1 Star: Daily Gifts of Grace: Devotions for Each Day of Your Year by Women of Faith

Daily Gifts of Grace: Devotions for Each Day of Your Year by Women of Faith and compiled by Sue Ann Jones is your typical pretty devotional. Pretty cover, artwork, design and 365 short daily devotionals by a group of women known as the "Women of Faith". And just like many devotionals, this book is void of any brain cells and all full of fluff. It is a complete waste of time - a pretty looking, fluff piece with some nice words but not a brain cell behind those words. The devotional words by the women are empty, don't flow well and half the time make no sense. Just try summing one up after you read it. Nearly impossible because the paragraphs don't flow well or stay on the same topic! Normally, writing should have a start and finish to the story - not so here. It's just random thoughts.

"Women of Faith" is a group of female authors -  Sheila Walsh, Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Lisa Harper, Lana Bateman, Lisa Whelschel, Natalie Grant, Sandi Patty, Donna VanLiere, Luci Swindoll, Joni Eareckson Tada, Kim Cash Tate, Mary Graham, Carol Kent, Jenna Lucado, Barbara Johnson, Lori Robertson, and Donna VanLiere - put together by controversial author Stephen Arterburn. If you don't already know some of these names, these are not your safe and conservative Christian authors. These people fly under the "non-denominational" title but some of them are supportive of/preaching the "propserity gospel" which is the primary teaching of the "Word of Faith" cult and are raking in the millions in a FOR-PROFIT organization called "Women of Faith" that belongs to publisher Thomas Nelson. Arterburn has some far out teachings and is an adulterer, self-professed murderer (aborted a child), divorced and re-married author/speaker who is more concerned about his career and money than family (per his own re-released book "Healing is a Choice"). Sheila Walsh is formerly of the cultic Word of Faith preacher Pat Robertson's tv show The 700 Club. Based on the authors and organization (the female version of Promise Keepers) alone, I would never recommend this book.

Sheila Walsh's prosperity gospel teachings come through in her writings in this devotional: "I felt very hopeless. I heard God speak four words to me: I will deliver you! Receive his promise. Grace and peace are our birthright as his children." Recognize how "entitled" she is - "grace and peace are her birthright". She is claiming God owes her peace in life. So how does she deal with trials?

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and choose the very best books!

5 Stars: Proverbs Reconstructed by Gus Dallas

In Proverbs Reconstructed, Gus Dallas has rearranged Proverbs into about 380 different topics. He writes "Proverbs is re-arranged and developed in a manner for extracting the much-needed wisdom on an as-needed basis" "Many have been instructed to "read one Proverb a day." But that does not work. Since we absorb information in a filing system sort of way, not too many people can retain the eclectic information given in each proverb. The format is such that a person cannot learn very easily because the author deviates from topic to topic with no given direction on how to navigate through the pages. Nearly every chapter and verse is grouped with many different subjects and situations, making it very difficult to comprehend." "So, now you can absorb the information because it has been broken down into subjects and is further separated into good verses opposed to bad verses. The value for each verse is that we can learn from the verses which edify us and verses which admonish us." "Pastors are encouraged to use the information as a reference tool help to prepare sermons, counseling sessions, marital ceremonies, and public forums. Parents are encouraged to use the information for themselves as well as to tutor their children as they encounter challenges and/or celebrations of life, from bullying to friendships, educational struggles to learning successes, and many other emotional encounters, all of which aid spiritual growth."

The author declares "Reconstructed is ultimately the best way to access the scriptural gifts from our heavenly Father offered in Proverbs in order to improve our lives." Although some may automatically scream "How can Gus Dallas believe his version of Proverbs is better than King Solomons?" However, if we are really REALLY honest with ourselves, for most of daily life, Proverbs Reconstructed into 380+ topics is MUCH more useful than random topics here and there. Now, we might find some of Dallas' topics weird or unusual or unhelpful and wish the categories were a bit more useful, but still, categories are better than randomness! Try finding "anger" verses in the Book of Proverbs! How many are there? It would be nearly impossible! So I believe, even though it may have some shortcomings and there is room for improvement, Dallas' book is a HUGE SUCCESS!!!

I will be referring back to this book again and again and will probably rarely if ever refer back to the Bible's version of Proverbs again. You can disagree with me, but your reason for disagreeing is probably not so much based on usefulness but on holding the Bible as "the Word of God" and in high esteem. Many like to think that God wrote and arranged the Bible and that His order must be the best. But perhaps Proverbs was just a gathering of Solomon's intelligent sayings that some humans put together in no particular order or in a poem-like order and the goal was not to dissect the topics like we do today.

Here is a list of Dallas' topics: (Notice some topics are duplicated in the Kindle ebook version? That is because the first topic "Answer" is for "good" answers, while the second "Answer" are for "bad" answer verses. Remember, "good" and "bad" refers to "the verses which edify us and verses which admonish us")

Abomination Adultery Adversity Advocate Anger Answer Answer Anxiety Age Animal Ant Apple Argue Associations Associations Atonement Authority Bear Behavior Blameless Blameless Blessed Blessed Boasting Borrower Bread Bribes Brother Burden Chastening Contempt Christian Christian Commands Commands Commandments Commitment Confidence Confidence Confusion Contend Contention/Argue Contentions Correction Correction Corrupt Counselors Counsel Countenance Countenance Court Covet Covet Creation Crown Curse Death Death Deceit Deeds Deer Delight Delight Deliverance Disciple Desire Desire Devise Evil Devise Devotion Diligent Discernment Discernment Discipline Discretion Discretion Dishonor Dog Ear Employment Enemy Enemy Envy Eternal Life Evil Evil Exalted Eyes Eyes Faithful Faithful Faithless Father Father Favor-High Esteem Fear Fear Of The Lord Fear Of The Lord Feet Feet Fight Followers Followers Folly Folly Fool Fool Friend Friendship Gain (By Greed) Gamble Generation Generosity Gift Give Giving Glory Glory Gluttony God Gold Gossip Gossip Grace Greed Guilty Hands Hands Happy Harlot Hastens Hates Hatred Hear Hear Heart Heart Heed Hell Help Honor Honor Hope Hope Horse Horse Humble Hunger Hypocrite Iniquity Iniquity Instruction Instruction Integrity Iron Isolates Jealousy Jesus Joking Joy Joking Judges Judgment Judgment Just Justice Justice Just Man Kindness King Knowledge Knowledge Lazy Labor Labor Law Law Lazy Learning Lender Lender Lies Life Life Light Light Lion Lips Lips Listen Listen Lord Lord Love Love Lust Lying Man Man Meddles Medicine Memory Mercy Mouth Mouth Mother Mother Murder Name Name Neighbor Neighbor News Obey Offended Partiality Partiality Patience Patience Peace Peace Perceptive Perish Perverse Plans Plans Pleasure Poor Poor Poverty Praise Prayer Prayer Pride Pride Profit Prophecy Prudence Punishment Pure Rages Reap Rebellion Rebuke Rebuke Refuge Rejection Rejoice Rejoice Repentance Repentance Reproach Reproach Revenge Reward Reward Riches Riches Righteous Righteous Rod Rod Ruler Ruler Sacrifice Sacrifice Satisfied Satisfied Salvation Salvation Saved Scoffer Scoffer Scorners Secret Seek Servant Servant Shame Shame Shepard Sickness Silver Simple Sin Sin Sinner Sleep Sleep Snare Son Son Sorrow Soul Soul Sow Sow Spirit Spirit Strength Strength Strife Strife Sun Suffer Teach Tent Test Thief Thoughts Thoughts Thorns Tongue Tongue Tradition Transgressions Transgression Treasure Treasure Trials And Tribulations Trials And Tribulations Trouble Trouble Trust Trust Truth Understanding Understanding Unfaithful Unjust Upright Upright Valued Vengeance Vents Violence Vow Walk Walk Water Ways (Goodness-Paths) Ways (Darkness-Paths) Wealth Wealth Whisperer Wicked Wicked Widow Wife Wife Wine Wink Wisdom Wisdom Wise Wise Witness Witness Woman Woman Words Words Work Work Worry Worship Wrath Wrath Zealous

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: The Voice New Testament by Ecclesia Bible Society

The Voice New Testament by Ecclesia Bible Society is a New Testament bible only. However, the great thing about this bible is that it starts off with a summary of the Old Testament and explains in lay terms how Jesus and the New Testament are the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenants and promises!

This review is for the Kindle ebook version of The Voice New Testament. In the ebook version, the table of contents clearly outlines each New Testament book and also the chapters, so a reader can easily find a verse. In the beginning of this ebook, there are also 5 different reading plans available - a reader can read through the entire New Testament, or only specific verses to "Celebrate Advent" or "Readings for Lent and Easter" or "Read the New Testament in 24 weeks" or "Daily Readings for Personal Growth". This ebook Bible also includes an introduction into each book of the Bible, including who the author is and his purpose in writing and the main ideas and theme of each book.

The thing that sets The Voice New Testament apart from other bibles and New Testaments is that it seeks to make the Word of God easily understood by the lay person. It eliminates all the difficult language and is an easy semi-paraphrased Bible - think New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT) or Message Bible (MSG). And to make sure readers understand what they are reading, every few paragraphs, there is an easy-to-understand commentary that explains a few extra details. I find these extra details very helpful to the understanding of the stories.

I highly recommend this Bible to all Christians who wish to easily understand the Bible stories and how Jesus Christ fulfills the Old Testament covenants and promises. The only reason I have it 4 stars instead of 5 is that I prefer the NIV bible because of accuracy and less paraphrasing. But the NIV is more difficult to read. So for those who want a very simple easy-to-understand Bible, read this one.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

5 Stars: As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur

As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur teaches a biblically accurate view of God's process of refining Christian believers through trials. While humans love to moan and complain about suffering and trials, Arthur explains the purpose of trials in a Christian's life. She also explains that trials should be a source of joy and thanksgivings for Christians, as they recognize that character is developed through trials. If we had no trials, we would barely grow in our character. Imagine a rich millionaire's son who was shielded from all trials and all the bad things in life - he would have everything handed to him and would not know the value of hard work and struggle. If we aren't forced through trials to depend upon and lean on God, we learn to become self-reliant and lose our gratitude and thankfulness to God for our every meal and daily sustenance.

 Some of the great teachings that Arthur includes in her book are teachings that once we are saved, we really are saved and also that God is sovereign and powerful above all the creation. Since God is sovereign, we can understand that all trials ultimately come from God and that there is a good purpose behind them. Arthur encourages us to see the positive side of trials and to trust God through them. I highly recommend this book!

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

3 Stars: Jesus Calling Devotional Bible NKJV by Sarah Young

This is a review for the Kindle ebook version of Jesus Calling Devotional Bible NKJV by Sarah Young. This bible is a normal NKJV bible with 260 devotionals plucked from Sarah Young's other books and inserted into a NKJV bible. These 260 devotionals are EXACTLY word-for-word the same devotionals from Young's "Jesus Calling", "Jesus Lives", and "Dear Jesus" books. For those wanting to find the devotionals, thankfully, there is an index to each devotional by subject matter: Sorrow, Thankfulness, Brokenness, Control, etc.

So, if you already have a NKJV bible and you own Sarah Young's devotional books (with 365 devotionals per book), you will be better off without this bible. It only has 260 selected devotionals, not 365 devotionals times 3 books = 1095 devotional days. I give this bible 3 stars because there is nothing new in this bible. In fact, I feel you are better off just buying Young's 3 books and hanging on to your current bible.

Now, if you are not familiar with Sarah Young, she writes devotionals "from Jesus' point of view/perspective." She says that she began "listening" to what Jesus spoke to her as she read the Bible. So all her devotionals are from Christ's point-of-view. It is as if Jesus is speaking directly to you. Many find these "words directly from Jesus" to be very inspiring and helpful. Others may find this to be blasphemous because Young is writing words as if her words are being spoken by Jesus. So I will leave it up to the reader to decide where to draw their line.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

2 Stars: RE-CREATED FOR GREATNESS The Quest for the Promised Glory by Evangelist Francis Boafo

RE-CREATED FOR GREATNESS The Quest for the Promised Glory by Evangelist Francis Boafo is about the life that we MUST live to actually make it to heaven. Many people assume once they read their paragraph, that they've got their ticket into heaven and now they can go back to living their normal sinful lives. However, Boafo warns us that Christ may say "I never knew you." Boafo explains that the part of the paragraph that most people miss is the part about Jesus Christ becoming THE LORD of our lives! This is what some called "Lordship Salvation." If you really REALLY ACTUALLY do believe in Jesus Christ and all he claims to be, then you must repent and become a new person and subject yourself under his lordship. If you continue living as you lived before reading the paragraph, you are in essence saying that you do not actually believe that paragraph and will not allow Jesus to be Lord of your life. Boafo strongly strongly emphasizes obedience and creating a relationship with Jesus Christ.

As I started this book, I was SOOO excited and certain I was going to recommend it to all my friends and buy multiple copies. However, as the chapters progressed, I found all the steam deflating. Boafo beats readers down with obedience and living in relationship to Jesus or else you won't be going to heaven. I understand this is a serious topic, but the problem is that Boafo doesn't really get into the particulars. HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH THIS? How do you build a relationship with Jesus? Boafo tells us that if we can build one or even get one sip of the water that Jesus offers, that we will be hooked and never turn back. I doubt many Christians actually feel like this. Boafo's answers are very idealistic, but very impractical. His idea of building a relationship with Jesus is... obeying, praying and reading your bible. Again, in theory that sounds great. But in real life, it seems a bit simplistic.

I know some will say that the way is simple, that's true, but I just see many Christians start doing 1, 2, 3 and getting into obeying laws without any heart. Where is the passion? As Reformer John Piper (author of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ) says, We should obey God our of love, reference and heartfelt thankfulness. There should be genuine worship and joy coming from being Christ-like and obeying Christ. We shouldn't be like pouty children, threatened with hell, so we begrudgingly obey out of threat.

I also felt like the author has some unusual, unorthodox and, in my opinion, not biblical ideas. For God to be selfish is not wrong because God should get exactly what he wants. Also, God's reason for not invading the earth with angels was because man was created to fall and be saved by Christ to God's ultimate glory. This story brings God more glory than sending angels to fight. Also, there are NO "legalities" that bind God. He chose to have Christ redeem man simply because God wanted to! He doesn't have to explain himself to anyone! See below:

"God never does anything except to satisfy His laws, His justice and righteousness. He is Holy and has no selfish motives! He works by law: the law of love, mercy, righteousness, truth and justice, and so on. Why did God, not invade the earth with His powerful angelic host, to redeem lost man, and to restore the earth to His will? He did not do so, because of His justice and righteousness. He was aware of the spiritual legalities, concerning His placement of man in the earth. The Bible says in Genesis 1:28, “So God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air; and over every living thing that moves on the earth”. Since God deeded the earth to man, He must reclaim all that was lost through a man, which was in accordance with His righteousness. Therefore, God legally placed His Word in the earth in human body, as Jesus the Christ."
Evangelist Francis Boafo. Re-Created for Greatness (Kindle Locations 947-955). WestBowPress.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: Preparation for Eternity with God by Rick Streight

Although not perfect, this book is a MUST read for all serious Christians. Preparation for Eternity with God by Rich Streight is about drawing closer to Jesus and find eternity in the salvation He provides. Streight has some very challenging and thought-provoking ideas and teachings about becoming Christ-like, the absolute importance of eliminating sin from your life, perhaps even Lordship Salvation. I think these ideas make this book an essential read (especially for more advanced Christians). However, I found this author to be untrustworthy because of his unusual interpretation of some scriptures and his adding to the Bible to make it say what it does not say - he exagerrates and embelishes the simple biblical stories. This being said, I would recommend others read this book because it has to do with salvation and REALLY living the life - not just claiming to be "Christian". It asks you the toughest questions on your Christian walk and challenges you to REALLY be Christ-like and not just go about your daily lives ASSUMING you've already got a ticket into heaven. I don't think we should ignore this book just because of the questionable parts - but I would warn readers to really use their discernment to seperate truth from things that are not taught in their bibles.


STREIGHT CLAIMS PAUL WAS NOT SAVED YET: Romans 7: “Paul is describing the role of the law in bringing a person to Christ. He is also describing ...an individual ...who has not yet laid hold of the grace of Christ for salvation.” Paul was convicted, but not converted (born again). ... The whole eighth chapter of Romans explains the born-again power of liberty... [Rick Streight. Preparation for Eternity with God (Kindle Locations 334-342). WestBowPress.]

STREIGHT ADDS TO LUKE 6:46-49: Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.... 48 They are like a man [who]... laid the foundation on rock.... 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Now read what Streight wrote: "Notice what the man did: 1. He came to the Lord—he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. 2. He heard God’s sayings—he read his Bible and allowed God to speak to his heart. 3. He asked God for wisdom as to how to apply the things he learned to his life (he “doeth them). 4. He dug deep—if he didn’t understand something, he asked God for wisdom, got out a Bible dictionary, and compared Scripture with Scripture. The other man—the unsuccessful man: 1. Read his Bible. 2. Was not a doer of the Word." [Keep in mind, the actual verses mention nothing about a Bible or Bible dictionary, which did not exist at the time]

STREIGHT ON HEBREWS 12:1-2:  1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus..." Now read what Streight wrote: "I had read in Hebrews 12:1–2 about the “cloud of witnesses” who would rather die than sin against God."

I am glad Streight asked about sin and stressed eliminating it from our lives but some readers may not agree with his emphasis on "sinlessness" as it relates to salvation. He seems to teach a type of "Lordship Salvation" which means that IF you really were saved, eliminating ALL sin from your life would be of utmost importance. Living in sin and being a true saved Christian are incompatable, according to Streight. His arguments really are worth reading because they will convinct and challenge you deeply. He also does a good job backing up his arguments with scriptures. Streight admits humans cannot be fully sinless until the afterlife, but he stresses the importance of eliminating sin as a sign that you really do love God above your sins.

"Why is it so important to “be made free from sin”? "...your sins have hid His face from you...” (Isaiah 59:1–2). Sin separates us from God. Jesus came to remove the obstacle (sin) so that we can be reunited back to the Father." Streight writes that we should "hate sin like Jesus hates sin and be separated from it. Salvation becomes a reality when we decide to love God" "Brethren, don’t let the word perfect overwhelm you. Only God is absolutely perfect....Greek word telios. It means “complete, a mature moral character.” The whole purpose of the gospel is to remove sin from our lives and prepare us for eternity." "The question is this: how can a true believer (God knows who is and who isn’t) continue in sin after knowing the price Jesus paid to have our sins forgiven? “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). Also, Peter says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Peter 2:20–21). “In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil” (1 John 3:10). “He that committeth sin is of the devil … For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). "can we really call ourselves Christians if we are in open rebellion to God’s will in our lives? “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (1 John 3:6). If you allow Satan to deceive you into thinking that continued sinning is normal, even for Christians; If you think that all you have to do is believe in Jesus (intellectually) and that sinning has nothing to do with your salvation; you won’t feel your need to keep your eyes focused on Jesus to maintain victory over sin!"

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

1 Star: Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge

Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge is written by a couple who take turns explaining their points of view on their own marriage. They talk about some of their difficulties and take turns explaining their perspective so that the reader will get both a male and a female perspective. The main point of the book is that marriage is SUPER HARD but it has a purpose in God's design and you will grow through it. But the authors warn you not to enter your vows lightly, because you are sure to be challenged.

I feel bad giving Love & War a 1 star but it was SOOOOO BORING! I appreciate the intention of the authors but this book dragged on and on and on. I forced myself through the chapters trying to find some gold nugget but nothing stood out. Nothing was memorable and I didn't have any "Ah-ha!" or "I could apply that to my life" moments.

The book was boring from the very beginning, where the reader is placed at a wedding and are forced to sit through the longest driest wedding speech from a pastor (John) I've ever heard! John goes through a 7 page long speech! And his topics are terribly unromantic! He talks about how difficult marriage is and pretty much sucks the "happily ever after" out of the room. He warns everyone "get read for pain, heartache and a super difficult ride". Now, I am not a dreamer interested in a fairy tale wedding (I've NEVER even dreamed of my "dream wedding") but this speech would just put a dark cloud over everyone's heads.

I could not recommend this book. I could not find anything "gold nugget-worthy" or even "silver-nugget-worthy"!

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I always give brutally honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

Unable to Rate: Healing Is A Choice

Requested this book from publisher for review but was unable to download ebook due to link being broken. Contacted Thomas Nelson but no response. So sadly unable to rate this book.

0 Stars: The Book of Man by William J. Bennett

Having a pre-conceived notion that William J Bennett was a man who knows about Christian morals based on his Book of Virtues, I predicted that I would love this book. I was so excited to be receiving from the publisher a book on the values that makes a man a real man. That being said, I was completely stunned and disappointed by this book and its glorification of un-Christian values. I did not find Christian morals or virtues in this book, but instead found the opposite! For those that care, the author demonstrates his political bias, with a completely obvious Republicans slant in interviewing about a dozen Republican presidents, generals and politicians. I don't see why these politicians would be held up as examples for Christian character.

The first section of this book glorifies war. Do we agree with Bennett when he writes "War promotes the highest virtues: honor, fortitude, service and sacrifice. The greatest moments of manhood are often found in battle"? We must ask ourselves: Fighting for freedom is one thing, but are most wars truly fought for freedom or are they fought for greed, human glorification, egoism, heroism and stealing material wealth from other nations? Bennett writes "Battle is the most significant competition in which a human can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base… duty is the essence of manhood. It turns boys into men." Is this true? Does war make our boys better men? Do they emerge from it, better off?

Bennett's own book interviews several Marines so that you can judge for yourself their motivations for joining the Marines and their Christian character. Donovan Campbell tells us that he "wanted others to admire him for his sacrifice", so he "joined the Marines". He describes his reasons for joining as "wanting adventure and to be in charge – be a leader - and not sit behind a desk and computer". "My thinking as a leader was, I need to make big decisions, show heroism and give an occasional great speech." And as a testament to his Christian character, he tells another story "One of my guys pulled me aside and pointed out how often I was using the cell phone (against clear orders, a few guys were sneaking using the emergency phone to call home every 2-3 days), when all the rest of the other guys were only allowed to call home once every 2-3 weeks. I felt about six inches tall." In Bennett's book, Marine Joshua Marcellino says “War isn’t what I thought it would be. It was boring. We marines are made to go after people. If you’re not killing someone or being killed, you’re not happy.” Are these the admirable Christian values you want your sons to adopt?

Bennett's book continues with Colin Powell justifying use of "hard military power" and the pagan Alexandar the Great justifying his blood-thirsty need for war "Does any man honestly feel he has suffered more for me than I have suffered for him? Show me your wounds and I will show you mine. I have sword cuts, arrow piercings, and bruises all for your sakes, your glory and your gain."

In this book, Bennett holds up politicians and athletes as examples of real men for our sons to admire. The majority of the men that Bennett includes in his book are either not Christian or we are not told of their religious perspective. Bennett holds up pagan and non-Christians as models for our sons. Christian morals are not addressed in this book. Self-centered, egotistical, masculine macho values are the main emphasis of this book.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

-100 Stars: Relentless by John Bevere

Bevere's book is about having a "relentless spirit" and never giving up and trying to live a life well lived - as determined by "the ultimate finish" of "having our Lord say to us at the end, "Well done."" Bevere is urging Christians not to "settle for a fruitless "Christian" life" but to "desperately want to finish well for His glory."

I give this book 0 stars and am throwing it in the garbage. I will not even donate it! It is heresy of the worst kind. John Bevere is part of the Word of Faith CULT. He is a preacher of "the prosperity gospel" or "name it, claim it" and claims that humans are EQUAL to or greater than Jesus Christ and that God guarantees us health, wealth, and a trial-free life IF we can conjure up enough "faith" to claim or grab our "promises/greed". If you aren't familiar with these guys, think the sleeziest worst tv evangelists, think Jimmy and Tammy Bakker, or Jim Jones - this guy and the rest of his NEW CULT are on that level. If you want to see for yourself, look them (Word of Faith) up on wikipedia or youtube Creflo Dollar or Kenneth Hagin and watch his fake "healings"! These guys are SCUM. Multi-millionaires with multiple mansions, private jets, limos, etc.

Proof that Bevere is a member of the cult and his teachings are "Word of Faith" and "prosperity gospel" teachings, see direct quotes from book below:

- "The reltentless believer"... "will forever be known by heaven as one who WARRANTED the Master's hearty "Well done.""
- "Do you realize"... "how much God needs you" and the "Father is depending on you?"
- "the key virtue is relentlessness" in "the Christian walk" per Hebrews 12:1. Bevere replaces "endurance" with "relentless" and this is the basis for this book.
- "You are destined to be great in the signt of God. This is His promise!"
- "I am ready to perform my word (Jer 1:12). When will he perform it? When someone believes!"
- We are to rule this life as kings and queens through Christ"
- "GOD IS NOT IN CONTROL" because "he put us in charge of the earth" (Gen 1:27-28). "Who is in charge of the earth? We are! If God were in control of the earth as many of us believe, then"... "God would have intervened and slapped [the forbidden fruit] from Adam's hand" to prevent The Fall.
- "The earth is the Lord's. He is the owner but He has leased it to mankind."
- "You and I, NOT GOD, are in control of how life is run on this planet."
- "Who is Christ?" "When many think of Christ, they think of only Jesus Christ." "You need to see not just the One who died on the cross, but also yourself" as "we are one in Christ" or equal to Christ because "we are... parts of His body" with "Christ's dead and His body are one." Jesus is a Christ and so are humans.
- "The Lord... has unlimited power." "Would you say the very saeme thing about yourself?" "The exact power Christ has, you have!"
- We ARE Christ!"
- Ephesians 2:6 "He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating on the right hand of God with Jesus] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus"
- "Since we are the ones who are to govern here on earth, if things go wrong"... it is "because we are relinquishing or not executing our authority."
- "Our Lord Jesus paid such an enormous price to set them free, yet they still are in bondage. Adverse weather, natural disaster, sickness, disease, demonic influence, circumstances of opposition - the list is endless. These forces control and dominate good people" "who are ignorant of who they are in Christ."

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

5 Stars: Stuck by Jennie Allen

I believe a reader's time and money is very valuable and my purpose in reviewing books is to be as critically honest as possible so that others will be able to fairly determine whether a book is worth reading or not. Last I counted, I had given 9 1-and-2-star reviews for books, while giving 9 4-and-5 star reviews. I can't stand all the 4-5 star reviews on Amazon for feel-good books. To me, a book better have some meat. Something that will add to your life and change it for the better. Knowing I am a picky reviewer, know that I fully believe in this DVD/book combo. It is one of my favorite books of the whole year - and I'm pretty tough to please.

Jennie Allen's DVD is about rediscovering the purpose in your life and not wasting your life on silly useless day-to-day tasks. This is truly about losing your life to God, so that you may find it. Jennie does an outstanding job communicating this to the reader/watcher - with real life examples. This is 100% for men and women. This is NOT a women's only book. If men don't watch/read this, they will be making a huge mistake. Although the book/DVD is easy to follow and understand, the topic is deep. It's YOUR LIFE after all! Jennie quotes St. Augustine and John Piper, so you know she's not a girl of fluff.

The only criticism I have is that the material isn't always given in a direct straight-forward manner and this leads to confusion - BUT STICK IT OUT! You won't be sorry! You need to listen CAREFULLY. Sometimes rewind twice. Because, just when you think she is teaching something not quite true, she'll come around to the truth right afterwards. Give this a chance - at first, as I started to watch, I thought "This girl is so off base" because she explains the human emotion-feely side first, then explains the TRUE Bible based truth afterwards. So sometimes you will go "oh, no, she's off base and just like those other preachers" but if you listen carefully (sometimes you have to really follow closely), you will realize she pulls the story back around and hits you with the truth! Bam! And you go "WOW..." I've never heard ANY female Christian ever speak so accurately about her beliefs before. In fact, I would rate her up there with only about a dozen serious men in terms of Biblical accuracy and their idea of how to live the Christian life.

I'm sure I'm not really doing the book/DVD justice, but let me try to summarize a bit: Jennie gets into that as humans, we mess up and sin a lot. We then are burdened with guilt and feel a big separation from God. But God is a god of grace - he has forgiven us and doesn't demand perfection in works. The Christian life isn't about performance to get our salvation. Jesus died for imperfect people. Just when I thought she was going off the wrong path, Jennie comes around and shows me she DOES understand the Bible - and she encourages us to seek a RELATIONSHIP with God. She explains that if we will allow God into our lives (and stop hiding from him because of our shame and imperfection) and fall upon God, that God will take care of us. People expect God wants something from us - perfection - but he is more concerned with relationship. Jennie helps us deal with out emotions correctly and not get caught up in keeping a distance from God. She says "Stop pretending we aren’t screwed up. Realize the need for God. We are afraid if we ask God for help, he might not be there, but he will be there. Trust God." We are that ugly lump of clay. We need to put ourselves in the potters hands and let him mold us into something beautiful.

We are all discontent and seeking for things that aren't important - clothes, shoes, status - Solomon chased women, Adam and Eve chose "the apple" or forbidden fruit. We are choosing and chasing the world. Paul tells us to be content in all circumstances. If we chase the world's things (including fabric to decorate our home), we are giving importance to something of no importance in the greater perspective of the world and our lives. "God, you alone fill me."

When we get scared and anxious, we are telling God that we don't trust him. "There is some drug in life that say to be busy is to matter." John Piper says “It is possible to waste your life.” We are spending our life on errands and our to-do-list, while God has written this beautiful story - a plan for the entire world from start to finish. And we are choosing to not be apart of it by busying ourselves with daily tasks. "We are wasting our minutes. And these minutes turn into hours. That equals the sum of our life." Errands. What if we are missing everything God wants for us because our calendar is too full.

Jennie says she thought she was living right for a while. "So I go to God “What am I doing wrong?” Maybe I didn’t believe those things about God THAT deeply. I wasn’t really trusting God. I was trying to control my life." Her life, just like ours, didn't reflect that she believed the Bible ALL THAT much - at least not enough to be living by it DOWN TO THE CORE - Give God control of your life. Trust him. "You don’t have to try to impress God anymore because God wasn’t impressed anyway. So go run the race. Run your guts out… because you are just here for a minute in this world. Display God’s glory on this planet."

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

0 Stars: Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo

If you want the Biblical Truth, this book is NOT at all biblical.

What is NOT biblically true, or at the least, questionable in this book:
- All humans have wings (as shown in the pictures in this kids book)
- Angels come in different heights, with Michael and Gabriel being "as tall as giants"
- Michael carries a physical sword
- The angels all have halos over their heads (as shows in the pictures of this book)
- The humans also all have halos over their heads (as shows in the pictures of this book)
- The angels "help God" in heaven
- Animals are in heaven
- Jesus' big white horse looks like a Rainbow Brite's horse - with rainbow hair  (as shows in the pictures of this book)
- "In heaven, no one is old. Everyone is young"
- The Holy Spirit is in heaven
- The angel Gabriel sits at the left hand of God, while Jesus sits on the right hand  (as shows in the pictures of this book and as taught in the "adult version" of this same book)

MY OPINION: THIS BOOK IS NOT TRUE. It is a fictional story made up by a Pentecostal preacher father, Todd Burpo, and written by Sarah Palin's ghost writer, Lynn Vincent. Notice that the book claims to be Lynn Vincent interviewing the father, Todd Burpo. Todd Burpo is given credit as the author. The boy himself is not interviewed. The father is telling Lynn Vincent what the father claims his son told him. But if the boy actually went to heaven, his facts would not be so incorrect. This is another case of a corrupt Pentecostal preacher trying to make a quick buck off his son - very similar to all the "child preachers" abounding in Pentecostal churches today.

Havning read the book for adults, I was appauled to see a "kids version" of the same book. They cut some of the false teachings that were in the "adult version" out of the kids book, because it is much shorter, but it is the same source of corruption and has many of the false ideas (as I listed above).

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

2 Stars: The Love & Respect Experience by Dr Emerson Eggerichs

"The Love & Respect Experience" is by author Dr Emerson Eggerichs, author of books "Love & Respect", "Love & Respect for a Lifetime", and "The Language of Love & Respect". This new book is a devotional designed for couples, but I still don't think most men will read it. It focuses on how to treat each other with kindness, even through the hard times. There are 52 devotionals but they are light and very easy to read. The chapters go by very quickly and if you have time and no distractions, you can finish the whole book in one sitting, like I did!

Nothing is very deep and you've heard it all before - but this book is like a little reminder of all those ideas you've heard before in family therapy, but now put down in one book and with Bible Verses attached to them. This is not like other devotionals, where they take a Bible Verse and build the story off it. This book seems to already have the ideas (from family therapy/pop psychology) in mind, then finds a Bible verse to semi-fit or support what the author wanted to say originally. The verses don't always really match up all that well. Most of his verses are from Proverbs because he can pick any old random verse and semi-apply it to what he wanted to say originally. By the end of the book, I still came away feeling I read a psychology marriage therapy book and not a biblical devotional.

Example of psychology over bible: Chapter 44, titled "I am NOT being defensive!" The author explains how we can become defensive when we feel attacked, then quickly become offensive. The author spends the entire chapter talking about defensiveness, then launches into an example about him and his wife, Sarah. Then, as if a side though, at the end of the entire story, he adds "Today’s scripture passage describes the situation perfectly. Sarah was offended; her fortifications were up and iron bars were locking the gate." He slapped a bible verse at the top of the chapter to semi-match his psychology idea: PROVERBS 18:19: "An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars" (NLT). Well, when I read Proverbs 18, it is about contrasting the righteous with the wicked in 24 different ways and it gives a LONG list of random topics. So the author picked just one out of the 24 and applied it to his story about "defensiveness". NASB version of the verse reads: "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel." To me, the verse is really about offending and contending with others. Not at all about "being defensive". The author does this throughout the entire book - writing his story from a psychology point, then finding a verse to match it.

While reading through the book, I was dismayed to find that the author has chosen MANY MANY different obscure Bible translations to use in his book, instead of just sticking to a commonly accepted version. I began wondered if he was picking from many translations in order to use the one that changes the meaning of the Bible Verse to best match what he wanted to say. Or was he just trying to get a sample from all easier-to-read Bibles and in this way, appeal to the masses? I compared some of his easy-to-read English translations against the NASB or NIV or Geneva Bible (similar to KJV) and I would say that the translations didn't change the verse so much as the author pulled the verses out of context and often took only snippets of the verses instead of the entire thing. He uses Bible In Basic English (BBE), The Good News Bible (GNB), God's Word (GW), New Century Version (NCV), Contemporary English Version (CEV), New International Version (NIV), The Message (MSG), New King James (NKJV), and New Living Translation (NLT).

All in all, by the end of the book, I can't say it was very biblical, but if you enjoy psychology family therapy books on marriage, you will probably enjoy this book. Again, it really does appeal to women. It won't offend men as much as normal devotionals with their pinks and purples and flowery prints, but I still don't see many men reading this book. So, if you enjoy devotionals and psychology self-help or family marriage therapy, this book is for you. If you do not enjoy self-help and psychology, skip this book.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

3 Stars: Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald

Gordon MacDonald's "Going Deep" is a fictional story about a Pastor Mac (GMAC = Gordon MacDonald) and his wife, Gail, uniting with others with the goal of training up or cultivating one growable small batch of people at a time - and creating a whole church full of deep people. This is a fictional story based in Gordon's town of New England and about people seeking to revolutionize their church into a deep group of living, breathing Christians on fire for Jesus! This is a fun story about all the steps it takes to set up a Cultivating Deep People (CDP) training group and selecting about a dozen of teachable people, while others are splitting because they weren't selected to be part of the first training group.

I think most people will find that this book is very slow to develop, drags on, forever repeats the same material again and again and is very and drawn out. The first ~250 pages are about coming up with this idea of "creating deep people", then meeting back and forth with other people to get their advice and mull over the details. This created a ton of repetition and not much is accomplished. The real "cultivating real people" doesn't begin until about 2/3rds through the entire book. So those who want to get to the "best part" may just skip right there and bypass the first 250 pages.

That being said, this book was an enjoyable read - easy, light reading, with short chapters in a calendar format. Our main character, Pastor Mac, writes in his diary/calendar format and we are lead on a story that unfolds over approximately two years. The book was light enough for anyone to read and even though the goal of the church is to develop deep people, this book is more of a shallow story of their lives, rather than a how-to-become-a-deep-person book. I would recommend this book for anyone to loves Christian fiction. After reading this book, you may wish you church was being revolutionized like the church in this book! The book is definitely inspirational and thought-provoking!

Deep thinking on the reader's part is completely optional when reading this book. The book poses some questions, but you aren't forced to sit there and think about them. Some of the questions posed were: What does a deep person look like? What biblical figures might we consider especially deep? Who might we know in our lives who is deep? How do deep people live differently so that they become labeled "deep". I also like the point that pastors need to be developing the body of Christ, the church. People don't just develop on their own. Pastors need to train and cultivate people of depth and strength.

One area that may not sit well with some Christians is that Pastor Mac spends time learning how to teach others from a Jewish rabbi and the push to learn from and use the teaching style of rabbis is greatly emphasized in the book. We know Jesus was a rabbi, but the emphasis is a bit stronger in promoting Judaism as an equally valid belief system. Instead of a Christian approach, Pastor Mac uses the rabbi teachings and also the teachings of a secular business woman as his main method of teaching his church. Throughout the book (every few pages), he continuously and repeatedly praises these two methods as if they were life-savers, the very best way, and that many other people need to learn these in order to be successful.

Also, Matthew 18:15-20 is misinterpreted to mean "Jesus is only with us when two or three of us are gathered together". In other words, if you are all by yourself, Jesus won't be with you. This is a commonly mis-interpreted verse. The real passages, when read in context, are about dealing with sin inside the church: Matthew 18:15-16 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’..... 18:19-20: "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: The God Pocket by Bruce Wilkinson

This book is about putting money aside in a "God pocket" and giving it to anyone you feel "prompted to by the Holy Spirit". The idea is that the money was given to you from God in the first place, so you are just the intermediary, passing God's money on to the people God selects as needing it.

From the same author of Prayer of Jabez, you may not agree with Wilkinson's theology and perhaps his Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel leaning, but you really can't say much bad about this book. Similar to the "pay it forward" concept, this is about giving money to the needy and giving God the glory for it. I loved the idea! It eminates love and warmth! Wilkinson includes many examples of individuals or families in need that are really touched by the "God Pocket" money and praise God.

I recommend this book and intend to implement the God Pocket concept (with my own personal twist/pocket/message). But what a positive, uplifting book. I think this book is great for all believers but also just as a gift book. A very feel-good, inspiring book.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: Thank You God, For Blessing Me by Max Lucado

This book is just precious! The pictures are bright, colorful and just to die for! The little green catipilar is way cuter than any Bugs Life characters. The pictures show him enjoying life, friends, flowers. Only sad thing is the ebook only shows 5 pictures. This seems kinda small, so the print book must be super tiny.

I think this is a great little book for kids because it has a very positive prayer that is mostly about thanking God and then a small bit about asking God to "help me to do the best I can, to be kind and obey". The other part I like about this book is that the prayer reads just like one might talk to God - no high up puffy words. This is an example of a read honest, open prayer, even thanking God for friends twice!

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: Right from the Heart by Bryant Wright

Small compact cute hardcover 365 day devotional. Each page has a short verse(s), then a description, story, questions or insights that fill the rest of the page. Each day only takes up one day, so it really only takes a couple of minutes to read through each day's devotional.

I'm normally not that into devotionals, but I really found I enjoyed this one more than most. It is light, easy reading. The thing about this devotional is that it isn't just a "feel good" devotional and doesn't feel as "designed for women/mothers" as some.

This devotional touches day-to-day life topics like homosexuality, miracles, adultery, why the bible is real, the new "black friday" holiday, if Christians must go to church, social networking isn't "evil" but amoral and can be used to reach believers, etc.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

1 Star: Gabby God's Little Angel

Ridiculous, Terrible Story & False Teachings on Angels
If you don't care about Biblical accuracy or a silly story, then by get this book because it's SUUUPER cute and sweet pictures. The pictures are adorable and fun. Yes, very very fun and cute. You will love it! Just look at all the 40+ people who gave it 4-5 stars.

BUT... if teaching your children biblical truths is important to you, you will not consider this book "innocent fun". You will fully agree with the other two reviewers who gave this book 2 stars. Cute pictures doesn't make up for a ridiculous story and the false teachings on angels.

Let's forget about the false teachings about angels for a second and just focus on the story. This book is completely ridiculous, starting with the first sentence ("Angels, angels, line up. Well done, everyone. Hmmm . . . has anyone seen Gabby?” “She fell over her harp, sir,” Parker said. “I think she took it to have it . . . well . . . straightened out.”). The story is of a ridiculous, clumbsy (always tripping), child-aged angel, who is a guardian angel in training. She stumbles and bumbles her way through sentences, not making any sense and this makes the other child-aged angels think she's funny. Another sample of the terrible dialogue: Gabby said. “Sorry I’m late, sir. I had a . . . well, how shall I say it? It was a . . . no, not really, it was more of a, well, and yet . . . on the other hand . . . you could describe it as . . . oh dear, perhaps just a musical mishap!”

Gabby says  things that make so sense at all and can be quite irritating, like when someone tells her to look at the earthly children playing at the playground, she says: "They're playing with the ground . . . really?" Gabby said. "Wow, that doesn't seem like it would be a ton of fun, but I guess I don't know as I've never really had a `ground'." This story is really, not funny or cute. It makes for an ridiculous, confusing story. Terrible book.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

1 Star: Awakening by Stovall Weems

Like many "10-steps to a better life books" or "weight loss" books, this book promises if you follow 1-2-3, you'll get a new and improved spiritual life, but is seems unrealistic and fails to give any real inspiration or new insights. We've heard it all before - fast, turn to God and live the life. This book is full of promises with selected bible verses plucked out of context and inserted to make you "feel good". To me, it felt sales pitchy, dishonest, and like the author's main motivation was to make easy money from banging out an easy book.

Also, I noticed the author contradicts himself: such as when he claimed your motivation for fasting should be improving your spiritual life and NOT to lose weight. But right after he tells you not to use weight-loss as a motivation, he tells you how he lost 60 lbs! Why would he tell you this unless he actually means to entice you to use weight-loss as a motivating factor?

The book was easy to understand and a quick easy read but I've heard it all a hundred times and I didn't find it thought-provoking or anything new here. I would pass because I doubt it will change your life or add much to your life.

I read that Stoval Weems associates with Word of Faith cult, Charismatics and Pentecostals, so these groups may enjoy this book. If you are not one of these groups, you may wish to skip it for theological/belief reasons.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Water Brook Multnomah free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

5 Stars: Night Night Blessings

This review is for the Amazon Kindle ebook version:

SUPER cute, super colorful pictures - blues, pinks, purples, greens, yellows! This short, quick-to-read little book makes for a great children's prayer book. This is a rhyming book on thankful prayer only and not on prayers of request, which is a nice change from the normal prayer book.

This book is about a little child (gender neutral - looks like it could be a boy or girl, unsure) giving a thankful prayer to God for a full day's blessings - morning to night. The child thanks God for food, fun days, pets, toys, family time, oceans, Daddy's bedtime prayer, Mommy's kisses, the moon, God's love and all God's blessings.

Only issue is my ebook version has typos and also it Capitalizes in every other word, which is incorrect English.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: Close Enough to Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul

Close Enough to Hear God Breathe: The Greatest Story of Divine Intimacy is a book that focuses on stories from the author's life. He tells a story about a human parent and their child and then relates that story to how God looks at us, His own children.

I found this book quite touching and beautiful. At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, because the author was relating stories about his own father and himself as the son and I didn't find that story very deep or touching. But as the book goes on, the author begins telling sad and tragic stories about other parents and their children. These stories are touching and may even bring a tear to your eye - especially one about a mother losing her son to drugs, alcohol, then homelessness and a young death at age 40. I'm not certain God relates to us quite like a human parent will relate to their son, but the stories are touching and the analogies are throught-provoking.

This book reminds me of the message in the fictional novel The Shack by William P. Young - in that it relates the God-human relationship to human parents and their kids. This book also mentions that God is father and the Holy Spirit is mother and Jesus is like their son. So again, that reminds me of The Shack book. Those who like the Shack will like this book. If you didn't like The Shack, you probably won't agree with this author's analogies.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

3 Stars: More Lost Than Found by Jared Howard Herd

More Lost Than Found is about next generation Christians drifting away from organized religion and church in search of a deeper spiritual connection with God, because they can't relate to the answers or lack of answers they find in the church. The idea is not that they leave Jesus, but they leave the church in search of Jesus only or a deeper connection to Jesus without all the religion and disappointment with the human institution of the church.

As I began reading this book, I was instantly hooked and thought this was going to be along the lines of many similar books: "Why Men Hate Going to Church by Murrow" "Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola" "House Church by Atkerson", "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jacobsen" and "If the Church Were Christian by Gulley". These books share the idea: "18-30 year olds are not finding Jesus and God in rigid judgmental churches, so they leave to find a personal experience with Jesus and God." Being a super devoted 27-year-old Christian girl, I relate to all my fellow 18-30 Christians who learn more at home in one day than from months of sermons. To us, church does not even come close to meeting our spiritual needs. It is too basic, too childish, and so unchallenging.

The best part of this book was when the author went into how adolescent rebellion was created when adults became fixated on money and careers and they forgot about their children. These parts of this book are very deep and very accurate from my own youth perspective. This book also goes into how teenage rebellion (as expressed in angry rap, tattoos, piercings) are the result of this anger that kids have towards their parents because there is no family connections and there are so many broken families now. The author also explains how historically, kids and parents were very much alike and shared many common interests - prior to the Industrial Revolution that made women work and family lose its place of importance.

So this book began fantastic! I couldn't put it down for much of the book... until Chapter 8. From Chapter 8-11, the entire book lost its purpose. It was almost as if these chapters didn't even belong to the same book. Or the author completely forgot what the entire premise of the book was about. Especially chapter 9-11 were disjointed, out of place and served no purpose in light of the previous fantastic focused chapters. These last chapters were spacey and gave no insights. The ending completely died. Maybe the author had to meet a publishing deadline and just banged out some fluff, because the ending chapter had ZERO to do with the first 1-8 chapters! It was the weirdest ending to any book I've ever read.

But because the first chapters were excellent, I would still recommend reading this book. Just skip the last chapters. :) I give this book 3 stars because there should have been an ending that made sense and wrapped up the ideas in the previous good chapters.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

1 Stars: Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd

Ronnie Floyd's Our Last Great Hope Awakening the Great Commission is a book about missionary work and converting nonbelievers into Christians. This book called the task "the Great Commission" and describes it as "our last great hope" because the author believes the two most important things in life are 1) being saved and 2) saving others.

I give this book 1 stars because I think the author is a false teacher, selling his books for money and not living the life he is pressuring everyone else to live - read my complete review and you will see why I say this. Although this book was interesting, it came across sales pitchy and pushy - I don't like the author's message. I also don't agree with the author's emphasis on making missions the number one important thing in your life outside of your own salvation. I do acknowledge the book was well-written and thought-provoking.

In disagreeing with the emphasis on missions, I feel like the emphasis on missions is too strong and I'm not certain the Great Commission was meant to be outside of the disciples of Jesus' time. If it was meant to be outside the disciples time, then why do many bible verses suggest the mission was completed? Also, why did NO CHRISTIAN do any missionary work from the disciples time prior to 70AD all the way up to 1783AD? That's 1700 years of human lives without any missionaries? I think if God wanted missions to be so important, people would have been doing missions before 1783. Also, many conservative presbyterians believe the miracles, healings, tongues etc were only for the time of Jesus and the disciples. Google this and you will find a lot of supporting documentation this subject. It seems pentacostals are among the few who believe the miracles still apply to us today.

Along with emphasis on missions, Floyd is especially pushy about multiplying churches - bragging about what he's done. He writes as if creating 10,000 new churches in America equals saved people and God's will. Sorry but I feel like the current STATE of our churches is much more important than making more. Let's fix the ones that are not producing fruit in line with living like Jesus. We don't need more churches, we need better churches!

This book did make me think about my current views, so I think it is a good book for that. But this book really makes you feel like a crappy Christian or a bad person or even almost an unsaved person if you don't make missions number one in your life. I didn't like that feeling. It's like the author guilts you into missions.

I also looked up the author Ronnie Floyd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_Floyd%20) after finishing the book and found he is pastor of CrossChurch, a megachurch (now 3 churches with over 16,000 attendees) and I don't agree with his views. Also there are some negative articles (I don't know how true they are) on him on google about pressuring Christians on tithing while his very own church only gives 2.2% to missions. If missions really is number 1 as he says in this book, why doesn't his own church live this? Why isn't the author living what he is preaching? Probably because he just wants the money from selling his books.


My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow

4 stars because the story was predictable right from the start and the mystery in this book was solved in the start of reading. Aside from knowing exactly how things would play out, this book was interesting and well-written. No deep romance and no cursing.
This book is about a big town lawyer, Tom, who temporarily moves back home to the small town in which he grew up to help dissolve his father's law firm after his father's unexpected death in a fishing accident. The public are told his father had gone with a friend, Harold Addington, to go fishing and both men had drowned after the boat flipped. Tom meets up with his childhood friends and many of the townsfolk who knew and trusted his father. All the people of the small town try to convince him to give up the big life in the city and to take over his father's small town honest law firm and to follow in his father's footsteps. During sorting through his father's files, our main character Tom discovers nearly $2 million in a trust account belonging to his father. The money is a mystery because the father had no money and owed back taxes to the IRS - leaving nothing to his son. So where did this money come from? Tom must investigate and solve the mystery of his father's and Harold Addington's death and also discover whether the money was stolen or embezzled and also if it belongs to the big company Harold Addington worked for if it belonged to Harold's family and thus would become the inheritance of his wife Esther and his daughter Rose Addington. Tom and Rose go back and forth searching to evidence in their fathers' belongings and work together to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
This book was an enjoyable read, so I would recommend it. But the story was very predictable and the romances were very blah and not at all romantic. There was no chemistry between the romantic characters.
My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

5 Stars: Rumors of God by John Tyson

I give this book 5 stars because it tells use how to live a life for God: focusing on love, generosity, grace, community, commitment, justice and hope. I found this book very inspirational and motivating. Right from the very beginning, it was capturing me and pulling me in - it was a "can't put this book down" kind of book. I absolutely LOVED this book. It is an eye-opener and I am a tough critic, so you can trust me when I say, this book is WORTH reading!

Here are a few snippets that took me away:

Have you sensed there was something more to following Jesus.
Something deep in the human heart breaks at the thought of a life of mediocrity.
We want to experience the kind of faith we’ve only read about and heard about.

The desires and dreams of Christians are the same as non-Christians’.
American culture is no longer created by the people. We are being manipulated in the most insidious ways. Our emotions, core values and personalities are under siege from media - book Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America, Kalle Lasn
the bulk of our population is dreaming the same dream. It’s a dream of wealth, power, fame, plenty of sex and exciting recreational opportunities.1

Is it any wonder that young people grow up with a sense of entitlement? They have each been told they are the most important person in the world and deserve to have everything they’ve ever wanted. They are sold the idea that if they get everything they want, they will be happy.

Why do we pine for the things of this world as we do? Perhaps it’s because we have yet to find all we need in Christ himself.

As our heavenly Father he wants to give us good gifts, but we don’t ask. Our attention has drifted from God—and rested on the trappings of the world. With our imaginations held captive, we think all we need is sex, money, and power. All the while, our Father has something better and is waiting for us to simply ask.

All too often we turn down the infinitely valuable in exchange for the trivial.

C. S. Lewis put it like this: “We are . . . like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”9

Life is busy. We live like slaves to our fast-paced, suffocating schedules. There’s so much more that God wants to give, tell, and show us, but we simply don’t ask. We spend our energy and time in triviality, splashing in the shallow end of our souls.

If you keep living like you are right now, what will be the outcome of your life? Apart from a financial, relational, or health crisis, you have probably established your values, patterns, and behaviors—your own personal brand of life. So apart from some major unforeseen crisis, you’ll continue on the same path. You might tweak your life a little, you might upgrade a bit; but, for the most part, you’re going to keep living as you’re living right now for the rest of your life. We map out the way we want things to go and manage our lives to make sure they get there. Instead of being open to the promptings of the Spirit, God stepping into our lives seems more like an interruption than an intervention. We really only want God to step in if he gives us what we want.

How do we see more of the reality and presence of God in our lives? We must prioritize seeking God—we will not accidently drift into it. We must intentionally, deliberately, earnestly make seeking God a priority in the way we spend our time.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

4 Stars: No He Can't: How Barack Obama Is Dismantling Hope And Change by Kevin Mccullough

I give this book 4 stars because it opens your eyes to what is going on in the world. It is full of facts and events that you and I would NEVER hear about in the mainstream media. The author does a great job documenting the many MANY ways the Obama Administration is actually hurting ou great nation and the people. This isn't just speculation or "I hate Obama" - these are hard facts and decisions, laws, votes Obama cast that destroy America! He is taking away our freedoms and at the same time KILLING our economy. This guy claims to have gone to law school - what does a lawyer know about economic policy? This book will show you how far he will go to use his position of power to the advantage of him and his "friends". You will be shocked at how much BAD he has done.

Mainstream news tells you that Obama is a nice guy with a nice smile. You won't think so after reading this book. Once you read this book, you will have a new view of Barack Obama, not only the politician but the human being. The million dollar smile will no longer fool you - hopefully!

I highly recommend this book and will be recommending it to my family and friends. I really hope all the "Obama lovers" read this book because you don't really know the guy until you SEE the decisions/choices he is making to destroy our country.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choos the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read. I would not recommend this book to you and your friends

2 Stars: When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Start Laughing by Martha Bolton

Ch 1: FUNNY: Husband did nice deed for neighbor so as a thank you, neighbor gave them his pit bull. The dog took over author's backyard and they were terrified of the dog. Finally, they begged the neighbor to take the dog back. Funny story - does make you smile.

Ch 2: NOT FUNNY: Author felt weird walking down red carpet, so tried to break into event she and her husband were invited to. Finally, gave in and walked the carpet. No biggie.

Ch 3: NOT FUNNY: Have you noticed some things don't make a lot of sense? Author gives you a list of some - like how flying from LA to Denver, you need to go to Houston, NY, then back to Denver. Not funny.

Ch 4: NOT FUNNY: Isn't it funny how scientists tell you all the good tasting foods are bad for you? Then they also sometimes change their minds back and forth? Like butter vs margarine.

Ch 5: NOT FUNNY: A man goes to heaven and sees two groups of people. One group is for people who endured a lot of pain and sufferring in life. The other is for those who endured little. The man is assigned a line and he's happy because he knows he endured a lot of sufferring and he believes he will be rewarded greatly. But soon he realizes that he's in the wrong line. The other line is full of all the people that continued smiling despite the trials. He thought his tough life was an excuse to no longer smile and be nice to others.

Ch 6: NOT FUNNY: The joy of giving - one homeless woman took up a collection among her friends to afford a fake flower in a pot for a police officer. Another lady gives hugs because she gets joy in giving them.

As you can see... this book is NOT funny at all. They are stories, but they aren't funny stories and they don't make you laugh. I give this book 2 stars (instead of 1 star) because it isn't worth your time reading it, but it isn't especially BAD stories. They just aren't funny stories and aren't very useful to life.

1 Star: Escape The Coming Night: Messages From The Book of Revelation by David Jeremiah

Short book - 128 pages and a large number are filled with 2 "study guide" questions per page! So this book is really quite short. The whole book is a joke - nothing is described in depth and there are no facts or verses to solidly back up any of the speculation. It is like the author decided what he believed and just threw it all down on paper and inserted a few verses to make it sell. Don't waste your money on this book. It has nothing new in it, even for Pre-Trib believers.

1 Star: The Pope And The New Apocalypse by Stephen D Mumford

Short book: 51 pages. All speculation about Vatican control over USA and the Regan Administration. Lots of specutation, scare stories, huff and puff and not a lot of substance. Inaccurate views and theories.

Ch 1: Women's abortion rights, Mexicans crossing the border, Ronald Regan and Pope John Paul II are likable but bad politics, Vatican is controlling the US, world population dilemma
Ch 2: Rev Pat Robertson wants Christians involved in politics; Regan Administration attacks Constitution; World population growth and family planning; Single out pro-lifers
Ch 3: Pope's push on population control; Pope and USA are conspiring
Ch 4: Vatican take over; Overpopulation threatens national security;
Ch 5: Money, Catholics and family planning
Ch 6: Subversion; Regan Admin has the most Catholics among them - greater than any other Administration in US history;
Ch 7: Infringing on US sovereignty; Vatican running US foreign policy; Secret legions; Vatican vs humanity
Ch 8: Reclaiming our options - fighting back

1 Star: Terror Over America by Arno Froese

Terribly inaccurate book. Pre-trib view that USA and Catholic Pope and World Government are the Antichrist, Beast and Arab-Israel conflict is the end of the world. The "End Times" already happened per the Preterist End Times view and if you don't understand this, read Gary DeMar's book "End Times Fiction". This guy is just selling a book. Just like Hal Lindsey, Southwest Radio Church and all those other TV evangelist scammers. Don't believe the lies! Read Josephus' History book and you will see that most of the Bible Prophecies were fulfilled when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD.

Short book 125 pages with large print and not a lot to read. Mostly useless quotes inserted here and there to make it "sensationalized" media.

Chapter 1: Describes World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001
Chapter 2: Says the world countries united behind America to fight terrorism
Chapter 3: Describes a world government and attaches labels like "beat" "antichrist" "man of sin" to this world government. This is an INCORRECT prophecy and the author is sensationalizing and stretching things just to sell a book. Remember, this book is very thin - there is hardly any work/facts/documentation here. It is all highly speculative/imaginative/wishful thinking.
Chapter 4: More discussion on the attack on America on 9/11
Chapter 5: Titled "Shadows of Armageddon" is 3 pages of an emailed transcript from the author's boss at work (Midnight Call). Total speculation with no facts to back anything up.
Chapter 6: Terroists, Lie detectors, etc
Chapter 7: 9/11 is not Armageddon explains the author, because America is not where it is supposed to take place. New York is not Mystery Babylon either says the author. Goes into the European Union taking control over the world.
Chapter 8: Mystery Babylon, Catholic Pope and USA
Chapter 9: Global Capitalism

Rest of the book is the typical New Pre-Trib story. Arabs and Israel end time war.

5 Stars: Desiring God by John Piper

I swear this book is the BEST book I've read in like ever! I never quite understood how God worked and this book make Him seem so simple to understand - in human terms! I highly recommend this book to any young Christian and also any Christian who has some unanswered questions about God.

Once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down! The writing is pretty easy to understand, but even though some of the concepts are normally difficult, the author makes them easy to grasp for the lay person. This book is about FINDING HAPPINESS IN GOD BY MAKING HIM YOUR #1. My Mom was turned off by the word "Hedonism" when she saw me reading the book, but I can assure you, there is nothing to worry about. This book is about how God designed the world in such a way that God becomes our highest happiness. It truly fills in so many questions I had about Chrisitanity. Like about God's will and sufferring and salvation.

This book is fully 5 point Calvinist and you will see why when you read it. it is beautiful! It makes sense and your heart understands an embraces it! Who would imagine theology could be make simple? Great book! I am going to buy one for Mom, my sister and my sister in law! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choos the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read. I would not recommend this book to you and your friends

3 Stars: The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss

This book was written by an author under 50, so he hasn't lived a full life. This is probably the main reason just about all his "wisdom" bits are ones I have heard of already. Unless you are new in life, you have probably heard most of these "wisdom bits" many times - from parents, friends and tv. This is the main reason I only give this book 3 stars. The wisdom and advice is good advice - problem is it is just nothing new.

Examples of wisdom bits: listen before you speak; avoid regrets later in life; keep your integrity, don't lie, br brave, life is short, so live it up; stay focused on your dreams and goals.

Although they are good bits of advice, they are not new. I would have liked the author to have really contributed some wisdom bits that none of us have thought of or heard of before. Sadly, I was not impressed with this book.

A disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choos the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read. I would not recommend this book to you and your friends

3 Stars: The Blessing by John Trent

I was really excited to be reading about the blessing for two reasons. I had just read "A Place Called Blessing" by the same author John Trent and that book was SUPERB!!! One of the best books I've read in a long time. Second reason is because my dad is always telling me about the promises and blessings that God gives to us. In fact, just the other day, he told me to learn more about the blessings. The first thing I thought of was this book. So I picked it up and started.

But the book was slow and difficult for me to read. I kept eagerly looking to find out what this blessing thing was all about and I couldnt find it. Halfway through the book, I finally realized what the blessing was and it has 5 aspects to it. The author gives one chapter per aspect. I do believe the blessing is important and something we should all use and could incorportate into our lives, but I think the author could have done a much better job writing about it. Because of the authors boring slow writing, I give this book 3 stars. It meant well, but its hard to get into it and really enjoy it. I also didn't find the authors writing style inspirational at all. How disappointing! What a drop off from the story-telling emotional writing that John Trent used in his book "A Place Called Blessing"

A disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choos the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read. I would not recommend this book to you and your friends.

5 Stars: A Place Called Blessing by John Trent

WOW!!! This book will blow you away. This is the best story I've read since I was a little kid. The writing was fantastic. The book flowed well, captured you, sucked you right in and I read the whole thing all night. It's now 3:50AM! I couldn't put it down! This book is SOOOO good. I cannot recommend it enough. It is so good and also so sad. I must have cried half a dozen times or more! Oh, you feel everything - the author has fantastic writing skills. Today, I find it rare to find an author who can really right - this one can. This book was captivating!

The story is about a boy who goes through a rough upbringing - bad parents and then going through the foster home system. Everytime he gets a glimpse of a parent who might love him, it is ripped away and he is hurt more and more. He becomes angry. This angry boy grows up to be a young man with many trust issues. This book is about how one family reaches out to him and tries to break through his barriers and all the walls he has built. He is unable to love himself and so he cannot accept love from those aroun him. All this from his childhood trama. SUCH a good story!!! A total must read!

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher but I alwayas give honest reivews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy. I recommend this book to you and your friends - it IS worth your time and money.

Ebook Didn't Download: God's Love Letters to You

I tried a dozen times and the mobi Amazon Kindle ebook never downloaded and when I went to help, I couldn't get any help. So I cannot review this book, sadly.

Received free from publisher.

1 Star: 151 Quick Ideads to Inspire Your Staff by Jerry R Wilson

One of the worst books EVER!!!! I bought this book from Borders for full price 13 bucks and boy am I sorry! I should have scanned the book better first. The book is broken into so many little minor sections with inserts here and there - did they think this was a magazine? Anyway, there is NOTHING valuable at all in this book. All they do is draw a little box on every page and put dash marks around it (like a coupon you are supposed to cut out) and then tell you go to create a 3x5 card and hang it on your wall at work. By the end of the book you should have only 101 3x5 cards hanging on your wall! Stupid! Useless! What a waste of thirteen bucks! I'm so sorry and disappointed. And the suggestions are terrible! You are supposed to wrote this stuff on your 3x5 cards: "No man can serve two masters. Serve the customers first" "Common enemy-Common goal" "Reward those who deserve rewards. Be fair but not equal" "Benefits are an important part of the package. Employees don't need them and they don't provide motivation, but employees expect them"

5 Stars: Cure For The Common Life by Max Lucado

Good solid Christian book. I would recommend it and give it as a gift to others.

PROS: This book helps you find the life you always dreamed of as a kid. It encourages us to look into our bag and notice the skills that God gave us. He gave each of us many skills and we can use those skills to fulfill our destiny. God created us all unique, with unique and special skills and a special destiny. You are one small piece of God's big beautiful puzzle. So use those gifts to find and fulfill your calling. Remember your youth and your dreams and don't be afraid to restructure your life to go after them!

I loved this book because this is exactly what just happened in my life. At age 16, I prayed to God and asked Him to bring me into a deep relationship with him. I asked for a deeper relationship with God than I knew of anyone in today's world - I mean Old Testament Abraham, Noah, patriarch relationship. And I asked God, if need be, to take away everything from my life - love, friends, money, possessions. Well, I went out into the world, got my college degree, started making money, bought a house. I never forgot God - he was on the main burner too... but I was splitting my time between God while at home and work and life. So God took the house away, took the job away, and now here I am back at Mom's house focusing on God again. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Who cares about six figures when you know you are on the right path and you have your dreams back!

CONS: Great book, but just not as deep as I like. Even though it has a great message, I can't say it is as good as some of R.C. Sproul's or John Piper's books. Still, compared to books, I give it a 5 star because it's right up there as a "must read".

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher but I always give honest reviews always. I am marking books with stars so you will know not to waste your time on the low star reviews. :)