Looking for something to Read? Part 2

Finally, you get to read Part 2 of books that I review! If you liked Part 1 of this series, you will enjoy this post too. I’m always on the lookout for new books, so share the love and don’t hesitate to let me know about some of your favorite titles in the comment section below, just like I’m sharing books that I enjoy with you!

looking for something to read

Compact Bible Handbook

To all my friends reading this post, if you don’t already have this book, earnestly plan on buying it! 🙂 This is a very handy book to have alongside your Bible as you do your devotions! It is a must have for all who are serious about their knowledge of the Bible and growing deeper in their understanding of the historical background of the Scriptures. The size of the book is really practical, easy to stow and carry along in your purse. For each book of the Bible you are given:

Key Words
Key Verses
Authorship and Date
Historical Setting
An organized Outline of the whole book with verse references

And my personal favorite…they include a chart that visually organizes each book and has a timeline that places the events of the book in perspective at a glance. Shh, here’s a little secret. You can take this book with you at church, and during the preaching, check if your pastor has the correct context and making the correct applications, connections from the chapter/book he is preaching on!
Just saying, it’s good to check, you know?

Snow Treasure

It’s a fictional story based on some events that probably took place in WWII. It is staged in Norway, and details the daring and patriotic risks that some children took to protect their country during those dark times. There’s some mystery to it, and detective work, and all in all it keeps you reading! Fun for all ages I would say! The lessons learned are those of sacrifice, integrity, patriotism, and making the right choices when it’s hard.

Genetic Roulette

The title really tells the gist of the book. For anyone who wants to be an informed consumer, interested in nutrition, healthy eating, who cares about their health and protecting themselves from scientific experiments…this book is for you! It tells you what you didn’t know about GMO foods. If you don’t have patience reading this type of book, there’s also a documentary with the same title that you can watch. You can check if your local library carries it.

A Father’s Promise

This is a historical fiction from Bob Jones University, the story of a young Polish Jew boy. I liked this book, the characters, and the plot. Adventurous, and even scary at times. I enjoy reading books that have a realistic plot to them- giving them a flavor of a biography instead of historical fiction. The lessons that can be learned in this book are about obedience, courage, hope, and trust. It’s a touching story. Boys and girls alike can enjoy it.

Bridge to America

This is such a well-written book! It really flows and has style to it. Have you ever watched the An American Tail the story of Fievel the mouse? Well, this is the real Fievel boy and a semi-fictionalized version (based on the true story) of how he came to America, the hardships he and his family endured, and the joy of getting the chance at a new life. This book brought tears to my eyes. A must read! I would give copies of this book to all my friends who like reading, had I the money to afford it. 🙂

Hostage Lands

If you enjoy reading about ancient Rome, or the Celts, you’ll surely love this book!  I read it and could hardly put it down. It is like watching a movie- really captivating, and very realistic characters and dialog. I felt immersed in the action, as if I were the main character or a shadow following the person in the story. I wish it were a whole series. The first chapter was a little bit “dry” and made me think the story would be boring, but if you follow it after the first chapter, and the story unfolds, you’ll not want to stop reading! It’s one of those books that makes you miss the characters when you’re done reading, because you feel like they were real people.

The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques 

If you like practical tips and natural, tested housekeeping techniques, you will enjoy this book. Teaches you how to make your own cleaning products and re-use stuff etc. If you like being frugal, this is also a plus. I would rate this book about 3 or 4 stars out of 5. This is because although it has some practical tips, a few of them I don’t find very useful for my own use since I”m not that “country”, some recipes I can find in other books too. But I it gives neat information on the sidelines and shows you how much you will save, and how you can protect yourself from bad chemicals, statistics etc. So, all the home-makers out there may want to check this out from the library or purchase it on Amazon of PaperBack Swap.

That’s the end of the list for now. Maybe I’ll make Part 3 of the series…would you like that?

Looking for something to Read?

You can never have enough books! and I completely agree with this quote.

books

Reading is to me like dessert…mmm, mmm, mmm! Both are things you can only indulge in your spare time or on special occasions. And both are things you can never have enough of- wouldn’t you agree? 😉

So, if you’re on the lookout to expand your library- or be more adventurous and read books on topics that are new to you- like trying out a new dessert (such as salted caramel buttercream cake)…. then you’re reading the right post!

Okay, by now you’re probably more interested in having a piece of cake than in reading books, but stick with me- you can bake the cake later. I still have some great titles to share with you!

I’ve collected titles for adults and children alike…just because I enjoy kids books too. Don’t ask me why. It’s a weakness that I have.

Introducing….

Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin and a Vibrant Self

I’m planning on buying this book! A naturalist blogger was recommending it on her weblog, and I decided to check it out from the library. It’s such a neat book! Really easy to read. Has interesting facts on sidebars, like “what’s contained in a square inch of skin” or useful tips and facts that add to the whole book. The author does a good job of explaining things in terms that are not overly technical, and taking you step-by-step and talking about your skin, hair, nails, then teaching you about herbs and plants you can use, the tools that you will need to make your own beauty products, and finally listing recipes galore with easy to use ingredients to make body care products!

Here are some delicious titles of her recipes:

Honey fruit-flavored lip balm

Cocoa Butter Creamy Lotion

Lemony Whip Cleansing Cream

I know, makes you want to eat those things.

The Naturally Clean Home: 101 Safe & Easy Herbal Formulas for Nontoxic Cleaners

You may not be interested to make your own cleaning products. I wasn’t either for a time- especially since I thought it would be very time consuming, and it would be “one more thing to do”. But this book has given me a new perspective on that. Here are some facts that the book lists:

“Ninety percent of all accidental poisonings occur in the home. According to the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, more than seven million cases of poisonings are reported each year. That equates to 14,000 each day!… (p.2)

According to a five-year EPA study, the air in an average American home has chemical contamination levels 70 times greater than outdoor air. The EPA maintains that half of all illnesses occurring in the United States can be attributed to chemical contamination of indoor air. In fact, a 1985 EPA report states that household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air pollution.” (p. 2) 

Scary facts, huh? One more quote if you’re not convinced yet.

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that more than 150 chemicals found in ordinary household products are directly responsible for producing cancer, allergies, birth defects, and numerous psychological disorders.” (p. 3) 

 This book also has some easy-to-make and great recipes for producing safe cleaning products. It has neat instructions, and these things can even save you money- like making your own laundry detergent! I highly recommend it for reading!

Seal of God

This may look like a book that a guy would read. Well, now you know girls can enjoy reading stories like these too. *smile*
Chad Williams tells his life story, his journey into the U.S. Navy Seals, and how the Lord (miraculously) brought salvation into his life. Truly, it was only God’s hand that turned him around- I still can’t believe it happened- even after reading the story. It’s adventurous, interesting, and touching. I really, really appreciate that Williams had the integrity of writing his book for the glory of God, without adding the bad language common among soldiers, and used phrases to replace them in a few rare instances. There are so many authors out there who claim to be true Christians, and who mix curse words with Bible verses in the same book…, and I’m thinking ??? …it’s just shameful and revolting! I actually had bought a military book like that several years back, and when I saw the author had contaminated his book with thousands of curse words, and had the audacity to claim he was a believer and insert Bible verses at the beginning of chapters while he had foul words in the content- I simply threw it away.

But returning to our book. Seal of God is a book that shows how a true transformation worked out by God can radically change a person’s lifestyle. It’s a great book to give to non-believing friends or relatives too! Who knows how this book can influence them?

Adventures in the West: Stories for Young Readers

Don’t worry, just because it says “stories for young readers” doesn’t mean it’s actually for young readers.  These stories are collected from  The Youth’s Companion newspaper and St. Nicholas magazine circa 1820s. To me, the reading level of those short stories seemed to be for young adults. There are stories in this book which have nice lessons they teach, either about hard work, or generosity, or selfless giving and sacrifice. Two of the stories:  “A Life Like Maggy’s” and  “How the Parsonage Was Papered” brought tears to my eyes. And I was simply charmed by the cute and touching story in “Sister Anne & the Cowboy” or the somewhat amusing story of “Aunt Phroney’s Boy”. I don’t recommend all the stories in there, but you can pick and choose among which are good to read. They all have little introductions before the story, so it makes it easy to figure out what you will be reading.

The Courage of Sarah Noble

This is a short darling story of a young pioneer girl who went West with her father to prepare a place for the whole family. Most of you probably already know about it. It shows how the little girl overcame her fears along the journey and trusted her father until they could all be together again as a family. I could read books after books about the westward expansion! The courage those pioneers had is amazing. This book is a great read for the young ones in your family!

Chocolate by Hershey: A story about Milton S. Hershey

I really didn’t know the story behind the Hershey chocolate bar and company until I read this book. It’s quite impressive I must say! I was inspired by the determination and entrepreneurial spirit that the founder of Hershey exhibited.  One good lesson you can learn from this short booklet is to never give up- even when it seems you’ll never succeed if you know it’s meant to be (and of course as a Christian, if you know it’s God’s will)- then try, try again! And you never know how great the results will be!

Stay Tuned!

I have more book reviews coming up in later posts. So keep a lookout on my blog. (And I wouldn’t mind if you drop a note too *wink*).

Do you have any books you recently read that you can share with me?

 

Reply to Deann

I received a comment on the “Dangerous Books” article earlier this month.

Deann
September 7, 2012 at 8:17 am
Ann Voskamp does NOT preach nor believe in Panentheism. And woe to the person who cannot see God’s hand in all that is around him/her,the blessings that He has given in our day in day out lives. That does not mean that everything is God.I think it is sad that you (and others from the links) have taken your high and mighty legalistic stand against other believers in such a way as to tarnish their testimony. The enemy is enjoying this very much. If you knew Ann personally you would realize how foolish this thought is. To think that you can “fill in the dots” from what she hasn’t said by what she has is to think that YOU are God!!!! A very scary stand to take. Shame on you and others who use your blogs to tear down the name of Christ and those who want to honor and love Him. Shame on you indeed.

I full well expect that this comment will be taken down, or tore to shreds with the legalistic talk that has preceded this article.

***

Deann, my reply to your comment comes late due to the fact that I’m a student and I have a demanding schedule, so I must give priority to other things. May I ask, have you read Ann Voskamp’s book? Do you know her personally?
You repeatedly use the term “legalistic” to label everything, in an attempt to dismiss the facts I presented, and hide the reality that you cannot provide any backup proof for your comment that Voskamp “does NOT preach nor believe in Panentheism”.

I did not “fill in the dots” when I addressed Voskamp’s writings, and neither did the other authors I linked to. They simply cite her very own words and weigh that against the standard of the Bible. Sadly, it turns out she does have obvious panentheistic views, which are not reconcilable with Biblical teaching.

It is a departure from the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (source).

If you haven’t read the previous articles, here are some excerpts from another article, which show specific pages from the book, that are panentheistic in content.

Panentheism is the belief that God is in everything. It is to be distinguished from pantheism that teaches that God is everything. The very popular Emergent movement is panentheistic as is New Age theology. Since God is in everything, then God can be discovered and understood through encounters with nature. Ann Voskamp echoes Monk Kidd when she states that God is “present in all things,” even “sewage flowing downriver” (p. 110-111).

My notes taken as I read Voskamp reveal panentheism on many pages (16, 31, 54, 89, 109, 110, 112, 118, 119, 124, 137, 138, 185, and 195). It is no exaggeration to say that the entire book is written from a panentheistic perspective. She even finds Christ in everyone, including the lost encountered in the inner city: “A long night doing what we’ve come to do, to bless Christ in the other” (Voskamp: 185). [But] The Bible claims that only believers are indwelt by Christ through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). Voskamp’s panentheism spills into universalism as it does in Emergent and the New Age. It colors everything she teaches.

She claims an “inner eye” that sees God in a panentheistic way: “If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? . . . The art of deep seeing makes gratitude possible” (Voskamp: 118).

Not only that, but she also has blatantly offensive sensual topics in her book. Here is one of many examples:

The last chapter of One Thousand Gifts, “The Joy of Intimacy,” Voskamp devotes to what she calls ”intimacy” with God. We share the following with you not to shock you for theatrical sake – its to show where the “new” Christianity is heading.  We think it important, in light of the many young women who are reading this book, to quote Voskamp’s view of “intimacy” with God which she also calls the “mystery of that romance.” Voskamp says:

Mystical union. This, the highest degree of importance. God as Husband in sacred wedlock, bound together, body and soul, fed by His body, quenched by His blood . . . God, He has blessed – caressed. I could bless God – caress with thanks. To know Him the way Adam knew Eve (pp. 213, 216-217).

I even spared you the more descriptive parts which I didn’t want to put on this blog, and from my opinion are outrageous, to say the least.

To read the full articles where I got these sources, see these links:

Article on Voskamp (1)

Article on Voskamp (2)

Linked to:

Growing Home

http://christianmommyblogger.com/

Dangerous Books

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. (2 Timothy 4:3)

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way… (2 Thess. 2:3) 

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. (2 Peter 3:17)

Here is the promised post about books I do not recommend.
Some of you may think the title of this post is a bit exaggerated. But is it really?

I would like to remind you that books are powerful tools. Reading  shapes a person’s mindset and influences his or her life. Reading is brain food, and just like you are what you eat, in the same way, you are what you read.

That is why books can also be dangerous. So be careful what you read just like you are careful what you eat.

I want you to know that I prayed before writing this post. If you did not read the verses above yet, please go back and read them.

What I am about to write concerning these authors and books is not written lightly, but is done after prayer and research to provide facts that show how and why these books are actually dangerous.

Case #1:

You’ve most likely seen this book in Christian bookstores, and other websites or ads.
The cover may look innocent and it may be misleading for some. But read the title and subtitle more carefully. Sadly this book has been circulating widely among many evangelicals. Why did I say sadly? Because the book is heretical to say the least! Read and you will see.
The 4 year old, who supposedly “went to heaven” claims that He saw Jesus, who was shorter than the angel Michael, and the Holy Spirit as a blue transparent being. It doesn’t stop there.
Way of Life Ministries, does a good book review of this book, on their website, pointing out the false claims it contains. Here I are some quotes from the book review that show the statements made by Colton the boy, and his family:

“Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11).

Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125)..

Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101),
that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102),

and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152).”

If you want more details, read the whole article here, Heaven is for Real: A Dangerous Book for an Apostate Age. Note, I am not affiliated in any way with this ministry, but have found their article helpful and useful.

Case #2:

This may seem like a nice inspirational book about missions to Africa. If you read the description on the back, it may even convince you about how sacrificial Katie is, and what a missionary heart she has. Don’t get me wrong. I am a daughter of missionaries myself, so I am not denouncing mission work.
I love reading about the lives of missionaries such as Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot and many others who God used so mightily. Yet I couldn’t help but see the real motives behind this book. I watched an interview with Katie.  She stated that her real goal was “to be the next Mother Theresa”. Many of us have heard of Mother Theresa described as a kind of saint, but Mother Theresa was a universalist, meaning she believed all religions lead to God.

Coming back to our book, Katie decided to leave for Africa without her parent’s approval at the age of 18. In fact her parents were against it. As long as a girl is under her parent’s authority (which is until she reaches adulthood or gets married), I believe Biblically that she must live in obedience to them.

Katie mentioned in her interview that she felt it was time to “choose between her father and God”, and so she chose to go to Africa.  Yet, the Bible never tells us as young people to choose between Him and our parents- rather to submit to them, especially if they are believers, and even if they are nonbelievers, they have the God-given authority to provide guidance and instruction till adulthood or marriage.

Finally, I came across the missing puzzle piece, which explained why there were so many red flags about this book. A reviewer of the book on Amazon.com explained everything thoroughly. The author of the book, Katie Davis, is actually into mysticism and the emergent church movement. Read the review below:

Missing Biblical Soundness/Revised Review, October 20, 2011
This review is from: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption (Hardcover)

“I am sadly retracting my earlier positive review due to the fact that I have recently found out that Katie stands for and believes in mystical/contemplative spirituality/emergent church types of religion. It is a departure from true, historical Christianity. She quotes on FB many mystical writer’s and thinker’s, including Brennan Manning, Ann Voskamp, Ann Dillard, etc. So it is with this knowledge that I now believe she is not Biblically sound.

Looking back at her book I now see that the emphasis is more on what she does than on Christ getting the glory. How she bows low and gives up her life for the children. The constant references to her “messy” life and how it is all so disorganized bothers me a bit. Ann Voskamp also makes reference to her “messy” life ad nauseum. To what end do they always refer to that? I have to point out also that she has taken on the viewpoint that God is in all things…meaning even the evil things that are on the earth. Also a lack of mention of sin and the need for repentance required for salvation. …unfortunately, good works minus good theology don’t amount to much.”  (Amazon review).

Case #3:


I’m sure a number of the readers of this post probably admire Ann Voskamp. She has a nice blog, popular link ups and so forth.  I too dropped by her blog once or twice after discovering her from another blog. As I browsed through, it seemed quite attractive, but I felt a warning tug in my heart about something there that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Her book above is very popular among evangelical women. I am concerned however, because many women do not actually know what Voskamp’s beliefs are, or what she actually implies in her writing, because it is put in such a veiled way, wrapped in a beautiful package.  In fact I am so concerned, I would have put this book as #1 on the list, but I wanted to prepare you readers for it. Since other bloggers have done a magnificent job of revealing the divergent teachings in her book, I highly encourage you to document yourself and read their posts. These are reliable people who know exactly what they are talking about because they have been involved in the false religion and worldviews that Voskamp’s book contains.
I will give you these quotes from the two articles to whet your appetite to read them and find out what Voskamp actually promotes:

“Her book One Thousand Gifts, [is] a highly poetic, eroticized, “Christianized” version of Panentheism”

“For those who aren’t familiar with what Panentheism is, Panentheism is a worldview that embraces the view that God is “in” everything.”


“Oh, how I have compassion for all of the other real women out there who have not been shepherded well, and thus discern teachings and books based only on the emotional pull, poetic writing, and likability of the teacher. I also have compassion for women who think the greatest sin is to say that a teaching is wrong because it does not line up with Scripture, but who have no fear of the Lord, nor reverence for his Word, and honestly do not think that believing a falsehood about God is a sin.”

“One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a book that takes romanticism to a new level, using sensuality to invoke religious feelings and, ostensibly, true devotion”

Sola Sisters article

Review of “One Thousand Gifts”

Case #4:

Janette Oke is a popular name, what with the movie sequel that was made from her novels, “Love Comes Softly”. My family and I even bought two or three of the movies at first, and I read some of her books too. Now you wonder, what could be wrong with it? Let me just say that I love reading good historical fiction and learning about the good old days, or reading about pioneers and early American times. I am not writing about a particular book of hers, but  about the style or topics she writes, which is “Christian Romance”. Now as I said in a previous post, I do not think Christian Romance is a healthy reading choice for young women who want to honor the Lord. If you think I am exaggerated, I want you to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way, and I’ve actually found a post by another young lady who, like me, decided to stop reading Christian Romance for the right reasons. Read her story here: Christian Romance- Why I Gave it Up.

— ~ —

Well dear readers, to your relief, this is the end of the list for now! I would’ve added several more books that I feel need to be treated, but I will leave it at that for now, since there is already so much information to digest. After you read this post, go pray about it and then do what the Lord leads you to do.

I assume I don’t even have to mention the book “The Shack” since I hope you all know why that book should be on this list as well. Feel free to leave comments. I would like to hear from you.

May I Recommend…

On a regular, if not daily basis, we all sort through an enormous amount of information, websites, blogs, and things out there and decide which to read, which to skip over, which to glance through.

But in the end, we have to keep that which is eternal….that which remains, the Word of God.  So I’d like to take the chance to recommend to you a few good resources that you might like to access yourself. Some have to do with God’s Word, like the first website I’m going to present, while others are just neat things you might enjoy here and there in your summer vacation when you have some time to spare.

MemVerse

I’m really excited about this website called Memverse. It’s a great tool that helps you keep up that diligence you need when memorizing Bible verses! I know it can be challenging sometimes to memorize verses from the Bible, but no need to fret because this great website will do a LOT for you! It even sends you reminders through email when you are due to practice your verses. You get to quiz yourself, and it shows you the level of accuracy you got in trying to recall the verse. So don’t hesitate to sign up. Click on the image to explore the website a bit. Oh, and did I tell you it’s free?

Just watch this short tutorial on how to use the website, and you’ll find you can get the hang of it in no time!

Institute for Creation Research 

Here’s another great website to access! And I’m really, wholeheartedly recommending this to you, to use either for adding to your knowledge base so that you may enrich your arguments whenever you have to talk about Creation vs. Evolution…but this website is also great to give to non-believers so they can see the videos themselves. So here’s what it’s about: The Institute for Creation Research or aka ICR, has recently launched a show page where they have like 5 minute videos with different facts about God’s creation. A new video is added every few months (if I’ve got the timeline right). They are really neat, professional and interesting to watch!
Just watch this short and great video for example:

Also, go explore the other videos they have up there, by clicking on this image below, and make sure you bookmark it to check back when they add new videos! You can even subscribe to their monthly magazine for free where they have great articles discussing theological-creationism vs. evolutionist-atheist issues.

Jas-Townsend & Son

One day, my family and I were looking on youtube for how to make an outside pizza oven. And we stumbled upon this great company Jas-Townsend & Son that basically takes you back in history to the 18th century colonial times and shows you almost every aspect of their life- especially cooking! We all enjoyed watching their videos – even the littlest ones. They are so informative and professional and just plain fun! My littlest sister really enjoys this cute video of making gingerbread cookies, demonstrated by the daughter of the man who probably owns the company:

Check out their youtube home-page for more videos, and their website.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy using those neat websites. I would love to know how you liked them, which videos you liked, or if you signed up for Memverse! Comments are practically as exciting as getting letters in the mailbox!

Note: none of these companies or ministries asked me to recommend or endorse them, but I just really liked them so I thought I would share.