Total Family Makeover by Melissa Spoelstra – A Book Review


Total Family Makeover – 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home

By: Melissa Spoelstra

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Basic Spiritual Practices for Nurturing Children and Transforming Families

“Total Family Makeover – 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home” provides a strong foundation for being intentionally authentic about transforming your life, your family, and your home.

The book is based on Scriptures Jesus modeled in the training of His disciples.

Each chapter features a section on modeling and another on training. Using this practical approach Melissa Spoelstra challenges the reader through:

  • Inspiring instructions on and suggestions for establishing principles of prayer in the lives of your children
  • Practical approaches to reading the Scriptures together and making application to daily family life
  • Comprehensive guidelines on the merits mentoring can have on your parenting skills
  • Building blocks instilling Christian character in your children through finding community in the church, by serving others, giving back to God, and sharing your faith

In addition to being active as a pastor’s wife and the mother of four, author Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, and Bible teacher. She speaks and writes from her heart and models the message she delivers.

“Total Family Makeover – 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home” is clearly must reading for parents from the crib through college. Highly recommended.

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

Abingdon Press, P O Box 2809988, Nashville, TN 37228-0988, 9781501820656, $ 16.99, 2016, 256 pages

 

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Creative Strength Training – Prompts, Exercises, and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius by Jane Dunnewold – A Book Review


Creative Strength Training – Prompts, Exercises, and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius

By: Jane Dunnewold

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Aids to Becoming the “Self-Actualized” Artist We Are Capable of Becoming

“Creative Strength Training – Prompts, Exercises, and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius” is designed to help the reader discover strategies that combine writing with hands on art and to develop a unique voice.

The table of contents reads like of a menu, filled with so many choices of mouthwatering delicacies and aromatic scents that it is difficult to know where to start. The catchy chapter titles grabbed my attention with key words and descriptive phrases that offer rewarding results and bright colored illustrations that offer irresistible prompts, and strength training exercises that focus attention on detail and cultivate imagination. Each uniquely formatted page contains a myriad of approaches that reinforce the theme of the chapter.

The exercises from How to Distill and Edit Your Story grabbed my attention. The suggestions on mining content, writing, distilling and editing your story are well worth the time and effort of implementing.

Jane Dunnewold understands all aspects of the creative process. Jane’s book “Creative Strength Training” will resonate with artists and writers alike.  The inspiring stories of artists, mentored by Jane, tell how they have benefited by applying Dunnewold‘s exercises and prompts in unique ways in their art.

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

North Light Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 978-1440344954, $ 16.70, 2016, 144 pages

 

 

Manifesting the Power by Smith Wigglesworth – A Book Review


Manifesting the Power of God

By: Smith Wigglesworth

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

Guidelines to Awaken and Manifest the Greatness of the Power within You

“Manifesting the Power of God” is Biblically based and consistent with the  basic tenets of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The book features never before published writings of Smith Wigglesworth.

Smith Wigglesworth is recognized as a Pioneer in the modern Pentecostal movement. His life demonstrated such a powerful example that he left a legacy which is still impacting and inspiring lives generations later, a full century after his life changing encounter with God.

In a natural progression readers will learn important lessons from the Apostle Paul’s writing in Romans on the results of being filled with the spirit of holiness and be transformed by the quickening power of the spirit of God, His indwelling, anointing, and abiding comfort. They will discover the importance of the gifts of the Spirit and the manifestations of the greatness of His power and how to walk in the fullness of Pentecost while sustaining the Spirit filled life.

“Manifesting the Power of God” is for those individuals “hungry and thirsty” to be “immersed, covered, and flooded” by the anointing power of the Holy Spirit and desirous of impacting this same life and power to others.

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, 97807684708614, $ 16.99, 2016, 208 pages

 

 

 

 

God’s Feminist Movement – Redefining “A Woman’s Place” From a Biblical Perspective by Amber Picota – A Book Review


God’s Feminist Movement – Redefining “A Woman’s Place” from a Biblical Perspective

By: Amber Picota

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

A New Look at Womanhood Embraced by a New Generation – A New Covenant Platform for Christian Women

In her timely, Biblically based book “God’s Feminist Movement” Amber Picota redefines feminism for today’s generation of Christian women. She describes these women as “gracious, humble, wise, gentle yet strong, diligent, and pure in heart; revolutionaries who shape the course of history.”

Her goal is to equip the reader, women and men, co-heirs in the body of Christ, to study the scriptures in light of the historical background, hermeneutics, and the original languages, to put aside preconceived concepts, and to discern for themselves the application of theses passages to make them applicable for a contemporary setting.

The subjects of women in leadership, submission in marriage, headship, and the cost of trail blazing are especially relevant for today. These are important issues that are being faced in business, education, and politics, issues that cannot be minimized in church life. Picota urges the reader to lead the way in breaking away from traditional misconceptions, and trite clichés to claim the promises and follow the patterns of the New Covenant.

I was deeply moved by Amber’s personal testimony of coming to Christ, the struggles that followed and the unique way that God worked in her spirit to a commitment of her life to fulfill His purpose.

Amber writes from heartfelt convictions, her message is convincing, contagious, and commanding. “God’s Feminist Movement – Redefining “A Woman’s Place” from a Biblical Perspective” is important reading for pastors, organizational ministries, and lay leaders in the Church in this and future generations.

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,

978-76809345, $ 15.99, 2016, 176 Pages

Heaven Made Real – A Guide to the Afterlife and Eternity – A Book Review


Heaven Made Real – A Biblical Guide to the Afterlife and Eternity

By: Tim Sheets

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Frequently Asked Questions – Answers on Heaven, Biblical Truths – Straight from God’s Word

Tim Sheets’ book “Heaven Made Real – A Biblical Guide to the Afterlife and Eternity” addresses some of the most frequently asked questions regarding life after death, the reality of heaven,  heaven’s location and appearance, what we will look like and about details of life in heaven.

Tim Sheets refutes some of the fallacies and preconceived misconception “of heaven on earth,” and the importance of assembling together with other believers in the church body. In addition to the mention of Old Testament references of heaven in Deuteronomy, in the book of Joshua, the Psalms, and the prophets, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, New Testament references of the Apostles. Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter add a new depth to our understanding of heaven.

Sheets also includes testimonies of contemporary people who have experienced visions and dreams providing comfort and confirmation of loved one being in heaven, while worshiping in the spirit, caught up in the spirit, or praying in the spirit. He rejects some of the misconceptions and preconceived precepts of heaven on earth, and emphasizes the importance of assembling together with other believers in the church body.

I appreciated the deep insight Sheet’s brings to the Great Cloud of Witnesses described in Hebrews, chapter 12 and stimulated a desire to read more from the authors included in Sheet’s research.

“Heaven Made Real – A Biblical Guide to the Afterlife and Eternity” challenges Christians today to live “in this confident expectation…and the promise of eternal rest and of the presence of God Himself.” Challenging.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768411812, $ 14.99, 2016, 214 pages

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

Silent Takeover by Jacquelyn Sheppard – A Book Review


Silent Takeover – How the Body Hijacks the Mind

By: Jacquelyn Sheppard

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

How the Body Affects the Mind and the Mind Affects the Body – A Plan for Redesigning Body, Soul and Spirit”

In her book “Silent Takeover – How the Body Hijacks the Mind” Jacquelyn Sheppard sets out to establish the concept that emotional, mental disorders and other addictive behaviors are directly related to diet.  She provides a “roadmap” for anyone looking for answers to two questions:  “Why am I the way I am? What can be done to change my Life?”

The book is made up of four parts. Part one deals with below the surface issues of emotional, mental, and addictive behaviors. Part two looks at surface issues; facing daily decisions and finding solutions to negative behaviors. Part three helps the reader understand addictions and look realistically at the impact of chemicals on everyday life. Part four provides strategies for redesigning body, soul, and spirit.

Jacquelyn’s writing reveals sensitivity to the examples of shepherding in Jesus’ teaching and a spiritual tone that resonates with the reader, establishes rapport, and builds confidence in her assumptions.

Sheppard’s extensive research often challenges generally recognized and more traditionally accepted interpretations of mental and emotional issues. Her meticulous chapter end-notes provide the reader with substantial suggestions for additional reading which confirm her conclusions. Her work is endorsed by professionals in the fields of medicine, education, and clergy.

I found Jacquelyn Sheppard’s “Silent Takeover – How the Body Hijacks the Mind” to be immensely interesting and vitally informative. Highly Recommended.

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, 978-0768409246, $ 16.99, 2016, 254 pages

Sweet Sales – Successful Sales with Synergy by David K. Sweet, PHD. – A Book Review


Sweet Sales – Successful Sales with Synergy

By: David K. Sweet, PHD.

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-768411331, $ 14.99, 2016, 160 Pages

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

Communication – the Heart of the Sale – 14 Important Elements for Developing a Sales Mindset and Taking Your Sales to the Next Level

In “Sweet Sales – Successful Sales with Synergy” Dr. David K. Sweet explores the mental and physical aspects of sales. He talks about body language and communication, self and time management and the mindset needed for success in sales. He introduces 14 key elements important to developing this mindset.

I especially appreciate Dr. Sweet’s straightforward writing style, with proven concepts and easy to implement strategies. An important component to getting the most from the material is to follow through with the suggested written exercises. This extra effort can provide powerful results in implementing an attitude of excellence, and enthusiasm that exudes confidence, establishes rapport with your customer, in building your customer base, and getting the next sale.

The “Recommended Reading” suggestions are divided into three sections: Sales, Time Management, and Motivation. Rather than the familiar chapter notes or complete bibliography Sweet simply states the author and title of the book. The unique feature of his approach is the one line reason for recommending the title and how the reader might benefit from each recommendation. I like this approach.

The principles, practices, and processes in “Sweet Sales – Successful Sales with Synergy” contain important guidelines that can move sales trainees or seasoned sales professionals to a whole new level of success.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jump Start your Networking – 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Networking Success by Shawn Doyle – A Book Review


Jump Start your Networking – 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Networking Success

By: Shawn Doyle CSP

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Tools, Tips, and Techniques for More Effective Networking – Important  Elements of Your Strategic Planning

“Jump Start your Networking – 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Networking Success” is based on the premise that a key element of success today is networking and making connections. Shawn Doyle, author, and development training professional, challenges the reader to consider the question, “How can I most effectively network at this stage of my life?

Doyle goes on to introduce ten important topics to stimulate identification of your networking goals and how to track the results. Each chapter includes a “Work It” section with specific questions which set in place a working approach to incorporating his 10 Jolts to Ignite Your Networking Success. These questions provide the basis of meaningful discussion for making successful networking connections, both professional and personal.

He has a unique communication style. He can create a distinctive sense of an informal friend to friend chat or of excitement generated at a formal seminar with a group of aspiring leaders. Doyle creates an atmosphere of learning: team building, communication, creativity, and leadership.”

This is the sixth book in the “Jump Start ” series. I am fast becoming a fan of Shawn Doyle’s books. The format of the material is reader friendly, conducive to assimilation, retention and  later review. The thought provoking questions are stimulating and provide insights into making personal application.

“Jump Start your Networking” is an important book for small business entrepreneurs, corporate management, leaders in education, and for individuals at every stage of their career in any field.  Highly recommended.

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

Sound Wisdom, P. O. 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768410440, $ 14.99, 2016, 192 pages

 

 

Heaven Declares – Prophetic Decrees to Start Your Day by Hakeem Collins


Heaven Declares – Prophetic Decrees to Start Your Day

By Hakeem Collins

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Read, Reflect, and Release God’s Revelation Daily – A Ninety Day Devotional Journey

Dr. Hakeem Collin’s “Heaven Declares – Prophetic Decrees to Start Your Day” introduces the reader to wisdom and guidance in finding and living out God’s divine purpose on a daily basis.

The daily devotional readings are filled with prophetic declarations that provide a new sense of intimacy with God and help the reader experience the reality and significance of being open to receive the Word of the Living God.

Each day’s reading includes: a verse of the day which provides the insight from the Word, additional scriptures for meditation, and a prophetic decree and declaration to start the day.

The book is designed to “kick start the prophetic process in your life” through a four step prophetic strategy: Identify, Speak, Seek, Implement. To get the full benefit of the 90 day devotional guide, it is important that the reader pursue the guidelines set forth in this strategic program.

“Heaven Declares” is destined to become a classic devotional guide for discovering the impact of prophetic degrees and finding and implementing God’s purpose in your daily life and ministry. Highly endorsed by respected internationally recognized Pentecostal and Charismatic prophetic leaders.

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

Destiny Image Publishers, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 9780768409932, $ 15.99, 2016, 278 pages

 

 

 

Our Journey with Alzheimer’s by Richard R. Blake


Our Journey Alzheimer’s – Journal Entry, October 11 2016

My heart is very heavy today, for Thelma, for Robert, and for our entire family.

Yesterday I tried to explain to Thelma about Robert’s accident. Saturday he was working on his Moped. While doing a test run on Kaiser Road, only a short distance from home, the bike swerved and went off the road. Robert was thrown from the bike directly into a fence post – head on.

The amazingly beautiful October afternoon was shattered when I received the news of Robert’s   accident. A passing motorist witnessed the accident and immediately contacted emergency services. Robert was taken by ambulance to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph.

Because of the extent of his injuries, Robert was airlifted to the trauma center at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. That evening physicians performed surgery to relieve the pressure of the swelling on his brain.

Robert was heavily sedated and in an induced coma when I visited him on Sunday. It was reassuring to know that Robert was being well cared for by a dedicated staff.

As I tried to assimilate the seriousness of the situation, I felt very strongly that it was important for me to attempt to communicate this information to Thelma, even though she is in a state of severe cognitive decline.  Step by step I softly related my concern for Robert, our youngest son.

I don’t think Thelma assimilated the seriousness of what I was trying to relate. However, as I continued to visit with Thelma, dear friends from the Woodland Terrace staff, aware of the situation and concerned for our needs, stopped by Thelma’s room to offer their support.

As I briefly updated these staff members on the details of the accident and Robert’s current status, I tried to include Thelma in the conversation, looking directly into her face as though speaking only to her. Knowing of their Christian faith, I asked Nora to pray. Throughout the prayer Thelma held my hand, strong and steady. My heart was lifted and I truly felt that Thelma understood and was being reassured that the Lord will strengthen us throughout the days ahead.

In preparation for this journal entry, I visited the website Agingcare.com and found this beautiful poem. The words of the poem help me realize the importance of my regular visit to my sweetheart, the love of my life, Thelma.

To make me understand.

Let me rest and know you’re with me.

Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept.

I am sad and sick and lost.

All I know is that I need you

To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me.

Do not scold or curse or cry.

I can’t help the way I’m acting,

Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you,

That the best of me is gone.

Please don’t fail to stand beside me,

Love me til my life is done.

Author Unknown