Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book Review: 21 Things the Devil Cannot Do


Book Jacket:  The devil's weaknesses far outnumber his strengths."Know your enemy" is an ancient military principle that has stood the test of time; yet we forget this when we enter the spiritual battlefield. How much do you really know about Satan? Is misinformation inadvertently hurting you and your loved ones?

In this accessible, hands-on book, respected pastor and broadcaster Duane Vander Klok reveals the devil's true limits--and exposes all the things he cannot do. In doing so, Pastor Duane equips you to take a firm grip on the spiritual weapons Jesus gave us and to wield them more effectively. He also shows you how to pinpoint, and then to reclaim, the areas in which you have unknowingly given the enemy influence in your life.

Don't give the devil more power than he actually has. Through Jesus, you have authority to defeat him. It's time to put him in his place.

My Review:   From cover to cover, Duane Vander Klok does a very good job at covering the bases of his thoughts and depictions of the 21 ideas behind staying Satan's attempt to lure and sway.
This book is an awesome tool to witness - if you are going to walk in the war against Satan, you must bear arms!

All 9 chapters are thoughtfully written, including passages to research and reflect on in addition to the author's thoughts.  Such topics the author has reflected on include obedience, righteousness, salvation, faith, prayer and spiritual life, just to name a few.   It's to our own advantage as Christians to prepare against a possibly assault from Satan, and the more aware we are, the better off we are. 

One of my favorite passages, from Chapter 6, simply put states "walk in obedience with the Lord -
you are delivered and protected in Jesus name."

There is a handy 14 page quick reference guide as well included at the conclusion of chapter 9, which is super helpful, especially if you'd like to use this book as a learning guide, reference or teaching manual for small groups, bible studies, etc.

This is not an easy read and takes time, consideration, serenity.  It read to me almost like a college text book but it's very informative.  In my review notes, I wrote down Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."  While not everything that happens to you, especially the bad stuff, is God's will, the devil promotes that ire ~ he permits resistance, plants the seed.

Stand strong in faith is a good message to deliver!

*Disclaimer:  I received this book for an honest review from Bethany House,
a division of the Baker Publishing Group and was not required to write a positive review.  
Any reflection of such is my own and this review is an honest reflection of such.

Book Review: Still Life


Book Description:  Ada escaped her family’s self-enclosed world to elope with a mysterious stranger. Five months later, she’s a widow in a strange new world.

Ada was born into a fringe religious sect named for her father, The Prophet. But her lifelong habit of absolute obedience was shattered when she fled the family compound to elope with photographer Julian Goetz.

Katherine Walker’s marriage was a sham. She and Will rarely spoke without yelling—and never touched. Her affair brings her both escape and guilt.

When a tragic plane crash takes Julian from Ada and exacerbates Katherine’s sense of shame, both women become desperately unsure of where they belong in the world—until the devotion of an artistic young boy conspires to bring them together.

From award-winning novelist Christa Parrish, Still Life is a cunningly complex work that captures themes of abusive religion, supernatural love, and merciful escape. It will resonate with anyone who has ever felt called to a drastic change—or tried to hear the small whisper of God’s voice.

My Review:   Still Life by Christa Parrish is a paper onion -- layers upon layers of words and tart richness, you have to peel back each chapter to get more of the essence!  What a lush, poignantly written novel!  I confess at the requesting of this book, I had ideas of what it would entail in the imagination of my mind.  I envisioned a novel version of the
"Bounce" with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck.  Not so!  This book has a life all it's own, a tale meant to woven with a message to share.  Parrish can write.

Ada and Julian are intriquing characters ~ from different worlds but drawn together by a voice, an unexplained messanger - that 'sixth sense' that you hear in the back of your mind, faithfully entrancing you with a premonition that something is just and good.  Ada, from a strict sect and closed world, meets Julian after he is sent on assignment as a photographer to cover the sect, and they are brought together quickly like magnets.

Katherine Walker is a woman on the verge of a broken marriage beyond repair, having an affair and not caring much who it hurts.  As all the stars align in just the right order, place and time, she meets Julian at the airport - having been bumped from an overbooked flight - and they strike up a conversation . She learns he's hoping to be home in time for Ada's birthday, and gives up her seat to him.  And as the same fate would have it, the plane crashes with no survivors.

The ensuing aftermath of guilt, sadness, despair, terror of life unknown is worth the read alone.
While I have lost loved ones, that grief and how it weaves into the lives of the characters is rich and concrete.  Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: Be Still my Soul

Book Overview:  Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. 

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

My Review:   Super sweet, christian read!  I fell for both characters - both Lonnie and Gideon and how they were thrust together so unfairly.  God truly has a divine plan for each of us, even if we don't know it at the time.

Be Still My Soul (Cadence of Grace book #1) is a heart-warming, enriching christian novel that entwines the sweet ‘falling in love’ with a faith based foundation.   The story opens with the simple encounter between Lonnie and Gideon and a musical event they both attend in the Blue Ridge Mountains backwoods, simple country life of the mountains.   The author blends a wonderful weave of tale with the time and era and the way of life is described so vividly, I felt as if I were walking through each of the chapters of this book with the characters!

With a simple wrong move by Gideon, influenced heavily by alcohol, Lonnie is deemed ‘tarnished’ by her father and forces the young teens to marry, neither of which is planned or happy about.  Lonnie truly is an innocent and she is caught up in the times of that era and must abide by her Pa’s doing or is considered tarnished for the rest of her life and unmarriageable.  I felt so sad for her when she was forced to be married and go to live with Gideon and his family, and Gideon soon instructs his parents that he is leaving to make it on his own with his new wife.  They are unprepared, have no money and the mishaps just start to pile up.

Be Still My Soul is about the ultimate trial and tribulations for this young couple yet God is always there with them both throughout.  One of the sayings that jumped out at me was when Lonnie's Aunt Sarah told her “don’t you let those lies stay inside you. The only opinion that mattes is God’s and he knows the truth.”  That’s a theme that resonates through this book as does 1 Peter 5:10.

This book is a breath of fresh air to read.  I look forward to reading more of Joanne Bischof’s work in the future!