30 Days of Prayer for World Missions by Alana Terry ~Review~

30 Day of Prayer for World Missions

30 Days of Prayer for World Missions by Alana Terry

Suppose someone came up to you and asked, “Do you pray for world missions?” Would that question make you feel uncomfortable? Would you squirm because praying for world missions sounds like something everyone should do? It is a tremendous goal, but how would you implement it? Where would you begin? What would you pray for? This prayer guide answers these questions and more.

The author, Alana Terry, provides caring Christians with a guide that covers 30 days or a month’s worth of important needs we ought to bring to the feet of Jesus on behalf of missionaries all around the world. Each day there is a short devotional or commentary about the need being prayed for. Some examples of what we should to be praying about are: encouraging the called, second-career missionaries, the sending churches, physical protection, the missionary’s marriage, cultural barriers, relief work, and so much more. There is even a day dedicated for those who can’t go out as a missionary.

30 Days of Prayer for World Missions quote1

This short book is written from the perspective of a person who has served overseas as a missionary. Her experience is evident on every page. Her genuine voice demonstrates to her readers just how important prayer is to a missionary’s ministry.

Here’s how I would use this guide. Most churches have a group of missionaries they support with their financial gifts, physical gifts, emotional and spiritual encouragement and prayers. It’s a good place to begin. I would adopt a missionary for a month and pray through the guide for this family or person every day. The author provides at least three prayer points we can use to keep our prayers on topic. The following month, I would adopt another missionary and their family and so on. Another idea would be to adopt a country for a month, and pray for a group of missionaries or persecuted Christians each day.30 Days of Prayer for World Missions quote2 In still another cycle, we could adopt a people group, a missionary organization, or relief workers in a particular country in distress. One month, we could broaden the scope, and another month, narrow it down to a particular person or family. Keep in mind extended family such as parents of missionaries and adult children of missionaries. This guide is flexible and adaptable.

The guide’s prayer points could be transferred to a church calendar, a private calendar, printed onto index cards, put into a flip book, and onto posters. You can challenge other sisters and brothers in Christ to pray every day using the guide. Christian schools could adopt a missionary or support organization each month. 30 Days of Prayer for World Missions quote3This could be used by Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, sports groups supported by the church, and so on to keep our missionaries in the forefront of our minds.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to step up their prayer life and pray with more purpose. Where our minds go, there our hearts will be also.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression by Zack Eswine ~Review~

Spurgeon’s Sorrows

Spurgeon's Sorrows

This review is being written from the perspective of a fellow sufferer of depression. The book discusses a condition I have had a bent toward from my early years. I am not a psychologist, theologian, pastor, therapist, counselor, Bible student, professor, or church staff. I’m just a garden variety human being and found this book very readable and appealing.

After reading through Spurgeon’s Sorrows a couple of times I realized that it is a bit different from other books I’ve read that focus on depression. There seemed to be a sub-text that I didn’t understand at first. The marked difference seemed to come from the heart of the author, Dr. Zachary Eswine. The writings indicated a poetic heart, a sensitive nature. What I was missing was the back story of the author’s life that uniquely qualified him to write this book.

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The pastors, professionals and Bible students who wrote the recommendations in the book’s opening said as much, but I had no idea what it was. So I spent a little time researching to fill in the gaps. For example, the preview says Mr. Eswine is the pastor of Riverside Church in St. Louis, Missouri. I also learned he was a professor of homiletics and a director of a doctoral program at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. To me, that translates as a pastor’s pastor. He has a community circle where he is known. That explained to me how he had become so thoroughly acquainted with Charles H. Spurgeon, a well-known 19th century theologian. But the author didn’t write this book with the voice of a theologian. His voice is that of an artist and poet.

Still not as informed as I wanted to be, I looked him up on Amazon and YouTube to find more of his back story. YouTube has a clip only four minutes long that provided the background I needed to understand the author’s perspective. I hope you find it useful as well.

Spurgeon's Sorrows quote5

I am a person who lives with a condition called Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression. I experience different mood swings in spite of the use of stabilizing medications. In reading this book, I immediately recognized the author’s sense of empathy for those of us who live with depression as a matter of biology as well as for those who become depressed because of a sensitive nature or troubling circumstances. His non-clinical approach is a breath of fresh air. I didn’t find any judgmental attitudes in any of his chapters. He writes out of a sincere desire to lend a helping hand.

The author’s arsenal is twofold: a gentle nudge toward understanding, and a surprising revelation for Christians who may recognize the prolific works of Charles H. Spurgeon. In the author’s words, “How is it then that this preacher could stand up publicly in a congregation and talk so openly about depression? He was a mega-church pastor, one of the first ever. It was the 1800’s. He was British, Victorian, and Baptist. How was a guy like that talking so openly about a subject like this?” Apparently, there was as much need then as there is today for one believer to stand along side another believer, and any sufferer of depression, in commiserating companionship. It definitely doesn’t come naturally. We all need a push to get us moving in the right direction.

Spurgeon's Sorrows quote2

The book is divided into three parts:

Part I: Trying to Understand Depression
Part II: Learning How to Help Those Who Suffer from Depression
Part III: Learning Helps–How to Daily Cope with Depression

Spurgeon's Sorrows quote3

It contains numerous quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s sermons, cited at the end of each of the 12 short chapters. I think its greatest appeal would be for pastors, Bible teachers, therapists, counselors and theologians. However, excerpts are short and to the point. For a person studying the Bible and wants to understand how God views depression and sorrow, this makes a fascinating study.

One of the most impressive facets I appreciate in this book is the way Pastor Eswine gives us three godly examples of how depression, heaviness of soul, the troubled spirit and even the mentally ill ought to be understood. First we have Pastor Eswine himself, who has experienced deep sorrow and trouble in his life. Then we have the passionate, fiery, historical figure of Charles Spurgeon whose prolific writings and sermons inspire hundreds every day. Finally, both pastors point to Jesus, a “man of sorrows” who was sorely afflicted on our behalf. He knows and understands the burdens we carry because He carried them too once.

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One of my favorite aspects of this writing was learning of Spurgeon’s own torments and melancholy intensified by a tragic incident that occurred while he was preaching. This was part of his life I had never known about before reading this book.

Finally, Chapter 6 caught my interest. It explores the language God uses in the Bible toward the troubled, and the way He communicates His heart to us. He uses metaphors and similes to ease the suffering and help us understand. “Since depression is a condition that is almost unimaginable to anyone who has not known it, its diagnosis (and aid) depends on metaphors.” We endure winters. We are bruised like a cluster of grapes, trodden in the wine-press, waves of agony roll over us, and so on. The use of such word pictures and metaphorical phrases encourages our neighbors and fellow Christians to grow in understanding, empathy and helpfulness.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC)on behalf of Christian Focus Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Blast!! Discerning Truth in a World Filled With Lies by Ron Leonard

Discerncover

Discerning Truth in a World Filled with Lies
By Ron Leonard

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About the Book:

Are you tired of being lied to? Not sure you can trust anyone outside your immediate family (and you’re even keeping a close eye on them)? Do you hate it when you discover that you’ve fallen for a lie? Then you’re in the right place. This book is dedicated to the belief that the truth can be found and is worth any price. The author shares insights and anecdotes from his various adventures in spotting lies everywhere from our culture to our co-workers.
Whether the lies come to you from advertisers, journalists, politicians, economists, friends, or even the church pulpit, this book will teach you how to question and counter the avalanche of lies you experience every day.
Additional case studies are presented that tie together the various concepts in easily understood vignettes. A bonus section shares insights on truths learned from counseling with real-live individuals and couples. Key points are highlighted by personal stories from the author’s life. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and Smashwords or signed copies are available at www.truthorcounseling.com.

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

leonard_120x170Ron Leonard
The author is a Christian therapist, MBA, and Mensa member. He has been married 25 years and has two, yes two, teenagers. After spending four years writing this book he swore not to think about writing another one for many years. Three months later, he has the rough outlines of a fiction book with two heroes, one of whom has schizophrenia.

 

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Homeschooler Alert! Giveaway just for you! Dear Magazine

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Dear friend,

Way back in the Dark Ages(!), I homeschooled my two children from preschool all the way through high school. My daughter’s first degree was an Associate’s Degree in Bible Studies from Moody Bible Institute, online. So you could even say we assisted through college age at home. Needless to say, I loved homeschooling! So when I am able, I like to promote and encourage our present day Moms and Dads who homeschool their young people. Here is my latest opportunity: a giveaway for homeschooled girls. I have included a description of this giveaway–a year’s subscription of Dear magazine–and what it is about. Please feel free to share this post with your homeschooling friends.

Every young woman is dear. But not every young woman realizes this truth. Jenny Keliher has a passion to encourage young women to discover that they are dear. She wants to “show young women that they are dear in every sense of the word and in every area of their lives.”

So, who is Jenny? Daughter of Well Planned Gal Rebecca Keliher, Jenny is a young woman who has been taught to chase her passions and use her talents to God’s glory.

In an effort to reach teenagers world-wide with the message that they are dear to God, Jenny has created Dear Magazine. This beautiful product combines Jenny’s heart for the Lord with her love for literature, baking, and design.

Designed for young women ranging in age from thirteen to twenty-one, Dear covers everything from faith to fashion, from relationships to entertainment. But nothing about these topics fits the societal norm. Instead, each article reminds young women that everything they do should reflect the dear woman God has created them to be.

In each issue of Dear, young women will find much to challenge them and spark their interest, such as:

  • the biography of a historical hero, beginning with Amy Carmichael
  • women’s awareness topics
  • do-it-yourself sections
  • recipes
  • fashion tips
  • spiritual growth encouragement
  • encouragement and advice for growing in maturity
  • discussions on relationships with friends and family
  • entertainment suggestions

Would you like to learn more? Feel free to explore MyDearMag.com to see a preview of Issue 1. And be sure to enter my giveaway for a free one-year subscription!

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PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

HEDUA and Home Educating Family Magazine have branched out and created a daughter publication: DEAR Magazine, an up and coming printed young women’s magazine focusing on everything from faith to fashion. It’s filled with an array of beautiful pictures, helpful tips, and wholesome articles that any young woman is sure to enjoy.

Click the following link to apply for the giveaway:

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Here is a link for you to Preview the product.

Use this Product link to explore more about this unique magazine!

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson ~Review~

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

Buttermilk Sky

I admire authors like Jan Watson who can somehow lay aside the present cultural influences and nuances and immerse themselves in the past, populate that world with people who live and breathe in our minds and hearts, and allow us to share in this created world. How do they do that? I love the authors who write contemporary fiction works that come alive as well, but there’s a special place in my heart for writers who dig into the past and then give it to us as if they had just walked the streets themselves and carried on conversations with the characters. They write with authenticity and reality and make the past come alive. I’ve discovered that Ms. Watson, a new author for me, accomplishes this very well.

Buttermilk Sky is a turn-of-the-century tale that follows Jan Watson’s previous historical novels: Tattler’s Branch, Skip Rock Shallows, Still House Pond, Sweetwater Run, and the Troublesome Creek series which includes Troublesome Creek, Willow Springs, and Torrent Falls. The book stands completely on its own although reading her other books would deepen the atmosphere and heighten our appreciation of the sub-culture captured in these books.

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Young Sheriff Chanis Clay is following in his father’s rather large shoes as peacekeeper and law enforcement officer in a Kentucky mountain county and specifically the community of Skip Rock. He loves his work, but has much to learn about human nature and life in general. Still, he feels he’s ready to settle down and has his heart fixed on Mazy Pelfrey for his life’s companion. He loves her and all his dreams and goals include her. He even bought a house and started its renovation. But Mazy is not ready to commit herself to marriage yet. She feels restless and unsettled; she wants to experience a bit of life first. So Mazy leaves her family, her twin, her beau, and her mountain community to live in Lexington, take a secretarial course and make some new friends. Most of this story focuses on Mazy as she tries to find her place as a single girl in life.

Buttermilk Sky quote2

This book was a fun, quick read for me. The author sprinkles in plenty of humor and laughs for both Chanis and Mazy in their separate worlds. The sheriff deals with incidences among the mountain folk with amusing tongue-in-cheek wit. My favorite episode was when he nearly lost Frank Cheney, a giant of a man turned bank robber, when transporting him from one community’s jail to another nearby jail. Eventually, Chanis’ dealing with Frank literally changed his life. Mazy’s way of adapting to city life, trying new foods, wearing new clothes, all the while trying not to look like a country bumpkin, is often rib tickling.

At first, Mazy appeared to me to be a shallow, unthinking piece of fluff, content to imitate everyone else and gain favor with her study group’s leader, Eva, no matter what it took. But eventually she realized the futility of her efforts, and the real Mazy emerged. The Mazy of the final chapters was a 180 degree turn-around from the Mazy of the beginning of the story. Her journey from first to last is what makes this book great reading for women.

Buttermilk Sky quote3

Finally, as a faith-based read, the author includes many thought-provoking moments of revelation for both the main characters, without being preachy. Character development and faith in God with all its practical implications were woven together seamlessly throughout the book. A real, vital relationship with God should be as natural as breathing. The author demonstrates this in her writings. It is something I greatly appreciate among authors I read the most. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley on behalf of Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jessie (Coastal Chronicles Bk 2) by Rebekah Lyn ~Review~

Jessie (Coastal Chronicles Bk 2) by Rebekah Lyn

Jessie

The era was the 1960’s. America found itself in the space race, an extension of the Cold War, with Russia. President Kennedy had issued a challenge to the US to get a man to the moon by the end of the decade. Russia won the first round by getting the first man into orbit. The question was, could any nation get a man to set foot on the moon safely? Patriotic fervor was on the rise, and the nation rose to meet the challenge at a time when the country was also fighting in a senseless war overseas. To some readers, all this may be just a history lesson; but to many baby boomers, this was part of our personal life story. The author, Rebekah Lyn, brings fresh perspective of this exciting era by allowing readers to experience it all through the eyes of Jessie, the youngest of four brothers growing up in the coastal region of Florida within viewing distance of the earliest launch sites at Cape Canaveral (later renamed Cape Kennedy for 10 years).

Jessie quote1

Jessie Cole was nine when it occurred to him to become an astronaut. None of his brothers were as obsessed with the space program as he was. Their interests waned over time as they followed other interests, while Jessie never lost his focus. What the boys did have in common was their sense of adventure, enhanced by living on the hunting mecca of Merritt Island. Among other adventures, the boys had built a treehouse just ten miles from the earliest launch sites. They enjoyed ring-side seats for many of the launch events.

Space Coast From Space Station

Eventually the space program bought the island to expand the site, and families were moved to the mainland, including Jessie’s family. Jessie’s father took this move hard; he had kept a still on the island for many years to support his habit. The Coles’ new home was adjacent to a larger area of wilderness, so the brothers didn’t mind the move. Instead of just a treehouse, the boys built a hidden fort in the forest, with several huts inside for their “stash”. But life wasn’t quite the lark it appeared to be on the surface. Eugene Cole was a mean drunk, bitter and disillusioned with his life. Often, Jessie and Max as the youngest and the oldest took the brunt of his rages and beatings. It wasn’t the most supportive environment for a budding astronaut. Nor were Jessie’s grades anything to boast about. With poverty nipping at their heels, Jessie’s prospects for the future looked grim and foreboding. But Jessie possessed grit and tenacity. He eventually realized as soon as he entered High School his grades mattered. Putting pride aside, he asked for help. But would his father drag him down? Would his inner resentment and turmoil short circuit his efforts?

Jessie quote2

The author in this coming of age chronicle has managed to capture the three dimensions of an important era in US history by tying it intricately to the obstacles a young boy must overcome to realize his dreams. Jessie faced numerous physical, mental and spiritual hurdles. Symbolically, this reflects obstacles our nation and society has faced from its inception. Many of those struggles are currently ongoing. Jessie’s story reflects the story of the ’60’s…dreams, trials, struggles, wars and betrayal, bullies, friendships, failures, money issues and successes.

Another aspect of this story that I admire is how well the author conveyed the details of the space race with its failures and successes in its various stages, as NASA broke orbit, spent time in space, and finally reached the moon. Learning from the epic fails and accidents were valuable lessons of the consequences of our ambitions and the need to weigh the merits against the drawbacks. Jessie too realized these same factors in his own life. They were important agents needed to help move him forward if he was to ever become an astronaut. Seriously good writing here.

Jessie quote3

Finally the author’s creation of family life in the ’60’s (very much similar to my own family growing up), populated with living breathing people we care about and empathize with, is top notch. Jessie’s family is endearing, warts and all. His mother was the strong female figure, the pillar, that kept the family unified and strong, even during the temporary absence of their father. By the conclusion of the book, we see some truly wonderful character development, pithy and heart-warming. I highly recommend this book for you to enjoy. Young adults may enjoy the retro atmosphere, and people my age may like a reflection of the past events we remember. Everyone else, it’s a good story. Go read it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Smashwords on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Blast! More Than This by Staci Stallings

More Than ThisMore Than This
By Staci Stallings

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About the Book:

Liz Savoy has no plans to date anyone—least of all the dark handsome mystery man who sometimes inhabits the corner table at the coffee shop where she’s working to get through school. But plans change, sometimes in ways no one expected.

Jake McCoy is the next mega-millionaire author, or at least he would be if he could get the stories in his head down on the ether. With no good place to write, he resorts to dark corners in Wi-Fi hotspots, knowing no one in the world cares about him or his comings and goings one way or the other. However, there is one waitress at The Grind coffee shop with a cute smile and kind eyes who doesn’t seem to think he is as invisible as he likes to think he is. Can reality with her ever hope to match the fantasy world where his imagination has him living?

LINK to KINDLE

Staci new haedshot

Now a #1 Best Selling Christian and Inspirational Romance author, Staci Stallings, a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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