Saturday, November 17, 2012

Does not compare with actually reading Chesterton's work

Thomas Nelson IncOct 30, 2012 - 384 pages
A year ago I read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (and very much enjoyed it) so I kind of thought I knew what to expect from this book. But I’ll be honest, its not what I expected. The author does know a lot about G.K. Chesterton and his writings but some times after reading the verse of the day I felt that how the author chose to emphasize the point of the verse using Chesterton’s writings had little correlation or was simply to convoluted. Many of the bible verses that were chosen were one-liners and so were missing the grand context in the bible; on another note I would like to add it also isn’t that hard to attach Chesterton’s writings (or anyone’s writings for that matter) to verses that have such general themes like ‘justice, mercy, grace, etc.’

Upon reading this book I have 3 recommendations to anyone thinking about buying this book.
1. If you love G.K. Chesterton’s writings: Get one of his books, don't just get a book with snippets, with some days mere sentences of his writings – this might prove to be a disappointment 
2. If you want to buy it as a devotional: There are plenty of awesome devotionals out there, this is not one of them. Yes there were many interesting things in this book but all of which can be found by reading Chesterton’s work. I never put it down feeling as if I got a blessing from it.
3. Want a deeper understanding: Whether it’s of Chesterton’s work or of God I suggest again either get one of Chesterton’s books and study that, it would end up being much more meaningful and interesting. Or open the bible and read/ study that for yourself. OR you may do both, use Chesterton’s writings with the bible if you wish, any of these options I believe would be of more use.
I want to thank Booksneeze for providing this book to me for an honest review, as you can tell the review was not required to be positive but of my own honest opinion. 

Walking on Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning: Finding Hope in Life's Darkest Moments

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Nov 1, 2012 - 158 pages
What a beautiful book. Seriously. I love reading all sorts of Christian books but this one just had a different feel. The authors open up their personal lives allowing the reader in and making themselves vulnerable by sharing such personal experiences. I write this review from the perspective that I am constantly under stress, anxiety, and am always overwhelmed. I do try to find hope through my relationship with God but as the authors point out in the book through their experiences, God does not always bring about healing using our timeline. This book was a breath of fresh air, gave me hope, encouragement, but most of all I walked away with peace after reading it (and every single time I put it down).
I love the bible and so was overjoyed with the amount of passages I saw in this book. I believe our primary manual for anything should be the bible; therefore, seeing so many passages in this book reassured me that what the authors had to say did not come from their own personal philosophies but came from the word of God.
I would seriously recommend this book not only to those struggling with depression or OCD (two subjects they cover wonderfully), but anyone in need of hope or encouragement whether it be in school, personal lives, etc., get the book, you wont be disappointed.
I actually got this book thinking I could use some pointers to help a loved one suffering major depression. I was expecting I’d get something out of it to help my loved one (and I did) but I was not expecting a blessing for myself as well. Highly recommended. I also want to thank Tyndale publishing for having provided me a copy of this book so that I may be blessed by it in return for an honest review.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Simple to read, simple to understand, simple to apply

Published by Thomas Nelson, Sept 11, 2012 - 240 pages

I like Max, he never fails to write a good book. If you are familiar with Max Lucado’s books, this one is no different; with that comes the good and the bad.

The good:

Max does a fabulous job illustrating Grace through biblical passages, world events, and personal stories. It's a simple read that anyone can pick up, and quickly understand what grace is without perhaps any past understanding of it. The topic is an important one that all believers, and non-believers need to hear and understand. A counselor, David Seamands, puts it simply “We read, we hear, we believe a good theology of grace. But that’s not the way we live. The good news of the Gospel of grace has not penetrated the level of emotions.” I don’t know about you but I can attest that to be true. I know very little people that get excited and emotional about grace – but we should! This book leads us into the right direction, it attempts to do just that: penetrate the level of our emotions.

The bad/ why this book is not for everyone:

The reason it isn't for everyone is because everyone is on a different spiritual path. If you are looking for a deeper theological, more biblical passage based book that investigates the topic of grace then this book is probably not for you. This is a simple look at grace – many times that's all that people need ‘have a child’s faith’ right? But unfortunately I think we miss out on a lot if we stop at the simple interpretation. There are many other wonderful books on grace and my particular belief is that if you want to study grace, please go ahead and read this book, but don't stop there! I would HIGHLY recommend Philip Yancey’s book ‘What’s so amazing about grace’. With at least these two you may get a better image of grace and not simply Max’s take on it. Don't get me wrong, I like Max’s take but having more than one view is integral to understanding anything.
I just want to thank booksneeze for giving me a copy of this book to review. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own, and I did not have to give a positive review of this book

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fantastic Story of Forgiveness

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Jul 1, 2010 - 278 pages

I’ve heard bits and pieces of the story about the devil in pew number seven before, so I wondered whether it was worth reading all 289 pages recounting it. I’m so glad I did. Although I’ve heard bits of the story before I never had the whole picture or the background to the story. It was like reading a movie script that kept me glued to he pages. I would read late into the night, 3 a.m. or longer, read it in the bathroom or during any spare minute I had. Was it really that interesting? YES!

To anyone unfamiliar with the story: Rebecca, the author, has lived through quite the ordeal in her life. After her family moved into a small town they were terrorized and endlessly threatened to leave the town “walking or crawling, dead or alive.” Her father was the pastor and the changes he brought did not sit well with one of the town citizens. After years of bombings and drive by shootings words became a reality and both her parents were shot in front of the children’s eyes in their home.

Rebecca’s mother died within minutes, her father lived but was mentally tormented until he was sent to an early grave just a few years later. At the age of 14 Rebecca and her younger brother Daniel were orphans.

This is an amazing true story recounting the tragic events that occurred. What is more amazing is the story of forgiveness that is told. We all struggle to forgive sometimes for little things sometime for big things and bitterness becomes like a virus within us. Rebecca shows that no matter how heinous the crime has been against us we can, and should forgive. She sets an amazing example for what it means to forgive, the power that forgiveness has, and makes us all re-examine the bitterness we hold buried down inside.

An amazing story, that I recommend every read it for themselves! Thank you to Tyndale publishing for providing me with a copy of this book to be able to provide an honest review of the devil in pew number seven.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Shot of Faith (to the Head) Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists By Mitch Stokes

I began reading this book and the stopped. I realized that while I am reading a book that goes against atheistic arguments I cannot possibly know if it does a good job or not without reading the atheistic arguments first. So I turned to Dawkins and Hitchens and read The God Delusion and God Is Not Great. Upon finishing those I returned to this book and began reading. I must admit Hitchens and Dawkins, although having only a few reasonable things to say never made me once question my faith or believe the validity of their arguments; and so I started reading this book with a bit of a biased that whatever is written by Mitch Stokes will be a better argument then I have read in the previous books. I was definitely right.

I have read other books by D’souza, C.S. Lewis, McGrath, etc. detailing their arguments toward atheists but Mitch Stokes takes a different approach. Stokes argues using philosophy, a study that atheists claim their own. He does a masterful job tearing down the arguments that Dawkins and Hitchens raise in their books.  More impressive is how intelligently he argues his points thus making it a fabulous book for me to recommend to my “intelligent” and “more learned” friends who do not believe in God. Honestly it is a great book, a different approach then other books that I have read and one that I would recommend to believers and non-believers to read.
One other point is I LOVE how he presents his main points at the end of each chapter. The chapters can be so detailed and dense that by the end of the book you might have a hard time recalling the main important points – well the most important points for our arsenal could be easily looked up at the end of each chapter. 5/5 stars.
Thank you to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for providing a free copy for this personal and honest review of the book