Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Attend: Forty Soul Stretches Toward God by Laura Davis Werezak

Attend means to literally means "to stretch toward," according to Laura Davis Werezak. She wrote Attend to help readers stretch toward God when they may not quite know how or where to start to do that. Attend contains forty days worth of helpful soul stretches.

These forty soul stretches in Attend don't necessarily have to be read straight through. In fact, Werezak says in the introduction that there is no right way to use this book. She encourages you to start your stretching however it works best for you--read the book straight through, pick and choose and read randomly, or read during Lent or Advent when you especially want to turn your focus toward God. Along with those loose reading guidelines, Werezak adds that you may want to read Attend alone or with others in a group to share. Werezak stresses that Attend is not a spiritual checklist, encourages readers to give themselves grace each day, and adds that the real power is found in the "doing."

Each of the forty readings in Attend offer something to meditate on and think about to grow and stretch closer to God. At the same time, each day offers a small, usually simple activity to draw closer to God, to be more mindful in your thoughts toward God and your day, and sometimes to draw closer to those in your community around you. Activities range from opening a window and thinking about the air moving in the room, writing a real letter to someone you care about, to closing your eyes and imagining you are with Jesus living out one of the Bible stories. I think this is a great idea because I know I learn best by doing while I am learning.

Attend would be such a nice book to read through for Lent this year, but as Werezak says, it would be a good book for any time you feel a tug in your spirit to draw closer to God. This small book is a nice size to carry along and read if you don't have time for devotions at home too.  However, the flip side of that is that I did think the print is a little smaller than some books. I would encourage anyone to take time to read these short readings and do the activities as they feel God leading them. Attend is a good book not only offering wisdom from God's word, but offering you the chance to experience God in a new way. I highly recommend it.

I received this book from Faithwords/Hachette Book Group. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Where Do I Find Jesus? by Sheila Walsh

Are you looking to lead your young children into a relationship with Christ? Where Do I Find Jesus? by Sheila Walsh could be a tool that would make sharing Christ with your young children easier.

Where Do I Find Jesus? introduces the McDougal twins' new friend, Abby, to Jesus. The McDougal twins, Emma and Liam, invite their neighbor to church with them. Throughout this short story we follow their visit to church and home.  As Abby looks to find the Jesus she heard about at church, the twins help her find him. We also see a bit of a quirky storyline with the dog and cat as they also follow along on the search for Jesus. Where Do I Find Jesus? concludes with the gospel presentation in the short Parent Connection section so parents can share Jesus with their young ones and lead them in prayer to accept Christ.

The illustrations by Sarah Horne in Where Do I Find Jesus? are bright, vibrant and inviting to young ones. The story is short but fun and could be a helpful tool to any young family wanting a story to share the gospel. It would also be useful for a story time in Bible Club or church with the gospel presentation.

I received a copy of this book from BHKids. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Praying the Psalms:Drawing Near to the Heart of God by Ben Patterson

In the introduction to Praying the Psalms, Ben Patterson tells us that this book is a beginner's guide to praying the psalms. Patterson adds that his goal is not to tell you what to pray but to "stir your heart and imagination to lead you into prayer."

Many have said the Psalms are a mirror that will reveal you, but Patterson also believes that as you read them and pray them, they will change you. The Psalms share a whole lot of emotions that we feel each day from praise and thanksgiving to cries for help, there is a psalm that will fit your situation.

I have found several days of praying the psalms has often left me feeling closer to God. This book could be used start to finish as a daily devotional or you could just pray a psalm as you feel the need. Either way, this book offers another way to use the Scriptures to get closer to God. This beautiful edition of Praying the Psalms with its leather cover would also make a lovely gift for someone on a special occasion or going through challenging life circumstances.

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for this book.

Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg and Illustrated by Robert Dunn

I have to admit from the moment I looked at the gorgeous cover of The Magnificent Chooser, I just knew I had to read it. John Ortberg writes beautiful prose and Robert Dunn's illustrations work together to create the most lovely book for children to help them learn to make choices.

Your Magnificent Chooser helps children see that making choices is fun. As we see in the note to parents, John Ortberg writes that making choices is often fearful for many adults who don't want to miss out on God's will. Ortberg hopes to help children see that when we look to God, He helps us make good choices and He helps us to do it well for He is most concerned with who we are becoming in the end than the situations we create through our choices. This is a Christian book based on the God of the Bible.

My family just loved this beautiful book and Ortbergs verses about making choices. I can see it being in our family for a long time. I think Your Magnificent Chooser would be a good book choice for any family with young children. There is also a link on the back cover flap for free downloadable resources, including Scripture memory cards, crafts, coloring pages and more to go along with the book. How cool is that!

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

People of the Second Chance by Mike Foster

People of the Second Chance by Mike Foster offers encouragement for those who need a second chance and advice for those who want to help prodigals get a second chance. Foster is down to earth and the book reads like getting together with your good friend and sharing over coffee.

Foster is the chief chance officer at People of the Second Chance. This non-profit group helps people see that they can be redeemed in spite of stories that are less than. Foster shares his story as the book begins and tells about his own need for a second chance. People of the Second Chance offers inspiration and encouragement for most of us that would be reading it and are in need of God's grace and grace from those we meet.

I thought People of the Second Chance had a lot of good information and advice in it. As someone who has needed a second chance a time or two, I found it encouraging and uplifting. However, I have to admit for this book, I would have liked to have seen a warmer, more inviting cover for this book. Honestly, I think it leaves me thinking more coldly of this book before I started to read then it should have. These warm, inviting words need to be wrapped with a warm, inviting cover to catch the buyer's eye in my opinion. I recommend that you look past the cover if you feel similarly and pick up a copy of this book anyway.
I received People of the Second Chance from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

About Mike Foster:
Mike Foster is the Chief Chance Officer at People of the Second Chance. He has dedicated his life to helping people relaunch their lives with a sense of hope and purpose. He has been featured on Good Morning America, The 700 Club, and in The New York Times.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Detours by Tony Evans

According to Tony Evans in his new book, Detours, God has a plan for your life. . .More often than than not, it's a detour." Pastor Evans had me at that line on the back cover. I could easily see several detours in my life over the past few years and some detours I am still stuck in. Pastor Evans goes on to say that detours are a good thing that often feels bad and that God will use the detours in our lives to bring blessings. I find that to be a comforting thought.

Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny by Tony Evans uses examples from the life of Joseph to show how detours can actually be used to bring about God's blessing for you. Pastor Evans helps you answer how you can make the most of the detours in your life and he helps you understand the purpose of detours. Even though I have read the story of Joseph many times, I found myself mesmerized by the life of Joseph all over again as I read Detours.

I found Detours to be one of the most useful recent books that I have read. It spoke to my heart and offered me encouragement where I truly needed it. I see many people around me facing challenges and detours of their own. I think Detours is an uplifting read for most people. I also like that they are giving one book to Prison Fellowship for every book purchased. I have no doubt that this book could be a real encouragement for someone in prison. I also like that Pastor Evans relates the story of Joseph and other real life stories to the reader in such a down to earth manner. Detours is easy to relate to but yet has a lot of substance to it. I highly recommend it to everyone.

I received Detours from  BH Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cherish by Gary Thomas

Traditional wedding vows often have spouses vowing to love and to cherish each other. However, if you are like me, you remember that you are to love each other but that word, "cherish" can get lost in the day to day life after saying those vows. Cherish by bestselling author Gary Thomas helps spouses understand just what it means to truly cherish their spouse.

Cherish offers a lot of practical insights and advice to living a better life as a couple, cherishing your spouse and making your marriage better then you could imagine.  Throughout the book, Thomas shares stories from his marriage, from other couples and wisdom from the Bible to help you better understand the art of cherishing your spouse. This book is easy to read and understand. . .and honestly helps you want to cherish your spouse better each day as you read through it.

I have to say Cherish was such a helpful book for me on marriage. I could see so many ways that I could better cherish my husband after reading this book. I could also see how that could help our marriage be better all the way around. I highly recommend Cherish to everyone and anyone who is married or who wants to be married. I think this book would make an excellent wedding gift. I wish I had had this book earlier in our marriage so I could have better understood how to cherish my husband sooner. I also have to add that the story in the epilogue left me in tears and left me wanting that kind of lifetime marriage. I also like how Thomas ends the book, "If it pleases God, may this book multiply such stories until his church is filled with husbands who deeply cherish their wives and wives who eagerly and generously cherish their husbands until the very end." I hope with Thomas that Cherish does indeed bless many couples with that kind of marriage.

I received this book from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.