Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Money God’s Way: Overcoming the Seven Money Myths That Keep Christians Broke by Amie Streater

This is a basic book about handling your finances in a godly way. The author learned to walk the walk after financial disasters of her own, applying scriptural principles of stewardship to common spiritual conditions which hinder Christians in their financial lives.

This book is long on principle and short on practice; there are other books and resources that are more practical and step by step than this book. This book would do well for a person who needs a drastic change of direction and wants to know why change is imperative.

This book was challenging. It is hard hitting and would be just right for some. It is interesting reading and held my attention.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews

The message of this book is that “every little thing YOU do matters”, that “God made your life so important that every move you make, every action you take
matters. . . . Everything you do matters for everyone and for all time!” This book tells the story of Norman Borlaug, who “developed . . . special seeds that grew into super plants,” having been given that opportunity by Henry Wallace, who had been taught by George Washington Carver, who was adopted by Moses and Susan Carver. The book tells the story of how one life was affected by another in a chain of events resulting in Borlaug’s discoveries.

This book did a good job of narrating the impact of one life upon another. It made a very good point, until the last page, where hyperbole is used to say every single thing we do matters, which is not true. Not even every single thing in George Washington Carver’s life mattered. Some things did, certainly. It grossly exaggerates man’s importance to say every single thing we do matters.

I do not believe this book’s premise that “God made your life so important that every move you make . . . matters . . . to the people around you . . . for everyone and for all time” is biblical. I am hard pressed to think of a passage that supports this belief. Everything about us is important to God because we are precious to Him, but that does not translate into our importance to others.

The danger of this book is that it encourages one to be self-focused and self-centered, believing in one’s importance in an overblown way. It says nothing about needing God, relying on His power, or our responsibility to obey Him. I would not recommend this book.

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

The message of this book is that “every single thing you do matters”, built on the premise that when a butterfly flaps its wings, it moves air, which moves more air, which moves more air and can eventually start a hurricane. Examples of the effects of one man’s actions include a Union commander’s victory at Gettysburg that turned the tide of the Civil War and a man who developed hardy corn and wheat. The author states, “Everything you do matters. Every move you make, every action you
take . . . matters. Not just to you of your family, or your business, or hometown. Everything you do matters to all of us forever.”

This book is meant to be challenging and inspiring. I found it overblown and hyperbolic. Not every single thing people do matters, any more than every flap of every butterfly’s wings results in a hurricane. Some things people do matter greatly, but many things matter not at all, especially to others. It grossly exaggerates man’s importance to say every single thing we do matters; it would be realistic to say some things we do can matter. It would be accurate to say that, as far as we can tell, everything God does matters, but we are not God.

If you’re looking for biblical truth, turn from this book. It makes no mention of God, His will or His ways. I would not recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory by Lisa Stilwell

This book combines photos from the Hubble telescope with Scripture and inspiring quotations, with a goal of focusing you on “worshiping the God who created it all”. This book meets its goal. The photographs are incredible; you just wish you could see them in 3-D. The Scripture passages and quotations are very reflective and thought provoking, a perfect commentary on the breathtaking photos at the turn of every page.

This was a very interesting book, an exploration of an area of creation heretofore unseen by man. How privileged we are to live in a time when our eyes can show us the wonder and creativity of God’s handiwork. It has only been about 150 years that photographs have been available to the masses, and in that time the earth and the sea have been unveiled to us.

For those who are old enough to remember the awe inspired by the first published pictures of infants in the womb, this book will be experienced on that scale.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It will strengthen your faith in the God who has all power.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Jesus You Can’t Ignore by John MacArthur

This book refutes the notion that Jesus was meek and mild in the sense that He tolerated everyone and castigated no one. It carefully builds the case that Jesus was not always nice, demonstrated particularly in His dealings with the religious leaders of His day, whom He decried in the strongest terms. While Jesus was never pugnacious, neither was He tame.

This book was enlightening to me only in the sense that, while I knew that the general culture values “tolerance” and “diversity”, I was not aware there exists a great deal of pressure in evangelical circles to be accepting of all religious persuasions. I do not move in such circles nor have I read about such pressure, so this was news to me.

MacArthur’s most recent work would be persuasive to someone who believed Jesus would not disagree with, much less dishonor, anyone who opposed Him. If that is a belief you hold, then this book is for you. If you do not have such a question, MacArthur’s book is hardly interesting, as it speaks convincingly about something you already believe.

I found the book repetitive, with the result it was longer and less effective than it could have been. While it presents biblical truth accurately, I did not find it appealing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chronological Guide to the Bible

In a unique approach to the Bible, this book lays out history from Creation to A.D. 100 in nine epochs. Into each epoch is fit each book of the Bible, with an outline of each book and a summary of authorship, date, purpose and audience. So, for example, Epoch One includes sections called “Before the Patriarchs”, “The Beginnings of Human Civilization”, and then “The Book of Genesis”, with subsections, “The Creator God is Not Sun or Moon,” “Where was Eden?”, “Records of the Descendants,” “The Flood Through Other Eyes”, “The First World Empire,” “The First Major City,” and “Babel and Its Tower.”

Much information about world history and world cultures is included in this book. Because of the book’s layout, which, instead of looking like chapters, appears more like patchwork on pages, both in content and in style, the book reads like a research or resource book rather than a textbook. It is not a book easily read from cover to cover but more the kind of book you pick up as you begin to study a book of the Bible so that you gain a little insight into historical context.

The sections on the epistles often include just a couple of subjects in addition to the summary and outline, so the intent of this book is obviously not to provide extensive commentary. For example, the section on Ephesians includes only one topical section, “Wives Submitting to Husbands”.

The Guide is 217 pages for the Bible’s 66 books, so it is does not aim to be exhaustive.

I do not believe this book would be helpful to someone not thoroughly acquainted with the Bible. The brevity of some of the commentary assumes the reader has a broad background of Bible knowledge. For example, one of the sections for Acts is called “The Day of Pentecost,” and it begins, “The Day of Pentecost came 50 days after the offering of the firstfruits (Lev. 23:10, 15, 16) at the Passover observances. It was a celebration of the wheat harvest, with pilgrims gathering from various nations of the Roman world. . . .” I think only someone acquainted with the Old Testament would understand this; a new(ish) believer likely would not be enlightened.

I recommend this guide to those who need a little brushing up on the background of each biblical book.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh’s latest book looks at 12 Bible characters through the lens of trust. In her usual way, Sheila’s depth of insight into circumstances and characters makes the stories come alive. Sheila is a very practical woman, and she always writes about how the Bible applies to us in our challenging situations.

The author addresses particular aspects of life where trust is needed, such as when we need courage, are broken, hunger to belong, have broken dreams, are in pain, are in darkness, are fearful, need to start again, and when we have a lot to lose. Spending a chapter on each challenge, Sheila Walsh uses the well known, such as Paul, Gideon, and Joseph, and the obscure, such as Tabitha, to show us how their lives demonstrated a trust in God we would do well to emulate.

One of my favorite chapters, “Is It Ever Too Late to Start Again? The Beauty of a Last Chance,” demonstrated how God never rejected disobedient Samson.

This book held my interest, was enlightening by bringing Bible characters to life, and effectively conveyed biblical truth. I recommend this book highly to anyone facing issues of trust.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are 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.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jesus Lives by Sarah Young

This 350-page devotional book aims to show how God’s love infuses every circumstance. The author paraphrases and expounds on Scriptures that address certain situations, emotions, and attitudes, such as trials, the future, brokenness, fear, endurance, and victorious living. She does an admirable job of applying the Word. Each devotional is written as if God is speaking to the reader.

One example of a good application is this, from page 146: “If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. . . . To live at peace with everyone, you need to control not only what you say and do but also what you think. It’s common to assume that your thoughts about others don’t matter much, as long as you keep them to yourself. However, I am fully aware of all your thoughts. When you indulge in negative thinking about someone, your relationship with that person is damaged. Those hurtful thoughts also affect your relationship with me, and they may have a depressive effect on you. . . .” Again and again, the author brings this kind of wisdom, depth, and insight to her subject.

This book could bring comfort, inspiration, and encouragement to any Christian reader. It is thought provoking, concise, and edifying. I highly recommend it.