Category Archives

9 Articles

Bible Review: Faithlife Study Bible

This NIV Study Bible is amazing.

It has a ton of cool info-graphic features that really helped bring a greater meaning and understanding to certain passages of scripture. For example, being able to see a genealogy chart in Numbers really helped me to follow along with the huge list of names that are being presented. I don’t know about you but being able to visualize it in a family tree definitely helped me see connections and the magnitude of what had been recorded much easier.

The font is bigger than my other Bibles, which makes it easy to read, especially with all the study notes that are included on each page.

I attended a conference on how to study the Word of God and happened to bring along this Bible. The pastor made several references to study notes that were in this Bible already! That helped bring credibility to what he was saying and knowing that the study notes were solid.

If you are looking for a study Bible that has those extra features, this is definitely the Bible you should be picking up. It contains family trees, overview articles on key themes and topics, several maps and special time lines of Jesus’ life, and many other cool features.

The I Factor by Van Moody

The very first book I reviewed for BookLook Bloggers was The People Factor by Van Moody. In his follow up book, The I Factor, Van Moody focuses on how building a relationship with yourself is the key to a happy, successful life.

I knew I would love this book considering how much his previous book poured into my life. This book is full of biblical stories and scriptures to help you build a great relationship with yourself. Each chapter has what he calls “Internal Building Blocks” and are essentially a review of the major points of the chapter; a feature I found very useful. The chapters also contain reflection questions to help apply the principles and concepts shared throughout.

This book is definitely one I suggest you take a good amount of time to read and re-read and not just run through it. One of my favourite sections is where he talks about the importance of knowing your identity and defining clearly your foundation to live your life from. If you are struggling to find your identity or where to start on how to build a successful relationship with yourself and with God, I would recommend you give this a read.

Favourite Quotes:

“From God’s perspective, the wilderness is the proving ground of our identities; it’s the place where we pass or fail the test of knowing who we really are.”

“Until we understand and live out of our identities, we can easily become our own worst enemies and set up stumbling blocks for ourselves, often without even realizing it.

“God is so committed to His will for your life that He will not release you to your next step of destiny until He knows you are ready and until you have proven your readiness to yourself.”

“Your identity is the compass that guides you through every aspect of your life and keeps you grounded and centered in the things that matter most to you.”

How’s Your Soul? By Judah Smith

How's Your Soul? Book Cover How's Your Soul?
Judah Smith
Religion
HarperCollins Christian Publishing
November 15, 2016
224

How’s your soul?

Such a simple question, perhaps not such a simple answer. Full of vulnerability and personal stories, as is the norm with Judah, this book asks a question that needs to be asked, especially in today’s culture. How are you doing, or how is your day are questions that 99% of the time receive a one-word answer with zero reflection. I have done it, frankly, we all do it. Asking “how is your soul?” however, requires some introspection to answer properly.

Judah Smith’s book is aimed not only at Christians but those searching for more. It’s a book that can make you go through a field of emotions, from laughing to crying to deep thought and back to laughing… all in about three sentences! He uses his expository skills to show that our souls need rest, responsibility and restraint. This book is clear and easy to read, and the overall size of the book makes it a great gift as well.

Favourite Quotes:

“Guess what parenting is all about? Leading our kids to a place where they can say no for themselves, even when they want to say yes.”

In the journey of life, emotions make great companions but terrible leaders.”

What if we all counted to three and then simultaneously did whatever we felt like doing? Play it out mentally. It would be complete and utter chaos. You think zombies are bad? Imagine billions of people whose only criteria for decision making were their feelings and emotions and desires. It would be like shopping on Black Friday.”

Either life is meaningless and my existence doesn’t matter — or God is the only hope I have”

Even when we confront, we do so from an attitude and an expectation that our love is not going to be withdrawn no matter what happens”

Do I live according to who I really am, or do I live according to who people perceive me to be or want me to be?”

Rather than asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we should ask a far more important question: “What do you want your life to look like?” Or maybe, “What kind of soul do you want to have?””

Too many times as Christians we imply that people have to first behave and believe the right way before they can belong to our communities. We don’t do it on purpose, but our actions and reactions when we see their flaws leave little doubt that they are outsiders.”

All we need to have healthy soul identities:

  • We have our identities set firmly in Jesus, the source and definition of who we really are.
  • We have a Saviour who is superior to all authority and power, and he declares that we are blessed and approved.
  • We have a salvation that is great, that is complete, final and free.
  • We have a community of Jesus followers where we belong even if we don’t believe or behave exactly right.

Whatever God starts, he finishes. Think about that. You can’t find one place in the Bible where God started something and said, “Actually, I’ve changed my mind. I lost interest. This is too much work. I’m out.””

Life’s complexities and challenges would be far less complex and far less challenging if we could approach every day like Jesus did: from heaven to earth.”

 

 

Book Review: The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord's Prayer Book Cover The Lord's Prayer
Rick Warren
Juvenile Nonfiction
November 1, 2016
32

This iconic prayer is paired with flowing illustrations by award-winning artist Richard Jesse Watson and thoughtful insights by bestselling author Rick Warren, resulting in a book that rejuvenates the familiar prayer for a younger audience. Using poetic scripture from the King James Version, The Lord's Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness helps familiarize children with real biblical text while also presenting contemporary illustrations and insightful words that make this beautiful prayer come alive.

Now that I have a daughter, I have been on the look out for books to read to her. Rick Warren’s The Lord’s Prayer is a perfect fit. The writing is huge, there isn’t a lot of text on each page and the pictures are beautiful. Research shows that big letters, repetition, and talking clearly and loudly, help babies learn to read. This book meets that criteria. On top of all that, it is about The Lord’s Prayer. It’s a perfect book to read to Olivia (my daughter) to bed. It will teach her how to pray before she is even aware of what prayer is. It also shares and breaks down each line of the prayer to further explain the love of God and His Son, Jesus.

The book comes in a hardcover option which I chose. The pages are big and the quality is great. If you are looking for a simple book to teach your children The Lord’s Prayer, this is the perfect choice.

I received this book from booklookbloggers.com. If you like to read Christian books I suggest you check them out!

Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Favourite Quotes:

“Our culture bombards us with the message that we should aspire to have more and do less…God offers a better way: have less and do more.”

“There’s a difference between being too scared to do hard things and doing hard things scared. Communing with the God of the universe will inspire all kinds of unscripted movement and giant leaps past “normal.” It’ll make surrendering seem like the safest way.”

Great Questions she asks:

“In a world where we possess the power to distract or buy our way out of most discomfort, can we ever really mean it when we say God is all we need?”

“Can I really trust enough to believe my plans are meaningless apart from him?”

I actually chose to review this book for my wife to read. Instead I ended up reading the first chapter and was unable to put it down and so, decided to read it for myself. This is a story about Shannan Martin and her family and how she ended up being rescued from the life she always wanted. It makes you question whether that perfect dream life you imagine for yourself is really the life you should aim for. Perhaps, when we are fully in God’s will there is an even better dream life that we couldn’t even imagine.

Falling Free is a story that will challenge you emotionally and spiritually as you learn story after story of their surrender and sacrifice. It is written like you are having a coffee table conversation about life, full of raw honesty, humour and questioning whether the choices she makes are the right ones. Her story really helped add a new perspective to what it means to surrender to what God wants to do with our life.” As an example, they go from living their dream life to living in what most would call the ghetto as she feels led by the Holy Spirit. They give up their life savings and their dream farm house, then deal with her quitting her job and her husband then losing his. They adopt one child, to then adopt another, to then adopter another(!!), then let a 19 year live with them. Enough surrendering and sacrifice than most of us would typically like to admit we would want to handle. If you want a story to challenge you to do more, be more grateful for what you have and push yourself closer to surrendering your whole life to God, then read this.

This book was given to me to review by booklook bloggers and has no impact on how I review. If you are an avid reader and would like to receive free books to review, I highly recommend you checking out www.booklookbloggers.com

 

 

Devotions For A Deeper Life – Oswald Chambers

Devotions For A Deeper Life – Oswald Chambers
Devotions for a Deeper Life Book Cover Devotions for a Deeper Life
Oswald Chambers
Religion
November 1, 2016
416

This is a 365 Day Devotional. This is a collection of writings by Oswald Chambers, most known for writing My Utmost for His Highest. You can definitely sense the style of writing that was used back in the early 1900s. The amazing thing is that it is still so relevant today. Each devotion contains a scripture, a writing by Oswald, a prayer thought and suggested reading. So far the devotions I have read have been awesome, challenging and brought a different perspective to the scripture. In this sense, the devotion lives up to its name of bringing about a deeper life.

As far as the quality and size of this devotional, it is amazing. Hard cover, pages are thick and glossy, with grey and gold theme. It also comes with bookmark.

The one thing I would change is the Bible translation. It uses KJV and boy was that hard for me to understand. Often I just looked up the scripture in my Bible or on my phone so I could understand what it said. I understand this is most likely what Oswald was using and they wanted to keep it genuine to that, however, I believe NKJV could have been used to allow for a better user experience. If using a KJV version for scripture, or checking your own Bible to read the scripture doesn’t bother you than I would definitely recommend this devotional, as the actual content that Oswald Chambers shares is on point.

 

For Better or For Kids by Patrick & Ruth Schwenk

For Better Or for Kids Book Cover For Better Or for Kids
Patrick Schwenk, Ruth Schwenk,
Families
July 12, 2016
224

For Better or For Worse…I mean Kids. This book is about staying encouraged and equipped to handle life and marriage with kids in it. The book is narrated by both Patrick and Ruth, both sharing their perspectives on different topics. As our daughter is only 3 months old it is a little early to apply most of what is being talked about in this book. Nevertheless, I found this book as a great guide of what is to be expected in the very near future. Patrick and Ruth talk about how to live a God-centered marriage instead of a child or me-centered marriage.

Just like a puzzle, we need to start by seeing the overall picture of marriage as God designed it so we can know and be excited about what we are trying to build.

Each chapter has a feature called “Just the Two of Us”. They contain a ton of great thought provoking questions that are designed to be discussed together to help cultivate a stronger marriage, especially now that kids are in the picture.

They also talk about how to find balance in the chaos of raising children, how to not neglect yourself and your spouse and most importantly how to effectively communicate with each other.

One of my favourite quotes from the book,

Even before they reach adulthood, children help us battle other intangible enemies, like cynicism, meaninglessness, and self-centeredness. Who can sneer at the world when gazing into a baby’s first smile? Who can feel replaceable when a child’s whole existence depends on you? And who can cling to selfish ambition and vain conceit when a child is tugging at your elbow, begging to play?

Now having a child it makes every little problem feel less significant. Making time for each other is something that we have to fight for, as everything around us fights for our attention.

Marriage is both a blessing we receive and a battle we fight for in love, commitment, sacrifice, and grace. The challenge in marriage is not how it starts, but how it continues, grows, matures, and flourishes over time.

One thing I definitely need to be reminded of:

Marriage is not 50/50. A Christian marriage is 100/100. You put in 100 percent and your wife puts in 100 percent. This is how Christ loved the church. He didn’t just put in 50 percent.

Overall, I found this book to be very well rounded and cover a wide array of topics and situations I know will definitely come up as our daughter (and future children) get older. I would recommend this book if you have children over the age of 1, especially multiple children.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4–9)

NKJV Word Study Bible

NKJV Word Study Bible Book Cover NKJV Word Study Bible
Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson
September 27, 2016
1760

I have been looking for a Word Study Bible for a while. It contains over 1700 word studies in Aramaic,  Hebrew and Greek. It also contains a concordance, full color maps, book introductions, Words of Christ in red and indexes. One of the best things I liked about this Bible is the font size! The other Bibles that I own tend to have a much smaller font size so this was a welcome change and made it very easy to read.

The version I have is hard cover and feels very durable, I believe it also comes in a leather-bound edition as well. One cool feature I really enjoyed; any word that is part of the word study is underlined. When you look at the word it also gives you all the other places the word is used in the Bible. I chose to read the books of Acts to get a feel for how the word studies work in this Bible, and found the background information very helpful. It brought a new perspective to a bunch of different scriptures for me. In addition, having the maps of the Bible in the back made it easy to follow along the journey that Paul and the other disciples take in Acts.

If you are looking for a Word Study Bible this NKJV is definitely one I would go with, great font size and easy to read and a bunch of useful features makes this a Bible I will be using a lot.

This Bible was given to me by BookLook Bloggers for an honest review.

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Uninvited Book Cover Uninvited
Lysa TerKeurst
Faith
Thomas Nelson
August 9, 2016
288

Uninvited is a book by Lysa Terkeurst designed to help you identify and overcome rejections, past and present, in order to experience God's love at its fullest.

Now where to begin. I am normally not an avid reader. I struggle to reach my goal of reading 5 books a year as I usually have a hard time finding books that capture my attention and keep it. This book definitely threw me for a loop and kept me wanting more even as I was feeling the ouchies. I found myself itching for some me time just so I could dive into the next chapter and learn more about how I have been letting past rejections hinder me from digging deeper into Gods love.

Have you ever felt rejected before? The truth is we have ALL felt rejected at one point or another and we tend to carry those rejections with us, knowingly or unknowingly, and we need to learn to let go. Lysa demonstrates how we can begin that journey of letting go by sharing her own experiences. I was able to fully grasp what she trying to teach as well as apply it to my own life.

I found this book to be captivating and challenging. Not only was I learning about the rejections I have allowed to make a home in my heart and set the standards in the different areas of my life but I also learned more about grace. Grace not only for myself but for others. Instead of criticizing and judging, learning to extend that grace because hurt people, hurt people.

I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and go on this journey of overcoming rejection. You will be shocked at the difference within you from when you first open the book to when you close it. "The enemy wants us to feel rejected...left out, lonely, and less than" but God has SO MUCH MORE in store for you.