Inner Beauty Forever

just my thoughts on books and stuff :)

‘The Air We Breathe’ Book Review January 9, 2013

thTitle: The Air We Breathe
Author: Christa Parrish
Date I Finished Reading:January 8,2013
My Rating: 5/5

Eleven-year-old Hanna is excited about her day in town with her Dad. Every Saturday is their day. They walk into the bank completely oblivious to what they were about to experience. Next thing she knows, Hanna has witnessed a bank robbery, her father’s murder, and been kidnapped. Weeks later, by God’s grace, Hanna escapes and is reunited with her mother. But she is never the same. She doesn’t even talk…until she meets Claire. Claire, who is also hurting from past loss, strikes an unlikely friendship with Hanna, and soon finds that this little girl is helping her to heal from the pain. But then Hanna and her mother vanish Claire, has no idea where they are or what happened. Several years later, Claire encounters Molly Fisk. Can Claire help Molly heal from her past in the same way that Hanna helped her to?
I cannot explain how much I loved this book! The storyline, characters and non-stop questions left me hungry for more. My mind constantly drifted back to the story, curious of what would happen next. These are the signs of a good book! One of the aspects of the books I liked would be Parrish’s writing style. She switches back and forth between Claire, Hanna, and Molly to give you more insight and details of the story. I also liked the fact that Parrish doesn’t drag things out until they get boring, or use clichés frequently.
Overall, I loved this book and would highly recommend it. The plot is original, the writing is interesting, and the story is one of love, healing, and trust in God’s sovereign plan.

Note: I received  a copy of this 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/Air-We-Breathe-Christa-Parrish/dp/0764205552/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357751836&sr=1-1&keywords=the+air+we+breathe+christa+parrish

 

‘The Cross Centered Life’ Book Review

CrossCentered-01Title: The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing

Author: C.J. Mahaney

Date I Finished Reading: January 8,2013

My Rating: 5/5

How often do you preach the gospel to yourself? At first this may come across as a weird question, but really. The cross is the center of our Christian faith. Yet we somehow tend to live our lives with the gospel absent from our thinking. Why? In this book, C.J. Mahaney discusses why and how we are to live our lives centered around the gospel. He discusses why forgetting about the cross leads to frustration, irritation and disappointment, as well as how living a cross-centered life requires us to move past legalism and condemnation in our minds and hearts. He explains that we must keep the gospel in our mind and hearts, that we are to not move on from the cross, but deeper into it. Finally, he gives practical applications and steps you can take to center your life around the cross and the gospel.
When I read this book I really only had one complaint…it was so short! But at the same time this is a huge positive, since Mahaney is great at addressing the problem, explaining the mindset we should acquire and recommending solutions in a very efficient way. He doesn’t over-explain or go on and on, yet at the same time he does a great job of not being to vague or leave unanswered questions.
I would definitely recommend this book to you! It is great food for thought and opened my eyes to an area of the gospel that I tend to forget, or not even consider.
You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Cross-Centered-Life-Keeping/dp/1590520459/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357748787&sr=8-1&keywords=cross+centered+life

 

‘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

 

‘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

 

‘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

 

‘Everything’ Book Review October 28, 2012

Title: Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to  Become Like Jesus

Author: Mary DeMuth

Date I Finished Reading: October 28,2012

My Rating: 5/5

” The more you dare to obey , the more you experience God.” (Page 177) . I believe that this sentence greatly displays the theme and message of this book. If we truly desire to experience the effect, satisfaction, peace , and joy of being a sold-out follower of Christ we much totally surrender EVERY aspect of our lives to him. We must relinquish control and allow him to lead our lives.

Mary DeMuth honestly, yet humbly discusses this point in her book. She does not claim to provide steps towards perfect Christianity, or even pretend to perfectly exhibit these things in her own daily life. She admits it is a daily, constant struggle to hand control over to God. However, it is profitable, and worthwhile.

I highly recommend this book as a recourse on complete surrender. I loved Mary’s humble, yet honest nature. A great resource!

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

To find this book, follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/Everything-What-Give-Become-Jesus/dp/1400203988/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351522711&sr=8-1&keywords=everything+mary+demuth

 

‘Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ’ Book Review October 11, 2012

Title: Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

Author: John Piper

Date I Finished Reading: October 11,2012

My Rating: 5/5

Jesus Christ… he is the center of the gospel. He is our salvation. However, do we really know him? In this book Piper simply and biblically presents to us some of the characteristics of our savior.He looks into WHO Jesus is, not merely WHAT Jesus is (our savior). Some characteristics of Christ explored within the book are:

*His Aim

*His Diety

*His Excellence (this looks into his lion/lamb nature)

*His Joy

*His Power

*His Wisdom

*His Desecration

*His Anguish/Suffering

*His Saving Sacrifice

*His Mercies

*His Severity

*His Resurrection

*His Second Coming

This book was very easy to read, with simple language and small chapters. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who desires to learn more about our great God! Another book that I would suggest on this topic would be Knowing God by J.I. Packer, which is very deep, but also very rewarding!

You can find a copy of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ here: http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Savoring-Jesus-Christ-Revised/dp/1581346239/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349960459&sr=1-1&keywords=seeing+and+savoring+jesus+christ