Top Ten Reasons to Read the Bible Today: The Life Changing Benefits of Daily Bible Reading by Wayne Davies ~Review~

Top Ten Reasons to Read the Bible Today: The Life Changing Benefits of Daily Bible Reading by Wayne Davies

Top 10 Reasons to Read the Bible Today

If you wanted to learn to ride a horse, you wouldn’t begin by standing on its back like a circus rider. If you had a desire to write a book, you would want to know some basic information like how to construct meaningful sentences, paragraphs and
chapters. And if you wanted to build the world’s tallest structure, you would probably not begin by slapping together boards and wires and pipes. You would need to study basic knowledge such as the physics and mathematics of creating a safe building, reading and learning to interpret blueprints. In essence, trying to accomplish something without learning the basics first used to be called “putting the cart before the horse.”

Using much the same thought processes as the eager beavers in the previous paragraph, many in Western society today seems to think they know God, understand what He’s like and how He wants us to live, without consulting the only written document we have that provides us all the basic information we need: the Bible. That is why I recommend this book by Wayne Davies. Just as you wouldn’t consult a cookbook to repair a computer, the author has not consulted our culture and society’s norms to help us understand God. Instead, he’s gone straight to the source many people call The Word of God. He then shares his story of discovery in “Top Ten Reasons to Read the Bible Today: The Life Changing Benefits of Daily Bible Reading” because what he experienced changed him. He shares with his reader his love/hate relationship with God.

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Wayne Davies begins his book by explaining why he wrote it and who should read it. His story is interesting to me because I can see some of my own life story in his. When he talked about different types of people groups who may need this book, I identified with at least two of the groups. The remaining pages are divided into ten short chapters representing the reasons and benefits for reading the Bible. I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons.

The first reason I like it is that Mr. Davies uses language that is straight forward and authoritative. He does use some “religious language”, but he explains the meaning of most of the terms very well. He was able to avoid, as much as is possible, loaded vocabulary that have vague or ambiguous definitions. His explanations are simple and clear of most cultural nuances. It’s nearly impossible to write a book of this nature without reflecting some cultural preferences. But it was obvious to me that his source of information is the Bible. Period.Top 10 Reasons to Read the Bible Today quote2

The second reason I like this book is how it reflects the passion and heart the author poured into it. His excitement about the topic is the result of the journey he experienced and explained in the opening preface. There is no doubt for me that Wayne Davies wrote it out of a genuine desire to share what he discovered with his reading audience. I believe in his earnestness.Top 10 Reasons to Read the Bible Today quote3

Finally, I can see many ways the short book could be useful for discipleship. Years ago I learned an acrostic applied to the letters that spell BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The Bible is essential to our knowledge of God, biblical history, God’s laws, the life of Jesus, and the early days of Christianity. This booklet is like a primer for young Christians or those who want a little more than a cursory explanation of foundational beliefs. Do you know someone seeking information on the basics of Christianity? Give them a copy of this book. Are you acquainted with some young believers who need a short, concise introduction to the basics about God? This would be a good book for them to read. Another way this work could be helpful is to aid in meditation on the foundations of what the Bible teaches us. Many Christians need that once in awhile. It serves as a plumb line to determine how far we may have drifted from the core issues of Christianity. I also feel this book is a good source of encouragement for young and mature Christians both. For all these reasons and more, I highly recommend this book.Top 10 Reasons to Read the Bible Today quote 4

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author, Wayne Davies. 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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In Good Company by Jen Turano ~Review~

In Good Company by Jen Turano

In Good Company

Some of you may have had the pleasure of reading books to your children when they were young. A family favorite of ours were Amelia Bedelia books. She was a scatter-brained individual who took verbal and written instructions way too literally. The results were often hilarious. When I began reading “In Good Company” by Jen Turano, the main character, Millie Longfellow, reminded me of Amelia Bedelia. Not that she understood situations too literally, but her capacity to talk them to death is what brings levity and humor to the story. If you enjoy a light-hearted historical romance, you will enjoy this book.

Millie Longfellow is an orphan who’s had to earn her living from the age of 12. You may call her life dreary and tedious, but she would disagree with you. Though tough times could have made her bitter, she is surprisingly optimistic and upbeat. She has carved out a satisfying life for herself, with a big heart and a great love for children. It wouldn’t surprise you to discover she has become a nanny. Unfortunately, her verbosity has lead to a dismal employment history; instead of talking her way out of misunderstandings, she seems to talk her way into them while high society patrons lose patience with her without listening to her lengthy explanations. Her last rabbit trail ended in unemployment as the story opens. The owner of the agency Millie worked with has nearly given up on her until Mr. Everett Mulberry at the agency office in search of a nanny.

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Mr. Mulberry, a product of society’s snobbish elite, is a proper bachelor living in New York. A few months prior, a close friend of his died in a tragic accident. Everett was appointed guardian of the three young children: Thaddeus and Rosetta–5-year-old twins, and their older sister Elizabeth. He promptly brought them home to his country estate. Grieving, angry and lost, the three youngsters have run off every nanny Everett has hired in the past three months. The employment agency owner is frustrated with him and nearly ready to give up on him when Millie returns to the agency’s office. Everett has met Millie before and refused to hire her, but the owner closed the deal so quickly he had no time to decline again. He was stuck with the infamous nanny.

This situation is complicated by Millie’s unorthodox ways of handling the mischievous children, Everett’s unofficial fiance who is determined to gain a position of social prominence and wealth by marrying Mr. Mulberry, the plotting of a Mrs. Abigail Hart, a society matron who has decided to sponsor a few disadvantaged young girls, including Millie and her friend Lucetta Plum, Everett’s interfering mother, a number of disapproving and judgmental socialites, and the mystery surrounding the death of the children’s parents. The story is fast-paced, full of surprises and humor. It’s a delightful read.

My favorite part of the tale occurs when Millie bests the children at their own pranking, with the assistance of the household staff. The situation is funny enough on its own, but becomes interesting with the addition of an irritated flock of peacocks, the unexpected arrival of Everett’s parents traveling abroad, and unfortunately Caroline Dixon, the enraged and jealous fiance. How Millie settles the turmoil, the children and the complications is what makes this book such an enjoyable experience.

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There are other factors I loved about this book. For example, there is the running undercurrent of a brewing romance which has a happy conclusion. There are the comic ways Millie uses to win over the children’s hearts. I enjoyed the bumbling, scheming efforts of Abigail Hart to help along the growing romance. Millie’s friendship with Lucetta is an excellent break in the hilarity, used by the author to ground the story when it needed some moments of quiet. Even Everett undergoes some much needed character growth, especially in his relationship with his wards. I highly recommend this book for a quick light read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Bethany 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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Mercy’s Rain: An Appalachian Novel by Cindy K. Sproles ~Review~

Mercy’s Rain: An Appalachian Novel by Cindy K. Sproles

Mercys Rain

With a mix of nineteenth century tradition, customs, and superstition, a young woman’s fears and flashbacks of the ugliness of her past, the sordidness of her present, and the uncertainties of her future, this tale mesmerizes the reader from beginning to end. If you are looking for a book with a touch of edginess, a poignant back story, and a painful journey toward the light, this book is for you.

Her name is Mercy, but she hates the word. She has heard it used and abused all too often, but experienced it seldom. The book’s first two chapters sets the tone for the reader. The storyline begins in the middle at the cusp of Mercy Roller’s 19 years, the turning point that thrust her forward into the uncertainties of a future while relentlessly reviewing her painful past until the baffled reader sees the pattern and begins rooting for her to heal and move on in life.

Not all of Mercy’s flashbacks are painful. Some of them reveal to us the depth of her relationship with her best friend, Maddie. Maddie understood Mercy’s troubling family life, nor was she blind to the Pastor’s double standards and shifting image. She stood as a pillar of sanity for Mercy, silently supportive, always there to pick up the broken pieces of her friend’s shattered self-worth, tirelessly easing Mercy back to normal. These flashbacks also revealed simultaneously the strength of Mercy’s mother’s protection as well as the weakness of a woman who stands by her man even during the torridness of his sick mind. The flashbacks showcased a cohesive community that maintained an unspoken code of honor, protecting each other from abuse, helping each other in the aftermath of violence. In essence, the author’s authentic voice rips the bandage off the scabs to open our eyes to both the sordidness and the blossom of life as it truly existed. That makes this book a unique piece of historical fiction.

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What I liked best about Cindy Sprole’s novel is the honesty with which she portrays Appalachian life. She doesn’t paint a fanciful picture of this segment of history. There ‘s no room for idealistic fantasies or perfection. Sometimes we readers tend to gloss over the past and call our version of it “simpler times.” The truth is that there are no simple times. When people are involved, life becomes complex and usually delivers up starkness along side the beauty. When an author can tell a story with all its honest parts and yet instill hope and triumph into the message, we have a good story. Mercy’s Rain is a good story.

The second element I like about Mercy’s Rain is the balance the author incorporates. Once Mercy leaves the familiarity of her home, it becomes obvious she has trust issues. Eventually her travels lead her to a river where she rests a bit. She has gone beyond the place where she knows the landmarks. She meets young Samuel Stone there and he offers to accompany her to his friends’ homestead, where they need some help. The young father lost his arm recently in an accident; Samuel was on his way to help the couple with their harvest. On the way, Mercy learns that Samuel is a pastor. Her first reaction is distrust because the only pastor she had ever known was her father. The remainder of the tale is like a study in contrasts as Mercy embarks on a healing journey. While settling into life on Terrance and Isabella Johnson’s homestead, Samuel stays on to help her adjust to her new life. The author excels in writing gut-wrenching tension, anguish, triumphs and hope. Mercy’s process of recovery balances her painful history very well.

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While the book is beautifully written, I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable with the content of some of the back story and flashbacks. Some were graphic and reminded me that if these scenes were made into a movie, they would be rated PG-13 to R for the violence. For that reason, I advise caution for those readers with young children around. This book contains many gritty, unpleasant details. It’s fine for young adults, but I don’t recommend it for young teens. Overall, however, I give this book an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from LibraryThing.com on behalf of Kregel 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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