Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Journey to Victorious Praying by Bill Thrasher | Review

"When our heart ceases to pray, we are not praying."
-Bill Thrasher

A Journey to Victorious Praying by Bill Thrasher was written to give readers a revival and reawakening in their prayer lives. You know that your prayer life has died when you pray without expectancy of any outcome, and I feel safe in saying that we all eventually reach that point. When this happens, we have to ask, "Why pray?" That is where this book comes in. We need to let the Holy Spirit move us, and guide and empower us in prayer. True prayer starts with God and the prayer burden He places on our heart. Also, it is thanksgiving (not just prayer and supplication) that truly brings us to peace. Finally, do not forget to share your real concerns, burdens, and desires with God. He already knows all of them, but getting them out in the open with God will lighten our burden.

The book is split into sections for daily reading, perfect for those who want to focus on smaller sections at a time, or do not have much time for reading throughout the day. I thought this book was so full of great information and ideas, so I highly recommend journaling along with reading this book. There is also a section at the end of the book with questions and chapter reviews for you to journal about and reflect. At the end, there is also an appendix with selected prayers from Scripture and ideas to stimulate prayer. 

This book teaches how to strengthen your prayer life, and how to avoid things that will kill it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to strengthen an already healthy prayer life, and for those who need to bring their prayer life back to life. I gave this book 5/5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review as a part of their blogger program. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NIV True Images Bible | Review

The NIV True Images Bible is a Bible for teen girls. It is full of extra content designed to help teen girls with stuff like body image, decision making, friendships, and sex, more. 

This Bible starts with helpful information for the reader about reading the Bible, whether they are very familiar with the Bible, or if this is the first time they've picked one up. The back of the book has guides for reading, study ideas, and Christianity basics. Included throughout are 52 profiles of women in the Bible, topic guides, "love notes" from God and space for reflection. Each book begins with the author, date, setting, verses to remember, themes to consider, and life lessons. This Bible relates the stories within to things a teen girl might experience.

I would recommend this Bible for pre-teens (rather than teenagers) who have never read the Bible before, as the content is geared toward a younger audience. The physical Bible itself is very nice. It is a sturdy hardcover with a beautiful dust jacket and cover. Overall I would give this Bible 4/5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Essential Guide to Prayer by Dutch Sheets | Review

"God dwells where there is prayer."

This book by Dutch Sheets, originally published as The Beginner's Guide to Intercessory Prayer, is all about the power and importance of intercessory prayer, praying for one another. Sheets stresses that we pray for others as part of the service Jesus has called us to, and also as a way of finding peace and getting closer to God. Prayer is how we maintain a relationship with love, so we should pray with the intention of building a loving relationship with Him, and everything in life flows from that relationship. Relationships based on love are the relationships that last. Most importantly, God works miracles through us on earth. However, we need to pray and allow God to use us to make it happen. We are God's link to activity on earth. Finally, we must always remember to persevere. Intercession is a marathon, not a sprint.

It was really interesting reading about intercessory prayer. I have read many books on prayer, but this was the only one I have read that is fully devoted to intercessory prayer, rather than just a chapter or section on the subject. Each chapter ended with questions to make sure you understood and to review the content of the chapter. There were tons of examples in each chapter to explain and illustrate each point. Overall, I thought it was very well written. It's a short book, so I was able to read through it quickly, but it was still full of very useful and impactful information. The tone of writing as well was very entertaining. Dutch Sheets told stories very well, and often had me laughing out loud at his jokes and humor. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is specifically interested in learning more about intercessory prayer. Overall, I gave this book 3/5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How To Overcome Worry by Winfred Neely REVIEW

Everyone deals with worry and stress. It's part of human life, but it isn't a part of God's plan for our lives. In this books, Dr. Winfred Neely gives his advice for overcoming worry in a worry-filled and anxiety-creating world. 

First of all, concern and care for others and ourselves is healthy and biblical. However, it becomes unhealthy when it turns into worry. This is because, not only is it detrimental to our physical health, but also to our spiritual health, as worry and anxiety are rooted in unbelief that God is taking care of things. While Neely notes that there is no on/off switch for worry, he gives a bunch of Bible verses and tips for working past your worry and being able to put all of your trust in God. Foremost, Neely stresses the importance of prayer. Bringing all of your concerns to God allows you to talk through the problems with Him, and be able to give the problems over to Him. Prayer is the key to conquering worry. Prayer is supposed to have an answer, and when we pray, we can expect peace from God. 

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the verses and advice Neely gives throughout. I ended up doing a ton of journaling and finding it to be really helpful. He used great metaphors and imagery to explain his concepts. Each chapter, as well as the end of the book, gave helpful verses, tips on how to put into practice the methods of stopping worry, guidance for prayer, recommended books, and questions for reflection and discussion. I have this book 3/5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Selfish Plan to Change the World by Justin Dillon REVIEW

This book is all about using what means you have to change the world. Justin Dillon, founder of Slavery Footprint, argues that you don't need much to change the world, just your passion for a cause, and whatever resources may be available to you. Changing the world is for everyone.

How to change the world...big question. Dillon suggests asking yourself: what bothers you? What do you think is broken? Finding these issues that really tug your heartstrings and make you angry is the starting point. Dillon states, "When you say, 'I wish someone would just fix it,' there's a good chance that person is you."

As I mentioned before, Justin Dillon created slaveryfootprint.org, a website where you can find out how many slaves it takes to provide the things you use everyday. As much as we like to think that it is a thing of the past, slavery is still rampant today, and Dillon is working to stop it. 

Dillon also argues that changing the world is selfish, but it's a good kind of selfish. He says that we do good to make ourselves feel better, and that is okay. It is okay to do good for selfish reasons. 

I found this book to be very inspirational and entertaining. It is always great to see examples of people doing great things with what they have. Dillon had a very friendly tone in his writing. I actually laughed out loud at a few of his footnotes. Overall, I gave this 4/5 stars. 

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Let's Be Real by Natasha Bure REVIEW

In this book, Natasha Bure gives advice for teens, from dealing with boys and breakouts, all the way to keeping your faith and being true to yourself in today's world. 

Though the intended audience for this book is teens and younger girls, and I'm a bit older than that, at 21 I still really enjoyed the advice in this book. It gave me a new perspective on a lot of things, and made me realize actions that God has taken in my life in the past. It led to quite a bit of journaling and thought on my part. 

Honestly, I just chose this book to review because it was written by DJ Tanner's daughter, and I was hesitant going in due to the fact that I'm a bit old for some of the themes. However, I loved this book so much. Natasha Bure seems like such an honest, genuine, and mature young woman. She is a great role model, and I would have loved a book like this when I was in high school. She was very open and honest, so I could really relate to everything that she talked about. 

I gave this book 5/5 stars, and I highly recommend it for pre-teen and teenage girls. 


*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

20 Things We'd Tell Our Twenty-something Selves by Kelli and Peter Worrall REVIEW

20 Things We'd Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves is a book by Kelli and Peter Worrall, which seeks to give advice to all of the twenty-somethings in the world going into their "quarter-life crisis", the terrifying and confusing time when young adults begin making crazy changes in their lives, from moving out, going to college, and getting married. The Worrall's are teachers at Moody Bible Institute, and are approached all the time by students seeking advice about the future.

I requested this book from Moody Publishers to review because my friend, a student of Peter Worrall, read this book for a class and loved it, and she recommended it to me. 

The Worrall's use this book to give twenty pieces of advice for millennials growing up and moving out into the world. Each chapter ends with activities, questions, and other readings for the reader to consider. A Bible study to accompany the book is available for free online.

The advice that they gave really hit close to home. There were so many moments when I read a sentence and had to stop reading and sit for a moment to think about how it applied to me. Reading the book felt like reading a letter that was written to me, which reassured me that I wasn't alone in those things. Many of the things that I learned were things that I had thought about but had never seriously pursued. The authors really show their own voice, and they are friendly, open, relatable, and personal. 

I loved this book so much. It was so personal and applicable to me. I highly recommend it and gave it 5/5 stars.


*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Dawn of Christianity by Robert J. Hutchinson REVIEW

The Dawn of Christianity: How God Used Simple Fishermen, Soldiers, and Prostitutes to Transform the World by Robert J. Hutchinson gives a detailed history of the early Jesus Movement, starting just before Jesus' death and ending with the apostles. 

The book went very in depth and informative, yet was written simply enough so it was very easy to understand. It was filled with pictures of the places and things that were being discussed. Everything was explained so clearly, and events in the Bible made a lot more sense to me after. Surprisingly, it did not read at all like a textbook, and I found myself immersed and unable to put the book down. 

This book was so interested, I really loved it. I have it 5/5 stars and I'd definitely recommend it. 

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hitler's Cross by Erwin W. Lutzer REVIEW

Hitler's Cross, written by Erwin W. Lutzer, outlines the ways in which, during the Second World War, Adolf Hitler used and twisted both the cross and Christianity to promote himself and further the Nazi agenda. This book seeks to explain "the 'hows' and 'whys' and 'what ifs' of this tragedy". The primary focus of this book is to teach readers how Hitler crushed the church in Germany during his time of power, and to explain where God was in the middle of all of this. 

First of all, it is important to understand that nothing happens without God's consent. Therefore, He allowed the Holocaust to happen. Trust me, I know how hard this is to accept and understand. Lutzer explains that God uses even things He hates to direct the world to an appointed end. Satan does have an influence in this world, but only to the extent that God allows. 

Secondly, this book describes in great detail Hitler's personal religious beliefs and how they influenced the church in Germany. I had thought all along that Hitler considered himself to be Christian and thought that the church was important in Germany. However, Lutzer explains how Hitler was deeply involved in occultism, and actually tried to destroy the church in Germany. Pastors preached about Hitler, crosses were actually removed and replaced with swastikas on the altars, Mein Kampf took the place of the Bible, and the people were encouraged to "be German, not Christian". Hitler actually took Jesus' place as the one to follow and live by and many parallels were drawn between the two. Jesus' blood was shed to save us, and the Jews' blood also had to be shed to save Germany and the Aryan race. Also, he explained that the idea of Aryan superiority is a very old concept, as is the blaming of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus. Many Christians have believed that the persecution of Jews is punishment from God for His Son's death.

Satan definitely had a hand in the Holocaust and the power given to Hitler, and Lutzer explains why. Satan wants to exterminate the Jews so God will be unable to fulfill His promise that the Jews will flourish in the end. Satan wants God to be proven a liar. However, we know that Satan does not have the power to undermine God, and nothing will get in the way of God's plan. The "final solution" was not final.

I learned so much from this book about how Hitler gained his power, why he wasn't stopped, and how he had such an influence over the church. I realized that many things I thought I understood were wrong. I also really enjoyed explanations of how loving God is despite the horrible things that happen, and that He can never be defeated. 

The only thing that bothered me about the book is that the author would go off on tangents and get off topic quite a bit about modern day issues, such as abortion and gay rights, which were very out of place within the rest of the information.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

7 Reasons Why You Can Trust The Bible by Erwin W. Lutzer REVIEW

"If the Bible is based on facts, we have hope for our present crisis in religion and morality."

"The Bible is a book of answers, not a book of questions."

"Religion, if it is worth believing, must be based on facts."

7 Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible by Erwin W. Lutzer is a thorough examination of the historical, logical, and scientific proof of the validity of the Bible. No ancient manuscript in history has been doubted or held with as much skepticism as the Bible. For Christians, this book will validate and give you reassurance in your beliefs. Our faith is based on lots of evidence, but it is still faith. For non-Christians, it gives you another perspective to consider will all of the facts and information.

This book is so full of information regarding the validity of the Bible, and the lack of validity of many other popular theories. I had no idea that so much physical or historical evidence existed that proves the Bible. However, Lutzer stresses that the Bible does not provide 100% proof in every case. We still need to be saved by faith, and if there was proof for everything, there would be no faith. However, our faith isn't blind faith, it is faith based in logic. The Bible must be completely accurate when it comes to science and historical events in order for the rest of it to be credible and believable.

Goals for this book:
-those who believe might understand the reasonableness of their faith; we need to be able to defend the faith
-that the most radical skeptic will read the book and be led to study the scriptures, and God will grant them the ability to know and believe 

I absolutely loved reading this book. I learned so much and was so reaffirmed in my faith. I really recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed the God's Not Dead films or Man, Myth, Messiah by Rice Brooks (my review for that is here). It was a little slow starting out, but once it got into the facts I was so intrigued and couldn't put it down. I gave this 5/5 stars, and I absolutely recommend it.


*I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Acceptable Worship by Dr. C.H. Snyder REVIEW

Acceptable Worship by Dr. C.H. Snyder helps readers understand what kind of worship God accepts and what pleases Him. The author's goal was to write a book that would help people understand what the Bible says about worship. The focus of the book is to more from correct understanding to wise and proper obedience. 

God designed man with the need to worship. However, it is important that we choose to worship God and no one/nothing else. In order to give acceptable worship, our actions need to be for the glorification and honoring of God, and not for our own benefit. We should worship God in order to be close to Him, because we are in awe of Him. In good times and in bad, we should always be glorifying God. Not only in church on Sunday, but throughout the rest of the week as well in our everyday lives. Obedience is also an act of true, acceptable worship.

The book is Biblically sound and easy to understand. I really enjoyed reading it, and I feel like I learned a lot from it. I think everyone needs to read this and learn about true worship. I gave this book 3/5 stars. 


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

Your Money Map by Howard Dayton REVIEW

Your Money Map: A Proven 7-Step Guide to True Financial Freedom is a guidebook by Howard Dayton instructing us in how we should handle our money and get out of debt: doing it God's way. 

Many people are surprised to learn that there are over 2,350 verses in the Bible that deal with money and possessions. Overall, I believe that the main point is to be faithful to God with your possessions, since we don't actually own anything. We are stewards of everything that God allows us to have. We come into this world with nothing, and we can take nothing with us when we are gone.

Dayton recommends that the reader interact with the book and do the exercises within, rather than just reading the book. He also suggests that the reader do this with another person for support and accountability. It gives all kinds of additional resources for those looking for more information about getting out of debt and being financially responsible. 

The one big problem that I had with this book was the writing style. It was weirdly expository, sounded completely unnatural, and was poorly written, like a really bad infomercial from the 70s. It was really cheesy and hard to take seriously, and sometimes I think it got in the way of the message of the book. However, the content was Biblically accurate and I think would be very helpful for those struggling with debt. I gave it 3/5 stars, and I'd suggest it to those who are trying to pay off debt or going into a big purchase, such as a car or a house. 

You can find more information at compassmoneymap.org, a website created to go along with this book. 


*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Discipling as Jesus Discipled" by Dann Spader: Review

"Discipling as Jesus Discipled" is a workbook by Dann Spader and published by Moody Publishers. It aims to make disciples who will go out and make disciples who will, in turn, make more disciples.

Spader uses this workbook to teach Christians how to create disciples who make disciples. The focus is all about relationships, with each other and with non-Christians (or future disciples). When Jesus made disciples, he loved them and cared for them, he maintained relationships. This is how we should be discipling, too. 

This is a workbook designed for a 10-12 week small group study. Unfortunately, since I received this for review, I just worked through it quickly on my own. I think that it would be much more beneficial to go through this workbook in a group study and be able to have discussions about the content.

I would love to go through this again in a group study in the future. The questions are very challenging and thought provoking. I highly recommend this for a small group Bible study.


*I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

The Story: 365 Devotions: REVIEW

The Story: 365 Devotions is a daily devotional from Zondervan with the purpose of helping you discover your role in God's story. Each day shares a short Bible verse, which an explanation and a connection to the reader's life.

I started this on January 1, and I will continue to read a page each day until the end of the year. So far, I have really enjoyed the devotionals. It only takes a minute or two to read the devotion of the day, and each day comes with an impactful personal take-away. The publishers created this book to help the reader find their place in God's epic story and to help them understand how God's plan works. 

It slowly goes through the Bible and is split into Old and New Testament. On Day 45, I'm still in Genesis, so it's a very in depth study. 

The book itself is a small paperback. I really like the size, and it's really good quality.

I haven't finished it yet, but I am loving going though it a day at a time, and I am looking forward to the rest of the lessons. I would definitely recommend this devotional.


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Anxious Christian by Rhett Smith REVIEW

Is anxiety un-Christian?

The Anxious Christian is a book by Rhett Smith, in which the author talks about his own struggles with an anxiety disorder. All too often, particularly in the Christian community, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are seen as the fault of the sufferer, and that if they just prayed harder and trusted God more, these problems would go away. That is just not the case, but that stigma exists that makes Christians ashamed of their anxiety, and prevents them from seeking help.

However, Smith asks the questions: Can God use your anxiety for good? What if He is using it to speak to us? That can be hard to imagine, but Rhett Smith uses his book to show how God used his anxiety to create opportunities and show him things about himself. It is important to look at your anxiety as a catalyst for growth, and rethink situations that make you anxious.

I did find this book to be helpful and interesting. Rhett Smith has a very friendly writing voice that is enjoyable to read. He uses both personal and Biblical examples to make his points, and each chapter ends with discussion questions, exercises, and a prayer.

The author and I definitely have different kinds of anxiety, so not everything was directly applicable to me, but I still found the book helpful. I gave it 3/5 stars, and I'd recommend it to anyone struggling with an anxiety disorder.


*I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

NKJV Know the Word Study Bible Review

The goal of this study Bible from Thomas Nelson is to aid in understanding the Bible. Understanding meanings, events, and stories in the Bible is something that a lot of people often struggle with. This allows you to study the Bible in three different ways: Book by Book, Verse by Verse, and Topic by Topic. 

I received this as an e-book. and I didn't like it. I think the Bible itself is fine, I am just not a fan of the e-book version. It seems very disorganized and it is really hard to find anything. Flipping through the pages, I had no idea where I was half the time. I do think that this study Bible could be useful, but I would definitely recommend the physical copy for study. I'm sure the content itself is great, but to be honest, flipping through, I couldn't find anything I can talk about here to give you some examples.

I really wish that I had the physical copy to compare it to, but I would have to give the e-book Bible 1/5 stars.


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.