Saturday, February 27, 2016

Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt and James Moline

About the Book:
Your New Money Mindset: Create a Healthy Relationship with Money (Tyndale, October 2015)

Have you ever thought: If I just had a little more money I would be happy? Research has shown this belief to be false. Through personal experience, Biblical passages and timely research, coauthors Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial, and Dr. Jim Moline, consulting psychologist, reveal that financial happiness and security have little to do with how much money you have, and a lot to do with the role money plays in your life.

Your New Money Mindset isn’t just another book about managing finances. It’s a book about reshaping your relationship with money by examining your attitudes and beliefs around money.

Your New Money Mindset:
—Defies the consumerism that infects our culture and sickens our hearts.
—Shows us how to replace the tension and fear we feel about money with contentment and peace.
—Guides us to live open-heartedly with our time, energy and money.
—Provides an online New Money Mindset Assessment™, which will help you pinpoint what attitudes about money you could work on in order to develop an openhearted attitude to life.

Regardless of your financial situation, we invite you to journey with us to discover how to transform your relationship with money by remaking your heart.

About the Author:
Brad Hewitt is president and CEO of Thrivent Financial, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 organization dedicated to helping Christians be wise with money and live generously. He speaks regularly on how a redefined relationship with money can help us find and live out our call in life. He and his wife live in Minnesota.

Margie’s Comments: When I requested Your New Money Mindset to review, I had no idea that shortly after the beginning of the year my husband would be offered a job back in Colorado. Four years ago we left Colorado for a job for him in the Ozarks of SW Missouri. After a year of unemployment, we were more than ready to accept a job offer that was less then what he’d been making. I’m a freelance editor and writer, and while the income pretty much averages the same year after year, the income itself is rather sporadic. Feast or famine. We do know that over and over again in the last five years, the Lord has been faithful to provide our needs and many of our wants. We’ve never gone hungry, but we have had to give up some of our eating out. We’ve had enough to pay our bills, but not a lot to spend frivolously.

Before my husband was unemployed, we were living paycheck to paycheck, hoping that we could keep up the balancing act a little longer. We knew that really wasn’t the Lord’s way, but we saw no way to do anything else. During hubby’s year of unemployment, we went the route of paying for everything with cash. If we didn’t have it, we didn’t buy it. We threw our credit cards away. (Now we each have one credit card, and what we charge we pay off each month.)

I’m very thankful I read Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt and James Moline. Not only did it confirm that we finally have a healthy relationship with money, but also we are able to be more generous with what we have. And for the most part we are content with that. We’re not perfect, and yes, we’re still tempted to put wants ahead of our needs and charge too much on the credit cards. But the times of giving in to that temptation are much less than they were before unemployment.

Thankfully the authors have sound advice on how to determine if our relationship with money is healthy or not, where we need to change, and how to effect that change without facing the dire consequences of our choices as we had to. As they point out several times, Jesus spoke more on money than on any other topic. The Bible has much to say about materialism, consumerism, and the other –isms in our world economy.

I came away from reading the book encouraged and empowered to continue making good choices in my own relationship with money. Whether you are one who is blessed with a generous attitude toward money or one who struggles paycheck to paycheck and longs to achieve the ability to be generous, the authors of Your New Money Mindset will give thoughtful, scriptural principles to live by. I highly recommend the book.

As always, I was given a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Come Empty: Pour Out Life's Hurts and Receive God's Healing Love by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

About the book:
Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love (SonRise Devotionals, March 2015)

When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst.

But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.
Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we’re offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty – so that we can be filled until we overflow.
Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come?

About the author:
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, finding grace in difficult places, and experiencing personal renewal by drawing near to God. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life. Her other books include award-winning "Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves."

Margie’s Comments: In Come Empty the author gives the invitation to her readers to take a 50-day Jubilee Challenge. The first two chapters set the circumstances and reasons we need to accept the invitation to come into the presence of God, empty vessels needing to be filled with the knowledge of Him and the presence of the Holy Spirit. She has written 80 devotionals and suggests different ways to accomplish the 50-day challenge.
            So in order to do a proper review, I read several of the devotionals that start the process of coming empty into the Lord’s presence. Then I consulted the topical index at the back of the book to select a few that spoke directly to a specific issue I struggle with in my walk with God. And wham! Bang! The Lord caught me off-guard with one passage of scripture. It was innocuous enough, one I had quoted often to myself and to others struggling with the same issue. But when I read the context and personalized it . . . Well, it was exactly what I needed.
            This experience convinced me to complete the 50-day Jubilee challenge as set forth in Dr. Sandra Dalton-Smith’s Come Empty. Accept the Lord’s invitation to you and come empty, thirsty and needy, into His presence. It will change you because God’s Word never goes out without accomplishing the purposes God intended (Isaiah 55:9–10). I highly recommend Come Empty.
            (I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

About the book:
Beyond the Silence (Bethany House, January 2016)

The shadows over this olive grove hide more than just the truth.

Lillian Porter has always wanted to fulfill her mother’s dream of going west, so when she hears about a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she defies her grandfather and takes a chance on a new future. But she quickly wonders if she made the right choice. Murky rumors swirl around Woodward Colton, her new employer, but the gossip doesn’t match the man Lillian comes to know.

Still, something dark did happen in the family’s past. Lillian’s seven-year-old charge hasn’t spoken in over a year. Gently, Lillian tries to coax him out of his shell, hoping he’ll one day feel safe enough to share what scared him. But the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. When the housekeeper is brutally attacked, the town once again suspects the worst. Will discovering the truth help Lillian clear the name of the man she has come to love–or will it endanger her even more?

About the authors:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Kimberley Woodhouse is a multipublished author of fiction and nonfiction. A popular speaker/teacher, she's shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at more than a thousand venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools with her husband of twenty-plus years and their two awesome teens live in Colorado.

Margie’s Comments: Combining the story-telling strengths of two of my favorite Christian authors is a huge success in my reading enjoyment. Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse recently released their second book collaboration, Beyond the Silence, and brought a new and wonderful voice to the historical mystery/suspense genre. Even in the middle of all the necessary extra work of packing up and moving two states west, I found it hard to put the book down. 

I fell in love with little Jimmy Colton from the very first page. And his father’s grief at losing his beloved wife—and his reputation as a result of gossiping tongues—pulled at my heartstrings. Cheering Lillian’s spunk as she defied her grandfather and moved to California to help young Jimmy, Woody, and Mrs. Goodman was easy. I became so involved in their story, it will be a long time before I quit wondering at what the future held for them.

At times, the suspense was very intense, but it kept me ready long past when I should have been in bed. And if I hadn’t had this cross-country move going on at the same time, I would have been very tempted to read this book in one sitting. The book is well researched and brings to life the times of the California gold rush and its aftermath. So if you are a fan of historical mystery/suspense, I can highly recommend Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bronner by Sherri Burgess

About the book:
Bronner: A Journey to Understand (New Hope Publishers, January 2016)
God teaches and refines us through pain and suffering. Author Sherri Burgess, wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, knows this to be true. After the earthly death of her youngest son, Bronner, Burgess asked, “Why?” And God answered.
Journey with her through this powerful testimony of healing to understand the purpose behind the pain. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.

About the author:
Sherri Burgess’ life is a beckoning for you to know a Holy God like you have never known Him before. The wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Sherri is someone who now passionately pursues holiness and inspires others to do the same. A seasoned Bible teacher, writer and blogger, she has in recent years answered God’s call as a women’s ministry speaker. This mother of five stays active with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.

Margie’s Comments: I’m a little late with my post for Bronner by Sherri Burgess. But that’s because I signed up for the blog tour before I knew we would be moving this month, this week! However, I snatched a few minutes here and there between packing boxes and the U-pack trailer to read the book and prepare my review.

Bronner was both easy and hard to read. I have a hard time reading about children going home to Jesus seemingly “before their time” and certainly before we are ready to let them go. Yet we know that God has numbered all our days. He isn’t surprised when a child comes to Him in heaven before his parents. Yet Sherri Burgess tells her story with a conversational style that makes you feel like you’re sitting right next to her, having a friendly chat.

One quotation from the Reader’s Guide included at the back of the book has stuck with me since I first read it: “It is my firmly held belief that the greatest strides in our faith walk come through our suffering, but I also firmly believe that unless we are rooted and grounded in faith beforehand, before the great storms of life hit, we are likely to fall and fall hard.” The truth in this statement is simple and profound. The Lord readies us for what is ahead, so that in the stormy times of life when it seems everything is falling apart, we find our faith in a good and loving God isn’t shaken. Our faith is as strong as the foundation it is built upon.

It is always faith-stretching to read of others’ real-life experiences in which they prove God’s faithfulness and love and strength. While my “platform” of influence may never be as large as the Burgesses, how I respond in times of difficulty will still affect those around me. I want to bring glory to God rather than dishonor Him in all my responses.

I’m grateful for the publisher providing me with a complimentary copy of Bronner in exchange for a review.