Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Jesus Every Day by Mary DeMuth {A Review}

I don’t remember when I was first acquainted with Mary DeMuth’s book but each one has been a blessing.

I was recently blessed to be on the launch team for her newest book (released December 1, 2017), Jesus Every Day.  This book is like no other book you’ve read or even heard about.

You’ve heard about Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Jesus Every Day is similar but at the same time completely different.

Mary DeMuth loves to pray. At the end of her emails she always asks, “Mind if I pray for you?” and then she writes out a prayer of blessing. My life has been blessed, challenged, and touched by those prayers. The lives of others have also been blessed as many people over the past few years have encouraged her to put these prayers into a book. For two years Mary sought a publisher who would accept an unconventional book like this and the people at Harvest House caught her vision and Jesus Every Day was birthed in book form.

Jesus Every Day is designed much like a devotional with daily readings. The book has 365 prayers starting in Genesis and going through Revelation. The days are labeled Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 etc, rather than January 1, January 2, January 3 so the reader can start at the beginning any day.

This book has opened my eyes and heart to see more of my Jesus and His actions for me. I have, through Mary’s prayers, been able to see Jesus in a whole new light. He has used these prayers to broaden my vision.

If you would like Mary to pray over, for, and with you, get this book! You can find it at your local Christian bookstore or your favorite online retailer. You might want to get several copies as you will want to give some away to friends and family.

 

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Posted in Book Reviews, Jesus

Exalting Jesus in John {A Review}

If you’re like most Christians you want to increase your understanding of God’s word. You do this by attending church and maybe a Bible study or two, you might even lead one! 20171223_094559

I’ve done all of that too. I’ve even read myriads of books, those found on the “self-help” shelf at Christian bookstores. But I still found myself wanting something more. A deeper understanding of how the Bible fits together as a whole. I’ve wanted to know why “that verse is there” because to my small mind it didn’t seem to contextually fit. What could I do? Where could I go to find the answers?

Commentaries.

I know! I thought they were all stuffy and boring, books only to be read by boring, intellectual scholars, or on nights I would wrestle with insomnia. Definitely not something to get excited about.

Then I picked up this commentary on the gospel of John. And wow!!

Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in John is part of the Christ-Centered Exposition series that affirms that the Bible is a Christ-Centered book.

I haven’t made (and don’t plan to) reading commentaries a part of my regular time with Jesus. I would much rather read His Word to me and hear His voice explaining or answering my questions than have man’s thoughts on His word. But sometimes He leads to other books for the answers I seek.

Exalting Jesus in John is written much like a Bible study. Each chapter has a passage, a main idea, and questions from the text. The passage is divided into smaller portions and explained further. The end of each chapter has some questions for review and discussion.

You could use this book on your own in your own personal Bible study; reading the passage and then the chapter, in a group Bible study or Sunday school class, or just to supplement what you are already doing. It wouldn’t have to be read from cover-to-cover, you could simply find the chapter you have questions about and read the commentary there. The possibilities are endless!

 

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

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Imperfect Justice By Cara Putman {A Review}

imperfect justiceNothing quite grabs your attention like a murder at the beginning of a book. That is exactly how Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman begins and the reader is drawn into a story of mystery and intrigue.

Imperfect Justice tells the story of attorney Emilie Wesley and her client, Kaylene Adams.

In the opening chapter Kaylene is accused of murdering her daughter and then is killed by police. Her attorney, Emilie isn’t so sure Kaylene is guilty. And of course, she sets out on a course to free her client’s name, find and bring the real guilty party to justice. But can she do it? The odds are stacked against her.

What I liked about the book: I love a good attorney/cop/p.i./whodunit mystery. So I was excited to read this book. I was definitely drawn in by the opening chapter. The characters were well thought out and developed.  The plot was clear.

What I didn’t like about the book: After being grabbed in the opening chapter the rest of the book seemed to fall flat. The dialogue was predictable, the characters, while being well developed, were foreseeable. It read like a book I’d read several times before but with different characters. Regrettably I quickly lost interest in the story, even with a good plot line.

I give this book 3 out of 5 turning pages.

I received a free copy of Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman from Litfuse for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh {A Review}

A few years ago Bissell had a slogan, “Life’s messy, clean it up”. I don’t know if it helped them sell vacuum cleaners or not, but it brought a truth to the forefront of our minds. Life is messy and needs to be cleaned up.

Life is messy and it oozes it’s mess all over. Life is messy when those we love don’t love us in return. Life is messy when friends say good-bye. Life is messy when mates say good-bye either by death or divorce. Life is messy when people are in it.

Sometimes life seems more messy for some than for others. This is, or can be, especially true when we’re on the outside looking in, or on the inside looking out. We all have a tendency to judge our neighbor’s outside by our inside.

And we lose badly when we do that.

We need to realize we each have pain. And each life is messy.

Is there hope? Is there a cure? What can we do? Can a Bissell vacuum clean up this mess?

Sheila Walsh knows very well how messy life can be, she knows well the sting of gut-wrenching, leg crippling pain. Her father passed away when Sheila was still a very young girl, she grew up believing she was responsible for his death. She has battled depression and thoughts of suicide.

She has written several books about her struggles, the latest of these is In the Middle of the Mess. It’s a book about finding Jesus in the middle of our mess. It’s finding Him and His strength and healing. It’s a book about inviting Him into the middle of our messes and experiencing His life and His healing. It’s inviting Him in so we can hear His voice right there in the middle of our messy life.

You can get this book through your local Christian bookstore or online retailer.

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

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges {A Review}

51JAXctyoTL._AC_US218_The late Jerry Bridges is known for authoring many books on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His books include: The Practice of Godliness,  The Pursuit of Holiness, and many others.

I had not read any of his works before reading Transforming Grace. I might have to change that.

Transforming Grace is simply the best book I have read on the topic of God’s Grace toward us.  I have read many books on the topic of grace by many different authors, but none hold a candle to this one. So much of the book resonated deeply in this heart.

If you want or need a good book on the topic of God’s grace go to your local Christian bookstore and purchase this one. An added bonus there is a study guide in the back of the book. This book would work well for an individual, personal study of grace or it could be used in a group study.

Jerry Bridges, as much as any man could, had a handle on grace. He tenderly teaches us that our salvation is all Jesus and not at all us. It’s isn’t Jesus + Whatever I do, but it is simply Jesus and His great Grace.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“This instantaneous act of God by which He beings sanctification in us is just as much a gift of God’s grace as justification. God does not wait until we ‘surrender all’, make a second commitment to Christ’s lordship, or anything like that. God give sanctification by His grace.” (page 117)

And another one.

“Our love for God, expressed through obedience to Him, is to be a response to His love, not a means of trying to earn it.” (page 92)

One last one.

“God is worthy of my loving obedience because of who He is, not because of what He does.” (page 89)

What did I love about this book? In short, everything. It put into words what my heart believed and couldn’t articulate. So many times I was inwardly shouting, “YES! This is exactly right!!”

It opened my eyes and brought out many questions, hard questions that I needed to answer.

What did I not like about the book? Nothing.

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges will change your life and is a necessary addition to your library. It is published by NavPress and is available through your local Christian bookstore or your favorite online seller.

 

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

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Murder in Disguise by Donn Taylor {A Review}

murderPreston Barclay is normally a History professor, but every now and again he puts on his detective hat and solves crimes.

Even when he claims he isn’t investigating anything, as is the case in Donn Taylor’s new mystery, Murder in Disguise. His friend, Jordan Collier is the History Department Chair when he commits suicide.

Or does he?

And is Preston really investigating? And if he is, what does his investigation uncover? Does it show a seedy side of his friend who is caught in a web of evil?

You know I’m not going to tell you those answers. That would ruin the book and trust me, you will want to read this book!

Murder in Disguise has all the best elements of a mystery novel. Characters, romance, intrigue and humor. Oh my soul this book is hysterical. The best kind of hysterical, the kind that creeps up on you until the laugh burst from your lips. You can’t help but laugh out loud while reading this book.

What did I love about this book? In short, everything. The characters were well developed, the story line moves along at a nice pace. The funny parts are, well as mentioned before, hysterical. Donn Taylor is a masterful storyteller.

This was my first time reading his books and you can be sure I will be reading more of his books. If you haven’t read any of his books you should start now.

What did I not like about the book? Very, very little. Only one small, small, minute detail. And since I’m not a detail person the simple fact that I noticed this is amazing. The one thing I noticed was Preston had a thing for a ham sandwich and coffee. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m nuts about coffee but with a ham sandwich? Ham sandwich and coffee for breakfast. Ham sandwich with coffee for lunch. And a ham sandwich with coffee for supper. Not all in the same day, but you get the idea. He had it a lot.

So as it all goes down, I love this book and I give it 50 out of 5 turning pages. Yes. It’s that good.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review.

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Big and Little Coloring Book {A Review}

Artists run in my family. Down throughout the generations there have always been those souls so talented. I am not one of them. I struggle to draw stick people. As a girl I always wanted one great talent, something I could say, “I do this well!”

I remember trying so hard in art class. And failing so miserably. I would look at others and feel a pang of jealousy for their wonderful creations while knowing mine was destined for the trash heap and it looked like an infant created it.

So I threw myself into coloring. I could color for hours. I would put myself in the pictures and mentally tell myself stories.

20171108_142431I still enjoy time spent coloring. So when I saw this book was available from B&H Publishers I knew it would be something I loved. What could possibly be better than coloring with your child and sharing a devotion?

This book is designed in a way that you have a page to color and your child has a page to color. Each page also has a short devotional to read and discuss with your child. The adult coloring page is much more intricate in design, so you can use this with even very young children.

The adult page has a verse at the bottom and this corresponds to the child’s color page and the devotional. The devotional is on the parent’s page and only takes a minute or two to read.

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The child’s page, as I mentioned, is less detailed, meaning it would be great to use with young children. The devotionals seem to be geared more towards adults and seem very incomplete.

What I liked: I liked the way it is designed, to open flat so you can color at the same time.
I liked the Scripture and that the child is coloring the words of Scripture.  It is a great way to renew our mind.

What I didn’t like: I wish the devotionals were longer and pertained to more than just adults.

If you’re looking for a devotional to use with your child, you should check this one out! You could add meat to the devotionals, or just talk about them while coloring.

I give this 4 out 5 turning pages.

I received a free copy of this book from B&H Publishers for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions re my own.