Glory Days by Max Lucado {A Review}

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I LOVE Max Lucado. His books are always a delight. His books are always spot-on and chock-full of truth. I always learn something, and I’m always convicted in one area of my life or another.

His newest book, Glory Days, is no exception at all.  Glory Days is sub-titled, Living your Promised Land Life Now and is a study of Joshua.

Max shares that for believers in Jesus we’ve (hopefully) left our slavery and bondage in Egypt behind, and we’re tired of living in the wilderness of unbelief and we’re ready to cross into our Promised Land. Our Land that is flowing with milk and honey. We’re ready to do battle with the sins that inhabit our promised land and eradicate everything that will prevent our total surrender to God.

He shares that for the believer the Promised Land isn’t heaven, because in the Israelites promised land they had to do battle with the enemy and in heaven we will have no enemy.

If you’re feeling left out, alone. If you’re so tired of battling temptation (and losing), if you’re desperate for a fresh start, if you’re thinking the Christian life has to be more than this, better than this, if you’re tired of thinking your prayers are never answered, you need this book!

Max offers encouragement for the road ahead. Not as one who has arrived, but as a fellow traveler. Glory Days is like a pep talk very much like the ones Joshua would give to the children of Israel and much like the Lord gave to Joshua.

Christians, it’s time we started living in our Promised Land. It’s time we stopped giving the devil a foothold in our lives. It’s high time we started taking every thought captive, stopped worrying and started fully living in our promised Land. It’s ours. It’s promised. And God is there and He’s wanting to show us how to live in our promised land.  I’m ready to go.

Are you?

I received a free copy of Glory Days by Max Lucado from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

But I’m Not a Wicked StepMother By Kathi Lipp {A Review}

(Dear Readers, I did not read this book personally, but my friend Nikki, who is a step-mother, read it for me and this is her review.)

Whether you are a new stepmom or a seasoned stepmom, But I’m Not a Wicked Stepmother is a book that offers wisdom and guidance for all.  Sprinkled with encouragement and humor, it is a tool that is beneficial for stepfamilies.  Covering many topics, it is a must-read for stepmoms.  It covers issues blended families deal with on a daily basis.

There are suggestions on how to build healthy relationships with stepchildren incorporating prayer and boundaries in the process.  It teaches how to make God and marriage a priority so the whole family will benefit.  Learn how to set realistic expectations, communicate effectively with your stepchildren and deal with ex-spouses.

Do you feel alone in your stepmom journey?  Do you need some encouragement when your blended family is in the blender?  Take heart!  You’re not alone!  The authors tell their own personal stories that stepmoms can relate to and gives encouraging advice to their readers.

“Your success depends only on those things you can control – your attitudes, words, and actions (including the choice to accept God’s grace and love).  Your success as a stepmother does not – indeed, cannot – depend on those things you can’t control, including the actions of your stepchildren .”  p.8

(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of our review. All opinions are the her own.)

Grin With Grace

unnamedI love to study the Word.  Some of the best time I spend with friends is spent pouring over the Word of God. So when Kathy Carlton Willis approached me about reviewing her new Bible study book, Grin with Grace, I jumped at the chance.

Well, I jumped at the chance after she contacted me a second time and I realized I had responded in my head but never in an email.

I do that. And I’m working on it.

I did not make it through quite all of the lessons, but this is definitely a study you will want to with some of your girlfriends. “Grin with Grace explores ways to genuinely smile in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances.”  That is from the back cover of the book and oh-so-true.

Here’s what I didn’t quite like as much:  Kathy’s writing style is very easy, so easy sometimes I wondered if she was writing to a much younger audience.

That’s it.

This Bible study is biblically sound!! And we all know how much I love that!!  I love that her writing style is easy so Mommas and daughters can do the study together and they will both learn! And the cover is just plain cheery.

If you’re in the market for a new Bible study for yourself or your small group, this is a GREAT one!

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

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