Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Review: God's Great Plan

In God's Great Plan, author Melissa Cutrera focuses on the story of the Creation, Fall, and Redemption using  "simple, memorable rhymes to teach children these important truths.

Each member of our family read this book by themselves and each of us was impressed with the simplicity and yet depth of this book.  First, the illustrations are simply beautiful.  Some pages can be taken as too dark and dismal for children, but I think it poignantly expresses the darkness of sin itself that is beneficial for children to know.  The juxtaposition between light and darkness clearly shows the child our condition due to the Fall and the hope in Redemption in Jesus.  

The author's use of rhyme may make some think that the lines would be catchy little phrases just to suit the story's rhythm and yet this is the complete opposite.  Although rhyming, the message embedded was clear and simple without being over simplified or watered down.  The forthrightness in which the author explains man's sin nature is refreshing.  I really enjoyed how she included the Sovereignty of God, the sinlessness of Jesus, the victory over sin at the cross, and many more other details.

My family and I enjoyed this book thoroughly.  It is a wonderful tool for evangelization and Sunday school.  Although a children's book, it presents the gospel thoughtfully and thoroughly.  

I received complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review: Why Christ Came

Joel R. Beeke's & William Boekestein's Why Christ Came: 31 Mediations on the Incarnation seeks to 'encourage us to celebrate Christ's birth more deeply, see more clearly how it is connected with the rest of His ministry, and recognize its importance for our lives.'

Although the authors themselves did not represent this book as a good evangelization tool, its title piqued my interest that it may be an evangelization tool especially for the upcoming holiday season.  Whereas, I think it could be used to introduce someone to the gospel, I would not recommend it for that purpose.  

The daily devotions were short and provided a plethora of Scripture, something I very much appreciate since Christ is shown all through out the Bible and not just the New Testament.  The version chosen would have been better replaced with the NIV84 or another reliable translation.  What I could have done with out was what seemed to be an inundation of quotes or references from other works.  I did not feel that it added any understanding to the day's devotional but rather took away from the poignancy of it often confusing it with another's opinions and ideas.  The veracity of the Bible is enough for this reader.  

I especially enjoyed days 20 and 21 of the devotional.  The juxtaposition of Christ coming to bring peace and to bring a sword was exceptional.  

As previously mentioned, I think this book 's concept would have made for a great evangelization tool but its execution is far better suited for the Christian community.  

I received complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Book Review: Caties's Secret

Catie's Secret by Laura Allen Nonemaker 'invites young readers to join an exciting adventure while it teaches a valuable lesson.'

In Catie's Secret, you not only get a beautiful story of learning to love others just as God created them but also the blessings of forgiveness.  Mayor Benny's explanation of the garden's secrets was such a great reminder that we too have been designed by God with a purpose that may not be apparent just yet but is there nevertheless.  Herbie's determination to seek Catie's forgiveness was commendable as was Bella's prayer to God for help in the situation.  

Overall, this book was such a delight to read.  The illustrations are simply adorable and captivate the reader's attention immediately.  The bonus materials at the end distinguished this book as more than just a story but a resource.  It provided discussion questions, fact page with links for further study, as well as an audio download of the book.  I can see this book used in a classroom setting or as part of a homeschool unit study.  

I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Litfuse  in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Catie’s Secret is the second book in Laura Allen Nonemaker’s children’s series, God’s Secret Garden Adventures. Laura is celebrating Catie's Secret with a Kindle Fire Kid Pack giveaway!

One winner will receive:
A Kindle Fire

Butterfly Pavilion Hatching Kit

Butterfly Pattern Carryall Bag

Butterfly Suncatcher Kit

Benny's Angel T-Shirt (small)

Catie's Secret and Benny's Angel with free E-Live audio downloads by Laura Nonemaker
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 23rd. Winner will be announced November 25th at Laura's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Laura's blog on the 25th to see if you won.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review: Think 4:8

Tommy Newberry's Think 4:8: 40 Days To A Joy-Filled Life For Teens is designed "to help you reach your goals and live the successful, purposeful life God has planned just for you."

As the mother of a teen, I am on the look out for good resources for my child.  This book is short and concise.  The topics included in the forty days are great.  I appreciate the author's commitment to centering this book on the Word of God rather than human thought and reasoning.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the four action points at the end of each day which reminds children that our faith is to be lived out.  The exercises were not just merely busy work but thought provoking questions and exercises.  

The size, cover, and shape of the book is very appealing.  Whereas I appreciate the author's use of different translations of the Bible, I would have preferred the NIV84 version throughout.  

The following are my daughter's take on the book:

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Philippians 4:8 (The Living Bible)

Think 4:8: 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life for Teens is a book directed for the teenage audience sharing biblical truths found in Phillippians 4:8 on how to transform your mind and attitude. "What you choose to think about and focus on today can impact the rest of your life."

The author makes it clear to the reader that the transformation of the mind and attitude is not a night to day process, taking time and dedication from the reader's part. The process is broken into 40 days, in which the reader experiences different lessons ranging from The Joy of Free Will to the The Joy of His Presence. Unlike many authors who create teen devotionals, Tommy Newberry and Lyn Smith remained Biblically sound and did not water anything down. 

Since I enjoy reading, I would have enjoyed more material, however the very small readable portions are easily doable for the average person. Following the reading portion comes the "Work it" section where the reader can jot his her personal struggles in certain areas, future goals, or whatever that chapter's material consisted of. The "Talk it" section prompted the student to share what he is learning and working on in that chapter. Lastly, came the "Post it" section where the author summarized the day's lesson on a post it. This section was a personal favorite, it provided a simple thought that I could focus on throughout the day. 

Think 4:8: 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life for Teens is a teen devotional I would easily recommend for teens. Renewing our mind is not a one time occurrence or a 40 day one either but a lifelong choice. I can definitely see myself picking up this book time and time again. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.