Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: A Beautiful Defeat: Find True Freedom and Purpose in Total Surrender to God by Kevin Malarkey with Matt Jacobson

Review: A Beautiful Defeat: Find True Freedom and Purpose in Total Surrender to God
Kevin Malarkey with Matt Jacobson
Nelson Books

I have to say that I requested this book for review because someone else said they didn’t like it, not for any more worthy reason.  So did I like it or not?  I liked it, but didn’t like the implications for my life.  

The defeat that is beautiful is of course the total surrender to God.  That requires all of me, mine, and whatever else I have become attached to.  Malarkey puts out the challenges straight and without any fancy foot work trying to sidestep what the biblical text says.  His final word resembles the Nike™ slogan we all know.  

His ten steps are discussed clearly and with examples that are even more clear.  The appendices provide a review and a list of the Bible verses pertaining to each step.  While I am not a fan of dividing things into ten steps, or twelve steps which some programs use, it does make it easier to look at and even follow which is the point.  So if you are looking for some easy-peasy methods, this is not the book for you.  If you are looking for a way to hedge your life and clean it up a little, again, this is not the book for you.  

The author knows and makes clear that the surrender he has discussed is not easy, clean, or a onetime deal.  It is just the opposite of all that and more.  I appreciate his honesty and openness as well as his encouragement.  His years of counseling have not been wasted.

This book was provided by the publisher in return for a review.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: The Journey Bible: Revealing God and How You Fit into His Plan

Review: The Journey Bible: Revealing God and How You Fit into His Plan, NIV

This review will comment only on the format and nonbiblical texts.  I will leave the Biblical text for the experts in that field.  That said, I’ve enjoyed reading some of the comments, questions, and insights interspersed throughout the text.  The introductory material that most of us skip is worth the time it takes to red through it.  Lots of little nuggets there.  The challenges issued are wonderful.  For instance, page viii has this line “You acknowledge there are important things you don’t know---yet if there’s something out there you can know, you want to know.”  Or this one on xii, “Truth may go beyond reason, but not against it.”  Or a list of Jesus’ Famous One-Liners starting on page xx.  

The tone obviously is non-academic and easy to read, as is the NIV text itself.  The idea of the Five Alive choices is good and many of the questions and comments can be found within those chosen texts.  For someone who is exploring or for a nice change of pace for those who are already believers this Bible would be a good choice.  It’s a paperback, no gilt edges on this one.  The weight is not prohibitive and the font size just right for most folks.  A person can read this and just enjoy it.  And if the person is truly exploring or seeking some answers about God, the search will yield the answers.

There are several focused studies included at the end.  Short, simple, yet thought provoking.  

Overall, this is a good choice and I encourage those that are spiritual explorers to give this a try.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

Review: Sharing Christ with the Dying: Bringing Hope to Those Near the End of Life by Melody Rossi

Review: Sharing Christ with the Dying: Bringing Hope to Those Near the End of Life
Melody Rossi
Bethany House Publishers

This book is the most helpful work I have read in this topic area.  She speaks to those that find themselves in the role of caregiver, friend, or close family member of one that is dying.  The information and advice is useful, helpful, gentle, and presented well.  The revelation of the terminal diagnosis of a loved one is the start point, and the author follows the entire process step by step throughout her book.

The different stages the loved one will go through physically and emotionally show the caregiver different levels of receptivity to considering Christ.  Rossi addresses how to deal with angry outbursts, demanding behaviors from the loved one, and the physical stages of the dying process.  Other issues like the roles of friends and family members gives the reader valuable insights as well. 
Pre-need planning appears later in the book and Rossi discussed how helpful having important papers, directives, and desires ready for the surviving family can be.  So much stress can be alleviated if that is settled well before the need arises.  

There is much more in this book that I found helpful and wished I’d known long ago.  There is also an index with many helpful resources to check out.  

One note---this book was originally published in 2007 as May I Walk You Home.  I do not know if this issue is different in any major ways.  That said, I do recommend this book and found much of her advice to be pertinent in other situations as well.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a review.