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Better Than Our Dogs

In John Murray’s latest book, Better Than Our Dogs, he uses the interesting lives and behaviors of his and his neighbor’s dogs to impart faith-based life lessons. Not only has he beautifully captured God’s love in his words but he also managed to write in a non-judgemental way that would attract even those outside the faith.

This story follows the lives of five dogs; Socrates, Chloe, Darby, Young Pup, and Old Vet, so deeply explaining their mannerisms and temperaments that you would be forgiven for mistaking them for actual people. Truly, character development doesn’t get better than this.

By drawing parallels between his relationship with his dogs and our relationship with God, he brings life to Biblical principles, clearly laying out lessons that we can all apply in our lives. I also like that the author draws on Greek mythology as well to bring more clarity to his points.

Moreover, the way he manages to draw the same message from different stories and weaves them together is something to behold.  He also does the reverse quite efficiently, fetching different lessons from a single story.

I truly appreciate about the simple and whimsical delivery. Needless to say, this is one of the easiest books to read. It’s not too wordy and there aren’t any long paragraphs of meaningless information.

It is captivating and straight to the point, yet still giving you enough to leave a long-lasting impression. It is clear that John really put his heart and soul into this. As this book is written in his voice and is actually about real-life experiences, it feels very personal, as if we are peeking into his innermost musings. Coupled with its gut-wrenching epilogue, it is this that I believe makes this book so relatable. Some of the running themes in this book include the fragility of life and the importance of loyalty and serving others.

Pages: 122 | ASIN: B08FWBRF1L

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The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character

The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character (The Diamond Soul Trilogy Book 1) by [George Vasilca]

The stepping stones shared by George Vasilca in his book The Diamond Soul will help you change your life for the better. The author highlights the necessary virtues and habits that you can adopt to be the best version of yourself. The text in the book is uncomplicated and convincing for any reader who enjoys reading inspirational and religious books. When reading about heavenly virtues, I got to understand why God wants to be closer to his people and why everyone who believes in him has a personal responsibility to do by his will. The virtue of love spoke to me the most. Human love is beautiful. The author explains that by loving each other unconditionally, human beings get to exalt and exhibit the nature of the Almighty.

Other than improving your character to be Christ-like, George Vasilca will also have the reader ponder life and it’s meaning. While reading through the chapters, one thinks of one’s purpose on earth, their destiny, and why certain things happen. The author also gives clear answers to questions Christians ask about God as a supreme being. Reading this book is fulfilling as the author makes one feel at peace with his words. The text is therapeutic and gives one hope to face the next challenge. George Vasilca also reminds the reader that God’s love is all we need to enjoy life. The Lord has plans for everyone and will not hesitate to step in when the devil tries to overpower you.

Every stepping stone discussed in the book is important. My favorite stepping stones were 2, and 5. The topics under the two were ‘You are a Fighter’, and ‘Polishing Your Character’. The second stepping stone is helpful for someone who feels conflicted about self and is on the verge of giving up. the author reminds everyone that even when the going gets tough, there is someone or somewhere where you can lean on until things get better. The author also speaks to people who are still discovering themselves and explains how change can influence one as a human being. The biggest take I got on polishing one’s character was being a kind and humble servant. Christ loves it when his people serve the church and others. You will receive blessings when you serve your family, perform acts of kindness to strangers, and respect your friends. By putting yourself ahead of others, you are living as God intended.

George Vasilca incorporates his personal stories while giving lessons in the book. I enjoyed stories from his past because they show that human experiences are almost the same. His encounters were interesting and the conversations he had with people fascinating. The stories also added a personal touch to the book which made reading and relating with the author’s words easier. The stepping stones are like guides or tidbits of wisdom that will help you build character. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy inspirational books and are looking to live a righteous life.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: B08FMXTWVR

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Did Jesus Die For Dogs?

Did Jesus Die For Dogs?: What does the Bible say? by [Steven Boint]

Rev Steven J. Boint helps readers understand the Supreme Being that is God and how humans relate to him in his book, Did Jesus Die For Dogs? In the book the author analyzes different theological narratives and how they have shaped the lives of Christians around the world. The tone of the text is neutral and the author is objective with the points  that he shares. Along the way the reverend uses bible scriptures to help the reader comprehend the creation story, sin and how Christ loves his people.

As a follower of Christ, one is assured of God’s unending love and mercy. The author writes about God’s love and why every creature on earth exists because of his grace. There are multiple lessons on salvation and how broad Christianity is. Did Jesus Die For Dogs? is a a surprisingly thought-provoking book, considering the title. This book enlightens the reader on the role of Christianity and living righteously. The discussions are sober and the author is impartial in his analysis. Rev. Steven Boint has written a short but deep book that explores Christian salvation, and if it applies to dogs.

Pages: 29 | ASIN: B0867FSZY5

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Immortality Wars

A. Keith Carreiro
A. Keith Carreiro Author Interview

The Penitent: Part II follows Evangel who is struggling to cope with her abilities while evading those who seek to hurt her. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

I wanted to see if I could stir the writing cauldron some more and contribute a 21st century flavor to sci-fi/ fantasy storytelling with an added sprinkling of faith–based Christian themes, especially in terms of the heroes being on a spiritual adventure as well.

Could I gather together the sensibilities of these inspirational sources and could I create a brand new and seminal story for our time?

The inspiration for the second book of the Penitent comes from a variety of sources. One of them is my love of fantasy and science fiction, which partly influences the creation of The Immortality Wars series. The first and third books, deal directly with the young warrior Pall Warren and his quest for understanding what is happening to him and to those around him. I wanted to have him fall in love with someone who could match him, not only in terms of strength of character, but also provide him with a source of support for faith and belief in God. Evangel surrounds him with prayer for protection against those who try to destroy Pall and his world.

A second influence is my love for the stories and poems about the medieval ages regarding Great Britain and France. I wanted to see if I could write a 21st century story that has an epic sweep to it similar to the works of older writers like Sir Thomas Malory, Chrétien de Troyes, and modern writers represented by T. H. White, Stephen Lawhead, Parke Godwin and Marion-Zimmer Bradley.

I also love the storytelling of science fiction authors like Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card as well as those of fantasy authors, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Ursula K. Le Guinn, which is the third wellspring of inspiration for Part II of the Penitent.

My fourth source of inspiration is from storytelling about the Bible that were created by writers and by the cinema. Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, written by General Lew Wallace (1880), and the 1959 movie; Lloyd C. Douglas’ (1942) The Robe, and the 1953 movie; and the work of the Scottish author George MacDonald, are examples of inspiration that fueled my hopes of writing something similar, yet unique for our contemporary age.

With these above influences, I wanted to see what could be created if I put together the voices of Tolkien, Lewis, MacDonald, Stephen King, Dean Kuntz and Lee Child.

Evangel is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I wanted to have a strong and compelling young woman as a major protagonist in the first trilogy. I thought she should share some of the attributes and personal history that Joan of Arc experienced in her life. I also wanted a complex individual with other characteristics and traits. As a boy, I was very much influenced by reading the poem “Evangeline”, which was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1847. This influence helped deepen Evangel’s personality as well as her spiritual understanding and perspective. She wants to live a quiet life with her adopted grandfather, Matthew, but swirling forces are around her and The Refuge where they live battling for supremacy of power. Like Heidi in Johanna Spyri’s (1881) novel with the same name, Evangel is an orphan and grows up in the wilderness. I hoped to create a woman whose innocence is deepened by the power of God. The core of this innocence will be tested by hell itself. Yet, she has the ability to keep her mental and moral balance. I wanted her to be wise as well, but in this part of her story, she’s growing into such wisdom. She becomes a major ally of one of the other main characters, Pall Warren, in the Penitent. Indeed, they fall in love from afar with one another.

I enjoyed the world you’ve created in your series. What were some themes you wanted to focus on while crafting your world?

It is difficult for me to answer your question as I don’t want to spoil the plot and overall background context of the series. I am hoping to write a trilogy of trilogies, or an ennealogy. It is partly based on the concept of a Russian doll, one in which there is a doll within a doll, within a doll. The three trilogies represent three different sets of realities stacked over one another. The first trilogy is the smallest one. The second, the Pilgrim, and the third trilogy, the Prophet, set up a thought experiment about what the nature of life will be like in the 26th century. The present time of the story is 2562, but despite hints through the Penitent, the characters and readers of the story are witnessing a tale seemingly out of the Middle Ages. However, all is not what it seems.

What will the role of science and technology play in our lives five hundred years from now? Will there still be believers in God? What tension will exist between faith, science and technology? Besides being a sci-fi, fantasy saga this series is also a spiritual adventure offering a glimpse of the future where heroes, demons, blessed and cursed battle over an elusively sought potion for everlasting life. For the majority of those alive in 2562, science offers a Jacob’s ladder to immortality. Faint echoes from religion barely register in the awareness of those living in this era.

“The end of suffering. The demise of death. Life unchained. Time conquered. The elixir of life found. The jewel of forever in the palm of life’s grasp…”

This is book two in your Immortality Wars series. What can readers expect in book three?

Book three is a return to Pall’s quest to meet again with John Savage after being separated from him in a dreadful battle that occurs at the beginning of book one against marauders and a demon named Ünger, who simply tears apart any human being it can find. Pall continues his quest not only to reconnect with John Savage but also to summon the strength and courage to continue his search for meaning. The role he must play by determining who he is forms an integral part in the destiny of everyone around him.

Pall’s journey is reached at the port city of Seascale where he soon discovers that the realm of West Fundlund is also imperiled and under attack by the renegade priest Kosem Mungadai, a thaumaturge of the 13th level in the occult arts.

Will Evangel’s prayer of protection still surround and preserve Pall from wickedness? Are courage, strength of arms and the blessings of love capable of enduring and overcoming the corrupting power of malign forces seeking the utter ruin of his world?

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The next novel in The Immortality Wars series continues . . .Her parents are viciously murdered by a band of killers. Hidden in the bottom of a roadside ditch as a baby in swaddling clothes, Evangel is only steps away from them. An old hermit, Matthew Greatworth, finds her the day after this tragedy unfolds.She is touched by a rare spiritual power and raised by Matthew in the heart of a sylvan wilderness. Evangel grows up in the quaint hermitage Matthew built years ago.In her 17th year, outlaws terrorize Matthew while she is away. The young girl reaches him just as his eyes are carved out of their sockets and placed on a stump before him.The miracles and struggles against those seeking to kill her, as well as those disbelieving the power of her presence, all come together in a battle of good versus evil. In a vision of clarity and prescience amidst her struggle for survival and meaning, she finds her future soul mate, Pall Warren, on a battlefield of death, and casts a prayer of protection around him. Evangel’s remarkable journey to save herself, her newfound friends and then those who believe in her, brings to the reader a hauntingly beautiful and startling tale of wonder.

The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character – Trailer

Ever wanted to learn more about how to transform your moral character to mimic Christ’s? Have you ever wondered about the meaning of life, the interplay between faith and reason, and the importance of the character traits in shaping one’s destiny? In this self-help book, I will show how to build a Christlike character, which I call the Diamond Soul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Ever questioned why so many relationships are empty, unfulfilling, and end in disaster? Ever struggled to understand the mysterious connection between two human hearts, which beat in perfect harmony, yet maybe miles apart? Answers to all these questions, and many more, are waiting for you in this inspiring self-help book.

The subject matter of the book is developing a Christlike moral character under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Why do we need divine guidance? First, because we are believers, and second, because we cannot do such a huge task alone. The Diamond Soul is the result of the cooperative yet mysterious work of the Holy Spirit residing in us, and ourselves. We supply in a proactive manner the know-how, the sweat, and the perseverance. The Holy Spirit provides the guidance. The result? You miraculously morph from an everyday believer into a highly moral mighty Warrior in Christ. Your personality type changes profoundly because you’re on your way to finding your God-ordained destiny and meaning in life.

At the same time, I realize that the know-how, processes, and methods necessary to undertake such a massive project can only be based on science. For this reason, I draw on the fields of positive psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior. I use the latest findings regarding the undeniable bond between thoughts, emotions, and conduct. To which I add my personal observations about the role spirituality plays in this extremely complicated and volatile mix.

In The Diamond Soul, 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character, I use two metaphors. The first is the image of a beautifully cut, strong, and valuable diamond, to help people visualize their character crafted after Jesus’ own. The second depicts the arduous path up a mountain slope, using stepping stones found along the way, leading to the valuable diamond located on the peak. They cannot exist without another. You cannot reach the diamond on the summit unless you climb the mountain toward it. Conversely, if you climbed any other mountain, your efforts will have been in vain.

This self-help book is based on my experience and struggle in searching proactively for God and developing a moral character aspiring to be like Christ’s. The struggle has transformed my life and made me a better person. The new moral authority, which the Diamond Soul character afforded me, had a tremendous impact on the people around me, be they family members, friends, employees, or business associates.

I believe the book is unique because:

  • It anchors deeply one’s moral character, behavior, and leadership abilities in the Christian faith.
  • It provides a gradual approach to personal development and spiritual growth by building on Christina virtues and time-tested core values.
  • It uniquely blends faith and reason to support the processes and methods advocated in the book.
  • It offers a solid scientific background and proven practical step-by-step instructions on character development, building effective relationships, and becoming a servant leader.

So, dear Christian, build your Diamond Soul character not only for your benefit but for the gain of others and the glory of God. Be fearless – go out there and spread its teachings. Meet your God-ordained destiny to better yourself first, then to improve the world around you―one soul at a time, one group at a time, one organization at a time.

God bless your journey!

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Remnant

Remnant by [Daniel Peyton]

Anna is an unlikely but intriguing combination of being both a secret Chrstian and an astro-geologist. She is known as a Remnant, the last of the religious in a world that does not allow religion to exist. She is accompanied by her endearing and adorable sidekick, the robot Z. They both find themselves on a deeply challenging and mysterious mission that is taking place on a new moon, where life has been discovered. This new life also seems to contradict the knowledge that Anna has been fed so far- especially by one influential Dr.Syke.

Remnant is an enthralling yet charming read. Some of the ideas behind the faith vs science conundrums were handled in such a fascinating way- without insulting the intelligence of the reader. It sort of reminded me of a few scenes in the classic HG Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, in the manner with which it dealt with these potentially controversial subjects.

Although I would have loved some further explanation for the motivations behind the Planetary Science Commission’s decision to ban religion- I felt like it was smoothed over too quickly. I would have liked a deeper exploration of the debate between science and religion, but they are satisfying enough to move the plot forward and give Anna’s character motivation. This turned out to be better for me because I was skeptical going into a Christian science fiction book. The novel makes interesting points, but remains accessible to anyone.

The humor and dialogue in this book saves itself from too much seriousness and it’s a relief. Z was an exceptionally fun character and I think more science fiction novels should do themselves the favor of including a can’t-help-but-love-him/her sidekick. The pace was breakneck and the plot stuck around in my head a while after I finished it.

I’d recommend this one to anyone who wouldn’t mind their science fiction with a bit of religion. I felt more curious and attuned to the mysteries of this world and others after it after reading Remnant.

Pages: 482 | ASIN: B07SPCXCG8

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Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise

Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise by [Michael A. Milton]

Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise by Michael A. Milton is a religious nonfiction audiobook narrated by Brenda J. Davis. The intent of this audiobook is to change the way that people view the suffering and tragedies in their life, to help them see that the “thorns” that afflict us serve to bring us closer to God. The author uses Bible verses, as well as songs and the quotes and testimonies of others, to illustrate how readers can find hope and inspiration in God’s word when dealing with personal crisis, spiritual depression, physical challenges, painful memories of the past, strained relationships, and looking toward the future with hope.

The questions for reflection (written by Theresa Gillis) at the end of each chapter were helpful in applying the author’s words to the reader’s own life, and useful resources for further study are provided at the end of the book.

I liked hearing the author’s reminiscences and personal reflections of his own life, especially when he was a boy, explaining how his past experiences taught and shaped him. It was encouraging to know that even pastors have times of self-doubt and struggle with the same issues as everyone else.

I enjoyed the narrator’s reading of this audiobook overall, but there was some times when words were emphasized unnecessarily, which distracted from the narrative of the book. While I appreciated the points that were being made in this audiobook, that good can come out of bad things, I much preferred the analogy of the storm as something that a person must weather, but in which we can see God.

This book has an inspiring message of finding light in the darkness to overcome the obstacles in life, which is especially needed at this time when so many people are feeling uncertain about the future and dealing with unexpected hardships and losses. It is a struggle to hold on to faith during difficult times, but these times are when faith is needed to most. This book helps readers see that God is working in their lives and that His blessings are appreciated more by those who have suffered and persevered.

Duration: 9 hours 7 minutes | ASIN: B089NDYYDT

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Blessed Beyond Measure

Blessed Beyond Measure: Getting back to the Basic of what we were called to be by [K. Denise McQueen]

There are many life lessons to be learned from the Holy Bible and messages readers and believers can apply to their most trying situations. From relationships to remaining faithful believers in Christianity, the Bible can sometimes be difficult to interpret, and some passages have as many interpretations as they have readers. Blessed Beyond Measure, by K. Denise McQueen, is one woman’s work based on scripture and life experience. From being virtuous to having a forgiving spirit, McQueen covers a vast array of life’s dilemmas head-on and with scripture in mind.

Blessed Beyond Measure, by K. Denise McQueen, is filled with quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from inspirational speakers like former President Barack Obama. In each of McQueen’s chapters, she tackles an ethical dilemma or an aspect of relationships based on scripture and adds her own opinions throughout. Though I don’t agree with some of her thoughts on making sure the man is the one making decisions in the household, she does make some valid points about self-worth and being humble.

I was expecting a book rooted in the Bible and focused on general life advice but found this to be more of a text designed to advise women in their relationships. Peppered throughout the book is valuable commentary on self-respect, how to treat others, and how to live a life with purpose. The bulk of the book is centered on the choices one must make in order to begin a romantic relationship and how to maintain a strong marriage.

With a few organizational and grammatical issues aside, I think that Blessed Beyond Measure has strong messages that come from the heart, each of them valuable in different ways and K. Denise McQueen’s passion for life and faith shines through every chapter. This is an inspirational book that motivates readers to live a God first life.

Pages: 90 | ASIN: B07C33V2Z4

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