Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World (Short Studies in Biblical Theology) by: Thomas R. Schreiner

Covenant and God's Purpose for the World (Short Studies in Biblical Theology)Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World by Thomas R. Schreiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The new covenant represents the culmination of God’s saving work among his people. God regenerates his people by His Spirit and renews their hearts so that they obey him. All of God’s promises from the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

What is a covenant/Testament? The bible is divided by the Old and New Testament and in other words, Old and New Promises. God has made promises to his people. Starting with Adam and Eve and ending with his Church.

It is by understanding the promises of God, we can understand and appreciate His work in redemption. The promises show his character and attributes and how the law is like gravity. What comes up, must come down. What laws are broken, consequences will ensue. The 10 commandments only show how far we are from God and his holiness.

The six chapters cover the six covenants.

The covenant of Creation
The Covenant with Noah
The Covenant with Abraham
The Covenant with Israel
The Covenant with David
The New Covenant.

God has made promises to his people with these covenants but what is our responsibility? Covenants are for those in committed relationships and with committed relationships, we have a responsibility to respond to the promise. Each covenant is building on the previous and does not necessarily need us to comply but defines who God is. This is what he has done thru his Covenants and that he can be trusted in Faith. A mind-set responding to God’s covenants should be a desire to be in his presence, not to manipulate God to get what we desire. Our desire should be for him.

As each of these Covenants show the character and strength of God, it also reveals our weakness and self rule we settle into. A study on the covenants is a strong foundation in walking in faith.

A Special Thank You to Crossway and Netgalley for the aRC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage by: Shauna Shanks

A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her MarriageA Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage by Shauna Shanks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 stars

God can give us a taste of his own heart on the fierceness of His love for us in our complacency, our broken commitments, and our infidelity. Can we do the same for our spouse?

Shauna tells her story and experience as her husband confessed his infidelity and that he didn’t feel anything for her. It is her story of fighting for her husband and family. She has taken a fierceness that can only be given by the Holy Spirit and total dependence on the Father. In Shauna’s experience, she also learned something of her own faith. How weak it really is but the word says and God promises that in our weakness we can find strength in who He is.

Taking 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 known as the love chapter. She practiced this towards her husband. Before you think she was a door mat, she was not. She had boundaries and her boundaries were found in God’s word.

With her husband’s background in his own childhood and the walls he built, it spilled into his marriage. Shauna in grace, knew that this was a spiritual battle and not one of circumstances. She also spoke of trust and how to build trust. I loved this that trust is a investment and having to earn trust is like earning love. If you have to earn love, then is it love? Yes trust is important, but as broken people, we can easily break trust. Like I said before, healthy boundaries can keep your own heart and emotional well being guarded however, God loves us unconditionally. We have to ask his God’s love enough when all else fails. That is what this experience tells.

Shauna also shares some of the music that helped her to build her faith and resolve. I have included a link to share. It is music that I also listen to and we sing at church. Very worshipful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7QCTXJB6MM

I had some concerns which I will not say, but some of her resources are questionable to me. I also am wary of the phrase “God Told me” when it is thrown out all the time….I do believe God speaks to us thru his word and his word speaks of His Glory to be known. The author was careful to point out that her experience may not be your experience but what it all comes down to is being in His presence which we are when in His word and prayer.

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

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Jesus in The Courtroom: How Believers Can Engage the Legal System for the Good of His World by: John Mauck

Jesus in the Courtroom: How Believers Can Engage the Legal System for the Good of His WorldJesus in the Courtroom: How Believers Can Engage the Legal System for the Good of His World by John Mauck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Justice and Mercy. These words not only shows us that Jesus functioned as a lawyer, advocate, and judge but also reinforces that the ultimate purpose of the Law (or Torah) is to lead humans to love both God and neighbor.

This text helps us to learn about the legal aspects of Jesus ministry and our current culture. Taken from a lawyers’ perspective, we too can be advocate for justice and mercy.

The focus on the text are the laws affecting our children in the 5 areas of abortion, adoption, foster care, school choice, higher education and sexual identity. How we must engage – for example in the abortion issue. If we can put laws in place that would educate about what abortion really entails- the taking of innocent lives and not to mention the emotional affects mothers many times go through afterwards, we can eliminate abortions and encourage good choices.

Laws are not designed to change hearts but to protect the most vulnerable. As advocates, we can love those by getting involved in community and becoming engaged in the legal process of protecting children.

Much insight to the barriers that must be overcome and how we can be more educated in becoming part of the solution instead of the problem.

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

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3-Minute Devotions with Andrew Murray: 180 Readings to Deepen your Prayer Life

3-Minute Devotions with Andrew Murray: 180 Readings to Deepen Your Prayer Life3-Minute Devotions with Andrew Murray: 180 Readings to Deepen Your Prayer Life by Barbour Staff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

But what is the reason this faith is so often lacking? ” But this kind of demon won’t leave except for prayer and fasting.” To have a strong faith in God requires a life in close touch with Him by persistent prayer. We cannot call up faith at our bidding; it needs close communion with God through prayer. It needs the denial of self-the sacrifice of a worldly heart. Just as we need God to give us faith and power, He too, needs our whole being to be utterly give up to Him.

This teaching is classic and so needed for Christians as myself. Short devotions for each day that begins with scripture and ends with prayer. In between the teaching will leave you undone and quite frankly a desire for a deeper prayer life.

A prayer life deepens our faith, makes our heart pure for service, and empties our desires and replaces them with the desires of God. Prayer is a sacrifice and that is why we have difficulty with a honest prayer life that Christ patterned. Does your prayer life illustrate sacrifice in your request and desires? The prayer life of sacrifice struck a chord with me and caused me to reexamine my heart and the steps I need to change.

The cause of insufficient prayer life is a lack of desire. I think there are many reasons for this lack of desire. Weariness, materialism, distractions, and the list can go on. But how do we fuel this desire? Letting go our earthly desires and holding on to heavenly desires. We cannot hold both.

Reading this text, you will discover heavenly desires and the joy of sacrifice. I highly recommend.

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

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With You Always (Orphan Train, #1) by: Jody Hedlund

With You Always (Orphan Train, #1)With You Always by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It maybe it was less about God abandoning me and perhaps the other way around. – me leaving Him.

I loved how this author took from history of the Orphan Train and brought to life conditions of the heart, fears, grit, and determination of men, women, and children to the forefront. With You Always brings to life of a young family suddenly orphaned in New York. The eldest sister Elise Neumann taking care of her two siblings and babies from another family in her care. Her young family is under the care of Miss Pendleton. A woman of compassion that is opening a center to orphans that are looking for work.

In the 1850’s life was a struggle. Families looking for work and trying to stay together. Coming home from her seamstress job, Elise falls prey in the middle of a gang war and since I believe there is no such thing as coincidences, and neither does the author, Thornton Quincy makes Elise acquaintance in saving her from certain danger. Their chance meeting is the start that changes both of them for the better.

Quincy’s background is a contrast from Elise background of immigrants. Quincy comes from a prominent family and has recently been put in a competition with his twin brother brought forth from his ailing father. A competition that will determine who is better fit to run the family business. A competition of love and ruthlessness. No details will I give as it is part of the plot.

Times become more difficult for Elise family and the must make a tough decision to separate. Elise leaves her family in New York and goes back East to a the beginning of a new town that needs workers. Guess who is charge of this new town. It is the 2nd chance meeting that these two learn about their own hearts and what really matters. I loved the story and I hope the following books will share these two again.

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

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The Secrets She Keeps by: Michael Robothan

The Secrets She KeepsThe Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

The value of a secret depends upon whom you’re trying to keep it from. You may think it’s worth a lot. I may think it’s worthless. Someone always has to pay.

Who can keep secrets? Two women Agatha and Meghan. These women are different but driven by passion. Agatha has a back ground that adds to the plot of baby thriller. She wants a baby for reasons that stem from her childhood or lack of. Meghan has everything going for her, a successful career as a mommy blogger in the England area. A husband that is successful in the sports world and two young children a boy and a girl and another on the way.

Agatha is obsessed with Meghan and the life she has. She knows everything about her unbeknownst to Meghan. A creepy stalker. And that is all I am going to say about that.

The author has shown both of these women as victims which I think was played well as you get in the head of each woman. It is their secrets that drive them and they both have them. It is their secrets that could take all that they hold dear away from them and the stakes become high.

I enjoy reading the English books and diving into the English culture and using my English accent as I read in my head with words like arse and the such. With a character and plot driven narration, you will be at the edge of your seat wondering how it all will end.

A Special Thank You to Scriber and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post a honest review.

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Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home by: Jessica Berger Gross

Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding HomeEstranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home by Jessica Berger Gross
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

How do you explain the complicated ways in which some of your best moments as a family were knotted together with some of the most shameful ones.

The author’s memoir of the physical and emotional abuse she suffered under her father and her mother’s passivity towards the abuse. A love/hate relationship.

I struggled with this one to feel any empathy and it bothers me that I can’t put into words why. I don’t know if her writing was to mechanical and putting her story into words she distanced herself not to feel even though she cried, yelled, and even grieved what she wanted most was a family to feel safe in. Maybe she comes across a hardness of the heart that I just could not get thru. Regardless, when children suffer, the world suffers.

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

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