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Thursday, September 26, 2013

"True Love Dates" by Debra Fileta

The title of this book is a play on words of sorts to the famous book entitled "True Love Waits."  While this book is an interesting read and quite the page-turner, I still think "True Love Waits" is a better book in many regards.  That book is deeper spiritually and literally.  This book is simple.  However, I do not mean that as an insult.  This book goes over many basic principles of how to date inward, outward, and upward.  So, in other words, the author encourages getting to know yourself, getting to know others, and getting to know God.  With a bit of practicality thrown in, there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter, as well as a section towards the back of the book where Fileta goes over common counseling questions.  I think Fileta's experience as a professional counselor make this book a bit more appealing.  Sure, she may not be saying anything that other books on "Christian dating" don't say.  But, her background gives her opinions a bit more credibility.  Due to the nature of some topics discussed in this book, I would say it is for mature readers and not youngsters. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Why Still Care About Israel?" by Sandra Teplinsky

Wonderfully written and researched, Teplinsky does a phenomenal job of articulating the swirl of controversy surrounding Israel.  She uses Bible verses from both the New and Old Testament to show that the Bible in no way supports the idea that God is done with or doesn't care about Israel anymore.  She touches upon replacement theology as well as Antisemitism.  There is even a section of the book that goes through Church history and how there have been countless edicts throughout the years that have tried to rid Christianity of its Jewish roots--sometimes killing Jews in the process.  Another interesting part of the book dives deep into how the media does not portray Israel accurately.  There is even a vague reference to a Italian photojournalist who, in 2011, did an expose on how much media from the Middle East is staged (Google Ruben Salvadori).  Teplinsky also goes in depth on fundamentalist Islam and what the Quran says on eradicating Israelities.  This is an eye-opening read for people of all faiths that will make people think twice before demonizing a persecuted people who is currently fighting for its right to exist.  I also liked how the author threw in Yeshua and Yahweh in her vocabulary of this text.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Wounded by God's People" by Anne Graham Lotz

Following the story of Hagar, Lotz elaborates on how an Egyptian slave was hurt by the great patriarch Abraham.  From having to leave her home in Egypt to having to act as a concubine to having to be cast out into the wilderness, Hagar's life was not easy.  Interwoven with this story is Lotz's own stories of how she has been wounded by Christians.  The chapters are divided into segments that align with the Genesis story.  Lotz has a lot of wisdom but is a bit lacking in the knowledge department.  In one part of her book, she talks about "Jehovah."  For those that don't know, Jehovah is the result of rabbis stripping YHWH of its vowels and trying to make it have the vowels of Adonay (means "lord" in Hebrew) in favor of their man-made traditions.  This gets us Yehovah, and when the letter "j" came around about 400 years ago, the name "Jehovah" stuck thanks to a king by the name of James.  "Jehovah" is not God's Name.  His Name is YHWH.  Additionally, at one point in the book, Lotz alludes to Christians not working on Sunday and makes them out to be "obedient."  The Sabbath never is or was on Sunday.  It is Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset.  The Sunday Sabbath is a result of Constantine's pagan edicts in the 360s AD.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Chasing Hope" by Kathryn Cushman

At first I thought this would be a boring sports novel.  Was I wrong!  This story sticks with you from beginning to end and will pull at your emotions.  Sabrina is an honor student who used to be heading to the Olympics to “run for God.”  Her plans changed when she was diagnosed with a juvenile form of arthritis.  Dreams crushed and friends gone, she is a bitter young lady.  After losing her ability to run like a pro, she constantly thinks poorly of herself.  Even when her boyfriend showers her with attention, she pushes him away because she feels he is out of her league.  Sabrina’s well being gets even worse when she encounters a young woman who has star running potential but who wastes opportunities by drinking and getting mixed in with the wrong crowd.  As Sabrina eventually begins to coach the young hooligan—you’ll have to read and find out how THAT happens—both women begin to admire the other and eventually become friends.  The friend parts takes a long while, of course.  Overall, this book is very inspirational and will make you wonder about your place in this world and how you can make a difference in someone’s life. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

“A Home for My Heart” by Anne Mateer

I read through this book in 2 days—not just because I’m a book reviewer and am used to that but because I really enjoyed the story.  The premise for the book is that Sadie works in an orphanage and gets promoted to head matron.  Then, her long time beau suddenly proposes to her.  Sounds great, right?  The only problem is that the head matron is not allowed to be married.  Sadie’s boyfriend Blaine wants her to quit her new job and marry him.  Drawn to her own dreams, Sadie tells Blaine to wait.  Hurt and impatient, Blaine leaves Sadie behind.  As I’m sure you can gather from even such little information, there is a lot of emotion leaking through the pages as we enter Sadie’s mind.  Things get further complicated when she meets a new man named Earl who showers her with attention.  Meanwhile, her new assistant at the orphanage constantly flirts with both Earl and Blain.  With some good old 1900s drama, this book will keep your interest.  When you get to the end, you will be surprised by who you judged and what characters’ motives really were. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Trapped" by Irene Hannon

Full of suspense and wonder, this books will keep you turning the pages in anticipation of both good and bad news.  As Laura's step sister goes missing, she begins to develop a relationship with the PI she has hired.  At the same time, Darcy--the runaway teen--ends up staying with a new friend.  Most stories that focus on runaways or kidnaps are pretty one-sided.  In other words, you know right away who the "bad guy" is.  However, Hannon managed to pull of a literary feat by not immediately letting the reader know who was good and who was bad.  Until you make sufficient headway in the book, you really don't know whether you admire or hate Darcy's friend.  When the story goes sour for Darcy (I won't tell you who is the "bad guy"), it gets serious.  In many stories where women are kidnapped, there is usually some rape involved.  In this story, there is none of that, but it does not seem any less real.  Hannon paints a picture of a criminal who is obsessive compulsive and who has control issues, planning on eventually raping Darcy.  However, that never happens.  The reason why I bring this up is because most people want the suspense of a kidnap story but don't want the depressing and graphic details of a young girl being violated.  While there is some violence in the book, I would not classify it as R rated.  Overall, this book is appropriate for women of all ages and will be a good teaching / discussion tool for young women to teach them the dangers of who they trust.  As you will find out, the "bad guy" doesn't always seem that bad at first.