Book Review: Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends

Some brothers and sisters remain best friends all their lives. Others just see each other occasionally at family reunions and maybe send a Christmas card. Which do you want?

Brothers and sisters get on each others nerves and can be just plain annoying. It seems an inevitable part of having siblings. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. What if brothers and sisters could not just get along but be best friends. This book casts a vision for making brothers and sisters best friends and provides practical and Biblical guidelines for doing just that.

My family often receives comments on how well my brother and I get along. Since we are in our mid and late teen years, we find that amusing. At this age we should be able to get along. The sad things is, kids aren’t expected to get along anymore. My brother and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember (sure, we’ve had our spats, but they never lasted long), but this book made me more purposeful about trying to strengthen our friendship. Since strangers often notice how well we like each other, it seems like it has worked. The principles in this book can be applied to a lot of things besides sibling relationships too. There’s also plenty of humor to keep you going. Everyone I’ve met who has read this book mentions how much they like “Stephen’s Definitions.” I’ll leave you with a few examples.
Key Ring: A device that enables you to lose several keys at the same time.
Clear Conscience: Often the sign of a bad memory.
Campers: Natures way of feeding mosquitoes.”
I can attest to that last one!

Authors: Sarah, Stephen and Grace Mally
Audience: Everyone
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction/Self-Help
Pages: 273
Publisher: Tomorrow’s Forefathers

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Last call for entries in the Through Gates of Splendor giveaway. I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow.

Book Review & Giveaway: Shadow of the Almighty & Through Gates of Splendor

Shadow of the Almighty*Giveaway Ended*

Happy day after Valentines Day everyone. I hope you had a good one. I got my college midterms done, my brother gave me earrings and Daddy bought home flowers for Mom and balloons for us. Pretty good day. πŸ˜‰

Today I am reviewing one of my all time favorite books, Shadow of the Almighty, and launching a giveaway for Through Gates of Splendor. For those of you who are not familiar with these books, they are both about Jim Elliot, a martyr missionary. As usual, all you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post*. So, enjoy the review and enter to win Through Gates of Splendor.

β€œIs the distinction between living for Christ and dying for Him so great? Is not the second the logical conclusion of the first?”

From an adventurous childhood, Jim Elliot matured into an intense man. In college, he began journaling and searching for God’s will in his life. This book uses narrative as well as Jim’s letters and journals to follow him through his college years and into his mission work in Ecuador. It showcases his love for his Lord and his desire to serve Christ, even into death. In his own, now famous word, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

This was the first non-fiction book to make me cry. In fact, I read about Jim’s death while walking on a treadmill at the gym. Awkward place to start crying. πŸ˜› I love this book because it shows what passion for Christ looks like. I copied many passages from the book into my journal and now, a year after reading it, I still frequently think about things I learned from this book. So next time you’re looking to be challenged and inspired by a powerful book, try this one.

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Audience: Young Adults and up
Genre: Biography
Pages: 250

And, here’s a picture of the giveaway book.
Through Gates of Splendor

*Due to the cost of shipping, giveaway is only available to residents of the United States.

Book Review: The Sufficiency of Scripture

Sufficiency of Scripture, The

Many Christians acknowledge that the Scriptures are inerrant–that is, that God’s Word is infallible–but few truly demonstrate recognition of the sufficiency of God’s Word in every area of their lives.

It’s no secret that the church is struggling and so are the families in it. We struggle with apathy and division. Programs and plans designed to excite teenagers about the church or create better leaders hit the market all the time, but all too often, the best and most effective answer book is left behind. The Sufficiency of Scripture is based on the “fundamental doctrine” that God’s Word is sufficient to guide and instruct our personal lives, our homes and our church. And guess what? It is! Joseph Stevens takes a detailed look at each of these aspects and uses the Scripture to outline what our lives, homes and churches should look like.

This book was given to me by a visiting speaker at our midweek Bible study. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but something made him reach into his backpack and challenge me to read this book. Dad asked to read it first and liked it so much we ended up reading it as a family during family devotions. After reading it as a family, it got tucked back onto the bookshelf for a while. Recently, I have found that it is a great go-to book when questions come up about how a church should be structured or what a Godly family looks like. I highly recommend this book.

Author: Joseph Stephen
Audience: Adults (Written for adults, but also appropriate for younger audiences)
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Pages: 185
Publisher: Pleasant Word

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Book Review: Before You Meet Prince Charming

Before You Meet Prince CharmingPure and Bright in a World of Darkness.

As you are beginning this book, commit yourself to wanting God’s best in your life–God’s best in your future marriage. Maybe this seems obvious to you. Maybe you’re thinking, “Of course I desire the best in my marriage.” But when it comes right down to it, are you truly willing to make the required sacrifices and to wait for the best?

Many, if not most, girls dream of romance; of meeting their prince charming, being wooed and won, and walking down the aisle. All too often, however, those dreams occupy a disproportionate  amount of a young woman’s thought life and distract her from enjoying God’s plan for her before marriage. Before You Meet Prince Charming offers practical and scriptural advice for serving God as a single young woman and preparing for marriage without living in a fantasy world concocted in our dreams.

When I realized that my non-fiction theme would overlap with Valentines Day, I knew I wanted to celebrate with this book. Before You Meet Prince Charming holds a firm place on my favorites list. It is my go-to book (after the Bible!) for encouragement and wisdom in the areas of serving God and delighting in Him during my single years and honoring my future husband now, before I even know him. I also appreciate Sarah’s discretion in avoiding topics that would not be beneficial for young readers. For both tween girls who are just maturing into this season of life and older teens like me, this book is one to treasure and re-read many times over.

Author: Sarah Mally
Audience: Tween to Young Adult
Genre: Inspiration Non-Fiction/Christian Purity
Pages: 259
Publisher: Tomorrow’s Forefathers

Book Review: Beautiful Girlhood

Beautiful GirlhoodThanks to Aubrey Hansen’s suggestion I will be reviewing an extra book in at least two of our free Wednesdays. Today, I picked Beautiful Girlhood.

Girlhood is the opening flower of womanhood. It has charms all its own. The wonderful blossoming of young, healthy girlhood, will ever be God’s great miracle in life’s garden. Girlhood is like a half-open rose. We are charmed, both by the beauty of the bud and by the wonderful coloring of the rose. We behold the familiar traits of childhood that have always charmed us and held our affections, but blended with these in ever changing variety are the graces and powers of womanhood.

This book offers good, old-fashioned advice based on the Bible. It emphasizes lessons like the importance of being careful about what we say, how to behave like a lady, and the joy of being cheerful. As the back cover says, “What can be more beautiful than the budding and blossoming of girlhood? Those years of transition from childhood to womanhood are filled with wonderful interest and promise. But young feet that travel this way may be unsteady and unsure. Each could use guidance, a helping hand along the way. To encourage our girls to a nobler life and truer ideals is the task of this book.”

This book is admittedly old-fashioned, yet it was one of the shaping forces of my tween years. I could never bring myself to sit down and read the book cover-to-cover, but I returned to it many times over. When I was little, my parents teasingly called me a ragamuffin because I loved my old clothes and hated brushing my hair. This book is what made me start caring about the way my hair and clothes looked. Every time I opened it, I would put it down determined to work on my home-keeping skills or be a better friend. A very few of the minor points expressed in Beautiful Girlhood are too old-fashioned to be carried out today, but most of the content is timeless advice that every girl should be aware of as she grows up.

Author: Mabel Hale, revised and expanded by Karen Andreola
Audience: Middle-Grade to Teen Girls
Genre: Inspirational Non-Fiction
Pages: 205
Publisher: Great Expectations Book Co.

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Book Review: When God Writes Your Life Story

When God Writes Your Life Story

We have a God who delights in impossibilities and who asks, “Is anything too hard for Me?” ~Andrew Murray

As Christians, we often settle down in comfortable mediocrity. We stay in the safe zone and don’t try to push past what is necessary. Yet our God is a God of impossibilities. He is our guide into the endless frontier of the Christian adventure. Will we follow? Or have we forgotten that we are to be pilgrims?

When God Writes Your Life Story is one of the handful of books that have had a huge impact on my life. I love it because it got me excited about my faith. The authors encourage the reader to realize just how big God is. Living in obedience to Him can be absolutely breathtaking. When insist on holding the pen and sitting on the throne of our lives, we won’t be happy. But when we surrender the pen to God and let Him write the story, amazing things are right around the corner. Of course, it won’t always be easy. We are warned that in this world we will have tribulation, but God has promised that he has overcome the world.

The God of the Universe wants to write your life story. And when He does, you mustn’t expect a mediocre tale.

Authors: Eric and Leslie Ludy
Audience: YA and up
Genre: Inspirational Non-Fiction
Pages: 235
Publisher: Multnomah

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Book Review: Saving Levi

Hopefully by the end of the month, I’ll be able to pull together a list of my favorite orphan/foster care/adoption books in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month. In the meantime, I figured I’d do an extra book review. This will be the first non-fiction book review for the blog. Enjoy!

It would be 24 hours from the time Levi was left to die in the field until I first saw him.

Lisa Bentley and her family were serving in a small, Chinese orphanage when they met the little boy that would become their son, Levi. He had been found in a field, left to die. Seventy percent of the baby’s body was covered in third to fourth degree burns. His survival seemed doubtful. As he fought for his life, Levi drew people from around the world together.

I’d been eyeing this book in CBD catalogs for some time and I finally purchased a copy at a homeschool conference several months ago. It’s a riveting story. Of course, when adoption and orphan care is involved, it doesn’t take much to make me like it! πŸ˜‰ There are so many stories out there that showcase the very real truth that God cares about orphans. This book is one of those stories.