How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird

Lively, Amy. How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2015.

SUMMARY:
neighborHaving been commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves (including respecting them, nurturing them, getting-along with them and witnessing to them), in her new book, How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird, author Amy Lively shares personal stories, strategies, ideas and responses for meeting your neighbors, conversing with them and even sharing your faith. With encouragement and motivation to step out of the comfort zone and connect within your current community, perhaps loving (or at least liking) your neighbors could result in positive outcomes…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I love the title of this book which I am sure is quite relevant to many people (seriously…who wants to be considered weird?). Though not for everyone nor every neighborhood, there are some aspects which may produce new friendships, stronger community, more neighborhood involvement and maybe even renewed or initiated faith. Full of ideas yet not necessarily what I was expecting, this book may be perfect for certain communities, assuming a common faith. While the author expounds upon the importance of meeting neighbors, maybe a few more ideas for the initial contact would be welcomed.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

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The Three Heavens

Hagee, John. The Three Heavens: Angels, Demons and What Lies Ahead. Brentwood TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
3heavensAccounting for the three distinct heavens, Heaven One: the heaven we see from earth containing the sky, stars and moon, Heaven Two: the heaven ruled by Satan, and Heaven Three: the heaven being made ready for us to share in eternity, John Hagee shares scripture, personal stories, descriptions and arguments for each heaven’s existence. Expounding upon the fight between good and evil, The Three Heavens confirms the need to have God as our Savior in what lies ahead…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Obviously a well respected and popular author, this is my first experience with John Hagee’s books. I found the style and information very interesting and definitely thought-provoking as well as compelling. This type of book would work well as a Bible Study, sermon topic, base for new-believers (or even doubters), as it brings the Word of God, science and true stories of the supernatural together. At the very least, The Three Heavens touches upon a topic which will stir conversation dependent upon individual beliefs, which in turn, may cause more to draw closer to God.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Three Heavens from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

Gerth, Holley. What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
heartEveryone has hard days…some more than others but it is what we do with those hard days that make a difference. Like having a cup of coffee with a good friend, Holley Gerth sits us down, shares a story, parallels a Bible reference, encourages us with what is on her heart to share and then emboldens us to do the same. Filled with fifty-two such devotions, What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days could be exactly that…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Adorable! And even better…it all comes wrapped up in a cutely-covered smaller book perfect for giving (or keeping). Full of encouragement, compassion and warm hugs, this book would be appreciated as a gift by mothers, graduates, best friends or anyone needing reassurance. As well as a gift, this book may work as a Bible study, personal devotion or a brief journal. Included topics center around God and His love (as a protector, listener, helper, and even a piece of the pie). Absolutely delightful!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Busy Mamas (Bible Study)

Forster, Pam. Thirty Days of Bible Study for busy Mamas. Gaston, OR: Doorposts. 2013.

SUMMARY:
Busy MamasBusy Mamas Bible Study is a quick, five-minutes-a-day study of Colossians 3. The study focuses mainly on that chapter of the Bible providing a deeper understanding without requiring a lot of extra time (thus, the name: Busy Mamas). Biblically sound, the author suggests colored pencils, drawings, a notebook and lists to help participants understand Colossians 3 more acutely. Through familiarity with the chapter as well as explanations connected with everyday life, this book teaches yet leaves you fulfilled.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
No longer do I have the excuse that “I am just too busy to read the Bible”. The author took away that excuse but replaced it an informative, achievable, enjoyable method of spending time in God’s Word. She gives amusing examples, obtainable time structures and flexible methods for studying and understanding Colossians 3 in the Bible. (What a wonderful reason to take 5 minutes a day for myself…alone!) The author does do a wonderful job of showing ways though to share what you learn/ read with your children. I only hope Pam Forster continues to offer different Busy Mamas studies of the Bible.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Busy Mamas from Bookcrash and Doorposts for my honest review*