Inner Beauty Forever

just my thoughts on books and stuff :)

‘One Thousand Gifts’ Book Review December 24, 2012

thCA7UOKB7Title: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Author: Ann Voskamp

Date I Finished Reading: December 21,2012

My Rating: 3/5

When we are young, our perspective is simple. The simple, little things it life bring us joy and amazement. The dare that is presented and discussed in One Thousand Gifts is to live with that same type of delight. To delight in and give thanks for thousands of small, beautiful blessings that we are constantly given from God.

In her book, Ann Voskamp discussed the dare that she was given to record one thousand gifts, or blessings, bestowed upon her from God. She shares what she learned and how her heart was changed throughout the experience. She shares her ups, downs, and revelations, and then encourages you to embark on the same unpredictable journey that she did.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I did like some of Ann’s points, and found them to be beneficial, yet at the same time, there were a couple of aspects about the book that I truly did not care for.

For example, Ann’s writing style is very poetic. If that is your type of thing, then you will probably love it! However, I found it to be a bit irritating and distracting at times.

Also, I found that she is quit repetitive and long-winded. She tends to retell the same stories/revelations, and seems to drag some of her points or feelings out a bit too far. I found that some of her chapters could have been condensed into a paragraph or so.

Overall, if you can get past Ann’s writing style, then I would say you would enjoy and benefit from this book. However, if you cannot read poetic types of books, this would not be your book.

Note: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

You can find a copy of this book here: http://zondervan.com/9780310321910

Advertisements
 

‘Dirty God’ Book Review December 21, 2012

images (2)Title: Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches

Author: Johnnie Moore

Date I Finished Reading: December 20,2012

My Rating: 5/5

I have always known that Christ was gracious. Yet at the same time I did not realize just how saturated by grace his life and ministry were! Dirty God brings our attention to the extreme grace of Jesus Christ from the time of his birth to his resurrection, and then calls us to that same level and life of grace towards others.

The first half of this book is on Christ giving grace to ourselves and others. It discusses how every aspect of Christ is gracious, even when that grace hurts. It discusses how we tend to have an entitlement mentality, which lessens our view of God’s grace, and perhaps even cause us to miss it!

The second half of the book follows the thought that since we have received the grace of God, we ought to extend that same grace to others in our lives. He shares how grace can be big, grace can be small, can go unnoticed, can change a life… can be hard.

I thought that this book was GREAT. It opened my eyes to aspects and details of the scripture that I too often look over without much thought. It caused me to examine my own life, to see where grace lacks (which was very convicting) and seek how to live out Christ’s grace to others around me.

I also really liked Moore’s writing style. He writes in a very easy-to-read way, with amazing illustrations and threads of humor woven in (which not only made it a beneficial read, but an enjoyable one, too!).  I didn’t have to force myself to read, but was excited to come back to the book.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. I really had no complaints. I found it to be an enjoyable, yet eye-opening read that would greatly benefit any Christian who is seeking to better understand Christ’s grace, or apply it to their own lives!

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Dirty-God-Trenches-Johnnie-Moore/dp/0849964512/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356098615&sr=8-1&keywords=dirty+god

 

‘Christy Miller Collection Volume 1’ Book Review December 13, 2012

thTitle: The Christy Miller Collection Volume One (books 1-3)

Author: Robin Jones Gunn

Date I Finished Reading: December 13,2012

My Rating: 4/5

Never having even HEARD of these books before, I was not entirely sure what to expect. I was delightfully surprised! I found that the story was very intriguing, quickly drawing me in for good!

This volume contains three separate books, Summer Promise, A Whisper and A Wish, and Yours Forever. Each one adds to the story of Christy Miller, a young teenage girl who desperately desires to just fit in. After giving her life to the Lord over summer vacation with her aunt and uncle, she also desires to please the Lord. But both may turn out to be MUCH harder for her than she had imagined.

I definitely liked these books! I was hooked as soon as I began book 1, and they never left me go. When I was done, I found myself thinking I have got to find volume two! Gunn’s writing style was very interesting, with characters whom you quickly became attached to. I love how each book does so well of adding onto those before it (unlike some series, where the books just do not go well together), and enhancing Christy’s story.

The only issue that I had would be how obsessed Christy was with guys. It almost seemed that her thoughts were constantly on the boy that she liked…which became somewhat irritating at times.

Outside of that one fact, I loved this book! I would most definitely recommend this to others! (I would be cautious, though, of younger readers. Drugs alcohol were mentioned more than once).

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

Check out these fun links!:

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Whisper-Forever-Christy-Collection/dp/1590525841/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

‘Sing For Joy’ Book Review December 9, 2012

imagesTitle: Sing For Joy: 6 Topical Bible Studies for Small Groups and Individuals

Author: Nathan Lovell

Date I Finished Reading: December 9,2012

My Rating: 4/5

The following is this books description from the publisher’s website:

Music and singing are wonderful gifts from God that seem strangely destined to cause frustration and grumbling in Christian churches around the globe. Why does something so good create such problems, and what does God have to say to us about our singing?

Sing for Joy is a set of six studies that look at what the Bible has to say about why we sing and how we sing as God’s forgiven people.

This book will help you to delve into the Scriptures to think about the nature of praise and worship and how to encourage each other as you sing together.

The final two studies are particularly targeted towards those in music ministry, to help them think through the implications of what the Bible has to say about music for their role in serving the body.

An ideal study book for individuals and small groups.

Singing. We all do it at some time or another. It is one of my personal favorite ways to praise God. But what about singing in church? Is this really necessary? Is there particular guidelines for us to follow? What genres of music should be used? In this resource, Nathan Lovell discusses congregational worship. He talks on why it is important, what our mindset/ heart should be in worship, and how we should approach it.

This resource was written with the intent for making it  excellent for both small groups and personal studies. I read it on my own, but I think that it would be even better for a group study and discussion, especially for a praise or worship team. It is divided into 6 studies, or chapters. Each one consists of the authors thoughts, scriptures, discussion questions, reflections/implications, and particular things to pray for concerning you and your church’s worship.

The studies discuss many different aspects and issues concerning worship. They discuss the heart of worship, such as what should motivate our worship and how we should mentally approach it. The author supports his facts with scripture, and the provided questions make you think of passages in a new light, or from a different perspective.

One particular fact that he discusses that I found interesting is the error in the mindset that praise or worship brings you into the presence of God. He explains how we are consistently and constantly in the presence of God, and that praise and worship either makes us more aware of his presence, or encourages us to act upon it.

As I read through this I was encouraged to think on and evaluate my mindset on worship, and my eyes were open to a few errors in my way of thinking. However, I do think that you would get MUCH more out of the study if you went through it with others, so that they could encourage more thoughts, and conversations concerning the topics.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

You can find a copy of this resource here: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/sing-for-joy

 

‘By Faith, Not By Sight’ Book Review December 6, 2012

thTitle: By Faith, Not By Sight: The Inspirational Story of a Blind Prodigy, a Life-Threatening Illness, and an Unexpected Gift

Author: Scott MacIntyre with Jennifer Schuchmann

Date I Finished Reading: December 6,2012

My Rating: 2/5

I really wanted to like this book. When I read the description I became pretty excited, expecting to open up the crisp pages and dive into and engaging, inspiring read. I was disappointed. As I began to read, I waited and waited for the story to get going and grab my attention. I can honestly say, I never got hooked (although it did become a bit better once Scott began to tell of his experience on American Idol) I had to drag myself to finish the book, which is very uncharacteristic of me.

In this book Scott tells his own story. He tells you of his being born blind, going to college at 14, graduating at 19, and finding out the day of college graduation that he had severe kidney failure. He shares his story from being a young kid, to a college student, to a dying patient, to being on tour with American Idol, and an aspiring musician throughout it all.

There were a few things that I didn’t like out the book. For starters, Scott is VERY repetitive, continuously telling you stories or details that you have already read once or twice before. The thing that I disliked the most was the fact that there was a hint of pride in Scott’s writing. At times it came across like he was boasting about how great he had handled what he was enduring (although I don’t think that was his intent). For some reason, this really annoyed me.

I am not entirely sure I would recommend this book. If you are a huge Idol fan, then you would probably enjoy it, but as for me, I was not too impressed.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  However, my opinions are my own.

You can find this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Not-Sight-Inspirational-Life-Threatening/dp/0849947219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354825934&sr=8-1&keywords=by+faith+not+by+sight

 

 

‘One-To-One Bible Reading’ Book Review December 1, 2012

downloadTitle: One-To-One Bible Reading: a simple guide for every christian

Author: David Helm

Date I Finished Reading: November 30,2012

My Rating: 5/5

“Reading one-to-one is a variation on that most central Christian activity — reading the Bible– but done in the context of reading with someone else. It is something a Christian does with another person, on a regular basis, for a mutually agreed upon length of time, with  the intention of reading through and discussing a book or part of a book of the Bible,” (page 11). When I read this description of one-to-one Bible reading, I at first thought it sounded formal, perhaps uncomfortable, and maybe for someone with more knowledge of scripture that myself. However, as I read through this book, my thoughts quickly changed. By the time I was through I had been encouraged to seek out someone in my own life with whom to do this.

This book was pretty short. However, the content was great! The author discussed first why one-to-one Bible reading is beneficial, who it is beneficial for,  and how to go about doing it, and it does so in a very simple format. It wasn’t intimidating either, as I expected, in fact it was just the opposite! I was brought to the realization of just how simple, beneficial, and encouraging this process can be.

In this book Helm discusses how doing this type of Bible reading can benefit non-believers, new believers, and fellow mature believers alike. In doing so, he presents a common pattern/ form these meetings can take, although it may have to be slightly tweaked  depending on yourself and the person(s) that you are reading with. On top of that he also provides you with different passages of scripture that are good to begin with, and evaluation questions to get the most out of what is being read.

One detail of the book that I found helpful is how the author explains both effective methods for one-to-one Bible study, the COMA method and the Swedish method. He list the ups and downs, goods and bads, pros and cons of both, allowing you to choose which one would be best for your situation, and allowing the reading to be more effective.

The thing I liked the most about this book probably has to be chapter ten. In this chapter, Helm discusses each genre of scripture (from poetry to prophecy to the gospels), and provides evaluation questions that help you better observe the scripture, as well as to understand the context, meaning and application. The reason that I was so grateful for this is that it not only greatly enhances what you take away from one-to-one Bible reading, but it also helps you to better comprehend, appreciate and apply what you are reading in your own personal devotions and Bible time.

Overall, I thought that this was a great book. I mean, I have seen and been involved in Bible studies and programs that study the scriptures, which are all great! Yet there is something that seems very beautiful and beneficial about one-to-one reading that encouraged me to begin doing this with people in my own life. I would definitely recommend this book to you!

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own

You can find a copy of this book here : http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/one-to-one-bible-reading