Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | September 24, 2018

Don’t settle for ‘I’m fine’

Hope Your Heart Needs: 52 Encouraging Reminders of How God Cares for You

Holley Gerth’s “hope your heart needs” is an encouraging reminder of God’s love for us. Driven by her passion to empower girls and young women, Gerth writes books filled with wisdom on how to tackle our stress and busyness in this overwhelming world.

“hope your heart needs” offers 52 reminders of how God cares for us by helping us understand His character and His love for us.  Each “chapter” focuses on one of God’s character traits, such as Advocate, Bread of Life, Bright Morning Star and Shepherd, just to name a few. Through personal experiences and insights, Gerth shares how God has met her needs and how He promises to meet ours as well.

I have read most, if not all, of Gerth’s books. They are all encouraging and uplifting and draw you closer to God. You can choose to read “hope your heart needs” daily or weekly to stay focused on God’s love for you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Interviews and Reviews, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a 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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Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | September 24, 2018

A delightful story of mystery with some romance thrown in

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

“A Sparkle of Silver”, Liz Johnson’s first book in her Georgia Coast Romance series, is one of the best romance novels of 2018.  Johnson provides mystery and intrigue with a dash of romance to make the read entertaining and enjoyable.  Ben and Millie, as you will see, make the perfect team.

Millie Sullivan’s grandmother has a secret tucked away in a mind filled with the cobwebs of dementia.  Millie is doing her best to take care of the expenses of the nursing home where her grandmother resides, but the threat of eviction draws closer with no solution in sight. Until…

Her grandmother mentions one day that there is a treasure hidden at The Chateau, once the wealthiest estate in Georgia and now a popular tourist attraction.  She claims there is a map in her mother’s (Millie’s great-grandmother) diary that was left at The Chateau.  Millie believes if she finds the treasure it will solve all of her problems.

She quickly gets a job as a hostess at The Chateau where she meets Ben, one of the attraction’s security team, as she is searching for the diary and offers him one-half of the treasure if he will keep her out of trouble. Together, they must find the treasure before the other treasure hunters do.

Between the danger of getting caught and running out time to keep her grandmother from being evicted from the nursing home, Millie and Ben work tirelessly to decipher the clues in the diary.

The one thing that haunted me throughout the book is how Millie could possibly assume that if she found the treasure it would belong to her, but Johnson satisfies the issue plausibly by the end of the story.  So don’t get hung up on this one little triviality.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Liz Johnson’s “A Sparkle of Silver” Launch Team.  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 | September 20, 2018

Anchor your life to unshakeable hope

“For every problem in life, God has given us a promise. We can find hope by praying those promises.”

Praying the Promises by Max Lucado

Max Lucado and Andrea Lucado have written an inspiring book on prayer. “Praying the Promises” is a devotional prayer book which encourages readers to pray the promises of God and offers assistance through 30 promises of God found in Scripture.  Each promise is presented through Scripture passages, a sample prayer and “I am” and “I will” statements that help you claim the promise and proclaim your part in bringing that promise to fruition in your life.

As always, Max Lucado offers encouragement and insight.  Along with Andrea, they have created a great prayer resource that will help you and make a great gift for those in your life who need some biblical encouragement in a world of trouble, pain and hopelessness.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booklook Bloggers, as part of Thomas Nelson‘s Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a 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 | September 19, 2018

Supernatural tales of bloodthirst and mayhem

22 Sideways by Ellen C. Maze

Ellen C. Maze writes incredible tales of supernatural folklore that will haunt your mind and entertain you with stories about vampires, wraiths, rakum, and she might throw in a werewolf story when you aren’t looking.  “22 Sideways” contains 22 bloodthirsty stories of bloodthirsty villains which you will absolutely adore–that is, if you are into vampires and other evil characters lurking in the dark.

These awesome tales of the night will entertain even the squeamish among us.  If you have read Maze’s Rabbit series, you will find several of these tales of particular interest because they give some background information and back stories of the characters in the books.  If you live in Alabama, you might just recognize some of the story settings.  And….if you look real close, you might find someone wearing an Auburn hat.  My favorite story of all was “Bullies”.  The ending couldn’t have been better.  Truly impressed by the knock your socks off twist that I should have seen coming.

The author was kind enough to give me a copy of her book, and she didn’t even ask me to review it.

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | September 5, 2018

Are we there yet?

 Most of us, if we are honest, think of eternity as a future event–something that starts after we die. But, Jesus never talked about eternity as an after-death event.

In “Eternity Is Now In Session”, John Ortberg looks at eternity as something we can experience in the here and now.  He asks “what if we stopped thinking of Christians as people who profess beliefs about God and instead focused on becoming disciples who know God?”  Ortberg asks us to rediscover the Christian concept of salvation as not something that happens after we die but something that affects us where we are today.

Ortberg’s book reads more like a theological essay.  Parts of it are informative and engaging while other parts were dry and slow to read.  It is important that we understand the importance of living in eternity today, but I wish Ortberg had said it better.  I have read some of his older books and have enjoyed them.  One of my favorite books is “If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a 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 | September 5, 2018

The great mystery revealed

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2) by [Dekker, Ted]

Ted Dekker’s “The 49th Mystic” was just the beginning of Rachelle Matthews’ journey from blindness to sight.  Rachelle soon discovers that her life in Eden, Utah, and her haunting dreams of another world are co-mingled and she must find five seals (three in her “dream world” and two on Earth) in order to keep both worlds from falling into chaos thanks to the Shadow Man known as Vlad.  Spoiler Alert:  At the end of “The 49th Mystic”, Rachelle has found three of the five seals.

“Rise of the Mystics” continues Rachelle’s journey to find the last two seals which can be found only on Earth.  Eden, Utah is gone, and Rachelle is now in a research facility near Washington, D.C.  Thinking that she is being treated for schizophrenia, Rachelle is trying to understand what is happening in her life.  What is real and what isn’t?  Can she believe her eyes or her heart?  Can she trust what she sees or what she cannot see?  Is she blind, though seeing?

Rachelle’s journey for truth is no different than ours.  We have sight but don’t truly see the truth of our existence.  We face battles but don’t truly know our enemy, nor do we know truly our Savior.  We don’t know or understand the strength we have at our disposal.

Ted Dekker’s passion for biblical truth and talent for storytelling is woven together in a narrative about a journey from blindness to sight—from a place of doubt to a capacity for trust.  Do we truly see?

“Rise of the Mystics” is a novel of fiction, but it is also a journey of self-discovery.  Are you ready to take a trip? Are you ready to find out who you really are?  Don’t be surprised if, as you read about the five seals, your masks fall off and you truly see for the first time what God sees when He looks at you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Ted Dekker’s The 49th Mystic Inner Circle Launch Team.  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 | August 27, 2018

Year-long journey to intentionally live the fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22 Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Making God Smile: Living the Fruit of the Spirit One Day at a TimeIn “Making God Smile”, Kim Taylor Henry  invites us on an intentional journey through the fruit of the Spirit. She encourages us through personal stories, biblical teaching and spiritual insight. By focusing on each fruit for forty days (in a specific order), Henry shows us how to grow strong roots and make the fruit of the Spirit a permanent part of who we are.

Henry’s devotional will inspire you to seek more of God and His fruit in your life.  By focusing on one fruit for forty days, you will learn how to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and incorporate it into your life. In 365 days, you can transform your life. It is undated so you can start at any time.

“Making God Smile” will encourage and uplift you throughout the year. It will be the perfect gift for yourself and others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Worthy Publishing, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program.  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 | August 27, 2018

Be a light in the darkness

The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the DarknessWe are living in a culture very similar to Daniel’s where are faith is being challenged and Christians are treated with hostility. Many Christians are shrinking away from living an open faith because of how they are treated by unbelievers.

Culture demands that we keep our beliefs and faith to ourselves while compromising our morals and values. But what did Daniel do?

Daniel didn’t sit back and allow Babylon to influence him. He took a stand. He continued to pray, openly and in public.  He continued to live his life under the will of God no matter what happened to him.  If Daniel could do it, so can we.

Erwin W. Lutzer, pastor emeritus of The Moody Church in Chicago, answers the pressing questions of our day in his new book, “The Church in Babylon”.  He teaches us how to serve with Christ’s heart and mind in today’s Babylon. He also discusses the five false gospels in our churches and staying true to our Christian witness.

Lutzer walks us through the best ways to respond to transgenderism, immigration and other issues Christians are asked to respond to.  We can prevail and be a light in the darkness.  “The Church in Babylon” helps us walk in the darkness with love and faithfulness.

“The Church in Babylon” is an excellent resource for small group discussion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a 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 | August 24, 2018

God is in control…

Guarded PrognosisWhen Dr. Caden Taggart was visited by two men introducing themselves as DEA agents, he should have contacted an attorney. He shouldn’t have allowed them to snoop around his office, but they coerced him to be compliant. So he was.

But when they wouldn’t share information with him or tell him how long they would remain in his office, he became skeptical of the real reason they were there.  That’s when things began to unravel.

While all of this was going on, Dr. Taggart’s father, Dr. Henry Taggart, is diagnosed with pancreatic carcinoma, which is always fatal.  Father and son are at odds about treatment and each other.  When Caden’s mother dies and he suspects murder, and someone tries to take his life, he realizes he is in over his head. The discovery of the truth about the agents and not knowing who to trust makes Caden fear the unthinkable–the loss of his freedom and the loss of his life.

Richard Mabry, M.D., writes incredible medical thrillers.  As a retired doctor, he has great insight into the medical field.  His books are almost always concise and to the point.  He doesn’t keep you in suspense very long but delivers an entertaining read without boring us with all the medical terms. And when he does discuss medical terms, he explains them in such a way that it feels like a part of the story.  You can read “Guarded Prognosis” in a couple of hours.

While it is a Christian novel, it is not overly theological.  If you’ve never read Dr. Mabry’s books, you are missing a treat.

 

 

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | August 24, 2018

what we can learn from the broken people in the Bible

Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from ThemBelieve it or not, there is just as much, if not more, to learn about God from the flawed men and women in the Bible as those whose story reflects goodness.  We can also learn a lot from the lesser-known characters, such as Herodias and Gomer.  Ann Spangler’s “Less Than Perfect” gives us a glimpse into the lives and hearts of the Bible’s flawed personalities that help us see God’s character from the perspective of their temptations and weaknesses.

Spangler is a wonderful storyteller who brings to life some of the Bible’s more colorful characters.  She gives cultural and historical insights that we simply miss by reading the Bible stories alone. She gives them depth and reveals how imperfect people are the perfect examples of redemption.

“Less Than Perfect” is the perfect study for discussion in a small group. Each story offers insight into God’s Word, His character and how we fit into His Story. Whether you read it on your own or as part of a group study, you will enjoy and appreciate Spangler’s ability to bring people to life.  You will be amazed at what you will discover in Bible stories you have read all of your life.  She also teaches us how to study the Bible stories on our own and glean our own insights.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booklook Bloggers, as part of Thomas Nelson‘s Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a 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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