The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola {Book Review}

 

      The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast






Description:

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is an inspiring resource for Christians who want to pursue a more intimate relationship with God through the 21-day commitment to prayer and fasting known as the Daniel Fast. As you deny yourself certain foods—such as sugars, processed ingredients, and solid fats—you will not only embrace healthier eating habits, you’ll also discover a greater awareness of God’s presence. Author Kristen Feola explains the Daniel Fast in easy-to-understand language, provides 21 thought-provoking devotionals for each day of the fast, and shares more than 100 tasty, easy-to-make recipes that follow fasting guidelines. In a conversational style, Feola helps you structure the fast so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on God. You will also discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes?God’s powerful Word. For more info, please visit www.ultimatedanielfast.com.

(from Zondervan)

My Thoughts:

Reading The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast helps learn about fasting in general and what the Daniel Fast is in detail. Kristen Feola shares how to prepare spiritually and physically as well as how to come off the fast which is also important. My favorite part of the book is the 21 day devotional to accompany one on the journey and the emphasis on God’s Word.

Enough of the book is recipes (over 120 pages), so I am considering shelving this book with my cookbooks for easier access in the kitchen. The healthy choices can be used outside the fast as well. There are also meal planning tips and helps. This really is an ultimate guide.

Have you done a Daniel Fast?

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

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LIVE SECOND: Ownership

Who owns your stuff?  Even after all these years of living for Jesus, I can have a hard time remembering that it all belongs to God. It is all His!

This includes finances. As missionaries, our funds come from individuals and churches that sacrifice so we can do the work God called us to do. We are so grateful and I must keep that before me, so that I remember to listen to God for how that money should be used.

As I was looking through my review copy of Live Second, a new devotional that challenges us to do just that. I was reminded to live second in regards to my stuff.


 
Live Second is set up as a quick devotional. Each week starts by pointing you to one of the I Am Second videos online. After you watch the video, you are asked some reflections questions and then throughout the week, the topic is expounded upon with the ability to reflect and share (hashtags included).

When I finished reading the first book, I Am Second (linked to review), I was challenged to look at how I was putting Jesus first in my life. What if we start off 2013 seeking radical change as we walk with God. What about making time to read the quick, encouraging devotional, Live Second, that will help us put Jesus first!

I was given a copy of Live Second by the author and was not required to write a review.

Loving the Way Jesus Loves by Phil Ryken {Book Review}

 
 










Description:

Most people are familiar with the “Love Chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, yet Phil Ryken has something fresh to say. Drawing on the life and ministry of Jesus to illustrate what love is and isn’t, Ryken brings a unique perspective to this commonly quoted passage.

Loving the Way Jesus Loves successfully integrates biblical teaching, photography, chapter study guides, and a popular-level writing style—all of which will help you understand the profound love of Christ more deeply and, in turn, learn to love more deeply in response.

(from Crossway)

My Thoughts:

When a book starts with, “There is nothing I need more in my life than more of the love of Jesus.”, you know you are in for a reality check on your own spiritual life. Just the first paragraph alone had me on my knees asking God to change the way I love. The first chapter helping me reframe the lens in which I view 1 Corinitians 13. 

We then meandered chapter by chapter through those famous wedding verses learning that the intent was so much deeper and wider then just between man and wife. It’s a challenge to live for God by living and loving like Him. Phrase by phrase, we are reminded the intent as well as challenged to love in ways that can only be accomplished because of the cross.

Loving the Way Jesus Loves was one of my top reads for 2012. If you could you see my copy, this would be evident by the underlining. I highly recommend it!

This book was given to me by Crossway in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Illuminating the Darkness by Noel Dear {Book Review}

download

by Noel Dear

Description:

Are You Ready For A Change?

Every day there are new approaches and drugs to help people overcome the emotional pain of depression, stress, and anxiety. More people are being treated for these than ever before. So, one would presume emotional health and happiness would be at an all-time high. But you know that isn’t the case, not even close. In fact, the only thing that seems to be gaining prevalence faster than antidepressants is depression itself!

Is there a way of escape? Is there a different approach from the failed strategies most often presented in self-help books and the doctor’s office? Is there hope for me? Can I live a life of real peace and joy?

Yes. Lasting joy and peace can be yours!

This is no idle promise from some new-fangled philosophy or rediscovered ancient herb. This truth has the authority of the Bible, the simplicity of fruit on a vine, and the track-record of many generations who have discovered the real source of mental and emotional health.

This is not another strategy to try, rather it is the genuine truth about why people suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety, and how those pains can be replaced with joy, peace, and patience.

The truths presented here are…

  • Easy to understand
  • Practical in their everyday application
  • Powerfully effective in both the short and long term
  • Proven

This book is both a challenge to everything you have heard about the cause and cure of emotional distress, and a real offer of hope. Learn here what thousands of others have learned and, enjoy an enduring harvest of the fruit of real joy.
from Illuminating the Darkness site.

My Thoughts:

Reading Illuminating the Darkness is much like listening to Noel Dear preach. He shares personal anecdotes, supporting scripture, Biblical stories, and clear examples as he states his case for living free of depression, stress, and anxiety. What is set forth in this book may seem too simple to some readers, but it is worth consideration as we often look first to medication and outside helps before considering what is simply in the Word of God.

There is much wisdom in learning to abide in Christ and cast our cares upon him not only for those dealing with emotional issues, but also new Christians and others needing a fresh start.  You will find the salvation message, steps to drawing near to God, and other helpful disciplines for Christians within the pages.

There are times when Dear states his position dogmatically, be advised to read this as passion and not condescension (as one Amazon reviewer wrote).  I know the Dear family from sharing about our ministry in their church, they desire to help others know God and I know them to be passionate about seeing people grow, missions, and adoption.

This book is easy to read with many practical examples and Biblical references. I think it would be especially beneficial to new Christians, those who desire to walk closer with God, and people struggling with the issues mentioned in the title.

Connect with the author:

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write an honest review. In the interest of full disclosure, I know the Dear family, have spoken at their church, and enjoyed meals together.

Love, Jan by Jan Bonn {Book Review}







Description:

Eighteen-year-old Hilary Bonn was just starting out in life, preparing for college and adventures beyond her small-town beginnings, when leukemia interrupted all of her plans. To help her body fight the ugly disease, Hilary required a stem cell transplant. While she endured PICC lines, pills, and endless precautions against germs, her family encouraged her and one another with Christmas lights, thoughtful words, warm hugs, soft music, action movies, entertaining books, and their abundant love.

During this time, Jan Bonn kept family and friends updated of her daughter’s treatment and progress through frequent e-mail messages. Love, Jan is a compilation of these messages. Jan’s accounts of medical consultations and procedures, the uncertainties of life-changing decisions, and times of expectant waiting are infused with humor, insight, and hope told from the heart of a loving mother and faithful child of God.

Love, Jan, Hilary’s story of faith, hope, and joy, will inspire and encourage stem cell transplant patients and those who love them.

From Love, Jan

My Thoughts:

“Death is not an ending; it is just a temporary separation. Yet, thinking about that temporary separation makes me cry.” (page 66)

Painful words from a loving mom facing months of treatment with her daughter who at eighteen discovered she had leukemia.

Email can be such a blessing for loved ones who want to be kept informed. That is exactly what Jan Bonn’s intention was as she reported regular happenings in and out of the hospital, daily events, and incidentals like buying a computer from a crazy man (which was amusing). She also encourages people to help the National Marrow Donor Program  and become more informed.

Love, Jan is a compilation of real, heartfelt emails. As Jan was being encouraged by emails people poured back and by those stepping up to help with fundraisers and needs, she was also encouraging her recipients and now the readers with what God was doing and how Hillary bravely faced her hardship.

If I am being honest, the beginning of the book was a little slow for me as I did not have personal ties to the family or situation. However, as the story unfolds it’s hard not to engage and root for Hillary. What I liked most was the insights and spiritual encouragement Jan both receives and shares as well as the joy which is apparent within the hard times.

I would recommend Love, Jan to families dealing with leukemia or any difficult path, moms, counselors, pastors, and people interested in medical stories.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. {The author is a friend of a friend, but I do not know her nor had I heard her story previously.}

The Accidental Bride {Book Review}

Description:

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

*Description from Tomas Nelson where you can also purchase the book.

My Thoughts:

When a book is published where a man and woman have to get married, finds themselves married, or the marriage is arranged; I am compelled to read it. Despite the inconceivable premise and usually because of it, I’m in. In fact, sometimes the crazier story makes a better read which is why I chose The Accidental Bride.


Just a few pages in, Shay finds herself accidently married to Travis who had left her at the alter many years before. After some debate, she decides to stay married for a time to save her ranch. Thus the story goes until the inevitable, agreeable ending which, by the way, I liked. Just so we are clear; however, I would never counsel someone to be married (fake or real or whatever) because it will be a financial help. (Sanctity of marriage, anyone?)

That said the story was an enjoyable travel companion. A light, easy read that was interesting enough. There is some romance (obviously), some inspiration, and Travis seems like a good guy. Here is your summer beach read, just don’t use it as a marriage manual!

This book was given as an e-book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review.

The 11 Secrets to Getting Published {Book Review}

The 11 Secrets of Getting Published

by Mary E. DeMuth

Description:

See how easily you can learn the secrets of getting published!

Frustrated by how much there is to learn to finally see your name in print by a big publisher? Mired in confusion about your next steps? An accomplished nonfiction freelancer and novelist, Mary DeMuth understands the twists and turns of the publishing industry. She answers the question, “How can I be published?” by pulling 11 Secrets from her popular blog, Wannabepublished.

In this book, I teach you how to:

• Craft the kind of query letter that gets you noticed by industry professionals.
• Write stronger, powerful prose.
• Create effective writing routines to meet your daily and weekly goals.
• Navigate a writing conference with confidence.
• Find and woo an agent.

{Taken from author, Mary DeMuth’s web site.}


My Thoughts:

The title, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published, is a little misleading. It suggests that you will learn just over one dozen ideas to help you as a writer when, in reality, there are loads of other ideas, suggestions, and resources within the 11 main points. This is actually a handbook to inspire writers in practical ways towards getting published. 

Mary E. DeMuth has managed a nuts and bolts writing workshop in her book. The beginning writer will benefit from the straight forward approach to things like learning about the industry, writing query letters, writer’s conferences, and answering your inner critic. DeMuth has shared an insiders view of what to do and when. All of this practical advise is clearly presented in a easy-to-read manual that contains many bullet points and lists. It will quickly become a the place writers will look first when wondering how to move forward with their writing. I’m glad to have a copy on my virtual shelf although now you can also purchase a physical copy if you prefer!

I was given a copy of The 11 Secrets of Getting Published in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.