Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | August 5, 2019

Fiction based on strange-but-true story

yellow lantern  Grave-robbing and body-snatching were prevalent among the 19th Century medical community. Sometimes doctors mistook a living person as dead which led to an alarming amount of “live” burials. Doctors hired “resurrection men” to obtain corpses for research purposes.

Angie Dicken’s fascination with strange-but-true history led her to create fictional stories. In “The Yellow Lantern”, Dicken weaves a story of crime, desperation and love. Josephine Clayton is considered dead, but she is very much alive and awakens just as the doctor is preparing her body for research. In order to save her lie, she makes a deal with the doctor to leave the village and work at a distant cotton mill.

From there, she tries to hide her true mission while trying to save her father and help the other girls working at the mill.  We might think she could have said or done something, but times were different and finding people she could trust proved difficult.

Her employer, Mr. Taylro, takes a liking to her and, as she cares for him, too, she tries desperately to finish the task and get out of the business as soon as possible.

Dicken has a remarkable storytelling ability that leaves you turning the page to see what will happen next. In surprising twists and turns, Dicken keeps you guessing until the end. There are some slow parts, but all-in-all, it is a fascinating story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc. 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 5, 2019

Calling the Church back to its roots

reformed  In “Church Reformed”, Tim Bayly is calling the Church back to its roots as outlined in Scripture. The New Testament clearly models for us the design God intended for us to follow, and Bayly sets out to convince us of the changes the American evangelical church needs to make.

This book left me questioning a lot and, at times, made me feel condemnation. I’m sure his words are intended to bring Believers back to a place of unity, worship and service, but I felt it was more about following tradition.

It was the topic of baptism that got me. While I tend to agree with his theology up to a point, I was taken aback by his insistence that in order to be a member of the Church, one must be baptized.  I think that most people desire to be baptized, but to make it a requirement makes it more of a work.

There were several things I did agree with such as not placing our hopes in a liturgy or something we do by rote and ritual. This book left me heavy. I’m not sure that was the intention. While I would like to see the Church return to biblical standards, I don’t believe we “do” something or stop “doing” something. I believe it takes a work of God in an individual’s heart which leads to a corporate revival ushering in the reformation of the Church.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Barnabas Agency, 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 3, 2019

Incredibly horrifying, magnificently mesmerizing and ferociously good

string  “It was time.”–The second line of Caleb Breakey’s “The String” begins a frantic game and race against–you guessed it–time.  The villain, who calls himself The Conductor, subdues his victims through intimidation, blackmail and by whatever means necessary to make them submit to his demands and “play” along.  Every member of his unwilling symphony is called a string and each string has a part to play in his intricate plan.

Just like any game, The Conductor had ground rules–but only two:  “Participation is mandatory” and “if any one person refuses to play, the threats to all players will come to pass”.  Are you ready to play, I mean, read?

“The String” leaves you breathless, running for your life (if only in your mind).   Instead of Christian suspense, it quite rightly should be considered Christian horror.  If you like the creepiness of Stephen King and the multiple twists of Harlen Coben, you will absolutely thrill at the writing style and ability of Caleb Breakey.  His fascinating way of changing points-of-view without skipping a beat demonstrates a skill not often employed with perfection.

I can’t recommend this book enough.  Read during the day or at night. Either way, you will sleep with the lights on and one eye open.  And, by all means, play the game.  It’s on now.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, as part of its 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 | July 28, 2019

Bible Study for young adults

mark  John Perritt’s 12-week study, “Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything”, walks young adults through the book of Mark. It is not a superficial study but an in-depth look at Jesus, the suffering servant.

One of the first things you will notice is that you will need to have a Bible with you as you study.  It is also meant to be used as a group study rather than for individual use.  Each of the twelve lessons includes a big idea, Bible conversation (an article written by the author), discussion questions, an exercise to complete on your own and wrap-up and prayer.

This book is intended for one-to-one discipleship, small group or large settings.  While it is possible to complete alone, you will get more out of the discussion section with a group. The book includes Leader’s Notes for those leading the study.

If you are a leader of young adults or a mentor who disciples young adults or new Christians, this resource will help you teach the gospel and help your mentees develop a biblical background.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Growth Press through Audra Jennings PR. 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 | July 28, 2019

Winning the Spiritual Battle

warfare  Our spiritual battles are not fought using worldly methods. The enemy, Satan, attacks us by using our relationships, our challenges, and sometimes our past to keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose.  We cannot sit back and wait for him to go away.

Tony Evans, in his book “Warfare”, teaches us to identify how spiritual warfare affects our soul, family, and culture, who the armies are who fight our battles and how to claim victory.

“Warfare” introduces several ideas that surprised me and gave some very spiritual and wise advice when it comes to fighting our battles.  Evans will make you think and search Scripture and help you learn what it takes to fight the enemy.

Spiritual warfare is not easy, and we will constantly be battling the enemy. We need a guide to help us and encourage us to keep going and never give up. Evans leads us to the One who empowers us to fight and win.

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 | July 28, 2019

Discover Jesus in Unexpected Places

surprises“The Jesus Who Surprises” opens your eyes to the Old Testament in new ways.  Dee Brestin’s newest book helps us find Jesus in the Old Testament in this in-depth combination book and Bible study.

This 13-week study includes facilitator resources with lesson-by-lesson notes. Brestin’s approach features her personal observations followed by a Bible study divided into five-day installments.  She walks readers through the books of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets. You will see Jesus in a different light and better understand how the Old Testament work together to tell God’s story.

If you are ready to embark on an exciting Bible journey, choose “The Jesus Who Surprises” and discover Jesus in all of Scripture.  Each day’s study will take no more than 20 minutes, but in that time you will learn so much.  You will see the relationship, find out how to live in the story, see how the story will end and be filled with the hope of heaven.

Companion videos are available for free at www.deebrestin.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Waterbrook Multnomah’s “The Jesus Who Surprises” 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.”

 

Wiersbe  If you are familiar with and enjoy Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be Series”, you will love interacting with God’s Word as presented in The Wiersbe Study Bible.  Dr. Wiersbe, an internationally known Bible teacher and author of the “BE Series of Expositional Bible Stories, has included many unique features, such as “Be Transformed”, Catalyst notes, character issues as well as Dr. Wiersbe’s study notes and an extensive concordance.  Also included is an index of preaching outlines adapted from his “Be Series” commentaries and maps.

Dr. Wiersbe included valuable notes and resources in this excellent study Bible. The print is very easy to read even in the footnotes. I was very impressed by the contents of the concordance–both in volume and detail and the thousands of notes from his lifetime of insight into the Bible. It is not that much bigger than other Bibles in spite of the volume of material and the size of the print.

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 | July 9, 2019

Children’s story discusses disobedience and sin

mud  “Don’t Blame the Mud” by Marty Machowski is a children’s story addressing the results of disobedience and how the only way we can be clean of our sins is through Jesus. By comparing the effects of mud to sin, Machowski teaches children that we must take responsibility for our actions rather than trying to hide or place the blame on someone or something else.  Even when we try to make up for our mistakes, we never quite get free of sin until we confess it to God and ask for forgiveness.

I read this book to my three-year-old grandson who enjoyed the pictures and illustrations created by Craig MacIntosh.  He was intrigued with the story and kept asking, “And then what happened?”  It was a great way to instigate a conversation about Jesus.  Even three-year-olds understand the concept of getting dirty and that you can’t just change clothes to get clean.  You have to address the dirt and grime and completely remove it before you are entirely clean.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Growth Press through Audra Jennings PR. 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 | July 9, 2019

Know your enemy

battles  As usual, Joyce Meyer tackles spiritual battles with biblical truth.  It is important to know who your true enemy is–Satan–while understanding that the best and only way to defeat him is through the application of God’s Word and prayer.

In “Your Battles Belong to the Lord”, Meyer focuses on God’s nature and character to combat the strategies of the enemy.  Meyer has a gift for putting deep spiritual concepts in language everyone can comprehend.  She lists how-tos and steps to gain victory over Satan and encourages readers in their spiritual walk.

She is quick to point out that she didn’t always know what to do, but she is passionate about sharing what she’s learned with us so we, too, can win our battles when we trust God to fight them for us.

If you feel discouraged by the problems in your life, discover the source and find out how to defeat your enemy in Meyer’s latest book.  Pre-order now for its release in September 2019.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hatchette Book Group, 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 | July 9, 2019

Keys to Powerful Prayer

mountain  When you pray, do you expect to move a mountain?  Linda Evans Shepherd offers practical advice on intercessory prayer in “When You Need to Move a Mountain”. What a difference we can make when we pray and take our burdens to God and expect answers.

If you’ve ever struggled with prayer, especially with the mountain-sized requests that make you feel helpless, this book will encourage you and guide you into being more confident in prayer. Shepherd’s easy style and biblical wisdom help you find hope in prayer and teach important scriptural foundations.

In “When You Need to Move a Mountain”, you will learn the secrets of intercessory prayer, how to pray for breakthrough, break strongholds, win battles, pray for provision, healing and for your community, church and pastor.  The sample prayers are a great way to learn how to create your own from scripture.  Shepherd’s keys to powerful prayer make this book a resource you will turn to often when you need help interceding for yourself and others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, as part of its 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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