A Better December – Proverbs to Brighten Christmas – A Book Review

A Better ChristmasA Better December: Proverbs to Brighten Christmas

By: Steven Estes Illustrated by Sarah Bland Halulko

New Growth Press, 978-1936768677, 2013, 84 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Compassion, Celebration, and Counsel for a Joy Filled Christmas

Steven Estes captures the full gambit of feelings that accompany the Christmas season in A Better December: Proverbs to Brighten Christmas. Sage counsel from King Solomon’s writing.

Over the years I have experienced the same frustrations and the excitement of family Christmases Steven describes. I am grateful for a Christian heritage that shaped my values, attitudes and outlooks, especially as I face the Christmas season, with its commercialism, celebrations, traditions, and ceremonies.

Steven Estes brings together a combination of comfort, humor, and hope as he illustrates eternal truths through the inspired proverbs of Solomon, guiding the reader into the blessed truth of God’s gift, His Son, our redeemer.

In this pre-Christmas season I am facing new personal challenges. Reflecting on the heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, stories included in A Better December has given me a new appreciation for the message of the season – the birth of Jesus, the promised savior.

The Glory Within DVD Curriculum by Corey Russell

The Glory Within DVD CurriculumThe Glory Within, DVD – By Corey Russell

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768442540, $ 39.99, 2013, 2 Videos

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Noteworthy Video Curriculum Series on the Foundational Teaching of Salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Inner Life and Speaking in Tongues

The Glory Within DVD Curriculum series is based on Corey Russell’s book The Glory Within, The Interior Life and the Power of Speaking in Tongues. The kit includes two DVDs containing a total of 8 sessions, designed to be completed over an eight week period.

An accompanying “Leader’s Guide” provides step by step suggestions for implementing the series. A leader checklist, an overview of the sessions, and additional detailed guidelines for each of the eight lessons guide and are designed to insure the success of the program.

Corey Russell staff member of the Kansas City International House of Prayer Ministry team and author of the book The Glory Within is the each of the sessions before a live audience. Russell is personal, genuine, and candid. He is dynamic and convincing in his presentation. He lays a Biblical foundation; beginning with the Gospel message, the person of the Holy Spirit and the benefits of tongues as a prayer language.

In a logical progression he helps the participant discover:

  • A deeper intimacy with God and a new passion for Jesus
  • How to prayer more confidently
  • How to prepare for victory in spiritual battle

The Glory Within DVD Curriculum is ideal for use in, church classes, as Sunday school curriculum, as well as small group or individual study. The curriculum is an important resource tool for Charismatic churches and Bible School. Non charismatic Evangelical, Mainline Denomination, and Independent churches will find the series and excellent tool for creating awareness and unity among believers: ultimately strengthening the witness of the Christian Church worldwide.

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





Who’s Your Father? by Robert Bernecker – A Book Review

Who's Your FatherWho’s Your Father? Returning to the Love of the Biblical God, By Robert Bernecker

Create Space, 4900 LaCross Rd, North Charleston, SC 29406, 978-1482068382,

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake, richard330@yahoo.com

A Masterful Presentation of God’s Divine Sovereignty

Who’s Your Father? Returning to the Love of the Biblical God by Robert Bernecker is a masterful presentation of God’s divine sovereignty. Bernecker carefully considers major misconceptions about God’s providence, man’s responsibility, free will, and the doctrines of predestination, election, perseverance and foreknowledge.

Bernecker’s writing combines the thoughtful analysis of a judicious theologian with the passionate heart of a pastor. He is persuasive and authoritative; his writing is balanced, Biblically sound, and worthy of note. He is a master at exegesis; as well as able to skillful in presenting practical application, devotional inspiration and motivation. He is meticulous in the documentation of his exhaustive research and is a devoted student of historical theology.

Writings from noted Theologians, including: Albert Barnes, J. I. Packer, Adam Clarke, John Wesley, C. H. Spurgeon, A. W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, and many others reinforce Bernecker’s conclusions. It is Bernecker’s desire that the reader will experience God’s love with a deeper understanding, be transformed in their relationship with Him, and cause them to reexamine their doctrinal biases.

Who’s Your Father? Returning to the Love of the Biblical God is worthy of careful reading and additional study. The format and approach of the material give the book added value for adaptation for small group study, adult church Bible classes, for inclusion on suggested reading lists and as curriculum for foundational courses in Bible Colleges.

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


The Glory Within Study Guide – By Corey Russel – A Book Review

The Glory Within Study GuideCompanion Guide to The Glory Within DVD Curriculum Series

Reviewed By Richard R. blake

The Glory Within: The Interior Life and the Power of Speaking in Tongues
Study Guide is designed to be used as a participant’s guide with the DVD Curriculum based on Corey Russell’s book by the same title.

The study guide corresponds to the eight sessions of the video curriculum. Each lesson opens with a “fill in the blanks” page for use during the video session; it becomes an outline of the material covered in the lesson with room for the participant’s personal notes.

Five daily readings are included for each week for study; for reflection, and reinforcement of the material discussed on the video. A “Glorious Reality” focus statement precedes the daily discussion questions. These questions offer the participant a chance to integrate the daily scripture and reading personally as well as an opportunity to journal these thoughts. An affirmative prayer is provided for initiation of a personal conversation with the Holy Spirit.

The Glory Within curriculum is a first-rate tool for sharpening your spiritual senses, accessing the Holy Spirit for equipping you for spiritual warfare, deepening your intimacy God, and your passion for Jesus.

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

The Glory Within Study Guide

The Maker’s Diet Revolution – The 10 Day Diet to Lose Weight and Detoxify Your God, Mind, and Spirit by Jordan Rubin

The Maker's Diet RevolutionThe Maker’s Diet Revolution – The Ten Day Diet to Lose Weight and Detoxify Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
By: Jordan Rubin
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0768442281, $ 21.99, 270 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Biblical Principles, Natural Foods, and an Objective Plan for Living Beyond Organic

Bestselling author Jordan Rubin uses a combination of Biblical insight and scientific findings in his latest work. The Maker’s Diet Revolution is a treasure-trove of valuable data regarding digestive diseases, stress related issues, allergies, toxic cleansing, and chronic fatigue.

Rubin relates his own battle with Crone’s disease as at age nineteen. This story also tells of his discovery of an eating plan that led to what became called the “Maker’s Diet.” As a result of the success of this life giving alternative food plan, Rubin made a commitment to “transform the health of this nation and world one life at a time.” This has become his life mission.

The book is filled with health tips, food lists, sample eating plans, including tips for shopping and for dining out. Rubin also includes a sampling of balanced menus and recipes based on “Maker’s Diet Meals.” Throughout the book he calls attention to other diets, resources available and natural alternatives, including Garden of Life products.

I found the “revolutionary results” testimonies to be strong motivators. Rubin’s writing is informative, interesting, entertaining, and highly motivational. . I plan to resume my journey to health and wellness

The Maker’s Diet Revolution – The Ten Day Diet to Lose Weight and Detoxify Your Body, Mind, and Spirit is written for anyone who wants to improve their health or someone looking for a healthy effective short term plan to lose weight, or to begin a program designed for healthier living.

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

Supernatural Favor – Living in God’s Abundant Supply by Kynan Bridges – A Book Review

Supernatural Favor – Living in God’s Abundant Supply
By: Kynan Bridges
Destiny Image, Inc. Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0768442403, $ 15.99, 2013, 174 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Supernatural FavorSet Apart By the Favor of God

It is refreshing to find an author who captures a truth and application from scripture in its historical setting and then translates this truth with such a profound relevance for today’s reader. Kynan Bridges does just that in Supernatural Favor – Living in God’s Abundant Supply.

Each chapter includes a spiritual truth to embrace, solid Biblical teaching, contemporary illustrations which reinforce these principles, a practical application, and a powerful “Favor Declaration.” I gained new insight on discernment and the covenant promise from the life of Abraham, about the birthright from the life of Jacob, as well keys for experiencing God’s blessings from the testimonies of contemporary Christians who tell of God’s favor on their lives.

Bridges writes with clarity and simplicity with a message that comes from his heart; evidenced by openness as he relates stories of his childhood, his own spiritual journey, and stories from his family life, in candid humility.

Supernatural Favor – Living in God’s Abundant Supply is written for anyone willing to be set apart to experience new levels of God’s faithfulness and His abundant blessing in every area of their lives. Beautifully written, powerful content, with a transformative message. Highly recommended.

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

Live Free – Discover the Keys to Living in God’s Presence 24/7 by Dennis and Jen Clark – Book Review

Live Free: Discover the Keys to Living in God’s Presence 24/ 7
By Dennis Clark and Jen Clark
Destiny Image Publishers, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0768442410, $ 14.99, 2013, 154 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. BlakeLive Free

God Given Tools for a Lifestyle Change –Forgiveness and Freedom

Pastor Dennis and Dr. Jen Clark demystify what it means to experience freedom through intimacy with God in their book, Live Free: Discover the Keys to Living in God’s Presence 24/ 7. The book details systematic, proven tools, with easy to understand step by step instruction for embracing in everyday life to find freedom from mental strongholds, negative emotions, and deliverance from spiritual bondage.

Exciting testimonies and personal stories tell of people who have implemented the author’s powerful “God tools” to discover “the reality of God and the treasures of the spirit.” They have moved into freedom in areas of spiritual and physical health, and have found new purpose in life. Through intentional prayers for forgiveness, and adapting a process of supernatural thought transformation, choices, and feelings involving, body, soul, and spirit they have found freedom. They have exchanged bitterness, brokenness, and unforgiveness, for joy, peace, and abundant life as a new norm.

Live Free: Discover the Keys to Living in God’s Presence 24/ 7 is written with clarity. The keys are helpful for a new generation of followers of Jesus and ideal as a training resource for mature Christians in mentoring and in discipleship training.

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


Christmas Party Woodland Terrace 2013

Last evening Woodland Terrace sponsored a Christmas Party for all of their residents and their families.

There were 15 of us that joined Thelma for the Christmas Dinner they had prepared for all of us. There was a spirit

of excitement and celebration in the air. Festive decorations, Christmas sweaters, and bright colored clothes added

a touch to the gala occasion. The picture above gathered around the Christmas tree for a picture with Santa Claus,

Mrs. Claus, and one of their faithful elves after they had delivered toys to the Sinai, Kate, Tane, and Lucy. Jack

was too small to take part, however note that he’s included in the picture in Seth’s arms, just above Meredith’s

Thelma enjoyed every minute, she wanted to stop time, and savor the moments.


It is time like this that alert us to the gift of family, the bond of love, and the innocence of children. May we hold

on to these moments as we join together to celebrate together the birth of Jesus, our Savior, the promised Messiah,

and coming King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

Walking in Supernatural Healing Power – A Book Review

Walking in Supernatural Healing PowerPowerful Testimonies of God’s Healing Power of God

Walking in Supernatural Healing Power is a source of inspiration and encouragement, a refreshing message of partnering with God in his miraculous power, in the midst of a world filled with misery, pain, sorrow, and heartache. Chris Gore captures the essence of the difference between “working for God’s love,” and “working from God’s love.”

Chris Gore is clearly a practitioner of the message he preaches. He tackles tough questions head on, models important core values of the scriptures, and demonstrates a passion for God and a heart for ministry through his writing. The testimonies and stories he shares are inspirational, instructional, and often related in an humorous and entertaining manner. His own personal testimony is woven throughout the book, and helps the reader understand his reliance on the nature of the character of God, his love, goodness, grace, power, and majesty, as the source behind his healing ministry.

The story of his daughter Hope is a reminder that God’s love is bigger than our circumstances or of our understanding; it is this love that empowers us by grace, through thanksgiving and humility to see the incredible power God working through us.

Walking in Supernatural Healing Power is an incredible reminder that every Christian is walking with untapped healing power within – through the power of the indwelling Christ.

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

Richard’s Advent Reflections – The Genealogy of Jesus

Prayer Blog Hands on BibleAdvent Reflections

Our pastor’s sermon this week was based on the genealogy lists detailed in the scriptures, especially as they related to the genealogy of Jesus as recorded in Matthew chapter 1. As I reflected on this later, I recalled a time in January of 1952, while in the Navy, stationed on Midway Island.

I was one of the approximately 600 servicemen and government employees that populated the island during the Korean War. We serviced the planes which were airlifting men wounded in action. We were the midway point between the medical center where they received their initial treatment and the government hospital in Hawaii where they would receive the necessary long term treatment and therapy.

During my time on Midway I found the small library facility an excellent alternate to the noisy barracks for devotional reading and Bible study. I recall being deeply engrossed in pursuing a study of Jesus’ genealogy, as well as the related references noted in the foot notes.

Pastor’s three point outline provided me with a succinct refresher course in the importance of Jesus’ lineage: as well as a new understanding, deeper insight, and a fresh spiritual application. By tracing the past we can better recognize the mercy of God, see how it illustrates the judgment of God, and how it underscores the faithfulness of God.

I was especially moved by the challenge from the book of Amos, chapter 8 verses 4 through 11. This passage is a reminder of the way that “persistent idolatry and neglect of the poor doomed the nation… pastor urged us to: “Take care that your heart breaks with the things that break the heart of God.”

And a reminder:

“…when the time had fully come God sent forth his Son…”

This advent season I am praying that I might experience a new awareness of Christ’s fullness in my life. My prayer is that you, too, might know the joy of his presence in your life throughout this Advent season and throughout the New Year.

Adapted from a sermon delivered by Rev. John Bedford at the Woodland Shores Baptist Church, Bridgman, Michigan, December 9, 2013