Friday, July 22, 2016

TODAY's MOMENT OF TRUTH by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg



This is a book of devotions. They're undated. Strobel and Mittelberg start out with an Introduction. The Intro lets the reader know what kind of devotions these are. He has written 360 devotions. Each devotion begins with a Bible verse. The body of the devotion is no more than two pages. Each devotion ends with a Truth for Today. This is meant to encourage the reader to apply the principles in the devotion. Strobel and Mittelberg end this devotional with pages of endnotes and a Bibiography. He wraps it all up with an author bio. Strobel is a follower of Jesus from an atheist background. Strobel has written many books on apologetics. The Case for Christ and A Case for Faith are only a few of Strobel's works. Strobel serves as the professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. Mittelberg is also a bestselling author, speaker and leading outreach strategist. He serves as the Executive Director the Center for American Evangelism. This is in partnership with Houston Baptist University. Confident Faith and The Reason Why: Faith Makes Sense are two of his works.

This book is what I expected. Apologetics. I have known of Lee Strobel as an apologetics author for many years. So his apologetics devotions come as no surprise. I found myself reading them every chance I got. I used them in my own quiet time, even as I reviewed them I found the devotions interesting. Most devotionals focus on the heart and emotions. Strobel's devotions appeal to my them. I like the fast reading, as these devotions are short. I found them easy to read also.Strobel shares about his frequent face-to-face evangelism encounters. As face-to-face social interaction is my greatest weakness, I found these anecdotes convicting. He shares about how his evangelism has successfully won people to Jesus. All of Strobel's books are valuable in removing barriers that keep people from Christ. These devotions do the same thing. I'm not sure what the role of his co-writer, Mark Mittelberg, is. Strobel quotes his co-writer and some of his writings. Good book.

I recommend this book for all Christians. It seems geared to all stages of spiritual growth. I recommend this book for pastors. These devotions may seem too simple for them. Yet they will equip pastors to contend for the faith and hone their own apologetics skills. I recommend this book for questioning non-believers. This book is directly addressed to a Christian audience. Yet the many indirect anecdotes may speak to non-believers about their situations.

I received a complimentary copy of this book though BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review of the book. I wasn't required to give a positive review of this book.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Together At the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge



This book is marketed as a Christian novel. It's also a romance. This book is arranged in two parts. Part One is quite a bit longer than Part Two. The 34 chapters are short. Each chapter begins (or ends) with a food-oriented saying. A decoration and the italicized chapter number, line the far top right of each chapter. Each chapter ends with a recipe. The book begins with a forward. It's a letter from the central character to her fiance. In bold, it sets the stage fr the rest of this book. A Reader's Guide of questions for reflection is also included. All is ended with Acknowledgments made to those who made this book possible. The author, Hillary Manton Lodge, is an avid storyteller. She's a novelist, having written series books. These include the Two Blue Doors and the Plain and Simple Series. This book is Book 3 of the Two Blue Doors Series.

This novel failed to hold my interest. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I didn't realize that this is a lighthearted novel and a sentimental romance. In any case, it wasn't wha I expected. The description of this book indicated that a major secret loomed in the primary character's past. At first this caused me to anticipate reading this novel. When I started reading it, though, I never got intersted in this novel. The author writies this story well, from a literary point of view. This book is attractively packaged. It appeals to "foodies" who like to discuss food. The appeal is to those who like to read lighthearted material. This isn't a deep book. It's a book to snuggle up with and read with your coffee. As for me, I don't care to discuss food: I just like to eat it! I discerned little suspense in the story. Even at the end, when the secret was being uncovered, it didn't seem to be major. It seems to be something that is likely in the family trees of many of us. This book is marketed as a Chistian novel. But the only mention of spiritual things is once in the book. That's when the author mentions that the primary character attends her local worship service. I read of no mention of God, Christ, or spiritual things in this book beside this. So this novel is more like a wholesome, lighthearted novel. While the primary character has challenges, they seem to be more of the "mundane" variety.

This book is a lighthearted, wholesome novel. So it won't likely appeal to a broad audience. If you're tired of seedy, salacious novels, this book may be for you. There are many trashy novels out there, which should be burned! If you're a "foodie" who likes to discuss food, you'll enjoy this book. If you enjoy pure sentimental romances, this book is for you. Outside of these groups,I can't see that this book would hold anyone else's interest.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

TEEN STUDY BIBLE



This is a teen study Bible. It's the New King James version translation. Larry and Sue Richards have written the features. This Bible starts out with the Apostles' Creed, the Table of Contents, and tips of how to use this Bible. It includes a preface about the translation itself. Each chapter begins with a description of the book. There are inserts all over this Bible that address issues that apply to the lives of typical teens. Features include We Believe, which unpacks the Apostles' Creed to help teens know why we believe what we believe. Panorama looks at the big picture of each book of the Bible. There are four full color pages, all about the Apostles' Creed. There are key indexes that help teens with in-depth Bible study. To the Point reveals what the Bible says about pressing issues. Dear Jordan offers teens biblical advice. Instant Access tells teens what God says to them personally. Q&A tests knowledge of Bible trivia. Bible Promises highlights Bible verses worth remembering. Book Introductions provides an overview for each book of the Bible. There's an eight page, full color map section. And this Bible contains the complete text of the New King James Version (NKJV).

I'm not the target audience for this book. I'm well past the teen years. The text of this Bible was more like high school level, being almost as small as for adults. I did some of the Bible trvia. What I didn't know I wouldn't even guess; I just looked up the answer. But this is a fun feaure for those who like this kind of thing. The Dear Jordan segments address issues that teens face. These issues include sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, and much more. Jordan handles the sample questions with a pleasing mixtures of honesty, sensitivity, and compassion. The features are meant to get teens to go to God and find their answers and help in Him and the Christian community. Short featres like these can give teens the impression that life can be wrapped up in tidy and quick solutions. The I would have liked to see more hotline 23/7 numbers for readers to contact in these Dear Jordan segments. I guess the editors assumed that teens use the Internet and can look up such information. This Bible is durable and good for the remainder of the teen years though this is a Bible meant to grow out of. This is clearly for teens serious about studying the Bible. Actually, we are blessed to have niche Bibles like this for many demographic groups. In many countries and areas of the world, Bibles are in short supply. In many areas, it's hard or impossible to get a Bible. In many countries of persecution, it's illegal to possess a Bible, read it or teach it. Here in the U.S., we've got an abundance of Bibles! We even have a grandmother's Bible. Always, though, we need to bear in mind that this is God's Word and that man's word isn't needed to add anything to it. There are teens, though, who may prefer plain Bible text and this Bible may not be for them.

The target audience for this Bible is obvious. Teens. Especially older teens. This is a good study Bible that that can be used in youth Bible studies. Since teens like to pick out their own things, I can't speak for who would like this sort of Bible and who wouldn't. I don't recommend that parents waste money on any Bible (or anything) unless the teen gets a chance to check it out first. As a niche Bible, this can't be recommended to general readers.

I have received a complimentary copy of the book through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review of this Bibe. I wasn't required to give a positive review of this book.

Monday, June 13, 2016

There are 182 Signatures on This Petition! Help It Grow!



Because of online political involvement over the past months, I've neglected this petition. Now that the primaries are practically over, I'm back to my primary activity. Months ago, I began a petition to get legislation creating a nationwide abortion alternative. It would give those facing unplanned pregnancies several years of temporary foster care. I have just shortened this period to two years, in recognition that a child needs stability. Two years is still ample time to allow birth parents to improve their own lives to be able to comfortably raise children. While n amount of time in the foster care is ideal in any sense of the world, it's far better than being murdered! This would offer those facing unplanned pregnancies another incentive to choose life for their babies. Temporary foster care isn't available widely or nationwide or pregnancy resource centers would present it as an abortion alternative. The fact that they don't proves we need nationwide legislation, so many babies would be saved through another abortion alternative! If you have already signed this petition, SHARE it! If you haven't yet done so, ADD YOUR NAME! Thank you!


Friday, June 10, 2016

THE BRIDE (ZILLA) OF CHRIST by Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin



This book is part memoir, part how-to. Its focus is on interpersonal conflict among those in the Christian community. Ted Kluck, one of the authors, is a professional writer. He has written or co-written many books. These include Why We're Not Emergent, a bestseller. His work has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Sports Spectrum Magazine, and at ESPN.com. He's an assistant professor at Union University. Ronnie Martin is an internationally known Dove Award-nominated recording artist. He has more than 20 album credits that span three decades. He is the lead pastor of Substance Church. The authors open this book with their Prologues. They alternate chapters, over nine chapters. They end this book with Acknowledgements of those who made this book possible. Both authors include their credits. Then they wrap it all up with notes crediting outside sources they used.

In the literary sense, I found this book very easy to read. I read it in two days. Emotionally, it's very hard to absorb. I didn't expect this book to be so convicting and focused on the inherent corruption and wickedness of the reader. This is true whether we are the ones being wounded or are doing the wounding. This isn't a soothing, feel-good book. I rather expected it to be. I have read other books on this same topic which were more soothing and less convicting than this book. As I read, I was taken back to hurts I experienced in the Christian community that were based on cliques, church politics and favoritism. In fact, our family left one congregation because of my interpersonal conflicts with some members whom I got to know really well. I fully agreed with the authors when they point out that we need to lower our expectations of fellow Christians. I do wish he had addressed the reality that not everyone who attends church possesses saving faith. Being part of a church fellowship doesn't make us believers. In fact, Rev. Billy Graham one said that he believes that only five percent of members in any American local church fellowship are true Christ-followers. He needed to point out that many people we attend church with may not know Christ. And that may be the biggest reason that they act unChristian--they don't have the Holy Spirit living inside them. But the authors are 100% right in asserting that we are to relate to people based on appreciating the underserved grace that God extends to us in His Son Jesus. Then with this appreciation of knowing that we are the recipients of God's grace, we extend this same grace to others. I would have liked to see more examples of the authors' principles but I understand they may have felt that the excluded them because of confidentiality, space and readability. One of the authors briefly mentioned "the horrors of abortion" as part of the depravity of our culture, which is behind church conflicts.

I recommend this book for all pastors. Above all those in any congregation, they and their families have to deal with the Christian community. This book will give them talking points for preaching on interpersonal relationships in sermons. This book is for every Christian. We all need the foundation of the knowledge of God's grace toward us in the face of our sins and wrongs. Without this understanding, the principles in this book and in the Bible, are foolishness. There is no earthly reason to obey many of the Bible's precepts, except love for God and knowing His grace toward us. Because of bullying in schoold and online, a youth version of this book needs to be written.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through BloggingFor Books in exchange for my honest review of this book. The book I received was an uncorrected proof. It was not the finished product. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.

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