Thursday, March 21, 2019

Book Review: When God Calls the Heart: Devotions From Hope Valley by Brian Bird & Michelle Cox

This is a book of 40 devotions based on the TV and film series When Calls the Heart (based on the book series by Janette Oke). I received it in a gift set of year 5 films from the series. Each devotion shares a Scripture verse, a photo, a quote from one of the actors or actresses, a short story, a "Prayer from the Heart" which applies to what is learned through the short story, and a "What's on Your Heart Today?" section which lists questions to help you figure out what might be deeper on your heart after reading the devotions.

I liked pulling this devotion book out at the end of my days most days. I think it helped my mind to become more relaxed. I liked to look at the pictures from the series in the devotions to help me picture the scenes the devotions were speaking about. It has helped me to want to dig deeper into the television series since I have only watched part of it. The prayers sometimes brought up situations that were already on my mind so they helped to draw out more of what was on my mind and heart to say that I couldn't find many words for.

One of the other things I like about this series so far (from the parts of it I have watched) is they don't bring up Easter. I like that because I would rather commemorate Passover than Easter since that's explained in the Bible and Easter isn't. They do celebrate Christmas in it which I'm being more okay with watching since I don't think anybody knows the actual day Jesus (Yeshua) was born anyway.

I have liked the When Calls the Heart series ever since the first day I watched a television episode. I later discovered it carries the topic of "hope" that I have noticed God has been weaving into my life throughout the years in various ways. I first heard about this series in 2016 but discovered later that the Love Comes Softly film series is based on one of Janette Oke's book series, also; I started watching those films in about 2005 or 2006. So, even though I have never read one of Janette Oke's books, they have been brought alive to me through both of these tv and film series.

I have been drawn to some of Michael Landon's television work like Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven in my childhood years and also later, so God seems to have drawn me to the work his son has done with the When Calls the Heart and Loves Comes Softly series, also.

A really great devotional book to use if you like the When Calls the Heart series (or want to learn more about it) and want to connect to God while learning more about the faith-based topics it highlights.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Remembering A Great Band

I think I'm going through a week of 20th anniversaries.

Today, I'm remembering 20 years of liking the group Collective Soul. This video is of the first concert I ever attended from them in 1999. I'm somewhere on the lawn with my cousin and some other people. It looks wild but I don't remember it being so. We must've been in a "calm" section. I continued going to some of their concerts through my mid 20's for a long season. Their music helped me get through a hard time in my life in the late '90s and early 2000s, which is one reason why I'm celebrating it today 20 years later.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Remembering A Great Film

Remembering this great film this weekend that celebrated it's 20th anniversary recently. I've loved it since the first time I watched it! Something extra I think God gave me is I heard Nora Ephron (a writer for the film) talk about the film at a book festival I worked at many years after I become a lover of it. And, I still have my email account that says "You've Got Mail" whenever I receive a new email. So many reminders of this great film!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Book Review: Reclaiming our Forgotten Heritage by Curt Landry

This book is about Curt Landry's life and ministry and how finding biological roots in his life that he never knew about can compare to finding the lost Jewish roots of Christianity. He talks about how the ministries he's involved in came to be through God's intervention. He focuses a lot on how the roots of Christianity are Jewish and that we should embrace them and allow them to change us. Most of it read like a memoir to me but there were chapters that seemed to be just informational too. It is a book that can be helpful to someone just entering the Messianic Jewish movement because it explains about the Jewish Sabbath and Biblical feasts, and can also be helpful to people that want to pick up tidbits of information about the Jewish roots of Christianity that they may have not learned before or need a refresher about.

One of first the things that caught my attention in this book is that Curt explains that a lot of Jewish people view money differently than most non-Jewish people do. It sounded like they want to have enough money to bless others with, and they strive not to be in poverty. That helped me to be a little more sympathetic towards Jewish people for being focused on making a lot of money sometimes. It has also helped me to be grateful that maybe my current Messianic Jewish leader doesn't gain financially much or at all for the times when we need to give beyond tithe to participate.

I found it interesting that the author was led to read the Bible book of Jeremiah and that he found his calling there. I have been learning to read, write, and speak the book of Jeremiah in modern Hebrew for about two or more years now so it made me wonder if God led me to that book for a reason, also.

I had learned a little about being a Judeo-Christian in the past and I have been going through a time it has come back up; this book is one of the resources it was brought up to me again. So, coming across that subject briefly in this book has helped me to want to open up the subject again in my life. It was also interesting to learn that half-Jews were considered Samaritans. (Page 136)

Such a blessing to come across this book. To me, it was most encouraging to learn Curt's life started out very hard and got much better, and that God's hands were in it the whole time it sounded like.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Book Review: Decoding Your Dreams by Jennifer Leclaire

This is a book that helps people learn to understand their dreams from God better. The author really stresses that dream interpretation is from God but she gives some helpful clues people can use to try to decode what their dreams might mean if they came from God. She goes into a lot of depth about different ways God speaks to us (not just through dreams). She gives examples of people God spoke to through dreams in the Bible. She gives some steps to interpreting dreams and explains how God may speak to people with colors, numbers, symbols, and different languages to get through to people in their dreams. She also gives some common dream meanings to what certain things might mean in dreams like when people dream of being chased, arriving late to an appointment, flying, etc.

I enjoy learning about how God might be speaking to people in their dreams since I have a lot of dreams and try to write them down after I wake up so I can remember them later. This book helped me learn that maybe not all the dreams I have come from God and they can be brought on by something I watched in a film, tv show, etc. or even just could be an attack from the enemy. 

Learning about what dreaming about being at school might mean for some people spiritually was very interesting to me since I have many dreams about being at school in different classes, and others about trying to make it to other classes and the doors being shut and maybe locked, and also me missing the school bus a lot.

I also didn't know that there was a thing called watches in the middle of the night in Israel and that demons were active during the fourth watch between 3 - 6 a.m., which this author explains that is when Yeshua (Jesus) walked on water in Matthew 14:25-33 during a storm during the fourth watch. 

It was also encouraging to read that it would help to review the dreams we write down periodically so we can see if they are maybe tied to other dreams we have later. Some people might also find it helpful to know that God might speak to us in dreams about something that may happen far down the road and the information he reveals to us in the dreams might help us prepare more for that time or maybe just know about what will be coming.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Specialty Bible Review: NKJV Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Third Edition)

The NKJV Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Third Edition / Hardcover) is filled with a lot of supplemental material to read alongside the Scripture passages such as Word Wealth portions that give Strong's definitions and pronunciations of Hebrew and Greek words, Kingdom Dynamics sections that go deeper into what some portions of Scriptures mean, and Praying the Word portions that suggest prayers related to the Scriptures they are near (and list which Scriptures they are adapted from). There is also other Scriptures that I think are related to the Scripture passages they are beside and notes at the bottom of the pages which are considered commentary to me to help people better understand what those passages mean.

The index is listed a little after the opening pages, it is after the Introduction, description of features in this Bible, Word Wealth and Praying the Word Indexes. There is background information before the Bible books that give information about the books, such as the authors, dates, themes, key words, and in-depth summaries for the Bible books. Some of Bible books end with a Truth in Action section which teach the truths (what it teaches), and actions (what it invites) with Scriptures to support those truths and actions.

Pages after the Bible books (by different contributors) include different articles. It was interesting to see that there is an article on how to lead someone to Jesus (Yeshua), and Messianic Jewish ministry. There is also a Concordance and maps at the end.

I read through the book of Job while reviewing this Bible and picked up some new things I don't remember picking up in the past, such as many people that were close to Job before he went through many losses were kind of non-supportive and scorned him (Job 16:20). He also wasn't relieved from pain by speaking or remaining silent (Job 16:6), which I found comforting because I have had the same problems sometimes.

I also read through the book of Jude and learned that Michael the archangel rebuked Satan about something involving the body of Moses in verse 9 of Jude. I never remember learning about anything being called Moses' body before in the Bible so that was interesting for me to learn.

I liked how this specialty Bible used Strong's definitions in the Word Wealth portions given throughout the Bible. One thing I wish it listed there with each portion was what language the word being defined is (Hebrew or Greek), although I've learned enough Hebrew to recognize a Hebrew word versus other languages, but I was thinking about other people who might wonder what language the words from the Word Wealth portions are from and might not be able to guess whether it's Hebrew or Greek.

I was interested in reviewing this Bible because I've connected with some of Jack W. Hayford's spiritual work in the past. I spent about 30 days reading through it (that's the timeframe I'm allowed), and there are many sections I didn't get to because the material is so deep to me. I think most people that use this specialty Bible will probably be happy with the amount of supplemental material it contains to help them to better understand what the Scriptures mean.

My review= 4.5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.