Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: Climbing With Abraham

Great 30 Day Devo to start the New Year off right!

Climbing with Abraham: 30 Devotionals to Help You Grow Your Faith, Build Your Life, and Discover God's Calling (Testament Heroes Book 1) by David Ramos (currently .99 for Kindle)

Overview: The Christian life requires an immense amount of faith. Often when frustrations and challenges arise, we are left wondering where God is. Thousands of years ago a man found himself in the same struggle. God had chosen Abraham for great things. But the man who would go on to become the Father of Nations had to first learn how to take the smallest steps of faith.

How did Abraham become a character of legendary faith? And how can we learn from his example so that we can become the great men and women God has called us to be?
Climbing with Abraham is a thirty-day devotional which answers these questions. In this short book you will be challenged, inspired and taught how to become a faith giant! Start your journey today and take the climb with one of the greatest Biblical characters towards your purpose. 


Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars!

What I Liked: I love these one-page devos! They are easy to read, yet they encourage a deepening of faith. Each devo begins with Scripture reading. Then, as you learn more about Abraham, David Ramos encourages you to apply what you learn to your life. He closes each one with a Takeaway and a Prayer. Each devotion shares a powerful truth about God, and by learning more about Abraham and his interaction with God, we can begin to press into God, as well. God spoke to Abraham and even to Hagar, so why wouldn't He speak to us? Let this devo series take you closer to God Almighty! Here are a few topics that really spoke to me:

*Listening and following God
*Dealing with frustration
*Trusting God when His timing is not our own
*Making mistakes
*Trusting God's promises and being patient
*Leadership and spiritual responsibility

As I read each devotion, I have been journaling too and this has helped me apply what I am learning to my own faith journey. I think many readers will identify with the topics. Great devotion series!


Disclaimer: I received this e-book for free from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 20, 2015


courtesy morguefile, pedrojperez
We talked last night about how people have a mask on, like those who commit violence (recent shootings in Harrisburg, PA). They act tough, but are really cowards.

Some wear a mask that shows the world they are tough (bullies). Some, like me, wore a mask that did not cry and one that conformed to the world (in looks and behavior) just to survive school because of what the bullies did. 

Either way, bullies or victims...all wear a mask. They are not living in their true identities in Christ. He takes off the masks to reveal breathtaking light, holiness, worthiness, love, glory, honor, peace, joy...the list goes on and on.

I wrote this this morning, strumming it to the guitar.

Oh, teach me how to my identity. 2x
I want to walk the way You walk.
I want to talk the way You talk.

I want to do the things You do, and even more.
I thank You for the power in me, for the authority.
For all You created me, to be. I thank You, Lord. I thank You, Lord.

Let me step into Your path and never go back.
Your holy hand will guide me, on the path to eternity.
Oh, teach me how to live.
Oh, teach me how to live.
Oh, teach me how to my identity.

Believe the truth...your identity is in Him. There is no mask. Take it off and walk in His healing light.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lift Up Your Heads

Lift up your heads, O gates, 
Lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is this King of glory?
         He is the Lord God Almighty.

- Psalm 24:9-10

This Scripture has been coming to me over and over again. I feel led to pray it over friends and family, church and work, and over my town. Today, I realized that we are the gates, the doors. We are so heavy and burdened that we forget to look up. Our hinges are corroded and rusted in place. We are stubborn and stiff-necked. Lord, we feel stuck! We need You to free us, so that we can move in your love and grace and peace. If only we would make the first step; to lift up our heads, then we would catch a glimpse of the King. 

Lord, help us say yes to You. Help us let You in. You will lift and open our heavy doors in your strong hands. You are able to handle the burdens that have kept us down for so long. You are healer and deliverer. Redeem your church, your land, and your people, I pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Book Review: Four Souls

"Four Souls: A Search for Epic Life" is so encouraging!

Overview: Four young men with bright futures step off the path of graduate school and careers in search of something more--something epic. Desiring more from life than well-paying jobs and large bank accounts, they embark on a worldwide expedition, forging into the Guatemalan highlands, Russia's far north, the mountains of South Africa, villages in Bangladesh, Nepal's Himalayas, rural Vietnam and other rarely traveled lands. Through journal entries and first person accounts, Four Souls weaves together the tales of their journey, including near-death escapes and bribe-seeking officials, prison camps and race riots, hurricanes and illegal smuggling. More than just a collection of gripping stories, Four Souls chronicles the dawning realization that came through the adventure: that the life they were seeking is in the reach of all who are willing to grasp it. 

What I Liked: I loved the adventure of these for young Christians as they set out to travel the world, share the Gospel, serve people, and follow Jesus. This is such an encouraging book; by offering themselves to communities in Guatemala, Russia, Vietnam, South Africa, and Bangladesh, they were open to God working and to gaining a world view on people and need, it encourages me to life life to the fullest. They didn't want a hum drum sort of life. They wanted the abundant life that Jesus calls us all to. 

I admire their trust in God to provide for their trip and for his care of them on the trip. Throughout the book they share journal entries of what they were experiencing and learning about themselves and God. Truly a remarkable book, as told by all four of them! You feel like you went alone on the trip. This book will help you understand what Christians are going through in these countries and the need for help and prayer for them. Thank you, Mike, Matt, Jedd, and Trey for sharing your adventure. May you have many more: a lifetime of them!

Ever take a trip like this or a mission trip? Share one experience or thought about it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Open the Heavens

“Open the heavens. Come Living Water. All my fountains are in You.” 
– lyrics from "All My Fountains" by Chris Tomlin

I was singing this as the buckets caught the drips in our bedroom from the 2-4 inches of rainfall last Sunday evening. My Spirit wasn’t worried over the leaky roof, as it would have been in the past. No, instead, the rain made me sing “All My Fountains”. Even the song from church that morning was “Open Up the Heavens” by Meredith Andrews about floodgates and mighty rivers. I went to sleep to the sweet sound of drip, drip, drip – a message from My Heavenly Father. I will praise You in this storm.

Soak me, Father in Your Living Water. Flood me with You and let You flow out and over and down in a Holy Flood of Your Glory!

Do you have something in your life that should worry you, but instead you are praising God?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review: The God Pocket

"The God Pocket" by Bruce Wilkinson will change your life, if you let God work through you!

Overview: What if you could take something out of your pocket today that would make God wonderfully personal and absolutely real to someone who, only minutes earlier, had been secretly calling out to God for help, for an answer, for any shred of evidence that He cares?

Discover the incredible resource that’s small enough to fit in your wallet or purse, yet big enough to change someone’s life – starting with yours. In The God Pocket, Bruce Wilkinson tells you what that little something is, explains how to deliver God’s provision to someone in need, and shares how God is ready to reveal Himself through you.

Dawn's Recommendation: 4.5 of 5 Stars

What I Liked: I firmly believe that God puts books in my path for a reason and this book's concept is what God is currently working on me.  I really liked that the book goes step by step on how to put money aside for God's use and how and when to give it to the people God places before you. This book is perfect for the person who wants to honor God, grow in generosity, and trust in the Lord (not only to provide the people to give the money to, but to provide the money, in which to give). It has great stories of people who have given money to others in this way. It is a short read, you can finish it in one evening. It will be a book I read again.  

On a side, personal note: giving money in this way will change your life. It has changed me! I had already started to give money to people and charities, but this book helps explain different aspects of giving in this way that I didn't think about before, like setting aside the money first, as an offering, instead of just reaching in your own wallet to give a homeless person your money. Neat things to think about and good instruction.

What I Didn't Like: The only thing that bothered me a little was that it felt a bit commercialized. The author likes to coin a lot of terms (ex. "The God Nudge" and "Delivery Agent"). Why give everything a title?  Also, you can buy pre-made God Pockets. Ummm...why, when a plain envelope will do?    

Do you set aside money in which to give to people you see in need?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Review: The Job

In "The Job", Steve Osborne shares some of his best NY city cop stories!

Overview: Steve Osborne has seen a thing or two in his twenty years in the NYPD—some harmless things, some definitely not. In "Stakeout," Steve and his partner mistake a Manhattan dentist for an armed robbery suspect and reduce the man down to a puddle of snot and tears when questioning him. In "Mug Shot," the mother of a suspected criminal makes a strange request and provides a sobering reminder of the humanity at stake in his profession. And in "Home," the image of his family provides the adrenaline he needs to fight for his life when assaulted by two armed and violent crackheads. From his days as a rookie cop to the time spent patrolling in the Anti-Crime Unit—and his visceral, harrowing recollections of working during 9/11—Steve Osborne's stories capture both the absurdity of police work and the bravery of those who do it. His stories will speak to those nostalgic for the New York City of the 1980s and '90s, a bygone era of when the city was a crazier, more dangerous (and possibly more interesting) place.

Dawn's Recommendation: 4 of 5 Stars
(Warning: Book contains Profanity)

What I liked: The real-life stories are interesting and sometimes unbelievable!  Steve Osborne calls police work "the greatest show on earth" and you soon see why. You definitely get a taste for what being a cop in a big city is like. From chasing a perp through a subway tunnel to feeding hotdogs to a junkie, you will be entertained by his style of storytelling. It is refreshing to read, not only about his love for "the job", but about his stupid mistakes that could have cost him his life.

On a side note: Read each chapter like a short story. Otherwise you will feel like the author is sometimes repeating himself.

What I didn't like: The curse words. As a Christian, this is not normally a book I would have picked, but I heard an interview with the author on Fresh Air on NPR and the book sounded great (and it is)...I just had to skim over some. 

If you could share one true story from you job, what would it be?  I'll share mine in comments.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Review: Same Kind of Different As Me

"Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is a true story of redemption, love, and grace.

Overview: A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana…and an East Texas honky-tonk…and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda…an upscale New York gallery…a downtown dumpster…a Texas ranch.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars

What I Liked: This reads like a GREAT fiction book, but it is true story! You get so caught up in the story, you forget it is real-life! You can almost hear Denver's southern voice coming off the page. Chapters flip back and forth between Denver and Ron, but it is easy to follow. I read it in only two days. I just couldn't put it down!

The most amazing thing about this story is Deborah Hall, wife of Ron. Because of her love for Christ and her growing faith, she forgave her husband, began working with the homeless, heard from God, and stepped out in faith.  Because of her love and her actions, lives were transformed for Christ.

Not only is this a fantastic story, it inspires me to be like Deborah (Miss Debbie), a woman of faith, prayer, and action!

Who do you know that is like Deborah, who follows Jesus like her?