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Free E-Book: The 30 Day Praise Challenge

The 30 Day Praise Challenge
by Becky Harling

After downloading today and reading the first chapter I am so ready to make the commitment. Unlike some other challenges gone viral (ahem, ice bucket) this is one that I can actually get on board with and that can have eternal value. It’s so hard for me to stick things out so I am hoping the prompts and this blog will help keep me disciplined. If you’d like to join me in this 30 day praise challenge for the month of September download your free copy today.  This e-book is being offered free for about a week so you have a little time, but don’t delay too long. And be sure to let me know of you’re on board. Starting September 1st I will be blogging my journey through this challenge. Who’s with me?

Book Review: Two Crosses

two crossesTwo Crosses: A Novel (Secrets of the Cross Triology)
by Elizabeth Musser

Another freebie for the kindle and this one has me hooked. (It is no longer free) Now I need to go to the library to see if I can find books two and three. Set during the French-Algerian war, this story of love, espionage, mixed loyalties and the atrocities of war will keep you guessing and hoping for the peace so many citizens at the time longed for. You may even learn a little something of history as well!

Book Review: I’m no Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model

 I’m no Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model
by Kylie Bisutti

I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I’ve always been a fan of America’s Next Top Model. I guess I’d call it a guilty pleasure. I don’t let John watch it. I think what I liked so much about it are the same things that draw girls into the modeling world. They get to be beautified all the time, going exotic places, dressing in all sorts of outfits, getting doted on. It seems like a glamorous life. And it may be – during the show. But there are other aspects of the industry that I never envied. I never have liked their stance on pressuring the girls to do things that make them uncomfortable, and really isn’t it all so shallow?

This year, they added boys into the mix and I decided enough was enough. Now it was truly all about sex and getting trashier and trashier. I guess this just confirms what is already a given in the industry, but took me longer to realize fully.

Kylie writes a heart-breaking and redeeming account of her life story thus far. She was a model from her teenage years and always dreamed of becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Despite many ups and downs in the industry and nearly giving up modeling all together, she achieved her dream only to discover it was not at all what she wanted. Somewhere in her teens she became a Christian, but it wasn’t until much later when she realized that the modeling world and following Christ are very hard if not impossible to reconcile.

Kylie’s writing is very easy to read and throughout the story I just wanted to wrap my arms around this girl and remind her of the truth. Her accounts of the industry are extremely eye-opening and any girl wanting to get into modeling should read this book, just so you know what it can really be like. It’s not all glam, and it’s not all fun. You should also read this book if you are a wanting to be like models. She shares how un-real most of the pictures are and the ridiculous expectations that are set for models. It’s completely unhealthy! There is no way a 5′ 9″ girl or taller should be called a cow if she is a size 0. Seriously!?

Don’t let the world tell you what beauty is, instead look to the truth! “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV) “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 ESV)

A great read, and great insight into the underbelly of the fascinating world of fashion and modeling. Thanks Kylie, for being willing to take a stand!

 

Book Review: A Higher Court

 

A Higher Court: John L. Betcher

What if God were on trial? Or rather, the existence of God. That is exactly what happens in this book. The decision of the existence of God falls on a jury to decide in this one of a kind trial.

While this book did bring up some good points to think on and some really neat facts in regards to the cosmos I wasn’t overly impressed with the arguments on either side. I think there are actually way more compelling arguments for God’s existence that weren’t even mentioned.

Overall, I suppose the premise of the book is that God’s existence is on trial for each of us. That is the choice we will have to make at some point. What would your choice be?

 

Book Review: The Great Divorce

cs lewis divorceThe Great Divorce
by C.S. Lewis

Definitely not my favorite of the books I have read by him. But it was short and did have some interesting thinking points. Basically the premise is that there are people of sorts (dead) living on earth which is sort of like hell. Anyway, they can choose to take a bus to heaven and choose to stay or return.

You meet many characters and get to hear their stories. You would think heaven would be the choice of everyone, not so. Many choose not even to get on the bus….for so many reasons. Those that do just want to come back. So few choose to stay.

It is purely fantasy, as he notes in the introduction, but it does bring up some interesting points and reminds me of a sermon I heard a while back in regards to heaven. If someone rejects God their whole life, why would they want to spend eternity with him? It’s an interesting thought. Whether it was people tied to things on earth or not agreeing with God’s ways, it was one excuse after another for those that chose not to stay.

Choosing to stay meant a little bit of pain and giving up your rights. But it also meant joy, happiness, love and beauty forever, never having to return to the bleakness of “hell.” What would you choose? What do I choose everyday? What am I clinging to that will keep me from heaven, even in this life?

Ponder this, I shall.

Book Review: Infinitely More

 

This book is not free right now, though I got it when it was. It’s still a great read. Watch for it, in case they offer it again, or see if your library has it. It is the story of a Russian orphan who God chooses and uses to bring hope and healing to many orphans throughout Russia. It is a very real story of this young man. He is still a young man and it’s amazing how God has been able to use him! It definitely makes me want to think again about adoption, or at least how I can open my home and heart to those who need it most.

Infinitely More: Alex Krutov, Jackie Davis: Amazon.com: Kindle Store.

Book Review: Heaven is Real, But So is Hell

heaven is real but so is hellDo you believe that prophets are a thing of the past? Do you think that miracles only happened in ancient times? Many people do. While I agree that it is not as common these days for us in America to witness huge miracles on a daily basis, miracles do happen. And I also agree that prophets like Elijah and Moses are not the norm, but that does not mean that God does not proclaim his truth through prophets in todays day and time. Vassula Ryden may just be one of those prophets, but I would suggest you read the book, or the “messages” and let God reveal that to you accordingly.

Heaven Is Real, But So Is Hell is Vassula’s story. While the details are really out of this world and often I had to remind myself that it is not a fiction book, ultimately it is a story of redemption. It is a story that reminds us of God’s infinite power and choice to love us, to pursue us, and save us, even while we are strangers and enemies to him. It is the story of a loving God who goes out of His way to speak to us and draw us to Himself. It is the story of a God who should consume us with His wrath, but holds off just a while longer so that more may be drawn to Himself. It is the story of a God who is limitless in his power and majesty, a God who can speak to us personally and knows what will turn our hearts towards him. He is not limited by our understanding or conceptions of Him. He is not limited by time or space or science. He is the I AM.

Vassula’s story is astounding and after reading it, I believe it is real. I don’t understand it all. I am not claiming to even come close to comprehending the theology of everything written. However, I agree with her own argument that her work and story is all about pointing people to Christ. Satan does not do this work. His work is the opposite of that. I did not read anything contradictory to what is found in the bible. And I hold tight to the belief that God is not limited in His work by our comprehension of Him. He can do anything.

I am interested to learn more about her and her “messages” as she calls them. But more importantly I am encouraged and challenged to press on in my relationship with Christ. I want to know him more intimately. I know that I will not have the experiences she had. Not in this life. But I can know Him more deeply. Too often my attention is focused on the things of this world, and not on heavenly things. I constantly need my perspective re-adjusted.

It is also a challenge and reminder that God will hold off His wrath only so long. And really, I often wonder myself why He has waited this long. I am so thankful His patience far outweighs my own, or we would have been toast like 2 days after Adam and Eve sinned. It’s a reminder to be ready, because Jesus’ return will happen when we least expect it. Are you ready to stand before the judgement of a righteous and Holy God? That’s a big question, but ultimately the only one that matters. If your answer is no, there is hope for you yet in Jesus Christ and what he has done on the cross. God became flesh and died in your place, taking your sins upon Himself when he was crucified. 3 days later he defeated death and sin for good when he rose again. And He is alive and well at the right hand of God, offering to you the right to be called a child of God. If you answer yes to that question then make sure it’s only because of what Jesus has done. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. What do we have to offer that is Holy? Absolutely nothing!

I stand amazed by our great God who so abundantly lavishes his love upon us, his enemies, adopting us into His family and giving us the right to be called his children. He is a crazy God. But you know what they say, love makes you do crazy things.

 

 

 

Book Review: Dogwood

DogwoodDogwood
by Chris Fabry

Decided to read another by Mr. Fabry and it was another story that kept me on my toes. Nothing in the story really went as expected so that was refreshing. I did get mad at several characters and had to remind myself often that it was a work of fiction.

Fabry takes us to the fictional town of Dogwood, West Virginia. He paints the beautiful scenery and it makes you want to take a walk through the hills. This story focuses on a tragic accident and how it deeply affects this small town. It is also a story of deep love, sacrifice. And last but not least, it was a great reminder of the power of and importance of forgiveness. It is required of us as Christians, and with good reason. You can’t love without forgiveness.

Free E-book: God Built

god builtGod Built by Steve Farrar

This book is currently free at the Amazon Kindle Store. Get your copy today.*

Our world is in desperate need of bold, passionate men of integrity. Yet such men aren’t born; they’re built, shaped, and formed by God.

Best-selling author Steve Farrar will guide you through the story of Joseph, a humble shepherd who overcame tremendous odds to become an influential leader. It’s here you will discover the process that creates true men of God, where He works providentially, strangely, and slowly. Uncover the biblical pattern for growth, gain insights into common frustrations and difficulties, and become equipped for the journey ahead.

*Make sure you check the price before purchasing, as it may have changed.

Book Review: Almost Heaven

Almost-Heaven_300Almost Heaven
by Chris Fabry

Some people say Billy Allman has a heart of gold. Others say he’s a bit odd. The truth is, they’re all right. He’s a hillbilly genius—a collector, a radio whiz—and he can make the mandolin sing. Though he dreams of making an impact on the world beyond the hills and hollers of Dogwood, West Virginia, things just always seem to go wrong.

But however insignificant Billy’s life seems, it has not gone unnoticed. Malachi is an angel sent to observe and protect Billy. Though it’s not his dream assignment, Malachi always follows orders. And as Billy’s story unfolds, Malachi slowly begins to see the bigger picture—that each step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful song that will forever change the lives of those who hear it. (synopsis link)

I really enjoyed this book. Apparently it is book 3 in a series, but definitely can be read as a stand alone. It was a sad story and at the same time uplifting. The faith of one many can make a huge difference. There were parts of the story that got very intense and I could not put down. I was anxious to see what would happen in Billy’s life. It was a great reminder that circumstances should never determine our outlook and that even in the midst of the worst of life, God is still faithful and good.

Download an excerpt