Friday, October 21, 2016

Experiencing God Through His Names

Experiencing God Through His Names by Sheryl Giesbrecht is a new, dynamic 31-day devotional that focuses on the various names that God is referred to throughout the Scriptures. The book description says:

"What's in a name? Names are more than groups of letters that represent a person or identify objects. Names are powerful. A person's character and destiny can be influenced by his or her name. God's attributes and personality support His unique and distinct names. If we comprehend the meanings of His titles, we can know God more intimately. In Experiencing God Through His Names, Sheryl Giesbrecht walks with you on an exciting journey to discover and absorb the truth about God's character. In the next 31 days, God wants you to get to know Him. Are you ready?"

Experiencing God Through His Names is a small book that packs a big punch. When I first opened it, I was surprised by the small size of the book. However, once I opened it and began reading it, I realized that Sheryl had packed this small book chock full of truth and wisdom. This is a 31 day Bible study that guides us through 31 of the names that God is referred to in the Scriptures. Each day focuses one one name and expounding on what the name means, why God is referred to in this way, and what it means for us as Christians. Each devotion is short, just two to three pages, but it the perfect size to read every morning along with your daily Scripture reading. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about God's names and what they mean.

I received a copy of this book in order to write an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Jesus Always

Jesus Always is Sarah Young's latest book. She's previously written quite a few other books, including the popular Jesus Calling devotional, but this was the first book of hers that I have had the pleasure of reading. The book description reads:

"Sarah Young’s first 365-day devotional since Jesus Calling.

With scripture and new personal reflections, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Young, brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.

Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always."

I read a lot of devotionals, but this one was definitely special. It's a small, attractive hardcover book that perfect for slipping in your purse to read on the go. It's a 365 day devotional, with one page for each day. The devotions are short but full of meat and very in depth for their length. Several Scriptures are included at the end of each day for further reading on the theme for the day. This is a wonderful, uplifting way to start your day. I highly recommend this devotional to anyone who wants to deepen their walk with the Lord.

I received a copy of this book in order to provide my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Union With Christ

Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne pulls from the rich history and tradition of the Christian faith and provides a contemporary, easy to understand exposition of union with Christ - what it is, what it means for us as Christians, and how to attain it. The book description says:

"To experience why the gospel is good news and answer life’s most foundational questions about identity, destiny, and purpose, we must understand what it means to be united to Christ.

If you are a Christian, the Bible says that Christ has united his life to yours, that you are now in Christ and Christ is in you. This almost unfathomable truth is the central theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Yet few Christians today experience or enjoy this reality. Union with Christ reveals the transformational power of this ancient doctrine while addressing the basic questions of the human heart:
Who Am I?
Why Am I Here?
Where Am I Headed?
How Will I Get There?
Nothing is more practical for living the Christian life than union with Christ. The recovery of this reality provides the anchor and engine for your life with God—for your destiny is not only to see Christ, but to actually become like him."

I was a little worried that Union With Christ would be over my head - too esoteric, impractical, or theologically minded. However, as soon as I read the introduction I knew that this would be a very accessible book. Wilbourne manages to package the sometimes difficult concepts into easy to understand language with practical examples and real world applications for a book that is easily readable and highly practical, yet very firmly grounded in the truth of God's Word. This is the perfect book for anyone who has trouble transferring the head knowledge they receive from God's Word, sermons, and church to their everyday practical life. I know that I have personally experienced frustration in this area as well. Union With Christ is a great tool to turn that head knowledge into an active, vibrant relationship with Christ that will transform your whole life. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Candidate

I couldn't wait to read the second book in The Newsmakers series by Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart. I loved the first book, The Newsmakers, which introduced us to the dynamic and exciting character of Erica Sparks. I loved Erica's story and was super excited that it was continued in The Candidate. The book description reads:

"How far will a candidate go to become president? Erica Sparks—America’s top-rated cable-news host—is about to find out.

Mike Ortiz is a dynamic war hero favored to win the White House. Standing by his side is his glamorous and adoring wife, Celeste. But something about this seemingly perfect couple troubles Erica. Is Celeste really who she seems? And most importantly, what really happened in that squalid Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz spent nine months?

But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake her.

In her latest Newsmakers thriller, New York Times bestselling author and Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weaves a taut and chilling story. The Candidate is packed with political intrigue and media manipulation as the lust for power turns deadly indeed."

In our second adventure with Erica Sparks, we get an inside look at a presidential campaign. This story seems like it could be ripped from today's headlines, and is very timely considering the current ongoing presidential election. I loved this story just as much as the first one and couldn't put it down. Erica and Jenny just captured my heart and the suspense and timing in these novels are perfect. I highly recommend The Candidate to anyone who enjoys suspense, especially with a political bent.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Love Unending

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reading copy of Becky Thompson's new book, Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage In The Midst Of Motherhood. I couldn't wait to read this book - I've been married for fourteen years and we have four children. I'm often overwhelmed with housework, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, church activities, and more. I usually end each day exhausted and with nothing left to give. I loved the idea of the 21 day challenge with specific steps to take each day. The book description reads:

"How can I remember how to be a wife when it takes all I’ve got to be a momma?

Since becoming a mom, do you ever feel like your marriage no longer receives the attention it needs to thrive? Do you ever struggle to balance your roles of being both a momma and a wife? Do you ever wonder how you’re supposed to re-center your heart on your husband when you are so busy with everything else?

Those feelings we experienced in the first days of love and marriage often become buried beneath hurried life, active children, and mountains of bills and laundry. We wonder where the romance went when kids became a part of our love story. Maybe you’ve questioned and perhaps even worried if you’ll ever again experience love as you did in the beginning—that newness of what it meant to be fully caught up in one another. But what if you could rekindle that fresh sort of love? What if there was a secret to love unending?

For the next twenty-one days, journey with Becky Thompson to remember what life was like when you first fell in love with your husband. Each daily challenge, reflection, and prayer will refocus your attention, re-center your heart, reignite the romance, and help you rediscover your marriage in the midst of motherhood.

Let Love Unending guide you step by step as you realize that sometimes the best way forward is to go back to the beginning."

This book is absolutely fantastic. I loved the introduction, where Becky reveals her father's "secret" (don't worry, no spoilers here - you'll have to read the book to find out what his secret is!) and was already inspired just by that. The book then goes on to the daily challenges. Each day includes a Bible verse, a story, some exhortation, and a very specific step to take that day, followed by a prayer to prepare your heart. Then there are several questions with space to write your responses. This is such a great layout and each day's topic spoke directly to my heart and to my marriage. I can't recommend this book enough to married moms everywhere. If you let it, this book will change your heart and change your marriage - for the better!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Unreasonable Hope

I decided to pick up Chad Veach's book, Unreasonable Hope: Finding Faith in the God Who Brings Purpose to Your Pain because I'm always interested in reading Christian self-help books, especially those about hope and faith. I liked that it mentioned that Chad searches beyond clichéd answers. The book description reads:

"“Where was God when ____? How could God allow ____? Why?”

These are the questions that flood our hearts and minds when the unimaginable happens. When things go horribly wrong and the world seems to be unraveling, how do you believe in God’s goodness? How do you cling to hope?

Chad Veach directs readers away from clichéd Sunday school answers that fail to offer real comfort or provide faith-building insights. Instead, he draws from God’s promises in the Bible and from the story of his own daughter’s diagnosis of a devastating and debilitating disease to reveal simple, purposeful steps for dealing with pain. Resting in God’s love, remembering his past faithfulness, and realizing the distinction between having faith and clinging to hope are just some of these steps.

Veach reminds us that because we know who God is, we know there is hope.

Veach reminds us that because we know who God is, we know there is hope."

While this book was very good, it wasn't quite what I expected. I was thinking this was going to be more of a self-help book, but it's actually more of a memoir - of Chad and his wife and their daughter, Georgia. Georgia was born with an extremely rare and incurable brain defect that causes seizures, vomiting, an inability to talk and walk, and more. Their story is so inspiring and touching, and I was truly inspired by their fierce faith and hope and their love for Georgia. I love reading memoirs, and this one definitely delivered in that area. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs and/or needs a dose of hope in their own life.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Jesus And The Beanstalk

Abingdon Press brings us the uniquely titled book Jesus And The Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life by Lori Stanley Roeleveld. At first I was hesitant to read this book due to the strange title, but you definitely can't judge a book by its cover (title)! Don't pass this one up due to the quirky title. The book description reads:

"We live in unsettling, challenging times. Everywhere we look, we see giant problems: giant obstacles to sharing faith, giant barriers to peaceful lives, giant strongholds of fear. But what if you knew eight small secrets to unlocking a strength big enough to overcome whatever obstacle life may bring?
Using allegory and a bit of humor, Jesus and the Beanstalk explores a passage in 2 Peter 1 to uncover eight truths that will help you unleash a larger-than-life faith:
· Faith
· Goodness
· Knowledge
· Self-control
· Perseverance
· Godliness
· Affection for others
· Love

In this creative, refreshing perspective on spiritual growth, you will discover an unyielding strength when you tap the power of a God who is stronger than any beanstalk and bigger than your biggest giants.


“Jesus and the Beanstalk is crafted to touch mind, heart, and soul. It has no lesser goal than to remind all believers that they are giant killers. In an age when there are many new and frightening affronts to people of faith there is no better time to be reminded that giants can be felled by faith and determination.”
~ Alton Gansky, Award winning author of over 35 books

"Lori Stanley Roeleveld has given us new spiritual and practical motivation for increasing our ministry effectiveness. This book is refreshing and relevant to daily life. Lori weaves creative, practical and powerful possibilities for us, as disciples to live out our faith through sharing Christ in encouraging ways." ~ Rev. Jim W. Hollis"

Jesus And The Beanstalk Is divided into three parts: Jesus And The Beanstalk, Trading In Our Cows, and Clinging To The Vine. Parts one and two guide us through the allegory of the Jack and the Beanstalk story and what it has to do with Jesus and how it applies to our lives. Part three takes us on a journey through the eight truths/virtues from 2 Peter 1 (mentioned above). Each trait is given a six day Bible study to study and apply to your life, including questions to answer. This is such a wonderful way to truly work these attributes into your life and go deep into the Word and truly receive a takeaway from the book. I love books that not only contain spiritual truths, but also gives you practical applications you can take and apply to your life immediately. I just loved Lori's writing style - so profound, yet so practical. I really enjoyed the topics and ideas she tackled. They were very relevant to today's world and the times we live in. I appreciated her exposition of us, Christians, being up against the "giants" and how God actually loves small. It was so encouraging. I highly recommend this to every Christian looking to grow in their faith.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.