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.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Non-Fiction. Published 1992.
Read: January 2013, 203 pages
Skillful communication is within your grasp. While love is a many splendored thing, it is sometimes a very confusing thing, too. And as people come in all varieties, shapes, and sizes, so do their choices of personal expressions of love. But more often than not, the giver and the receiver express love in two different ways. Dr. Chapman identifies these and guides you towards a better understanding of your unique languages of love. Learn to speak and understand your mate’s love language, and in no time you will be able to effectively love and truly feel loved in return.
The Five Love Languages was enjoyable and insightful. It offers a guide to specific and personal ways people express their love. Everyone has different needs and when they aren’t met it’s hard for others to reciprocate love. Dr. Chapman insists that speaking the love language of your mate will even rekindle a relationship that appears to be broken beyond repair. I recommend this book to all who are seeking to improve their relationships with others. At times the book is wordy and technical, but the author adds many relatable examples of real couples to illustrate his points.
We all have unique preferences when it comes to expressing and receiving love. Dr. Chapman lays out what each love language is and how to identify which category a personal falls in to. Your love language is the way that you most feel loved and cared for. The problem is most people know how they want to be loved, but that doesn’t tend to align with how their partner wants to be loved. You have to learn to speak your partner’s love language. The five love languages are:
- Words Of Affirmation: Encouraging words, verbal compliments, kind words, appreciation, humble words, admiration
- Quality Time: Togetherness, focused attention, quality conversation, listening, expressing emotions, scheduled activities
- Gifts: Purchased gifts, physical presence, made gifts
- Acts Of Service: Doing something for your partner that you know they would like for you to do
- Physical Touch: Holding, intimacy
Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. -p92
Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. -p130
Is it possible to love someone whom you hate? -p147
Happily Ever After by Craig Groeschel
Non-Fiction. Published 2007.
Read: January 2013, 230 pages
What do you do if you want a marriage that doesn’t just survive, but thrives? That doesn’t just begin romantically but ends magnificently? You do something different.
For today’s generation, “getting what you want” is often a substitute for love, and disillusionment about marriage is the new normal. But you can have a long-term, love-blessed marriage. Whether you’re still considering it, are about to be wed, or have been married for a while and want to make changes, Happily Ever After delivers an infusion of hope. Author Craig Groeschel clearly and honestly lays out the choices and commitments you can make now to change the way you think and act—to build the relationship you want for the rest of your life.
With an invigorating mix of personal story, practical guidance and biblical truth, Craig invites you into a candid conversation about first dates, intimacy, communication, integrity, forgiveness, and commitment. Along the way, he shows how you can build a soul-enriching, God-honoring relationship with the one you love. This book was previously released as Going All the Way.
Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor at LifeChurch.tv. Craig, his wife, and their six children live in Oklahoma where LifeChurch.tv began in 1996. He speaks frequently at conferences and has written several books.
Happily Ever After is a quick read that doesn’t have a lot of depth to its’ points, but covers some good issues. His book addresses many of the big questions on finding the one, friendship, intimacy, how far is too far, cohabitation, responsibilities, and break ups. His philosophy- God is your number one and your spouse is your number two. So many times priorities get mixed up and leave marriages hurting. People place their children and wealth above their covenant to God. Craig wants you to be successful in marriage and work for it.
The book misses a big opportunity as it lacked depth. Happily Ever After is still encouraging in ways. In the chapter Habits of the Heart, Craig discusses the habits which will nurture a godly marriage. The greatest thing you can do is invest in your relationship with God. The more you lead like Jesus, the better all your relationships will be. Spend time in solitude and prayer. Serve others.
Craig connects the book to his personal experiences. He seems genuine in having a passion to help others.
He will empower you to find His beauty dormant in her heart. Look for it. See what others overlook. Encourage her. Build her up. Lift her high. -p164
A covenant is serious business. -p208
Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston
Non-Fiction. Published 2012.
Read: September 2012, 184 pages
Moses never wanted to be a leader. Jonah ran away from his missions call. And when Marcia Moston’s husband came home with a call to foreign missions, she was sure God had the wrong number. His call conflicted with her own dreams, demanded credentials she didn’t have, and required courage she couldn’t seem to find. She promised to follow where God led, but she never thought the road would lead to a Mayan village on a Guatemalan mountainside.
From the trecherous road trip to their new village home, to learning to navigate a new culture, to a stateside mission field in Vermont, Moston’s journey reveals that God leads just as clearly today as he did in biblical times. Her candid account tells a story of learning to trust and obey when faithfulness seems foolish.
This book is a sweet and humorous insight into Marcia’s relationship with God and pursuing his purposes. She shows courage and strength as she sets out to be a missionary with her husband and young daughter. I received Call of a Coward through booksneeze. I would recommend this book as a story of faith and God’s power to always provide. Some details are lacking as it seems more of a highlight of several years of her life rather than an in-depth experience.
The goal behind this book is to show that God is always in control and can turn cowards and ordinary people into courageous servants. Marcia relies on signs from God to move her. Marcia’s faith is continually tested as she moves with her family to a village in Guatemala to oversee the orphans and widows home. They experience many difficulties on their trip including the dangers of traveling outside of the United States. This is eyeopening to remember how safe and comfortable we are in the states. She battles between conviction and logic as she forges forward. This book is conversational and light. It’s easy to envision the family on this marvelous trek. Certainly makes you wonder if you’ve got the faith to abandon all that you know and follow God.
At times my faith had the attention span of a four-year-old. I had to keep wrestling down the conviction that God was more in control of her life than I was. -p84
When this life doesn’t make sense, it’s good to remember you are just traveling through. -p129
Hope does not disappoint. -p153
Sins of a Father by Kitty Chappell
Non-Fiction. Published 2003.
Read: July 2012, 227 pages
Kitty Chappell’s childhood was terrifying. She and her family suffered appalling abuse at the hands of her father, who eventually went to jail for attempting to murder her mother. She forgave him upon his release, and they were reconciled–a reconciliation that lasted until he killed his second wife and then himself. Chappell’s story is extraordinary not because of its anguish, but because she has emerged emotionally and spiritually whole. “While my book begins with the horrors of a child born into abuse, it ends with hope, for it is a book about overcoming.” Chappell’s book does not contain psychological theories, but credible, biblical hope for overcoming pain from one who has earned the right to speak on the subject. Her triumphant story is liberating for every woman, because ultimately the choice of forgiveness is before us all.
I dogeared so many pages of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the style of writing and Kitty’s openness. Her story is moving and powerful. If you’re interested in how to forgive, she brings many interesting points to the table. The best part is her connection to God.
Kitty understands she was created for God. She trusted him and chose to forgive her earthly father. She talks about changing her self-image, building character, seeking God, and letting go. God will help us do what we need to do but he won’t do it for us. From survivor to over comer: 1) forgiveness, 2) accountability, 3) gratitude. Personally, I am constantly teaching these three principles to the kids I work with as a therapist. We cannot let our circumstances or our past define us.
What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God. -p143
It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go. -p164
Heaven In Her Arms by Catherine Hickem
Non-Fiction. Published 2012.
Read: July 2012, 216 pages
Jesus is Mary’s son and Jesus is the Son of God. The God of the universe hand picked Mary to raise His Son. Mary was there the day Jesus was born and she was there the day he was crucified. Her story is deep and rich and has myriad lessons for any woman-mothers, daughters, sisters, friends. Mary’s story reveals that a woman’s heart is important to the Father. When God selected Mary,” Hickem says, “He was looking for heart. God set out to find the precise woman who would give her heart to Him, completely and wholly. He wanted a woman with whom He could entrust His perfect Son. This was going to be no ordinary woman.” Heaven in Her Arms will touch your heart if you are facing fear and uncertainty, wondering about leaving your plans behind, feeling a need for community and the support of other women, or wanting to deepen your life of faith. Hickem reflects on Mary’s story and offers practical applications, as well as inspiring real-life stories from contemporary women. With a six-week Bible study for individuals or small groups, Heaven in Her Arms shows the life of faith Mary exemplified and God’s tender heart for His daughters.
I was hoping that his book would be educational and inspirational. This book delivered a learning experience and warmth as I strive to deepen my faith. I received Heaven In Her Arms through booksneeze. This book is interesting and holds your interest. I recommend it to women in hopes of better understanding Mary’s story.
Heaven In Her Arms hits on several topics that are under told and overlooked. Mary will always be a very inspirational Christian. Mary was trusting and embraced her fears. She fully trusted in God and knew God as the Master Designer. It speaks about living life for God and His purpose rather than pursuing our own. It spotlights praise, connection to other Christians, reflection, obedience, trust, acceptance, and prayer. Mary doesn’t take on the task of parenting alone– something that I think many parents could begin to realize in their own lives. Children need to base their beliefs off of integrity not hypocrisy.
This book is a chance to closely examine Mary in her role in the greatest story ever told. It shows the intimacy with which God longs to participate in the life of a mother. It also connects Mary’s truths to stories of modern-day moms. Hickem hopes Mary’s life will remind Christians that there are no accidents in God’s divine plan for His daughters.
Every child needs to know that someone bigger is in charge. -p19
The more we are willing to be real and honest with God, the more we will see God do the impossible in our lives. -p50
The sense of being all alone produced a deepening of the soul as well as a meaningful dependency on God. -p113
Mary teaches us that regardless of what we will face, we must do it with faith, dependency on God, and a commitment to enduring love. -p143