"No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unto the Hills by Billy Graham

I had never really read a daily devotional before so the opportunity to review a devotional written by one of the most influential Christians of my life time was pretty exciting.   This was everything I had hoped it would be.  It's simple yet powerful with the classic Billy Graham insight that has inspired millions of Christians throughout the last several decades.  For each day of the year, the Reverend Graham quotes a Bible passage then reflects on that days message with a couple of richly written paragraphs then he ends each devotion with a short prayer.  This was well worth the read and was an excellent starting point into the vast world of devotionals.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Start! The Bible for New Believers by Greg Laurie

Start! The Bible for New Beginners is a New King James version Bible edited by Greg Laurie.  From the perpsective of a relatively new believer, Start! has many things going for it.   To start with, the New King James version is easier to understand and follow along with than a standard KJV Bible.   Start! is well referenced so little is "lost in translation".  The magnified text that helps to highlight important passages and the "blurbs" that help put certain passages in context or help define confusing terms are wonderful, although I do wish there were more of them, especially for the Old Testament.   The Old Testament can be confusing to new believers and new converts could easily benefit from a bit more direction and explanation in that area.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

After having some technical difficulties I'm finally able to put up a review. 

 I'm going to be honest and say that this was definately one of my favorite books.   Max Lucado uses the Book of Acts as a challenge to Christians everywhere to make the most out of our lives but making a positive difference in the lives of others.   The great thing about this book is that it is not just a call to do what's right, it's an instruction manual in how to do what's right.   It provides ideas and resources and even a study guide to make sure you, as the reader, get the most out of the message.   This book serves as a reminder that all of us, young and old, ordinary or powerful, rich and poor are all called to be servants in Christ and we can all make the most out of our lives.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

Let me start of by saying this is a very short book.   It took me approximately 10 minutes to read the whole thing.   But sometimes good things come in small packages.  

The book starts out telling the story of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a college professor and colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. At the battle of Gettysburg, he was told that he had to hold the end of a long troop line that spread along many miles. Chamberlain's platoon managed to successfully stop several Confederate attacks but time and limited supplies took it's toll on Chamberlain's command. The Confederates reformed and prepared for the final attack on Chamberlain's brigade.  Chamberlain was now out of ammunition and had just found out that his commanding officers had all been killed.  If he failed to hold his position the Union army would either have to surrender or would face enormous casualities.   Chamberlian made the decision to make one last go at the Confederate army.  He ordered his soldiers to fasten bayonettes at the ends of their rifles and had them charge the Confederate army as it prepared to attack.  It was enough to fool the Confederates who assumed that the Union army must have galvanized support and ammunition and they decided to retreat, eventually surrendering to Chamberlain.  

The basic premise of the book is that everyone plays an important role in the world.   Even small, seemingly insignificant actions, can have a ripple effect that can make a huge difference in the world.   Such as one University Professor guiding a ragtag band of soldiers with the simple instruction of "holding the line" turning out to be the difference between a Union or Confederate victory.  

This book carries a powerful punch.  I enjoyed the history lesson and the overall moral of the story.   It's succinct nature can be viewed as both a positive and a negative.   For some, like my husband, who really don't love to read, it provides a wonderful message in a less intimidating form than a thousand pag epic.   But for those who like in depth discussions and multiple literary examples, this book will probably leave you a little less than satisified.   Overall though, I would definately recommend it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

The Jesus You Can't Ignore is a refreshing new look at Jesus and how he dealt with those who were working against God.   Jesus has, in modern times, been portrayed as "politically correct", meak, passive, and as someone who was about avoiding conflict instead of engaging in it.   This book, however, takes a much different approach and points to a Jesus who was not only a peaceful, gentle savior but also a fierce defender of the faith.  MacArthur wonderfully intertwines gospel and insight to reveal a Jesus that was not afraid to fight for truth.  

Reviewed as part of the Thomas Nelson book review program.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Portable Patriot

Description: The American soul was forged in the smithy of the spoken word and printed page. Our reliance on the word goes back to the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. It continues through the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. It emerges in the political struggles of the Revolution and the ratification arguments of our national charter. Americans needn't turn to biased media to find our national identity. It's already written richly into our history. The Portable Patriot makes the choicest and most valuable selections accessible again.

Review:  The Portable Patriot offers a look at American history through some of the most influential documents of the time period.   It's an insightful collection that takes readers through the founding of this country in chronological order and from the words of the founding members.   The documents are kept true to form without a lot of added narrative to detract from the original written words.   The only complaint that I have is that I wish there had been a bit more attention paid to the actual founding documents.   Still, this is a rich and insightful historical collection and wonderful historical resource. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Captivating (Revised and Expanded) by John and Stasi Eldredge

"Life is harsh on the heart of a girl. And a woman. Remember your fairy tales-the villian always goes after the Beauty.  The story of your life is the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be-and fears you. But every store also has a Hero.  The story of your life is also the story of the long and passionate pursuit of your heart by the God who comes both to ransom and restore you as a captivating woman." -John and Stasi Eldredge

Captivating is a book that sets out to liberate the inner desires of a woman's heart through the affirmation of scripture and faith.  It offers an affirming take on the lives and hearts of women and shows that we, as women, are exactly what God wanted us to be.  

Like many others, I found this book to be uplifting.   It's one of those books that, if you open yourself up to it, hits a chord somewhere deep inside of your soul.   It allows you to realize that there is no set mold for who and what you need to be as a woman.   That mold is cast by society, not by God.   God made women beautiful and all those societal standards of what you should or should not do as a woman are surface deep at best.   This is a book that I will definately be sharing with my daughter when she's old enough to fully engage in it.