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 Book reviews

This thread is for anyone to share about books that they have read or are reading that they think might be edifying or profitable to others here on the forums.

Personally, I'm trying to spend more time reading and as one of the ways to remember what books I have read and what the book is about, I'm writing book reviews. Anyone is welcome to join me in using this thread as accountability and motivation to do this.

~Joy


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[i]Here are the books that I finished reading over the last week.[/i]

[b]Do Hard Things[/b] by Alex and Brett Harris is a book written specifically to teenagers challenging them to defy the low expectations of teens in our society by ‘doing hard things’ for the glory of God. Three strategies in the book are, 1. Do what’s hard for you, 2. Be known for what you do (more than for what you don’t), 3. Pursue excellence, not excuses. In the book there are illustrations of teenagers who have risen to this challenge and have made an impact on their families, churches, communities, states and even globally. Personally this book has encouraged me not to be afraid of doing things that come out of holy ambition, “John Piper, pastor and author, defines a holy ambition as something that you really, really, really want to do—and that God wants you to do also. Some people would call this passion, but it’s passion under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” The challenges defined by Biblical principles in this book aren’t just for teens but for every Christian who desires to be a vessel used of God for His glory in their generation.


[b]Under Calvin’s Spell[/b] by Deborah Alcock was written in the 1800’s and is an historical fictional account of Geneva during the time of John Calvin. The main characters in this story are a native Genevan who is neither Catholic or Calvinist, his sister who is a former Catholic nun, and his adopted child. Then there is a French Huguenot and his son who have fled France to escape religious persecution. The beginning of the story presents Geneva and it’s leaders as a stern, legalistic society, ruled with a strong hand of discipline to those who violate it’s laws. This is the perspective of the non-Calvinist Genevan. As the story progresses another perspective of Geneva unfolds, particularly of John Calvin. It is through the glimpse that a young French lad has of the great master Calvin in a moment of him receiving news of the imprisonment and death sentence of a beloved student who was out preaching the Gospel. It is behind closed doors, at a moment when he is not aware of the observation of another that the stern theologian wept. From that point on in the story it gives a gentler and kinder view of Geneva and it’s leader. It is a good story and it made me grateful that there was a city of refuge like Geneva for the persecuted Christians of Europe. But it made me even more grateful for America and the freedom our founding fathers ensured that people would have to practice their religion at the dictation of their own conscience and not that of the state.


[b]Myra Sherwood’s Cross and How She Bore it[/b] was published by the Religious Tract Society of London in the 1800’s. It is the story of a Christian girl who was orphaned at a young age and raised in the godly home of her aunt and uncle where she received a sure foundation of ‘the religion of Jesus’. When her half brother and sister and their siblings were suddenly orphaned Myra shouldered the financial, physical, and spiritual responsibility of raising five children, ages 14 and under, herself being twenty-one. These children had lived in a worldly environment where ‘Christian’ was but a title worn by respectable folks. Myra through much prayer and dependence on God lived before them the life of a true follower of Jesus Christ. The children watched her closely and marveled at ‘the real religion of Jesus’ that she faithfully practiced, even when they vexed her sorely and caused grief and pain. Over time they were each won to Christ, some came easily in yielding everything to Christ, while for two of them it was only after hard trials and being broken that they submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ. It really is a lovely story of a young woman who denied herself, took up her cross and followed Christ by giving her life for these five children and eventually had the joy of seeing each of them also have ‘the real religion of Jesus’.


[b]The Children of Cloverly[/b] was written by Hesba Stretton in the 1800’s. It is the story of two American children who were greatly influenced by their godly mother before her early death. The legacy she left them was an exhortation to make this text their life motto, “Our Father, which art in heaven, thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Amen.” Ben and Annie were 14 and 11 when they left America to live with their mother’s sister in England. They had a firm resolve to do God’s will, no matter how hard it might be. Their circumstances in England were pleasant, though Ben had the most difficulty accepting the change. Annie was a sweet child who loved to tell people that God is our Father and He wants us to call Him by that name, as well was the blessed words of Jesus, “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” She was a faithful little sister of the Elder Brother and her life was a bright light that drew others to Christ. The story ends with a closer walk with Christ for those who knew Him at the beginning of the story as well as the beginning of walking with Christ for many others. And this came through the influence of a dying mother on her children to do the will of God.


[b]A Bunch of Everlastings[/b] by F.W. Boreham. This little book is about texts that made history, texts that changed the course of a man who in turn changed his world. From Thomas Chalmers, Martin Luther, to Oliver Cromwell and John Knox, there are biographical sketches on the lives of twenty-three great Christian men and the Scripture or saying that was monumental in their conversion and stayed with them to their death. This book gave me a glimpse into some of these lives that I had never seen before, and it also introduced me to new faces and testimonies of the saving power of Jesus Christ: Thomas Chalmers with his total change in preaching after his conversion, Sir John Franklin, the intrepid explorer of the arctic who faithfully shared the Gospel with his men. Thomas Bilney who cried, “Oh God, I am but ‘Little Bilney’, and shall never do any great thing for Thee; but give me the soul of that man, Hugh Latimer, and what wonders he shall do in thy Holy Name.” David Livingstone who gave his life for Africa, faced death many times, endured extreme hardship and much sorrow was enabled to go through all of these things because he viewed the promise of Jesus in Matthew 28:20 as “the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honor, so there’s an end of it!” These are but a few of the lives of the men whose lives are a stirring example to give everything for Jesus Christ! The final man in the book, Stephen Grellet’s text sums up well what should be the driving force in the life of a Christian and the urgency of what lies ahead of every soul – “Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!”

“Oh, the clanging bells of Time!
How their changes rise and fall;
But in undertone sublime,
Sounding clearly through them all
Is a voice that must be heard,
As our moments onward flee;
And it speaketh aye one word, -
Eternity! Eternity!”
Ellen Gates

 2009/1/5 13:21
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re: Book reviews

[b]Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims[/b] - This book lists each maxim in Gen. Jackson's notebook, and gives a brief historical application to the principle, its origin, and its effect on Jackson's life. Since Jackson was a devout Presbyterian in the Puritanical vein, many of the maxims stem from Christian conviction, however, others are simply maxims dealing with public courtesy and conversation, which were particularly helpful for shy people like myself! I would recommend it to men of all ages, as I believe it will inspire them to pursue godly manhood in both public and private.

[b]Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians[/b] - A gospel saturated work on Paul's epistle to the Galatians. The preface/introduction by Luther is worth the price of the book. A cornerstone of Protestant history and theology, which has proved both a comfort and means of conversion to many souls. It is amazing to see how the truths of justification by faith alone were revealed in such light and clarity out of such darkness. The wonderful emphasis on "preaching the Gospel to yourself" that we are hearing from the sound preachers of today is an echo of what Luther wrote 500 years ago.


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Taylor Otwell

 2009/1/5 13:52Profile
TroyorTakoda
Member



Joined: 2008/12/13
Posts: 46


 Re: Book reviews

Well I used to have some reviews out there. I'll have to write some more, as I may be teaching again in the future from some of these books, but here is my short list:

NLT One-Year Bible, Zondervan TNIV Study Bible, NASB Thompson Chain-Reference Study Bible, Basic Christianity by John Stott, The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee, How to Read a Book by Mortimer J Adler, Intimate Friendship with God by Joy Dawson, Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray, Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard, This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Gordon D. Fee, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, A People's History Of The United States by Howard Zinn, Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill, Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, End of the Spear by Steve Saint, A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness by Gene Edwards, Spiritual Authority by Watchman Nee


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Troy A Lasseigne

 2009/1/5 14:51Profile
bible1985
Member



Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 354


 Re:

THE WAY OF THE MASTER BY RAY COMFORT= REALLY GOOD
KING JAMES ONLY CONTROVERSY BY JAMES WHITE=O.K BUT SHOWS NO PROOF FOR HIS BELIEF IN HIS VERSIONS
JESUS AMONG OTHER GODS BY RAVI ZACHARIAS= vERY VERY GOOD

i HAVE A RESPONSE TO THE NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, I BELIEVE THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT UPON IT AS MUCH AS THE KJV, I HAD TO PUT IT DOWN BECAUSE I DIDN'T FEEL THE SPIRIT ON IT AT ALL WHILE READING IT. i CAN'T STAND THE VERSIONS THAT DON'T GIVE THE EXACT INTRPRETATION, THEIR IS NO POWER IN IT NO LONGER, ITS gODS ACTUAL WORD THAT MEANS SOMETHING.

 2009/1/5 17:40Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re:

[b]The Godly Man's Picture[/b] by Thomas Watson. In this book, the Puritan gives us a "pencil sketch" of a godly man by outlining and describing the various characteristics that make up the godly man. From "a lover of the Word", to "careful about the worship of God", to "a man who weeps", Watson presents a challenging and convicting description of Biblical manhood. After reading through the book, I really don't feel there is much, if anything, that is specific to men in this work; I would heartily recommend it to all men and women who desire to be challenged in their piety and practice. Each chapter is only a few pages, making it great for small group study and discussion.

[b]Religious Affections[/b] by Jonathan Edwards. In this work, Edwards gives the most thorough study on Biblical conversion ever penned. Edwards works through the signs that are often confused for genuine conversion, but really are no proof at all. In the midst of the work, Edwards writes several pages of material on proper Biblical interpretation and application which I found to be one of the most helpful portions of the book. Edward's combats the mystical view of interpretation, and instead encourages the reader to study to understand what the Scripture meant before the reader ever laid eyes upon it, for certainly the reader cannot change the meaning of Scripture. In his final chapter, Edward's concludes his study with what is the only sure sign of conversion.


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Taylor Otwell

 2009/1/5 18:08Profile
HomeFree89
Member



Joined: 2007/1/21
Posts: 797
Indiana

 Re: Book reviews

Joy,

I too have read [b]Do Hard Things[/b], but it was a couple months ago. It had a profound impact on me and I am greatly encouraged that young people are starting to catch the vision.

Below are several of the books I've read in the last couple of months.

[b]The Martyr of the Catacombs[/b] is the story of Christians in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Decius. The story follows Marcellus, who in the beginning is a Praetorian, but then comes to Christ and is martyred. The thing that struck me was how the Christians saw themselves as dispensable for the cause of Christ and the gospel.

[b]The Bravehearted Gospel[/b] by Eric Ludy is a call for true Christianity. Both the feminine(love, grace, peace, etc.) and the masculine(holiness, sound doctrine, etc.). We need both to have the type of gospel that Jesus wants us to use.


[b]Winning the Invisible War[/b] by E.M. Bounds is about spiritual warfare and knowing who the enemy of our faith is.


_________________
Jordan

 2009/1/5 19:19Profile









 Re:

Quote:

HomeFree89 wrote:
Joy,

I too have read [b]Do Hard Things[/b], but it was a couple months ago. It had a profound impact on me and I am greatly encouraged that young people are starting to catch the vision.



Yes, that encouraged me also. Ah, Jordan, you mentioned the [b]The Martyr of the Catacombs[/b], that is a great book! It's been a few years since I last read it. Hmm, I can see that this thread is going to put more books on my reading list. :-)

Thanks to those of you who have already contributed reviews!

 2009/1/5 20:42
bible1985
Member



Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 354


 Re:

absolute surrender by andrew murray is absolutely awesome and powerful, every christian read it and the great thing is that you can order it for less than 6 dollars anywhere.

 2009/1/6 2:49Profile
TroyorTakoda
Member



Joined: 2008/12/13
Posts: 46


 Re: Books

Yes, Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray will most likely always be in my list of the top 5 best books of all time on spiritual growth (if I were to ever make a top 5 list). Have you read any of his books on prayer?

I don't want to get into yet another debate over translations that will go on forever, because we've already done that, and it profits nothing, but just let me repeat this again, for anyone who missed it before, and this is not from me, this is from Moody Bible Institute:

The only Greek text available to the 1611 KJV translators was based on late manuscripts which had accumulated the mistakes of over a thousand years of copying. These many mistakes make a big difference in the meaning of many specific passages of scripture. The NKJV revisers distorted the translation even further by ridding it of its "archaic" way of speaking. This is why for serious study you should use almost any modern translation except the KJV or the NKJV.

I believe that the same Spirit who inspired the writing of the bible will also inspire the translating, reading and interpreting of it, so that we will not be led astray into all kinds of crazy doctrines and practices, if we take care to always consult with Him for wisdom and understanding before translating, reading or interpreting it. I also believe that the same Spirit who inspired the writing and translating of the bible will also inspire the wise selection of a bible translation that is right for you, but again, only if we ask Him to do it, otherwise, we're on our own, and I would not trust a modern-day bookstore to pick one out for me.

What is your basis for believing that the Holy Spirit is not upon the NLT as much as the KJV? Have you read anything besides James White's book about how the KJV came about? How does the NLT not give an accurate interpretation of the original historic and textural context compared to the KJV, and how is it not God's actual Word? and why would you or I ever make the decision that a certain translation is or is not the true Word because we don't "feel" a certain feeling when we read it, but rather instead by serious inquiry of God and research into how they actually came to be with us today?

I only ask specific questions like that because I care and want to provoke people to seek God on these things rather than believe something they grew up being taught by their particular denomination or because it's just one point of view of this or that group of so-called scholars. If we ask the Lord, He will give us understanding, while encouraging us to continue learning from one another and loving one another as we should.

A few books that may be helpful on this subject are How to Read a Book by Mortimer J Adler and How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Gordon D. Fee. I should have read this one a long time ago!

Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."


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Troy A Lasseigne

 2009/1/6 3:44Profile
BVO
Member



Joined: 2004/10/6
Posts: 114
ohio

 Re:

Hey, this was supposed to be quick, but it at least was a learning experience for me. I realized that I tend to favor biographies which would have made me cringe in high school (back then). We got a set of biographical books for the kids to do family reading (didn't last long) and the one that stood out was about Samuel Morris- boy from Africa. He had an awesome trust in an awesome God and ended up at Taylor University. He died early and I cried so bad as I read it I didn't think I would get through it. The kid's were asking what was wrong and I told them I felt I had lost a friend. It was good!

George Mueller of Bristol- Arthur T. Pierson Again an awesome trust in a faithful God. When asked "What would you do if God didn't come through for you", he replied, "that must be counted among the impossibilities"

A biography of John Sung- Leslie T. Lyall I heard that Leonard Ravenhill had said next to the Bible this was to best( or most important) book he had read. It was very good. He was willing to be spent for the Master and was used mightally in strengthening the church in China in preparation for the years of persecution to come. I was kind of confused about choosing which to buy, it was written in the 50's and mass marketed in the 60's, but these books are like 30-40.00. There are newer books for less, but I didn't want to take a chance on it not being the same book. I ended up getting mine on e-bay for around 25.00.

Heavenly Man- unsure of author- (maybe Brother Yun) The story of Brother Yun- WOW

The biography of Robert Murray McCheyne- Andrew Bonar This is where I became familiar with his Bible reading schedule which is excellent although I was unable to keep up all year. He was a remarkable man that died early also. His schedule is in The Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes (I think that's it)

The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down- David W. Bercot- Until you get this kind of understanding of the two kingdom principle, it is difficult to clearly see what a christian place in the kingdoms or civil governments should be. There seems like he might have had a small point or two that I would disagree with, but well worth the read.

Principles of Spiritual Growth- Miles J. Stanford- I was going through a spiritual funk years ago and reading books to see if I could get some understanding that might lift it. I read this and I gained an understanding of being crucified with Christ- I ran around church ( fairly new in the faith) saying I'm Dead, praise God, I'm dead

:-) I do love books, but don't get to read them as much anymore for time and focus. Thanks for letting me vent. Love in Christ, Barry


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Barry Voss

 2009/1/6 6:11Profile





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