Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review: The Daniel Fast

The Ultimate Guide to The Daniel Fast
By Kristen Feola
Zondervan, 2010
English, 224 pages

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is an inspiring resource for Christians who want to pursue a more intimate relationship with God through the 21-day commitment to prayer and fasting known as the Daniel Fast. As you deny yourself certain foods - such as sugars, processed ingredients, and solid fats - you will not only embrace healthier eating habits, you’ll also discover a greater awareness of God’s presence. Author Kristen Feola explains the Daniel Fast in easy-to-understand language, provides 21 thought-provoking devotionals for each day of the fast, and shares more than 100 tasty, easy-to-make recipes that follow fasting guidelines. In a conversational style, Feola helps you structure the fast so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on God.

You will also discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes? God’s powerful Word. For more info, please visit

This is a simple to read and use quick start for a Daniel Fast. It's based on the book of Daniel in the Bible where Daniel refuses to eat the rich food at the Babylonian court. He asks to be tested on a simple diet and ends up healthier than the others who were eating all the delicacies and rich foods.

The book describes fasting and why it's important and how to prepare before the fast begins. It also gives you 21 days of devotions and a lot of recipes to get through the three week fast. The fast is intended to be a start to a healthier diet and lifestyle. It gives you a nice list of foods to eat and foods to avoid. (It's going to be hard to give up caffeine/coffee...) Really though, the list isn't bad. It's getting all the junk out of our diets that I'm not entirely sure we're supposed to be eating anyway. Sugars, refined carbs, dairy, meat, bread and artificial's a heavy list but the point is well made that it's 21 days to make your body healthier.

The recipes and meal plans are really easy and I'm looking forward to trying them as we start our 21 day fast. We're still in the planning and preparing phase but we're looking forward to the changes it will make in our bodies and diets.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review on my blog and a commercial bookselling website. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review. This is not intended in ANY WAY as medical advice.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts

Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts
By Kevin Johnson
Bethany House, 2014
English, 128 pgs

Find Hope Through Praying the Scriptures

What do you do when prayer feels futile, an endless rehashing of your problems? If one of the most practical reasons we pray is to obtain strength from God, then we need to understand how that happens. Prayer is about more than making requests. In addition to our agony and questioning, Scripture teaches us to also offer up our surrender. We can voice not only loneliness, resentment, and frustration but also peace, hope, and worship. When we let Scripture teach us a breadth of prayers, we begin to be filled with God's fresh life.

Interweaving his own story of inner anguish and physical illness, Kevin Johnson takes you through nine key Scripture passages that will help you find peace. Each passage is broken down into smaller portions, paired with short phrases to prompt you to pray Scripture back to God.

Learn how to talk to God in your pain.

About the Author:
Kevin Johnson is the creator of the first-of-its-kind Pray the Scriptures Bible and the bestselling author or coauthor of more than fifty books and Bible products for adults, students, and children. With a background as a youth worker, senior editor, and teaching pastor, he now leads Emmaus Road Church in greater Minneapolis. Kevin is married to Lyn, and they have three grown children. Learn more at

 This is a fairly short, 10 chapter, book which can be used to help you deal with your emotions and hurts in a Biblical way. The chapters cover agony, loneliness, questions, resentment, requests, frustration, peace, surrender and hope. I like that the author is raw and open about his life and uses lots of examples from personal struggles. There is much wisdom in this book. 

Each book has a few short pages of devotion/instruction and then several journaling style prompts using the Bible to work through the discussed emotion. I also like that the book doesn't only handle "negative" emotions. It has a very uplifting tone.

I'm not sure about the use of this book. Obviously it is useful for those who are struggling, but I think it's more of a personal study guide than a group workbook. It could be used that way, but I think it would be more effective in use with a counselor or a very small group.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of a review on this blog and a commercial bookselling website. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book Review: Skeletons In God's Closet

Skeleton's in God's Closet
By Joshua Ryan Butler
Thomas Nelson, 2014
English, 384 pgs

How can a loving God send people to hell? Isn’t it arrogant to believe Jesus is the only way to God? What is up with holy war in the Old Testament?
Many of us fear God has some skeletons in the closet. Hell, judgment, and holy war are hot topics for the Christian faith that have a way of igniting fierce debate far and wide. These hard questions leave many wondering whether God is really good and can truly be trusted.
The Skeletons in God's Closet confronts our popular caricatures of these difficult topics with the beauty and power of the real thing. Josh Butler reveals that these subjects are consistent with, rather than contradictory to, the goodness of God. He explores Scripture to reveal the plotlines that make sense of these tough topics in light of God’s goodness. From fresh angles, Josh deals powerfully with such difficult passages as:
  • The Lake of Fire
  • Lazarus and the Rich Man
  • The Slaughter of Canaanites in the Old Testament
Ultimately, The Skeletons in God's Closet uses our toughest questions to provoke paradigm shifts in how we understand our faith as a whole. It pulls the “skeletons out of God’s closet” to reveal they were never really skeletons at all.

About the Author
Josh Butler serves as pastor of local and global outreach at Imago Dei Community, a church in the heart of Portland, Oregon. Josh oversees the church's city ministries in areas like foster care, human trafficking and homelessness; and develops international partnerships in areas like clean water, HIV-support and church planting. Josh is also a worship leader who enjoys writing music for the life of the church.


By the title alone, one could rightly wonder what sort of theological approach Butler might be taking with The Skeletons In God’s Closet. Butler serves as pastor of local and global outreach at Imago Dei Community church of Portland, Oregon. Imago Dei is located in a challenging, “post-Christian” field for ministry in famously “liberal” leaning city. The perspective that he brings is worthwhile and needed for modern outreach. For those who have been reared in the Christian faith, much of what is presented here might seem somewhat obvious. However, Butler’s intended audience is clearly those who have only a passing understanding of Christianity and the book is written to engage that audience.
Major questions answered include the perennial “doubting” favorites: how can a loving God send people to hell? Isn’t it arrogant to believe Jesus is the only way to God? The subtitle itself is clearly intended to engage – when one further titles a book with “the mercy of Hell, the surprise of judgment, the hope of Holy war,” there is obvious intention to elicit a response.
The theology presented is itself orthodox Christianity. Butler explains that he was originally caught unprepared to give an answer for some of the more difficult to understand portions of the Bible, forcing him to look deeply into the Word to understand God’s intentions. The perspective that he brings is presented in an engaging writing style. Butler doesn’t bludgeon the reader with dry theology, rather giving the perspective on God’s purposes in easy-to-read language. By confronting the caricatures of doctrinal division points and explaining the purpose of each, Butler provides biblically based sound perspective on each.
This book might at first glance seem ill suited to aiding mature believers. However, the tone and approach is extremely useful from a point of developing understanding and skill in apologetics. The questions asked are salient, widespread, and worthy of discussion. The Skeletons In God’s Closet is a useful tool for small groups, new believer discipleship, and for individual believers willing to speak to misunderstandings about the Christian faith.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of a review on this blog and a commercial bookselling site. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.