Called to Pray: Astounding Stories of Answered Prayer By By Linda Evans Shepherd

The power of prayer has such a far reaching influence, yet it is one of the most overlooked resources in a Christian’s life. How many times have you felt the prompting to pray for a person or situation and ignore it? What blessing or need went unfulfilled because you didn’t? This book will certainly make you think about those times and being obedient to urging of the Holy Spirit.
I found this book very encouraging, as it reminded me once again of how God is always watching over and caring for us. I found it inspiring and exciting to see how He uses our prayers to bring about wonderful and amazing events. These are true stories of how the Lord guided others to pray unbeknownst to them how important that prayer was to the care and protection of the person He brought to mind.
I am remembered of one such time in my life. My husband was 37 and had suffered a heart attack. They were bypassing 3 bypasses he had done at 25. The surgery was long and a large number of people were in the waiting room with me. Everyone was visiting. Suddenly I had a powerful need to pray for him. I asked everyone to join me. I looked at the clock to see what time it was. Finally the doctor came out and told me my husband was fine and the outcome was far better than he had expected. Then he said, “Oh, there was one thing. When we took him off of the heart lung machine and shocked his heart, it wouldn’t start. We tried 3 times and were very worried, then the 3rd time it started.” I asked him what time that happened. And the time he shared was the exact time I had been felt the overpowering need to pray for him.
This book is such a blessing. It made me happy to read the stories of God’s miraculous provision, and to always remember He does the same for me.
I received a copy of this book free from Revell Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Proverbs Prayers By John Mason

Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible. The author has printed the 31 verses from the NASV Bible. I only read the King James Version but I understand that is a preference. It would be great of the author would publish the book in that version also.
After each chapter is a prayer according to the verse. I love the idea of personalizing prayers and praying them back to God. In doing so we can know we are praying His will. I would not pray these prayers exactly as they are written, but use them as a springboard to making them my own.
As I read them, there were places that I gained insights into ways of applying the scripture to my life. For example Proverbs 3:27,” Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” The author wrote in the prayer, “Lord, I sincerely ask You today to send opportunities for me to do good to others….” I have read that verse many times and understood that when I had it to give I should not keep back. I had not seen it as an “opportunity” to help others. That is just one of many.
Having each chapter and prayer by itself made it easy to use. It helps to concentrate on just Proverbs. The book is just the right size to carry with you too.
I have always been taught that by reading a chapter a day in Proverbs, you will grow in wisdom far beyond the average person. A wonderful book to have!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Christmas Joy Ride By Melody Carlson

I love Melody Carlson’s books! She captures the Christmas spirit in people’s lives in so many different ways. Every book for hers I keep and add to my library. They have the rare quality of being able to be read over and over again, and enjoyed the same each time.
I flew through this book and was disappointed when it ended! Joy is an elderly widow in her eighties. She is at the point in her life that she must leave her family home of many years to move near her sons into an assisted living facility all the way across the country. They have purchased her plane ticket for her to arrive before Christmas.
Joy has other ideas. Although she must sort through a lifetime of possessions and leave behind most of them, her attitude is anything but sad. She decides to drive her and her late husband’s huge RV the 2000 miles to her new home without telling her sons. Her plan is to go alone but at the last minute persuades her 37 year old neighbor, Miranda, to come. Miranda has nothing to lose. Her husband left her, she is losing her home, and she lost her job.
Joy’s trip is so much more than just one last free for all. Her focus in on bringing Christmas hope and cheer to 6 special people who have won a contest on her blog. With Ms. Carlson’s wonderful writing, I felt as if I was riding right along in the RV. I enjoyed all the plans Joy had made, from her Christmas baking, packing decorations, and even outfitting the RV in lights! The book was so uplifting!
Joy reminded me of my almost 90 year old mother-in-law; lots of spunk, and plans, without self-pity or despair about aging. I hope I will be like Joy as I age. Not focusing on what is in the past or I can no longer do, but continuing to live life to the fullest and accepting the changes that come. An amazing book, you do want to read!!!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

The subject of this book is one that is very unique and that I have not seen addressed before: the empty nest and holiday traditions. Judith Winter is very disappointed. Her whole life has been her family, and holidays are especially meaningful since the have all married and moved away. Due to finances none were able to be there for Thanksgiving and called to say they won’t make it Christmas either.
Judith falls into a deep depression and feels there is no reason to keep any of the family traditions with no children or grandchildren coming. Her husband Stan does everything he can think of to cheer her up. He even enlists her best friend to help. Nothing works. He tries to recreate their old traditions together, but that just seems to stir more pain in seeing other families together.
I know holidays can be a painful time for many. At first I got really aggravated with Judith for being so selfish and having a pity party. Then as I continued to read, I realized we don’t always choose depression and sometimes it is hard to find our way out. I guess I was aggravated because she had her husband with her still, and mine died 2 years ago. When the kids couldn’t always be there, we had each other.
Stan is a jewel of a husband. He doesn’t become irritated with her for her attitude. Quite the contrary he is very concerned and wants to help but not in a pushy, “snap out of it” way. You will be surprised at the courage he shows and the sacrifice he makes to make his wife happy. Have Kleenexes on hand! A remarkable book! It will bring a smile to those facing the changes that come with an empty nest, and give insight and understanding to children who have not yet experienced. This book stays in my personal library!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell Publishers . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Reason to Stay By Kellie Coates Gilbert

This book was a real page turner! Faith Marion is a news commentator with the focus on making it to the top of her profession, and is well on her way. She has carefully constructed her life in every way. Her “bubble” she lives in is filled with self-centeredness, materialism and many facades. This protects her from facing and dealing with her painful past.
Geary Marion is just a good ol’ boy, Laid back, easy going, and a strong Christian. He couldn’t be further from the other end of Faith’s life spectrum. A professional bass fisherman, money and material things mean little to him.
The two meet in an unconventional way, fall in love, and marry. She who has no family is totally caught off guard by his close loving family. They are pastor’s family that is devoted, loud, and bit backward and very involved in with each other. They don’t meet the new bride’s “standards” and definitely invade her very limited personal space. It doesn’t take long for their marriage to go on the rocks with two such very diverse people.
Her world falls apart when a horrific tragedy strikes. She is no longer in control and everything she worked for is not in reach. This is where God needed Faith to be to work in her life.
There were so many lessons in this story. The first one I saw right away is that it is easy to get married; it is another thing to work and have a good marriage. It mistake many people make. Faith wasn’t willing to make an effort in her relationship. She just expected Geary to fit into her plans. Also, there is the old saying that rings true, “when you marry someone you marry the family.” She didn’t include them in the equation and especially the big part they played in his life. Faith was very selfish and no marriage can make it with that standing between a couple.
Quite a few scriptures came to mind about how we can make plans but the Lord has the final say. Faith had no concept of God, only what she wanted. Her calamity was a beautiful example of how He can use tragedy to bring about good things for us. Geary and his family illustrated true unconditional love in their actions and attitudes toward Faith. She did not offend them; all they wanted to do was be there for her. She was unable to drive them away with rudeness or rejection. When all is said and done Faith had to make a choice to surrender her will and pride or continue in her self-destructive ways. A fantastic story of brokenness to wholeness!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell Publishers. 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.”

A Cup of Dust By Susie Finkbeiner

After watching a documentary on the Dust Bowl, I have become very interested in it. While nothing like what these individuals experienced, I remember growing up in East Texas as a child and the small dust storms there. I can recall the grit in our home and between my teeth. I haven’t forgotten the sting of the sand as it hit my legs. As an adult I experienced a dust storm here in Oklahoma, where the sky was darkened, and the air so thick I felt I would suffocate. These small events in my life have me in awe of what the people of this era dealt with, and not for a few days but for years. This book made me realize how incredibly courageous and resilient dust bowl families were.
Instead of this part of history being told through the eyes of an adult, the author does it through the eyes of 10 year old Pearl Spence. A child’s view is very simple, but it is also glaringly honest. Although Pearl does not understand everything she sees and experiences, her account is authentically candid.
So vivid are the descriptions of life in this Oklahoma town that I could feel the discouragement and desperation of the characters. Her mother’s constant battle to keep her home clean and maintain a normal family life was heartrending. It is clear the large role adult’s attitudes and actions play in how a child handles a crisis. Pearl’s grandmother, mother, and father were an anchor for her in this unsettled time.
I better understood the despair and fear of never knowing when another dust storm would strike or when the nightmare would end. The author was brilliant with the way she took amazing historical details, brought to life powerful characters, and then created a story filled with danger, mystery, and excitement. A fantastic read!

I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications. 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.”

52 Original Wisdom Stories By Penelope Wilcock

I love devotional books so I was looking forward to reading this one. I am always interested in anything on the book of Proverbs which is what I connect the word “wisdom” with. I therefore assumed this was also a Christian book. This paperback was none of these things.
The stories had practically no biblical foundation but instead were a very large mix of Eastern religion, New Age, and many others that are not a part of the Christian faith. There are a few paragraphs where scriptural truth is shared, but that is it. I found it difficult to read as it was extremely confusing. The book is about a couple of senior citizens that have been married before. One is Quaker and one, Catholic. They both have pretty much abandoned attending church. This I found odd as I presumed the basis of the book was applying the Bible to one’s life.
I hate to give a bad review on a book, but I promised an honest one. I was very disappointed in this book.
I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications. 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.”