Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. In addition, many of the books reviewed on this site were received free from the publisher through various book review bloggers programs. I am never required to write a positive review. On ocassion I will review a book that was not provided by the publisher. If that is the case I will note it on that particular post. Otherwise, assume that it was. All opinions I have expressed are always my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just Like Jesus Devotional: A Thirty-Day Walk with the Savior Description:

God wants to give you a heart just like Jesus.
Jesus felt no guilt; God wants you to feel no guilt.
Jesus had no bad habits; God wants to do away with yours.
Jesus had no fears; God wants the same for you.
Jesus had no anxiety about death; you needn't either.
God's desire, his plan, his ultimate goal is to make you into the image of Christ.
This is your invitation to spend thirty intimate days with the Savior learning how to become more like Jesus. Can you think of a better offer?

My Review:

This is a companion devotional to Max Lucado's book Just Like Jesus: A Heart Like His (look for a review of this book coming soon!)  Being the Lent season I wanted a devotional to read that would help me to focus more on Jesus.  This was perfect!  Let me share parts of the introduction with you:

What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you?  With one exception, nothing about your life changes.  What if, for one day, Jesus lives your life with his heart?  What would you be like?  Would people notice a change?  How would you feel?  Would you still do what you had planned to do for the next 24 hours?  Adjust the lens of your imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life, then snap the shutter and frame the image.  What you see is what God wants.  Let me invite you to join me for the next thirty days.  We will be examining the heart of Jesus together.  Since God's plan is to help us become more and more like his Son, it makes sense that we should spend some time getting to know Jesus' heart.  Because God wants to give you a heart like Jesus.

Hard to turn away from that, isn't it?  That alone makes this book a two thumbs up in my book.  This is what I want!  If Jesus were to become me for a day I don't want my friends and family to say, "Whoa!  What is up with you today?  You are totally different!"

Each devotion shows us a side of Jesus, and then challenges us to think about it in relation to our own lives.  Lucado poses questions to help us internalize it, provides Scripture to meditate on, provides topics to reflect on, and prayer starters.  In typical Lucado fashion there is some storytelling woven throughout the devotions and simple truths.  Lucado shares the tools that have helped him learn to listen to God, he illustrates the relationship Jesus had with His father and how the Father wants the same kind of relationship with us.

It would be nearly impossible to spend 30 days with this book and not have a desire to become more like Jesus.  And if you invest them time into this devotional, I would venture to say that you will see definite changes once you reach the end.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Unglued devotional review

Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress Description:

This companion devotional to the bestselling book Unglued provides encouragement to help readers handle emotional struggles. Including a daily opening Scripture, Thought for the Day, devotion, and closing prayer, this book helps readers begin a 60-day journey in learning to positively process raw emotions, such as fear, anger, and regret.

My review:

I wish I had had this when I studied Unglued a couple of months back!  A wonderful companion to the book, and even great as a stand alone devotional.  We all have moment where we just want to scream at the top of our lungs, or think that unkind thought.  In this devotional not only do you see you are not alone, but you see how to give it to God.

The daily Scripture verse points us to God, the thought for the day (which appear to be taken directly from the book if my memory of the book serves me correctly) gives us a touch point for the day.  These thoughts include "When there's no way to feel better in the moment, you just have to place your feet on the only solid ground there is--God's truth," "Don't let your lips or typing fingertips be the first thing that walks into a conflict", and other awesome reminders.

While some of the stories in the devotional come from Lysa's book, Unglued, many are new, making this a great book to turn to.  But what I especially liked was a section in the Appendix that gives a short definition of the four different reaction types and a simple inventory to help you determine your reaction type.  That inventory is visual!  I loved it and wish it had been included in the original book or even the study guide.

So if you struggle with becoming Unglued, this devotional is right up your alley!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Iscariot review

Iscariot: A Novel of Judas Description:

Based on extensive research into the life and times of Judas Iscariot, this triumph of fiction storytelling by the author of Havah: The Story of Eve revisits one of biblical history’s most maligned figures and brings the world he inhabited vividly to life.

In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One—the promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, he joins the Nazarene’s followers, ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life. But soon Judas’s vision of a nation free from Rome is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention—who seems, in the end, to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically different agenda.

Iscariot is the story of Judas, from his tumultuous childhood to his emergence as the man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it is a singular and surprising view into the life of Jesus that forces us to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous—and infamous—religious icons in history.

My Review:

Judas has always been an enigma to me.  A man who walked with Jesus, witnessed miracles, was privy to his inner circle, private teachings and thoughts who for some reason set into motion the death of the man he called master.  I have read many theories but this one seems to ring truest to me.  Judas was a man looking for a warrior king, a messiah who would rescue them now.  Jesus confused him.

Tosca Lee manages to bring Judas to life, to give us a peek into what his thoughts might have been, why he acted as he did.  We begin to perhaps understand his actions, even to consider that had we been in his shoes we might have acted similarly.

What I also enjoyed is the view of Jesus.  We all seem to get this image of a man who had a glow behind his head and always seemed so peaceful and clean.  Here we see him presented as a man.  Gaunt, dirty, tired after 40 days in the desert.  We see why his family said,  “He is out of his mind,” (Mark 3:21) during his ministry and how they might have thought that.  We see his love for others and we see that perhaps the death sentence that loomed over his life may have weighed on him.

I also found it interested to read that perhaps the trial of Jesus may not have been as illegal and irregular as I had always been taught.  Quick research on my part has shown that there may be some truth to the scenario that Tosca Lee presents in this novel.

It is important to note that this is a work of fiction.  As such the author inevitably takes some liberties.  However I feel like Tosca Lee has made good effort to stay true to both Biblical and historical facts.  Iscariot  opens the door for further study, which is something I always enjoy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

God Gave Us Easter review

God Gave Us Easter Description:

"God loved us so much he wanted us to always be with him too. That’s why God knew he’d need to give us Easter.”  

As Little Cub celebrates Easter with Papa, Mama, and her brother and sister, she begins to ask her papa questions about this very special day of the year.  Papa lovingly explains God’s plans for his children, while taking Little Cub on a memorable walk through her stunning Arctic world, and he shares how Easter came about in clear, simple terms that even the littlest cubs can understand.

My Review:

In case you hadn't noticed, I really love this series.  Princess and I have read God Gave Us ChristmasGod Gave us Love, and God Gave us You.  When I had a chance to review God Gave us Easter I was tickled.  Let me say, this book was a great addition to our library!

Easter can be a difficult celebration for little ones.  You want them to understand that it isn't about the bunny or the candy but about the sacrifice Jesus made that paved the way for our relationship with God.  This book does that wonderfully.  Little Cub and Papa Bear are talking about Easter and when Papa Bear tells Little Cub that Easter is better than Christmas Little Cub inquires why and the message begins.

I especially like that we are reminded that "Easter is part of a bigger story he (God) had in mind for a long, long time".   Papa goes on to explain the symbolism of the Easter egg and how it reminds us that even death couldn't trap Jesus.  There is no way to talk about Easter and not address death, but this book does so in such a way that it remains true to the meaning and yet isn't scary while not trivializing death.

The illustrations are just as beautiful in this book as they are in the other books in the series.  Laura Bryant does gorgeous work.  This is a book that you will want to add to your Christian preschool library!

Download a free coloring page to go with this book here.

View a sample of the book here.

Purchase a copy of this book for your very own here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Let. It. Go. review

Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith Description:

 Many women are wired to control. You're the ones who make sure the house is clean, the meals are prepared, the beds are made, the children are dressed, and everyone gets to work, school, and other activities on time. But trying to control everything can be exhausting, and it can also cause friction with your friends and family. 

This humorous, yet thought-provoking book guides you as you discover for yourself the freedom and reward of living a life 'out of control,' in which you allow God to be seated in the rightful place in your life. Armed with relevant biblical and current examples (both to emulate and to avoid), doable ideas, new thought patterns, and practical tools to implement, Let. It. Go. will gently lead you out of the land of over-control and into a place of quiet trust.

My Review:

I have to admit, before I started reading this book I really thought, "I don't have an issue with control".  For those of you who know me...stop laughing!  Yes, I am one of those who is "wired to control" and I honestly don't even realize when I am doing it most of the time.  I bet you don't either.

In the book Karen identifies four disguised control types in addition to the loud, boisterous, and dominating type.  They are:  the soft-spoken saint who says yes to every request whether it inconveniences her or not (YES!  that really is a form of control!), the enabler who either runs interference or does damage control when loved one's actions affect others, the victim or martyr who controls through a well-timed pout or the occasional sigh, and the people pleaser who's actions gain unspoken favors allowing her to get her way when she wishes.  The common theme is that we all have a false notion that control works.  And we do, don't we?  Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it.

The book is broken up into three sections.  The first helps us to see our own controlling side and to perhaps understand the "why" behind it a little better.  Karen gently, and sometimes humorously, walks us to the truth that it really doesn't work, and that is is actually quite harmful to both ourselves and those we are trying to control.

The second section focuses on control issues in our families.  With a chapter on managing our husbands, our children, our home and our schedules she covers it all.  I love that Karen is honest and doesn't present herself as the gal who has all the answers and has done it right for FOREVER.  She is down home, sitting at the sticky kitchen table over a cup of coffee, girlfriend chatting honest with us.  She shares her failures and her successes and reminds us above all that we are on a mission for God

The final section is an awesome look at what it means to lose control and keep the faith.  Karen uses Biblical examples of what it looks like to let God lead the way and yet still not sit on our hands saying, "huh uh...not my decision, I don't want to be in control".  Drawing from the stories of Queen Esther, David, Paul and others we see how letting go can line up with letting God.

I have to say this was a truly eye opening book that has helped me to make some changes in my life.  

I enjoyed it so much that I am actually reading it again as part of Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies starting this Sunday.  For more information on the study, or to sign up yourself, please visit