Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Safe and Sound by David Powlison

This is a book for counselors. It is about how to help people stand up to evil. Many Christians do not understand they are in a spiritual battle, that it is an everyday part of every Christian's life.

Since the term, spiritual warfare, does not appear in the Bible, Powlison explores what it means. He identifies three areas: being on the Lord's side in battle with His enemies, the moral struggle in our hearts, and the struggles in our Christian life, including lordship.

Powlison reviews the armor Paul lists in Ephesians. He had some insights I've not seen before, relating the pieces of armor to counseling. Truth, for example, refers to the lies of the world, the devil, and our own hearts. They could be lies about God or about others. Counselors help uncover the lies and apply the truth of Scripture. Righteousness embraces not only our salvation but also living out that righteousness in how we treat others – doing right and good.

An Appendix in included regarding demons and exorcism, downplaying them both. This seemed like it might be a controversial issue to me. Counselors who want to have nothing to do with confronting demons will like this Appendix.

I am not a counselor but I learned a great deal from this book. Counselors and pastors would do well to read it. While you may not agree with everything in the book, there are many insights about helping others in spiritual warfare included.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

David Powlison (1949-2019), MDiv, PhD, was a teacher, counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He wrote many books and was also the editor of The Journal of Biblical Counseling.

New Growth Press, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Take the Day Off by Robert Morris

Rest, taking a day off, is something hard for many of us. It used to be stores were closed on Sunday so we had to do restful things on that day. Not any more. Now we can be busy every day. And most of us are. That's not good, says Morris. God commanded a day of rest and God's commands are good ideas. They are for our benefit.

If you have read a few other books on “sabbath,” you may well be familiar with the reasons Morris gives for a day of rest. There were two concepts in this book I'd not considered before. One was in answer to wondering how we can get everything done in six days. Morris says taking the day off is an act of faith. It is believing God will provide the exact amount of time for what needs to be done. This act of trusting God is figurative of the rest spoken of in Hebrews. Truly resting in God, we have no anxiety nor impatience.

Another aspect of the book I really liked was the section on four tanks. Morris identifies four areas of our lives we need to keep full. He includes good suggestions for restoring our spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental tanks.

Morris reminds Christians of the importance of a weekly day of rest and the more extended rest of a sabbatical. He gives good evidence for the necessity of rest, the command to rest, and the witness to the world in keeping a Sabbath. Readers who have not read other recent books on sabbath keeping will find good material here.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Robert Morris is the founding lead pastor of Gateway Church, a multicampus church based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 71,000 active attendees. His television program is aired in over 190 countries, and his radio program, Worship & the Word with Pastor Robert, airs in more than 1,800 radio markets across America. He serves as chancellor of The King's University and is the bestselling author of numerous books. He and his wife have three married children and nine grandchildren.

FaithWords, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Choices by Jacquelyn Lynn Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Choices
Author: Jacquelyn Lynn
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April, 2019

In a horrifying moment of inattention on a dark morning, lives change forever.

When college student Samantha Lawrence takes her eyes off the road for just a few seconds to send a text, she swerves out of her lane and hits Kevin Wyland as he rides his bicycle. In a panic, she drives away.

After the crash, Samantha tries to find out who the rider is and the status of his injuries. She is shocked to discover that she knows him. Not only does she shop at the pet supply store he and his wife own, they are both regular customers of Joyful Cup, a popular neighborhood coffee shop, and friends with the owner, Joy Shepherd.

Consumed with overwhelming guilt and fear of criminal charges, Samantha decides to do whatever it takes to avoid being identified as the hit-and-run driver. Kevin struggles with anger, bitterness, and a crisis of faith as he embarks on the slow process of recovering from his serious injuries.

As their lives intertwine with increasing frequency, Samantha and Kevin both turn to Joy for advice and guidance. Can she help them find the forgiveness and peace they need?

This is a heartwarming story with a powerful message of forgiveness that will make you smile even as it brings tears to your eyes.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

This is an interesting and short novel about choices we make. One moment of distraction while driving and life is changed for many people. I liked that Kevin struggled so much with why God allowed the accident to happen. I liked Joy, a wise woman with penetrating questions for others.

I was a little disappointed in the Epilogue. A great deal happened in those few pages the whole novel built toward. What happened in the Epilogue seemed to be the most important part of the story. I would have rather there had been about another fifty pages covering all those issues.

Lynn's writing style is good and I generally enjoyed the novel except for the abrupt end.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Jacquelyn Lynn finds joy in her faith, family, and friends, and in the knowledge that she is living God’s purpose for her life. In addition to Choices, she is the author of more than 30 non-fiction books including Finding Joy in the Morning and Words to Work By, as well as the meditations in the Christian Meditations and Faith Words Adult Coloring Books.

More from Jacquelyn

The idea for Choices first came to me more than five years ago. Though I’ve written (or ghostwritten) more than 30 non-fiction books, the process of writing a novel was both intriguing and intimidating. Once I voiced my desire, my wonderful husband Jerry Clement became my biggest champion, encouraging and even nagging me along the way as I talked but didn’t write. And when I finally began to write, he listened, offered suggestions, and proofread. Every time I voiced a doubt, he shot it down. As the manuscript neared completion, he designed the cover and supported me through the myriad of details that are essential to finishing and publishing a book. Had it not been for him, Choices would not be in readers’ hands today. As Choices began to take shape, I realized that Joyful Cup, the coffee shop where much of the story takes place, had many more stories to tell. The next book in the Joyful Cup Story series will be released in 2020.

Blog Stops

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post waas provided by Celebrate Lit.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Christian Worldview by Herman Bavinck

Scholars spoke and wrote differently a century ago and this work gives evidence to that. I had difficulty following the unfamiliar style of prose. Many of the philosophers and scholars mentioned are unfamiliar to me. For a layperson interested in how a Reformed Christian worldview was crafted a century ago, this was an unsatisfying read. Bavinck's work here is not so much an exploration of a Christian worldview as it is a philosophical argument that all things find their origin in God.

A few nuggets I understood: “No matter how we look at it, the concept of truth and science – if we think consistently and without prejudice – brings us to Christian theism.” (Loc 419/1469) Everything exists because of reason, hence God. Such is the foundation of all knowing and the basis for our ability to observe and reason. Denying God is denying the foundation for all science. (Loc 443/1469)

This work may be appreciated by scholars interested in the philosophy of those from the Reformed tradition. As a Christian who had grown up in the Reformed tradition in America (RCA), I had hoped this book would enlighten me as to a Reformed slant to a Christian worldview. I am not convinced this work has any clear value for laypeople.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) was a leading theologian in the modern Dutch Reformed tradition. He is the author of the four volume Reformed Dogmatics.
Translators: Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, James Eglinton, Cory C Brock.

Crossway, 144 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Narrative Apologetics by Alister E McGrath

I had hoped this book would be for laypeople, helping them be able to share their faith through their story. It is not. It is an academic look at the theology of using (fictional) story as a means of telling people about God. It might be suitable as a text book or resource for a creative writing class in a Christian college as literary strategies are included.

I found the initial comments by McGrath to be the most enlightening. The culture today is not very much interested in rational arguments for the Christian faith. Proving something true through logic or rational thought does not have the impact it did a generation ago. More people may be open to story than they are a mental proof. Story engages more aspects of a person than just the mind. There has been encouragement recently to share one's faith in the context of their personal story, hence my hope this book would help the layperson do just that.

Potential Christian novelists who would like to have their writing be a means for readers to better understand or experience Christian belief will find much to think about in this book. Exploration of the works of Lewis, Sayers, and Tolkien, for example, will provide models to follow. McGrath identifies how these authors developed narratives to communicate aspects of the Christian faith. One example is the concept of sin in Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

If you are interested in the theology of using story for apologetics, this book is for you. If you want to know how to use your own story as a means of sharing your faith, this book will not help.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Alister E McGrath (Dphil and DD, University of Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts) is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University and director if the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion. He also serves as the Gresham Professor of Divinity, a public professorship in the City of London, established in 1597, that promotes the public engagement of theology with the leading issues of the day. He is the author of many books.

Baker Books, 176 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Paul vs. James by Chris Bruno

Some might think Paul and James make contradictory statements about faith and works. Bruno builds a case to show they were not opposed to each other. To do so he looks at their lives, giving context to their messages. He also reviews Abraham's life as both authors refer to him.

Bruno suggests “...James was combating a false faith that fails to give works their proper place as the necessary fruit of saving faith.” (104) James may very well have been responding to some false teaching. Paul, on the other hand, “ arguing against phony works that are rooted in a failure to see that faith is enough.” (105) We know from Paul's writings he was, in fact, combating false teaching. The two had a different emphasis yet had a unified voice. With respect to Abraham, Paul focused on Abraham's initial faith while James focused on the subsequent works of obedience.

Bruno's writing style is easy to read as the material is not scholarly and would be great for newer Christians puzzled by the faith/works issue. Readers would receive lots of background information, biblical material seasoned Christians would already know, including an exploration of justification.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Chris Bruno (PhD, Wheaton College; MDiv, Southern Seminary) serves as assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, MN. He previously taught Bible and theology at Cedarville University and Northland International University and served as a pastor at Harbor Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. Chris and his wife, Katie, have four sons.

Moody Publishers, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Good Name by Samuel T Logan Jr

Logan had been president of Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) for thirteen years when he told a lie at a faculty meeting. He lost his position as a result. He explores the broader issue of bringing dishonor to Christ in this book. He looks at what the Bible says about the power of our speech, the kinds of words we are to speak, how false witness damages others, labels, and the impact of social media. He also includes examples of thinking through some tough issues, like creation/evolution, women in ministry and more.

I appreciate Logan's exploration of hot issues causing hurt among Christians today. I like how he emphasizes that our words are to be consistent with biblical teaching. Yes, we are to tell the truth but in a way consistent with biblical commands such as the “one another” passages. I am glad Logan reminds readers to be aware of the consequences of our words.

Logan is from the Reformed tradition and some readers may not be familiar with a few of his sources, such as catechisms and the works of Calvin. Also, Logan's writing style is rather academic and would appeal to those more used to lectures than personal conversations.

I appreciate the bottom line of Logan's book, that we honor the good name of Jesus Christ. Logan has learned through experience the damage caused by words. He encourages readers to communicate so that love and care are clear and truly try to understand the view of others.

While lay Christians would benefit from reading this book, I think it is best suited for church leaders and others involved in ministry.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Samuel T. Logan, Jr., MDiv, PhD, has been International Director of the World Reformed Fellowship since 2005. He served at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1979–2007, and is now President Emeritus. He was also Visiting Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1988–1989, and special counsel to the president at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, from 2007–2013. He is a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Dr. Logan’s publications include The Preacher and Preaching, Sermons That Shaped America Confronting Kingdom Challenges, and numerous articles on Jonathan Edwards.

New Growth Press, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

We've read novels illuminating the conditions in the concentration camps during WW II. Here we get a glimpse into the Siberian prison camps.

Morris has created the historical novel based on an actual young woman who, after years in a German concentration camp, is taken to Siberia. Cilka had been forced to have sex with German soldiers, as was the case with many of the women being held. The camp liberating Russians interpreted that as cohabiting with the enemy and thus assigned her to another camp for imprisonment, this time Russian.

This is a detailed fictional account of a young woman surviving under terrible conditions. Notes at the beginning and end of the novel inform readers as to which parts are historical and which are fiction.

This is the first book I have read by Morris and I was a bit surprised at the straightforward nature of the narrative. I was not captivated by Cilka as a character. I was a little disappointed in the lack of engaging scene structure in the freezing Siberian landscape. I actually started skimming a bit due to the day by day reporting style of the continuing narrative.

For readers who have not read about the Siberian camps, this may be a good read. Those who have read other fictional or historical accounts, may find this one a bit lacking.

You can read an excerpt here.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand and now lives in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studies and wrote screenplays. In 2003 she was introduced to a man who might have a story and her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz was the result.

St. Martin's Press, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Refine & Restore by Rachel C Swanson

Swanson felt like many Christians do some time in their spiritual life, like something is missing. The spiritual high from salvation was long gone. The Word seemed dry. Her prayers felt empty. Jesus no longer felt close. She wondered about her purpose and the meaning of her spiritual life.

Swanson shares her experiences as God was refining and restoring her soul. She has written this book with a view to helping readers go from merely surviving to thoroughly thriving. She warns readers that this kind of transformation takes hard soul work.

The book is a combination memoir and lessons learned from experiences. Swanson came out of Mormonism. Counseling helped her deal with lies she believed about God and other issues keeping her from experiencing a deeper intimacy with God. She also experienced times of anxiety and has found medication essential to her well being.

The most interesting topic in her book was her writing about the current state of the church and Christianity in the U.S. She writes of the “cruise-ship Christianity that has poisoned our church culture in the United States and some other countries...” (Loc 601/2679) We like to be comfortable and safe, not getting out of our comfort zones to engage those who need the hope we have.

Swanson urges us to be careful of what we let in our lives. She explores issues that may detract from our intimacy with God, such as money, body image, sexuality, and anxiety. She suggests establishing boundaries with that which does not build us up, including people.

This is a good book for career age Christians who have lost the fire of their faith and like teaching given in the context of personal memoir. This book will give you issues to look at and suggestions to deal with them. As an older Christian, I found the same suggestions for re-igniting the fire many previous authors have given.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Rachel C Swanson is a best-selling author, speaker, and accredited Christian life coach. Her best-selling book, Big and Little Coloring Devotional, was birth by her own struggle to keep it together as a busy mama of three children under two years old. She lives with her family in Emmett, Idaho.

FaithWords, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Strong Brave Loved by Holley Gerth

Gerth provides sixty short devotions with the aim of empowering readers to be women who can't be beat, who take risks, don't hide their scars, believe who God says they are and help others believe it too.

The style of Gerth's writing made me think I was reading her journal entries. An everyday event would trigger a Scripture verse and a lesson. The initial event might be a conversation, a group painting session, a walk on her street, or trying to be loved when meeting friends for lunch. There is a certain familiarity involved, like a friend sharing insights from a recent experience. She includes some humor, like suggesting translators ate too much pizza when she came across a puzzling Bible verse. (Loc 929/2628) Each devotion ends with a prayer, prompts for journaling, and a Fiercehearted quote of encouragement.

I don't mind a personal story from time to time, illustrating a biblical truth, but I feel I know more about Gerth's life than I ever wanted. Her devotions are more about her, it seems, than the spiritual lessons. Did I really need to know so much about Gerth's grandmother in devotion number Twenty-Six to understand the simple lesson of “Accept God's gifts with gladness”? Did I really need the paragraph describing the picture of her and her grandmother on the shelf in the living room, that the hem of her dress was caught by the wind? Do I really want to know about her stomach growling while she records the audio of a previous book? (Devotion Thirty)

This is a good devotional for readers who like to read about personal experiences and the lessons taken from them. It is also a good example of journal entries.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, certified life coach, and speaker. She connects with women through her popular blog and books. She is cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with Dayspring. She and her husband live in the South. You can find out more at Photo Credit: Luke Davis, Main Street Studios

Revell, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff

Wow. This novel is almost nonstop action. Heart pounding, nail biting action. You may think you've read an exciting auto chase scene but wait until you read this book. You may think you've read the most exciting hostage rescue ever. Guess again.

The character development is great. Imagine an assassin for the US government getting saved, leaving the agency and becoming a small town preacher. Imagine the turmoil in his soul, knowing God has forgiven him but never forgetting what he has done. Imagine him taking on an occasional rescue for the agency when they can guarantee he will not have to kill anyone. Imagine the woman he rescued. A reporter for a news network, she is determined to find the mystery man who nearly gave his life to save hers. And she does, ultimately endangering both of their lives.

There are several aspects of this novel I especially like. One is that the salvation message comes through loud and clear. But it also fits very well into the development of the plot. Another is that the female reporter gets into the action later in the book. She turns out to be an exceptional sidekick as the two save the US from terrorists.

Great action scenes, great character development, great plot, great representation of salvation and Christian faith. I really liked this novel and will be impatiently waiting for the next in the series. Finally, a thriller from a Christian viewpoint where the quality of the writing is right up there with the big guys. That this book is his debut novel is amazing.

You can read an exciting excerpt here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Andrew Huff is the product director at Igniter Media, one of the largest church media companies in the nation. He has also spent ten years in church ministry as both a youth pastor and a creative arts pastor. He currently lives in Plano, Texas. The is his first novel. You can find out more at

Kregel Publications, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner Blog Tour and Giveaway

Speak No Evil

by Liana Gardner

on Tour October 1 - November 30, 2019


What if every time you told the truth, evil followed?

My name is Melody Fisher. My daddy was a snake handler in Appalachia until Mama died. Though years have passed, I can still hear the rattle before the strike that took her from me.

And it’s all my fault.

Since then, I’ve been passed around from foster home to foster home. I didn’t think anything could be as bad as losing Mama.

I was wrong.

But I will not speak of things people have done to me. Every time I do, worse evil follows. Now, the only thing I trust is what saved me years ago.

Back when I would sing the snakes calm …

My Review:

This is an emotionally charged novel about a young woman finding her voice in the midst of overwhelming painful experiences. Melody's story is heartbreaking. I can see where Melody decided to no longer speak as every time she did speak out, something worse would happen. Gardner did a good job of providing support characters to help Melody work through her past trauma from being in the foster care system.

The way Gardner developed the story was unusual. While the time slip technique is common, the use of music and lyrics was unique. Young adults who realize the power of song will identify with Melody and the solace she finds in it.

Potential readers must be warned that there are several trigger situations in this novel. Anyone who has been sexually abused may find this novel very difficult to read. I do wish the author had merely alluded to abuse scenes and not been so explicit in her accounts.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: YA Mystery
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Number of Pages: 285
ISBN: 1944109366 (ISBN13: 9781944109363)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Uncle Harlan slammed my bedroom door open. “You’re going to learn to show the Lord respect, girl.” He grabbed my neck and forced me to walk in front of him.
My neck hurt where he dug his fingers in.
He took me outside and shoved me toward the shed. He slipped the key in the lock and removed it from the hasp. The door creaked as it opened and then he thrust me through.
“I’m not going to allow you to follow your mother’s footsteps. You’ll learn to make peace with snakes and not show them any fear. Or else.”
He grabbed a snake case from the shelf, put it on the ground, and opened it. He stepped backward out of the shed and swung the door shut. The latch clicked. Uncle Harlan on one side of the door, and the snake and me locked inside.
“I’ll come get you in time for school in the morning.”
His footsteps receded.
Light filtered through the cracks in the shed slats. In the dim light, the snake coiled in the corner, its tongue flicking out periodically. I slowly lowered to the ground and hugged Raksha Waya tight.
The inside of the shed was slightly warmer than outside. Staying warm might be a bigger problem than keeping the snake calm. It ignored me and remained coiled, but the cold seeped into my bones. I scanned the shelves. There had to be something in here I could use to help keep warm.
A tarp sat on a shelf on the opposite side of the shed from the snake. But I might not be tall enough to pull it down. Standing on tiptoes, I grabbed a corner and tugged. My fingers slipped. I set Rakkie on a lower shelf, then reached with both hands and tugged.
The weight of the tarp almost knocked me over as I caught it.
Making sure to keep my movements small so I didn’t threaten the snake, I unfolded the tarp and spread it out. Then I grabbed Rakkie and carefully crawled under a corner. Once settled with Rakkie on my lap, I pulled it over us and tucked it under my chin.
The hours passed as the light changed and moved through the shed. My tailbone ached and my back hurt from sitting still for so long. Twilight came. Surely Uncle Harlan didn’t really mean to leave me here with the snake all night.
When the darkness was complete and I could no longer see my hand in front of my face, I faced the hard truth—Uncle Harlan meant it. I’d spend the night locked in a small space with a pit viper.
While my toes still felt frozen, the rest of me was warmer with the tarp. My eyes drooped and closed. Then I heard it.
Hiss. Rattle. The whisper of something dragging across the floorboards.
The snake was on the move. The slight rattle as it slithered through the shed made my heart pound. I froze.
Excerpt from Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner. Copyright © 2019 by Liana Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Liana Gardner. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Liana Gardner is the multi-award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution (most recently the recipient of a 2018 Nautilus Book Award) and The Journal of Angela Ashby. The daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface.
Liana volunteers with high school students through EXP ( EXP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, EXP helps young people EXPerience, EXPand, and EXPlore.
Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but her imagination takes her wherever she wants to go.
Liana is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Catch Up With Liana Gardner On:, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Click here to view the Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner Participants.

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Vesuvian Books and Liana Gardner. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card and 2 winners of a signed print copy of Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner. The giveaway begins on October 1, 2019 and runs through December 2, 2019. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Free to Believe by Luke Goodrich

Like most Christians, I am poorly informed about religious freedom issues. I grew up in a nation where religious freedom was unquestioned. But the nation is changing. The culture is changing. Goodrich wrote this book so Christians like me could be informed and prepared for the future.

He informs us by exploring the roots of religious freedom. They are grounded in the Bible, not national documents. Goodrich also reviews a number of issues and court cases so we understand the challenges facing us today with respect to our current culture. He then give suggestions to how Christians can move forward.

I like how he explained religious freedom and how it relates to other freedoms. He gave an example where my religious rights might violate the property rights of someone else. The property rights would win. (28) It's a simple example of issues that get very complicated.

Goodrich helped me understand how the feelings toward Christianity have changed in the last decades. Recently, Christian beliefs were viewed as incompatible with culture but were tolerated. Now, many often view Christian beliefs as a threat to current culture. He looks at many issues and suggests that the conflict most threatening to religious freedom in the US today is the conflict between gay rights and religious freedom. (95)

What are Christians to do? I was surprised that Goodrich's first suggestion was that we shouldn't be thinking about winning. “Our primary concern is not defeating our enemies but loving them” (154) We are to be Christlike and that means suffering. We are to consider God's greater purposes for the world. But he also gives some very practical suggested for individuals and churches to be prepared to live faithfully as Christ followers.

I highly recommend this book to lay Christians and church leaders. It contains information every Christian would do well to understand.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Luke Goodrich is an attorney at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (, where he has won multiple Supreme Court victories for clients, including the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby. He has frequently discussed religious freedom issues on major media outlets and in major publications. He also teaches an advanced course in constitutional law at the University of Utah law school. He lives in Utah with his wife and children.

Multnomah, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary uncorrected proof from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Leaders, Nations, and God Blog Tour

About the Book:

Book: Leaders, Nations, & God
Author: Marta E. Greenman
Genre: Non-Fiction, Christian Bible Study
Release Date: September 19, 2013

LEADERS, NATIONS, AND GOD invites readers to a six-week journey to explore the Bible’s message for the nations of the world, their leaders, and for Christians who live as citizens of those nations. By focusing on the biblical history of Israel and the United States, the reader discovers the nature of true, faithful leadership and the consequences when a leader compromises, as well as the sorts of nations that God may bless. Marta E. Greenman helps readers understand how scriptural principles apply to nations and to individuals alike.

By asking and answering these questions, the paths of humble obedience for individuals and nations become clear.

Each day’s study begins by encouraging the reader to write their prayer before they begin to examine the biblical history of Israel and/or the United States. The reader gathers insights from scripture to bring understanding of God’s ideal for nations and leaders. Questions dig deeply into lessons from the Bible, history, and the influences on one’s own life. Each day’s study comes with highlighted “Questions to Ponder” and ends with prayer.

If you find yourself drawn to explore God’s will for nations and individuals, if you wonder what biblical obedience might look like in your daily life, then Leaders, Nations, and God will meet your need for a study grounded in the Bible and focused on God’s desires for His people.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Greenman has written a good study exploring the leaders in the Old Testament and the founding of the United States. Her research is very thorough. I had no idea of the influence the work of Baron Charles Secondat de Montesquieu had on the work of the Founding Fathers, for example. And I was quite surprised to find that a third of the source material for the writings of the Founding Fathers was from the Bible. (Loc 1402/2592)

This is a good study for those who want to learn from leaders in the Old Testament. You'll gain a good overview of Old Testament history and how the circumstances of the Israelites changed depending on their obedience to God. There are good lessons included for believers today about a nation's welfare and obedience to God. You'll find out that God's principles for nations and leaders are still valid.

Doing this study will take time and effort but it will be well worth it. It will help you become an individual active in calling upon God to bless the United States.

My rating:4/5 stars.

About the Author:

  Marta founded Words of Grace & Truth in 2011 whose mission is to teach God’s Word to the nations and teach others to do the same. She has been married for over twenty-five years to Marshall and they reside in the Dallas, Texas area. 

For over twenty years, Marta has traveled extensively as a missionary, evangelist and Bible teacher sharing God’s message of truth and redemption. She is a teacher of teachers. She is host of Under God Radio Show and Co-host of Refining Friends. She is the author of three Bible studies, Bound to Be FreeLeaders, Nations, and God, and ACTs420NOW.

More from Marta

What a profound statement made by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” As Christians we need to learn those who have gone before us. In Leaders, Nations, and God we look at the history of the Children of Israel and America’s Founding Fathers to become men and women who understand the time and know how to navigate the troubled waters of today. We look at questions like “Who does God consider to be a leader?” What kind of nation does the Lord bless?” “Did America’s Founding Fathers really set up our country on Judeo-Christian values?”

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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.