Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Sneeze Ted Dekker Blessed Child & A Man Called Blessed

The Caleb Series

In "Blessed Child"(originally published in 2001) we are introduced to Caleb, a 10 year old with amazing healing abilities, who grows up in a monastery orphanage with basically no contact with the outside world.

All Caleb wants is to serve G-d, animals follow and listen, people flock to him as well and experience healing. In the beauty and joy of it all Caleb poisoned, shot, abducted and maintains his innocent, pure faith.

Father Nikolous believes Caleb has "psychic powers" and begins to book public events with high costs for admission. Like every Dekker book there are plot twists to keep you from figuring out the whole story as you read. (which I love about his writing)

Jason, a Peace Corps worker, asked to rescue Caleb Jason works his way through war zones to find him. Add to the list of rescuers is a Red Cross nurse, Leiah.

"A Man Called Blessed" Caleb is now a twenty-ish man, living back in Ethiopia, with Jason & Leiah, SPOILER ALERT: his adoptive parents. As a child, Caleb had an amazing faith and a heart for God,now we see that as a young man, he has misplaced his love for God. Like a spiritual desert, Caleb has had to come to terms with his faith in this desert.

Rebecca Solomon, a former IDF soldier turned archaeologist, leading her team deep into the desert, to try and find the remains of the Ark of the Covenant. It's a discovery would bring hope to the Jewish people and give them something tangible to hold onto in the midst of suffering. However Palestinian forces have followed and are trying to stop her. While the Jews seek rebuild the Temple on the Mount, the Arabs are mobilizing to for war.

Book Sneeze City on Fire by Tracy Higley

City on Fire by Tracy Higley  (This is a reissue of the 2011 book for those who have previously read the author's books.)
It is the story a Jewish girl who has fled the destruction of  the burning of the Temple in Jerusalem and the persecution of the Jewish people by Nero, to Pompeii, a city we know is a city doomed. The rumbles of Vesuvius are warnings to us who know the fate of the city.
Ariella, Lioness of G-d as her names translates, becomes quite the lioness as she goes from slave to gladitor.
" I am invincible," she claims. Angry and bitter, she no longer trusts God, but in her own strength.

The author has done well with researching the culture, and lifestyles of those in Pompeii. Pompeii was a vile city, the culture and morality portrayed in the book are what you would expect of a Roman Empire under Nero, with fewer details thankfully. This sets the scene for the contrasts of that culture and the culture of the early Christians and their faith.

Well written, historical fiction, and I look forward to reading more of Tracy Higley's works.

From the Publisher: In the coastal town of Pompeii, a new gladiator prepares to fight. But this gladiator hides a deadly secret: she’s a runaway Jewish slave girl named Ariella, disguised as a young boy. A savvy fighter, Ariella determines to triumph in the arena, knowing her life will be forfeit should anyone uncover the truth.

Cato, a wealthy politician, moved to Pompeii after tiring of the corruption in Rome. But he soon learns that Pompeii is just as corrupt, and if he doesn’t play the game, his family could pay the price. Determined to bring about justice for the citizens of Pompeii, Cato searches for allies. But what he discovers instead is a confounding group of Christians . . . and a young female gladiator whose fame is growing daily.

Political unrest reaches a boiling point as Christians are jailed and executed, and the mountain in the distance threatens to destroy the city with its river of fire. Cato and Ariella must act quickly and courageously to save their loved ones before all is lost.

Author bio:

Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. Tracy, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe (of Narnia), into the thrilling unknown. With every book she writes, she wants to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with her into a place that captivates.

Book Sneeze Dear Mr. Knightley

I was sent Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay for review.
This is a very sweet book written in a letter format.
The author combines some of the beast of literature, Austen, Bronte and Dickens themes through out the book.
The main character, Samantha Moore, seeks to make her own way in the world. The choices of submission, obedience and being willing to look  at other options are constantly being presented. Will Sam be willing to take advice? Will she stick to her own plans? Is she willing to learn what grace really means?

This is a lovely story. Having 4 daughters who love literature and are at just the right age for this book, this was a good choice.

From the Publisher:
Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.
But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.
Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Sneeze- Adventure Bible Storybook Deluxe Edition

With 6 children, we have gone through many children's Bibles and Bible Story books over the years.
This is definitely a "story book". Of the 50 stories included, you will find more than Noah and Moses, there is even Paul's journey to Malta.

The author tells of the accomplishments of each character, but not always the motivating factor or "why" (such as out of obedience to G-d) that those things were done. There are also speculations and "factoids" that are unsupported. Some liberties were definitely taken with the stories. Catherine DeVries has been influential in the development of many bestselling children's Bibles and Bible storybooks including The Adventure Bible, The Beginner's Bible and the Jesus Storybook Bible. The Beginner's Bible was a great favourite of our children.

The cds are a nice quality, a bit too young for our almost 8 year old daughter, but the 2 year that the older girls babysit likes them. Layers of sound, rather than merely narration, increase the entertainment value.

It is supposed to be a part of the "Grow with me" Adventure Bible series of products. As the child grows the next piece is added on. The Adventure Bible and Adventure Bible Handbook and Devotionals are geared for the next age level.

WARNING: the Adventure Bible is NIV 2011 edition, which is BOTH the  TNIV and the NIV merged. Some gender neutral phrasing is one thing to be aware of. If your schools use A Beka books, the new NIVs will NOT match the curriculum.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"The Daniel Cure" by Susan Gregory

I am conflicted in my response to this book.
We have a need in our country for spiritual guidance while we lack mentors. Many are desperate to know what a fast is and how to fast. We have a nation that is rebellious and individualistic. Isaiah 58 calls this out. What is the MOTIVATION of the fast?
This book is a good resource for looking at a health/diet cleanse. Having had a friend who eradicated cancer from her body with a strict diet, I can attest to the health benefits. The introduction cites our need for spiritual, emotional and diet changes. We do seasonal juice "cleanses", stay away from GMOs, eat kosher...even a low-gluten intake. When faced with a breast cancer scare, my response was definite and focused on diet changes.

I have not read the Original book "The Daniel Fast", which this book builds off of. This review is strictly based on "The Daniel Cure".
In chapter 5 the authors state,"Weight-loss products along with related elective procedures and services amount to a multi-billion-dollar-per-year business in the United States." With 100 pages of recipes, 145 pages on health/how to, there is a scant, 18 pages of "devotional" material. 

This is where I am conflicted. Is this a book on Fasting, or another book for the "multi-billion-dollar-per-year business"? 
If you are looking for a healthly lifestyle "spring board", this book may be one worth looking into. It provides the information for making a lifestyle change even if it is for a short period of time, such as the initial 21 days.

If you are looking for a book on fasting, you may want to check out "Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough" which cites 9 biblical fasts and their purposes.


There are many other related products for you to purchase such as recipe books, Daniel fasting for Lent, and the original Daniel Fast book. 
"The Daniel Cure helps readers will convert the Daniel Fast from a once-a-year spiritual discipline into a new way of life that can begin any time of the year."
The Daniel Cure includes a 21-Day Daniel Cure Devotional, four chapters detailing the lifestyle diseases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation, eleven chapters of recipes and meal planning advice, a recipe index, complete nutritional guidance, and an appendix detailing 'The Science behind the Daniel Fast.'
What is the Daniel Fast?

"The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, in which certain foods are restricted and others are consumed. This fast is similar to a 'purified' vegan diet; in addition to the exclusion of all animal products, no additives, preservatives, sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, white flour, or processed foods are allowed. With the Daniel Fast people can eat as much Daniel-Fast-friendly food as they would like. Though most people begin the Daniel Fast for a spiritual purpose, many are amazed by the physical transformation that takes place. Many with high cholesterol experience a drop to healthy levels; people who have wrestled with weight issues are suddenly able to lose the pounds. The vast majority of participants following the Daniel Fast report a general sense of well-being and increased energy. Recent published scientific studies of the Daniel Fast have confirmed these findings, with additional benefits, such as a reduction in systemic inflammation, a reduction in blood pressure, and an improvement in antioxidant defenses."

Knowing God By Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, and Mary Southerland

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine" Isaiah 43:1
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” Psalm 20:7

Covering 40 names of God mentioned in the Bible, the authors hope you will find new insights as to who God is and what He does on your behalf.  As you discover Who God is and His character is revealed in His Names, the more you know Him, the more you'll trust Him. "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you" Psalm 9:10.This book shares how you can know God by name and you can trust Him. His children are eager to know more about and apply the names of God in their daily spiritual life.

The book is set up with  five day devotional entries and a Bible study to serve as a guide for an 8 week study, along with a discussion and journaling page. Includes a pronunciation guide for God’s Hebrew and Greek names as well as the English translation. The authors also provide the Bible verse in which the name is used. It is a friendly book that when read makes you feel like you are hanging out with your girlfriends.

My only hang up with this book is the way יהוה YHVH is translated as yahweh but at least it is not jehovah! This is not a correct or provable rendition of the covenant name of G-d, the tetragrammaton. If you do not mind that, then you will love this book.(this rendition of the "name"came from early English translators who transposed the vowels from Adonai to the Tetragrammaton,) 


"Elohim is the first name for God in the Bible, and it is found in the 
first sentence of God’s Word. “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). So let’s begin our journey of knowing God by name…in the beginning.
Before the creation of the world, there was nothing. Our human minds can’t even conceive or imagine nothing. But into the nothing God spoke, and what was not became what is......Now let’s take a closer look at the very first name of God found in the Bible: Elohim. The Hebrew word Elohim is the plural form of the Hebrew word El, one of the oldest designations for divinity. It means “mighty one or strong one.”4
The name Elohim encapsulates the truth of God’s creative power, majesty, and might, as well as His sovereign rule over all creation. The fact that it is the plural form of El points to the truth of the Trinity—God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are the collective Us in Genesis 1:26. 
Elohim is used over two thousand times in the Old Testament to  name God, and thirty-two of those occur in Genesis 1:1–2:3"

"In ancient times names carried powerful significance. In addition to distinguishing one person from another and connecting family members, names were thought to reflect a person's character, nature, and destiny. Joseph's two sons were named Manasseh, meaning "God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household," and Ephraim, meaning "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering" (Genesis 41:50-52). Abraham's name meant a "father of many nations," and the name of his wife, Sarah, meant "princess-the mother of many nations"1 (Genesis 17:5, 15-16). Then there was Jacob, whose name meant "trickster," Esau whose name meant "red," and Jabez whose name meant "pain." If you're familiar with their lives, you can see how these names are intricately connected with each person's story.
God has many names in the Bible, and just like the names of the people to whom He revealed Himself, each one brings to light something about His character and His ways-who He is and what He does. Our finite human minds can barely comprehend even a fraction of the depth of His wisdom, the breadth of His love, the magnitude of His power, or the height of His grace. But like a multifaceted diamond, each name invites us to glory in a different aspect of our amazing God."

"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Sneeze Running for Recovery Marathons of the Body, Mind, Spirit By CH LTC, RET Arthur Coffey, Jr., D. Min.

This book is about the physical transformation of a mind, transformed by the Word of G-d.
After a motorcycle accident, Arthur was hospitalized for 3 mons. His IQ was at 39, they believed he would never recover. He does still  have memory loss issues. The book is filled with quotes, scripture and the author''s insights. If this is Arthur's writings "impaired", he must have been a force to be reckoned with!

This book is a testimony to the ways that the Word of God is living and active, can renew and transform the individual and their minds themselves. Using his own experiences and going further into research and presenting that research, the author shares how the Bible can have an effect on the mind of those suffering Alzheimers or like his own memory/brain damage, and restore the mind.

A good friend of ours once experienced a similar renewing of his mind. Having lived in a drugged up state, he had killed so many brain cells. He was given scriptures verses, one at a time to memorize. Each one building on the other. Today he is one of the most brilliant men I know.

Arthur Coffey takes this a bit further by having research done and recorded.
"Coffey presented his Alzheimer's research, centered on Scripture, at the Mayo Clinic, where it was voted the most outstanding of those presented and declared to be "pioneer research" because no other known research had ever used Scripture as the independent variable. Coffey earned a doctorate in "wholistic" health care, awarded by Lutheran Theological Seminary. The exam committee proclaimed him to be the best they had seen in the field."

I love the way the military man comes through in this book. "This is what happened, these are the facts" no nonsense approach to what God has done in his life. There is no fluff in this book. There is however a lot of scripture, because Arthur knows it is God's words and not his own that can bring change. (I think you have to have some military back ground just to decipher all the letters surrounding his name! (: )

Free Sample

In a physical marathon, the “wall” shows up about mile twenty or twenty-one; when this happens, mind and body shake hands to say “we quit.” That’s where most runners will shut down, unless they reach down into their identity as spirit. To the question “Who am I; what is my identity?” God’s answer is “I am spirit; I have a mind; and I live in a body.” So, to break through the “wall” requires a hierarchy of spirit over mind over body. God’s Word will address our spirit when mind and body are out of it, thereby setting Word over spirit over mind over body to keep the feet moving. Project this to other marathons: mental, spiritual, emotional, interpersonal, occupational, financial, etc.
Book Interview (Audio)

Author Bio
Arthur Coffey has served as a parish pastor for fifteen years, an Army chaplain for twenty-three years, and a Veterans Affairs Medical Center Chaplain for twelve years. He was mobilized for Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor, and the Humanitarian Aid tour to Guatemala.
Coffey is the recipient of the Witherspoon Award for "most creative use of Scripture," presented by the National Bible Association and the Armed Forces Chief of Chaplains.
He is also the recipient of a Veterans Affairs National Chaplain of the Month award for "outstanding service in the promotion of the Bible in ministry, healing and research."

Book Sneeze James: Faith Becomes Real By Carole Arceneaux

Over decades, every time the book of James has been studied "bad things happen". It has become a taboo book, a superstition almost. There may be great verses quoted in it, but it has been one I just meander through, skim over, because REAL study brings REAL trials.
So in the midst of pay cuts, breast cancer scares, college applications, courses and financing them, and my daughter's 18th birthday (which is a blessing but frightening), why not read James? We are already in steady trials.

This book is set up more as a devotional through James. The author selects a verse, sometimes several, and has a lovely devotion on each one. It takes you through James in bite size pieces.
It is not a large book, and really should be marketed as a 40 day or so Devotional Journey through James.
Carole Arceneaux does a great job at highlighting verses in each chapter and expanding on key points in scripture. It is like sitting down and having some one gently nugde, "Did you catch that?" or "When you read that verse, did you see what he was saying there?" and "Now that you read that, what are you going to do with God's word?"
The book seems to have been written a gentle spirit, a heart to encourage you to ponder and think about the Words you have been given.

On James 1:22:
"Most of us have heard the old adage "actions speak louder than words", but how many of us live by this creed? By doing God's word, believers are able to show the world God Himself. His love and acceptance should emanate from our lives and our interactions with others. If we hear God's word and do not act on it we are deluded into thinking we are better people and better followers of God than we are."

Book Sneeze- Change How to Remain a Strong Leader during Your Church’s Transition By Janice Stinnett

Encourage leaders while going through a church’s transition.
Depend on God to lead the leader in all aspects.
Offer new plans and perspective while leaning on God’s guidance.

Janice Oliver Stinnett developed this material while personally going through her church's transition as the church's treasurer. Some of the topics covered in this book are "Courage in Christ", "New Beginnings in Church Leadership", prayer, recognizing spiritual attacks, peace and submission, and encouragement.

Shew! We are going through transitions and changes! I feel like a runner who has hit the wall and is waiting for a second wind or deciding to quit. As we were flying home to California, I got the email listing this as a book that would be available. Perfect timing! 

Janice asks questions like: What does God require from a leader? What kind of heart do you posses? Where does your passion lay? What desire do you have for your church? Why me?

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

If you are in a time of change, transition, may want to get this book! It provides great advice on how to pray, what to be aware of and peace to come through it.

"If God wants His church to change, it must be needed."

"As the world watches from either inside or outside a church,Christians, you need to make sure you are in the center of God’s will while you go through your church’s transition—or the change."

"Upon accepting the challenge when God calls you into His will, you had better have your whole armor of grace on or you will be scarred from head to toe."

"A mind must change as a person witnesses the truth of hearing or reading the word of God."

"A changed church can only happen when leaders are not lukewarm for the gospel and allow the tabernacle of God to transform the church."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Sneeze Last Light By Terri Blackstock

Post Apocalyptic books is one of my weaknesses. I have no idea why. and I adore Terri Blackstock. When technology fails, and the worl crumbles around you, what can you rely on? Siri will not give you an answer, GPS won't show you which way to turn.

This reminds me a bit of a series we have been watching on Netflix called Revolution. BUT the answer lies not in a secret advancement of technology, but in G-d. Human nature is exposed when the situations get out of control. Will they hoard their supplies or help others around them? Will they trust and rely on each other or will the crisis tear their family apart?

Throw in a murder and the mystery that is Terri Blackstock's strength in writing and you have a great book!

I am glad these are being re-released, and they should do well in the current market with others also interested in the "end of the world as we know it" Post Apocalyptic genre. I read this book several years ago. Love the new cover!

sample of the audio book:

Last Light is the first in a four-book series.

Book Sneeze Unglued - Lysa TerKeurst

Making imperfect progress!
This book discusses two types of people, the exploders and the stuffers. Neither one  is really a good way to deal emotions. Stuffing can lead to exploding. I can be both. Especially with my thyroid constantly throwing me a curve ball....or the decade of pregnancy hormones! :) Those are just excuses. This book sdiscusses how to stop blaming, shaming, building walls and hurling stones.

If you have ever thought "I know that this is not the way I want to react, but I do not know what to do!!!", then get this book. Some times you just need steps, and an idea on where to start. There was a reason the older women were to teach the younger women. We have lost a lot of that in or culture and churches. Thankfully, Lysa wants to share her experiences and the ways she has found to "Make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions."

Many of the principles will be familiar to any one who has gone through a study of Nancy Missler's. Those principles are broken down and made a little less cerebral and approachable.
Such as:

  • Emotions were created by G-d, they are not sin but what you do with them...can be 
  • You are responsible for your obedience not another's actions/reactions. 
  • Recognizing and taking responsibility for our emotions, feelings and actions. 
  • Replacing lies we hear with the TRUTH of the Word. 

Publisher's Summary:
An angry word, cruel comment behind someone’s back, or a flood of tears. All women experience these ‘unglued feelings’ at times, often when they least expect it. These emotions are not wrong, in fact they are God-given. However, our emotions should be indicators not dictators. Each experience is an opportunity to either fall back into patterns that make us wallow in guilt or chose more wisely and make progress. TerKeurst equips women with spiritual strategies to help them manage their reactions. It’s one thing to tell a woman to control her feelings but a whole new kind of help to show her step by step how to let this situation work for her rather than against her.

"Raw emotions are those feelings we hide from others but take out on those we love most. We may exhibit patience and kindness when talking with the grocery clerk, a co-worker, even the difficult person at the returns counter; but, at home, sometimes the smallest, most trivial things set women off, sparking an angry word, cruel comment behind someone’s back, or a flood of tears."

The Sabbath not only needs to be observed but also preserved. The observer remembers to rest. The preserver rests to remember - remember that it's all about God.

"My job is obedience; God's job is results."

"When my happy gets bumped, what's really going on in my heart is on display. In those times I will either add to the authenticity of my love for Jesus or, sadly, negate it."

There is a DVD with study guide, as well as a 60 day devotional book.

Small Group Study Guide Trailer: (18 min) and learn about her hair obsession :)

Sessions include: 
Session 1: Grace for the Unglued 
Session 2: Freedom for the Unglued 
Session 3: Four Kinds of Unglued 
Session 4: A Procedure Manual for the Unglued 
Session 5: Lingering Words for the Unglued 
Session 6: Imperfect Progress for the Unglued