Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 23, 2015

The Caselli story continues… “The Gift”

the gift

(WARNING:  CONTAINS SPOILERS if you haven’t read previous books).

In many ways, I feel like I’ve grown up with the Caselli family–Tillie, Noah, Rosa, Guiseppi and the whole clan have become very dear to my heart.  Book IV, “The Gift”  The Story of Annie Laurie” is my favorite so far.  Tillie is a good person and her faith is genuine; however, in the last few books, I was almost annoyed by her behavior.  Even though I knew she was doing the right thing, or at least what was right for her, it was the way she came across that bothered me.

At the beginning of “The Gift”, Tillie and the kids have had time to grieve and are beginning to get their lives back.  When a moment of forgiveness comes, Tillie finally finds her way back to being the person she was in the earlier books in the series.  It was such a relief.

Ta’Mara Hanscom’s books are filled with God’s truths.  Hanscom’s desire that readers will find a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience and God’s plan for marriage is finally achieved in Book IV.  I’m excited about reading future books in the series and will be a little sad to see them come to an end.

Click here to purchase for Kindle from Amazon.com.  Click here to purchase in paperback.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 20, 2015

You can live the life you long for

Psalm 139

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

unstuckUsing Psalm 139, Pay Layton helps us identify where we’ve gotten stuck and how to get unstuck and live the life we dream of.  Have you ever wondered if you have anything to offer the world–that you are , indeed, the first person God didn’t have a purpose for?

Throughout the pages of “Life Unstuck”, Layton points out the lies we’ve been led to believe and how to exchange them with the truth.  She openly and honestly shares her life experiences and how she got unstuck.

My favorite chapter was “Unstuck Purpose” which contains “Unstuck Truth #13 The Purpose of life is a life of purpose!”.  She highlights five purposes God has for each of us.  Each chapter ends with a free resource you can receive by visiting life-unstuck.com.

No matter what has caused your life to be stuck, God’s promises can bring you to a point of unstuck living.  There are some truths you need to hear, and Layton tenderly and compassionately presents them in “Life Unstuck”.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 20, 2015

Hearing God is easier than you think

voice of godIf you make the effort, you can hear God talking to you.  In the revised and updated edition of “You Can Hear the Voice of God”, Steve Sampson lists the ways in which you can hear God’s voice and what your part is in the process.  You must be willing to sit still and listen for His still, small voice.  We are often so caught up in our praying that we forget to listen.  God desires to have a conversation with us.  Once you get past his seemingly endless examples of how he has heard from God, which are useful in some ways, Sampson’s book is a helpful resource.  However, some people may find his chapters on visions and dreams outside their realm of acceptance.

I believe Sampson used too many of his own examples and made some chapters more about Him than God.  The last seven chapters are the most beneficial.  In particular, chapter 17 which is entitled “Practical Guidelines for Hearing From God” is the most helpful chapter in the book.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing  Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 20, 2015

Do you believe in Hell?

hellMost people believe in Heaven, but fewer believe in Hell and, according to Gary Frazier, author of “Hell is For Real”, only one-half of one percent believe they will go there when they die.  In his book, Frazier separates fact from fiction about Hell and helps us discover truth and understand the Scripture that discusses Hell.

With all the books about Heaven, it is easy to get trapped in the deception that everyone will go to Heaven.  But the sad reality is that people who don’t believe in God and don’t believe that Jesus is God’s Son who died for our sins and was resurrected will go to Hell.

“Hell is For Real” is a blunt, honest look at an important issue.  It matters more than we might think.  The consequences of living life apart from God is an eternity in Hell separated from our loved ones and the One who created us.

The message for believers is the importance of talking to our loved ones and anyone who God places in our path about salvation and how to get to Heaven when we die.  Some people will be offended by this book while it may open the eyes of those who are genuinely searching for answers.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Gary Frazier is a speaker and writer on the subject of Bible prophecy, the Middle East and current events.  He is founder of Discovery Missions International and serves as associate teaching pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 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.”

blackguardThe third installment of The Caselli Family Series, “A Blackguard’s Redemption”, finds Alex and Tillie relocating to Rapid City, South Dakota, because of Alex’s political aspirations.  Being closer to Noah means Tillie will find out the secret her parents have hidden for years.  Will Noah be able to handle the temptation?  What will Tillie Do?  More importantly, will Alex finally step up to the plate and be the husband and father he needs to be.

At first, the story was hard to get into but once the action starts, the book is hard to put down.  The hidden things become known and the lies are brought out into the open.  I love these characters.  Tillie has definitely lived up to her nickname, Angel.  I love the family dynamics with all the brothers taking care of little sister who makes it plain that she can handle herself.  She shows true courage in life and in marriage.  She strives to be a godly woman even when people do not understand why she does the things she does.  Her beliefs about marriage may be outdated, but they are admirable and should be practiced by more people in our world today.

I can’t wait to read Book IV…

Click here to purchase for Kindle from Amazon.com.  Click here to purchase in paperback.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 8, 2015

‘Twisted Innocence’ Nook Giveaway

twistedHolly’s party girl days came to an end after a one-night stand ended in an unplanned pregnancy.  Giving up her wild days to raise her daughter, Lily, Holly wants nothing to do with the father of her child.  When she finds out he is back in town and might have been involved in a murder, she uses her private investigation agency to track him down to see what his intentions are.

However, the tables are turned when he kidnaps her and Lily and demands her help to prove his innocence and to protect him from the drug lord who set him up and tried to kill him.  Meanwhile, Holly’s sister Cathy is trying to get her fiance pardoned so the real killer can be found who happens to be after Creed, Lily’s father.

I was hooked on Terri Blackstock’s “Twisted Innocence” from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see how the story ended.  The ending was simply perfect.  Redemption is a beautiful thing.

In Terri Blackstock’s third and final book in her Moonlighters series, Twisted Innocence, readers are in for a story of suspense and redemption. Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

Celebrate the series’ final release by entering Terri’s Nook giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Nook GlowLight
  • The entire Moonlighters series

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 8th. Winner will be announced March 9th on the Litfuse blog.

twistedinnocence-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 8, 2015

Take back your life in a half hour

What can you do in thirty minutes?  Can thirty minutes change your life?  A 24-hour day broken down into 30-minute increments can increase your productivity and help you accomplish great things, according to Tommy Barnett, author of “The Power of a Half Hour” and Senior Pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in America.  According to Barnett, in thirty minutes, you can impact your life, chart your life path, strengthen your faith, build your character, advance your dreams, improve your relationships, change the world and change your life.  The book is well organized and filled with personal testimony of how this method has worked for Barnett for forty years.

If you follow Barnett’s suggestions, you will look at time differently, get more done and be more fulfilled.  You will find better ways to spend your down time.  The frequent mentions of his son’s ministry was the only thing I thought took away from the book.  Several times it seemed like more of an advertisement for the ministry rather than a book about time management.

My favorite section was the Personal Action Plan at the end of the book which help to apply the Half Hour of Power Principles he discusses in the book.  There is also a small group study guide included for those who want some accountability in how they are using their time.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books, as part of Waterbrook Multnomah’s Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 8, 2015

‘God’s Plan for Spiritual Battle’

God's Plan for Spiritual Battle - Blog Tour Banner - Small

Russell Stendal was raised on the mission field in Colombia, South America.  He became a missionary jungle pilot at the age of 19 and was kidnapped by Marxist rebels and held hostage for five months.  You can read about his experience in “Rescue the Captors”.

In “God’s Plan for Spiritual Battle”, Stendal uses the life and message of Jesus to develop a battle plan for waging war against evil.  Giving us this plan gives us the knowledge we need to be victorious over Satan and his evil schemes.

In the preface, Stendal asks a question he heard from a preacher on the radio that stuck with him and it resonated with me, too.  “How in the world can we expect to have a deep revival when we are dealing with such a superficial generation?”  I blame a lot of things on social media.  The digital age has made Bible reading and Scripture memorization seem irrelevant.  We have immediate access to Scripture on our iPads, laptops and even our phones.  But one day, we may find ourselves without these devices and without Scripture.

We may not understand why it is important to know the Lord’s Prayer or the Sermon on the Mount, but Russell Stendal does and emphasizes them in his book.  He uses both to teach us God’s Battle Plan.  I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for insight into spiritual warfare.  His unique perspective of Scripture makes this book worth reading and a great small group study.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Life Sentence Publishing, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 7, 2015

The Puritan Practice of Meditation

God's battle planIn the Foreword of “God’s Battle Plan For the Mind”, Joel R. Beeke explains that there aren’t many books about the Puritan art of meditation.  He researches some Puritan books and made extensive notes and hoped that someone would one day “expand them into a full manuscript”.  David W. Paxton read the Puritan books and worked diligently to create a book on the practice of meditation from the Puritan’s ideas.  In addition to explaining what meditation is and what it is not and defending meditation to those who think it is a new age development, Paxton teaches the how, when and where of meditation so we can best incorporate it into our time with God.

This is an excellent guide on the correct way to participate in biblical meditation.  By explaining that meditation should be a filling of the mind with God’s Word, Paxton discredits the Eastern form of meditation that teaches the emptying of the mind.  Paxton has given a comprehensive explanation and is an excellent resource for those interested in the Puritan practice of meditation.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Cross Focused Reviews, a service of Cross Focused Media, LLC, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | March 7, 2015

Freeing your heart from the need to be perfect

lovedOver the course of our lives, we are taught the art of perfection; however, perfection for one person is different from the perfection of another.  We compare ourselves with our peers and think we are failures because they appear so put together.  Holley Gerth, in her newest book “You’re Loved No Matter What”, debunks the concept that our goal in life is being the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect person…  In fact, she says that not being perfect is what makes us who we are.  God created us the way we are.  We are to strive to be the person God created us to be.  If you are living in the condemnation of imperfection, let Gerth encourage you to be the imperfect creation of God who, instead of striving to be perfect at everything, strives to be perfect at who God created you to be and accept God’s love for you just the way you are.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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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