Friday, July 31, 2015

Thriving in Babylon


Title:  Thriving in Babylon
Author:  Larry Osborne
Pages:  224
Year:  2015
Publisher:  David C. Cook
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
Read any newspaper, listen or watch TV and it doesn’t take anyone too long to realize that our society has gone through a major decline.  People are hopeless.  Some are applauding actions or remarks that not too distant in the past would not have found an audience.  Babylon in our society seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.  Read the Old Testament passages referring to Babylon to help you understand the reference to life today in America.
I have noticed an increase in books referring to Babylon and some of them are quite good; others are not.  Larry Osborne has written a book with a subtitle, “Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture.”  He is referring to characteristics of a man from ancient times, a young Jewish man who was exiled to Babylon centuries ago.  While Daniel underwent intense training in many subjects, the main lesson Daniel reminds us of is that no matter what happens we can stay true to the One God we love and adore.
The book has sections titled, “Daniel’s Story”, “Prepared for battle” and “Hope: Where Courage is Birthed” to name a few.  There are actions we can take that will influence our culture and bring glory to God even if we never know the end result of what He tells us to do.  The author shows readers what Daniel did with his life in his situation and then shares with us what we can do today in our society.
You might find ideas that are challenging and that would be okay.  You may find areas in the book with which you and that is okay too.  Go to your Bible and read Daniel chapters 1-6 so you can refresh your heart and mind with God’s truth and discern what you’re reading in Thriving in Babylon.  One of the main ideas really is He hasn’t called us to run scared or silent.  He has given us Daniel as an example of what we can do or how we can live today that will impact hearts for Christ.
A friend and I have been studying Daniel for a while, long before some of these books were published.  It is no accident that authors are trying to encourage and exhort us not to hide, be silent or forget Who we serve!  We are our society’s Daniels of today.  We need to seek Him for the courage, wisdom and strength to face the furnace or lion’s den that seeks to devour our faith!  Remember as you read Daniel he didn’t know the outcome of his actions before he obeyed God.  Daniel lived a life of faith that influenced leaders of large kingdoms, and we can most certainly live a life of faith in which others will be influenced or challenged to come away from the lifelessness of Babylon to Christ, our living Hope!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  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.” 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Irene Hannon's: Hope Harbor

Title:  Hope Harbor
Author:  Irene Hannon
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Irene Hannon’s latest novel, Hope Harbor really captured my heart from the word go!  The male lead character is Michael and he has come to Hope Harbor to hopefully gain some peace in his troubled heart and soul.  At his first stop, he runs into problems with his motel reservation and then he knocks a young lady off her bike by accident as he is crossing the street.  He faces the young lady named Tracy, apologizing and thinking this is the end of their meeting, but alas it isn’t so!
As I discovered reading the tale of forgiveness, redemption, hope and new beginnings, my heart was captured by both the tough times some of the characters had gone through.  One of the characters named Charley runs a little food business right by the beach, selling fish tacos.  While they don’t sound pleasant to me because I don’t like fish, this Charley is a real friendly small town guy.
Tracy is part owner of a cranberry farm as well as a CPA.  Her past has left scars on her heart that cause her to run anytime someone draws near.  As readers continue to delve further into the book, so many interesting interactions take place between the hometown residents.  One of the funnier ones is the friendship between a priest and protestant pastor, especially when they go golfing.
Hope is the main theme of the story, but it is also born out of risking rejection when seeking to make amends with a person from one’s past.  I think if some of the characters didn’t risk, their hope couldn’t have been restored.  One other point I got from the book is that our God is a God of second chances, and the wisdom to know how to proceed when an opportunity presents itself for another chance in a relationship was touching.
I learned something about sea gulls too, but I will leave that for you to discover when you read this work of fiction!  I look forward to Irene’s second book in Men of Valor series coming Spring of 2016 as well as book two in the Hope Harbor series due to be released in summer of 2016.  I already have a couple of novels on my 2016 watch list!  Yeah!  Enjoy the story!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  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.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Empires End by Jerry Jenkins


Title:  Empire’s End
Author:  Jerry B. Jenkins
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Worthy
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5.
Anyone who is familiar with the Bible will enjoy reading a novelization of the man Paul and his life.  Those who haven’t read the Bible may find this novel of vast interest and willing to be open to the Gospel that is clearly shared multiple times in the book.  What I really enjoyed was how it made Paul seem that he was a man to whom God spoke and through whom He gave us portions of the written Word we have in the New Testament today.
It was curious to consider what pain, suffering, longings, joys and trails he lived through and with while traveling all across the land.  The variety of people he spoke to who both accepted his message and those who wanted nothing to do with the offer of salvation, especially through Paul’s speaking.  In the novel, it reminded me of how human Paul was and to not place him upon a pedestal, but to worship God alone.
The book begins and continues to draw readers in by making the reality of the message of God through Paul very believable.  Spread throughout the novel is Scripture and it is shown to be as natural as any other story to be shared with anyone we may come across.
Jerry Jenkins brings the ancient world to life and people to us fresh from the past to examine and consider the work God has done in and through their lives.  To think of how God spoke to Paul and trained him for the work He was calling him to, taking the Gospel to the Gentiles.  The cost to Paul we tend to forget, and this tale gives us pause to consider that anyone who takes up his cross and follows the Lord will pay a cost throughout their lives.
Empire’s End is a great read and frankly if you know of someone unwilling to read the Bible, this novel is a great way to evangelize them.  So grab a copy for your own personal library and maybe one or two to prayerfully give to those whom the Lord lays on your heart.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  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.” 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Direct Hit


Title:  Direct Hit (The Blitz Detective #1)
Author:  Mike Hollow
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lion Fiction (Kregel Publications)
Inspector John Jago is in his forties and has been in his current occupation for a little more than twenty years.  He has a new partner that he is training, young Peter Cradock.  The year is 1940 and the war with Germany has accelerated.  The beginning of the bombing campaign enacted on London takes place in this story.  During one of the bombing raids, the inspector and his protégé are called to the scene of a murder.  They find identification on the body, but while waiting for the police surgeon to arrive at the scene, another bomb is launched landing directly on the crime scene, obliterating any evidence including the dead body!
As the inspector and his partner investigate the crime, asking questions of those who knew the victim, they uncover other criminal activities.  The road to justice for the victim is full of twists and turns and plenty of deception.  Another murder is committed by one of their prime suspects in the first murder, so they must rethink their line of inquiry.  Of course, there is much more going on than meets the eye with many more questions than answers.   Inspector Jago has much experience and advice to impart to detective Cradock, who views things a bit more simply the Jago.  Is Cradock naïve or is Jago just too cynical?  However, the two work well together, complementing each other while investigating crime.
I so enjoyed this new entry into the world of British mysteries!  The writing was detailed and the plot interesting.  I enjoyed the setting of London at the beginning of WWII.  The main character of Inspector Jago is haunted by his past experience of fighting in WWI.  His memories don’t hinder his work, but they are ever present in his mind as he experiences the blitz of German bomber planes shelling London repeatedly.  His belief or unbelief in God is briefly discussed in this story and maybe this theme will be developed more in future writings.  I’m a fan of British mysteries and this is one I definitely recommend.  I can’t wait for the next book!
My rating is 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  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.”