“The Bard and the Bible” by Bob Hostetler

You know, this is just a really good devotional book. It’s encouraging, entertaining at times, sometimes bewildering, and sometimes difficult.
I’m a great lover of devotional books, and find at least one new one every year. Some of my all-time favorites are “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A Kempis, “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, and, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, and “Uncommon” by Tony Dungy.

The Bard and the Bible devotional is unique to say the least. Author Bob Hostettler has done a marvelous job melding “the King’s English” bible, with the same period writings of Shakespeare. While I say this is a really good devotional book (which it is), I just see the book sitting in a very small niche where commercial success will be limited. First, the King James Version has fallen in popularity in recent decades and has seen the advent of more “understandable” versions such as New International Version, New Living Translation, New King James, New American Standard, etc. Secondly, we live in the electronic age where you would be hard pressed to find someone to quote a line of Shakespeare, let alone do a comparative analysis to a King James Biblical passage.

This is why I’m having such a challenge on rating this book. I see the quality, I understand the intellect required to put such a book together. It had to be a labor of love by the author. I read several daily portions, and my enjoyment and edification was consistently inconsistent. As a matter of my own personal interest in the contents of the book, I would be hard pressed to see myself purchasing this volume. Again, it’s not a shot at the author’s work. It’s a matter of individual taste. I’m not a Shakespeare fan. Never have been. Never will be. So I’m part of that audience. But, at the same time, I can’t get past how good this book really is. For that reason, to lovers of literature, Shakespeare, and every thing King James I recommend this book with my previous opinions.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a timely and honest review. (don’t know how more honest I could be here). There are no additional considerations or expectations on the reviewer, publisher or author. I have also posted this on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, my blog: jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com, and also on Twitter.

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“If in Doubt” by Rhys Stenner

“If in Doubt” by Rhys Stenner is a really good book. Written in similar fashion to David Jeremiah’s “Ten Questions Christians Are Asking”, Stenner addresses seven foundational questions that are often on the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike.

At the outset, Stenner asks “Did God Make the World? The result, in my opinion, is one of the clearest and convincing explanations of creation that I’ve ever read. I think the material presented in this first chapter is worth the price of the book in itself. One can’t help but conclude the chapter with a new understanding and appreciation of creationism.

The author goes on to explore moral absolutes in a chapter entitled “Is There a Right and Wrong?”

Discussions continue regarding reliability of the Bible, the Godhood of Jesus, Christ’s resurrection, the Afterlife, and Christ’s second coming.

The book is written to appeal to readers at various points in their Christian walk and various levels of their own theological development.

I visited my neighborhood Christian bookstore earlier today and did find this book on the shelves. I only hope that this volume will find itself prominately displayed for large sales.

I do recommend this book.

As a disclaimer, I must add that I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher, Worthy Publishing Company, in exchange for my honest and timely review. There were no further expectations between the publisher, author, or this reviewer. This review appears on my blog, jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com, Goodreads.com, and Amazon.com

“Madame Presidentess” by Nicole Evelina

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest and timely review.

The book started out at a good pace. For me, however, it seemed to hit a brick wall about 100 pages in. I must be honest here, though. I’m a 60 year old male reader. The bulk of my reading falls into either the Christian Living/Theology or Mystery/Thriller genres. As a result, I found myself totally out of my element in this volume, as the book is clearly targeted to a female audience.

But, here is what I did see. The book is well written by a very skilled author/storyteller. It’s timely, and thought provoking.
Aside from these observations, I must admit that this book is simply not my cup of tea. I don’t, however, want to penalize the author for a book that lies beyond the scope of my interest. And, consequently, I still give it a 4-star rating, because I believe there are readers out there who will love the book. Thanks for reading my review. It also appears on goodreads.com and on my personal blog: jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com.

“The Stream” by James Robison

James Robison, along with his wife Betty, are Christian television hosts based in the Dallas area.  Their program, Life Today, can be seen on a host of Christian radio networks.  The ministry of Life Today is primarily targeted at helping those (especially children) living in abject poverty in Third World Nations across the globe.
Life Today feeds these children, as well as digs wells to provide steady supplies of water to the children.

This life giving ministry makes James and Betty Robison giant heroes of faith in my book.

James, additionally, is a great American patriot.  For 40 years, or more, he has become  one of America’s greatest evangelical political commentators.  He is an expert on our Founding Fathers and has a clear understanding of what intentions drove our founding fathers and Constitutional framers.  His position is solid, without compromise and righteous.

“The Stream” is reflective of those Judeo-Christsian beliefs, and Robison does his usual good job in communicating his beliefs and opinions.  What an appropriate release for an election season.  I just pray that this book reach the masses during these final months of the 2016 campaign season.

This Ten part book is divided into 40 chapters. Early on, he addresses “Mobocracy in the Heartland”, a commentary on racial tensions born out of Ferguson, as well as similar tensions in the time of Lincoln.  Our nation is on a collision course to repeat history in the horrid condition of racial tension and unrest.

Part Two addresses the fact that a fourth spiritual awakening is our nation’s only hope.  We need what Robison calls a “Bottom-up, Inside-out Internal change”.  Furthermore, he maintains, we need to relearn the importance of gratitude and are in dire need of a return to wisdom.

According to James Robison, evil must be fought, laws must be just, and we need a smaller government that makes for larger citizens.  He continues that not only do “black lives matter”, but EVERY LIFE MATTERS.

America’s only hope is “…the hope for freedom and the only true hope for the  world.  It is the transforming power of gospel truth  demonstrated by changed lives and delivered by Spirit-filled believers.  As His people called by his name come together in brokenness and humility, turning from all of our indifference and wicked ways, our Lord Almighty Creator will hear from heaven and will forgive us, cover us, and heal the people and our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

I received a hard copy of this fine book as an advanced readers copy (ARC) from the publisher (Worthy Publishing) in exchange for an honest and timely review.  And as a result, I commend this book to you.  There are no other expectations between the publisher, author, and this reviewer.  This review will be published on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and my blog, jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com.

“Words to Live By”, by Linda J. Gilden and Dalene V. Parker

The subtitle of this unique devotional is “52 Ordinary Words that Lead to an Extraordinary Life”.  The subtitle speaks volumes about the content of this interesting presentation.

Generally, when I review books, I will read them, write the reviews, and relegate the books to a little visited shelf, or perhaps a box in the closet.  I can tell you however, that this book will remain on my table and will be referenced often in the months ahead.

52 weekly topics are presented in five parts for daily reading.  You spend a week on each subject.  Some important words to live by that drew my attention and interest include: Believe, choose, cherish, honor, praise, laugh, sacrifice, and persevere.  All honorable words and actions that reflect a heart yielded to the Almighty One.

The book is written cleanly, clearly, and concisely, and the reader will often find himself stopping mid-sentence or mid-paragraph to suddenly consider the weight of the words just digested.  Linda and Dalene do a marvelous job bringing us to a new level of understanding and appreciation across these 52 different subjects.

This is a new style of devotional that I like very much.  Its appropriate for all age groups and both men and women.  I do realize that this volume will more greatly appeal to women, and women will be the major audience.  I do, however, hope that my few comments on this high quality production will draw male readers as well.  Because, I’ll tell you what, gentlemen…. we need to hear this stuff, and we need to get this kind of teaching in our own masculine spirits.

I highly recommend this book to all readers, and it comes with my hearty “atta girls” to both authors.  This book is available now and I urge you to pick up your copy at your earliest opportunity.

I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest and timely review.  There are no other expectations beyond said review.  This review will appear on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and my blog, jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com.

 

 

At Home in the Father’s House…

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased and honored to write a review on John Sheasby’s “At Home in the Father’s House: Where I Belong as a Child of the King”. This is one of those volumes where the material hits the reader right between the eyes with Truth.

In the Kingdom, there are Sonship and Servanthood. In Biblical times, individuals received their blessings in two distinct ways. They received them as the blessings were “earned” or when the blessings were “inherited”. Through relationship as with a blood heir, or through transaction, as through a hired hand or servant.

Using distinct Biblical examples, author Sheasby opens his heart to engage the reader to open his heart and eyes to the magnificent blessings that are available through a familial relationship with the King of Kings. Repeated examples, both from the author’s life and through clear biblical illustrations, Sheasby endeavors to show us what we miss if our relationship with God is not up to its potential. These illustrations become obvious as the reader meditates on the content of this fine book.

I am always happy and willing to discuss book content and story lines. I try to avoid getting too “chatty” during a book review, as I want to let the potential reader of this book to experience the same kind of revelation as I did upon reading the book. In that regard, therefore, I offer my complete and total recommendation of this book to you, the reader. I want you to engage with Pastor Sheasby in a “spoiler-free” experience. And I hope that the reader’s experience is similar to my own, as your heart and mind are confronted by a new way of looking at where we belong as children, rather than servants, of the King.

As a result, I give this volume 5 big gold stars, and back that with my heartiest recommendation as a book that will serve you unexpected blessings from completely new perspectives. This is one of those books that sneak into the scene and then suddenly break out as readers grasp the weight and truth of the message. And this is a message of Truth, Victory, and Abundant Blessing!

I received a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest and timely review. There are no other connections or expectations between myself, the publisher or the author. This review will be included on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, my blog: jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com, and other social media sites.

Happy reading!

“Hunting Hope” by Nika Maples

We’ve all been through our own seasons of darkness, hoping to find just a glimmer of light. Dark seasons manifest themselves in a variety of ways: broken relationships, financial upheaval, a cancer diagnosis, etc. Author Nika Maples terms us “Hope Hunters”.

This is a well written book, primarily targeted to women. It gives excellent teaching on finding our own hope, as well as glimpses into the author’s own personal experience. The words flow from her pen like poetry. The abundance of love and grace in the author’s life is obvious after reading several pages. I think women who struggle with these issues will find this volume to be liberating, and a step in the right direction to meet head-on with the hope that comes only through Jesus Christ. I would surmise that caretakers would be equally blessed by spending time with this book. For that, I do indeed recommend this book to you. You’ll be blessed.

I received a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher (Worthy Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. No other expectations exist with either the publisher, author or myself. You can find a copy of this review on GoodReads.com, Amazon.com, and my blog: jonreviewsbooks1.wordpress.com.