Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Pure Foundations Series by Jim Burns

I was given the chance to review 2 books by Jim Burns in the Pure Foundations Series: God Made Your Body (ages 3-5) and How God Makes Babies (ages 6-9). The books were very......detailed. My daughter is 4 and I thought I could read the first book to her, but after reading them first, I've decided that she'll have to be older before I read it to her. They talk about body parts including the private ones.

With that being said, I still think they were good books, just not necessarily for the ages that they were listed for. I am glad I have to books as a resource for when she starts asking questions about sex and the differences between boys and girls. But since she doesn't care about that yet and hasn't asked any questions, these books are going to be put away until that time comes.

I thought they covered the material well. And I think it's good for kids to know the proper names of body parts, but again, I don't think they need to know too early.

If you have young children, these books may be a good resource to help with "the talk" as they get older. But it's important to use your own discretion to determine when it's appropriate to read them to your child.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

If I had to pick one book that best fits where we are as a society and where we should be as Christians, it would be Fearless. So many things cause us to take our eyes off Jesus and allow doubt, worry and fear to be our focus. From terrorists and wars, to politics and bipartisan, or lack there of, laws being pushed and hurried through, to natural disasters, we have much to fear. Or do we? Should we?

Max Lucado has once again written a book that cuts right to the heart of the problem and sheds light on solution. One, that as a Christian, should be obvious, but often is pushed aside. Our focus needs to be on Jesus Christ and who He is. He is God. He is in control. Lucado takes each chapter covering all different fears that we have. I would be surprised if someone said that didn't, at least on some level, experience doubt or worry or fear. And as he describes those fears, he shows us Christ and relates Him to those fears and what Jesus says about them.

Lucado mentions that we like to "put God in a box." It comes in handy for when we want something or need something. But by doing so, we let ourselves limit God and His power. We forget that He is the one that has the plan. He is the one that set the world in motion. He is the one who reigns the victor! What then do we need to fear.

Knowing these things, I still find myself reading a news headline and feeling a bit worry build up. What if we get sick with the H1N1 flu? What if our government doesn't do things the way I think they should be done? What if other governments attack us? What if we lose our jobs and our house? Real fears and real issues. I must not forget that God is real too. And God's plan is real and God's power is real.

Max Lucado has such a gift for writing that he can cover these topics and points, while maintaining an easily readable book. It brings the focus and stories of Christ into our everday situations making them come alive, and peppered with personal illustrations. This is a great book to read! Whether you struggle with any types of doubts, worries or fears, or know someone who does, Fearless is a must read!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

100 Bible Stories; 100 Bible Songs

100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs created by Stephen Elkins and illustrated by Tim O'Connor is an excellent devotional book for kids. Each story has a song that goes along with or compliments the story. I think this is an excellent idea. When I first got this book and cd's, I thought they were just 100 stories and 100 songs. But each story lists the song that goes along with it. Songs are a great teaching tool and helps us all remember things. By listening to the songs that go along with the Bible story, I think that hearing the song again will bring back the memory the story from the Bible as well.

Another feature of this devotional book that I love, is that it lists the references from the Bible where each story is from. It also gives a sentence of the theme of the story, and one to recap how that theme was shown in the story. There is also a personal application at the end. 

Each story can be read independently and are a great length to hold the attention of children of any age. But they also are great if you read them several at a time. They follow along and read like a story. 

The Bible stories that they have are common Bible stories as well as some that I have not found in any other devotional book for children. They go from Genesis through Revelation covering many stories. If you have young children and a desire to raise them to learn and love God's word, this is a good tool to have. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl

Face of Betrayal is a mystery novel with three women as the main characters. One works as a Federal Prosecutor, one works with the FBI and the other woman is a news reporter. As the story unfolds, you get to see how they view things from each aspect.

A young girl, seventeen years old, gets a job as a Senate page. She then turns up missing and later found dead. Through the book, the FBI agent is trying to find the girl, the news reporter is trying to get the earliest scoop she can and the Prosecutor is trying to find who did it.

There are other smaller plots throughout the book. Along with the main plot, they have individual problems they are dealing with and other issues with their jobs.

This was an interesting book to read. I like the format of it and the perspectives from the three main characters. I don't think it is a hard mystery to figure out. I had guessed the killer by the second or third chapter.

Once again, this is a book that is labeled as "Christian Fiction." I completely disagree with it being a Christian novel. There were two swear words in the book, and they certainly didn't need to be there. Also, one woman professes to be a Christian, while the other two women are not. Never does she witness to them or share Jesus to them. One of the other women is an atheist and the other into whatever spiritual new agey type thing that comes along. The book is written almost like all three view points are viable and ok.

It was an ok read as far as mysteries go, but I wouldn't read it again.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Rivers Run Dry

Raleigh Harmon, a female FBI agent, has a lot going on in her life. She finds herself being transferred from Richmond, VA to Seattle, WA for "disciplinary" reasons. Her supervisors, one of them being a very egotistical male, has made her transition anything but smooth. She is also living there with her mother and aunt who have very different beliefs, as well as eating habits. To top it all off, she is put on a case that soon endangers her life as well.

The Rivers Run Dry is a suspenseful novel. It keeps you guessing, or at least it did me, who the bad guys are until the end. I thought I had a good idea and was trying to see how it all fit together, but found out in the end, I was completely wrong. Buts, she did tie everything together so that it made sense.

If I were to come up with something negative about this book, it's that I don't know if I would consider it "Christian" fiction. There are subtle references to Jesus and to God, but nothing specific. She also writes about a charismatic belief in the Holy Spirit, and includes psychics and other "spiritual" type beliefs.

Overall, I thought this was a well written mystery and enjoyed reading it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

For The Tough Times by Max Lucado

Max Lucado addresses the questions that I think many of us ask when going through hard times that we don't understand. Where is God? How can He let this happen? Does He care? I have found myself asking these questions at times. I know in my head that God is sovereign and in control, so then why isn't He helping me? When I started reading, I wondered how he was going to answer these questions. If it would be the same "Sunday School" answers that we often hear.

As I read this book, I found myself praising God for who He is. His strength, His wisdom, His power and His love. I also saw myself in perspective. I only see the here and now. God sees the future. He can turn sadness, struggles and grief into praise, victory and glory.

This is an excellent book that I would highly recommend. It's a short book, only 79 pages, but very powerful. God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Max Lucado reminds us that everything, even Satan serves Him. He is the still on His throne in Heaven, and He's still in control. We know the Bible stories like Joseph and Daniel where God rescued them and used them. What an encouragement to us. As Max Lucado wrote at the end of this book, "Do it again, Lord. Do it again."