A Journey to Victorious Praying By Bill Thrasher

After reading Mr. Thrashers book, Putting God Back Into the Holidays, I was anxious to read this book. 

He is one of the very best non-fiction writers I have ever read.  Prayer is an area in my Christian walk I strive to learn more about and become more efficient in.  While I have read many books on prayer, I have never read one quite like this.  It is nothing short of amazing!

You aren’t just reading a book you are doing a Bible study and reading large amounts of scripture all at the same time.  There is no doubt that what he is sharing comes straight from scripture.  I like all the biblical references.

While this book guides you in how to have a strong prayer life, it isn’t just a “How to” book. 

I found myself looking at prayer and the discipline of it in ways I never have before.  Just one of many special insights I learned was allowing temptation as a motivation to pray, but not in the way you normally think.  For example, if you are tempted by impure thoughts, let that be a motivation to pray for the purity of your children. 

The book made me dig deep within myself and see what I needed to do.  I liked the fact that each chapter was short and so well written and packed with knowledge that you gleaned a huge amount.  Thoughtful questions at the end helped guide me further in my personal study. 

The Personal Journal guide in the back for each chapter was very helpful in further looking at my prayer life and areas of weakness.  The Appendix 1 of selected prayers from the Bible is a springboard for a whole other study for me.  Appendix 2 of ideas to stimulate prayer was very helpful in further applying what I had learned.

I can’t praise this book enough.  If you truly care about having a productive disciplined prayer life you must read this book.  Thank you Mr. Thrasher for another great book that has helped me grow as a Christian.

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishers.

 

A Journey to Victorious Praying Study Guide: By Bill Thrasher

I must admit when I received the Study guide I was a bit disappointed.   I had just finished a book with 167 page study guide and it made this one look a little wimpy.  That was until I opened it and started reading.  Each page was power packed with scriptures and questions to aid me in my study.  

One of the things I liked about the book was the chapters were just short enough to do a really good daily study.  The Study Guide worked along the same concept.  I was getting so much!  

So don’t let the size put you off, it is perfect for daily study!   You will find yourself challenge and having spent true time with the Lord with each page.  An excellent companion to the book!

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishers.

 

Amy Inspired By Bethany Pierce

Amy will soon turn 30.  All she can think about is her lifelong dream of publishing her writings, but all she gets is rejection letters one after another.  Her teaching position at a local college was supposed to be temporary, but it has been two years now.

She is confused and discouraged about her life in general.  To add to her frustrations her eccentric, totally opposite roommate, Zoe moves her friend, mysterious and handsome Eli in, “temporarily”.  This sets off a myriad of emotions in Amy.  Complications, upsets and disappointments forces Amy to take a long hard look at herself and see her flaws. 

The author has a gift for vividly conveying the characters feelings and experiences.  At times I felt like I was Amy and at others like I was a fly on the wall watching all the characters. 

There was one aspect of this book I was disappointed in.  I don’t think it should have been labeled Christian fiction.  While nothing was graphic there were quite a few references to lust and sexual intimacy that I do not expect to find in a Christian book. 

 I kept waiting for Amy to turn back to God and biblical standards, but it never happened. There were smatterings of reference to her faith, but God wasn’t strongly represented in the novel.   None of these sexual references had anything to do with the plot and the book would have been much better without them. 

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers.

 

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Edythe Amsel is a young self-sufficient woman who is striking out on her own.   She is hired for her first job as teacher for the town of Walnut Hill, Nebraska.   She is determined not to become romantically involved as doing so would interfere with her goals.  Her resolve in this area is tested when she meets, Joel Townsend, the uncle of 2 of her students.  Not her intellectual equal by any means but a good Christian man raising his two orphaned nephews.  Joel is equally enamored but also cautious after having his heart broken by another woman.

Edythe faces her ideas of discipline challenged by one boy and her innovative teaching confronted by the parents.   She was very much ahead of her time in finding creative ways to help her students learn.

Mrs. Kinsley, her elderly Christian, landlady gives her support and love to face all her struggles.  Most importantly she teaches Edythe about God and His love for her.  She gently guides Miss Amsel through example and prayer to find the real answers she needs.  Edythe’s confusion and search for God reminded me much of myself when I am trying to do things in my own strength.

Edythe experiences a roller coaster of emotions, tragedy, danger and heartaches, but shows great courage and character.   All this is not in vain because her independent spirit is tested and she learns to trust God and what is truly important in her life. 

It is wonderful to read a wholesome Christian romance novel.  The book was fast paced, and full of surprises.   I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to reading more of Ms. Sawyer’s books. 

I have received this from book Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

Heaven Revealed By Paul Enns

Paul Enns, after losing his beloved wife of 45 years, found himself thinking more and more about Heaven.  I have experienced this myself after losing my precious loved ones who have trusted Christ as their Savior.  The way the book was written touched me at a very personal level. It brought back memories and thoughts of my loved ones  as I reflected on what they would be experiencing in Heaven.

Heaven Revealed answered a lot of questions I have asked myself and a few I hadn’t thought about.  This is one of the most comprehensive books on this subject I have read. 

I appreciated how easy to read it was.  There wasn’t a lot of theological jargon to wade through.   Anyone could read it and without difficulty grasp the material.

Some books I have found are filled with the author’s opinions or ideas, but this book is saturated with Scripture.  Everything he says is documented with Bible references.   It became a Bible study as I looked up the scriptures he shared.  I think it will be a great lesson for a group or church class.

I really liked the illustrations he used and personal experiences about his marriage and wife.  Another thing I was impressed with is that almost every chapter had a box with a bare bones outline of the facts covered.  This made it nice when I wanted to look back and have a quick review.

The book inspired hope and comfort in me.  I know that someday I will be there and how wonderful to truly know what my Lord has shown me about my future destination in His Word.

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishers.

 

 

LITTLE STAR BY Anthony DeStefano and Mark Elliot

I had mixed reactions to this book.   Hands down the illustrations are absolutely beautiful with their combination of vibrant colors and excellent quality.

The story was cute and one children would enjoy. The beginning of the book told of the stars in the heaven all hoping they would be chosen to be the one to shine the brightest the night of Christ’s birth.  

As the story of Jesus birth is told, the reaction of the stars is shared also.  I liked that an emphasis was put on the fact the King of Kings was born in poor and humble surroundings and not in the wealth and splendor the world expected.  The stars as did many during that time doubted His place as King. 

However, I would not be able to recommend this book to read to children.  I was hoping to share it with my grandchildren and children at church but will not be doing so.

Christ’s birth is such an important event; it concerns me that the book is not biblically accurate.   The humble shepherds were the first to honor Him and they are not mentioned.  Instead, the common mistake of placing the wise men at His birth is made part of the story.  They came when the child was older and to his house, not the stable.  The star of His birth did not burn out but continued to shine brightly a couple of more years, leading the Magi to Him. Neither did the star warm baby Jesus.

I was hoping the book would be a Christ-centered one, helping children to be reminded of the true reason for Christmas each time they saw the star atop their holiday tree.  Most of all, it disturbs me to make fictional characters part of such a scared Bible story.  Children take everything literally therefore I would not want to mislead them concerning God’s Word or the birth of His Son.

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Waterbrook Press  Publishers.

 

Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

 

When I started reading this book I thought it was going to be an Amish fiction novel.  When I saw it wasn’t, at first I was disappointed.  As I continued reading it I was pleasantly surprised. 

I have always been fascinated and admiring of the Amish and their way of life.  This book gave me an even greater insight into not only their day to day living but a chance to peek inside the mind of an Amish woman and view life’s experiences through her eyes.

Cindy and Miriam had much in common in their lives as wives and mothers.  At the same time there was such a contrast in their view points and how they handled what came their way. It was fun to read about their family customs and traditions.   I could easily relate to Cindy’s modern life with all conveniences and technology.   Then I would read Miriam’s account of a similar incident in her life had see a totally different point of view. 

At times I could feel myself rushing around with Cindy in her busy schedule only to turn around and sit around Miriam’s kitchen table to visit and relax. 

I like the book in other ways too.  It was written in such a way that I could easily put it down and pick back up at any time. 

Each chapter begins with a scripture is meaningful to both ladies and also that relates to the subject they are sharing.

I was very excited about all the Amish recipes in the book.  I can’t wait to try them with my church and family.  They were not only tasty but so simple!  Just what I need!

The book was truly filled with just ‘plain wisdom’.  Both ladies caused me to think and examine my life and similar incidents I have faced.  Cindy is an author I always enjoy, but Miriam is a very talented writer herself.  Thank you ladies for sharing your friendship, your lives and your hearts.  Great job!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Secrets of the Heart By Jillian Kent

Right away I will say this was a remarkable read!!  This is the first historical, romance, thriller, mystery Christian novel I have ever read!   As I began reading I thought it was a good book and I really enjoyed it.  Then it was like a roller coaster of suspense and surprises, one after another.  I read to relax at bedtime and I stayed up till 2 a.m. two nights in a row because I just HAD to see what happened next. 

Madeline Whittington, a young woman who has faced devastating losses in a short time.  The death of her two sisters, her brother and her father had left her numb with grief and even bitterness against the medical profession and God.  She no longer has an interest in the privileged, wealthy life she was accustomed to.

When she is injured in a riding accident handsome young Devlin Greyson is on hand to help and care for her.  Her attraction to him soon turns to anger when she realizes he was the doctor caring for her father the night he died.  The very doctor she has believed is responsible for her father’s death. 

Devlin is fighting his own battles.  As the Earl of Rayensmoore his pursuit of a medical career is frowned upon by the elite of English society.  He bravely battles rejection of his peers and doubt because of his belief it is God’s will for his life.

I found the references to medical practice in the 17th century very interesting.  Most shocking was the appalling treatment of the mentally ill and conditions they lived in as patients of what were referred t then as insane asylums then. 

There were strong spiritual lessons throughout the book. One was the assurance that when the pain and despair of life’s circumstances overwhelm us and God seems far away, He has never left us and is still by our side.  Also the courage to obey and do God’s will no matter what others may think or say. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone!   You will definitely want more and will not be disappointed.  At the end of the book is the first chapter of the sequel to be published in 2012!

Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.

 

 

Spring For Susannah By Catherine Richmond

It is the 1870’s and thirty year old Susannah has never married, never been courted or even had a man interested in her.  On top of that she is shy and never had close friendships with girls.  Her parents suddenly both die and she is left alone.  Her pastor suggests she become a mail order bride to his brother in the wild frontier of the Dakota Territory.

This is quite a culture shock from having lived all her life in a large city in Michigan.  Adding to her discomfort, Susannah was not only a loner as far as friendships went, but she was an only child raised by cold unaffectionate parents. She had been  attacked and almost raped before leaving Michigan.  All this leaves her  ill prepared for an isolated life with a friendly, outgoing, loving, faith filled man like her new husband, Jesse.

Her past leaves her feeling distrustful, unlovable and never able to measure up to what she thinks are Jesse’s expectations.  Her hardships have caused her turn her back on God and doubt His love too. Even though the young couple faces unbelievable adversities and pain, Jesse’s love, patience and faith in God help Susannah heal from her past and become the woman she truly was.

I especially liked this book, not only for its great story line, but also how much historical information I gleaned on mail order brides, and life in sod houses settlers built on the prairies. 

I have always tried to imagine what it must have been like for those brides to travel across the country to marry someone they had never met and face unbelievable hardships.  Through Susannah I was able to experience the fear, doubts, discomfort and awkwardness.  Many brides came from large cities like hers where they had life’s luxuries, only to move and live in very primitive conditions.  These were extremely trying conditions for any newlyweds.

I found it very interesting how they lived and functioned in a small soddy, with just the bare necessities.  I could almost feel the darkness and dampness not to mention claustrophobia as she first saw her new home. 

Ms. Richards does a wonderful job of conveying not only the emotions but physical experiences of the characters.  I saw such insight into the heart and mind of someone who has been raised in a dysfunctional family and how it affects their interaction with others.  It was wonderful to see what Susannah was thinking and where she was coming from, plus how others perceived her actions. It made me think of how misunderstood some people are. 

The only thing I did not like about the book was many references to their intimate relationship in the bedroom.  There was also a very explicit part where a doctor discussed birth control with Jesse.   I was a surprised to see this in a Christian novel.   Otherwise, the book was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So much so I read all 343 pages in just 2 days!  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.”

 

 

 

The Masquerade By Nancy Moser

This is a wonderful Victorian “Prince and the Pauper” type story.  Wealthy, protected, spoiled and selfish Charlotte Gleason has her pampered life of privilege interrupted.  Without her consent, her parents prearrange her marriage to a fabulously rich, Conrad Tremaine, a young man in America.  

She longs to marry for love and isn’t at all impressed with Conrad’s photograph.   She fights going but feels she must go through with the marriage to save her family who are at risk of losing everything. 

Due to her mother’s illness, her parents send her long time personal maid and best friend, Dora Conners, accompany her.   The family dresses Dora in Charlotte’s gowns and jewels, giving her a crash course in being a society lady. 

Charlotte wants freedom, adventure and the chance to marry for love.  On her way to America, she decides that Dora will take on her identity and marry Conrad, and she will be free to start over, pursuing her dreams.  Dora of course is excited at the opportunity to live as most servants’ never imagine.  Upon arrival things go as planned for Dora as she leaves in the Tremaine carriage, but things go terribly wrong for Charlotte.  She finds herself in New York City, penniless, alone, and with no experience in life.

I very much enjoyed this book.  It was interesting to watch each girl mature and realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Both young ladies found themselves relying on God as they never had before as they find themselves trapped in situations of their own making.

It made me think about how we often rush ahead without God and try to manipulate life to fit our desires, and find ourselves in dire consequences.  I like the way the author gave detailed insight into how poor immigrants lived during that era and the ridiculously wealthy.  I felt like I was there with the girls, experiencing both lifestyles during this time in history.  I highly recommend this book. 

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Bethany

House Publishers.