Walk of the Spirit – Walk of Power by Dave Roberson (non-fiction)
First, this is a free book in the kindle format. If you would like a pdf, you can download directly from Dave’s website.
Dave writes a rather comprehensive, yet easy-to-read book on how we can overcome in this life. In Jude 20, 21 we are told, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” And in 1 Corinthians 14:4a says, “A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally.” This book provides practical and scripturally backed advice for growing in your Christian walk, and to have “faith without doubt” (Hebrews 11:6).
He cleared up one thing that had always bothered me about prayer. It always seemed weird to me that we would keep asking God for the same thing over and over again when He says He willingly gives us every good thing and when Jesus paid the price on the cross for our healing and our freedom from sin. Dave says, “Confessing the Word of God is using the faith God has already put in your heart to enforce what He’s already said about your problem. Once we’ve prayed the prayer of faith over the problem, we are not to talk to God about the problem – we are to talk to the problem about God.” We are to speak to the mountain to be removed. We are to use the scripture to bring earthly reality into alignment with heavenly truth.
If you are looking for more than another book providing head knowledge, if you are looking for a straight-forward, practical guide to having faith without doubt, praying without ceasing, becoming an overcomer, and actually living a life of holiness in this life as we are instructed in the Bible, then this is a must-read book.
Heaven by Randy Alcorn (non-fiction)
This is undoubtedly the best book I’ve read on what the Bible says about heaven and the future of the earth. I’ve been interested in the topic for many years and have picked up many popular writer’s books on heaven only to be very disappointed in the superficial treatment of the subject.
God has told us quite a bit about heaven and has told us to meditate on the things of heaven (Col. 3:1–4). This is an in-depth look at what the Bible says and is presented in an easy-to-understand manner.
The one criticism I would have is it was written for people who like to flip around a reference book rather than read a book through. So about halfway through the author begins to repeat himself and the question and answer section at the back are a rehash of covered material. But that is really a disappointment around the structure of the book and certainly not the content.
Today, in the world of popular evangelists publishing cursory treatments of the topic of our eternal future, this book stands alone. If you are interested in what the Bible says and doesn’t say about heaven then this is your book!
Lingering Shadows by Juliette Duncan
Elizabeth Walton-Smythe of Wiveliscombe Manor, making her way in life as Lizzy, chose a bit of a bohemian life as a means of rejecting her privileged past. Barely settled into her courageous new life, she finds herself swept up in a whirlwind marriage with a dashing man from Ireland. She soon discovers her new husband’s failings as he retreats to alcohol in the face of difficulty. Determined to prove her disapproving parents wrong Lizzy searches for answers to understand this man so different than what she thought she needed in a husband.
This is a story of one running from a failed marriage in the oblivion of alcohol and one running from the structured controlled life of privilege. Both struggle in their own way to overcome their vastly different pasts to meet each other in the middle on a path to a successful and peaceful marriage. The question is, in their struggles, will they find their way back to each other.
Initially, I thought the characters would be a bit predictable and superficial. But the story quickly developed and I was brought into the chaotic minds of the newly married. In plumbing their thoughts I found myself caught up in the struggle.
I loved the way the author captured the way longstanding friends know each other without voicing their problems. And I liked that Lizzy’s friend Sal bridged the chasm between Lizzy’s posh life and her new life married to someone from “the other side of the tracks.” And I admire Lizzy for being the peacemaker in their troubled marriage.
If you are a wee bit older or enjoy TCM, you’ve probably seen those serials that end at a dramatic point and you’re left waiting until next week. This book is part one and leaves you hanging over the cliff waiting for the next book. Not getting to the end of this story in this book is not my cup of tea, but I know many readers do relish the wait for the next book. The good news is the next book just released.
For the vast majority that do like to hang in suspense, this is definitely a great five star read!
Again, for the TCM audience, this story reminds me of a movie with one of my well-loved actors, Cary Grant. If you enjoyed Suspicion, you will definitely enjoy this tale of coming to understanding of a partner in marriage when evidence leads astray.
Facing the Shadows by Juliette Duncan
Facing the Shadows is the follow up book to Lingering Shadows. Lizzy’s husband Daniel leaves Lizzy to wallow in his all too familiar painkiller, alcohol. Lizzy is forced to return home and finally deal with unresolved issues with her parents and the man she’d once loved. She struggles with patience and trust in God as she waits for Daniel to hit rock bottom. She needs to find a way to forgiveness with the people who wronged her and put her on a path to a collapsing marriage, and Daniel needs to face his sins and turn to the only way out of the grip of addiction.
I found this a more powerful book as the author brings the reader into the very real struggles of humans to confront the truth of who we really are and learn the hard lessons of forgiveness. I found the progression and transformation believable and emotionally satisfying.
I loved the resonance I felt with Lizzy as she tried to share what had been a private faith and her very real fear of not saying the right thing and messing it up. And I loved the line, “Who in their right mind would welcome suffering in their life?” when considering the verse that says when we are tested we should consider it joy. Anyone who has faced a trial and had to trust God can sympathize with Lizzy.
The author has a great way with words to bring the reader into experiencing the story. “Worry over Daniel sat heavy in her stomach, leaving no room for food.” I knew instantly the desperation of the mind that goes along with that kind of heavy stomach.
There’s nothing I didn’t like about the story and found it a satisfying answer to the crisis of Lingering Shadows. A good read!
Escape to Sanctuary by Nese Ellyson
Dr. Evangeline Tourmaine is a woman hiding from the responsibilities of her legacy by working in third world countries. When she returns to settle her estate she ends up ill, shot, and running from the Sheriff. How does a christian woman go from mission work to being hunted down by the sheriff in a matter of days? How does someone survive a killer with the authority to kill?
Colton Segar of the FBI is on the trail of a man with a long history of evil when he crosses paths with Evie. One is questioning his faith. One is questioning her inheritance. Yet both find peace through each other.
While the two main characters express their faith and there are a few quick prayers made in crisis, the book has a very light Christian touch. So if you are looking for a read without a heavy christian-living overlay this is the book for you.
The story started quickly and moved along at a good pace. At no time did I never felt disengaged or bored. Writers often place the protagonist in a clearly dangerous situation then go into more detailed description of the mundane only to drop into the threatening. I liked that the author was not consistent in her use of this tactic. For me, suspense and anxiety built up with every risky scene, not knowing whether something terrible was about to happen or not. Or maybe it was delayed!
I enjoyed the way the story gradually revealed Evie’s unusual thinking about her fortune to both the reader and Colton, her self-appointed guardian and protector. I found the character of Colton less developed and often slid into the typical version of a male hero. Early on we discover that Colton has questioned his faith because of his work with the FBI, and I expected to understand this more fully as the book progressed. It may have been too subtle for me, but I was disappointed to not get deeper into his thinking around his uncertainty. I was left with the question, “What about governmental investigative work caused him to question his faith?” But that’s not to say he was all superficial. I did see a few glimpses of depth with his thoughts around family and a loss of an inappropriate fiancé.
Nese did a great job of describing a slick, smarmy and downright bad Sheriff. Even the gangsters and drug dealers had more heart. Let’s just say Colton was successful in protecting Evie from this evil.
While I found the ending to be satisfying I would have liked more story for the characters to develop decisions about their relationship. As a bonus, there were a few hidden treasures of wisdom found in the dialog like “I’m giving her a vision of herself to live up to,” when Colton praises a bit of a crusty character. Or “Sincerity is no guarantee for truth.” There are more gems tucked into the action, but I will let you discover them for yourself.
In all, a satisfying read and I would consider reading more of Nese’s books. I can recommend this one as a light but exciting story to get lost in for a few hours.