Sunday, March 11, 2018

Book Review: In All Things by Melissa B. Kruger

This is a Bible study that focuses on joy in the Biblical book of Philippians. It takes readers deep into the Biblical book of Philippians while also using some other Bible verses to show how people in the Bible experienced joy in difficult times. Each chapter is split into sections by days 1-5 and on days 1-4 participants will observe, apply, and interpret the text; day 5 is a devotional. On days 1-4 participants will answer questions to help think about what they read from Scripture, and on day 5 the devotional helps it all come together and sink in. Sometimes the author gives examples of how something that has happened in her or someone she knows lives explain a little bit about some of the topics she is teaching about through Scripture and how they apply to their lives through those situations. There is also a group guide in the back of the book that give an ice breaker, and opening question, and more questions that apply to the Scriptures for each week's study.

I read through this whole book but only had time for one week of in-depth study at the point I am writing this review (and plan to continue on to finish all nine weeks, which will take me well over two months) since I needed to complete this book review before I could get through the whole study. I did see how the theme of "joy" during difficult times brought itself out when I took the time to read and meditate on Scripture the first week. It has also shown me just how deep the learning in this book is to have taken so much in through the first week's study (which I have paced out on different days and didn't complete it in a week).

I liked learning through the book of Philippians that they (the Philippian congregation) participated with Paul in the matter of giving in receiving according to Philippians 4:15 in the early days while it sounds like the other congregations maybe didn't, for some reason that stuck out to me the most while reading this book.

I discovered that the whole Biblical book of Philippians is printed in the back of the book of this uncorrected proof I received . For me personally I kind of wish it was at the beginning of the book (so that I knew it was there) but the sections of Scripture that were discussed were often printed with the group of discussion questions pertaining to that Scripture so it was not a big deal for me. I also liked to pull out my Bible and open it to the Scriptures given and read them that way.

I think both individuals and people in groups will benefit from participating in this study.

My review= 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received an uncorrected proof of this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of reviewing it.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review: Blessed Are The Misfits by Brant Hansen

This book is for a certain kind of people who feel left out of and have tried to fit into American church culture with no success. It is for people that are considered misfits, oddballs, introverts and other people that have a hard time fitting in (like the lonely, lost, disabled, poor, orphaned, prisoners, etc.). The author of this book describes himself as coming from this group of people and describes a lot of his struggles with fitting into the life of the church world. He uses humor and seriousness throughout the pages. Examples from Scripture during Bible times as well as from more recent times help make the point that these people were easily forgotten back then and still are.

In my opinion, the people that this book reaches out to are the very people that Jesus (Yeshua) reached out to a lot in Scripture. The author sharing his struggle and the pages of names of people (on the "Misfit Roll Call" in the back of the book) who feel like they relate to many of the ideas of this book really helped me to understand better that I am not alone. It helped me to feel less alone with my struggle of trying to fit into congregation life and showed me that even though it's hard for me to socialize like most people do that I am leaving people from the blessing of how I can somehow fit in and what my role(s) is/are in the body of Yeshua. I made a decision to keep attending a congregation I visit while reading this book when I was mostly going to try to worship individually at home so I feel like it has helped me a lot to change my thinking on that.

Even though the author stresses that people who don't fit into the category of people that this book reaches out to shouldn't read it, I feel like reading this book will also help people who are not in the category to understand these people better.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

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

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Review: Whisper by Mark Batterson

This book teaches that God whispers (still small voice), and the reason he speaks that way is so we will draw close to him. It also teaches that he has an outside voice (which I feel like I know all too well from some other people's prayers). It explains many other ways God speaks also and who he spoke to in those ways in the Bible. The author explains ways that he has heard God and how he moved in his life and the congregation he leads. He also uses some modern examples to explain ancient principals. There is a section called "The Seven Love Languages of God", which are Scripture, Desires, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings, and Pain. There is a chapter dedicated to each of the love languages which seem to go sort of deep into how the author thinks God speaks to people in these ways.

I learned through this book that we not only listen with our ears but with our eyes and hearts. I was able to put this into the action in my life recently while keeping silent when I couldn't understand someone's actions and just tried to look into the person's heart to understand what the person was going through. Trying to listen this way immediately seemed to soften the person.

I am glad that this book confirmed I hear God's outside voice sometimes. I like how some words are given in Hebrew with the meanings, such as the Hebrew word for "whisper" is demamah and can be translated "calmness", "silence", or "stillness".

The reference of a sick person who couldn't talk much or at all who was able to recite Psalm 119 (page 72) got my attention since I am going through a study that shows me some deeper things about the Hebrew alef-bet (alphabet) being used in it. So, I feel like God created a deeper interest to learn more about that chapter of the Bible from reading this book.

I feel that what I learned from this book did a great job of opening the eyes of my heart a little bit more!

My Review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received a hard copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Specialty Bible Review: NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible

This NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible contains all the books of the Bible while also including unapologetic articles about topics that connect Bible information to today's times. The articles are color coded based on the topics of church, corruption, economics, education, family, government, sanctity of life, and virtue. The articles are gleaned from the Kairos Journal website to help encourage and equip pastors and are conveniently around the Scriptures that they reference. Bible readers will probably also find the Bible book introductions helpful, which contain an introduction of the Bible book, background, content, insight, and outline of the Bible book. There is also a overview included with each Bible book which shows a color coded chart that highlights with white diamonds what color coded topics are covered and the type of information that is used (Biblical, Historical, Quotations & Writings, and Commentary). Ending pages include a Table of Monies, Weights, and Measures, Index of Features for Canonical Study, and Index of Features for Topical Study.

I read through the Bible book of Ezekiel when reading this Bible. It seemed like the articles alongside Scripture were kind of more over my head than I am used to so I now I understand that they were probably written more for leaders of congregations but that they can help other learners to understand how articles like that help them gain knowledge of how to encourage and teach people through their God-ordained sermons, while people taught by congregations leaders that read them can gain the knowledge themselves also.

I liked the overview section at the beginning of the Bible books a lot because it showed me what kind of information and topics are included within the Bible books. Some books have a little amount of white diamonds filled in while others have a lot (or none). That got me to thinking that that the Bible books with none of the main topics highlighted are probably very unique and might carry different kinds of messages than the others.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

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

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: Tu B'Shevat is Coming! by Tracy Newman, Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

This is an interesting book for children that explains about some of what makes Tu B'Shevat the holiday that it is. It describes the kind of weather that often happens during it, what kids may do during it while exploring (riding bikes, hiking), digging holes for planting seeds, what kind of trees that are often planted, what to fill up your plate with while the holiday is approaching (plus more), all the while continuing to announce that Tu B'Shevat is coming. When Tu B'Shevat is finally here it shows what people may do to celebrate its arrival.

I like that this book explains what Tu B'Shevat is without really coming right out and explaining what the holiday is about, I believe that will help children to imagine what it is and its meaning on their own.  What it explains is done to prepare for the holiday will also help children see how fun preparing for Tu B'Shevat can be. I believe the fact that the story keeps saying that Tu B'Shevat is coming will create a lot of anticipation and excitement about the holiday for children!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book Review: Sadie's Snow Tu B'Shevat by Jamie Korngold, Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Sadie wants to plant a tree on Tu B'Shevat but the weather is too wintry for it grow. She asks some of her family members what to do but they explain to her that it is too cold to plant a tree. She finally gets the answer she needs from her grandma that in Israel it is spring and the right time for tree planting. Her grandma has a great idea of how Sadie can plant something during the wintry weather that is happening where she lives. She tells Sadie what she used to do when she was little, which was to plant parsley on Tu B'Shevat in pots and put it on the windowsill. Sadie decides to do this and sees her small plant sprout up a little bit at a time, just in time for Pesach (Passover).

I like how the holiday of Tu B'Shevat is explained during this story and it also explains the difference in the weather during the time of the holiday in Israel and where the setting is in the book. It also explains what Sadie will need to plant her new tree (or something like a tree), there is only a small number of things that she will need. I like that the parsley that Sadie planted had a use after it had sprouted since parsley is often used during Pesach.

An interesting story that will plants seeds about the Tu B'Shevat holiday for children that can be read at any time of the year!

My review= 5 out of 5 years

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Book Review: A Queen in Jerusalem by Tami Shem-Tov & Rachella Sandbank, Illustrated by Avi Ofer

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Malka's mother promised she would make her a Queen Esther costume for Purim but she doesn't have time to do so. Malka is disappointed and as she walks along the streets of Jerusalem she see a man hammering on a stone. She finds out his name is Boris and she tells him her story about she doesn't have a costume for the Purim holiday the next day and he leads her to some talent weavers who help make a dream come true for her beyond what she can imagine!

A lot of children will probably be able to understand through this story that the Purim holiday was important to Malka and they can probably eventually apply it to real life of maybe why their family and friends might also get excited about the holiday. They will be able to see how fun it was for Malka to get dressed up participate with the holiday using the costume that was made just for her!

This story does a great job of explaining who the man Boris in the story was and there is also an author's note going into more detail about who he was. Children will learn that not only was Boris a sculptor and painter but he also founded a royal school of art in Bulgaria and an art school in Jerusalem, which sounds like it still exists today.

My review= 5 out 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.