Monday, July 17, 2017

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray (a book review)

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray is one of the most profound little books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. In this revised and updated copy, Aneko press presents a must have for every library.

Andrew Murray is a well-known evangelist and author. His books have impacted lives for generations. His book is filled with profound truths for every believer. The title of the book is also the key point in how Christians are to live in subjection to Christ. Murray tells us that in order for us to receive all God has for us, we must completely surrender ourselves to Him. As we surrender, God will work out our surrender in our lives. We must yield every part of our being to the Lordship of Christ. God accomplishes our surrender for us by the power of His Holy Spirit which indwells believers. After our complete surrender is established by the power of God, He accepts our surrender, develops it, and maintains it.

The author compares our complete surrender to a passage in the Holy Bible found in John 15:5, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you shall bear much fruit, for without Me, you can do nothing.” The job of the vine is to provide sustenance to the branch. The branch's job is to abide in the vine, relying on it for everything it needs. So, too, is the life of the believer. As we learn to live in total dependence on Christ, He works in and through us according to His good will and pleasure.

Absolute Surrender contains step by step instructions on how a believer can learn to surrender completely to Jesus Christ. Andrew Murray says, “The condition of God’s blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands.” He also says, “God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you.” To receive God’s very best blessings, doesn’t total surrender seem a small price to pay?

I hope you’ll take the time to purchase and read this powerful book. It will have a great impact on your life, I promise. It certainly did on mine.

Thank you, Aneko Press, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book. I am pleased to give it a 5 star rating! I was not encouraged to give a positive review but it is my pleasure to do so.

To purchase your copy of Absolute Surrender, click here

You may also be interested in reading the free Ebook. If so, click here

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Peace in the Face of Cancer - a book review

Peace in the Face of Cancer by Lynn Eib, is a beautiful little book filled with the promise of hope for those walking through the valley of cancer. I received a review copy from Tyndale House Publishers and was excited to read it. Since I'm a breast cancer survivor, the title intrigued me. I was not disappointed. 

The author, Lynn Eib, begins the book with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou. The quote says "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do it with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." What a great sentiment and oh, how it spoke to me as I am in the process of learning to thrive after a cancer diagnosis. 

As a cancer survivor Ms. Eib takes time to share personal issues in her book. She candidly discusses her thoughts and fears but encourages the reader to rely on faith to combat those fears. She also shares personal stories from her life and includes the stories of others who've experienced cancer. I enjoyed reading all of them and found her book to be uplifting and even humorous at times. 

Peace in the Face of Cancer is an excellent book. It speaks not only to those who are going through or have gone through cancer, but it also makes sure to provide comfort for those who've been given a diagnosis of being incurable. I found Ms. Eib's writing style casual and comfortable. Her book is easy to read and very enjoyable. 

It's my pleasure to give a big thumb's up to Ms. Eib for a job well done on writing this beautiful book. It would be my first recommendation for anyone recently diagnosed with cancer and would be a wonderful reference for those who've already traveled that road. The title of the book is accurate. Ms. Eib did inspire peace in her book by providing biblical truths, heartfelt words, and personal experience. 

I'd like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not encouraged to write a positive review but I am happy to provide that on this work. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What DO THE AMISH BELIEVE? The Doctrine of the Plain People Compared to Scripture - A book review

I was excited to receive a copy of What Do the Amish Believe? from Aneko Press. I've always had an interest in learning about the Amish and Mennonite cultures and this book promised to give me a clear understanding. What I didn't expect was a better understanding of Scripture. I've been a Christian for 52 years. I also have two seminary degrees, but as I read the book, I learned a few things!

One of the things I learned was about the history of the Amish culture. I hadn't studied that before and was intrigued to learn of the origin of the religion. Reading about the extensive persecutions during the time of the early years of the Amish faith saddened me but made me realize a dedicated faith comes with consequences.

I liked how the book presented various topics and then gave the Amish perspective on each. After the Amish beliefs were shared, a biblical view was given. As I read each viewpoint, I realized there wasn't a lot of difference between the beliefs of the Amish and the beliefs of my faith, Christianity. I wasn't surprised to learn the Amish peoples were more focused on works but their religion seemed to have solid doctrine that was biblically based and that put my mind at ease.  Included at the end of each chapter, a prayer was included. These prayers were powerful and filled with desires that all followers of Christ should utter.

Topics covered in the book included:

  1. God
  2. Jesus Christ
  3. The Holy Spirit
  4. The Bible
  5. The Church
  6. Angels, Demons and Satan
  7. Humanity
  8. Sin and Salvation
  9. The End Times
I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand the Amish culture but it would also be beneficial to those wanting to understand more about Christian doctrine. A clear and concise presentation of Scripture gives the reader understanding of the Bible in ways they may have never learned. 

I'd like to thank Aneko Press for allowing the opportunity to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not encouraged to give a positive review, however it is my pleasure to do so. 

This book will be released on July 1, 2017. To purchase your copy of What Do the Amish Believe click here. You may also read a PDF version of the Ebook at the same site. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Life for Christ - Dwight L. Moody (a book review)

In the first chapter of his book, A Life for Christ, What the Normal Christian Life Should Look Like, Pastor Moody gives us a short description of the biblical event of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I was touched by a statement Dwight L. Moody made in the first chapter. He says, " But the Lord wants His children to learn this lesson: They have something to do towards raising the spiritually dead. The disciples not only had to take away the stone, but after Christ raised Lazarus they were told to also loose him and let him go." I've read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus many times in my life and I've never thought about the point Pastor Moody brought up. Jesus could have immediately rolled the stone away and called Lazarus forth, but instead, he asked the disciples to move the stone. He wanted them to take an active part in the process. Dwight L. Moody wants us to realize we not only have an active part to play in reaching others for Christ, but we have a responsibility.

Throughout the book, Mr. Moody explains our obligations as followers of Christ. All Christians should desire the lost to be rescued and brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In order to reach the lost for Christ, believers need to be willing to make every effort using whatever means possible to accomplish this goal. He admonishes us not to get caught up in doing things the way they've always been done. He encourages us to reach out in faith and allow God to work through us. According to Dr. Moody, "God must prepare the ground and He must give the increase."

A Life for Christ is filled with truths a seasoned believer already knows and many of us take for granted such as:

We are to operate out of love.
We are to want to see everyone come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
We should always be willing to share the gospel.
We should esteem ourselves lowly and have a humble spirit.

But in addition to these truths, Mr. Moody wants the normal Christian to understand more fully our role as believers. He says, "If we want to be wise in winning souls and to be vessels for the Master's use, we must get rid of the accursed spirit of self-seeking." He intimates our motives must be right and our motives should only stem from a heart filled with love.

This book is a must read for all Christians. Dr. Moody is a well known and respected man of God. He is wise and has much to teach those of us who are fearful of partaking in the soul winning aspect of Christianity. I recommend this book highly and know it will bless those who read it.

Thank you to Aneko Press for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book. I was not encouraged to give a favorable review but it is my pleasure to do so.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

My People, the Amish (a book review)

I've always loved learning about different religions and their beliefs, but the Amish people have fascinated me. Their simple lifestyle is appealing on so many levels but I had no idea how restrictive that lifestyle could be until I read My People, the Amish.

I already knew a good deal about the Amish, or so I thought. I'd watched several shows on television about them, the most recent being Leaving Amish. But none of the shows shared much detail about everyday living and all the church ordained regulations, so I had much to learn.

As I began reading the true story of Joe Keim, My People, the Amish, I felt sorry for him. Growing up in the Old Order Amish community, Joe lived by a strict set of rules. The rules set forth by his church mandated the length of his hair, the color of his clothes, where he could go, what he could do, and how he should live his life. Joe often felt like he couldn't live up to all the expectations set before him and rightly so. Not only did the church expect perfection, Joe's Father did as well.

Joe shared how he longed for encouragement and affirmation from his father and how disappointed he was that he never received it. His father didn't show any physical affection toward Joe and never offered loving sentiments to his son. This was typical of the Amish community, says Joe Keim, "I don't remember ever getting a hug from Dad or hearing him tell me that he loved me, but that's not uncommon in the Amish community. Most Amish people don't show affection. It's just the way it was. In fact, the word love isn't in the Pennsylvania Dutch vocabulary - the closest word for love is like." It's no wonder, when Amish children reach teenage years and are allowed to go through the ritual of Rumspringa, they test the waters and begin to break some of their Amish rules.

Joe Keim shared every aspect of his life in My People, the Amish. He talked candidly about his childhood, his teenage years, dating, leaving the Amish community for a time, and how he finally found God. The challenges he faced involved disappointing not only his family but his church, but Joe knew there was more to a life filled with strict guidelines and tradition. He felt God drawing him and he wanted to answer the call.

After accepting Christ as his Savior, Joe wanted to give back to the Amish people whom he dearly loved. He founded a ministry called MAP, Mission to Amish People. His goal in forming this ministry with his wife, Esther, was to share the love of Christ with the Amish people and to help them understand the truth of the gospel.

I enjoyed this book. It was refreshing to read about Joe's story and learn how difficult it is for an Amish person to completely walk away from his order. The book is filled with courage and hope. I would like to thank Aneko Press for allowing me to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

If you'd like to read more about Joe Keim and his story, you can pre-purchase the book here. The release date for the book is June 1, 2017.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jesus Came to Save Sinners - Charles H. Spurgeon (a review)

Charles H. Spurgeon was among the greatest preachers of all time. His words of wisdom and his godly example are well known around the world. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, England's best-known Baptist minister, was born on June 19, 1834 in Kelvedon, Essex and spent his childhood and early teenage years in Stambourne, Colchester, and Newmarket. In 1856 he married Susannah Thompson; their only children, twin sons Thomas and Charles, were born on September 20, 1857. Spurgeon had no formal education beyond Newmarket Academy, but he was very well-read in Puritan theology, natural history, Latin and Victorian literature. Although he held no college degree, this did not deter him from a remarkable preaching career which he began at the young age of 15. Spurgeon's preaching was both enormously popular and highly controversial.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon has always been one of my favorite authors. When I was given the opportunity to review one of his works, I was excited. I've always loved the depth of Spurgeon's writings and how they always point the reader toward a more meaningful relationship with Christ. Jesus Came to Save Sinners certainly did not disappoint in those areas.

Aneko Press has taken Spurgeon's original Christian classic book, Jesus Came to Save Sinners, and has updated it for today's readers. The book is so well written. It's easy to read and understand. I really enjoyed Spurgeon's way of writing this book as if it were a personal conversation from one friend to another. The book is written for both Christians and non Christians alike. It gives a beautiful and clear picture of God's grace, love, mercy, forgiveness and acceptance. Subjects covered in the book include:
  • Justification
  • Grace
  • Salvation
  • Faith
  • Regeneration
  • Repentance
  • Forgiveness
  • Deliverance from Sin
  • Living the Christian Life
To give you an example of how simply Spurgeon expounds on each topic, I'll share an excerpt of his thoughts on the concept of justification. He says, "According to our natural reliance on works for salvation, we tend to always talk about our own goodness and our own worthiness. We stubbornly hold to the idea that there must be something good in us for God to take notice of us. But this is a deception, and God sees through all deceptions. He knows that there is no goodness whatsoever in us. He says that there is no one righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10) and He knows all our righteousness's [are] as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, the Lord Jesus didn't come into the world looking for those who were good and righteous, but to grant these virtues to people in need of them. He comes no because we are just, but to make us so, for He is the One that justifies the ungodly...With perfect justice, He has set up a system by which He can treat the guilty as if they lived free from offense all their life. In this way, He can treat them as if they are totally free from sin. He justifies the ungodly." He also says, "The salvation of God is for those who don't deserve it and have no way to make themselves ready or good enough for it. This may sound odd, but it is a reasonable statement because the only ones who need justifying are those who have no justification of their own. That includes all of us. For only the perfectly righteous would have no need of justifying." So you can see by the way he writes, Spurgeon wants to make sure the reader completely understands what he is sharing with them. He also uses personal examples from his own life to help the reader know the writings in the book not only apply to others but to himself as well.

I can't give enough praise to this book! If I could, I'd had out copies of it to everyone I meet. It is so powerful and simple but explains the truth of God's plan to redeem us so well. Spurgeon incorporates the "Roman Road" concept of salvation in Jesus Came to Save Sinners and his explanations of each Scripture will sweetly point the reader to Christ.

I would like to thank Aneko Press for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not encouraged to give a positive review although it was my pleasure to do so. Please read Jesus Came to Save Sinners! It will bless you and I'm sure you'll also want to pass a copy on to someone you know.

You can purchase a paperback copy of the book here.
If you prefer an ebook copy at no charge, please click here.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Escape Routes by Johann Christoph Arnold (a review)

Wisdom is gained by life experience and the aged often have profound pieces of advice to share with those of the younger generation; often, however, the young are too busy to stop and listen or even heed the advice of the older and wiser around them. Johann Christoph Arnold was different. He did stop to listen to the advice offer by a much older and wiser woman. Her name was Maureen and she shared this sage advice when the author mentioned his desire to write a book about heaven and hell:

"A book on heaven and hell? I just don't know. I'm not sure it's a good use of one's time - to worry about the afterlife, and where you'll go when you die. It's probably unhealthy. There's plenty to do right now, here on earth. You can find joy in the present, real joy, through serving others - by helping them or easing their load. You can also look out just for yourself, though if you do you will always be grumpy. You will never be satisfied. maybe that's hell...Now, I suppose if I were concerned about the afterlife I would have something more to tell you, but I haven't."

After hearing her perspective, Arnold began his book. He felt all of us have some form of hell in our lives and with that hell, there also comes a kind of happiness or a glimpse of heaven, too. As a pastor for over 40 years, Johann Christoph Arnold heard many stories of sadness along with stories of joy. Each of those stories contained a deep searching heart longing for a place of belonging and love. Many of the tales revolved around loneliness. As Arnold gathered information for his book, he found many people today also suffer from extreme loneliness. Even in the midst of community, there can be an unsatisfied need for purpose and belonging. Arnold blames some of those feelings on social media and the false sense of community it offers. He says, " The rise of the Internet has not, as some hoped, ended our isolation. True, people use social media to interact with others daily, even hourly. Yet when it comes to building relationship between people, these social technologies may actually reduce social involvement and psychological well being, in the words of one scientific study. It's common sense. The time we spend online cuts down on the time we could devote to a spouse, a child, or a coworker who might be sitting right next to us. Even the best virtual exchange is disembodied and cannot possibly replace face to face interaction with flesh and blood friends."  Mr. Arnold says "loneliness is so hazardous that people who are physically healthy but isolated are twice as likely to die during a given decade as those who live surrounded by others."

Escape Routes is a book about how we live our lives and the questions each of us have about our future. Arnold shares stories from different types of people in his book. The common thread between all of them is they want and need to feel like they belong and are valued. Arnold doesn't spend time in his book on preaching the message of salvation, instead he wants the reader to understand how disconnected we call can feel in today's world.

The book causes the reader to consider his own mortality. Do we truly understand the meaning of suffering? Can it be beneficial to helping us understand the importance of focusing on being present in the moment? The most important question of all is will we choose to love?

I found the book to be thought provoking and I enjoyed reading about the lives of others. Some of their stories did not end well but not all lives do end well. Mr. Arnold did a good job of expressing how others cope when they feel unloved. He poised many questions to his readers throughout the book about life here on this Earth and about life after we leave this place.

Readers interested in sociology or humanities would enjoy this book. It is written well and is a quick read. I would have liked to have see Mr. Arnold present the plan of salvation in his book or at least quote Scriptures from the Bible offering his readers hope. I felt it was his responsibility, as a Christian, to point people to Christ. He did quote many famous authors in the book and did speak often about love, but did not put as much emphasis on Christ's love as I thought he should have done.

I was given a copy of Escape Routes by Plough Publishing in exchange for my honest review. I was not encouraged to give a positive review although it is my pleasure to do so. I would like to thank Plough Publishing for my review copy.

If you're interested in purchasing the book, you may do so here.

About the author: Born in Great Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the United States in 1955. He and his wife, Verena, have eight children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Arnold is the Senior Pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities.