Cure for the Common Life

Cure for the Common Life

By Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson

Loved it.
Another quick reading book with major impact from author Max Lucado.  Easy to comprehend style.  Witty and entertaining while conveying basic Biblical truths with common sense.

In Cure For The Common Life Lucado discusses how each person can find the unique talents God placed within them when He created them, and then use these unique talents throughout life to ultimately bring glory to God alone.  Lucado calls this “finding your sweet spot.”  Using the letters of the word story, Lucado presents five questions to answer in helping a person find their sweet spot.

Calling this the “S.T.OR.Y.” method, the questions include:
1. What are your strengths? (S)
2.What is your topic? (T)
3. What are your optimal conditions? (O)
4. What about relationships? (R)
5. Yes! (or when do you feel God’s pleasure?) (Y)

Lucado eloquently develops each question so the reader has examples and ample understanding in how to uses the “S.T.OR.Y.” method to help in finding their God-given talents and use them as God intended. Lucado also includes a “Sweet Spot Discovery Guide” at the end of the book that continues to aid the process of finding your sweet spot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

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Billy Graham In Quotes

Billy Graham in Quotes

By Franklin Graham
Published by Thomas Nelson

For many years I have held a great respect for Billy Graham.  Everything I have ever heard or read about him has always portrayed him as a genuine, authentic man.  His preaching of the Bible and unwavering stand for the truth has always impressed me.

Billy Graham In Quotes is exactly what the title says.  It is a collection of quotes from throughout the life of Billy Graham.  The book is divided into chapters, each containing quotes focusing on a specific topic.  The chapters are arranged in alphabetical order according to topic.  Topics include abortion, addiction, angels, character, commitment, deception, end times, family, forgiveness, greed, grief, happiness, heaven, joy, knowledge, love, marriage, money, prayer, repentance, salvation, temptation, time, witnessing, world evangelism, worry, and young people. Billy Graham In Quotes will make a great addition to any collection, especially for reference or simply for encouragement.

Recommend? Absolutely! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

God’s Love Letters To You

God’s Love Letters To You
A 40-Day Devotional Experience

By Larry Crabb
Published by Thomas Nelson

A 40-day devotional centering around forty of the sixty-six books of the Bible.

God’s Love Letters To You consists of forty brief chapters, each focusing on an idea from one book of the Bible. Though not every book in the Bible is referenced, the idea is implied that the author is attempting to span the entire Bible starting at Genesis and ending with Revelation. Author Larry Crabb shares his insights on Biblical themes such as trusting God, persevering, God’s faithfulness, authentic love, obedience and brokenness. Each daily devotion also includes a few points to reflect upon as well as a written prayer relating to that day’s theme.

In my opinion, I have certainly read better devotionals. The ideas related in each chapter are similar enough to make some chapters fairly redundant.  The themes Crabb focuses on are certainly Biblical, but in a writing that almost spans the entire Bible, there are so many more points not brought into focus.  I actually found the writing in the majority of the chapters to be somewhat discouraging.  With a common, though superficial, criticism of Christianity being that the Bible can be depressing, Crabb’s devotionals could be more beneficial by bringing out a variety of themes in the Bible, especially the joyful life of freedom we as Christians can live in Christ.

Recommend? Not so much. Better daily devotionals are out there.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

A Place Called Blessing

A Place Called Blessing
Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins

By John Trent with Annette Smith
Published by Thomas Nelson

In 1986 authors Gary Smalley and John Trent first published their best-selling book entitled The Blessing.  More than two decades later, Dr. John Trent has published a companion book to The Blessing in A Place Called Blessing.

Great as either a stand alone read or in conjunction with studying The Blessing, A Place Called Blessing succinctly illustrates in story format how to live out the concepts presented in The Blessing.

Though the story related in A Place Called Blessing is fictional, Trent explains that he developed the story through a compilation of many “experiences I have personally struggled with or benefited from.” The storyline is centered around the life a young boy named Josh. Josh and his two older brothers lose both their patents in an auto accident at a very young age. As they are shuffled through multiple foster homes, Josh learns early on in life to not trust anyone. As the indirect result of a tragic accident when Josh is six, he is separated from his brothers and spends the rest of his “minor” years living in a children’s home. A Place Called Blessing is Josh’s story of redemption, blessing and healing.

A study guide with contemplative questions for each chapter is included toward the end of the book.

Recommend? Absolutely!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

The Little Red Book of Wisdom

The Little Red Book of Wisdom

By Mark DeMoss
Published by Thomas Nelson

Extremely enjoyable read!

From the title, I expected this to be another devotional book full of short bits of imparted wisdom from the author.  It is refreshingly so much more!

Author Mark DeMoss is founder and president of the DeMoss Group, a public relations firm serving Christian organizations.  In The Little Red book Of Wisdom, DeMoss basically relates his life story and lessons learned in order to to help others in their life journey.  His purpose in writing this book can be summed up in a statement he makes in the Preface: “If only one copy existed, it would be for my three children: Georgia, Mookie (his nickname since he was an infant), and Madison. If these words help them on their paths through life, it will be worth every hour of writing.”  Thankfully he published this writing so others, myself included, can benefit from his lessons learned.

DeMoss is boldly Christian. Throughout the book he points to God’s working in his life as the reason for his success. He lists his study of the Bible, specifically reading one chapter from the book of Proverbs daily for about half of his life, as one of the reasons he is “qualified” to write a book on wisdom.  The final chapter of the book is fully devoted to presenting what he calls “the wisest decision anyone can make” – securing one’s eternal destiny with a personal relationship God through with Jesus Christ.  He explains very simply how and why to trust Jesus for salvation, including an example prayer to aid in making that choice. He then continues to invite the reader to write to him, including his address, to relate that decision.

Recommend? Absolutely!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

It’s Not About Me

It’s Not About Me
Rescue From the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy

By Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson

Loved it.
Quick reading book.  Easy to comprehend style.  Witty and entertaining while conveying basic Biblical truths with common sense.

In It’s Not About Me Lucado discusses how our current culture is saturated with, and caters to, a self-centered, “it’s all about me” mentality. Shifting this mentality to a God-centered one is necessary in approaching life with a Biblical worldview. Lucado uses Biblical examples to illustrate how God intended us to function God-centered.  He explains how this idea is not just a self-centered attitude on God’s part, but that pointing to God’s glory is ultimately for our good.

Lucado explains it best as he writes:

“Think of it this way. You’re floundering neck-deep in a dark, cold sea. Ship sinking. Life jacket deflating. Strength waning. Through the inky night comes the voice of a lifeboat pilot. But you cannot see him. What do you want the driver of the lifeboat to do?
Be quiet? Say nothing? Stealth his way through the drowning passengers? By no means! You need volume! Amp it up, buddy! In biblical jargon, you want him to show his glory. You need to hear him say, “I am here. I am strong. I have room for you. I can save you!” Drowning passengers want the pilot to reveal his preeminence.
Don’t we want God to do the same? Look around. People thrash about in seas of guilt, anger, despair. Life isn’t working. We are going down fast. But God can rescue us. And only one message matters. His! We need to see God’s glory.
Make no mistake. God has no ego problem. He does not reveal his glory for his good. We need to witness it for ours. We need a strong hand to pull us into a safe boat.”

I originally read It’s Not About Me a few years ago.  As one of the first books I read by Max Lucado, it made a strong impression, and is still an awesome read today.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

The Book That Made Your World

The Book That Made Your World
How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

By Vishal Mangalwadi
Pub by Thomas Nelson

Exhaustive evaluation of the Bible’s contribution to societies political and cultural development throughout history. Mangalwadi’s cultural Indian background sheds a unique light on this topic.  Though The Book That Made Your World is a long read, it is comprehensive in nature, dealing with the Bible’s influence in specific cultural areas such as technology, languages, literature, education, science,morality, family, liberty and missions.

Mangalwadi begins with an analysis of the reasons behind the suicidal death of legendary rock star Kurt Cobain. He sites Cobain’s lyrics, pointing to a nihilism which in turn leads to escapism, hence suicide, as indicative of our culture’s decline into fatalism.  He continues through the book illustrating similar disastrous results of countries devoid of hope and compassion, who have either turned away from Biblical truths or never originally upheld these truths. Presenting the basic premises of many world religions, Mangalwadi systematically reveals the flaws in beliefs aside from Christianity, which inevitably result in eventual decline and unsustainable political and cultural systems.

The Book That Made Your World is written in waves of intellectual and historical research combined with personal stories scattered throughout the book.  I found the “research” sections a little slow reading, actually skimming many details.  However, enough personal and intriguing stories kept my interest.  The fact that Mangalwadi reveals himself as an unapologetic follower of Christ, along with his Biblical worldview, is enough for me to recommend this as a must-read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

To view a preview of this book click here.

Indelible

Indelible
By Kristen Heitzmann
Published by WaterBrook Press

Dig-In or Re-Shelve?  Dig-In!
I actually had a difficult time putting this one down once I got started. In addition to the suspense and and plot twists, which draw thrill-seeking readers, Indelible provides clean yet intriguing romantic interests between select characters.  A Biblical spiritual element is also addressed through the direction of the characters’ decisions as well as their responses as crises arise.  Though a stand alone book in itself, Indelible is the second-in-series of books set in the mountain community of Redford, Colorado, written by established author Kristen Heitzmann. Though I have yet to read Indivisible, the first in this series, I enjoyed reading Indelible with no background information required.

The Plot:
Natalie Reeves, a sculptor with a unique and mysterious ability, opens a high-end art gallery in the small, close-knit community of Redford, Colorado.  Her brother and his family help set up the gallery with hopes for Natalie to begin a new chapter in her life.  One capable of dealing with her “unique gift” on her own. But when an ordinary hike turns into a search and rescue effort for her four-year old nephew, Natalie’s life, as well as the residents of the once peaceful town of Redford, is changed forever.

Reservations:
I found the writing style a bit difficult to follow at many points in the book. Having to re-read paragraphs to understand the correlation of events or characters unfortunately slowed the reading pace somewhat. The ending was also a bit predictable. After following unexpected twists throughout the story, I expected a final surprise to wrap up the ending in the same style as the bulk of the book. My expectations were unrealized.

Final Note:
Overall, Indelible it is a great, suspenseful read that just might keep a reader such as myself, burning the midnight oil in anticipation of the next chapter.

Recommend? Yes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, through the Blogging For Books book review program, for review. 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.”

The Quotable Rogue

The Quotable Rogue
The Ideals of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words

By Matt Lewis
Published by Thomas Nelson

In 2008, then Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin sprang into the American political limelight with her nomination as Vice Presidential running mate to Presidential candidate John McCain.  Palin captured the hearts of Americans with her straight-forward, no-nonsense style. Labeled as “The Rogue” after a comment she made while on the campaign trail in Michigan, Palin boldly lives up to the name.

The Quotable Rogue is hence a collection of Sarah Palin quotes arranged in groups around common themes such as abortion, living in Alaska, being Sarah, crime, family, Barack Obama, John McCain, education,  gun control and Tina Fey.  Included is also a group of quotes by others about Mrs. Palin.  Some in this latter category, though comparably few, are not necessarily flattering.

Each quote is source-referenced including the date as quoted. It was interesting to read and compare quotes relevant to the dates listed as spoken, especially in hindsight.  Throughout the quotes referenced, Palin shows her unwavering commitment to solid conservative family values and God centered faith.  I enjoyed this fairly quick read and learned a great deal about Sarah Palin the person, as well as Sarah Palin the politician.

Recommend?  Yes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

See a preview of this book here.

Be The People

Be the People
A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise

By Carol Swain
Published by Thomas Nelson

A well written book by established author and professor of politics and public policy, Carol Swain.  In the section entitled About The Author, Swain is described as “an award-winning author and widely recognized expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership, and evangelical politics.”

In Be The People, Swain discusses current politically charged topics such as religious freedoms and our country’s founding principles, feminism, abortion, defining family and marriage, immigration, and race issues.  Swain, an obviously conservative Christian herself, unapologetically tackles these topics from a boldly Biblical viewpoint.  Though solutions are proposed relating to the current problems being discussed, a large portion of the book is composed of the bemoaning of the wrongs within our country’s political system. For this reader, the over-lamenting became somewhat repelling.

As Swain relates a few personal stories, she builds her own credibility while giving the reader a glimpse into into her world. Though the writing style of Be The People is a bit too stiff and academic for my tastes, I managed to stick with it by skimming through the statistics to get a full picture while staying with the read.

Recommend? Yes. Be The People is a good read and particularly useful as reference material.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”

See a preview of this book here.