Book Review: Comfort and Joy by Linda Jeffrey, Ed. D.

Comfort and Joy: How to Receive Healing Beyond Grief and Loss

By: Linda Jeffrey, Ed. D.

First Principles,  Inc., 3317 Halls Hill Rd, Crestwood, KY 40014,  978-0984940912, $ 14.95, 2012, 168 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Comfort and Encouragement In Times the Devastation of Grief

Dr. Linda Jeffrey is no stranger to grief. Her book “Comfort and Joy” is her story of being overtaken by anguish, through a journey of repeated grief and loss. She offers hope to the reader from the scriptures as she describes her experience of finding healing, comfort, and joy in the midst of her grief

The book is made up of a compilation of carefully selected scriptures and essays designed to help those grieving through the process of mourning with applications for facing the immediate darkness and heaviness with promises of encouragement, hope and strength for moving on to new life. Dr. Jeffrey tells of her dark hours and how she received healing when facing the aftermath of the loss of being widowed three times.

Readers will identify with the overwhelming feelings desperation, tragedy, and helplessness as Linda relates sense of helplessness as she faced the seemingly impossible burden of new responsibilities in the midst of processing her grief

This beautifully bound hardback edition is an ideal resource or gift for grief counselors, pastors, family and friends to give to anyone needing comfort and friendship during times of bereavement and grief.

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

Book Review: Nourishing the Seed by Bob Mumford

Nourishing the Seed – Learning to Please God as a Father

By: Bob Mumford


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

“Nourishing the Seed – Learning to Please God as a Father” is made up of 128 profound short devotional readings in which gifted Bible teacher Bob Mumford draws from spiritual nuggets and  lessons he has gleaned from over a half-century of walking with God as Father. He uses the metaphor of the seed to help the reader understand Agape love in growing in a relationship with Father God.

These scriptural seeds when nurtured encourage and produce growth and spiritual maturity in the believer, providing additional nutrients through introspection on the thought provoking questions at the end of each reading. Application of suggested actions included with these “Thoughts and Questions” act as an agent of cultivation to encourage maximum growth during the period from germination to maturity and harvest.

A user friendly format includes diagrams and charts that help the reader visualize the key thoughts of the narrative and add to the overall understanding of the material.

Mumford is known for his desire to bring about reconciliation and unity among the family of God and for his worldwide ministry of prophetic teaching.  “Nourishing the Seed” is written for anyone serious in their desire to follow Jesus and to grow in their relationship with God the Father.

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

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-07698441383, $ 16.99, 2012, 312 pages

Book Review: Whose Big Idea Was That? by Jo Kline Cebuhar, J. D.

Whose big idea was that? Lessons in giving from the pioneers of value-inspired philanthropy

By: Jo Kline Cebuhar, J. D.


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Valuable Nuggets and Lessons for Leaving a Legacy of Family Values

Jo Kline Cebuhar, J. D.  packs profound quotes, valuable nuggets, stories, and lessons for leaving a legacy of family values to the next generation in her concise book “Whose big idea was that? Lessons in giving from the pioneers of value-inspired philanthropy.”

I read with interest the concept of “Footprint Philanthropy” and the mission statements of the founders of six charitable organizations. These organizations range from campus, animal, and children’s rights to medical research, and history preservation. Common themes of; achievement, community, compassion, diligence, self-respect, faith and family are found as the core values of these pioneer charities and are written as affirmations of the founder’s intended purposes.

Cebuhar provides practical guidelines for the donor and supporters of worthy causes as well as for the fundraisers and development officers of non-profit organizations. She challenges the donor to identify their personal core values and to incorporate and communicate them as a legacy in their plan for giving, “whether as a pioneer problem solver or a sustaining supporter of a cause.”

Cebuhar’s writing reflects her personal dedication as a pioneering entrepreneur, volunteer, and innovative promoter of “value-inspired philanthropy.”

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

Murphy Publishing Company, LLC, P. O. Box 65370, West Des Moines, Iowa 50265, 978-0966185164, $ 5.00, 2012, 52 pages


Book Review: The Insanity of Unbelief by Max Davis

The Insanity of Unbelief: A Journalist’s Journey from Belief to Skepticism to Deep Faith

By: Max Davis


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Documented Experiential Approach to Apologetics

Within the first five pages I was hooked.  I had to go on and read the entirety of Max Davis’ book “The Insanity of Unbelief” which tells of his own spiritual journey from belief to skepticism to deep faith through the eyes and experiences of a journalist.

The book relates inspiring stories of real life encounters with Jesus, incredible miracles of healing with documented medical records, powerful evidence and solid facts required in journalistic writing. Stories of answered prayer are engaging and uplifting backed up with powerful evidence.

Davis carefully details the criteria of how a journalist is trained to break down the facts as he applies the approach to the illustrations used throughout the book. He also provides the reader with guidelines for safely discerning God’s voice, archaeological evidence of the supernatural nature of the Bible and the fulfillment of prophecy of Jesus as the promised Messiah.

Davis writes with clarity and passion to encourage believers and those whom God is drawing to Himself. “The Insanity of Unbelief: A Journalist’s Journey from Belief to Skepticism to Deep Faith” is moving and scholarly, thought provoking, and compassionate addressing the uncertainties of exceptionally intelligent people with doubts about their own beliefs. Davis delivers an important message to a politically correct, culturally relevant, media driven society.

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

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310,  Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768441499, $ 15.99, 222 Pages

Soaring Hope: Imagining Life As It Ought to Be

By: Lynn Thrush

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake



A Message of Hope, Imagination, and Transforming Optimism

Endorsed by church leaders, seminarians, and Christian educators “Soaring Hope” brings a positive message of hope and transforming optimism to Christians everywhere.

Lynn Thrush, pastor and Bible teacher, draws from the teachings of Jesus in His prayer for God’s will for the “world” from “The Lord’s Prayer,” found in chapter six of the gospel of Matthew. Thrush challenges the reader to replace fatalism and negativity with an irrepressible message of hope and an eager anticipation of seeing the world as God intended us to. Thrush paints Biblical pictures of hope, restoration, and an eager anticipation of revealing the good news Jesus delivered in Mark’s gospel.

In the chapter entitled “The Rule of God” Thrush discusses the” tragedy of the squelched imagination.” He attributes this in part to the misunderstanding of the Greek meaning in many New Testament texts regarding the good news of the kingdom common to many doomsday and dispensational teachers. He calls the reader to demonstrate their faith and to make a difference resulting in changed lives.

Rich in Biblical examples, Thrush challenges the reader to possess the land, to take steps to contradict hopelessness, and to imagine life as it ought to be. Thrushes’ writing is articulate, relevant, and offers an opportunity to explore a new approach to Biblical application and interpretation in light of reality.

“Soaring Hope: Imagining Life As It Ought to Be” presents a positive message of hope, imagination, and transforming optimism.

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

Destiny Image Publishing, Inc. – P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, Pa 17257-0310

978-0768487763, $ 15.99, 2012, 216 Pages

Book Review: The Chest of Visions by Tim Ferguson

The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston

By Tim Ferguson

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Creative Approach of Presenting the Gospel Message to a New Generation

“The Chest of Visions” is a unique resource tool for equipping a generation of today’s teens for evangelizing their peers. Tim Ferguson skillfully combines his creative imagination, and nearly twenty of experience in youth ministry into a story of hopefulness, fearlessness, and intrigue. The story integrates individuals from two parallel universes.

Using the elements of fantasy, science fiction, and allegory Tim Ferguson stimulates the reader to ponder the questions: If Jesus were to come to earth today instead of 2,000 years ago, how would you respond?  How do Christian teens react to difficulty?  And, how can we effectively define faith?

The illustrations created by Jose Carlos Gutierrez graphically portray the nature of the characters and locale and events, reinforcing the narrative.

Suggestions for using the story to explore lessons in life are provided using three approaches with stimulating questions for consideration, additional instruction and information for each of the ten individual chapters of the book.

“The Chest of Visions” provides a creative approach for equipping Christian take the gospel message to their peers.

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

Xulon Press, 978-1622305988, 2012, 124 Pages

Book Review: Healing Our Autistic Children by Julie A. Buckley, M. D.

Up to Date Advances in the Understanding of Autism

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

“Healing Our Autistic Children” is unique in that the author, Julie Buckley, is a pediatrician. She writes with the expertise, skill and knowledge of a medical practitioner with the passion of a mother’s heart. She reveals her own emotions of anger, sorrow, and guilt when her own daughter, Dani, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disease (ASDs) after being an active, growing, normal, happy child during her first four years. She shares how successful treatment of ASDs becomes a way of life.
Buckley’s writing is both technical and heartfelt. Her case studies, examples, and stories of actual patients are poignant and helpful. Her colorful analogies help the reader more easily grasp the treatment processes throughout the recovery of their autistic child and a resulting behavior modification.
Dr. Buckley is an advocate of biomedical intervention and explains the new developments in the diagnosis of autism. Researchers are finding that chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and toxicity are the cause of autism as in many diseases and that behavioral abnormalities socialization and communication problems are the signs or symptoms of the disease.
The book is arranged around a progression of treatment which involves six visits or steps in process. Each visit explains the progression of treatment and includes an action list to be completed before proceeding to the next level.
“Healing Our Autistic Children” is must reading for parents of victims diagnosed with autism spectrum disease. It is a valuable resource for pediatricians, health care providers, and educators. Dr. Julie A. Buckley is top in her field and offers parents a tool to help them implement a medical plan to restore their child’s health.

978-0230616394, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009, 232 pages

This review is from: Healing Our Autistic Children: A Medical Plan for Restoring Your Child’s Health (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program

Book Review Practicing the Presence of Jesus by Wally Armstrong

Practicing the Presence of Jesus

By: Wally Armstrong

Summerside Press, 978-1609367022

$ 12.99, 2012, 112 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Model for Seeking the Presence of Jesus

The concept of Wally Armstrong’s “Practicing the Presence of Jesus” resonated with me. Visualizing Jesus as a present day mentor, confidant, and friend has often been a bit illusive for me. Like Wally I found myself intrigued by the idea of Jesus’ presence in the world today in the same way he walked with the disciples over 2,000 years ago. Wally was impressed Leslie Weatherhead in his book “The Transforming Friendship,” he went on to discover the incredible gift of friendship with Jesus.

He describes how he began to practice His presence, how he allowed Jesus to transform his heart and life. He learned to experience encounters which led to a unique interactive relationship with Jesus.

Step by Step Wally invites the reader how to discover, how to meet, and walk, in a friendship with Jesus. Wally’s writing is engaging and inspiring, demonstrating a transparency that authenticates the reality of his spiritual journey. Becoming a follower and friend of Jesus is intentional, interactive, and dynamic.

“Practicing the Presence of Jesus” is for anyone seeking to know God, desiring personal revival and freedom, for anyone with a deep spiritual hunger to know Jesus in a more intimate relational companionship.

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

Book Review: Heart for the Game by Simon Keith

Heart for the Game by Simon Keith with Jason Cole and Don Yaeger

Nexus Publishing: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform. 978-1475195132, $ 9.99, 2012, 218 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Moment of Truth – A Formula for Championship

“Heart for the Game” is a team effort. Sports reporter Jason Cole collaborates with bestselling author, editor, and business leader Don Yaeger to tell Simon Keith’s incredible story.

Simon is one of the longest living heart transplant recipients in the world and the first person to ever come back from a heart transplant to play professional sports, a man who went on to live a full and complete life.

The writer’s skillfully capture Simon’s “guts and determination” as they describe his perseverance to overcome obstacles, his ability to dream dreams, and to take on personal challenges. He is portrayed as one willing to do whatever it takes to succeed with a “laser focus” on his goals.

In 1986 young Simon Keith was on his way to play in the World Cup in Mexico when he was diagnosed with a fatal heart disease with only a few weeks to live. Simon never gave up his dream but persevered. This is the story of the gift of a heart donation, a second chance at life for Simon, and the lessons he learned throughout his battle to survive.

Simon received the heart of a seventeen year old donor. Twenty-five years later Simon sought out the family of this young donor, the Fields family. He wanted to learn more about their son James and to thank them for their gift. He reflects on this meeting as they gathered at the gravesite of James Fields. This meeting is poignant.

“Heart for the Game” is an important book for the victim of any cardiac condition, their caregivers, and families, soccer players, fans, motivational speakers, and life coaches. Simon Keith’s is a story of inspiration, encouragement, and, motivation.

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

Book Review: Defying Autism by Karen Mayer Cyunningham

Defying Autism – A Miraculous Story of Hope by Karen Mayer Cunningham

By Richard R Blake

Hope for Healing – for Victims of Autism

“Defying Autism” is the story of the journey of the Cunningham family. It is an account of the day to day struggles and heartache of caring for their son James in his fight against the disease of autism. James was formally diagnosed “classically autistic” after months of frustration throughout a downward curve in his learning skills. The diagnosis devastated his parents Tom and Karen Cunningham.

In her narrative Karen compares their story to a season of life. The story chronicles the early days of their marriage, the joy seeing baby James develop, and the events leading up to the diagnosis. Each chapter details another season in the development in the life of their son James and through the subsequent struggles they faced as parents and caregivers.

Chapter titles include: “The Santa Ana Winds,” “Tornado Watch, “Possible Flooding,” and “Tsunami.” Karen kept looking for a rainbow of hope. She talks about navigating through the fog, working through state agencies, CPS caseworkers, and the discovery of the Gospel Revelation Ministry.

Karen subtitled the book “A Miraculous Story of Hope.” Although few deny the ability of God to heal with miraculous power, many will struggle with the concept of healing as a result of the doctrines of demons and exorcism. “Defying Autism” testifies of James being miraculously freed from the disease and bondage of autism.

The flow of the narrative is gripping. I appreciated Karen’s transparency in revealing her emotions, fears, doubts, and her vulnerability which allows the reader to empathize and identify with her personal anguish.

“Defying Autism: A Miraculous Story of Hope” is written to help and encourage others struggling, hoping, and believing for a miraculous healing.

Creation House, 978-1599796284

As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review.