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Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

This is a fascinating look at the White House Chiefs of Staff from the Nixon presidency through the Obama presidency. The author does a great job of describing the unique character traits and personality each chief of staff brought to the office and how each of them made an impact on the president they served. It was interesting that the presidents who thought they did not need a chief of staff suffered because of that and did not have a great deal of success during their time in office. It was eye opening to see how much power the chiefs of staff have and how their role impacts decisions made by the president which affect eventually all of us in this country.

This book is a behind the scenes look at what happens in the White House and makes for an enjoyable read. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paul The Apostle by Robert E. Picirilli

This well researched and informative book on Paul, the apostle is a valuable research aid for anyone studying Acts or the epistles of Paul. The author's purposes in writing this book was to put Paul's life, ministry, and letters in their historical context; to offer depth and detail but remain clear and accessible; to take advantage of recent research on Paul; and to create a book useful for college courses or individual study. I would say the author more than accomplishes what he set out to do.

Of particular interest to me was the insight into the culture that shaped Paul's early years living as a Dispersion Jew in Tarsus, a part of the Roman Empire. He was exposed to many different kinds of people and cultures as compared to Simon Peter, a former fisherman. He is described in his roles as a missionary (primarily to the Gentiles), a martyr, as well as a theologian. Helpful outlines of all of Paul's epistles are included in the book and the background of each is described as well.

This book books also includes a list of resources and a bibliography for those who want to continue to study the life and work of Paul.
I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

How to Overcome Worry by Dr. Winfred Neely

This little book packs in a lot of truth in how to overcome worry. The chapters include The Troubles Waters of Worry; A Bold Imperative; The Antidote to Worry; A Precious Promise for Hard Pressed People and Walking in Freedom From Worry. The content of the book focuses on the Paul's words found in Philippians 4:6 - 7;  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Most of us struggle with anxiety and worry at times. This book also contains helpful appendixes in the back which include a pattern for prayer; Scriptures to help one battle against worry and questions for individual reflection and group discussion. The book is small enough to carry with you when you need  reminders in overcoming worry and anxiety.

This is a helpful book which I believe I will refer to often. I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for this honest review.       

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

This powerful book is a riveting account of the injustices that exist in our present day court system. Bryan Stevenson founded Equal Justice Initiative to help poor, those wrongly condemned and otherwise trapped in the criminal justice system. The stories he shares are heart breaking but the work he does is encouraging as he offers hope to those who have been wrongly accused and are without resources to defend themselves.

The subtitle for this book is "A story of justice and redemption" which summarizes the thrust of his work. May his work continue to offer hope and help to those who are victims of prejudice and political maneuvering. Equal Justice Initiative is a worthwhile organization to support and I hope this book encourages many to do so.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

English Lessons by Andrea Lucado

I love the subtitle of this book, "The Crooked Little Grace-Filled Path of Growing Up." The author describes her year long graduate school experience at Oxford-Brookes University in England and what she learned during that time. The experience was a part of her growing up and was filled with glimpses of God's grace along the way.

She describes the cultural difference that she found in /England compared with growing up in Texas as the daughter of well known pastor Max Lucado. Her faith was challenged by encounters with atheist friends, those who were Christians and had lost their faith and other Christian believers.  It was a journey where she had to find what she believed in and not just what she was taught growing up. It was a journey where she began to discover and own her Christian faith amidst doubts and questions.

I enjoyed the description of life in Oxford as well as the relationships she made there. It is a beautifully written and thought provoking book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Is Justice Possible? by Dr. Paul Nyquist

When I picked up this book, I expected to read about social justice. Instead this is a book about legal justice. I did not realize that there was a difference. Dr. Nyquist does a good job introducing the difference between social justice (the way we treat each other in daily interactions and how we relate to each other) and legal justice (justice rendered by a judge or ruling authority). He explains why justice so elusive for the following reasons: we make unjust laws, we have limited knowledge, we have darkened understanding as human beings and we have implicit  bias. There are many examples of our imperfect legal system and those who have been victimized by it.

How we can do justice is described in the second section of the book. The topics of doing justice in the political arena, the public arena and in the personal arena are expounded on. And finally the topic of when we see justice in explained in the third section. The only time we will experience real justice in our world is when Christ returns.

The back of the book contains a resources section that featured both secular and faith based organizations that work with prisoners or in the area of legal justice.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this honest review.