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Living in a Changing World

Living in a Changing World by [Small, Evon]

Each and every one of us has issues we would like to solve. But these days it feels like anyone trying to improve our lives is also trying to pick our pockets. The sales pitch usually promises to equip us with the power to get exactly what we want out of the world. But after the excitement wears off, we’re usually just out 15 bucks. Evon Small takes readers down a different path. Living in a Changing World is less about avoiding life’s disasters and more about preparing for when they come.

Evon Small takes a refreshing approach to the spiritual/self-improvement genre: pairing poetry with photography and wrapping them around life’s themes. Internet poetry has become increasingly popular (even making it to the shelves of major retailers), but Small’s verses rise far above the average social media poem. While we don’t see a lot of creative comparisons or word choices, music still spills out of each poem. For instance, one of my favorite poems: “We Need You” contains such memorable commands as, “rain or shine, make us be ashamed to stay the same.” Lines like this show Small’s precise use of repetition and focused approach to sound. The result is that sentences that would otherwise sound preachy transform into hymns, chants, mantras, and spirituals.

Sadly, the same level of praise cannot be heaped on the book’s photographs-  which constitute the weakest part of an otherwise good collection. Comprised of stock photos, most pictures fail to compliment the poems around them and come off as an afterthought. Nonetheless, the central message is worth reading. The book talks to readers living in a changing world, but focuses on the constants: highs, lows, love, and God. All this comes together to sing a touching, melodious message.

Pages: 80 | ASIN: B0794XCVH1

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No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were?

No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? by [Johnson, Christopher]

No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? By Christopher Johnson is an introspective religious and spiritual book. It contains many quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from famous people and some other religious figures with thoughts connecting it. Each chapter in the book covers a topic, such as love and forgiveness and then they all follow the same formula of having different quotes and speculation on these quotes. Johnson mentions in the book that his work is the result of conversations with different people in his life and his thoughts on these quotes.

Johnson’s work is interesting. He has quotes followed up with statements that are thoughts on these subject matters. The thoughts connecting these quotes are not always religious, some of them are statements referring to life, but the bulk of them are religious. In addition to quotes, there are topics for each chapter, and some contain metaphors. The metaphors, connecting quotes and thoughts are well done and seamlessly flow into one another. I quite enjoyed the vampire metaphor a lot. It fits into what the author was doing with that chapter perfectly, and I never thought of why vampires cannot go into the sunlight before, but his explanation of it made sense and fit so well with the text. Another analogy I greatly enjoyed was the tortoise and the hare. Johnson relates this to life and states that some are fast to separate but slow to come together, and I found that I agreed with that to a point.

I think for some, this book could be controversial, more specifically the parts addressing homosexuality. I personally do not agree with the sentiments made. I think when making claims similar to these, it would have been nice to have other sources other than Bible quotes and quotes from people that back up thoughts to make it more balanced. Without the balance, it comes off more as a strictly religious text. I do not think Johnson is intending to be biased, but I would have enjoyed other sources with similar statements.

Some of it seems contradictory at times too. For instance saying that God does not have a part in everything because He gave us free will and does not pull all the strings in everything, but then stated God supplies our money. But from the text, it would seem if we choose to work to make money, then we are supplying money through choice. Definitely a mind bender! The book is definitely thought-provoking at times, such as the chapter on forgiveness. That was an interesting read.

Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend this book to those who are open to religious talks, as the book felt like a church sermon in each chapter, or those who are of Christian faith. I am open to seeing others’ perceptions and thoughts who are different from my own, so it was an engaging read and food for thought.

Pages: 144 | ASIN: B07964NR4B

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Heavenly Whispers: 222 Day Devotional

Heavenly Whispers: 222 Day Devotional by [Benade, Dr. Ronel]

Have you been in a situation where all hope seems lost? Have you felt like God is abandoning you? Have you ever felt like you faith is wavering? Like you are losing grasp of your relationship with God?

Heavenly Whispers taps into all of these feelings and serves as a guide to devotion to help keep that bond with God. This is a guide to keeping a hold on faith and remaining strong under God despite the storm that’s raging. This book will help you devote yourself to God unencumbered by your own mind and self-imposed hurdles by providing you with a strong and insightful scripture every day for 222 days. It comes in a tiny package. You can have it in your pocket for whenever and wherever the need to commune with God arises.

There are so many great qualities here. First is the carefully picked words from the Bible. The prayer after each scripture. Then there is how the message just seems to tap into that deep yearning for God. Another great thing, it is not bogged down by stories. There are no endless paragraphs of one person telling you how they do things and how this will succeed. The author delivers the scripture and prayer and then leaves it up to you to execute. Another thing that I really liked is that the devotion sessions are short. You could have a moment with God as you wait for the train or between meetings. It really is the best travel companion.

I feel like the book could have benefited from a sort of appendix at the back. A guide on which pages to go to when faced with specific situations.

Dr. Ronel Benade has provided people with a way to gain divine knowledge in a daily piecemeal way that makes all the wisdom of God attainable.

The prayers are simple and impactful and the author urges the reader to go on and impact the world positively. I find that the mere act of sharing this book with others is impactful. There is greater joy in receiving these little bits of Heavenly whispers.

Pages: 232 | ASIN: B07KMXN44F

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The Labyrinthine Journey

The Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods Book 2) by [Cavallaro, Luciana]

Evan is a normal twenty-first century man who works as an architect. However, to interrupt his daily routine, none other than Zeus himself, has decided to transport Evan to the sixth century BCE. Evan now travels across ancient Greece with his companions, including Atlanteans, a high priestess, and his friend, Dexion, who has the power to see into the future. All of this is for a mighty cause, Evan has been chosen by Zeus to unite two powerful relics in order to save the Gods from extinction.

Stuck in the sixth century BCE Evan longs to return home. Given his precarious position between times, the juxtaposition of his wants against his reality serves to highlight the stark differences between the comfort of home that Evan is used to and what he is currently facing. For instance, walking across a sandy plain in sandals verses the want for a motorbike to make short work of the distance. His modern life’s influence over his worldview often leaves him homesick, but he must complete his mission. On the other hand, his life back home gives him ways to solve the problems he faces in the sixth century BCE, taking ideas from the pop-culture of his own time and bringing them into the past to aid his quest. This fusion of time periods makes for some brilliant innovations and cross-overs between what we as the reader understand to be ancient Greece, and the modern day.

The Labyrinthine Journey is book two in Luciana Cavallaro’s Servant of the Gods series and it follows on fluently with the events of the previous book with references here and there to book one. Something striking about the series is the relationship between mortals and Gods. With whole chapters dedicated to the musings of God’s and their society it gives the reader an insight into their intentions. Furthermore, the book proposes an alternative viewpoint on the beginnings of Christendom. The Greek Gods fear that they will lose their dominance in light of a God-sent child being born that will potentially lead to the widespread belief in a single God instead of the current pantheon.

This retelling of the birth of Christ from the God’s perspective explains why Zeus wants the relics united – to maintain his and the other Gods’ significance. However, there are some Gods trying to interfere with the mission and stop Evan’s and his companions’ journey. Evan searches ancient Greece, already in possession of the first relic, for the second to unite the two. The perilous journey over a treacherous landscape naturally reminds one of the epics of Homer.

The Labyrinthine Journey was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I give it five out of five for its sophisticated and inventive retelling of the well-known and widespread story of Christ and its ability to connect it to the overarching quest narrative seamlessly. Luciana Cavallaro’s prose fits the story perfectly, making the journey truly epic. Furthermore, the fusion of God’s, monsters, ancient philosophers, magical ancient relics and even time travel, leads to unexpected twists and turns throughout the novel.

Pages: 311 | ASIN: B075QGZQP9

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From Religion To Science

The Transition, Initiated by Copernicus and Galileo, from Religion to Science: The Beckoning Bridge Many Find Difficult or Impossible to Cross’ By Lawrence H Wood is a nonfiction book that seeks to shed light on the dichotomy between religion and science, and how the two can continue to co-exist side by side. The author details the transition from a religious based understanding to a scientific based understanding that began to occur in the mid sixteenth century, and discusses the two different explanations of ourselves and our surroundings–how they developed and why they co-exist when such coexistence is a constant source of confusion and conflict. In this book, Dr. Wood, a science historian, focuses on examining the historical aspects of science to further the reader’s understanding of the subject.

This books is divided into sections that look at various aspects of the historical development of science. It’s a fascinating topic that is given very little attention in an academic setting, since most science classes focus exclusively on the actual science with no mention made of the history of science. I found it interesting to read about the historical development of scientific understanding, as people came to understand various scientific principles, starting in the 1500’s when Copernicus observed that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the Sun around the Earth, as was the previous accepted belief. This marked the beginning of modern scientific investigation, along with the invention of the telescope and the microscope. I liked that the book described many scientific principles and theories and how they came to be discovered, and covered many different science disciplines, including geology, physics, biology, archaeology, and chemistry. I enjoyed reading about the discoveries and contributions of a wide range of scientists, from the sixteenth century to the present.

The book focuses on a variety of subjects from discovering that the Earth is billions of years old to modern advances in DNA and gene-splicing, but the author describes it in terms that make the information accessible to average people who may not view themselves as particularly scientific-minded. The author’s use of graphs and charts to illustrate points was a welcome inclusion that helped to further my understanding of the explanations presented in this book. Another helpful tool was the author’s summation of information at the end of each chapter.

Pages: 444 | ISBN: 1532024576

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You Gotta Let God Finish! – Trailer

God, who loves so deeply and delights to give, has made a multitude of promises throughout the Bible to His children. Yet, there are many of them who never posses their promises. They become weary with the wait and burdened down by questions like, “What do I need to do in order to inherit the promise God made me?” God has come through this author to provide His children with the answer that is sure to cause them to posses all their promises: You gotta let God finish! The Holy Spirit delves deep into God’s word by looking at the lives of various men and women throughout the Bible to shed light on the loving heart of God, His unfailing ways, and sure faithfulness toward His children, proving that all you have to do is allow God to finish what He began in order to receive all that He has. Readers’ lives will be completely transformed as they receive these revelations that have come forth from God, and as a result they will inherit all that God has for them and enter into their Promised Land!

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The Beauty of His Presence

The Beauty of His Presence by [Evans, J. Shannell]

The Beauty of His Presence by J. Shannell Evans is a forty day-daily devotional for Christians. Each passage includes Bible verses mixed with everyday scenarios to which the reader can relate more closely. After each passage is an open ended set of questions with a writing area that lends itself to daily interpretation and reflection. The book begins with verses and passages about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It delves into Jesus’s birth and death from the start then incorporates the roles of faith, prayer, fellowship, and more within its pages. The author incorporates her personal opinion and experience into the work making it feel more personal and real to the reader.

Evans has curated a nice flow of devotionals. One flows nicely into the next, while at the same time standing alone should someone get off track or skip around. The passages are concise enough that reading one a day would not be a daunting task at all, and many would likely be able to easily read several. They are simply written while still being engaging. The book could easily be used in a group Bible study or Sunday school group. The questions after each section would be good for facilitating group discussion. The daily “Create your own ‘Thought for the Day’” prompt will leave readers with personal food for thought that they can ponder on throughout each day.

I like that the voice of the writer is incorporated. Evans gives accounts of her personal experiences and struggles. This makes the book feel less stuffy and rigid. It makes lofty goals of being a so-called “good Christian” feel attainable. Her personal voice keeps the book light and friendly. It feels more like a conversation than a sermon, and that is comforting. The book keeps a positive, uplifting vibe throughout. The content is heavy at times, but manages to give a hopeful air encouraging a closer walk with God.

I think the substance of the book is on target for its intended audience. Readers will enjoy the relatable stories paired with the daily verses. Evans has put together a great body of work with this book. I feel that it will be a book that will strengthen Christian’s relationships with Christ. It will give hope and positivity to the most downtrodden of readers.

Pages: 206 | ASIN: B079K5BJQY

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It’s Not All About Me

Chris Tatevosian Author Interview

Chris Tatevosian Author Interview

Life Interrupted: It’s Not All About Me is a memoir about your life and the challenges dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important to write for several reasons none of which was more important than the next. When I started out writing Life Interrupted, It’s Not All About Me, it was my intention to help one person, myself. You see, when I was divorcing my ex-wife to be’s lawyer had embellished much of the petty jousting that often goes on between individuals in the process of divorcing, but he really made me out to be a calculating monster, which I was not.

I wanted to share the truth with family members, in-laws and friends , but I believe God intervened and said, Chris, you can help one person, yourself, or you can help thousands of chronically ill and disabled individuals in the middle of their own desperate, downward spiral into the abyss of depression by helping them to avoid making the same relationship destroying mistakes that I once made.

In summary the two main reasons for writing my memoir were one, to save face and two, to help others with chronic illness avoid falling into the self – sabotaging, dismal, depressing downward spiral of the relationship destroying poor me attitude.

I enjoyed how you shared both the good and bad times and it felt like you held nothing back. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest thing for me to have shared was my insidious anger and the fact that it was misdirected anger made it that much worse. I was out of control and in the midst of the worst I found God and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone gave you when you were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?

The best piece of advice anyone could have given to me when I was first diagnosed with MS would have been, never stop living your best life. If I had given into my initial thought that life was over, I would have missed one of the most fabulous lifetimes full of unimaginable things, loves, wonders and experiences. I have lived and continued to live the most exciting joyous life with not a single regret.

The book is very emotional but also inspirational. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

My hope is that readers will look at what I have gone through and recognize that through hardship and misery comes purpose and direction. In my life it was God who saved me, when I thought I was not worth saving. Take a couple of moments to invite God into your life, asking Him to reveal Himself to you.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Life Interrupted: It’s Not all about Me, is a candid and humble memoir about one young man’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and how his ‘poor-me’ attitude cost him his marriage. Chris hopes others might learn from his mistakes to communicate more effectively and not allow disability and low self-worth to destroy relationships. Chris also writes about his faith in God, and his new wife, Jane, who he married in April of 2007.

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Healing the Breach – Trailer

The day is fast approaching when the compilation of the many testimonies manifest in the various branches of His church will be woven together into a beautiful tapestry revealing the effort to which the Holy Spirit has gone, that God might have a happy, and united people. Yet today, the Restored Church is fractured. In this book, author Patrick McKay uses figurative language, common testimony, and prophetic expressions to illustrate the personal conviction, great spiritual truths, and lofty ideals of our epic latter-day theme. Each branch of the Restored Church has a rich legacy of testimony that has been created, preserved, and transmitted to them from the initial days of the Restoration, reminding us all of our spiritual birthright as inheritors of the angel message. McKay has seen the destiny of the Saints of the Restoration, and has written to set them free, offering fresh insights and optimism to enliven the reader to press forward toward Zion’s borderline.

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The Gift of Tears – Trailer

Jacob is a healthy fourteen-year-old from Massachusetts, an athlete who lives and breathes for baseball, football & hockey, when he is stricken by an awful and mysterious illness. What begins as a typical childhood malady swiftly proves to be anything but routine. Jacob’s folks, Keith and Alethea, the busy parents of four other children, find themselves thrust headlong into the trial of their lives. Their entire world is suddenly torn asunder.

From his doctor’s office, Jacob is rushed by ambulance to an Intensive Care Unit. What began as an average-every-day cold has graduated to pneumonia. But this is no ordinary pneumonia. Three days later Jacob is on life support. Within a week, his death is all but imminent. Nothing can be done. Doctors struggle feverishly to solve the mysteries Jacob’s body hurls at them, while Keith and Alethea, shell-shocked by the suddenness of it all, lean on their faith and on the army of supporters who have come to their aid – to pray with them, to cry with them and to hope with them.

Jacob’s father, a faithful man, a Gulf War veteran and a career prison officer, has been hardened over the years and has lost some of his faith in the goodness of humanity. The outpouring of unfettered love and kindness that he experiences from his family, his friends and from strangers during Jacob’s ordeal, however, lifts him, nourishes him and opens his heart. Through social media, Jacob’s plight touches the hearts and draws the hopes and the prayers of thousands. The army becomes legions. It almost seems as if there is purpose in what’s happening. Somehow Jacob’s illness seems to serve as a vessel for love and for goodness in the hearts of people.

Weeks pass as the whirring machines stream life into Jacob’s ravaged body, which has been whittled to the bone by the sinister disease that attacked him. Jacob’s lungs are obliterated by the savage pneumonia, the likes of which the medical staff at the renowned Boston Children’s Hospital have rarely seen. All appears lost as his parents cling to the promise of their faith. Keith does what no parent should ever have to do as he writes his son’s eulogy in preparation for, and in acceptance of, the inevitable.

The love of Jacob’s Army, though, stretches across the country until it finds a deeply spiritual man half a nation away who contacts Keith to share a powerful experience which overcomes him when he prays for this groaning family, and this dying boy, who he had never met or known. Then…things change.

Take the incredible and heart wrenching journey with Jacob and his family through the pages of The Gift of Tears. Feel the love and the goodness in the human heart. Ponder the mystery of faith. Join the brotherhood of community and the fellowship of hearts. Experience the embrace of healing. Hold their hands. Love with them. Laugh with them. Cry with them.

Believe in hope. Believe in healing. Believe in miracles.

Believe.

Available to order wherever books are sold.

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