for ourselves. I really connected with his idea of fellow Christians being “travelers” together in a dark world and that these “travelers” could share their questions and doubts to come to better understanding of their safety in God's care and a relationship with Him. Dr. Crabb has a lot of scriptural references throughout the book that make it a powerful source of spiritual growth.

I received this book free from the publisher through I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Max on Life by Max Lucado

This question and answer book is written in the typical Lucado style. Easy to read, down to earth and yet profound. Lucado takes questions that people have asked him and answers them using scripture and sound theologial reasoning. The questions are asked by children, teens and adults. Some have a funny twist and others will make you cry. But each question is taken seriously by the author and he answers straightforwardly while compassionately giving generous portions of God's love and mercy mixed in. Lucado uses personal stories and Biblical applications to make his answers clear.

This book could be used as a devotional for a teen group or in a Bible discussion group. This book would appeal to people over a range of ages. It is not just written for one group. There are 172 questions.In the back of the book are topics with numerous Bible verses in connection with that particular topic. This way the reader can do more Biblical research are an area of concern.

I found this book comforting, informative, insightful and enriching. It made me stop and think many times over some of the questions posed. I have new thoughts now to some questions I felt I knew the answers too. Once again I am amazed at Max Lucado's gift to open up my mind and heart to God's grace.

I received this book free from the publisher through I was not required to write a positive review.

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

This book might be hard for the traditionally minded Christian to handle. It is a work of fiction yet written with spiritually insights. However the insights are gained by a man who does time travel. I didn't realize it till I started to read this book that it was a sequel to another book about the same character and previous time traveling experiences. The author makes enough references to the first book in the sequel that the reader is not confused by conversations and happenings in this book that refer to the other story.

If you can put the time traveling issue aside or if perhaps that idea does not bother you this is an interesting concept. The main character David has previously based his success in life on “7 Decisions” that were given to him when he was allowed to visit 7 different historical figures through time travel. At the time in “The Final Summit”, many years have passed and now David is 74 years old and recently widowed. He is discouraged about life in general when the archangel Gabriel visits him.

David is transported to a summit where other time travelers convene to determine the fate of the earth. They are given a challenge to determine what needs to be done to help mankind be restored. During the summit different historical figures come forth and offer their advice. It is a fantastical adventure. The author weaves history lessons with spiritual lessons through the characters talking about what made them “famous” and what they learned. They give advice to David about what they think can help his generation.

I received this book free from the publisher through I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Put Your Dream To The Test By John C. Maxwell

Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. It was the perfect blend of serious thought and interesting antidotes mixed in to make it an easy read. The author used psychology and Biblical references throughout the book. I also appreciated how Maxwell used examples of spiritual leaders and heroes in our society to prove his point. This made the book more personal.

The book starts with asking the reader if they have a dream. Then each chapter asks a challenge question in regard to that dream. The chapter then gives practical tips on how to determine if the answer to the question is honest. Each chapter moves the reader deeper into understanding his own dream and how to make it a reality.

While Maxwell hits hard to challenge the dreamer to be practical he also gives a lot of room for hope and growth during the process. Maxwell has a good balance between teaching reality and accepting our own strengths/talents and yet guiding the dreamer to go beyond their comfort zone to find an enriched life.

The difference with this book and other "self-help" books I have read is that Maxwell's book offered step by step guidance that made sense. His points were ones that anyone could follow no matter what their dream was.

I received this book for free from the publishers through and I was not required to write a positive review.