Star of Persia — Book Review

Yes, the story is the one we know and love.  The one about the beautiful Queen Ester, the Star of Persia There’s a bit more to it in this retelling. Along with palace intrigue, politics, and jealousy, add a king who can’t make decisions without others telling him what to do, a queen who wants a ‘normal’ married life, a father who finally comes to terms with who he really is, and you have an awesome, can’t put it down story.

Family relationships abound and add sometimes surprising twists. Personality traits of manipulation, arrogance, scheming, brutality, stubbornness,  and more, clash with strength, internal beauty, loyalty, and love.

Throughout the story the sense of God’s presence permeates. Might that be because of knowing the story so well? Perhaps.   The threads of the story, just like those of the Biblical portrayal, point to the fact that God always has a reason for everything that happens in the lives of His people.

Esther is portrayed as an obedient, loving, and caring person. I would love to have seen more of her internal qualities of strength, wisdom, and leadership.

All in all, this is a really good portrayal of the story of Esther, the Star of Persia.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Yes Sisters ~ Book Review

Do you have people in your life who support you, love you, guide you, and help you grow into all that God intends for you to be? Do you know who you are and how others perceive You? Are you aware of the positive and negative voices that are around you, and the impact they’re having?

You have been given a unique place in God’s Kingdom. Angelia L. White in her book Yes Sisters unwraps the ‘secret’ to “surrounding yourself with women who affirm, encourage, and and challenge you” toward success as you determine to find and live out your Kingdom purpose.

With our personal relationship with Jesus as the foundation of all relationships, Ms. White discusses how mothers, daughters, grandmothers, friends, colleagues, social media, affect our actions and decisions.  Yes, even mean girls are part of life and the author addresses them admirably, without sugar-coating the issue, giving ways to deal with them in a loving manner. Her many suggestions for building and maintaining daily interactions with our Yes Sisters are right on target.

One of the outstanding parts of this book are the short stories/essays from a variety of other authors and speakers.  They provided a perspective from other points of view that enhanced and supported the narrative.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Yes Sisters:

  • Building our lives on His love and learning to look to Him for our value guides us in knowing who we really are. (p. 42)
  • God created women specially to reflect His beauty in and around us. (p. 56)
  • Dare to reach out. Dare to risk. Dare to say yes to letting others into your life. None of us needs to have it all together. We all just need to remember we are better together. Holley Gerth (p. 88)
  • Genuine truth is never meant to diminish, but to beautify. (p. 150)
  • Each individual changes history. (p. 204)
  • If I can’t think of a single way it could benefit the kingdom or give glory to God, I will most likely say no, stay silent, or look for a way to say what needs to be said with love as my motivation rather than my own interests. Candace Cameron Bure (p. 216)

This book is loaded with many suggestions and ideas for developing and supporting your own group of Yes Sisters.  I highly recommend it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Should you click on a link and purchase this book I receive no remuneration.

Chasing Vines – – Book Review

I love it when a book relates to my personal life and circumstances. (Don’t we all?) I am a farm girl/gardener at heart. I know the taste of milk straight from the cow, cracklins fresh from the hot grease, tomatoes, and green beans hand-picked. Yet, grapes, the how and why of them, and their relationship to my Christian growth, is a new concept.

Using John 15:1-8 Chasing Vines covers our growth as branches of the One Vine. She covers such topics as, personal growth, abiding, bearing fruit, pruning, fertilizing, manure, and much more. In her matchless style, she brings these eight verses to life, giving insight into the growth process of the grape as it relates to our own lives as Christians.

Beth’s comment, “I’m pretty sure most people who serve an unseen God for enough years, trying their danged hardest to obey His inaudible directions and love His confounding people with their own contorted hearts, live a quarter-inch from sheer madness much of the time,” (pg. 56) resounded with me.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity preacher/teacher or sojourn with a small group of Believers, people are people.  They’re difficult, demanding, denying, disturbing, dusty, deliberate, defying…  I get it.

Throughout the book, the reader is made aware of the need to be a good fruit producer.  Ms. Moore contends it is not only possible but probable that the branches (believers and unbelievers, alike) can produce bitter and bad fruit.  Her solution: Galatians 5:22-23. If these 9 qualities are in any way being compromised it’s bad fruit.  If, on the other hand, they are supported, then the fruit is good.

Although I highly recommend this book, and since this is a review, I must say that I did find a bit of insensitivity to the elderly in her discussion of pruning.  From time to time I also found way more discussion of a concept than was necessary.  But as I said before, all in all, all of it, is worth it.

I want to leave you with these words, directly from Miss Beth, “If you’re in Christ, He is your true Vine, whether you realize it or not. But a whole new way of flourishing begins when you know it. When you count on it. When you live like it. When you let go of the vines you thought were giving you life.” (pg. 129)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

The Promises of God – Storybook Bible – Review

The Promises of God Storybook Bible is not just another children’s Bible but one that proves God is always in control, can always be trusted, always loves His children, always provides, always cares, always…

It’s very interesting to read children’s versions of the Bible, especially after having read and taught the ‘adult’ version for so many years.  Because God’s Word is alive and active, any retelling of the story should reiterate those truths that we know so well and allow ‘new’ truths to become real.  For instance, why did Joseph cry when he saw his brothers again.  We’re often taught that it was because he missed them so much, but could it also be that even though he had forgiven them their betrayal still hurt.

God’s sovereignty is a consistent theme throughout the stories, helping children (actually, anyone who reads it) understand that God is in total control of all aspects of life.

I’m always cautious with Paul’s part of the story and presenting it in such a way that children understand that he is being used by God, through his writings, to help the Believers, both then and now, understand God’s Word, Jesus’ life and sacrifice, and how it applies to our everyday lives. Jennifer Lyell does this beautifully. Check out his quote from her words on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

Paul wrote these letters to the church in Thessalonica thousands of years ago. But God put them in the Bible because they’re also promises for us today, and they have been for followers of Jesus from the beginning.  We are all to wait for Him to come back and not worry about when it will be because God knows the perfect time.  And we are to listen only to teachers who teach what matches the things Jesus taught.  And we should encourage one another to work hard telling people about Jesus like Paul did! (pg. 255)

I shared this book with a delightful family to read and review for me.  Their comments were very positive with only one suggestion which I found quite interesting.  They felt that sometimes the titles were misleading and should have better matched the story and the concept of God’s Promises.

I would have liked to see some of Mrs. Lyell’s stories of the other New Testament writers, like James and Peter, included in this book.

I highly recommend this book.  Jennifer Lyell is an awesome storyteller. It will be an excellent resource for family devotions, Children’s Sunday School and small group teachers.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B & H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Should you click on a link and purchase this book I receive no remuneration.

 

 

Fresh Start Bible Review

As a Small Group, Bible Study leader I was (and am) very excited about this new resource, the Fresh Start Bible.

There are many kinds of study Bibles. Some are historical and archeological. Some are topical. Some are word referenced, giving the reader specific guidance as to meaning usage. Some are paraphrased into modern language usage for better understanding. All are intended to point the Believer to a better understanding of His Word and how it applies to daily life. The Fresh Start Bible is no exception. Using the New Living Translation it has hundreds of articles written by various people that enhance and provide understanding. Several short ‘side-bars’ provoke deeper thought about known concepts and stories. It includes many articles about questions that both the new and seasoned believers might have. Personal comments, historical facts, and suggestions for personal, everyday use abound.

I decided to use this Bible as my main resource in preparing and teaching a series of lessons on how the Tabernacle of the Old Testament applies to contemporary worship. It was helpful and informative, leading not only me but also my fellow learners to new insights and thoughts about the subject.

In a future upgrade to this work, I would suggest more ‘side-bars’, commentary and articles for the Old Testament portion.

I highly recommend this resource for both Bible study leaders as well as learners.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy free from Gateway Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”