Christian non-fiction

What’s on Your Reading Pile?

I’ve been a reader all my life, and always have a stack of books waiting to be my next literary get-away — plus plenty on my haven’t-bought-yet list. I’ll admit it makes me a little crazy and a little sad when I hear people say they don’t like to read. Don’t they know how much they’re missing?!

That’s why I love this quote from J.K. Rowling that I saw online this weekend:

JK Rowling quote

Source: BuzzFeed UK; http://bit.ly/1WZBESB

My sentiments exactly! Whether it’s suspense, romance, sci-fi, dystopian, Western, mystery, historical, or something completely different from the non-fiction part of the world — everyone can find something they enjoy reading if they take time to dig a bit. I’ve said it to plenty of my kids’ friends in the past few years.

TBR pile

What are you reading next?

Me, I’m always looking for another “right” book. Here’s what’s left of my to-read pile at the moment. Since there are only six (two of which I’m partway through), I obviously need to get moving on my haven’t-bought-yet list!

Your turn: I’d love to know what you’re reading or what you want to buy next. Share in the comments and we’ll all have some good books to explore.

Categories: Christian fiction, Christian non-fiction, historical fiction, Historical Monday | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thankful when God connects the dots for me

Now that my kids are older and don’t get quite so much stuff on Christmas morning, one of the things I try to do is find a new book for each of us. Theirs were easy and I didn’t have much trouble finding one for my husband either. But for myself? There were just too many great choices!

AudaciousI saw Audacious by Beth Moore in a Lifeway sale flier and thought I’d like to read it. But I didn’t get to Lifeway and the store I visited didn’t have Audacious in stock, so I ended up getting another book instead. No big deal, I thought. I’ll get it sometime later.

Then one day right after Christmas, I heard the DJs on one of our local Christian radio stations talking about a weekly TV show with Beth Moore that would be starting in January. What?! I was so excited, because I love her teachings. There’s no telling how many hours I’ve spent over the years digging in her Bible studies and soaking up what she taught at a few of her Living Proof Live conferences that were phenomenal – for the teaching and for the wonderful women I went with.

I checked the station’s schedule and actually remembered a few days beforehand to set the show to record. The show’s description was pretty generic, just saying that she guides viewers to live and love God through Bible literacy. But I didn’t care what she’d be teaching about. I was going to have mini Beth Moore conference time in my own den!

In the meantime, I did get to a Lifeway store and picked up Audacious. I read the back cover copy, but it was still on my desk when I sat down to watch my first recorded episode of the show. Turns out, they’re airing 30-minute episodes from one of her live conferences.

And – here’s the best part – these first episodes are from one weekend when she taught about being … audacious.

I laughed out loud when I realized that. Because, in case you don’t know, she doesn’t teach on the same subject at each Living Proof Live event. Each one is different because she waits to see what God leads her to talk about. Of all the conferences she’s led, of all the topics she’s taught – audacious.

Extremely bold … recklessly brave … fearless (according to dictionary.com). In the context Beth is teaching? Audacity is being bold enough in our faith to trust and do what Jesus wants us to do, even when it’s scary or no one around us understands. It’s making up your mind to be fearless, going beyond what people might expect you to do as “normal.”

thanks connect dotsIt’s having the guts to do what Jesus wants so that He gets all the glory.

I love that. And when I’m honest I have to say it’s something I need to work on, here in my safe and usually not-too-exciting corner of the world. I haven’t done too much related to my faith lately that required much guts.

God knows it too, so maybe He’s using this to wake me up a bit. Seeing the book in the flier, hearing about the TV show (which was unusual in itself because I don’t listen to that station as often as some others and never heard mention of it elsewhere), getting the book, matching it up with the show’s episodes. Seems like He’s connecting some dots for me.

Audacious. It’s a bold word just rolling off my tongue, let alone living it. We’ll see how it goes.

Your turn: What’s something big and bold you’ve done lately, that can encourage others when they’re trying to act that way themselves? Or, what’s something you can do to have a little more audaciousness in your life?

Categories: Christian non-fiction, Christian speakers, Living in Faith, Thankful Thursday | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: One Year Alone With God

With Christmas only a few weeks away (!), many of us are starting to think about gifts and are making out those wonderful shopping lists. If you know somoene who enjoys devotional books that help them learn in bite-size pieces on busy days, then check out One Year Alone With God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God by Ava Pennington.

book_oneyearalone_edited.jpgPlenty of books and Bible studies look at the different names of God and what they mean. What sets Ava’s book apart is the way she handles it. One Year Alone With God explores 122 names and attributes of God in three different ways over a period of three days. In the first devotional for each name or attribute, the reader “looks up” as Ava says, to see how and why God describes Himself the way He does. On the second day, the reader “looks in” to see how that name or attribute applies to his own life and how it changes his relationship with God. Finally, on the third day, the reader “looks out” to see how that deeper knowledge of God and himself can be shared with others.

I like the way each name is broken into smaller pieces of study; for me, it seems like it’s easy to read a devotional, spend a few minutes thinking about it, and then go on with my day. One Year Alone With God makes me more conscious of how I can put the things I learn into my everyday life, and I like that. I also like that the devotionals are so short they only take a few minutes to read, but you can also read all three for the same name or attribute if you have time.

Ava_Pennington.jpgAva’s publisher sent me a copy of One Year Alone With God to read and review. I’ve used it for personal study time, with my middle/high school girls at church on Wednesday nights, and as a short devotional as part of ladies night dinner at church. I’ve enjoyed learning new things about the names and attributes of God, especially those I didn’t know much about or don’t think about as much.

I would certainly recommend it, but don’t just take my word for it. Right on the front cover of One Year Alone With God is an endorsement from Kay Arthur herself. And it says, “Can you imagine what will happen if you spend a year, day by day, focusing on your God and Father? May Ava’s devotional deive you to His Word.”

With an endorsement like that, you know there’s something good about the book. Visit Ava’s website for more info, or get your copy online or at a local bookstore.

Categories: Book reviews, Christian non-fiction | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Anita Estes: Giving Hope to Parents of Prodigals

I mentioned a few months ago that I’d joined an online group for Christian writers called the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Our goal is to uplift each other as we write the books God puts on our hearts — whether it’s through sharing ideas, lifting each other up in prayer, or helping spread the word about each other’s books. Today I’m happy to introduce you to a fellow J316 member, Anita Estes, who I actually met at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference in August. (It’s always so nice to meet online friends in person!)

Anita’s celebrating a special day tomorrow (Nov. 8) — the official launch of her latest book, Letters to God on a Prodigal Son: Overcoming Addiction Through Prayer. Tomorrow only, if you order a copy of Anita’s book you’ll get lots of free bonuses and will also be entered in a contest to win either a $25 or $50 gift card to some favorite stores. To learn more about the book and the free offers for that day, visit a special page on Anita’s website.

In Letters to God, Anita shares excerpts from her personal journal and prayer book while living through the ordeal of having a prodigal son with addiction problems. She shares bits of their stories, prayers she prayed along each step, lessons her family learned, and suggestions her readers can follow when they’re in the same situations. As I saw in one book review, Letters to God lets you “witness the transformation of a mother who felt helpless to help her son, but turns to God and never lets go. Watch her faith grow and her son find freedom, redemption and deliverance.”  (CBM Book Reviews)

“I want those who are watching a loved one caught in the blinding windstorm of addiction to understand that God did not want this for them and He invites them to dialogue honestly with Him,” Anita says. “I want parents, family, relatives and friends to be equipped with spiritual tools for coming against the powers of darkness involved in addiction. My desire is to help guide them on this dark journey and lead them into the light of God’s presence.”

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Anita’s website and all the free gifts you’ll get by ordering Letters to God on Nov. 8. Then, if you do buy a copy, stop back by and let me know how you liked it. I think you’ll find a powerful, easy to understand, honest look at what families go through when dealing with prodigals and/or family members with addictions. I know it gave me new insights and hope it’s a big encouragement to those who need it most.

Here’ the link again for all the special things tomorrow: http://www.anitaestes.com/landing-page.html.

Categories: Book reviews, Christian non-fiction | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment
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