Friday, October 19, 2018

Less Than Perfect by Ann Spangler

This book goes into detail in story format how some broken people in the Bible who had gone through hard times or even were not good examples at one time were used greatly by God. Each chapter focuses on one person and sometimes more than one person who was used by God even though they had gone through brokenness in their lives. There is a section at the end of each chapter about the Bible characters called "The Times", which explains what Bible verses their stories are in, and "The Takeaway" which lists the date range and where their story can be found in the Bible. It gives a recap of what times were like and goes deeper into the individual stories. Also, group / individual study questions are given to help what was previously read sink in better.

I liked that the stories in this book were told in ways that tried to put me into the minds of what the characters' lives were like better and what they could've done or said. I know that a lot of the story format stories may have been fictionalized because they were told in that format before the Bible verses recap, and group / individual study questions were given.  This book also helped me to realize that some of the stories in this book may have been described to me in the past and didn't actually happen the way or not very much like the way that they did.

I liked that not only was David's story told but the story of his sons was told also. It was also interesting to learn about Herod the Great's sons. I do not remember learning about any of these people at any other time so I'm glad that this book taught about them.

I also liked how both male and female examples were given, showing that God used the brokenness of both genders.

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.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Coloring Book Review: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Illustrated by Julianne St. Clair

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read. This review is also for adults who enjoy coloring in coloring books.

This coloring book is for lovers of the fall season!  It will help people to enjoy autumn more when they color in it during the fall season and it will also help people to look forward to autumn when they are in another season. Bible verses are given in some places throughout the book which sometimes focus on the fall season theme and other verses are given that do not have a seasonal theme. There are also sayings from different people that focus on the fall theme and sayings without quotes or Scripture references; the letters of those sayings can often be colored or have a picture with them that can be colored.

There was some detailed drawings in this coloring book where a little color could be used and some drawings where a lot of color could be used like with a picture of a barn and a garden. That picture kind of curled up after I drew on it but I think it's because so much ink was used on the page.

This coloring book worked well with my gel pens, which is what I use sometimes to color in coloring books. The gel pens didn't bleed onto the pictures on the other side of the paper that I noticed. I also used two different types of markers that had both broad and fine tips. I used the fine tips with most of those markers but occasionally used the broad tips with some. What I found is that with one set of markers there was barely any ink that bled through onto the back side of the paper and with the other set all the colors I used bled through to the point where it doesn't look like that picture on the back of page is usable to be colored, and the ink can also be seen some on the next picture. That backside picture is one I wouldn't color anyway though. I also used colored pencils with one of the drawings I also colored with markers on. Those didn't bleed through as I think mostly colored pencils don't on most coloring paper. So, I would say that the paper is medium heavy for my coloring needs.

I love the variety of pictures in the book to color! There are drawings I spent hours on and others with mostly words that I spent probably less than an hour on. I also liked there was some pictures that I could decide to leave some of the drawing white or choose a color close to white to color those parts of the pictures with.

Fall is my favorite season so it was great to have this coloring book to help me look forward to it. I am not sure if this is meant to be an adult or a children's coloring book but I think both adults and children will enjoy it! It will most likely be something people will to do to help them to feel calmer like it did for me when I colored in it!

My Review= 4 out 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.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: The Hundred Story Home by Kathy Izard

This is a story about Kathy Izard's life that was inspired by the book  "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, about their story of meeting when Denver was homeless. Kathy starts the book off by talking about her life growing up, how she met her husband, and her children. She then goes into the story of how she was called from serving the homeless in a way where she didn't communicate with them that much to being responsible for helping to make it possible that some of the people that were homeless in her city be given places to live. She took on a huge responsibility and saw many ways God showed up to make what Denver encouraged her to do to help the homeless more a reality.

Kathy's story really encouraged me since I also was inspired by reading "Same Kind of Different As Me". It encouraged me more that we should give no and low income people the same chance to learn and participate as everybody else in congregations because that's what ministry should include with the other ways it helps no and low income people outside of congregation buildings. It's different to what Kathy was called to since I don't have to try to convince congregation leaders and other people to help with housing people that are homeless but to offer them free and/or discounted books or other resources, and a chance to go on congregation trips, and participate in meals during Biblical feasts. I guess Kathy's story inspired me to want a different kind of housing for people that are homeless, which is the ability to have congregation homes for some people that don't have any when they are sometimes missing the learning and community that are often needed to be included better in a congregation family.

I liked Kathy's humility that she wasn't able to do what she was called to alone and listed many people in the back of the book who helped her, and most of all that she gave the credit to God for the many ways he stepped in to allow people who seemed to feel unseen a chance to be seen through the people that cared for them in the ministry, the people that supported the ministry in helping them, and probably other people who treated them differently when they had homes to live in.

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.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Praying the Promises of God by Linda Evans Shepherd

Praying God's Promises is a book that lists a lot of God's promises that are in the Bible. For each of the promises listed out by Scripture there is an agreement / declaration written out so the reader can speak of that promise to God through prayer. The promises are divided into chapter topics and then categories within some of the chapters making it easy for readers to come back to find those promises listed when they need to. Some of God's names are listed in a Name above All Names section at the end of the stories in each chapter before God's promises are listed which are related to the topics which tie into to the chapter topics also.

I don't recall coming across a book like this before; it actually encourages me to bring the promises up to God while in prayer for certain things. What I found interesting is that not the same Bible translation is always used for the Scriptures that are shared; one Scripture uses the NIV version while another uses another translation such as NLV, ESV, GW, etc. Some translations are used more than once though. I also found it interesting that at some places of the book Linda explained stories that someone else shared with her about something great that God did and she would wonder if they mentioned a certain Scripture when praying about certain people that the great things happened to and I think I recall the answer always being yes.

A highlight for me was when I came across Psalm 72 in the story before one of the sections of promises in chapter 3 were highlighted about the needy, the poor, and those who need help to be rescued (Psalm 72:12). And also Hebrews 13:16 in the promises section in the same chapter about doing good for others and sharing with those in need. That was important to me because I hope to see more people defending the poor, the needy, and those that need help in the future.

I have used one of Linda's books a lot called When You Need a Miracle so it felt like another blessing to read this book tooI have prayed one of the sets of prayers in When You Need a Miracle nearly every day for almost a decade now when I have dealt with spiritual warfare about something I had no control over and didn't understand. So since that book has helped me through that part of my life I believe this one will help with another part of it with me sometimes needing to mention Scripture promises when I talk to God in prayer.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

the Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford

the Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi takes people along on a trip Kathie Lee Gifford took to Israel with a group of people that were invited on the trip. A Messianic rabbi named Jason comes alongside her in this book to go deeper into some Jewish words and meanings to help readers understand more from a Jewish perspective. Not every chapter has input from Jason but the input he does give is a lot to me. The chapters throughout the book go over different places in Israel Kathie and her group traveled to and had spiritual experiences at. Each chapter lists a Scripture verse at the beginning related to what the chapter is about. She even touches on the Jewish Festivals. She also shares some about her late husband in a very touching way.

It was great to read about this side of Kathie because I knew she is a TV cohost but didn't know about her love of Israel until I read this book or that she has some Jewishness inside of her.

Usually I get tired of hearing about people's trips to Israel because a lot of people go on congregation trips with some of the congregations I have attended. The first year or two of listening about them was fine for me but I got to feeling left out and probably many others did too. Hearing about Kathie's trip with a group a people seemed fine for me though maybe because it sounded like the people that went on the trip went as a gift that was given to them, which according the stories from participants in the back of the book it was a beautiful gift to some and maybe even all of them. I hope many more people will consider giving people the gift of a trip to Israel, especially people that have gone many times.

It seems like a lot of the Hebrew words and definitions that were shared in this book I had not learned before. I also think Jason's input will be helpful for people seeking to know some deeper meanings of the Bible from a Hebrew perspective.

One of the big things I learned that seemed really deep to me is that Jesus (Yeshua) wasn't really a carpenter but a stone mason based on a teaching Kathie received from their tour guide Ray Vander Laan.

I liked that the Jewish Festivals were touched on in the chapter about Jerusalem since I think that people get a different experience when commemorating them there probably.

I think this book was so deep to me that I could pick it up again and have different information pop out at me. I think probably everybody will get a different experience from the insights from Kathie and her group's travel experience to Israel.

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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Specialty Bible Review BIBLEFORCE: The First Heroes Bible

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

To me this is a storybook that describes different parts of Scripture. To start out with this BIBLEFORCE: The First Heroes Bible describes some important about the Bible including how the Bible books are broken out, maps about different topics, a timeline, and other important information regarding the Bible. It highlights different people in the Bible that it considers heroes and lists some important details about them before their story told about them from the Bible in storybook format. Each story has the Scripture it came from listed under the title of the story so if children want they can go read the Scriptures the stories came from for themselves or have it read to them.

I found this storybook Bible very interesting as an adult so I think children will like it so much more. The pictures were very colorful and I feel they will capture children's attention and bring them deeper into the Biblical stories. I sometimes looked up the Scriptures that the stories represented and they seemed to follow them very well. Sometimes I felt like they were condensed and fictionalized a little bit to help children and other people reading it to understand what might have happened if it was unknown in relation to Scripture, and that information had to have been unknown anyway since we don't really know what the people's clothes looked like or exactly what the people in the Bible looked like during those times either.

I also found that this storybook Bible focused on some books of the Bible more than others but I am glad it went in the order that most Bibles I have read go in. When it got to the New Testament I'm glad it spent a decent amount of time talking about Jesus (Yeshua). I found most of the stories to be common stories that are taught a lot in children's Bible school classes but occasionally ran across ones that I don't think are as common, like some of the stories about Paul from the book of Acts.

Some highlights for me were how one story described how the 12 stones of Israel came to be in Joshua 4 and when Jesus was asked when God would give the Kingdom back to Israel from Acts 1.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible 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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review: Joey by Jennifer Marshall Bleakley

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

Kim has a dream to operate a place where hurting children connect with horses that were also hurt and neglected. It seems impossible but when she finds God's guidance He makes her dream possible. Joey is the first horse she takes and is a very special horse; he's blind but he has a way of being used to heal emotional wounds through the ways he relates to hurting people and other horses. Speckles is also a special kind of horse but has been so abused he has a lot of problems. When Kim and some other people at Hope Reins discover how to help him he is given a chance to thrive. All the horses in the story help bring a lot of hope into children's lives.

This story shows how Kim, the volunteers of Hope Reins, and their spouses and children had sacrificial spirits of allowing their loved ones to give their time and love to the children and horses and often also giving their time and love to them as well. There are some group discussion questions at the back of the book to help individuals and people in groups think deeper about what they read also.

I don't usually read stories about horses but felt drawn to this story somehow. I learned pretty soon after starting this book that it carries a "hope" theme that keeps happening in my life. I didn't realize it until near the end of the story when I noticed the photos in the back of the book but this story of Hope Reins is true. Kim, Joey, the other horses, and other people in the story are not made up.

I liked Joey's demeanor which to me seemed to be calm and loving. I really like how Kim and the people of Hope Reins saw the beauty and worthiness in the horses who had been abused in the past and the children they helped.

I liked how the services of Hope Reins were free in the story because people often don't get the help they need because of lack of finances and that was one less worry that the parents of the children had to worry about. I also liked how it was shared what kind of special events were created to help awareness, raise funds, and generate volunteers. It was also interesting to me to learn how it came to be that the author wrote this story.

Even though there is some sadness in this story hope radiated throughout its pages to me!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.