Tag Archives: judgement

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: Sins of a Father

Sins of a Father by Kitty Chappell

Non-Fiction. Published 2003.

Read: July 2012, 227 pages

★★★★☆

Book Blurb:

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.

Impressions:

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.

Thoughts:

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.

Quotes:

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

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Review: Heaven In Her Arms

Heaven In Her Arms by Catherine Hickem

Non-Fiction. Published 2012.

Read: July 2012, 216 pages

★★★★☆

Book Blurb:

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.

Impressions:

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.

Thoughts:

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.

Quotes:

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

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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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