Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hitler's Cross by Erwin W. Lutzer

Have you ever wondered where the Church was during Hitler's Jewish Holocaust?  I have.  Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer explores that very topic in his book "Hitler's Cross: How the Cross was Used to Promote the Nazi Agenda".

"Hitler's Cross" begins with the history of Germany's pride that led to a patriotic spirit that surpassed love of God.  Dr. Lutzer explains how Germans were "ripe" to be led by someone who could give them better lives, personally, and restore Germany's greatness especially after the humiliating defeat of World War I and the stifling and impossible demands of the Treaty of Versailles. 

Dr. Lutzer also explains why so many were easily misled by Hitler and the satanic/Eastern/occultic influence in the elite SS.  I was horrified to learn that there were even Nazi "baptisms" and other normally Christian ceremonies that were paganized.  Even Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter, were changed to non-religious names.  Sound familiar?

I appreciated Dr. Lutzer's view, though, that during this horrendous time, God's Hand was still present.  Yes, innocent people were victimized, yet many people also received a saving faith and much "chaff" was sifted from the Church.  People... Christians... stood up for what was right during that time.  Some paid the ultimate price of unspeakable torture and death. 

At the end of the book, the author warns Americans that in many ways we are headed in the same direction.  We are embracing humanistic ideals and pushing aside the Bible's teachings in order to be "politically correct".

I would highly recommend this book.  I believe that if we don't learn from History, we are doomed to repeat it. It is comforting to know, though, that God will be the Victor at the end of our word's story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Though My Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

"Though My Heart is Torn" by Joanne Bischof is the second book in the Cadence of Grace series.

This heart-wrenching story is about Gideon O'Riley and his wife Lonnie... and his other wife Cassie.

Gideon thought Cassie had taken the papers they both signed to have their secret marriage annulled.  But she didn't.  When Cassie's father and brothers found out about the marriage and that her reputation was ruined, they were determined that Gideon make it right.

One problem, though.  Gideon is married Lonnie.  And to make it even more interesting, they have a son, Jacob.  Neither wants to split their family apart, but unfortunately the law is not on their side.

I have not read the first book in the series, "Be Still My Soul", and I think it would have been easier for me to get into the story if I had.  That said, once I was engaged, I found the story to be riveting, maddening, and hard to put down.  As I read, I couldn't help but feel for the loss of Gideon's and Lonnie's family all while being challenged by the selfishness of Cassie and her family to not care about the future of little Jacob.  Interestingly, in telling my husband about the story, he agreed with the law...

I really enjoyed the story and plan to read the first book as well as the last one.  I have to know what happens to Lonnie and Gideon!  On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate this book a solid 4.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I am Ruth by Brenda Duff & Kenneth Berg

After reading "I am Ruth, A Story of Loss, Love & Redemption" by Brenda Duff, I believe this book
will find a permanent place on my coffee table.

Already after finishing it, I have picked it up several times to read and to enjoy Kenneth Berg's incredible photographic portrayal of this story.  As a matter of fact, it is almost like a movie in book form, yet more. 

The narrative portion of the book not only includes information about Ruth, Naomi, Boaz and their contemporaries, it also includes other biblical stories that have similarities in them, such as Joseph (Jesus' earthly father) leading his family to  Egypt to save their lives and Lot (Abraham's nephew) and his family fleeing the burning cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

What I enjoyed most was being able to vicariously "live" the story through the stunning photographs that were taken in the Holy Land, close to where Ruth actually lived.

Ruth's life is a classic example of loyalty, courage, obedience, love, and God's provision.  This beautiful book is a fabulous representation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by New Leaf Press in exchange for my honest opinion.

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

A "Christian" murder mystery?  Well, when I saw this book, "Rules of Murder" by Julianna Deering had to read it!
and offered by Bethany House, I just

The story, set in the 1930's English countryside, introduces Drew Farthering as the gentleman "detective" trying to solve the murders of his mother, step-father, and a cad named "Lincoln".   Drew and his buddy, Nick, are both charming, well-mannered, chivalrous, and quite funny.  Drew's love interest, the spunky Madeline Parker, also happens to be his step-father's niece from America whom he meets at the beginning of the book.

Although I had an idea at start of the story that one of the victims was not actually a victim at all, the book really took some twists and turns and was not the predictable story I had first feared it to be.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised...by everything. 

After reading many secular mysteries, I must say that I truly enjoyed a great story that didn't get caught up in gore, sex, and/or vulgar language, and would highly recommend this to any mystery-lover who is ready for an entertaining tale.

I for one am looking forward to the next Drew Farthering escapade!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So Long, Insecurity - Teen Edition by Beth Moore

My Review:
When I had another opportunity to review a book with my soon-to-be teenage daughter, I was really excited and jumped at the chance.  We both had a very positive experience reading Tindell Baldwin's "Popular", and I have heard so many wonderful things about Beth Moore, that I was looking forward to reading "So Long Insecurity, Teen Edition".

First of all, this book is more like a magazine.  It has a lot of short articles and features topics like fashion, media, boys, popularity, etc.  With tons of pictures, it is fabulous for even girls that don't really enjoy reading.

As a homeschooling mom of a very mature twelve-year-old, I felt really out of touch with what is going on in the "teen" world.  I know I've seen teen girls around... but they certainly don't dress like the girls in the book.  These girls, who were supposed to be portraying "average" teen-aged girls, looked more like models or girls who have an unlimited clothing allowance from well-to-do-parents.  As a matter of fact, my daughter, who is normally her own person and truly happy in her own skin, went through a period of feeling insecure(!!!) after looking at the pictures and feeling that she was coming up short in the fashion department.

That aside, I really thought the written words and quizzes were really valuable.  So, I realize that this book is trying to reach a certain audience, but I'm not so sure we were it.

Reilly's Review:
When I first saw this book, I thought, " Hey, look at this book!  It seems fun!"  But when I read it, I was extremely discouraged. Beth Moore went on saying how models and girls you see in magazines are so fake, but if you look at the pictures, the girls have flawless skin, the newest clothes, perfect hair, etc.  It made me think, "If real girls look like that, then I am so ugly.".

Beth Moore had a lot of good things to say. The thing is that I am very secure, but when I read the the book it made me feel anything but.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Billy Graham in Quotes by Franklin Graham

Billy Graham's son, Franklin, has shared wonderful, insightful, encouraging, and in some cases, convicting quotes from a myriad of resources in his latest book "Billy Graham in Quotes".

This extraordinary book includes quotes on 107 topics from, I believe, the most well-known evangelist of our era.  Nothing is off-limits.  The book begins with quotes on abortion and covers other topics including creation, Satan, grief, lust, marriage, and success.

This is a wonderful resource for pastors, teachers, public speakers and more.  I just recently shared a quote on marriage that was in this book with a newly married couple in the greeting card we gave them.

Sometimes we get a little foggy on what God really says about a subject because of world views.  Other than the Bible itself, this is another source of direction from a man I believe to be a man after God's own heart.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Unlocking your Family Patterns by Cloud, Townsend, Carder, & Henslin

Newsflash:  We all  have varying degrees of dysfunctionality in our families.  And most of the time,

I know that we would love to have perfect little families, so if you didn't know or were in denial about that little fact, it becomes very clear when you read "Unlocking Your Family Patterns" by Dr. Henry Cloud, Dave Carder, Dr. John Townsend, and Dr. Earl Henslin.

The authors, who are experts in their field, helped me to not only understand why I do what I do within my family of origin, my current family and other relationships, but to also identify the behaviors that are harmful.  For those undesirable or downright harmful behaviors, because they have now been brought to the light, I can now make a choice to change and/or heal.  And so can you.  The authors really encourage support from others, whether that is in the form of a group (i.e. a 12 step group) or individual professional counseling.

For me personally, this book was enlightening, thought-provoking, and encouraging. At the same time, I spent a lot of time on the "Questions for Reflection" at the end of each chapter considering my family of origin's patterns and the changes I need to make to break negative cycles.  This book was something I really needed to read, but was pretty painful in places, too.

Knowledge is power.  If we continue doing what we have done, we will continue getting what we have gotten.  Maybe, like me, you have some learning to do.  This book is a great place to start.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 
the way we handle our relationships with others was learned while living with our family of origin.