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Review: Dreams and Visions

Dreams and Visions by Tom Doyle

Non-Fiction. Published 2012.

Read: April 2013, 272 pages

★★★★☆

Book Blurb:

What would you do if Jesus appeared to you in a dream? What if He came to you in a vision and told you to follow Him? What if these visions continued for over thirty days? would you believe? Would you put your trust in him? Would you devote your life to him?

Would you if you were Muslim?

Pastor Tom Doyle has spent eleven years as a full-time missionary in the Middle East and Central Asia, spreading the word of Jesus Christ. Throughout his journey he has encountered a staggering number of Muslims who were first introduced to Jesus through a vision or dream so powerful that they eventually turned from their lifelong religion of Islam and embraced Christ as their Savior. Despite living in a culture where converting to Christianity can result in execution, these former Muslims have found hope, peace, and inspiration that comes from knowing Christ. Their stories will amaze you. Jesus is reaching out to the Muslims and they are responding. Did you know that Iran has the fastest growing church in the world?

Dreams and Visions is a remarkable collection of stories directly from the world of Islam. Doyle not only relates these stories, but also addresses the questions: Why would God use dreams to reach the Muslim world? Can dreams be trusted? What happens after these dreams or visions occur? Travel to the heart of the Middle East to meet new believers who have truly been touched by Jesus in the most miraculous way, through their nightly dreams.

Impressions:

Although it is very dense, this book delivers an interesting trip through the Middle East. You will meet many individuals who are experiencing dreams and visions of Jesus, moving them away from Islam and closer to Christianity. It describes how learning more about Islam can deepen your discipleship to Muslims and how God is working to help them receive the message of Jesus. I received Dreams and Visions through booksneeze. I recommend it to people who want to know more about the Muslim culture and are interested in discipleship. It may take you a while to get through the book but it’s well worth it.

Thoughts:

Dreams and Visions is completely fascinating. Foremost, it explains how Muslims are receiving dreams of Jesus and coming to Christianity. It explains how these dreams break down barriers and create questioning for them. The book explains Middle Eastern culture and the dangers of converting. It is a way for the author to explain how to be empathetic and disciple Muslims.

In chapter 16, Doyle explains that Judaism focuses on knowledge, Islam focuses on power, and Christianity focuses on love. People are more willing to come to Christ when they feel and see the difference that Jesus loves them. He points out that Muslims have built-in presuppositions. Understanding how the Qur’an depicts Jesus versus statements that are backed/not backed by the Bible are critical in any Christians ability to explain their faith to Muslims.

Quotes:

Minutes after she clicked Send for the last time, Fatima’s brother entered the room. He beat her cruelly, breaking bones and rupturing skin. Finally, he cut out her tongue and dragged her outside where he burned her alive. -p61

The Bibles sewn into my hijab are uncomfortable. But I get twenty Injils each trip to Jordan. -p68

I resigned myself to thinking, God just doesn’t work that way today. But I was really, really wrong. -p126

Dreams and visions break down barriers that keep Muslims from embracing Christ. -p241

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Review: Smitten

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter

Fiction. Published 2011.

Read: January 2012, 403 pages

★★★★☆

Book Blurb:

With Smitten Lumber closing, residents wonder if their town can stay afloat. Then four friends and local business owners Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese decide the town is worth saving. How will they do it? They’ll turn Smitten into a honeymoon destination! As Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese work to save the town, each discovers romance in her own life. Meanwhile, the faith of a little child reminds the whole town what it means to have real faith in the God who is the always and forever Love. Discover a novel written by four of Christian fiction’s most popular romance novelists- friends in real life who’ve drawn an amazing story of four friends.

Impressions:

What a beautiful cover! I asked for this book and received it as a gift after I read the book blurb on booksneeze. Smitten is full of innocent romance and christian values. It’s a great and moving read that I would definitely recommend.

Thoughts:

Colleen’s Chapters:

Colleen brings Natalie to life as she owns a coffee shop and takes care of her niece. Natalie seems to be the inspiration for the town coming together and not dying. In the process, she connects with a man she once avoided and learns to trust others based on their substance and integrity. She utilizes her niece’s faith in God and allows herself to truly fall in love. You will also meet Natalie’s three best friends who begin to bring the town to revitalization.

Kristen’s Chapters:

Next, we begin to learn more about Julia who eventually with the help of Zak, opens her own salon to help rebuild Smitten. Julia’s story anchors around the importance of interdependence, faith, and trust. Julia is set in her ways and values her independence. She learns how to trust in Zak and begins to actually rely on someone else. Zak held out faith for Julia even when she doubted herself. Unconditional love never fails, it says I’ll always be here for you, I’ll never stray.

Diann’s Chapters:

Wash away all my sin. Shelby has a darker past with a forced abortion as a teen. She gains a relationship with a true friend, his daughter, and her father. Shelby and Nick are no doubt made for each other as they share a love of Christmas, faith, and family. Although Shelby struggles with guilt and a painful past, she continues to help Smitten by teaching etiquette classes and never gives up on praying. Shelby and Nick overcome many odds and judgements through courage and strength in God. There is power in: prayer, forgiveness from God, and forgiving yourself.

Denise’s Chapters:

Reese cup! Reese learns to be honest with herself and to trust God as well. She develops feelings for a friend  and terrified to lose a friendship over her new found feelings of love as they build her dream outfitters shop together. Reese created an elaborate plan to win over Griffin and was so busy scheming that she doesn’t see his love for her.  Reese shows how revealing the truth is the only true freedom from manipulation. When Reese is able to verbalize her feelings, she and Griffin are inseparable. This story shows the importance of being on God’s time, not our own. God has a plan for you, wait and see.

Quotes:

Aunt Rose said the wreath means forever and ever. I want Smitten to always be here. So I want to put up a wreath to show God we know he’s going to take care of us. -p16

You knew, though, didn’t you, God? You had this planned all along. -p402

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