Thriving In Babylon by Larry Osborne {A Review}

Do you ever wonder how we can possibly hope to live godly lives in a godless culture? I know I do! Larry Osborne has as well and he’s written an excellent book telling us how it can be done.

Thriving in Babylon, Why Hope, Humility, and wisdom matter in a godless culture by Larry Osborne is a very good read. He uses the book (and character) of Daniel as his backdrop.

So much of what he writes resonates with me and is, in fact, things I had been thinking. I underlined, marked, wrote in the margins, shared on twitter, Instagram, and facebook the wisdom I gleaned.

For example, “Don’t we claim to know how the game of life ends? And if we do, shouldn’t that affect the way we interpret and respond to the enemy’s short-term victories and temporary advances?  If our sins are forgiven and our destiny assured, if we are joint-heirs with Jesus, and certain He’s coming back to set all wrongs right, then despair and panic over the latest court decision, or even the steady erosion of morality in our culture, hardly seem like appropriate responses.” (page 102)

In short I really, really liked this book.  I wanted so badly to love it and aside from a few instances I did. But those instances were huge.

For example, The United States of America is a Republic, not a democracy as he states in the book.

The Bible does not say God will not give us more than we can handle. He promises not to give us temptations that no one else has experienced, promises a way of escape and not to tempt us beyond what we can bear.

And finally, Solomon’s sacrifice in Gibeon, God didn’t “look the other way because He knew His heart was right”, He didn’t accept the sacrifice and answer Solomon’s prayer because “Solomon meant well when he sacrificed on the High places.” Solomon sacrificed in Gibeon because that is where the tabernacle was, the ark wasn’t there, but the altar was.

I believe those were oversights, and I believe the author accomplished his goal of sharing with us how we can live godly lives in our culture.  I give this book 4 out of 5 turning pages.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse and the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Believe Student Edition by Randy Frazee {A Review}

(To give full disclosure, I did not personally read this book. My 12-year old read and this is her review.)

Believe Student Edition explores 10 beliefs, 10 practices, and 10 virtues of the Christian walk. They are divided into three sections:

Think.

This section answers the questions: What do I believe? By taking the reader through 10 chapters , each one answering a specific element of that question, including God, salvation, and identity in Christ. I do disagree with one thing mentioned in this section. In chapter 2 (Personal God) on page 33, it said (speaking of King Hezekiah) that God will “sometimes alter the plan He has for us.” I do not think God changed His plan for Hezekiah, nor do I think He changes His plan for us. But I do think He was waiting for Hezekiah to humble himself and ask for help. Aside from that, I think this chapter was excellent.

Act.

This section answers the question: What should I do? And takes readers through a series of stories about different people including: Esther, Jonah, and Daniel. I found this section wonderful!

Be.

This one answers the question: Who am I becoming? And focuses on the fruit of the Spirit by stories of people who lived them out including: Mary, Jesus, and Abigail.

Overall I liked this book. It would be very easy to read as a devotional, and I don’t recommend just sitting down and reading it straight through.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Letters from My Father’s Murderer A Journey of Forgiveness by Laurie A. Coombs {A Review}

Laurie Coombs’ father was murdered by his girlfriend’s husband. And Laurie wanted Anthony to come to justice, to get what he deserved.

And she got her wish.

What she should have wished for was forgiveness, peace and mercy. But she only learned that later, after coming to faith in Jesus. She began writing letters to Anthony, and he responded. Over time, they developed a friendship of sorts, The each ministered to the other. Through this friendship and the working of Jesus in Laurie’s life, she came to find the mercy, grace and hope she truly needed.

I found this book very difficult to read, not because of the subject matter but because of the way the book is written. The first few chapters seemed rather disjointed and difficult to follow. It was written in a Guideposts, “This is my problem and how I survived it” sort of way. As I progressed through the book it did get better.

I give this book 3 out of 5 turning pages.

Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant {A review}

Stella Varland is a beauty queen who wants to shed her beauty queen image. The only problem with that is: she simply can’t. She lives in the shadow of who she was.

When her marriage failed, she moved back home to pick up the pieces of her life. Working on her art in a hidden room, working with Chase Taylor on renovating the old theater teaches her a few things about the past, the present and working towards a brighter future.

With Jesus clearly woven throughout the pages this is a MUST read for anyone who loves a good love story.

“A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice–to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness. ”

With Jesus clearly portrayed throughout the book, this is a MUST read for anyone who wonders if Jesus can really redeem their past and make something beautiful from their ashes.

This book is a sequel to Betsy’s earlier novel, All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes. You might remember I said that book was not of Betsy’s normal caliber, that she was better than that book. I am very pleased to tell you, Betsy’s BACK! This book is a great indicator of her talent. It’s funny, serious, it will make you laugh, make you cry, make you wonder weeks after you finish it how Stella and Chase are doing.

This book gets 5 turning pages!!

You can purchase a copy for yourself here: http://bit.ly/1NfxL7S

Sorry I’m Not Sorry by Nancy Rue {A review}

(As with the other books in this series, I did not personally read it. In fact, the day the book arrived I only saw it when I opened the box. My 14-year old grabbed it, read and passed it on to her younger sister. This review is from my 14-year old.)

SorryI absolutely loved the first two books in Nancy Rue‘s new trilogy, Mean Girl Makeover. The latest addition to the series, Sorry I’m Not Sorry, proved just as delightful as the first two.

In Sorry, readers will take a peek into the mind of Grass Valley Middle School’s Alpha Wolf, Kylie Steppe. Those who have read the preceding books will remember Kylie as the leader of the sixth-grade bullies. I admit, I had my doubts about this book. But Ms. Rue has once again delivered a true-to-life, captivating, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny depiction of yet another aspect of the ever-growing bullying problem in America.

Kylie is one of many characters in Mean Girl Makeover that girls from fifth or sixth-grade will laugh with, cry for, and cheer with in Sorry. Through weeks of guidance from Lydia, Kylie is finally starting to change into the beautiful, loving child of God that she was created to be. But her old friends see the change and they’re definitely not fans of the new Kylie. When they turn on her through social media, Kylie is left with a decision to make: Fight for what she knows is right, or give in to her old self and retaliate against the pain she suddenly sees and feels. She finally begins to realize that her choices and  actions affect other people, as well as herself. The online bullying campaign hurts her in a way that she’s unused to, but Kylie isn’t sure how to respond. Will she make the right decision? Will Tori and the Tribelet be willing to trust Kylie and help  her, even though she’s hurt them?

I highly recommend this book and the entire Mean Girl Makeover series to any girl in middle school or even high school. Ms. Rue, you’ve nailed it once again! Congrats and many, many thanks for your effort to help the campaign against bullying.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

We received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.

Just another dumb girl.

Ever wonder what happens in the church office on a Monday?

No?

Well then. You might want to skip right over this post. If you answered yes, keep reading.

The office officially opens at 8:30 but I’ve gotten in the habit of arriving at 8. I started that because I would have to leave to take my oldest to choir at the high school and I just felt better knowing I was being honest with my time sheet and the church’s money. She hasn’t had classes but I’m still coming in at 8.

This morning the computer was extremely slow. I mean it was so slow one could go into the kitchen, make some boiled eggs and eat them while waiting for the computer. A few of the keys decided they weren’t working today because apparently they wanted more money.

A quick (slow?) restart to the computer had it changing it’s tune.

I also brought my laptop in because I need to access a file on it. That dern machine wouldn’t connect to the wifi. I tried everything. Disconnecting. Connecting. Trying a different network. Nothing. Sigh. Then I realized my phone also wasn’t connecting. I learned this when I kept hitting Send/Receive all folders in the church’s email and nothing came. I had used my phone to send the church an email with the file I needed.

Switch that to mobile data and we’re good to go.

Then my headache started. Well the one where my head actually ached. I’m pretty sure the above gave me the headache. I left to get lunch and some caffeine help with the headache.

I really, really hate how fast food makes my innards feel. Bleh.

After eating lunch I took my trash out side to the dumpster because I wanted more sunshine and didn’t want the office to smell like fast food.  I tucked a box I had flattened under my arm, grabbed my keys and went out in to the glorious sunshine.  At the dumpster I tossed in the trash in my hand.

And my keys.

I tossed them all in the empty dumpster.

My keys laid there on the bottom mocking me.

Now what I was going to do? I was the only one on the premises. The fill-in janitor was  coming back but she wasn’t here yet. I was locked out of the building. I needed those keys. I’m way to short to bend over the edge and hope to reach the bottom.

So I climbed in.

Oh yeah. I climbed in, grabbed my keys and did a quick gymnastics course getting back out. Apparently all the upper arm exercises I’ve done have paid off.

There is an upside, ladies, to having a “fat day”. I had planned on wearing a skirt today but felt too fat in it.

I’m pretty much afraid do anything else right now. Who knows what will happen!

The Pleasure of His Company by Dutch Sheets {A Review}

What would it mean in your daily life if you knew God, the Creator of the Universe desired to spend time with you? What if you could truly find pleasure in His company?

Sound like an impossibility? Something reserved for a select few, none of which happen to be you?

World-reknown author and speaker, Dutch Sheets, has written a book sharing his life stories on how he cultivated, and continues to cultivate a personal, deep relationship with Jesus. He has found pleasure in His company and he can’t keep it to himself.

Each short chapter contains Scripture, a personal story and/or a Biblical story that illustrates the profound truth, and closes with a prayer. It would make a great devotional book, and since there are 30 chapters, you could easily read through it in a month, and then read it again the next month.

It is easy to read, engaging and for the most part spot on Biblically. There were a few times I had to stop and think about what I thought about that passage/verse and decide for myself if I agreed with Dutch Sheets or not.  (As we all must do when reading books!)

I give this book 4 out of 5 turning pages.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.