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Julie

Book Reviews

Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore

Whispers of Hope | juliekmccomas.com

Book Description:

Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing, but how in the world do we do that? In fact, how should we effectively pray to begin with?

Best-selling author Beth Moore addresses these practical and pervasive matters in Whispers of Hope by walking readers through an easy to remember and apply method of prayer, coupled with seventy daily devotionals and followed by prompts to put this prayer method into practice.

Indeed, Whispers of Hope teaches the manifestation process of powerful Word-saturated prayer in response to a daily Bible reading. In turn, you will better understand how devotional reading and prayer are central to a stronger relationship with God.

Review:

Parts of Prayer broken down.P.R.A.I.S.E.

Praise

Repentance

Acknowledgement

Intercession

Supplication for Self

Equipping

P.R.A.I.S.E.

I love this!

Beth Moore wrote this book of devotions for me. No, she doesn’t know me personally, nor did she ever say she wrote it for me. But! Seriously, when you read this book, you too, will feel like she wrote it just for you.

I have always loved the thought of devotionals. I buy them all the time, but this is the first one that has really touched me. I look forward to reading it every morning. I am very appreciative of the prayer suggestions she makes, and try to implement them into my daily prayers as needed.

I don’t know about you, but my prayer life is basically like having a conversation with God all day long. Since I have been reading Whispers of Hope – Ten Weeks of Devotional Prayer, I find myself having at least one heart to heart with Him, as well as my conversation with Him.

This daily devotional has enriched my prayer life, and I am willing to bet it would yours too.

Book Reviews

The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning – Review

The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story Book Cover The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story
Brennan Manning
Fiction: Religious & Inspirational
Zondervan
October 28, 2013
Paperback
288

Book Description:

From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jack Chisholm is 'the people's pastor.' He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, 'We have got to do better.' Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn't know is anything about grace. This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already---on the news.

After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter.

But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: 'Come home.'

A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It's the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.

'A wonderfully written story that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.' ---Publishers Weekly, starred review '. . . the consummate final tale. What they have created is the Ragamuffin at his best, full of hope, full of love, and finally, full of belief in the goodness of God.' ---Phyllis Tickle, founding editor, Religion Department, Publishers Weekly

'Brennan Manning's last work continues the powerful message of grace and forgiveness that has transformed so many lives. The Prodigal will transform you too.' ---Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author of The Circle Maker

Review:

First of all, I have to tell you that this is one of those books that you just don't want to end. Instead of reading a whole chapter at a time, you read a couple of pages to make it last a little bit longer. The characters come to life, and before you know it you feel like you really know them.

Jack Chisholm, 'the people's pastor,'  has problems. I know that we all have problems, but don't we sometimes put "the pastor" on a pedestal?  We tend to look to them when we have problems, but have you ever stopped to think that he may have problems too? This book reminded me that they are just people too.

Jack's slogan was "We have got to do better." This is so true. We do need to do better. When Jack was faced with the consequences of his actions, he nearly gave up. His father finds him, and brings him home. It just happened to be on Christmas, and probably the best gift he had ever received...a second chance.

Throughout the story, we follow Jack down the streets of his hometown. We are able to close our eyes and see the streets, the people, the bar where he thought he could get away, and the day Jack started doing for others with many of the townspeople joining in. We are reminded that no one is perfect, that communities are supposed to come together, and most importantly, about grace.

The slogan Jack used at the megachurch he started is right, we have got to do better. Read this book. Gain from the story, it is written in such a way that it is not preachy, and I hope that you get as much out of it as I have.

Confessions

A Belated Valentine

ACR_7816sfToday, we get to have lunch with our youngest grand-daughter!

We are pretty excited!!

I am such a bad grandma! I completely forgot to send all the Valentines out this year!

So we are going to spread the love out over the rest of the month!

February, the month of Love!

Book Reviews

The War on Christmas – Review

The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression Book Cover The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression
Bodie Hodge
Religion & Spirituality, Christian Living
Master Books
October 31, 2013
Paperback
144

Book Description:

Find the truth about Christmas and the Christian's response to a culture that seems to be declaring war on traditions and the Bible!

Christmas - with its holiday lights, bright packages, and nativity displays - has become a controversial frontline in the increasingly intolerant culture wars. Whether or not to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," how to refer to the tree, and just how "biblical" Christmas may actually be is debated online, during city council meetings, and in courthouses each year.

Filled with family get-togethers, office parties, breaks from school and festivities, Christmas should be a time of peace and love - not arguments over who can celebrate what and where or when. So why has so much controversy clouded this sacred holiday? Nativity scenes are nixed and even the word "Christmas" is considered offensive by some. Get the facts behind the history, relevance, and biblical connections of this beloved holiday:

  • Is it a bunch of pagan symbols or traditions "Christianized" for the celebrations?
  • Why is a Christian concept of Christmas so important for those who don't believe in Jesus?
  • Most may say Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but are we truly worshiping Him or just celebrating the earthly gifts we give ourselves?

Review:

Honestly, I read this book rather quickly. It was pleasing to see how these authors connected Christmas to the Bible, and gave the scriptures for readers to read it for themselves. I was not able to reference my Bible as I read, but you better bet your booty that I will the next time I read it.

With all of the hoopla going on with Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, and A&E, I think it is very important that people go to their Bibles and read everything for themselves. This applies to everything!

The saying you hear at Christmas time, Jesus is the Reason for the Season, is right. Christians believe this, and will stand their ground when disputed. Take this book for instance! There is a War on Christmas. There are lots of people wanting to take "Christ" out of Christmas, are they non-believers or just wanting to be politically correct? Believe it or not, sometimes being politically correct means that you are not proclaiming your faith.

This book proves to me that there are people out there that aren't afraid to put their beliefs out there, make a stand for them, and try to reach those that are in doubt.

The different sections of this book are:

What about Christmas? - Confusion and Misconceptions - It's All Baby Jesus - How Christmas Came to Be - The War on Christmas

Read this! Study the timeline! Study the facts! Study the Bible right alongside this book!

Let's keep Christ in Christmas! If we keep Christ in our day, everyday, then why should Christmas be any different?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Reviews

Men of Sunday – Book Review

Menofsunday.coverBook Description:

Step into the locker rooms and living rooms of NFL players and their families to see how a close relationship with God guides football's biggest stars.

In a behind-the-scenes, off-the-field glimpse into one of America's most beloved sports, Men of Sunday reveals how Sunday's greatest rely on God to face issues such as drug abuse, family crisis, injuries, and temptations resulting from fame and fortune.

Compiled from dozens of interviews, Men of Sunday marks the intersection of two Sunday traditions: faith and football. Inspired by the league's "systemic shift" toward embracing Christianity, Bloomberg writer Curtis Eichelberger shows how God is a source of comfort when facing the unique challenges of life in the NFL and the everyday challenges of maintaining strong families and building character.

Featured personalities include

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis

New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Mike Singletary

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis

Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy

San Diego Chargers pastor Shawn Mitchell

Danisha Rolle, wife of former Tennessee and Baltimore defensive back Samari Rolle

And many more Men of Sunday is a must-have for any football fan, teaching the invaluable lesson of trusting in the Lord—both on and off the field.

Review:

This book was not really what I expected it would be, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I expected it to be more like a Chicken Soup for the Soul for Football Fans. A small insight into their Christian lives, and it is, but it is so much more.

Not only do we get to read about some of their personal walks with God, we also get a feeling of what it is like for them on the field. How some of them struggle with how to be a Christian while playing a pretty brutal game, and how they work through it all.

As a Christian football fan, I was anxious to learn about my fellow Christians and stars of the NFL world. I was pleased to read about the team pastors, coaches, and wives. I was sucked into their world for just a few minutes while I read their stories. My heart broke as they dealt with horrible loss, and at the same time rejoiced for them when God answered their prayers.

I don't typically re-read books, but this is one that I know I will read again. It is a great book, and you would be crazy not to pick one up for yourself.

I received a free copy of this book via BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, BookSneeze.

Book Reviews, Giveaways

A Walk One Winter Night – Review & Giveaway

UPDATED! Winner Announced 12/11/13 Be sure to enter!

From the back of the book:

What started as a simple, late night stroll to clear his head from the pressures and hassles of life turned into a life changing moment.  

Are your eyes open to the wonder you might experience on a walk of your own?

Review:

This review has me bumfuzzled. Why?

I absolutely love this book! Love it!

So, why would it be so hard for me to write a review on a book that I really, really love?

I am afraid that I will not find the right words to express how I feel about this book, but I am going to try. Here goes nothing.

This book is just shy of being a 7-inch square hardback book. It has 96 pages, and some of the prettiest artwork ever. It is small and simple, but this little story has a huge impact!

Al Andrews wrote this story about a man taking a walk on a cold winter evening “to clear his mind of all the clutter and stress of the season.”  The man walks by a front yard that has the nativity scene displayed. He would normally walk on by, but on this cold and rainy night something caused him to stop.

I won’t tell you what he witnessed, or what he saw. You will have to get the book to see for yourself. But I will tell you some of my thoughts after I finished this book.

My very first thought was that I needed to share this book. I wanted my husband to read it, my mother, sister, grandmother, best friend, church family, everyone!

My second thought, I only have one copy and I can’t possibly pass it around to everyone by Christmas. I must buy several copies. Must!

My third and final thought, how in the world am I going to express to the world how much I like this book!

Below I am going to post a little more about A Walk One Winter Night, and Mr. Al Andrews. If you would like your very own copy of A Walk One Winter Night leave a comment on this post, and tell me one thing your read about Mr. Al Andrews.

Good luck!

 

A WALK ONE WINTER NIGHT INSPIRES DOVE-AWARD
WINNING ARTIST’S NEW CHRISTMAS SONG Two Christian music veterans unite to bring audiences a “real Christmas story”

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 23rd, 2013—Prominent counselor to many artists and acclaimed inspirational speaker Al Andrews recently signed on with The Worthy Publishing Group to publish his latest title, A Walk One Winter Night: A Christmas Story (Freeman Smith, September 2013) based on a poignant holiday experience. Burnt out on the hustle, bustle, and expectations the holidays can bring, Andrews took a late night stroll and wound up rediscovering his real passion and the true meaning behind the Christmas season. This simple message has spoken to the heart of audiences, and will help readers rediscover the joy of wonder and what is real in the season.
Al sent his initial draft to a few trusted friends in the music business in order to get early feedback. As the written word so often does, the book struck a major chord with Dove-award winning recording artist and GMA female vocalist of the year, Nichole Nordeman. “Every once in awhile you come across a story that helps you tell your own,” said Nordeman,“From the very first page of A Walk One Winter Night, I recognized that the characters around the manger had become distant and no longer dear. Icons, not the fragile and weary souls they were. In this beautiful story, I saw them differently, maybe for the first time ever. And they jumped off the page and right into the music of my heart. ‘Real’ is a song that’s deeply personal for me. I hope it captures the same wonder of the beautiful book that inspired it.”
Nordeman will be performing “Real” throughout the fall tour of The Story, alongside artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Selah, and Rawsrvnt. Tour dates and ticket information can be found at www.thestorycd.com/tour/. “Real” will also be featured on Capitol Christian Music Group’s album WOW Christmas, available nationwide in October.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Al Andrews is a counselor, author, and speaker. He is the director of Porter’s Call, a non-profit offering counsel, support, and encouragement to recording artists and their families. He is founder of Improbable Philanthropy, a charity that aids children in crisis through the sale of his children’s book, The Boy, the Kite, and the Wind. To learn more about Al Andrew’s visit http://www.itsalandrews.com; follow his daily journey on Twitter @itsalandrews.
Worthy Publishing Group (www.worthypublishing.com) is a privately held, independent voice in Christian and inspirational publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee, comprised of three divisions. Worthy Books publishes a boutique list of trade titles across a broad spectrum of genres, including current events, biography, fiction, devotionals, spiritual and personal growth, and specialized Bibles. Ellie Claire is a line of gift and paper expressions, and Freeman-Smith is a value-priced, impulse book imprint.

Thank you to Worthy Publishing for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Faith

How Can I Serve You?

Has anyone ever asked you that?

Think about it before you say no.

Or, maybe it was worded differently. How can I help you?

I hear that a lot while I am shopping; "How can I help you?" or "Can I help you?"

We have waitresses, servers, flight attendants, and employees at every kind of establishment you can think of, trained to serve.  

Just this morning, I heard two different people offer their help to someone, and that is when I knew what I would write on my blog today.

We are called to serve the Lord. 

Are we not?

My question for you is simple, but I hope that it makes you think.

Have you asked God that question?

"How can I serve you today, Lord?"

We pray for all kinds of things: children/grandchildren, safe travels, our health, jobs – the list could go on and on.

We give thanks for all kinds of things as well.

But how often do we ask Him, "How can I serve You today?"