Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman
Non-Fiction. Published 2015.
Read: February 2015, 228 pages
Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman explores how to better control your tongue, knowing what to say and how to say it, and realizing when it is best to say nothing at all.
This book explores what the Bible says about the many ways we are to use our words and the times when we are to remain silent. Even though we know that Scripture has much to say about how we are—and are not—to use our words, this is still an immense issue, causing heartache and strain not only in family relationships, but also in friendships, work, and church settings.
Karen Ehman is the communications coordinator for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a writer for their online daily devotions. Her numerous books include A Life That Says Welcome and Let. It. Go. She is a favorite presenter at women’s events and a frequent guest on national television and radio programs. Karen is also a contributor to Focus on the Family’s online magazine, Thriving Family. She lives with her family in central Michigan.
Words CAN be used in wonderful ways, but sometimes we need to be reminded of that! Choosing our words wisely can create the relationships and atmosphere we all desire. Keep It Shut offers a helpful tips and biblical knowledge to help Christians learn styles of speech that we often forget are tearing others down. Words do matter.
While certainly this book would be quite a lot to cover, I want to focus on two specific parts I’d like to share- Chapter 4: Zip It and Pray and Chapter 6: Behind The Screen. Ehman notes that prayer must be an important component when considering censorship with others. Allowing ourselves to pray before we react can greatly influence our ability to show compassion and discernment. The author suggests several things to become a prayer warior: A) Pray Your To Do List, B) Be Intentional- make time for prayer, C) Read and Write, D) Make a Recording and Memorize, E) Identify and Apply the Bible’s Nonnegotiables. These things will make us more readily able to react and speak in ways that save us from disaster.
In Chapter 6, Ehman focuses on controlling your digital tone- something very important to remember while online. Here are some Rules for the Cyberspace Playground that will get you “talking”: A) Pray Before You Post, B) Imagine the Recipient Sitting Next to You, C) Remember that When You’re Online, You’re Also on Stage, D) Ask Yourself If You’ve Earned the Right to Address the Subject at Hand- are you slinging an uninformed opinion, E) Ask Yourself If You Have a Close Enough Relationship with the Person to Warrant Offering Your Opinion, F) When You Do Speak, Let Your Speech Be Laced with Grace.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my review from Book Look Bloggers.
Talking to God helps me know how to talk to others. -p61
The Jesus Code by O.S. Hawkins
Non-Fiction. Published 2014.
Read: September 2014, 275 pages
Jesus gets attention not with exclamation marks, but with question marks. Jesus was always asking questions. Whether with a small group or large crowd, Jesus opened hearts and minds by asking questions that grasped attention and made one think. In The Jesus Code, author O. S. Hawkins poses fifty-two thought-provoking questions found throughout the Bible that believers should be able to answer as they grow in their faith and share their faith with others. Each question features a devotional thought to help readers find answers and promote further reflection.
This 52 question devotional provides a way to learn more about your faith and God’s will for your life. I received The Jesus Code through booklookbloggers. All royalties go toward Mission:Dignity. Mission:Dignity is an organization that supports retired pastors and their spouses living near the poverty level. If you are interested in studying more about Jesus this book can be helpful along that path.
The Jesus Code is interactive with the reader. Chapter 6 asks a tough question many are asking today “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” Many around us are suffering. We, at times, are suffering. “When discouragement comes, it has a dastardly way of diverting our focus from God and His blessings to the circumstances and situations around us.” The book explains that God does not leave us, this too shall pass. The devotional leads to greater understanding and ability to feel confident as you share your faith with others. Hawkins’ book can be a great way to open up a discussion with others or make a great gift for a loved one.
Plain Faith by Irene & Ora Eash
Non-Fiction. Published 2014.
Read: June 2014, 208 pages
This is the true story of Ora Jay and Irene Eash, Amish farmers from northwest Montana whose lives changed in an instant when a semi-truck struck the family buggy, killing their two young daughters. After the accident, the couple turned to their Amish community for comfort, but they remained haunted by the thought that they might not see their girls again in heaven. Eventually Ora Jay and Irene learned that grace, not works, was enough to ensure their place in eternity. But with that knowledge came the realization that they could no longer live in an Amish community that didn’t share this precious belief. This is the story of their journey to the hope that is heaven, a hope stronger than the loss of children, family, and a way of life.
Impressions & Thoughts:
I received Plain Faith through booklook. The Eashes share their personal stories and journeys about how they became Christians despite the setbacks and criticisms they endured. The story depicts their Amish lifestyle centering around rules and traditions. The family was concerned about doing enough good works to meet their children in heaven. After such a major loss they stopped identifying with being Amish and sough English ways and were able to gain comfort in their new faith. The book is helpful in understanding parts of the Amish culture and lifestyle.
God planned it all just so; they were too sweet to stay. -p50
No Cape Required by Kristen Parrish
Non-Fiction. Published 2013.
Read: April 2014, 229 pages
As children, we dream of throwing on a cape and changing the world. Then we grow up, we learn to see the flaws in our movie stars and athletes, and we accept that true heroism is not possible in the real world. You continue to dream, though. Isn’t that why you still love watching heroes on the big screen? It’s more than just wish fulfillment. You resonate with Superman’s justice and Dorothy’s courage because you have those same qualities within yourself.
In these pages, Kristen Parrish looks at the qualities of fifty-two heroes, and then shows how you can acquire every one of those qualities. No gamma rays or radioactive spider bites are needed. You can unleash your inner hero through prayer and practical action. While others watch and dream on the sidelines, you can step out in faith, learning from heroic examples and praying for God’s help to make you who you were meant to be.
This 52 day devotional is easy to read and clarifies ways each day to take action to improve your own heroic traits. I received No Cape Required through booklookbloggers. What would make someone want to pick this book up? It’s a light read that over time would develop important personal qualities such as kindness, determination, growth, honor, and thankfulness. Parrish’s book is a neat way to incorporate all kinds of “heroes” in history (Woody, Dorothy, Zorro, Wonder Woman, Robin Hood, among others).
No Cape Required can benefit to develop character traits. I can see it being useful as a teaching tool or as personal development and has useful “to dos” to merge the learning into real life. Each chapter also includes a daily prayer. I enjoyed the chapter ‘Hope in Others’ where Parrish uses Belle as the heroine. “Like Belle, you have the power to turn darkness to light, In fact, it only takes the same words Belle used, ‘I love you’. Loving someone breed hope not only in your heart but in the other persons heart as well.”
This book is a chance to easily connect again to the passions of being a Christian and growing in positive ways.
Remember that you’re not alone if you’re on a quest for something hat is difficult; you have a power that works in you from God Himself. -p179
Let Hope In by Pete Wilson
Non-Fiction. Published 2013.
Read: December 2013, 219 pages
It can disarm guilt, shatter shame, and put your past in its place. All you have to do is make the choice to let it in. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. But it is possible and we serve a God who promises over and over again that anything is possible. Pete Wilson presents a new look at the power of healing through hope, revealing 4 unique choices that have the potential to change your life forever. With Wilson’s telltale cadence and candor, Let Hope In explores accounts of seemingly hopeless moments in the Bible illustrating God’s ultimate plan for healing by letting hope fill the dark places of your past. Discover how pain that is not transformed becomes transferred. Embrace the freedom of being okay with not being okay. Learn that a life of trusting is far more magnificent than a life of pleasing. Because hurt people hurt people, but free people have the power to free people. So make today the day that you get unstuck. The day you fill your past with the light of hope, the day you say good-bye to regret and shame. The day you choose to change your future and embrace who God created you to be, simply by making the choice to let hope in.
I LOVE this book. I don’t mean that lightly, I have proof! Generally, I will dogear several pages in every book I read for the worthy quotes, funny stories, and best qualities of the book… My just read copy of Let Hope In has about 33% of the pages dogeared! Did I tell you I love this book? The concepts in this book are things I get to use daily, now backed with good insight and lovely scripture. This book delivers a wonderful read that is best used when applied. I took my time to complete this book to try and retain its’ knowledge. I received Let Hope In through booksneeze. I want to quote every page for you, but it’s better you get your own copy I suppose. I highly recommend it to all of those who have ever hurt (that’s you, and you).
Let Hope In is a book for everyone who needs to walk closer to God, to learn to really trust God, and let go of the past. The last chapter of the book talks about Jesus the vine and God the gardener. Are there things in your life you will let God prune so you can become more fruitful?
‘Loving Deeply’ is one of the chapters that ends with the idea of a Reverse Economy. Love is meant to heal. If you want to receive, you give. If you want to lead, you follow. If you want to live for certain things, you have to be willing to die for them. There is “healing, peace, and life” when we can extend God’s love for us to those around you.
Let Hope In is a chance to transform, forgive, and rebuild. There is strength in letting go.
God’s main purpose for you is not what you do. It’s who you become. -p125
The Tiger’s Child by Torey Hayden
Non-Fiction. Published 1995.
Read: February 2013, 264 pages
When Hayden first met Sheila, she refused to speak, her only communication coming through bursts of destructive, violent behavior. After five intense months, Hayden successfully broke through to Sheila, and successfully fought to have her placed in a regular classroom.
Hayden did not see Sheila again until she was 13. Much to Hayden’s astonishment, Sheila remembered little about their extraordinary time together. As Hayden continues to renew her relationship with the teenage Sheila, the memories slowly come back, bringing with them feelings of abandonment and hostility.
The Tiger’s Child is the squeal to One Child where it catches up to Sheila and Torey’s life years later. I adored One Child- you can check out my review of it here. Although it fills in the rest of the story for the reader, it neglects to be pleasantly delivered. This book is “more honest” as Sheila puts it.
It is far too often that children are mistreated and abandoned. Sheila is no exception. You learn of further abuse she suffered and the difficulties that remain ahead of her as a teenager. Sheila begins working with Torey as an aide for a summer program with children. Torey sees Sheila more as a client than as her caretaker, which is what Sheila is longing fore. I was appalled that Torey got a letter from Sheila reaching out about suicide and did not respond. It takes a whole year more and more letters from Sheila until she visits her a children’s residential treatment facility.
It breaks your heart to see the pain Sheila endures and her strained relationship with Torey. One thing to take from this book is that Sheila felt ‘Torey/social services/the system’ should and could have done more for her. She was continually forced to remain within an unstable, abusive, and dangerous environment.
What I remember are the colors…as if my whole world had been in black and white. -p61