Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ by John Piper

This book by John Piper, Filling up the Afflictions of Christ, contains the stories of three men who brought Christ to other cultures at a huge cost to their own lives and those of their families. The 3 men whose ministries are included in this book are Adoniram Judson, John Paton, and William Tyndale.

As biographies go, I actually did not care for the writing style of this book. It wasn't arranged chronologically, and seemed to skip back and forth in their lives. There was a chapter for each of the men. I had not heard the story of John Paton before (missionary to Vanuatu), but had heard of the others. The focus was on the life sacrifices each of these men made to bring the Gospel to those who had not heard.

With the wide range of biographies available today, I probably would not recommend this one. I didn't care for the writing, it was not easy for me to read, and I tend to get more out of something more read-able.

So--I didn't love this. I probably wouldn't buy it or give it as a gift. We love hearing missionary stories in my family, but this one. . .I'd rather read a different one.

I received a copy of this book through the Crossway Homeschool Book Review Program for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Chronological Life Application Study Bible published by Tyndale

I LOVE this study Bible!! I did not have a study Bible, and I sure didn't know what I was missing! This Chronological Life Application Study Bible published by Tyndale is a wonderful new addition to our Bible study materials!

Some of the wonderful things about it ~~ Chronological ~~ so cool to have the passages arranged as they occurred in history. Last year the kids and I started studying ancient history and WOW! it was amazing to see the Scripture in its historical context -- made some of the passages so much more easily understandable and just clearer! With this layout of the Bible, it's easier to connect those historical dots. There is also a table in the front of this edition that lists the canonical table of contents (the "regular" way that the Bible is arranged, book by book) and shows the pages that they can be found in this edition.

The study part of this Bible is multi-faceted. There's a timeline that runs along the upper margin of each page, showing which era in history the section of the Scripture that you're looking at falls into. There are maps and explanations, drawings along with other explanations, introductions, titles, little historical facts (for example on p. 1111 in the Ezekiel section, the sidenote says that in 585 BC the Greek astronomer Thales predicts and eclipse). There are outlines, summaries, . . .I just cannot give a full explanation of all the study helps available in this! You can see some more detail on the website for this Bible, found HERE.

I definitely recommend this Study Bible. I know that it will be a great help in our family's Bible studies this year and in the future!

I am so thankful to have received a copy of this Bible for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review, but I really like this study Bible! Get one and use it yourself!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The New Answers Book 4 by Ken Ham

The New Answers Book 4 by Ken Ham is in the series of "Answers" books by Master Books. It is a lengthy book, a good resource, filled with essays on different topics of interest to Christians and those curious about Christian beliefs. Some of the topics include: dragons, creation, the size of the universe, GMOs, the ark, mutations, and many more.

I tried to just read through this book, cover to cover, and frankly--it's a LOT to read straight through. I found myself putting off reading and not reading (which I really enjoy) because I felt guilty about not finishing this book yet :) I would suggest reading a chapter at a time at your leisure, or using this book as a reference, when questions come up, you'll have this to refer to and learn more about those topics.

I have read and reviewed Answers Books for Teens before (here) and (here) and for reading through, I prefer those :) However, this "big" Answers Book 4 is a good reference, with sources cited and plenty of thoughtful research to consider.

I WOULD recommend this book, to be used as a reference, or as a "slow" read -- to get the most out of it. I will keep it on the shelf for myself and my family to read as the need arises.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

An Amish Miracle by Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, and Mary Ellis

An Amish Miracle is a collection of three fiction stories of Amish life, written by three different authors. The great surprise is that they are all set in the same community, with intertwining characters!! I guess I didn't realize that until I was starting on the second story--it made the book even better!

The stories are about three different women in an Amish community, one who has given up a child for adoption when she was a teenager, one who struggles with young widow-hood, and one who struggles with self-image (in view of her weight). They are sweet stories, nice, clean, with happy endings :) They are definitely enjoyable to read!

If I had to choose, I think I'd say that "Always in My Heart" was my favorite of these three. This story revolved around Hope, who had a son years before she was married, and longs for some kind of peace about that. He returns in some sort to her life and. . . :) You didn't think I'd give it away, did you? :)

I don't want to tell much more about these stories, because I don't want to give the story away! :) I will say that I recommend this book. The individual stories in it are enjoyable, but even so much better in that they intersect. Give it a try! Pick up a copy and read and enjoy!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn

International suspense, CIA-type intrigue, Christian publisher . . .sounds like a good book!

In the book "Strait of Hormuz" by Davis Bunn, the major character, Marc Royce, becomes involved in a story of international theft and murder, with possibilities of terrorism. He has a background with the State Department, and quickly jumps into this dangerous puzzle. Marc is a Christian, a Christ-follower and interacts with Christian Jewish folks as well. International Christian community is glimpsed at different stages of the story also.

It's a story of suspense and a bit of action. I think that the blurb on the back of the book hinted at maybe a bit more action than there actually is in the book. Not that it was bad, it WAS interesting, it just wasn't riveting, not the kind of book I'd stay up late to read.

I appreciate a Christian suspense/action book -- nice to not have all the bad language and sexual stuff -- but this one felt a little milder (a teeny bit boring?) than I thought it'd be. It wasn't bad, wasn't un-interesting, just didn't "grab" my interest. My husband is reading it right now, maybe he'll like it better, we'll see. I think it had a bit more human-interaction/relationship type stuff in it than I thought it would, but not enough for it to be classed any kind of a "romance" book.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would -- some people might find it a bit more thrilling than I did. Don't get me wrong, I DID like this book, I think I was just expecting a little more.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The War on Christmas by Bodie Hodge (general editor)

In this day and age there is plenty of controversy and "fighting" over Christmas. You know what I mean. . .the "happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" that many people use (and many others loudly exclaim against) among other things. Those who believe in Christ and those who do not, all wishing to celebrate the same holiday, some claiming Christ and His birth, others just wanting to celebrate a time of love and giving.

And then there are the "Christian" debates revolving around Christmas, should we even celebrate it, is it a pagan holiday, is a Christmas tree not good, Santa (okay, I think we're pretty much all on the same page that Santa isn't the central figure!), and other thoughts you hear thrown around when Christians of different backgrounds get together and talk about the holiday (whoops! I used that "H" word -- well, it IS a holiday!!)

The book "The War on Christmas," edited by Bodie Hodge, addresses many of these topics and many more. The subtitle of the book is "Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression." The book covers many ideas, with Scriptural backing, such as the wise men, the virgin birth, the date we celebrate Christmas/is or is not Christ's birth date, the "inn" and "manger" and many others.

I think this book is written to people who are already believers in Christ and the Bible. It seems to be a book to teach Scriptural truth in the context of Christmas. There are interesting discussions and pretty illustrations. It sounds a lot like other books by Answers in Genesis :) So -- did I like it? There were interesting parts, good reminders, and some of the authors convictions backed up by why he believes that way. I did enjoy reading it and might read it again! I think it gives some good conversation starters and background info for them as well.

Would I recommend the book? Sure, it was an interesting, easy read. Gave points to think about. It didn't really change my mind on any thing, but it was good info to read and think about. It used Scripture to draw many of the points from. I will say that it's not a reflection of completely how my family celebrates, but I am one to read and think. It's a book to make you think!

I received a copy of this book from Master Books for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review.