The Worst Christmas Ever By Kathleen Long Bostrom

If your family has the tradition of wrapping up Christmas and reading one a day until Christmas day, you will want to add this one to your list! I really liked the illustrations. Not only are they colorful but the characters and their expressions are very appealing. I think their visual quality really added to the story.
Matthew thinks he will have the worst Christmas ever. His family has moved to California, new home, new school, no friends, a new church and no snow! I am assuming from his disappointment that there will be no snow, they have moved from a state with a much colder climate. Everything was different, too different. His family volunteers to be in their new church’s live nativity, not Matthew’s choice either. To make matters worse, his dog Jasper runs away! Many days without his faithful companion leaves Matthew feeling very low on Christmas Eve. The book ends in special surprise one that helps Matthew see Christmas isn’t about the physical trappings but something much more important. A unique and meaningful holiday book.


Stories behind the Songs and Hymns about Heaven By Ace Collins

No doubt about it I love hymns. They are not about entertainment but worship. This book was not only inspiring but so informative! There are the stories of 30 hymns included. All but 5 I have either sung as a special or in congregational singing. We sing hymns over and over in church. They have become familiar and a fabric of our song services, but we have little idea about their background. Each hymn has the scripture that it relates to its special story and how it can apply to us today. I appreciate the author’s attention to detail in researching these beautiful songs. Knowing the trials, heart aches and tests of faith that moved these men to pen these famous words definitely puts them in a different light to me. These were ordinary Christians reaching out to God from their hearts and spirits. I will never sing them again without thinking of their roots and deeper meaning. Their message to me will be much more than words on a page and the personal feelings they evoke. This would be a wonderful devotion book, study book, or something for the song leaders to share during the service.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

The Coming Revolution in Church Economics By Mark Deymas

I can tell the author put a lot of thought and work into writing this book. He did an excellent job of that. Past that I cannot agree with him. First his approach of tithing in the New Testament is not biblically accurate. We live not under the law now but by grace. It still applies.
The concept of the church becoming involved as a worldly business to support itself is a sacrilege to me. The focus will be on money and possessions, not its true calling. The church is not building and assets, it is the people. Is it possible that some churches like individuals have stepped over the boundaries of what they can afford and now cannot maintain it? Yes the church needs an adequate building, classrooms, lights, heating, the basics but beyond that no. It is there to spread God’s Word and Christ’s sacrifice, not have all the latest technology, impressive decorations, etc. To say that God will not provide for the church’s NEEDS is offensive. Yes “needs”, not wants. God does and He will. My husband pastored a small church for 21 ½ years before he died and I still attend there. In number we are on the small side still, and no not all our member’s tithe, but the church has been functioning a alive for 36 years now. The miracles we have seen in God’s provision is nothing short of amazing. When I great need arises God has always miraculously provided, many times to the exact cent. It grieves me to think that God’s church would turn away from complete faith in His promises to take things into their own hands.
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

God’s Hostage By Andrew Brunson

This book is very emotionally charged to read. Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife Norrine had served as a missionary’s wife in Turkey for 23 years. Their love of the people and commitment to sharing the gospel with them ran deep. So much so they applied for a permanent visa and make the country their forever home. In 2016 they were both arrested. Norrine was shortly released but Andrew remained imprisoned for 735 days in horrible conditions. He was accused of being a spy and a terrorist. His is an incredible story of being persecuted for righteousness sake.
I applaud and admire Andrew’s courage to be transparent about his thoughts, emotions and testing of his faith. He didn’t pretend to be the hero or a super saint, just the real deal.
While I have never been imprisoned with false accusations nor faced any of the extreme trials he did, I have experienced emotions and situations in lesser situations that he shared. Andrew speaks of his time of depression, anxiety attacks, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, fear, and even questioning his faith and God’s existence. Pretty extreme right? Some may read this a judge him. “He is a pastor! He is a Christian! He should have these thoughts and feelings!” Wrong! We are all flesh and of this world. Anyone in circumstances can falter and fall. That does not mean we are not Christ’s. I felt like a failure during those times and that I was probably the only one or a rare few of God’s children to disappoint Him so. I am not happy the author went through these things but it helped me see even His strongest, most dedicated servants waver.
I have felt all of these in times that crushed my spirit and if most Christians were honest they would admit to the same. Satan can put us in a place where his attacks wear one down. He also admitted to needing medication to get through. This is frowned up on in the Christian community.
The bottom line is God delivered him! Did he fail as God’s man? No! He went through the fire and always came back to his Savior and God. As horrific as these events were, he came out stronger and is still serving God. Bravo Pastor Brunson!
I received this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

Misleading Miss Verity By Carolyn Miller

I have read the other two books in Ms. Miller’s Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series, and enjoyed them immensely, but I have to say this is my favorite thus far! I appreciate in all of the author’s books the strong spiritual thread that runs through the stories.
The setting is 1820 in Scotland. This is an era where the wealthy adhere to a very shallow, pretentious societal code of conduct, especially where young women are concerned. Verity is from just such family and much to her mother’s dismay could care less about the dos and don’ts. Sadly her mother was more concerned outward appearances and material possessions that one’s eternal soul. In fact not only was
Verity and unbeliever, but she saw the Bible as fairy tale. Constantly in trouble either by her conduct or speaking her mind, her mother decides to send her to her grandmother’s in Scotland to consider her ways. Ahh but Grandmamma is a kindred spirit! When she hears of her mother’s plans to marry her off to a disgusting older man, she secretly sends her to Scotland to stay with her school friend Helena and her family. Her father is a minister.
There she meets Anthony Jardine, new laird of an estate that has been neglected by previous relatives in that capacity. Pulled away from his duties as a minister, he wants to make a difference. He has little money, disgruntled and mistreated tenants, and a mansion that has . . . well, seen better days. Here he meets Verity. Helena’s family home adjoins his property. A romantic spark is lit between the two.
So many things to like about this book! Verity’s capers kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved her quick wit! The humor between her and Anthony kept me smiling and laughing. She delighted me that she was herself and nothing else, no matter what the expectations of others might be. In spite of the fact she was a viscount’s daughter she held no airs. The fact that Helena’s family was somewhat poor, Verity did not compare, but was always gracious and sharing.
God works in people’s lives in the most unexpected ways to bring them to Him. Would Verity’s “escape” from a disastrous marriage lead her to true freedom? As always with the author, the descriptiveness of the setting, the characters plus their inward thoughts and emotions drew me right into the story. Another delightful book by Carolyn Miller! I promise you, you will want to read all her books!
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

My Bedtime Bible Prayers By Karoline Pahus Pedersen

You can never start too soon teaching children to pray. My daughter prayed with her sons before they were born each night. They are just babies but the tradition continues. One of the most important privileges we have is to be able to speak to our God personally and directly, anytime or any place. Too often prayer has been reduced to bedtime or even just meal time with families. Children grow up hearing the adults pray with them but are not familiar with doing it themselves. This little book is a wonderful stepping stone to showing children they can talk to God. And even more importantly speak to Him as if He were a close friend.
The book contains 44 sweet prayers with scripture references. All illustrations are colorful and fun. The soft cover the book is easy to clean. Each prayer is simple and written as a child would speak. Although the book’s title says “Bedtime” prayers, they can be prayed anytime of the day. The table of contents at the front of the book is a great resource to choose a prayer meeting the needs of the moment. The questions and statements at the bottom of the pages make it personal for the child and God’s part in their life.
There were only 2 things I didn’t like about the book. Part of the time God is referred to as “Dad”. While kids need to know He is their Heavenly Father, I felt Dad was too familiar and disrespectful for our Creator. Also I would prefer there weren’t the pictures of Jesus, something I don’t like in any form of drawing. No one living knows what He looked like. Presenting the pictures as His likeness I feel is not appropriate. Otherwise it is an outstanding book!
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

My God Loves Me Bible By Cecilie Fodor

I think it is so important to introduce little ones to the Bible as young as possible. Bible story books are the best way to do that and the more the better!
This one checks all the boxes with the cute colorful illustrations and durability, as do many do. I like board books for little hands to touch and discover without fear of damage. Also the heavy pages make it easy for munchkin hands to turn the pages. The soft cover is appealing to touch and also passes the sturdy test, but this one goes a step beyond in several ways.
What impressed me the most was the stories. There are a total of 18, each 2 pages long. The page covering pictures are attention getters and illustrate the story very well. One page has the title, scripture references and a paragraph. I was very impressed how in that in very few lines the author not only captured the story but also how it connected the child personally to God. The opposite page has a heart with how God loves them as shown in the Bible story.
The handle is such a great addition! Children love to imitate the adults in their life. Many grownups have Bible covers with handles to carry to church. This was the child can carry their books too. What a wonderful way to instill taking your Bible to church and other places! I habit to instill early! I think it would be a great quite time book for them during services!
A wonderful addition to your youngster’s library and a great gift for showers, holidays, and birthdays!
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.