Friday, October 31, 2014

(Review) 50 Things You Need To Know About Satan and Demons by Mark H. Muska

Publisher: Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group. The paperback is available November 4. The Kindle is available now.
Genre: Spiritual Warfare, demons, Satan.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 144.
Rating: 4 Stars for Very Good.
Source: Free copy from Bethany House in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion.

Available on @ Amazon for Kindle.

Summary:
50 Things You Need To Know About Satan and Demons is a starting point for the subjects of Satan, demons, and spiritual warfare. The book addresses the important focus for Christians, pertaining to myth and folklore versus what the Bible states.
Mark Muska clarifies all of his points with Bible verses.
Examples of chapters:

  • Who is Satan?
  • How does Satan act against humans?
  • What is exorcism?
  • Why does Satan want to destroy us?
  • Do demons inhabit specific places?
  • Why did Jesus forbid demons from speaking when He cast them out?
  • What is hell? Is it a real place? Where is it?
  • What is spiritual warfare?
  • Are witches real?

My Thoughts:
Books on the subjects of Satan and demons are rare in the Christian market. I have read the book Spiritual Warfare: The Battle For God's Glory by Jerry Rankin (link given to read the review). The Kindle price at this time is .99 cents. It could be most Christians avoid these subjects. Avoiding the subjects does not make the reality of them go away.
What I loved about 50 Things You Need to Know About Satan and Demons is the debunking of myths and folklore. So much of what we know is from media, especially in regards to Hollywood movies. The most notable are the movies The Exorcist and The Omen. It is important for Christians to understand we are saved by God's grace. Although we live in the world and can be oppressed by Satan and demons, this will only happen if God allows it to happen for the purpose of developing our character and growth in Christ Jesus. We can trust God because He has already won the war. Our focus should not be on Satan and demons, but on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Mark H. Muska reminds often to "take heed" and "any experience that we claim to have that goes beyond what the Bible teaches must be approached with great caution."
Today is Halloween. Christian parents approach the day often not knowing what to do. Some parents ignore the day all together, and others allow their children to wear innocent looking costumes and celebrate the day. Muska's advice is to "take a strong stand against occult or evil." 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

(Review) New King James Version Full-Color Study Bible from Thomas Nelson

Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian Publishing, October 21, 2014.
Genre: Bible.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 2496.
Rating: 5 Stars for Excellent.
Source: Free hardcover Bible from Thomas Nelson and Book Look Bloggers for the purpose of review.

Available at Amazon, Christian Book.

Link for a preview of Bible: NKJV Study Bible. 



Summary:
Thomas Nelson has published a New King James Version Full- Color edition Study Bible.
Features of the Bible:
A section titled: How To Understand What The Bible Means By What It Says.
114 Articles.
155 Bible Times And Culture Notes.
85 Charts and Diagrams.
75 In-Text Maps.
346 Word Studies.
Introductory chapter for each book of the Bible.
Double column.
Reference notes in the center margin highlighted in light gray.
Explanatory notes located at the bottom of each Scripture page.
Table of Monies, Weights, and Measures.
Teachings and Illustrations of Christ-3 pages in length.
Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ-6 pages in length.
The Parables of Jesus Christ-a list of 39.
The Miracles of Jesus Christ-a list of 37.
Prayers of the Bible.
Subject Index to Annotations and Features-25 pages.
Concordance-194 pages.
Map Index and Maps-4 pages.
Maps-17.
Ability to receive a free download.

My Thoughts:
Over-all I love this Bible. I have began reading it for daily Bible reading, Sunday worship service, and Bible Study Fellowship. 
What I have not found out is the type size and font name. I wanted to be able to give this information in the review but it is not available.
In comparing this Bible to another new edition NKJV Full-Color Study Bible by Holman (reviewed earlier this year). I noticed four things quickly:

  1. The Holman Bible has bold block print all through the Bible; on the other hand, the Thomas Nelson Bible is not bold print and a bit harder to read. The Thomas Nelson Scripture words are a little larger, but the bold print in the Holman Bible makes it easier to read. 
  2. The Thomas Nelson Bible is slightly smaller as compared to the Holman Bible. If you are a person who writes in the margin of your Bible, the Thomas Nelson Bible has only about a quarter of an inch on the side margin. In the Holman Bible there is a half inch on the side margin. 
  3. The Holman Bible is a red-letter edition, this means the words of Christ are in red. The Thomas Nelson Bible does not have the words of Christ in red. 
  4. The Thomas Nelson Bible has more supplemental study information. This includes more maps, illustrations, and articles. 

Both Bibles are solid well-built Bibles. Both Bibles have strong pages, especially the Thomas Nelson--the pages are easy to grip.

I love both study Bibles and recommend both of them. Bibles are personal and each individual must choose the Bible that will not sit on a shelf to gather dust; but be read and studied and treasured.

"Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11. NKJV. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bible Reading Update, October 28, 2014

The last Bible reading update posted was October 8.
Since the last posting I've read Proverbs chapter 1 through 31. I completed reading through the Bible on October 27. Proverbs was read from the Holman Rainbow Study Bible King James Version. This is the link to read my review of the Bible at Amazon. 

I have also finished reading 1 Corinthians. In 2014, I have read the book of 1 Corinthians twelve times in twelve different translations. The twelfth time was read from the ESV-English Standard Version. The ESV is one of my favorite translations of the Bible. I own the Crossway ESV Study Bible, bought in 2008.
Chapter 13 is the most well-known chapter in 1 Corinthians. The verses are often read at weddings; however, the love that is spoken of in this chapter is agape love. Agape love is the love Christ Jesus showed on the cross. It is the love God has for His children.
I love chapter 13 in 1 Corinthians, but there are other verses that I love more. For example:
1 Corinthians 2:3-5. "And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." 
1 Corinthians 2:16. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 
1 Corinthians 13:12. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 
1 Corinthians 15:58. "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 
In 2015, I plan to read 2 Corinthians twelve times in twelve different translations.

All Bible links courtesy of Bible Gateway. 
Agape love definition from Patheos. 

Мы реадершип хасс инкреасед, эспесиалли н тхе контру оф Окраине. И велкоме юу инъ тхэ найме уф Христ Есус. Год блесс уу онд кээп еу софье.
"Тхерефоре шее ду нут слухе хеарт. Эвен тхугх уор утварьд тань ись перишинг, ет тхэ инвард танк ись венг реневед даю вэ даю. Фор уг лигхт аффликтен, вних ис вут форк ай момент, ис воркинг фор юс ай файр морэ эксцеединг онд этернал веигхт оф глории, вниле шее ду нут слухе лок от тхе тнингс вних яге сэн, вот ат тхэ тнингс вних аге нот сен. Фор тхе тнингс вних арке сен аге темпорары, вот тхе тнингс вних яге нот сен аге этернал." 2 Коринтнянс 4:16-18.


Monday, October 20, 2014

(Review) To Everything a Season: Song of Blessing Book One by Lauraine Snelling

Publisher: Bethany House, October 14, 2014.
Genre: Fiction, 1900s, North Dakota.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 353.
Rating: 2 Stars for okay.
Source: Free copy from Bethany House and An Open Book in exchange for a review.

The book is available @
Amazon

Summary:
1905, Blessing, North Dakota. Blessing is an emigrant town. People from Germany, Russia, Norway, Ireland, and England live there. A new hospital is built. Two female physicians are in charge of the hospital. A group of nurses arrive from Chicago in order to have further hands-on experience. One of the nurses is Miriam Hastings. After her training, she plans to return to Chicago in order to provide financially for her mother and siblings. While living in Blessing, Miriam warms to the idea of small town life.

My Thoughts:
I've discovered, To Everything a Season is a first book in a new series, but it is related to at least three other series of books located in the town of Blessing.
I did not enjoy the book until mid-way when I was introduced to Miriam Hastings. Her quandary of furthering education and experience, versus responsibility in providing for family is a tearjerker.
She is the only character I felt drawn to.
I felt the story skimmed across situations and problems. It needs a defined plot that will draw the reader into the depth of the story.

Friday, October 17, 2014

(Review) Miracle in a Dry Season, Appalachian Blessing Book One by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Publisher: Bethany House, July 29, 2014.
Genre: Fiction, Southern Story, 1950s.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 305.
Rating: 3 Stars for good.
Source: Free copy from Bethany House and An Open Book in exchange for a review.

Book is available @
Amazon

Summary:
Casewell Phillips, 35, is a single man. He lives in the rural area of Wise, West Virginia. His parents live nearby. Casewell builds furniture, he also built his home.
Perla Long, 24, is a single mother of Delilah. She moved to Wise from another town in West Virginia, in order to escape her reputation and begin a new life. She and Delilah are living with an aunt and uncle. Perla is an exceptional cook and baker.
The people of Wise love Perla's skills in the kitchen, but gossip fills their minds more than their stomachs. There are a few people of Wise who see past Perla's past, and see their present need for her help.

My Thoughts:
Miracle in a Dry Season is a well-used story with simple characters.
It has elements that I've heard all too often. People who do not see their own sins; however, they pick and pluck another for their sin. Gossip is often information that is incorrect. It is speculation. I feel Miracle in a Dry Season gave a solid story with teachable subject matter.
The strength of Miracle in a Dry Season is its themes.
The weakness of Miracle in a Dry Season is the characters. I felt the characters needed to be developed stronger. I saw just the surface of their abilities.
I'm going to step out on a limb. Christian fiction is (not always) too clean. I'm not referring to morality, but reality. Life is sometimes ugly, raw, rough, gruff, and mean. There is nothing wrong with presenting Christian characters who are these traits. The more real a character, the more impact the book will have on the reader, because the reader can identify with the character. The character will have a vivid dimension and definition. When I think about the apostle Peter, in the beginning he was a rough and gruff man. In Scripture I see him at his worst and at his best. I am aware of readers who do not want to see these developments in a Christian fiction character, and for them I am glad there are books like Miracle in a Dry Season.