Unexpected Love by Julie Zine Coleman

A book review by Kim Newhouse (my mom 😉 )

I was intrigued by the title of Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed in Jesus’ Conversations With Women. It’s often difficult to understand exactly what we should take from various Bible stories because of our extreme cultural and historical differences from that place and time, so I hoped this would help clear that up some. I didn’t hear much in the way of new insights (from previous books, sermons, and articles examining these characters) and was not real comfortable with some of the conjecture that took place as the author tried to breathe new life into “old” stories. ie I was reading some aloud to my daughters and found myself stopping to say “well we don’t know if he or she REALLY thought (or said or did) that”.

 

But on the other hand, I did like the format of the book very much. After the brief reiteration of the story, we are given a bit more historical and theological information, an application section entitled “For Today’s Woman”, then some questions to think about, and finally some journaling prompts. My favorite part was the application section, especially the one on Martha. It zeroed in on what Jesus was truly admonishing her for—not her actions or busyness, but her attitude. It was her critical spirit, her focus on self, and her need to control things that got her into so much trouble. And yet Jesus loved her and extended grace to her at each interaction, gently drawing her into deeper relationship with Himself.

 

Unexpected Love makes a great devotional book, particularly if you invest plenty of time on the journaling section, but it would also be good for Bible study or discussion groups.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Twelve Unlikely Heros by John MacArthur

A book review by Kim Newhouse (my mom 😉 )

I was hoping to give this book a good review…I usually love MacArthur’s writing, I relate to the unlikely heroes God chose, and I’m dedicated to studying the Bible. Alas, I felt the book to be repetitive and unenlightening in many ways. Yes, there was some historical context, description of Jewish tradition and MacArthur’s own embellishment of possibilities in the characters’ lives to supplement the Bible stories we all know, but glaring errors made me distrust the facts. The carelessness of the editing is inexcusable–even my children caught Biblical issues as I read aloud to them. Here are 2 examples:
From Miriam’s life story:
(p. 45) “His wife, Jochebed, was pregnant with their third child….That child was indeed a baby boy. And they named him Moses.”

Excuse me? We do NOT know what they named him…Moses means “drawn out of the water” and that name was given to him by the daughter of Pharoah who found him in the Nile AFTER he was weaned and came to live with her! (Most of us know the story so I’ll just put the verse that proves this point.)
Exodus 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Another example, from the story of John the Baptist:(p. 156-7) “Having used his voice to express sinful doubt, Zacharias would be unable to use again it until his son was born.” (I kid you not, that typo is indeed in the book.) “When he saw his newborn son for the first time, his tongue was instantly loosed.”
Read the Scriptures…that is NOT what happened:
Luke 1:57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father–what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.

I have John MacArthur’s study Bible–chock FULL of study notes through every chapter of the Word of God. How could he be so careless in this book? Makes me think someone else wrote it and put his name on it! Or is that the case with the study Bible? Just doesn’t make sense.

Although this book had great potential, I wouldn’t recommend it until another fact-checked version came out….

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

A book review~ Nearing Home

Since Riah is gone, let’s take a minute to sneak in a guest post from mom 🙂

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Billy Graham

In this easy-to-read book, which is part memoir and part instruction, Billy Graham shares brief stories from his fascinating life, as well as insights about growing old, dealing with loss, and living out one’s latter years.  Chapter titles like “Fading strength but standing strong” and “The impact of hope” reflect the positive encouragement shared by Graham in this, his 9th decade of life.

My favorite part of Nearing Home is the key scripture and often whimsical quote at the beginning of each short chapter, which includes such gems as “Don’t resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.” Graham backs up his points with relevant Bible verses, interesting research, and helpful anecdotes.

I think anyone can benefit from reading this wise and enjoyable book, but especially those who need an extra boost as they begin to slow down and struggle with the aging process.  I was definitely challenged to face each decade with hope, humility, and a hunger to learn more and live a life full of faith and service to the very end.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith.” –Col 2:6-7

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Guest Post: A Book Review (by Kim Newhouse)

The Love and Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love by Dr. Emerson Eggerich

The primary purpose of this beautiful (2-toned imitation leather) book is in the final chapter: “to guide two people to love and respect each other unconditionally, out of a deep consciousness of Jesus Christ”. As important as it is to please each other in marriage, that’s not what it’s all about. Spouses must recognize that marriage is “a tool and a test to deepen and demonstrate your love and reverence for Christ.” Study questions are included in the back as well as helpful appendices, one of which describes the love and respect concept in a nutshell.

I especially appreciated the appendix entitled “Devotions for Married Couples: Command or Option?”  The author humbly admits that he’d tried in the past to find scripture to support a mandate for this kind of spiritual discipline but later realized it’s just a healthy option. Much scripture is used throughout to support the concepts and each chapter ended with prayer suggestions (rather than a written-out prayer) and a simple activity to get you thinking about how you could apply the teaching.

I can see how this book would benefit couples in all stages of marriage and could be used year after year as a relationship “tune-up”. I also found principles I can pass on to my children that apply to ANY relationship such as the power of optimism, which was apparent even in the lives of melancholy people like Jeremiah and the Apostle Paul: “The optimistic have hope in God…are thankful…[and] are enthusiastic about what God is doing and will do”.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. Info on this book can be found at http://booksneeze.com/blogger/resources/9780849948176