Thoughts on the Book of James

I have been honored with the privilege of reviewing a new Study Bible. Each time I agree to do one of these I read my favorite books first and note anything new. The Fresh Start Bible is jam-packed with great side notes throughout.  Here’s what I’ve gleaned from the Book of James. (Yes, my absolute favorite book of the entire Bible.)

Robert Morris referring to James 1:17-18:

Understanding God’s goodness makes a huge difference in our relationship with Him. (pg. 1094)

The only reason why we aren’t immediately destroyed the first (or hundredth) time we sin is because God is good. (pg. 1094)

Robert Morris referring to James 3:1-12

The default setting of the tongue is to destroy, and unless we change this setting, we will always do more damage than good. (pg.1095)

The good news is that our tongue can produce good fruit. You can use it to bless your job, your finances, and your family. (pg. 1095)

Robert Morris referring to James 4:3

God gives to us so we can have the joy of imitating Him and giving to others. (pg. 1095)

Next, we’ll look at what is interesting in the book of Esther.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Amazon Affiliate Commission Earned

Pre-ordering is happening right now at http://gatewaypublishing.com/bibles and if you pre-order it from the publisher you will receive it in mid-November rather than Amazon’s release date of Dec. 1st.

 

Always We Begin Again – – Book Review

I’ve been enjoying reading through a devotional that really isn’t a devotional.  Does that make sense? Not really, but yes, it does.  Always We Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley is a series of short essays on the many ways we start over every day of our lives. They’re not only relatable short stories but they include a guided writing prompt that can help each reader deal with their own beginnings.

Here’s what I’ve learned, am learning or have found to be true:

  • The profound yet simple concept that we are constantly starting over is part of daily life.
  • God speaks to us in many ways during our stressful, busy days. Focusing on the issue of the moment, with God as our partner, until we discover the way through, will help calm our minds and lead to a solution.
  • We are held securely in God’s arms. No matter the circumstances He keeps holding on.
  • There are multiple opportunities in our days and lives to begin again, to start over. Just as the sun rises new each day it also sets and gives us the opportunity to rest and reflect.
  • We are all addicts of some sort. Here’s the thing, we can’t pretend to have conquered the problem. Whether we eat, drink, spend, talk, criticize, complain… too much or too little, it can be controlled through God’s grace and our willingness to take each day as it is.

One of the things I really liked about this book is each short essay/story is simply numbered but not dated.  That way if I don’t read it each day I don’t have the pressure of being behind or having to catch up.

This collection is relatable and encouraging. It is reassuring and supportive. There is hope woven throughout its pages. Thank you, Leeana Tankersley, for writing and sharing.

Best quote from the book: “Growth and healing start by giving ourselves the permission to pursue them. If we aren’t willing to show up and participate, then chances are, our souls will be lost on some level. And chances are, it will affect the people who want to share life with us.” (pg. 210)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revel, a division of 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.”

Who Sang The First Song – Book Review

Have you ever given thought to ‘Who Sang The First Song?’  Did you know there’s a constant sound in the universe?  That sound originates from the sun, neutron stars, black holes, and more.

From the beginning of time, there have been sounds all around.  God has not only put the beauty of sound everywhere but He has given each of His creation their own song.  Each song is individualized and determined for each one of us to use in furthering His Kingdom on Earth.

Now I recognize this is a bit ‘heavy’ for children. However, Ellie Holcomb, in her book Who Sang The First Song?, covers the concept in words and questions that children can understand.

After all, didn’t God tell us to make a joyful noise?  And what is more joyful than a song straight from the heart.

So, if you need a really great children’s gift, or want to enrich your home library, I highly recommend this delightful book.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Broadman Holman/Lifeway Publishers. 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.”

Thief of Corinth

Is there anything more delightful than a good book on a rainy day?  Or even a good book in any weather at any time.  I would say no.  I’ve had the pleasure of reading for review another of Tessa Afshar’s books and once again she hasn’t disappointed with the content.

Thief of Corinth is the story of Ariadne, her family, friends, and enemies comes to life in the ancient city of Corinth.  Early in life, she is moved to Athens when her mother divorces her father.  She is abused and unloved in that situation and determines to go back to Corinth as a young teen.  Traveling with her brother, she arrives in Corinth at the home of her father and the adventure begins.  Life decisions, good and bad, of all the characters, fill the pages.  Unrequited love, a woman competing in the Isthmian games, the lifestyle of the incredibly wealthy unfold before your eyes.  In the end, this is a story that is totally relatable.

This book is filled with quotes from the Ancient Philosophers.  Rather than being just more words they add a credibility to the story. Plato – “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.”  My favorite quote from the book is not of the Philosophers but of the author – “The problem with wisdom is that it is devoid of comfort.”  (pg. 170)

Thank you, Tessa Afshar, for such a delightful way to spend a rainy day.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 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.”

Just Open The Door – Book Review

Have you ever read something that resonates with every part of your being?  Something that you can so relate to that you’re surprised you didn’t think of it?

Just Open The Door by Jen Schmidt is that kind of book.  True hospitality is about serving others, whether we want to or not, and she definitely has all her ‘eggs’ in the right basket for it.

With our noses buried in cell phones and computers, we are missing some of the greatest experiences of life.  That of face to face conversations that help us know those around us, their needs, wants and desires.  The nuances that come with face-to-face conversations simply don’t show in techno-babble.

As Believers hospitality allows us to be purposeful in our walk with others.  We can encourage others, disciple others, and even bring others into the fold, simply by sharing a cup of coffee and sincerely listening and loving on them. Don’t worry about that spot on the carpet or children making to much noise or messy hair.  It is what it is!  All that really matters is God, His Word, and relationships.

Expecting nothing in return is a characteristic of the hospitable personality.  A bag of groceries, a box of diapers, $20 in an unopened envelope show the heart of Jesus to another person.

Adoption might be the ultimate act of hospitality.  Just as God adopts me into the Forever Family I am to ‘adopt’ others into my earthly family.

This book is jam-packed full of ideas for living out hospitality as God intended us to.  I highly recommend reading it over and over.

Here are my top 5 quotes from this book:

  • Your unique gift, your untold story, your broken and mended heart, your fierce love, your brave authenticity–all these intricate threads woven together create a tapestry He wants to use to unveil His love to someone who needs to experience it.  You are the one who can meet the need of another today if you just open the door. (pg. 77)
  • “For me, taking up my cross daily included terrible suffering.  For you, your suffering may be in the form of doing small duties that are distasteful to you.  It may be having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.  That may be your cross today.”  (pg. 52)
  • We can’t let our circumstances keep us separated from the community we need. (pg. 131)
  • Taking tea together reminds us to mimic Jesus’ pace.  He was never too busy.  He was never in a hurry.  Frantic was not a part of His vocabulary.  He lingered. (pg. 154)
  • One of the purest forms of compassion is found in hurting when someone else hurts. (pg. 190).

Never underestimate the power of a cup of coffee and a listening ear.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Broadman Holman Publishers, Inc. 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.”

Before I Saw You – – Book Review

Sometimes I read for the pure joy of immersing myself in a good story on a quiet afternoon.  At least, that’s what I thought I was going to do when I picked up Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells.  Guess what?  Not so!  The power of grace is so prevalent in these words that I was amazed at how easy it was to include it in a fiction story.

Life is hard!  God is good!  Life is about letting go and letting God.  Cliches? Yes (and no, they are not used in the book).

If anything, life is about choices.  Some easy. Some hard. Some based on what we know. Some based on what we don’t.  We always have a choice.  Throughout the book, the main character is reminded to trust God for the answers.

Life is about decisions that often affect more than the person making them.  It’s evident throughout the story here and about life in general, for everyone.

Now, I know I’m being quite vague in this review but, I’m trying to keep from spoiling this great read for you.

Relationships are really what life is about and this book is full of the twists and turns, good and bad, that all relationships take.  A drug-addicted mother, a woman-child who hasn’t had the benefit of a good life, a sickly baby, a bully boyfriend, an unplanned pregnancy, an unexpected turn of events, and choices, so many choices…

I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list.  It’s definitely worth your time!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 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.”

The Kremlin Conspiracy – – Book Review

Intrigue and lies at the upper levels of world leadership…  Men and women killed senselessly…  Life choices…  God’s presence…

I don’t usually like books of this genre.  But The Kremlin Conspiracy had me from the first chapter.  With well-developed characters and a storyline that simply doesn’t slow down, I couldn’t wait to turn the pages.  From the mountains of Colorado to Russia’s Red Square the action continually transports one into the lives of the characters.

Political upheaval is caused by two presidents, a world apart.  One weak and inexperienced, the other over-confident and mentally unbalanced, put the world on edge with the threat of nuclear war.

This quote from The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky sums up the motive behind the story.  “Above all, don’t lie to yourself.  The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and he loses all respect for himself and for others – and having no respect he ceases to love.”

If you like fast moving, action-packed reading, you’ll love this book!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers. 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.”

10 Questions – The Essentials for a Spiritually Healthy Life – Book Review

Do you read book introductions?  I do.  I knew from those words that this book would have a powerful impact on my life and becoming more like Jesus.

Have you ever encountered a book that sings unparalleled truth and understanding into your soul?  Yes, sings.  Beautiful, harmonic sounds of God’s voice impacting my thoughts.

For most of my life I have known that the Old and New Testament complement one another.  Some may want to think that the Old Testament books no longer apply to “modern” life,  that it’s boring, outdated, and no longer relevant.  Not so!  Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

Hugh Taylor, (a religious Jew, by the way), in 10 Questions, writes words of truth that help the modern Believer understand the laws and precepts set down in the first five books of the Bible.  You will find this book insightful and life-changing. Not only if you know Jesus words in the Gospels and what He was teaching us through them but if you’re just starting your Christian walk.  It all works together!

 

 

Favorite Quotes from 10 Questions:

If we are aware of God, then we are in God’s presence.  Being conscious of God in our lives and working on establishing a personal relationship with God constitute being in the presence of God. pp.27

God is waiting for us.  All we have to do is approach… Each of us, no matter how spiritually sick we become, has a standing appointment to see the most powerful force in the universe one on one, whenever we want. pp. 35

It doesn’t matter who we are in life.  We are all equal before God and we are all standing before God… Whatever we do, for good or bad, is done in God’s presence.  God sees all. pp. 43

Whatever you need to do in your life, The Bible is telling us to get busy and do it now.  pp. 133

If you trust in God to give you the income and possessions you need, that you can handle, and no more, then you can begin to be satisfied with what you have. pp 140

And so much more…

I highly recommend reading and applying this book.  I will be doing that by writing many of the insights in my journaling Bible so that they are available when I am reading, studying, and worshipping.

What a blessing!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookCrash/Capture Books. 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.”

 

Stones of Remembrance – Book Review

I love it when a book or song comes into my life that is exactly what I need.  Don’t you?  It seems like God is saying, “This one’s for you.  Especially for you!”  I recently received Stones of Remembrance by Daniel G. Amen to review and read it from cover to cover in the first sitting.  Yes, this one is definitely for me!

Dr. Amen is of the opinion (as I am) that ALL that we do impacts the brain.  What we eat, what we read, how we sleep, exercise, music, everything has an impact on the ‘gray matter’ in our head.  Consider Proverbs 23:7 (As a man thinks so is he.) and Joshua 1:8 (This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.) and Philippians 4:8 (Think on whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy and good.)

This little book is a cornucopia of verses based on his acronym for REMEMBERENCES.  Each letter has a short, compelling explanation of each word in the acronym and Bible verses to support the concept.

5 of my favorite quotes from this book:

  • When your brain works right, you work right in every area of your life–physically, mentally, and spiritually. (pg. xvi)
  • Much like love, forgiveness brings healing. (pg. 30)
  • …when you stop learning, your brain starts dying. (pg. 34)
  • A happy brain is a healthy brain. (pg. 42)
  • One of the best things you can do to improve your memory is to eat right. (pg. 112)

This book is and will be on my reading table, permanently.  My sincere, heartfelt thanks to Dr. Amen for compiling this short, easy to read, powerful book.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. 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.”

Fiercehearted – Book Review

Life has a way of throwing things at us when we’re least expecting it.  Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  Good memories are balanced with times of sorrow.  Everything that happens to us has a purpose and Fiercehearted helps put it in perspective.

Do you know the difference between being nice and being kind?  Yes, there is a difference and Holley does a beautiful job of explaining it.

Are you aware of how much control your thoughts and other people have over your life?  Are you controlled by this or are you able to control it?  Fiercehearted has the answer.

From the sincere desire of all women to fiercely protect those they love, to reaching out when we’d rather do something else, to sharing our lives with others, the heart of a servant shines through the pages of this book.

This book is, quite possibly, the most powerful book I’ve read.  The impact on my life and thoughts has been monumental. I know I’ll reread this many, many times.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Holley Gerth. 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.”