Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ANYONE CAN TALK THE TALK . . .BUT CAN YOU WALK THE WALK? FIND OUT in WALK IT OUT by Tricia Goyer!

"The just shall live by faith . . ." and this is ONE snapshot of what that looks like in the 21st Century.

What ought not to surprise you is that this is what it looked like when Billy Graham was filling football stadiums during his evangelistic crusades.

This is what it looked like when John and Charles Wesley were used by God to start The Great Awakening.

Believe it or not, this is what it looked like when Saul of Tarsus was struck down on the road to Damascus, transformed into the Apostle Paul, and became the greatest missionary the world has ever seen.

While the names and faces have changed, the times and circumstances have radically altered as the world turned, the principles remain the same, and are captured in one verse of Scripture:
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

So many people stop short of that final step.  In her autobiographical work, WALK IT OUT, author Tricia Goyer shows us what that final step looks like.  As Tricia explains, "I've learned that God's good plans are not always easy, or neat, but when we step out in obedience we never walk alone."


COUNSELING UNDER THE CROSS by Martin Luther

I have a confession to make.  I’m not German.  I’m not Lutheran.  I’m not even Reformed in my theology.

I’m a Baptist pastor, have been since 1991.  I’m fundamental in my theological perspective . . . but not mad about it.

And I absolutely love this book!  Bob Kellemen has taken the time and energy, the blood, sweat and tears necessary, to make Martin Luther not only readable, but enjoyable.  And liveable.  Not an easy task in the contemporary historical / cultural context.

Exploring rich theological terms which Martin Luther himself found crucial for his salvation and, later, for his ministry, author Bob Kellemen writes as only one who comprehends the subject matter is able.  He has taken difficult theological concepts and “dumbed it down” for the rest of us, without sacrificing any of the significance.

Drawing on letters, conversations, sermons and anecdotes in Martin Luther’s life, COUNSELING UNDER THE CROSS shares the heart and soul of this Father of the Reformation as he ministers the gospel in a cross-shaped  approach to pastoral care—sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding. These four counseling concepts serve as compass points  as one discovers how Martin Luther took this historic approach and infused it with the gospel—demonstrating the rich relevance of the gospel for daily life.


5 stars for a foundational primer for Biblical counseling

COUNSELING UNDER THE CROSS:
HOW MARTIN LUTER APPLIED THE GOSPEL TO DAILY LIFE
Bob Kellemen
ISBN 978-1-945270-22-2 (eBook)
Christian Living / Spiritual Growth
NewGrowth Press
$19.97  paperback

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

KNOW THE WORD . . . SPEAK THE WORD . . . LIVE THE WORD! IT'S POSSIBLE!

Many people start the new year with the best of intentions.  We call these "New Years Resolutions."  And along with the list of "going on a diet,"  "losing weight," and "getting into shape by exercising regularly," some would add, "This is the year.  This is the year that I'm going to FINALLY read my Bible through."

Ahhhhh . . . the best laid plans of mice and men!  Wouldn't it be nice to have a game plan?  Better yet, wouldn't it be nice to have some help?  I mean . . . where does one start?

I highly recommend getting the KNOW THE WORD Study Bible.  The statement on the cover is not just advertising hype:  "GAIN A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIBLE:"

Book by book.  Verse by Verse.  Topic by Topic.  Now, why does that sound familiar?  
" For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"  Isaiah 28:10 (KJV) 

The KNOW THE WORD STUDY BIBLE adopts that very methodology.  Whether you are wanting to do a complete book study, a topical study of major Bible themes, or a verse by verse study, this is the study Bible that you will find yourself reaching for again and again.

Attractive features include:  textual notes and explanations, summaries of each book, STUDY THE BOOK highlights, tables of ancient monies, weights and measures and their modern equivalent, a more than adequate concordance, and of course a nice collection of maps.  I always look for maps in a study Bible!

However you choose to use the KNOW THE WORD STUDY BIBLE, you will find yourself so engaged with the Scriptures that you won't even realize, "Oh!  I'm reading the Bible!"  Bible study will no longer be a chore, or an item on your "to-do" list.  It will be the life-changing adventure that God intended it to be.  As a bi-vocational pastor, this is one of my "go-to" references for sermon preparation as well as for devotional reading.

The KNOW THE WORD STUDY BIBLE comes in the KJV and the NKJV translations, hardback with beautifully designed jackets, imitation leather, and genuine leather options.  The words of Jesus appear in red, and the two-color interior page design and thoughtful layout of the text and notes keeps the reader engaged.

5 stars for a Study Bible that lives up to its name.

KNOW THE WORD STUDY BIBLE
Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN 978-0-7180-9160-6
Bibles / KJV / Study
$39.99 cloth over board hardcover

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SPIRITUAL WISDOM FOR A HAPPIER LIFE by Mark W. Baker, PhD

To be honest, I have never really thought about my emotions, until I received this book for review.  My emotions, my feelings, were just "the way I'm feeling right now."  The notion that they can be understood . . .directed . . . put to work in one's life in such a way that they do not so much dictate your everyday life so much as they enhance your daily walk . . . enrich your relationships, and bring balance and focus to whatever you are doing at "the moment," is completely foreign to me . . . and completely refreshing.

What can I say?  I'm a guy!  Guy's don't usually engage in the "emotional."  Maybe it's time I learned.

In SPIRITUAL WISDOM FOR A HAPPIER LIFE, author Mark W. Baker, a clinical psychologist and author of JESUS - THE GREATEST THERAPIST WHO EVER LIVED, lays before us what the practitioners of psychology have generally accepted as the eight key emotions that human beings experience. 

Combining spiritual insights from scripture, 25 years of experience as a clinical psychologist, and candid revelations from actual cases, Dr. Baker plumbs the depths of pain, guilt, anger, anxiety, sorrow, fear, joy and love.  He writes in a clear, practical style, avoiding both technical jargon and over-simplification.

If (like me) you've never considered your emotions, or how they can be put to positive use in your everyday life, you may need to read the chapters over a few times until the light comes on.  Once the lights come on, they stay on, and illuminate possibilities of a happier life that you never dreamed of.

5 stars for a thoughtful approach to human emotions

SPIRITUAL WISDOM FOR A HAPPIER LIFE
Mark W. Baker, PhD
Christian Living / Emotional Health
ISBN  978-0-8007-2882-3
Revell Publishing
$16.99 US  softcover

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where Does One Find Justice In THE RULE OF LAW?

Show-time under the big top.  SEAL Team Six has just taken center stage.  For good or for ill, the lives of an American Journalist and the son of the Saudi royal family rested in the hands of one of the most capable Special Forces Units currently under arms.  Expertly trained, incredibly equipped, this should have been a walk in the park.

Of course, one can never forget the most-oft quoted proverb of the SEAL Team community:  “The only good day was yesterday.”  And with bad – bogus? – intel, the “walk in the park” becomes a bloody fight for survival. In the aftermath, hard questions are being asked, and no one seems to be able to provide the answers.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Who was ultimately responsible for the spectacular failure of SEAL Team Six?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

Randy Singer has written what can only be called an epic tour de force of legal and military suspense.  His writing is tight, his plot lines are engaging, and the action rarely allows for the reader to take a ragged breath.

My only criticism is simply this; the book is just too long!  At 473 pages, and with a cast of 40 characters to keep track of (there is a CAST OF CHARACTERS at the beginning of the book), one is reminded of Abbot and Costello’s infamous radio program, WHO’S ON FIRST?  Perhaps the CAST OF CHARACTERS at the front of the book should be detachable? 

If you have the necessary patience and stamina, as well as the time and inclination, Randy Singer produces a fictional story that reads like yesterday’s headlines in terms of authenticity.  Along the way, the author forces the reader to really think through what we have always naively accepted as THE RULE OF LAW.


4 stars for an excellent book that requires a lot from the reader

RULE OF LAW
Randy Singer
military suspense
ISBN 1-4960-41815-8
Tyndale House
473 pages
$26.99

Bowers Is Back! EVERY DEADLY KISS by Steven James

When I found out that Steven James was publishing yet another BOWER’S FILES suspense, EVERY DEADLY KISS, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Finding out that I had actually MISSED one (EVERY CROOKED PATH) completed the job.  Because while the titles stand alone, they are the continuing saga of an investigator who views crime scenes very differently.  Which explains his success. 

It also explains why no one seems to like Very Special Agent Patrick Bowers.  The other agents can’t understand him.  The women in his life can’t explain him.  And the criminals . . . well, they just keep winding up behind bars.  The ones that survive.

In EVERY DEADLY KISS, Agent Bowers inextricably manages to bring all the actors together on one stage.  He’s called in to work a case of bioterrorism of a particularly ruthless nature by his ex-lover, only to find out that the case is linked to his own history with a known terrorist . . . as well as to his former lover.

Yikes.

Enough teasers.  Get the book!  See if you can match wits with Very Special Agent Patrick Bowers!


5 stars for another suspense-driven ride for your life by Steven James!

EVERY DEADLY KISS (The Bowers Files)
Steven James
Mystery / Suspense / Technothriller
ISBN:  978-1-101-99157-2
Berkley Books
$9.99 U.S.

WHAT ARE THIRD WORLD CHURCHES DOING SO RIGHT, THAT WE ARE DOING SO WRONG?

Every now and then a book comes along that defies reviews.  Or at least makes them extremely challenging.  LESSONS FROM THE EAST:  Finding The Future Of Western Christianity In The Global Church is just one such book.  And I apologize, at the start, for my tardiness in getting this review out.

You see, I started on this book several months ago.  And I couldn’t get into it.  And I picked it up and started it again, and it just wasn’t working.  Well, you know what they say – “third time’s the charm,” right?

Wrong.  I think this is the fifth time I’ve picked up this book.  And I read a quote that I hadn’t seen before . . .and I realized how very important this book actually is to the church in North America.  So . . .I’ve begun it, and this time I’m going to be working it through, because I see so many churches in the pages of these books struggling with the issues Bob Roberts, Jr. addresses.

Oh . . . the quote? 
“In my lifetime the United States has shifted from being the most prolific nation in the world in sending missionaries to being the third most unreached nation in the world.  When I first became a pastor, I didn't realize that I'd become a missionary by staying in America instead of leaving America for a distant land.”
Bob Roberts, Jr.

Something to think about, the next time you pass a church.

5 stars for an extremely challenging, extremely timely book

LESSONS FROM THE EAST:
FINDING THE FUTURE OF WESTERN CHRISTIANITY IN THE GLOBAL CHURCH
Bob Roberts, Jr.
Religion / Christianity / Missionary – Evangelism
ISBN  976-0-7814-1376-3
David C. Cook
$16.99 U.S.


CARDIAC EVENT Will Leave You Breathless!

Doctors are dying.  Patients who successfully survived surgery are experiencing mysterious complications in the recovery room.  Something sinister lurks beneath the seemingly calm façade of Sommers General Hospital, and Dr. Kirk Martin is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Providing he can survive.

The one positive in his life is Janet Rush, a seasoned nurse working in the recovery room of  Sommers General.  While her first marriage failed due to her husbands indiscretions, Janet has seen something in Kirk that has enabled her to venture her heart out once again on the stormy seas of love.  She’s praying to find a safe port this time.

Dr. Richard L. Mabry’s ability to craft  engaging medical suspense novels only gets better over time.  The most praiseworthy aspect of his writing is, there are no “minor” characters.  Even the ones who get killed off in the first few pages remain memorable throughout the story, because Dr. Mabry has taken the time to make sure that you care.

CARDIAC EVENT is yet another riveting novel from the pen and the imagination of Dr. Richard L. Mabry.  Others have made this statement, and I’ll add my own agreement:  read one of Dr. Mabry’s books, and you will be scouring the library shelves, or surfing the internet to secure the rest.  He’s just that good.

Yet ANOTHER 5-star novel from the hands of Dr. Richard Mabry!

CARDIAC EVENT
Richard Mabry, M.D.
mystery / medical suspense
ASIN: B073QX1JVP
242 pages, soft cover
$14.99, U.S.




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Do you know WHO you are? Do you know WHOSE you are?

Sometimes in the busyness of everyday life--and with all the worries and concerns of this world--we forgot our most important job. We are messengers of Good News ... the best news! We can bring hope to the hopeless, truth to the confused and peace to the troubled. It's a job and an honor to #walkitout and share the Bible with a needy world.

#bestnewsever           #truth          #hope            #peace

Saturday, September 2, 2017

FALL KICKOFF by Tricia Goyer

While January 1 is truly the beginning of the new year, September always feels like a fresh start to me. In the Goyer house we've just completed our second week of homeschool. I started a new prayer journal, and we're settling in to a new (earlier) bedtime routine. While summer is fun, by the end of August everything within me longs for routine. Over the years I've learned a few ways to pursue purpose in my fall schedule.

1. Cut out anything you're doing because you felt guilty or didn't want to say no. Or even things that are "good" but aren't exactly what you'd consider your purpose. Even though something may have sounded like no big deal, it's time to be realistic about how that decision impacts your day-to-day life. You don't have time to pursue purpose if you're too busy pursuing "good" things-you'll miss out on the best things!

2. Become purposeful about chores. Create a simple chore list for yourself and your kids. Fold the laundry right out of the dryer, instead of piling it on your couch. On Sunday afternoon, jot down five meals you're make for dinner and make sure you have the ingredients. Everyone night spend five minutes picking up random stuff before heading to bed. A little purposeful planning ahead goes a long way.

3. Decide on one simple step to take toward fulfilling a dream that God's placed in your heart. Following your purpose comes from design, not default. Want to write a book? Turn off Netflix and write for thirty minutes a day. Want to complete a 5K? Find a race, sign up, and then jog around your block. The little steps, done consistently add up over time.

4. Purpose to read the Bible every day ... and do what it says. If I can point to the thing that's transformed my life the most it's this idea. I've read through the Bible at least six times all the way through, and I attempt to spend at least ten minutes a day reading God's Word. I've also dared to follow what God asks me to do: love others, serve the poor, care for the widows and orphans. I talk about all of this in my new book Walk It Out. I would love for you to pick up a copy for yourself and a friend and learn how to walk out God's mandates in your own life.
           
Also, to make it easier for you to become purposeful about reading God's Word, I've designed a Bible reading guide just for you! This is a 5-day plan, which means weekends are for rest, reflection and catching up! 



Friday, September 1, 2017

My Special Guest Today: Tricia Goyer, author of WALK IT OUT!

Humbling Yourself In Your Time of Need Changes Everything
by Tricia Goyer

          The other day I was cooking dinner when my six-year-old son rushed into the kitchen.
          Beads of sweat slid down his red face. “I’m so hot. You never get me anything to drink.”
          I stirred my spaghetti sauce with one hand as I turned to him. “Excuse me?”
          His voice rose in a full, high-pitched whine. “You never give me anything to drink!” He waved his hands and dropped to the floor.
          I took in a breath and then released in, telling myself to keep my voice steady, calm. “I’d be happy to get you a drink. I just need you to ask.”
          He kicked his foot against the floor. “But I want a drink now!”
          “I know you do.” I peered down at him. “And as soon as you ask the right way I’m happy to get some some ice cold water.”
          And then my son stood, smiled up at me and asked so sweetly for a drink of water …NOT!
          Instead, he whined and fussed more. Finally, I asked him to leave the kitchen.
          You know what? He never did ask. In fact, he didn’t get anything to drink until fifteen minutes later when we were sitting down to dinner. He was so bent on complaining and whining—in feeding his discontent—he didn’t want to release his control in order to ask me for help. I would have gladly given him the drink he requested if only he asked in the right away.

Feeding Our Discontent
I wish I could say this is just a little kid issue, but I’ve been there myself. During my teen years I lived in that storm of discontent. I complained when things didn’t go my way. I worried. I fretted. I fought.
          I even took matters into my own hands when I found myself facing an unplanned pregnancy at age 15. My own fears and worries led me to a choice I now regret—I had an abortion.
          It wasn’t until years later, at age 17 when I was pregnant again, that things took a turn for the better. It’s then I humbled myself and turned to God. By this point I realized the whining, complaining, and acting out wasn’t getting me what I wanted or needed.
          At six months along, I wrapped my arms around my growing stomach and prayed, “Lord, if you can do anything with my life, please do.”
          God showed up big time. He not own gave me Himself (which is the best!), He has also led me on a journey where radical, and wonderful things, have happened. This has included marrying a wonderful Christian man, having two more kids, starting a crisis pregnancy center, mentoring teen moms, adopting seven more children, and writing over 70 books!
          God didn’t just offer me a cup of cool water when I asked. He opened the floodgates of blessing. But it took me humbling myself and seeking Jesus to meet my needs.
          This reminds me of a Scripture I was reading just this morning, “I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’ You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life,” Lamentations 5:55-58.
          Mumbling, complaining and griping is easy, but they rob us of having our greatest needs met. Yet when we humble ourselves and turn to God, things will change for the better.
          When we call to the Lord, He hears us. When we turn to Him, He comes. When we call to Him, He reminds us that He is present and we have no reason to fear. When we place our needs in His court, Jesus redeems our life.
          It took a lot to humble me as a teen—two unplanned pregnancies in fact. Yet I’m thankful that I learned back then that when I turn to God He will meet my needs. He will meet them in more wonderful ways than I ever expected.
  
You can read more about how God can show up radically in your life in the bookWalk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time (http://amzn.to/2wi1Cwi).

If you pre-order Walk It Out before October 1, you’ll also receive 30 Days of Prayer as You Walk It Out FREE! Details here: http://www.triciagoyer.com/walk-it-out/

Sample post:
How does humbling yourself change everything? Tricia Goyer is sharing her #walkitout story on my blog today! (link)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

WALK IT OUT! DISCOVER LIFE-CHANGING PRINCIPLES THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR WALK IN THIS LATEST ADVENTURE BY TRICIA GOYER!


WALK IT OUT! 

"From cheats, and liars, and hypocrites, may the Good Lord preserve us!"

Few of us like to be cheated, and fewer still appreciate being lied to.

But the chief place of dishonor is reserved for the hypocrite - one who says one thing, and lives the exact opposite.

And there is a peculiar "smell," if you will, attached to a hypocrite.  Even very young children can spot them.

Tricia Goyer recognizes the deep wounds that hypocrisy can inflict on the preaching of the gospel, and the lives of those who have been touched by such hypocrisy.

Hence the new adventure:  WALK IT OUT!  You can pre-order it from the following web sites:
Tricia Goyer's Web Site
http://www.triciagoyer.com/walk-it-out/
Amazon.com
CBD
 Barnes & Noble                                                                      https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/walk-it-out-tricia-goyer/1125942768?ean=9781434710994

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pre-order WALK IT OUT by Tricia Goyer Today!

"The just shall live by faith . . ." and this is ONE snapshot of what that looks like in the 21st Century.

What ought not to surprise you is that this is what it looked like when Billy Graham was filling football stadiums during his evangelistic crusades.

This is what it looked like when John and Charles Wesley were used by God to start The Great Awakening.

Believe it or not, this is what it looked like when Saul of Tarsus was struck down on the road to Damascus, transformed into the Apostle Paul, and became the greatest missionary the world has ever seen.


While the names and faces have changed, the times and circumstances have radically altered as the world turned, the principles remain the same, and are captured in one verse of Scripture:
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 (NKJV) 


So many people stop short of that final step.  In her autobiographical work, WALK IT OUT, author Tricia Goyer shows us what that final step looks like.  As Tricia explains, "I've learned that God's good plans are not always easy, or neat, but when we step out in obedience we never walk alone."

Are you ready to take that next step?  Pre-order WALK IT OUT today from the following venues:

Pre-order Walk It Out and get 30 Days of Prayer As You Walk It Out for free

Pre-Order WALK IT OUT at Barnes and Noble!

Pre-Order WALK IT OUT at CBD.com!

Pre-Order WALK IT OUT at Amazon.com!

Pre-Order WALK IT OUT from Tricia Goyer's Website!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CHOOSING FORGIVENESS: THE FREEDOM TO LET GO IS IN YOUR GRASP!

Forgiveness is not for the faint of heart.  June Hunt, the author of this Bible Study, candidly declares, “There is no shame in the struggle to forgive.  The struggle is real.”  Having said that, she also points out that while forgiveness is not easy, nor does it come naturally, forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion.  More importantly for believers, forgiveness is not an option.

It’s a commandment.

This 6 – Session Bible study meets all the expectations that one would desire from a high-quality curriculum.  I was impressed and encouraged with the sections that covered the expectations of the Bible Study, and the notes to the student(s) and the leader(s) that set the tone for a successful, interesting, and motivating Bible study on the topic of forgiveness.  I was especially excited to see a clear, concise, and decidedly un-apologetic presentation of the plan of salvation in the opening pages.  Too often this presentation is placed at the end of the Bible study, and its position there provides the opportunity to treat it as a kind of afterthought.

With great open-ended questions that really get the ball rolling, Scripture passages that are central to the topic (not just “proof-texting,”), discussion questions at the end of each session and suggestions for concrete application, I just really feel like June Hunt hit the ball out of the park with this Bible study.  Another exciting feature that one can anticipate is “Fill-In-The-Blank” sample prayers related to the topic of forgiveness.  I’ve printed one off and have it hanging on my study wall, even as I’m writing this review.

June Hunt uses the testimony of Corrie Ten Boom as a backdrop for her study sessions, and I’m not going to steal all of her thunder, but I can’t help sharing the final conclusion that Corrie Ten Boom arrived at when faced with the challenge of forgiveness:
"When Christ tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself."
Corrie Ten Boom

What better invitation to explore this difficult topic of forgiveness?

Rose Publishing has provided me with an advanced reader copy of this published work.




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TITANIS: Never Say Never, Again!

Once bitten . . . twice shy.

Fool me once, shame on you . . . fool me twice, shame on me!

Pick your pejorative, both have been seared into the heart of Eamon "Titanis" Straider, a former special forces operator who left the military after having learned these lessons the hard way.  Through deception and betrayal.  But his mum is having none of it.

Neither is Lady Ellis Rostov-LeClair, a philanthropist who lives her life in the shadows cast by a mangled e-mail, working mightily to make Eamon's memorial to his fallen mates a reality, while at the same time struggling to bring her own dreams of a future with this apparent son of Poseidon to fruition.

Eamon's self-imposed isolation unwittingly sets the stage for one of his greatest challenges, threatening his goals, his dreams, and the lives of those whom he holds closest to a heart raging to be set free once again to love and to live.

Ronie Kendig's craft as a writer of military suspense is comparable to a fine wine . . . it just gets better over time.  While penned as a novella, TITANIS reads with all the suspense, tension and romance of a full-length novel.  You won't want to stop reading TITANIS until the very last page.

5 stars for military suspense at its finest!

Monday, August 14, 2017

CHASING SECRETS Can Be A Deadly Past Time!

Make sure you have the required amount of time to read this book . . . because once you start, you won’t be putting it down until you’ve finished. 

Lynette Eason, in Book 4 of The Elite Guardians series, captures the reader's interest from page one, and just when you think you’re going to get a breather from the romance, suspense, and crackling tension, she takes it to a whole other level.

Haley Callaghan has carved a career out of keeping people safe, and she is very good at her job.  So it’s rather disconcerting to find herself on the receiving end of her services.  But when danger crosses the water from County Mayo, Ireland, she quickly realizes that she’s in over her head. 

For Detective Steven Rothwell, returning home to handle some family business has reopened old wounds, and added a few new ones.  While investigating several murders which seem to be linked, his path crosses Haley’s.  Curiosity leads to definite interest, especially when Steven discovers that Haley is at the center of his investigation.  A cursory background check on the elite guardian reveals more questions than answers, and Steven does what any Detective worth his badge would do . . . he investigates.

Little does he know that they are both unwitting pawns in a game that is far larger, and with far more at stake, than either of them realize.  And while Detective Rothwell is busy putting out fires on the street, he is helpless to do anything about the one burning in his heart.

5 stars for non-stop action!

CHASING SECRETS
Lynette Eason
Christian Romance / Suspense
ISBN 9780800723910
Revell
338 pages
$14.99, paperback




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill Meet Again!

The strange forces that forged two individuals into leaders of two great nations . . . then allies . . . and ultimately as friends . . . form the basis for Matt Clayton's combined introduction to Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

If you've read the previous stand-alone offerings on these two men, note that there really hasn't been any remarkable changes.  But the introductory chapter is worthy of consideration.

If you haven't read either, or you don't have both volumes in your library, this is a great opportunity to gain fresh understanding into the lives of two great men who were pivotal in meeting and defeating one of the world's greatest enemies to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

5 stars for a wonderful introduction to two great men!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Another CAPTIVATING Guide: Three Books For The Price Of One!

Mythology: A Captivating Guide to Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, and Norse Mythology (Norse Mythology - Egyptian Mythology - Greek Mythology Book 4)
Matt Clayton
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B06XBNBZFX
350 pages
$16.08

Author Matt Clayton has done a good job of introducing the fascinating genres of Greek, Norse and Egyptian mythology. I was very impressed with his ability to keep all the facts straight, considering the diverse nature of the subject matter. Having said that, I have to temper my praise with a few observations. The author's intentions are clear; to write a CAPTIVATING guide, and I feel that he has accomplished his goal. Yet his treatment of the material is somewhat superficial. I would have liked a broader perspective. Which leads to the second observation, the material was unbalanced, particularly in the Greek section. Much time was spent on one or two particular stories, while other stories barely received any attention at all. Finally, I noticed that there were some details in some of the myths that didn't ring true with what I had read sometime earlier. For instance, the legend concerning the Titans swallowed by Cronus. In Clayton's text, Cronus regurgitates his children. The anthology that I read in high school has Zeus splitting the head of Cronus open with an axe, and the Titans escaping in this fashion. This should not be taken as a criticism of the author, because anyone with experience in these genres is aware of the issues related to textual criticism and the oral tradition underlying the preservation and transmission of the text. All in all, author Matt Clayton provides an impressive collection and representation for three extremely diverse bodies of literature.


ADDENDUM:  A closer look at the title has caused me to issue a correction, of sorts.  This is actually the FOURTH anthology that author Matt Clayton has issued concerning Greek mythology.  I’m new to reviewing Matt Clayton as an author, and have not read the previous three books on Greek myths.  My apologies, Matt!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

So You Think You Know Franklin D. Roosevelt? Read Captivating History: Franklin Delano Roosevelt To Find Out!

Well, folks, the blinders are off.  With extensive footnotes from both primary and secondary sources, Captivating History introduces you to Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the only man in the history of the presidency to serve three terms in office . . . and to be elected for a fourth!  Had his health not robbed this nation of one of her greatest statesman, presidents, and public servant, who knows how many more chapters would have been written!

This book reads more like an exposé than a history book, meaning that you won't be completely inundated with facts and figures, dates, times and places.  You will be privy to stuff about Franklin Roosevelt that you never knew . . . and maybe some stuff that you would have happily remained in ignorance of.

It's amazing how much Franklin Roosevelt accomplished in his lifetime, despite serious health issues and constant battles with his personal demons.  Therein lies the greatness of the man . . . that he was able to guide this nation through World War II, the Great Depression, and financial crises over a period of 12 years.  His indomitable will carried the day when a lesser man might have failed.  His rallying cry, "never give up; never, never, never give up!" is still as soul-stirring as the day in which he first uttered it.

His personal peccadillos serve as a reminder of what one man can do, despite his feet of clay.  

This is a quick read, and yet it serves as a wonderful "snapshot" of one of America's most beloved leaders.

5 stars for a wonderful introduction to Franklin Delano Roosevelt!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Have You Made Any Decisions Lately?

We face decisions every day. Some are pretty basic; "What am I going to have for breakfast?" "What am I going to wear?" Stuff like that.

Other decisions can have some serious consequences. "Should I buy that new-to-me car, or wait a little while longer?" "Should I remain at my current job, or start looking elsewhere?"

Then there are questions that have consequences of eternal significance: "Which God am I going to serve?" "How can I handle disappointment?" "To whom should I pray? And when? And why?"

In Scripture, these questions are often worded in such a way as to indicate that the decisions being made are going to bring with them a break - perhaps a permanent one - in some relationships which, up to this point, have been very satisfying, and a source of great blessing.

Joshua, in his speech to the tribes of Israel, revealed his decision in this manner:
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

Samuel, speaking to Saul after God had rejected Saul for the throne of Israel, declared:
"Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:" 1 Samuel 12:23 (KJV)

And David, in Psalm 5, reveals his own personal decision, as well:
"The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. 6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple." Psalm 5:5-7 (KJV)

These are decisions (and there are others in Scripture, as well) that are going to leave lasting impressions, and are going to drastically change deep, personal relationships.

Such decisions are not to be made lightly. At the same time, one must recognize that circumstances may bring about the necessity of making those decisions. And when the time comes, the decision must be made wholeheartedly. A half-made decision is like a half-baked pie; if eaten, it usually results in a bellyache!

One final illustration for your consideration:
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:8-10 (KJV)

Do you have some decisions to make today?


Monday, July 10, 2017

A TATTOO ARTIST, AN ATHEIST, AN OBSESSIVE / COMPULSIVE AND A JOCK WALK INTO A STORY . . . IS THIS A JOKE?

Not hardly!

The idea intrigued me.  Four stellar authors, collaborating on one . . . book?  novella?  miniseries?  thing?  And they did it for fun.  Just to answer the question, “What if . . .?”

I mean, the questions were numerous:  how was this all coming together? would it all come together?  what about “creativity clashes?”

Well, I’m here to tell you . . . it worked.  Each author wrote from the perspective of one of the main characters, maintaining and developing that character’s personality (at times comically, other times quite emotionally), telling one story made up of four.

In THE CALL, Bill Myers introduces us to Brenda, a conniving tattoo artist with a satirical streak a mile wide, and a penchant (gift? curse?) for tatting future events.

Frank Peretti gives us the Professor in THE HAUNTED.  The professor is a former priest turned atheist whose logical bent would win accolades on the planet Vulcan (pardon the Star Trek allusion; I’m dating myself, here!). 

In THE SENTINELS, Andi is the professor’s obsessive/compulsive assistant with a fascination for numbers.  Strangely enough, in this instance, the numbers are far from random.

Finally, THE GIRL by Alton Gansky brings us Tank, a naïve, football playing good ol’ boy with the (inconsistent) gift of healing, and an amazing capacity for love.

Through a series of orchestrated meetings, these four random strangers have been brought together to help restore order, bring healing – and oh, yes – settle the score with supernatural beings intent on bringing death, destruction, annihilation, and subjugation to the inhabitants of planet earth.

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

And perhaps these four award-winning authors didn’t.  Perhaps, and I’m just going out on a limb here, perhaps they have creatively combined their God-given imaginations to share with us an allegory, perhaps a parable - an earthly story that communicates a spiritual truth in a way that draws us in, instead of driving us away.

I’ve made up my mind.  Perhaps you ought to get a copy for yourself and draw your own conclusions.  

Regardless . . . my questions have been answered.  It works.  All of it works.  And I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Five Stars for a seamless collaborative effort on the part of four extremely gifted authors!

Invitation (Harbingers): Cycle One of the Harbingers Series
Frank Peretti, Bill Meyers, Angela Hunt, & Alton Gansky
ISBN: 076421974X
Bethany House Publishers
Print Length: 353 pages
$15.99 paperback

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Did You Know That Haiti Had Undergone A Revolution? I Didn't, Until I Read This Book!


Captivating History is just that!  Before I received the ARC for this book, I had no inkling that Haiti had undergone a revolution!  This book provides a thorough understanding of the major players and significant events, with sufficient detail to keep the reader turning the page.  I would have appreciated a little more depth on the analysis, but as a quick introduction, this book can stand on its own two feet!

Four Stars for an excellent introduction to the Haitian Revolution