Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Review: "The Women Who Met Jesus"

The Women Who Met Jesus: New Testament Stories of Lives Transformed by the Savior is a repackaged version of a Bible study originally published in 2007 as When a Woman Meets Jesus and again in 2009 as The Man Who Loved Women. I like the new title best, and since I'd never read either of the other versions, I enjoyed discovering this study this year.

This Bible study contains twenty lessons. The first is an introduction, why the author wrote the book and what she hopes her readers will discover while reading it, and the last is a life-application conclusion. The eighteen in the middle are studies of women who met Jesus in biblical times. Each study starts with a personal story from the author's life or another contemporary story to lead into the lesson the author wants readers to glean. Following that, the author introduces us to a woman from New Testament times. She then helps readers apply the lesson from both stories to their own lives. She provides Bible references for further study and reflection, questions for exploration of the idea, quotes and questions for inspiration, material that focuses on the specific word focused on throughout the lesson, and a Bible verse affirmation.

Each lesson works well for personal study and reflection or for small group use. In a small group setting, woman could read the stories before the group meets, then discuss the rest of the material during the meeting.

I thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy of this study by Dorothy Valcarcel. I appreciate her insights and am thankful she chose to share her story along with the study. I recommend this book.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Book Review: "Delivered"

Beth Moore's new book, Delivered: Experiencing God's Power in Your Pain, is an adaptation of Get Out of The Pit, published in 2007. Get Out of That Pit was one of the first books I read by Beth Moore, and I appreciated both her testimony and her teaching. Comparing the two books, the most noticeable differences are that Keith Moore's Foreword, the Scripture Prayers, and the Discovery Guide were left out of the new book.

I love the journey Moore takes her readers on through this book, either edition. She starts by defining life in the pit. Next she discusses three ways people manage to end up living in pits. She talks about things her readers can do to get out of their pits along with the importance of waiting on God, cooperating with Him, and praising His name. Finally she encourages her readers with a reminder of the promise of Heaven, a place where there will be no more pits. We'll be delivered once and for all.

If you haven't read Get Out of That Pit or if you've read it and need a reminder, I recommend Delivered to you. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my impressions with you.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Review: "The Memory House"

Rachel Hauck's newest novel, The Memory House, is three stories in one. First, it's the story of a young police woman making decisions about her life and career having discovered she's pregnant after a one night stand. It's also the story of a struggling sports agent, betrayed by his mentor, trying to relaunch his one-promising career. Finally, it's the story of a widow learning to live again, discovering and deciding that her life didn't end when her husband's did.

That final story takes readers back in time to the 50's. Hauck skillfully moves back and forth between times to reveal how one woman's life choices can impact many others. Through all three stories, she shows how God can work through all of it to guide and help everyone regardless of personal choices, mistreatment by others, or calamity.

I enjoyed reading this story and am happy to recommend it to you! I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary copy, so I could share my opinion with you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Book Review: "Vertical Marriage"

Vertical Marriage isn't just another book about building a better marriage. It's the story of Dave and Ann Wilson's marriage. It's their testimony about God's work within each of them, drawing them closer to each other as a result of each of them drawing closer to Him.

The one secret  that will change your marriage isn't really a secret, but it is often overlooked as Dave and Ann Wilson teach. This book, their first, gives readers practical information on healing and/or strengthening their marriages by learning to submit first to Christ.

Vertical Marriage is full of humor and honesty. The Wilson's share the stories of their marriage journey in order to help other couples build theirs. Seventeen chapters divided into four sections: Going Vertical, Conflict and Communication, Intimacy, and Living Vertical lead readers to the One and Only True Foundation they need.

If you are married or are thinking about getting married, I recommend this book to you. I thank Zondervan for sending a complimentary copy to me.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Book Review: "Finish First"

Scott Hamilton's newest book, Finish First, was great! He has filled every page with encouragement for whatever goals his readers have set. He has also used sound logic to help his readers chase every purpose-defeating lie right out of their heads, so that they can get on with the business to which they have been called or about which they dream. Hamilton's words shatter negativity and boost confidence.

I especially loved the way he defined finishing first: "To finish first is to understand what you have to offer the world and then to be the best you can be at offering exactly that. It means understanding your life purpose and putting your whole heart into being the best at what you do. It means to break through your perceived limitations, overcome the barriers that stand in your way, and make the biggest impact in the world you are capable of making" (p. 6). To me that's a goal worth striving for, and, using examples from his own life and from other people he knows, Hamiliton tells his readers how to do so.

I also appreciated his drive to keep moving forward after every victory. On page 142, he says, "Who I am today is not who I want to be. It's the foundation of who I am becoming." We don't just reach our goals and stop. We use each victory as a foundation for the next thing.

These are just a few examples of the wisdom readers will find in Finish First. I enjoyed reading it and plan to read it again. This book is one I highly recommend.

I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my thoughts about this book with you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Book Review: "Walking with Henry"

It's not really about the donkey. But Rachel Anne Ridge's second book, Walking with Henry, is her brilliant way of sharing the newest developments in her spiritual life: disciplines she has developed, lessons she has learned, trials she has endured. And as she tells the stories and shows how she came to understand the things she did, her readers get to come alongside and learn, too.

In Rachel's first book, she introduced us to Flash, her adopted donkey, and told how he came to live with her family - and the spiritual lessons she learned while getting to know him. In this second book, she tells how Henry came to join the family, too. She thought it was because Flash needed a companion, but God used Henry, the backward walking donkey, to teach her how to move forward . . . because she had an empty nest . . . because changes in the economy were making change necessary . . . after a traumatic event. The book tells what happened, how Henry helped, and what Rachel did as a result.

Rachel doesn't come right out and say, "This is what you should learn from my experiece and do as a result." She simply tells the story and what it meant to her. Yet readers will find plenty to ponder for themselves and ways to apply her insights to their own life stories as well. I enjoyed reading my complimentary eCopy of Walking with Henry courtesy of Rachel's launch team and am excited to recommend it to you! Meet Henry. Meet Flash, if you haven't already done so. Let Rachel Anne Ridge use their stories, and hers, to encourage you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Book Review: "Secrets at Cedar Cabin"

Colleen Coble's newest book, Secrets at Cedar Cabin, is the third book in her Lavender Tides series. Each of these books has had its own deeply suspensful mystery, yet the continuing story revolves around one family and its unlikely reunion. I loved how Coble worked it out!

In this book, we meet Bailey Fleming, a young woman who must run for her life when her mother is executed and an attempt is made on her own life. Having recently been given a cabin in Lavender Tides, she takes refuge there. What she doesn't know is that the cabin is being watched by the FBI because of its use by a human trafficking ring. FBI agent Lance Phoenix doesn't know whether to protect her or arrest her.

I had planned to read this book slowly over a few days, but once I started reading, I just kept going. I appreciated the way Coble brought all of the characters from her previous Lavender Tides stories into this book, putting everyone in great danger while letting their stories continue. I'm also hoping she'll give readers just a little more information about one of the characters in a future book. But I can't say more about that without spoiling this most recent release for you.

If you like Christian suspense with a hint of romance and an emphasis on family and community, I recommend this series to you. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my opinion with you.