Book Review: The Designer Bag at the Garbage Dump by Jackie Macgirvin


The Designer Bag at the Garbage Dump

By: Jackie Macgirvin

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-07698441451, $ 14.99, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

When Jesus Changes Julie’s Direction from Designer Clothes to Feeding Orphans

Julie, self-centered and insecure seeks fulfillment and satisfaction by being on the cutting edge in designer clothes, accessories, as well as perfection in home decorating and in career accomplishment. A planned two day shopping spree in New York City took an unexpected twist to become a supernatural extended spiritual experience with Jesus in India.

In her book “The Designer Bag at the Garbage Dump” Jackie Macgirvin uses the platform of fiction to deliver a strong message of self-discovery. I was personally moved as I vicariously absorbed the message of Julie’s conversations with Jesus, her struggle to surrender her will to Him and to see her life transformed by a newly found intimacy with Jesus. Julie also received the healing and freedom that comes with obedience to God.

The plight of 44,000 orphans victimized each year by the “beggar mafia” in India is dramatically presented through a composite of the lives of eleven orphans living on a garbage dump. Poverty, parental neglect, famine, and kidnapping are all factors that lead to the abuse of these children as they are forced into begging, child pornography, and are sexually abused.

Macgirvin’s character development is strong. Key characters reveal character flaws common to most of us. Jackie skillfully reveals transformation and growth in the depth of Julie and the orphans as they build a relationship of trust in each other, and faith in Jesus.

Although I sometimes thought the story line became repetitious or too idealistic I was careful to read on as I did not want to miss a single word of Julie’s next conversation with Jesus, as I found them personally applicable to my own faith.

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

“The Designer Bag at the Garbage Dump” is a powerful reminder of the admonition that … true religion is manifest in meeting the needs of … orphans in their time of trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: My First 40 Days with the Lord, Majestic Glory Ministries


My First 40 Days with the Lord

Compilation: Majestic Glory Ministries

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-07684-41307, $ 5.99, 2012, 192 Pages, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

First Steps in Spiritual Growth

“My First 40 Days with the Lord” is designed with the purpose of introducing the new believer to an intimate life changing relationship with the savior, Jesus Christ, and to provide them with an understanding of the basic essentials of the Christian faith.

The book is divided in 40 individual daily readings made up of parallel passages taken from the Gospel of John in the New Testament and selected scriptures from the books of the Old Testament from Genesis to Zechariah.

I especially appreciated:

  • The emphasis on foundationl truths from the scriptures
  • The reflective questions which stimulate understanding, assimilation, and application of these important truths
  • The concise summaries of each of the books of the Old and New Testaments

The editors have been careful to be clear in their explanations of complex concepts and theological terms such as:

  • Grace and atonement
  • God’s covenant relationship with Israel and with believers
  • The prophecy of the promised Messiah
  • Jesus as Son of God, and the Lamb of God, becoming our sin sacrifice
  • Salvation, the Holy Spirit, judgment, mercy, miracles and anointing

The narrative and reflective questions also encourage important principles for Christian living: Obedience, faith, character, humility, purpose, calling, tribulation, and other truths.

The book is more than a primer for new Christians. It also provides a refresher course for Christian s at every level of spiritual maturity. This is an excellent resource for discipleship training, mentoring, individual study, or for church membership classes.

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

Book Review: Godly Success by Mornay Johnson


Godly Success: Unlocking the Door of Prosperity in Your Life

By: Mornay Johnson

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310,978-0768441260, $ 15.99, 2012, 220 pages,Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Scriptural Guidelines for Success and Prosperity in Church Ministry or the Marketplace

Mornay Johnson provides the reader with guidelines for success and prosperity based on Biblical principles in his book “Godly Success: Unlocking the Door of Prosperity in Your Life.” Using dozens of personal experiences and testimonies from individuals from all walks of life, Johnson introduces proven principles which illustrate proven practices to help the reader succeed in every facet of life: spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially, and financially.

These principles include:

  • A pattern for living
  • Tools for determining guidance and getting wisdom
  • Important aspects of Christian Character
  • The role of money in the life of the Christian
  • Keys to Godly success
  • A candid look at the role of placement in ministry
  • A new sense of destiny

The user friendly format reinforces these principles through:

  • Inspirational quotes
  • Summary statements
  • Scriptural passages
  • Dozens of illustrative testimonies of success
  • Blank pages for personal notes or journals

Mornay helps the reader understand the role of a “Marketplace Prophet” as a significant ministry opportunity.  “Godly Success: Unlocking the Door of Prosperity in Your Life” is for every Christian man or woman who has felt misdirected in fulfilling their calling or who is currently seeking direction in determining their destiny.  Highly recommended.

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

Book Review: Encountering God Through Dance by Saara Taina


Encountering God through Dance: The Dancing Bride

By: Saara Taina

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310 Shippensburg, PA 17257 – 0310, 978-0768441277, $ 14.99, 2012, 160 Pages, Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Testimony, Instruction, and Inspiration – Leading Worship through Dance

“Encountering God through Dance” is written especially for those called to the ministry of dance in worship, to those starting a dance ministry, and to everyone wanting to participate in creative worship “like a bride” desiring to celebrate in the presence of her beloved.

Saara Taina shares experiences from her own unique and personal journey which includes:

  • The discovery of freedom to express worship through dance
  • The opportunity for training in the techniques of the art form of dance
  • Becoming sensitive to recognizing the presence of God in the worship of His people
  • Learning a practical approach to starting a dance ministry
  • Training others in the fundamental steps to developing an effective team

I received a timely message from the family of a close friend of our church on the Care Pages web-site as I was reading Saara’s book, the message reads:  “Today, at 12:50 pm, our sweet mom left us and went to dance on the streets of heaven.” I don’t think this was a simple coincidence, no – I think it was a unique God encounter which gave me a whole new appreciation for the timeliness and sensitivity of Saara’s writing.

Taina writes with a passion to introduce, equip, and implement the joy of expressing worship through dance. “Encountering God through Dance” is filled with solid Biblical teaching on often overlooked passages which introduce the diversity of music and other expressions of practiced by true believers in God.

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

Book Review: Unmask the Predators: The Battle to Protect Your Child by Lisa Cherry and Kalyn Cherry Waller


Unmask the Predators: The Battle to Protect Your Child

By: Lisa Cherry and Kalyn Cherry Waller

Honor Net Publishers, P. O. Box 910, Sapulpa, OK 74067, 978-1938021008, $ 15.99, 2012, 224 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Families at Risk – The Attack of Predators

Lisa Cherry writes from a mother’s perspective as she tells of the devastation when it was confirmed that their fifteen year old daughter, Kalyn, had fallen victim to a forty-six year old predator. She tells of the pain of guilt, regret, and anger she experienced. She writes from the deepest desperation of her soul.

Kalyn candidly tells her story of the emotional roller coaster she experienced. Her pain took the form of rebellion, depression, dysfunctional relationships, eating disorders, and self-mutilation.

The format and content of the material is instructional, well organized, and practical.  The book is filled with strategies and tactics aimed at helping the reader build a plan for dealing with Satan’s deception, the place of parental authority, and for engaging in spiritual battle.

The chapter titled “Twenty-Six Keys for Protecting Your Child from Sexual Predators” is especially important for parents. The points to ponder at the end of the chapters also  reinforcement to the material covered in the text.These points also open the possibility for use as a group discussion guide within the context of information meetings or in a support group setting.

“Unmask the Predators” is highly endorsed by Christian leaders, pastors, educators, and parents earnestly seeking to protect families from the influence and attack of evil predatory forces. Must reading for every parent.

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

Book Review: Hosting the Presence by Bill Johnson


Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda

By: Bill Johnson

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310. 978-0768441291, $ 15.99, 204 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Living in the Presence of  God

Best-selling author Bill Johnson reveals profound insight into the ways of the Holy Spirit as he challenges the reader to consider and ponder question designed to stimulate and inspire the depth, inference, and life changing impact of the reality of hosting God’s presence.

“Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda” opens with extraordinary stories of healing exemplified in the lives of Peter, Jesus, and Paul as recorded in the New Testament Gospels and in the book of Acts.  Additional examples are drawn from the lives of Moses, Abraham, Jacob, and David in the Old Testament. The book is filled with solid Biblical instruction, meaningful analogies, and foundation truths.

I was moved by the stories of spirit filled revivalists who had personal encounters with the Presence.  These accounts include, D. L. Moody, Mel Tari, John G. Lake, George Whitefield, and many others.

A gifted and anointed communicator, Bill Johnson writes with clarity, passion, and empowerment.  In my spiritual quest to release God’s power into the circumstances of life, I want to encompass Bill’s exhortation on the importance of fellowship, communion, companionship, and partnership.  I also want to heed his admonition to beware of allowing the hindrances of busyness, shame, and pride from robbing me from the experience of “Hosting the presence.”

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

Book Review: Secrets of the Supernatural Life by Shawn Gabie


Secrets of the Supernatural Life – Your Gateway to Supernatural Experiences

By: Shawn Gabie

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-0768441208, $ 15.99, 2012, 262 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Fork in the Road Experience – Beginning the Journey into the Supernatural Lifestyle

Shawn Gabie encourages the reader to search for and discover the experience e of walking in the reality of a life changing transformation. “Secrets of the Supernatural Life” is a practical handbook for living in the supernatural in a modern day environment.

Biblically based with solid testimonies and applications the book is ideal for devotional reading or for deeper individual or group study. Shawn carefully explores a number of roles of the prophetic as they relate to living a supernatural life. These essentials provide the basic foundation for understanding the call to experiencing personally the excitement of supernatural living.

These foundational truths include as priorities the importance of:

  • Establishing a relationship with God through Jesus Christ
  • Hearing and recognizing the voice of God
  • Partnering with the Holy Sprit
  • Detecting counterfeits
  • Becoming God’s messengers and active participants in carrying out the call to do “greater works” in the realm of the supernatural.

Gabie’s writing is expressive, passionate, and highly motivating. Shawn reminds the reader, “The choice is yours as you decide which fork in the road you will take.”  Will it be the choice to experience the supernatural?

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

Book Review: Finally Free – Living in Peac by Releasing Your Past by Jennifer Kostyal


Finally Free, Living in Peace by Releasing Your Past

By Jennifer Kostyal

Honornet Publishers, P. O. Box 910, Sapulpa, OK 74067, 978-0982059098, $ 14.99, 2012, 194 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Finding Freedom from the Deep Seated Despair of Abuse

“Finally Free” is Jennifer Kostyal’s story. It is written with passion and understanding, purpose, and resolve. As a child Jennifer Kostyal is convinced that her birth was a mistake, that she is ugly and therefore worthless.

Jennifer candidly reveals her experiences of self-preservation as a victim of verbal abuse, curses, beatings, molestation, and rape. She relates how she met the onslaught of attacks by demonic forces, reliving nightmares of the past. She tells of a longing to sink into oblivion, thoughts of suicide, and the wounds of her heart.  In strong descriptive words Jennifer tells of the feelings of guilt, betrayal, and abandonment that followed broken relationships, family confrontations. She describes the impact of the restrictive confines of the cult like religion of her family.

In the midst of her conflict and confusion Jennifer experienced a divine intervention, an experience of indescribable power and love, as for the first time she understood the simplicity and reality of the message of Jesus’ love. As she searched answers from the Word of God and claimed the promises she found restoration and healing. She experienced the compassion of Christ.  Trauma turned to victory – sorrow turned to joy. Jennifer offers encouragement, hope, peace, and freedom to victims of abuse still in bondage.

The book also contains important instruction and information helpful to family members and victims caught up in the repeat cycle of abuse, with unhealed festering wounds, results of the poison of the past. She provides tools from the scriptures for finding break through and deliverance from the bondage of abuse. She exhorts the reader to take note of behavior changes in your child. It is important to be sensitive to the following symptoms of victims of abuse:

  • Attention problems and the ability to focus
  • Anxiety and extreme fear
  • Emotional wounds
  • Broken relationships
  • A constant need to be affirmed
  • A posture and lack of eye contact as a result of shame and guilt
  • Feelings of depression, despair, and distrust
  • Overly introverted

“Finally Free” is an engaging emotionally charged page turner demanding to be read. Jennifer’s story is absorbing leaving the read with a lingering impact.

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

Book Review: MO! Everyday Heroes Who Live With MOmentum, MOtivation, and Moxie by Shawn Doykle & Lauren Anderson


Mo! Every Day Heroes Who Live With MOmentum, MOtivation, and MOxie

By: Shawn Doyle & Lauren Anderson

Sound Wisdom, 167 Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, 978-1937879037, $ 15.99, 2012, 160 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Stories of People Filled With Passion, Drive, Charisma, and Magnetism

Shawn Doyle & Lauren Anderson have collaborated to compile the stories that make up “Mo: Everyday Heroes Who Live with Momentum, Motivation, and Moxie.”  These inspiring personality profiles illustrate the importance of discovering and developing one’s individual potential.

Twenty-three ordinary people are introduced. Each story highlights special qualities that make these individuals stand out in their unique way. The chapter titles become word pictures providing the reader a visual image of the personality profile to following. Here are a few examples:

  • Vern Oscarson: Fish Peddler Extraordinaire
  • Bill Staton: The Amazing Maintenance Man
  • Jennifer Thompson: The Harpist Who Went to Law School
  • Joe Fleming: Skycap with True Spirit
  • Kate Holgate: The People Magnate

Pedro Valente’s story was of particular interest to me. A Master in Brazilian Jujitsu Pedro stands straight, a man who lives and follows the message of his: Seven Principles of Virtue, Five Keys to Health, and the three elements that impact The State of Mind.

Each story concludes with “MO Notes” and “MeMO” exercises and several suggested action steps to help the reader assimilate and appropriate the lessons presented. The applications are practical, relevant, proven principles for attaining full meaningful extraordinary lives.

“MO” is a unique approach in the genre of self-help and MOtivational books. Shawn Doyle and Lauren Anderson are practical and professional in their writing.  “MO” is entertaining, instructional, and highly MOtivational.

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

Book Review: Growing Up Ziglar by Julie Ziglar Norman


Growing Up Ziglar

By: Julie Ziglar Norman

Guideposts, 16 East 34th Street, New York, N. Y. 10016

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Julie’s Journey from Heartache to Hope

Julie Ziglar Norman’s tells the story of her spiritual journey in her book “Growing up Ziglar”.  She tells how she found hope through faith, freedom through forgiveness, and courage to make needed changes.

Julie’s writing is engaging, transparent, and brutally honest, offering the reader hope Julie provides powerful tools for life change. Julie Ziglar Norman’s tells the story of her spiritual journey in her book “Growing up Ziglar”.  She tells how she found hope through faith, freedom through forgiveness, and courage to make needed changes. The reader will be helped as they identify with Julie as she discusses issues, of low self-esteem, wrong choices, divorce, abuse, denial, alcoholism, and guilt. “Growing up Ziglar” is a bold testimony of the grace of God, the dangers of negative self-talk, and the importance of making right choices.”

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