Monday, May 14, 2018

The Daniel Key by Anne Graham Lotz

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The Daniel Key
by Anne Graham Lotz


ISBN-13: 9780310091936
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: March 27, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
What are the secrets of a successful, steadfast, and godly faith? Daniel's faith did not waver facing those who were against him, serving new kings in power, or even confronting hungry lions. How can you have that kind of faith? Daniel made 20 intentional, key choices in his life. Those choices took him down a path to a close relationship with God and a model for godly living to all around him. Daniel’s choices can be your choices—choices such as:

The choice to trust, to obey, to pray, to worship, to repent, to live humbly, to have courage...


My Review:
The Daniel Key looks at 20 habits or actions that Daniel did that led to him being a successful, well-known man of God. The book is a hardbound, gift-type book and has a devotional format. Each chapter started with a verse (usually from Daniel) which had the characteristic focused on in that chapter. Then the author told a story--from Daniel's life or from her own or another's life--that demonstrated that characteristic. She clearly summed up the spiritual point, then provided a few questions to think about relating to that topic and a prayer asking for help in that area. She made good points. Overall, I'd recommend this book, especially for new Christians or young Christians (like teens).

The 20 keys were: faith (in God), worship, loyalty (to God), prayer partners, praying for others, praying God's word, attitude (and gratitude), listening (to God), daily prayer time, perseverance, desperate prayers, values (worth dying for), focus (on God), courage, confession (of sins to God), fasting (from things we hold tight to), humility, a personal relationship with God, and commitment (to God).


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation by Elyse Fitzpatrick

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Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation
by Elyse Fitzpatrick


ISBN-13: 9780764218019
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: April 3, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Far too often, reading the Bible seems like just another obligation to check off your to-do list. But the Bible is so much more than a boring book of rules and regulations and stories of plagues and punishments.

The entire Bible is a love story, and every chapter is a scene in the epic romance between God and humanity. In this sweeping overview of the Bible, Elyse Fitzpatrick reveals how each section--the Law, history, poetry, and epistles--points to God's eternal love for you and the good news of redemption through Christ. You'll find yourself drawn to the Bible like never before as you begin to see Jesus on every page.


My Review:
In the first third of this book, the author talked about who was on the road to Emmaus with Jesus and what she was going to talk about in the rest of the book. I got impatient waiting for the actual study to begin, then I was disappointed with how brief the study was. Anyway, the author feels that the Jews of Jesus' time did not know how to properly interpret the Old Testament and that, after his resurrection, Jesus had to teach his disciples to see him in the Old Testament. So she is trying to teach us what she felt Jesus taught them.

She went through some stories and verses in Genesis, Ruth, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Daniel, and some other places to show us how to look for Jesus. We are to look for appearances of Jesus (like as the Angel of the Lord), prophecy about Jesus, types of Jesus (where a person's life had some similarities to Jesus and what he went through), and echoes of the gospel. She then taught that the law is any verse where we are commanded to do something while the gospel is any verse where God does the work. She feels that people only look for the places where we are supposed to do something and miss that this is in response to something God has done.

I do believe that we encounter and learn about God in the Bible, not just learn about events that happened or how we should live. I would agree that you can find Jesus all throughout the Old Testament. But the author repeatedly stated that ALL of the stories (while true events) are actually about Jesus (not the Trinity, but Jesus). That meant that some of her examples were a bit of a stretch. For example, she feels that Proverbs 31 is actually meant as a description of Jesus. Some things she said left me saying, "Uh, where did she get that?" However, if you're surprised to learn that Eve received a prophecy about Jesus or that God personally led the Israelites in the Exodus, then this book might provide new insights for you.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

God in the Dark by Sarah Van Diest

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God in the Dark
by Sarah Van Diest


ISBN-13: 9781631466069
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: NavPress
Released: April 3, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Life’s painful trials can bring shame about our inadequate and broken faith. There is relief in hearing the expressions of desperation in the psalmist’s voice. He didn’t experience this life perfected, and we don’t either. But the psalmist was loved. So are we. To walk through darkened days is part of the human experience. Our eyes are often clouded to those blessings by the thing oppressing us. When we remember and recognize our Father’s faithfulness, when we see reality with the eyes of understanding, the darkness ebbs and the light of hope grows.

These letters were originally written as encouragement to a friend when the darkness began to overtake his path. Each day for 22 days, a letter arrived with one of the eight-verse sections from Psalm 119 along with a small thought to bring light and hope and to be a reminder that we do not fight our battles alone. When these devotions were augmented by nine on the subject of experiencing God in the dark, a 31-day devotional was created.


My Review:
God in the Dark is a a 31-day devotional based primarily on the 22 sections of Psalm 119. Each day's entry contained the verses to read then 2-4 pages of encouragement from the author, loosely based on the verses. The overall theme of the devotional was the dark times in our life when we struggle with pain or doubt and ways to let the light of God back in. In the Psalms, we can see this turning of our focus from our problems to our God and His faithfulness. The devotions were quick to read and were overall encouraging toward those who are struggling.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford, Jason Sobel

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The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi
by Kathie Lee Gifford,
with Jason Sobel


ISBN-13: 9780785215967
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: March 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through BookLook.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Hear directly from Kathie Lee Gifford about her life-changing and ever-deepening connection with Jesus, the Lover of her soul. Explore dozens of ancient landmarks and historical sites from Israel, the promised land of God’s covenant. Dig into the original languages and deeper meanings of the Holy Scriptures. You’ll also find additional content from Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel providing insight into the Hebrew language, culture, and heritage.


My Review:
The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi is a travelogue of sorts about the places Kathie Lee Gifford saw and the insights she learned while on various tours of Israel. These insights come from Ray Vander Laan's tours as well as the Rock and Road tours lead by a student of Ray's, Rod Van Solkema. Since you can get Ray Vander Laan's teachings through his video series and see the actual sites (rather than simply read brief descriptions of them), I'd recommend watching those videos over reading this book.

There were also sections by Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel, but they often focused on speculative ideas, like numerology. For example, "According to some Jewish mystics, the letter hei is connected to the divine breath of God that releases His creative power and potential... Now it should make more sense why David picked up five stones. David needed the supernatural power that comes with a divine breath in order to punish Goliath, the wicked blasphemer, to restore honor to the divine name, and to bring shalom to the chaos. This is what letter hei--the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the number five--represent in Hebrew thought." What bothered me was that he presented his speculative ideas like they were solidly true rather than a cool idea, but we can't be sure was the actual motive, really happened, or was an intended connection. Some of his ideas were less speculative and others are commonly accepted connections, but they were all presented the same.

Anyway, each chapter focused on a specific site and on an event that happened there. The author either summarized the event or quoted the verses from the Bible. She provided some historical or basic Bible background information to the event, then provided a brief spiritual lesson. While much of this book had good information, there are many excellent books that provide biblical background insights which contain less speculation.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Breaking the Fear Cycle by Maria Furlough

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Breaking the Fear Cycle
by Maria Furlough


ISBN-13: 9780800729196
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: March 8, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
It seems there is more to fear now than ever, but fear and anxiety are nothing new to human beings--or to God. The Bible calls us to not be afraid on many occasions, and of course we all want to live without fear. But just how is that accomplished when every news item seems designed to get us wringing our hands?

Using her own story as a catalyst, Maria Furlough shows readers how to overcome fear for good. She calls readers to make a list of their fears, to choose to bring those fears to God rather than acting on them, and to trust God with the future. She shows how when we give God full control over our lives, choosing his sovereignty over our own ability, we can break the cycle of fear, grow through suffering, and trust God to fulfill his promises of protection and peace.

Anyone who is filled with anxiety over their personal circumstances, the state of the world today, or even their fear-clogged social media feeds will welcome this hands-on journey from fear to freedom.


My Review:
Breaking the Fear Cycle looks at the core lies that we believe that create fear and how to use the truth to break the cycle of fear. The author told parts of her story to illustrate through her experiences the points that she's making. She learned months before her due date that her baby would die at birth. She also had a chapter of testimonies from people about how they broke the cycle of fear (following advice found in this book).

She started by having you name your fears and realize that you have a choice in how you deal with them. She mainly talked about fear of what might happen, and one of her steps is to recognize what really is true about that moment versus the scenarios that you have come up with about what could happen or could have happened. She looked at what the Bible says about suffering and has you focus on God, His promises, and prayer. I have read several books about dealing with fear, and this is the only one I would highly recommend to anyone. It leaves you feeling free.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Sheep Of His Hand by Suzanne Davenport Tietjen

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The Sheep Of His Hand
by Suzanne Davenport Tietjen


ISBN-13: 9781854248947
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books
Released: March 20, 2009

Source: Bought used.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Sheep are individuals who differ from each other and benefit from individualized care. Shepherds have always dealt with primal concerns - birth, death, love, rejection. This title takes you through the Psalms in the company of a real shepherd and flock of sheep.


My Review:
The Sheep Of His Hand is a Christian devotional with 33 entries that talk about the author's experiences as a shepherd. The first three or four pages of each chapter were a story about her sheep or a trait of sheep that illustrates a Biblical principle. Then she quoted several verses relating to the topic and suggested a prayer and a follow-up action point. The information about sheep provided insights that helped me to better understand the Bible and why we are compared to sheep. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Gospel According to God by John MacArthur

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The Gospel According to God
by John MacArthur


ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4957-1
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Crossway
Released: Feb. 28, 2018

Source: Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Written to help readers better understand Jesus's life, death, and ultimate mission, this new book by well-known preacher John MacArthur looks at an important--yet often misunderstood--section of the Bible: Isaiah 53. Often hailed as one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, this passage foretells the crucifixion of Jesus, a critical event in God's ultimate plan for salvation. Explaining the prophetic words of Isaiah 53, MacArthur highlights important connections to the history of Israel and to the New Testament--ultimately showing us how these prophetic words to ancient Israel illuminate essential truths for our lives today.


My Review:
The Gospel According to God is a Bible study on Isaiah 53. The author goes through the chapter plus other verses in Isaiah that refer to the Messiah. He also referred to other messianic prophecies in the Bible. He talked about what the Jews at Jesus time thought about Isaiah 53 and also about how modern Jews treat this passage. He talked about how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 53. The author provided cultural and historical facts (like details about crucifixion) and did word studies on Hebrew words that don't translate easily into English. The book ended with some information on what we know about Isaiah and the kings that he lived under. I found the book interesting, uplifting, and easy to follow. I'd highly recommend it.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.