Rightly Dividin…


Rightly Dividing the Word: Unlocking the Hidden My&hellip by Ira L. MilliganRightly Dividing the Word of Truth: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Bible

By: Ira Milligan

Destiny Image

P. O. Box 310

Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310

978-0768439038, $ 15.99, 2011, 204 pages

Reviewed by: Richard R. Blake

A Reliable Road Map for Understanding the Scriptures

In his book “Discovering Hidden Treasures from the Scriptures” Ira Milligan introduces the reader to a plan of Bible study that opens a new understanding of God’s word in a twofold approach, the natural and the spiritual. (God’s Word and a Perfect Heart). Milligan introduces the same principles which the apostle Paul stressed with Timothy to “rightly divide the word of truth.”

Milligan carefully explains the inspiration of the Scriptures and the importance of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction. I found the chapter dealing with types and shadows especially interesting. I also received new insights as I became more aware of the reasons behind the use of allegories, parables, and symbols in Jesus’ teaching. Other chapters are helpful in understanding God’s covenants, the relationship of law and grace, and the role of the Holy Spirit. Each chapter provides an excellent balance of a “line upon line, precept upon precept” presentation of basic Bible doctrine and personal application.

The “assignment” section accompanying each chapter encourage more than a cursory reading and add to the value of the book as a resource for personal or group study.

“Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Bible” is an important resource providing the reader with a reliable road map to a better understanding of the Scriptures.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Jail and Prison Chaplains Enlist Church Prison Ministry Teams


By Richard R Blake

Churches today have the opportunity to establish ministry teams and partnerships with jail and prison chaplains to bring the message of light and life in Jesus Christ to those still living in spiritual darkness behind prison walls. Most churches and their members have had little contact with people in prisons and remain unenlightened about prisoners.

As you contemplate teaming with local prison chaplains it is important that you envision what you want to accomplish in your church outreach or personal team efforts. You can begin by comparing the ministry and the position of the believer in your church with the believer in prison to realize the role in ministry is identical.

Jesus challenged, or commanded us to go and to make disciples. In ministering to inmates we must go with the idea of equipping them to become disciples of Jesus, showing them how to follow Christ, sending them back into their living units to represent Him to their peers. Each Christian prisoner has the opportunity to be “a light in a dark place.”

In addition to visiting the prison and teaming with the chaplain in Bible studies, chapel services, evangelism, and discipleship ministry there are other opportunities for service. Providing literature, devotionals, writing letters of encouragement, and prayer, phone calls, and inmate visitation are important additional open doors of service. These suggestions provide for a relationship to develop, and to access the sincerity, maturity and spiritual need of the inmate. You are then ready to offer advice and encouragement.

You may be apprehensive about getting involved in prison ministry because of a fear of the unknown as a result of Hollywood movies you have seen, perceived stereotypes, media reports, a lack of understanding, or safety concerns. While these are legitimate concerns it is important to recognize this is very important work and can be done effectively by participating with others in ministry teams. Contact your local chaplain to explore opportunities available locally.

Book Review: Prayer Journey Bible


Prayer Journey Bible

Notes by: Dr. Elmer L. Towns

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.

P. O. Box 310

Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310

978-0768439953, $ 39.99, 2011, 2112 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Priceless Prayer Resource

The “Prayer Journey Bible” is a guide to a meaningful life of prayer, designed as a life map for your individual spiritual journey from the point of recognizing personal sinfulness to Christ’s holiness, from deliverance of evil to goodness, from selfishness to Christ-centeredness.

Suggestions and notes explain the nature of prayer. There are five basic overviews to help the reader map out their prayer journey.

  • A prayer is included within each chapter to help you reflect on the specific point of the chapter, be moved by conviction, to experience an awesome time of worship, to discover  an important exhortation, to make a new commitment, or acknowledge a  personal need for confession.
  • A dictionary of prayer terms is provided to help classify and direct the reader to various types of prayers.
  • These selections are followed by a number for ease in using this dictionary of nearly 550 principles of prayer.
  •  There are other parallel references after each prayer principle which points you to where you can learn more about that principle more deeply.
  • There are also suggested parallel principles with similar application or meaning. These will help you broaden your study.

The introductory page preceding the Biblical text of each of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are informative and helpful.

The classic beauty of the original King James Version will be appreciated by many who have enjoyed this version in the past and will be a welcome introduction to a new generation of Bible students.

Dr. Elmer Towns is recognized for his commitment to academic excellence, his literary creativity, spiritual commitment, and his exemplary prayer life. The Prayer Journey Bible will equip the reader for a more consistency and power in their practice of prayer and pursuit of the intimate presence of God in their life.

The attractiveness and quality of this edition make it an ideal gift for any occasion, for personal inspiration and devotional reading, or for an in-depth study on the subject of prayer.

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review purposes. The expressions expressed are my own. As reviewed for Midwest Book Review.

Book Review: To Follow Jesus


To Follow Jesus: Twelve Steps to Maturity in Christian Discipleship
By: J. D. Morgan
Eleventh Hour Evangelistic Press 106 San Pablo Towne Center
San Pablo, CA 94806
978-0615415925, $ 9.00, 2009, 52 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake
Relationship, Renewal, and Discipleship

To Follow Jesus: Twelve Steps to Maturity in Christian Discipleship” is a foundational study designed to help believers understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ, a follower of Jesus.

Each lesson includes a Scripture lesson with stimulating practical application questions directed at a new or renewed commitment to Christ. This is followed by a Journal page for recording reflections on the lesson from the chapter. I found this especially helpful in personal application and assimilation of the truths emphasized.

Each chapter is designed to cover a week of study and reflection. Tips for using the guide are clear and provide a practical plan for future studies. Step by step instructions are provided for getting the most out of your study.

“To Follow Jesus is designed for new believers, for Christians struggling in their walk with Christ, and for use in discipleship training and mentoring relationships. Whether used as an individual or small group Bible study, participants will strengthen their faith, grow in Christlikeness, and experience life changing transformation.

Compelling, high impact studies for spiritual growth, a more meaningful relationship with Jesus, and a stronger commitment to following Him. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines.

Book Review: Supernatural Destiny: Answering God’s Call on Your Life


Supernatural Destiny: Answering God’s Call on Your Life

By: Don Nori, Sr.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.

P. O. Box 310

Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310

978-07768440171, $ 14.99, 2011, 170 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Personal Journey of Faith – Keeping God’s Vision as Your Focus

The spirit of Don Nori Senior’s writing is contagious.” Supernatural Destiny: Answering God’s Call on Your Life” is Don’s story. He tells of a very personal encounter with God, an encounter in which Don received a specific call and the revelation of his supernatural destiny. Don’s story of his call to become a prophet publishing the message of God’s prophets and the founding of Destiny Image Publishers is a strong reminder of God’s unique purpose and ministry for the individual believer.

Even as Don relates the specific call, the future trials, miracles, victories and failures he experienced along the way he encourages the reader by sharing the principles in Christian living he learned as he earnestly pursued answering the call of God on his life. Don is candid and open as he chronicles his spiritual journey, following God’s leading and misguided detours resulting from self-doubt or following the advice of well-meaning peers. . Don uses the scriptures to illustrate the details of God’s leading and the promises he and his wife Cathy claimed throughout their journey together.I was awed by Don’s description of the overwhelming “invasion of God’s presence” as the basis for the change, transformation, and marvelous miracles experienced as he pursued God’s purpose and destiny for his life.

“Supernatural Destiny: Answering God’s Call on Your Life” is filled with “lessons from the heart “of a remarkable man.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own. As reviewed for Midwest Book Review.

Book Review: The Workshop Edition So Grows the Tree – Creating an Ethical Will


The Workshop Edition So Grows the Tree – By: Jo Kline Cebuhar, J. D.,

Murphy Publishing, P. O. Box 65370, West Des Moines, Iowa 50265-0370, 978-0966185188, $ 34.95, 2011, 184 pages

The Workshop Edition of SO GROWS THE TREE - Creati&hellip by Jo Kline Cebuhar

A Legacy Shared

A year ago I read and reviewed Jo Kline Cebuhar’s award winning
book “So Grows the Tree.” This Workshop Edition is an excellent tool for
expanding the usefulness of this important concept.  A complete DVD accompanies the workbook and
provides the facilitator important information to make this material available
to a larger audience through in home and workshop or seminar presentations.
This approach allows for feedback, sharing ideas, encouraging one another and
for making new friends.

The subtitle of the book defines the ethical will as: “The legacy
of your beliefs and values, life lessons, and hopes for the future.” Space
provided in this handy spiral bound addition allows the user to make notes
which will enhance their experience and bring their own story to life through
the use of quotations, thumbnail essays, and embellished journals. Cebuhar
also talks about creating three dimensional Ethical Wills by using the computer
to incorporate photo albums, digital scrapbooks, power point presentations,
video, audio, and music, and genealogies.

I especially enjoyed the pithy quotes from well-known sources and
the extensive endnotes of additional available resources.

“The Workshop Edition of So Grows the Tree – Creating an Ethical
Will” is an important resource for the use for the life coach, financial
planner, and legal advisor. Providing this information to their clients is an
excellent way of adding another dimension to the important service rendered.

A complimentary copy of this
book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review – 40 Days to Better Living – Depression


40 Days to Better Living DepressionScott Morris, Church Health Center of Memphis

40 Days to Better Living--Depression by M.D., M.Div. G. Scott Morris

Barbour, Inc., P. O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683

9781616262662, $ 7.99, 2011, 175 pages, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Viable Help for Better Living through Overcoming Depression

“Depression”  is another of the helpful topics introduced inthe “40 Days to Better Living Series” published by the Church Health Center of Memphis. The book provides practical, manageable tips to alter your attitudes and actions.

The individual chapters include suggestions for practical action steps in areas of faith, health, exercise,
work, emotions, relationships, and nutrition. Each day of this 40 day program is centered around a true story from the lives of six individuals who have conquered depression through focusing on one day at a time, on managing their feelings, and assimilating the suggestions offered by the Health Center team as a model for healthy living.

I identified with Greg’s story and with his issues of depression related to diabetes and high blood pressure. Following the suggestions of the Health Center counselors helped Greg incorporate a plan using exercise and nutrition in his focus. By adapting the suggestions throughout this 40 day regimen I too am taking steps to help me monitor my
progress and lift my spirit.

The inspiration and encouragement from the “Morning Reflections” and the “Evening Wrap Ups” are especially helpful as motivators in my pursuit of growth and consistency in my personal physical, emotional, and spiritual life journey.

Whether your depression is the result of the loss of a job, broken relationships, grief, disease, or childhood traumayou will find life-changing help from this compact guide to overcoming
“Depression.”

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own. As reviewed for Midwest Book Review.

Rembering the Music, Forgetting the Words – Book Review


Remembering the Music
By: Kate Whouley
Beacon Press
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
978-0807003190, 2011

Product Details

A Fresh Perspective on Dealing with the Demanding, Debilitating Journey in the World of Dementia Caregiving

I am no stranger to the difficulties and demands of the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. Aging friends and loyal family members offer encouragement, affirmation, and support on the journey we are all experiencing together.

Kate Whouley’s “Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Word” is a gripping account of the impact of dementia on both victims and their family. She writes candidly of the trials in the relationship with her mother; openly expressing her frustration, anxiety, and the demands of being the primary caregiver for a loved one “lost in the land of dementia.”

Kate carefully weaves a parallel of her love for music into helping to understand her mother’s illness, their relationship, and the importance of living in the quality of the moment.

Whouley writes with passion, understanding, and insight.
“Remembering the Music” is not a text book or how to book – but a fresh perspective from a fellow traveler. I found in Kate’s writing another source of encouragement, affirmation, and support from a fresh perspective.

An important resource for adult children of parents struggling to find their way in the land of dementia.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.
The opinions expressed are my own. As reviewed for Amazon’s Vine Program.

Book Review: Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat


Making Rounds with Oscar

By: David Dosa, M.D.

Hyperion (Harper Collins)

114 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10011

978114010323233, $ 23.99, 2010, 226
pages

Product Details

Embracing Moments of Life in Readiness
to Let Go

“Making Rounds with Oscar” takes pet
therapy to a new level. Oscar’s gift is uniquely exercised just when needed
most. He unexplainably appears at the bedside of patients at a time when
patients and families need empathy, comfort, and distraction the most.

In my own search for answers I found new
insights from the stories related by David Dosa, M. D. in his book “Making
Rounds with Oscar.” I received comfort from the concept of making the most of
“little victories” like “the hint of a knowing smile.”  I was reminded of the respect shown in the
“simplest of gestures.” I took note of the desperate frustration of patients
with “sharp minds and damaged hands.”

I appreciated Dosa’s candid approach to
in acknowledging the difficulty facing victims of Dementia and their families.
He conveys a message of realism with empathy and understanding. His writing is
carefully crafted, with a comfortable flow for the reader to assimilate new
light on the disease and to gain a better grasp on what to expect in the
future.

The stories are sometimes composites and
sometimes specific but always heartwarming. “Making Round with Oscar” was
recommended to me by a fellow caregiver as “a good read.” I want to pass along
his recommendation to potential readers by adding my “five star review” to
those already posted.

Book Review – Lord I Feel So Small by Jon Drury


MidwestBook Review

Lord I Feel So Small: Using
God’s Yardstick to Conquer Self-Doubt

By: Jon Drury

WinePress Publishing

P. O. Box428

Enumclaw,Washington98022

978-1414118048, 2010, 214
pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

richard330@yahoo.com

Are You Using Man’s Yardstick or the Plumb line of the Scriptures?

In the book “Lord I Feel So
Small: Using God’s Yardstick to Conquer Self-Doubt” Pastor Jon Drury maintains
that by measuring ourselves against man’s yardstick we may miss our own
greatness or significance by not recognizing the touch of God on our lives.

The pages are filled with
contemporary stories from the lives of broken people struggling with the
emotions of self pity, unworthiness, fear, and

rejection. Other examples
come from Biblical accounts of men and women who have faced similar challenges
of adversity. In a natural progression Drury shows how these illustrations
often parallel many of the life experiences he grappled with as he emerged from
his personal wilderness journey.

The book is made up of twenty
chapters divided into six sections. These include concepts including: crafting
a foundation of significance, dealing with feelings of despair and fear, and keys
from scripture which counteract these negative feelings, replacing them with hope,
courage, and healing.  Jon talks about
hindrances along the way, externals that frustrate signs of progress, and
experiences that obstruct true success, friendship and trust. He warns of the
danger of determining worth through comparisons.

Each chapter ends with a
section titled “Think it Through” made up of questions for reflection and
application. These questions which clearly relate directly to the material
covered within the chapter also encourage personal consideration based on
individual backgrounds and experience. The questions are also an excellent resource
for group study discussion.

Jon’s writing is transparent,
appealingly honest and frank. He openly discusses his own feelings of anxiety,
worry, and rejection as he equips the reader to discover God’s purpose and to rebuild
a life based on the Scripture. I enjoyed the user friendly format of the book
as well as the comprehensive bibliography, suggested resources, and the gospel
message included in the Appendix.

I can highly recommend “Lord I Feel So Small:
Using God’s Yardstick to Conquer Self-Doubt” for anyone wanting to exchange
their struggle with self-worth or feelings of insecurity for a life of
significance and purpose as they recognize the touch of God on their lives.

A complementary review copy
of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest
review.

As Reviewed forMidwestBook Review