Reclaiming Surrendered Ground: Protecting Your Family from Spiritual Attacks by: Jim Logan

Reclaiming Surrendered Ground: Protecting Your Family from Spiritual AttacksReclaiming Surrendered Ground: Protecting Your Family from Spiritual Attacks by Jim Logan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is it possible for a believer to give ground to the enemy, then if it is, it then becomes crucial for that believer, in the power of the Holy Spirit to take back round he or she has yielded to the enemy. This is the heart of the book. To understand the ways that God’ people can give ground to Satan.

Mixed emotions on this study. I believe what the word says that we should guard our hearts and that the Satan’s mission is to deceive, destroy, and ultimately death to those made in the image of God. I do believe in Spiritual Warfare and that no matter what you believe, we are in the middle of it. That the battle ground is the mind and the goal is for God’s glory. Do I give Satan ground? Yes I do. The book is broken out by chapters in how we give Satan ground that affects our joy, our ministry, and how we love God and others. Logan gets it right that the question is not Do you have Victory? But are you standing in the victory you already have in Christ? There is a difference.

The definition of a stronghold is most helpful A stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes me to accept as unchangeable something that I know is contrary to the will of God. I also was encouraged by his stand that being fixated on the enemy and his power is not helpful but that our focus should always be on Christ. Knowing how the enemy operates and becoming obsessed with him are two different things.

Each chapter also includes Higher Ground in which we can take steps to identify the stronghold and to bring to prayer. Being mindful of these strongholds is the first key to unlock as we walk thru scripture to breakdown the strongholds that keep us in fear or in sin. Breaking a stronghold always begins with repentance.

One strong disagreement I have A final reminder I want to leave with you before we get into the discipline of renewing the mind is this. simply having a wrong thought does not make you sinful or guilty,. If it did, Jesus would be sinful, as He received (but did not act upon) wrong thoughts, which were suggested to Him by Satan in the temptation in the wilderness. First of all, those were not Jesus’ thoughts but Satan as he attempted to tempt Jesus thru the desires that Adam and Eve failed in the garden. I think sin does go deeper that action but our thoughts as well which Jesus did teach when he taught on lust of the mind or calling a brother a jerk. Our thoughts reveal the heart.

The book was helpful in recognizing the strongholds and the hope we can lose because of those strongholds. However, I am thankful that I can call on the name of Jesus and know that he will never forsake me. That his mercy is new everyday.

A Special Thank You to Moody Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half by: Gary Chapman

Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second HalfMarried And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half by Gary Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the marriage, your spouse should be home for you and you should be home for your spouse. One of the greatest joys of marriage in the second half. The challenge is getting there.

Married and Still Loving it is directed more for marriage after the nest has emptied and you find yourself asking “what now”? I think this gem of a book is for all marriages. The beginnings of marriage as you begin to know your spouse. The start of a family when dynamics and responsibilities change and then of course when the children leave and start families of their own. Marriage has a life of its own and this book is a testimony of that. Has your marriage lost it’s life?
In this day of self, marriage can die but it is in serving each other that it can be brought back to life. What about the spouse that refuses that? That is where grace comes in and we are more like Christ in those situations. That is where marriage is a reflection of the Gospel.

The book is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 – The adventure of marriage. It can be changing our attitude and saying yes to different things. Part 2 – Touches on where to live to sex. How difficulties in sex as we get older can be overcome and draw us closer. Sex is a spiritual matter that is designed for intimacy where two become one and fulfills a need to be known. Part 3 is facing crisis and death.

Each chapter touches on issues with testimonies of other couples. One of those couples that was encouraging was Joni Errickson Tada and her husband Ken. Such a great example of marriage as a couple but also individuals serving each others and others together. There are also ideals for you and your husband to jump start your marriage. How to communicate needs and to learn to enjoy each other on the great adventure of marriage!

A Special Thank You to Moody Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Tank Man’s Son: A Memoir by: Mark Bouman

The Tank Man's Son: A MemoirThe Tank Man’s Son: A Memoir by Mark Bouman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A father to the fatherless prepared to care for children by the apathy and evil of my own childhood. I was my dad but changed – turned inside out by grace and granted a chance to unmake the past. I was Papa.

A testimony of a life changed from a difficult childhood. Mark Bouman family life is a prime example of a dysfunctional family. A father who terrorized his 3 children and wife with physical and emotional abuse with words like “shut up or I will give you something to cry about”. Or Clean this mess up! You want to live like a pig? Then I’ll treat you like a Pig! I should take a belt to you.” When dad was home, everyone scattered. What does that do a young impressionable mind? It can go either way, it can make another monster or it can redeem the tragedy.

Mark Bouman is redemption story. He bares the ugly and makes something beautiful. It is not a story of how bad can a dad be (which he was) but a dad that is forgiven and redeemed as well. It was an emotional read especially if you can relate to any of the abuse that was revealed. However, it is also encouraging read that redemption can found and will be found when faith is put in the work of Jesus.

A Special Thank You to Tyndale House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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We Never Asked for Wings by: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

We Never Asked for WingsWe Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Himalayan legend says there are beautiful white birds that live completely in flight. They are born in the air, must learn to fly before falling and die also in their flying. Maybe you have been born into such a life.

Emotional narrative that is poignant with personalities that your rips open your heart. On a subject that is politically charged, illegal immigration, you are confronted with real people that love fiercely.

Letty the daughter of immigrates after some bad choices, has come back home to her two children that have been raised by her parents. Her parents are now going back to Mexico and Letty must now take care of her children.

This alone is emotionally charged but there is more-Letty’s son Alex does not know his father and discovers for himself who he is. Alex’s father Wes emotional turmoil in discovering the son he never knew he had and the grief of missing Alex’s childhood of taking his first steps to being the father he wants to be.

Alex whose character is saturated with empathy for his mother, father and his girlfriend Yesenia makes decisions that end up destroying everything he worked for.

It answers the question of what belongings means and how our souls long for it. I loved it.

A Special Thank You to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Starlight on Willow Creek (Lakeshore Chronicles #11) by Susan Wiggs

Starlight on Willow Lake (Lakeshore Chronicles, #11)Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She was scared to jump and he was scared to fall but together they jumped and survived.

I absolutely, unequivocally, loved this Cinderella story. A barely surviving single mother Faith McCallum the mother of two girls is about to be evicted. Will a lead to a new job being a live-in nurse for dragon lady Alice Bellamy be the change that her family desperately needs? Alice Bellamy was once a jet-setting mother and wife living the dream of traveling the world with her children and meeting the needs of others as a humanitarian with the family’s vast resources. She is now confined to a wheel chair after a terrible ski accident that left her a widow and her life changed forever. Her 3 children now must face tough decisions to bring back the mother they once knew. Mason her eldest son hires Faith in hopes that he can quickly escape back to New York without dealing with the reality of his mother’s condition and the secret he cannot face.

The character development is what made this Cinderella story come alive all the while you are rooting and cheering for these families that have come together to face the fears that bind them.

Faith who despite the odds of losing her parents, her husband, and with health care debt is determined to give her two daughters’ opportunities of education and good health. Her daughter 17 years old Cara is an above average student has dreams of going to college. She is fearful of living out that dream only for her dream to be crushed. Ruby an astute 8 year- old and my personal favorite knows just what to say to others. Ruby who suffers from diabetes has fears from dogs to swimming.

It is when this unlikely group comes together and deals with their fears that bring such a sweet connection that we all long for.

A Special Thank you to Harlequin-Mira and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs by: Jimmy Dodd

Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor NeedsSurvive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs by Jimmy Dodd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Each of the six relationships reminds us that, ultimately, we need Jesus. Jesus is our Fatherly Loving Boss, (Proverbs 3:11-12). Jesus is our Gentle Trainer (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus is our Inspired Coach (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) Jesus is our Eternal Mentor (Proverbs 9:9). And Jesus is our Forever Friend (John 15:15) Every human relationship is a faint reflection of what our heavenly Father has promised.

Pastors and Christians struggle with relationships, with pride, passivity, and any other sin under the sun. It is recognizing that sin and bringing it to the cross that makes the difference. Working at church for 10 years, I know somewhat of the struggles that pastors go thru and after reading this book, it is a great reminder the support our pastors need. Dodd having been a pastor himself and how leading a world ministry to pastors, makes a well written claim for the six relationships that our pastors need (as well as ourselves) and the work and commitment it takes to embrace these relationships.

Broken in 3 parts relating to the six relationships starting with the Survive – Heart of the Problem –How did we get here. Just like in the beginning, we hide from people getting to know the real you. We have a front stage persona and the back stage where only a few people might know. There are well-defined boundaries for both and how we relate to others. The bigger the church, the harder it is. I cringe at the word small group and I embrace the word community. Starting with leadership-life must be lived in community. We life in a world where living in community can be difficult however, that is where true growth occurs.

Part 2 – Thrive-The Six Relationships Every Pastor Needs It is in these relationships we see our blind spots, our weaknesses and encouragement for our strengths. These relationships will lead to confession that will free us from bondage and isolation. It is in these relationships we thrive.

Part 3 Gospel Transformation. With the Gospel is a great way to end. We need the gospel 24/7.

Each Chapter ends with questions for Reflection. The reality of our circumstances. Rewind and Review Go back with what you just read and with specific questions how does it apply to your circumstances. Reflect. With specific questions that relate that you may have missed. Remember A verse that coincides with God’s goodness and will. Respond What steps will you take for change and transformation.

In reading of Dodd’s experiences with the church, he mentioned the major city that I live near and a church that he helped plant sounded so much like the church I attend with my grown daughters. My two daughters have grown spiritually and with maturity in this church and it was exciting to see that Dodd had his hand prints on this growth. Googling is fun! 

If you are a church member, you will be encouraged as well. With questions on how does the leadership treat sinners within the body and with each other? Is there transparency? Do they offer grace, a plan of redemption, or isolation? Survive or Thrive is a great tool to root out problems and embrace them with members and leaders of the body where growth in the gospel is paradox.

A Special Thank You to David C Cook and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines

Coming Clean:  A Story of FaithComing Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The liquor hiding isolates me from the community of faith that helps hold me up. This is the way of any addiction, isn’t it? Aren’t all of our vices just a convenient distraction from the voice of God speaking to the inner person, from his community that speaks too?…If you deal with your pain, you won’t need the numbness.

Seth Haines battle with addiction is our battle as well. We may have a different way to ease the numbness. It is a spiritual battle. There may not be broken limbs, but there are broken hearts, blood may not be spilled, but there is a pouring of anxiety that can be overwhelming.

Each day you are brought into Seth’s walk as he faces and embraces his pain that stems from his own health and the health of his son. Questions of why and how long are usually answered by Seth’s addiction. Along with his therapist, he begins to uncover the God that never leaves and will never forsake. He begins to embrace the mercy of God on a sinner.

I was totally engaged with Seth’s journey and I am thrilled that he is taking others with him. It is a journey of faith, a fight for belief, and to embrace the mystery of God in our pain and suffering.

A Special Thank You to Zondervan and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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