Monday, July 28, 2014

Reckless Devotion-365 Days Into the Heart of Radical Love

This is a daily devotion book like no other.  Heidi and Rolland Baker are missionaries to Mozambique, where they have served for 19 years.  They have a passion for their mission and for sharing God's love with some of the poorest children in the world.  Living this life has allowed them to see God's provision for His children in a very real and practical way.  They take the reader, day by day, through an adventure to that kind of devotion; the type of devotion that this book is named for.  These readings are written to challenge us to embrace that reckless devotion to the "One who loves you more than you can imagine."  There are 365 daily readings, each one less than one page long.  Some include a prayer that the reader can pray at the end of the reading for that day's subject.  Each week is ended with a page of suggestions to put the week's reading to work in your own life, many with scripture references.  The weeks are also centered on a particular subject with titles such as Allowing Jesus Complete Access, Passion for His Presence, A Constant Supply of Oil, The Fruit of Suffering, The Path to Joy, 52 in all.  The pages are not dated, so you can start any time during the year.  The Bakers invite you to spend a year with them experiencing a passion filled walk with God.  This is not a typical daily devotion with a thought to ponder and scripture to read.  It is an active challenge to change the way you live your life in Christ and what you give of yourself.  The Bakers will take you from thinking about it to fully living it by the end of a year.  It does not demand that you sell all you have and give the money to the poor; nor do they suggest that you enter the mission field to experience the reckless devotion God deserves.  Their premise is to "surrender totally to God and become more fully the person He has always intended you to be."  I absolutely love this book!  It is exactly what we need in today's world with the multitude of distractions we have.  I give Reckless Devotion five stars!
"All God wants is my laid-down love, my reckless devotion.  He is asking the same from you." -----Heidi Baker

I received a copy of Reckless Devotion from the publisher, Chosen Books, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion. Reckless Devotion: 365 Days into the Heart of Radical Love  -     By: Heidi Baker, Rolland Baker

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Power of Weakness

The Power of Weakness: Embracing the True Source of Strength is the complete title of this book by Dan Schaeffer.   This title may be intriguing for you, as it was for me.  As Christians we all know that our true source of strength is in God.  We at least know it intellectually (head knowledge) if not spiritually (heart knowledge).  But, to see an entire book on just that is something we do not see frequently.  I did no research here, just my recollection of the titles I have seen at the Christian book store, and online shopping sites.  That is because it is not something we think about daily.  We know it's there, we know we have it and we claim it.  But, we don't always call on God to show His glory through our weakness.  Mr. Schaeffer points out that we are a "can do" (my words) sort of people.  We strive for success and even as Christians want to do it ourselves.  He points out that we deny one of the most important things about daily life in Christ;God wants to reveal His glory through our weakness but we just don't let that happen.  To call on a much used phrase, we fail to "let go and let God" leaving ourselves in a continual struggle.  The author points out many excellent examples from scripture of those who knew they were weak and stepped aside to let God win the battle for them or have the glory in difficult situations.  This book has many scripture references which remind us of how much God wants to work through our weakness.  It is somewhat lengthy in the telling of many examples from the Bible.  I found myself skimming the last several chapters because I could see that there was more of the same, which were stories I was familiar with.  It gives much evidence from Scripture of the point he is making.  He makes good use of many quotes and stories from well known Bible scholars on this subject, as well.  The end of the book has a discussion guide with questions on each chapter, also including an activity and a challenge at the end of each chapter's questions.  This would be an excellent resource for small groups, Sunday morning classes and Bible study groups.  The questions/discussion guides are detailed and thought provoking.  I almost felt like it would be best used by reading through it first without deep thought on the points made, then going back to dissect it while using the questions and the activity and challenge portions.  To read this you must be engaged and interested in the subject matter, else you may lay it down halfway through because you think you already know what he is telling.  It is worth staying with it and using the discussion guides for each chapter.  To quote from the author's website "The Power of Weakness invites you to trust God with your abilities and inabilities and find relief from the wearying pursuit of success."  I give the power of weakness three stars.

This book is not yet released.  I received a complimentary E-Reader review copy of this book from the publisher, Discovery House, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Murder at the Mikado

What a delightful romp through clues and mysteries!  Murder at the Mikado is the third Drew Farthering mystery and is set in England around the main character's estate in the country, sometime in the 1930-40's. It has the feel of a classic black and white murder mystery movie and I felt like I was watching it unfold on the screen as I was reading.  It was great fun!  Drew Farthering is drawn into the investigation of a murder when a former girlfriend is suspected and subsequently arrested for the crime.  She fetchingly coaxes him to investigate the crime to hopefully clear her name.  But, there is more here than meets the eye.  Is he still attracted to her?  That would make him easy prey for her to make use of his detective skills to her benefit.  Further complicating things, Drew is engaged to be married to Madeline, the girl of his dreams, who also shares his amateur sleuthing adventures.  His best friend gets into the act also, as he jumps in to help solve this multi-layered puzzle.  Will Drew's devotion to the case risk his fiance's eagerness to tie the knot and threaten his upcoming wedding?  Does he risk losing her to solve the crime?  With each character having various side plots weaving into this story to complete the picture, I could not help but keep reading until I reached the last page.  This is my first Julianna Deering novel, but it will not be my last.  It is so well written that it flows easily through each seeming catastrophe and it kept me reading in the hopes that all would turn out o.k. for Drew and Madeline.  Each time I thought I knew who the guilty party was, some new wrinkle showed up and I was back at square one!   Ms. Deering writes this very well and that makes it easy to read and hard to put down. It was one of the most enjoyable books I have read in quite a while.  I give Murder at the Mikado five stars!  Read more about the Drew Farthering mysteries and Julianna Deering at

I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


In Firewall, DiAnn Mills latest offering, Taryn Young is on the hunt of her life.  After living through an airport bombing as she was about to leave on her honeymoon, she finds out that her husband is a suspect in the bombing.  Her best friend has been killed and that same friend’s daughter is missing.  FBI agent Grayson Hall is on the case and Taryn is a person of interest in this crime and probably will become suspect.  She escapes the hospital despite a concussion and strikes out on her own to prove her innocence.   She does not have the strength or resources to find the perpertrator, so in an act of desperation, she contacts FBI Agent Hall and asks for help.  She is able to convince him of her innocence and her status changes to “probable victim.”  This begins a huge network of agents worldwide looking for the head man in this scheme.  After working a long list of names they are able to start narrowing it down, but the brains behind the crime evades them until nearly the end.  This is a detailed read and has lots of characters to keep up with but it can be done.  It is a good plot line and well written, but I did see a few gaps that I could not completely get a handle on.  The connection between Taryn and her best friend Clair does not have enough detail to get my buy in on how deep their friendship is and the circumstances that made them friends is not described until almost the end of the story.  Taryn's faith is suffering and her relationship with God is non-existent at the start but her friend Clair is a witness to Taryn for the love of Christ before her death, which brings Taryn slowly back during her long ordeal as she begins to call on God once again. Agent Hall is a Christian which plays into their developing relationship. His Uncle Joe is a Christian. The part that faith plays in this book is small but still evident. The mastermind of all the evil deeds remains shrouded in mystery until close to the end, and then is revealed in a shocking manner which is a traumatic blow to Taryn.  The evil enforcer's motivation does carry worldwide implications that tie every plot line together in the end.  This novel has layers of intrigue between multiple characters and at times I was not sure  how they were related but Ms. Mills succeeds in  weaving  all of them together into a neat package at the end.  Good story with a good ending!  I give Firewall four stars.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale Press in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Included below is a guest post from the author, DiAnn Mills with pics from her training at the FBI Houston Citizens Academy.

DiAnn Mills
Firewall Blog
FBI Houston Citizens Academy
When I received the invitation from the FBI Houston Community Outreach Coordinator to participate in their Citizens Academy, all I could think about was the research at my fingertips and the potential of taking a future suspense novel to the next notch of credibility. Actually, my aspirations were selfish. During the seven week course, I grew as a citizen who cared more deeply about stopping and preventing crime in my city.
            The Citizens Academy is offered yearly to thirty of Houstons citizens: professionals from all walks of life, religious leaders, and others who are actively involved in the community. I was the only writer and considered the invitation an honor. The nominations are made by FBI personnel and Citizens Academy alumni. I was recommended by Houston FBIs media coordinator. Wed become good friends, and she knew my concern about providing accuracy in my novels where the FBI is depicted.
            The goal of the academy is to give those taking the class a glimpse of the FBI and how its special agents serve within their investigations. This method of outreach is popular in cities all over our country.
            “The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners. It performs these responsibilities in a way that is responsive to the needs of the public and faithful to the Constitution of the United States.”