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Friday, September 30, 2011

Balance of September

During September, I read/watched and reviewed the following:

Audio-books:
- "A Trick of the Light" by Louise Penny. Read my review.

Books:
- "Your 100 Day Prayer" by John I.Snyder. Read my review.
- "Life Application Study Bible Devotional". Read my review.
- "Enemies of the Heart" by Andy Stanley. Read my review.
- "Ascent from Darkness" by Michael Leehan. Read my review.

Other Products:
- "Drinkwell Hy-Drate Dog Ice White". Read my review.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book "Ascent From Darkness" by Michael Leehan

About the Book: A life of difficulty and disappointment set 33-year old Michael Leehan up for the worst decision of his life—to make a deal with the Devil to follow and serve him. Practicing the dark arts that include ritualistic cuttings and blood sacrifices, while fine tuning his manipulation and control skills, Michael launched into a twenty year downward spiral that included job loss and detachment from loved ones, and even jail time.
But God had another plan that included a group of Christian men to love him and pray for him—even when it became evident his assignment from Satan was to kill their pastor, Craig Groeschel.
The life Michael Leehan lives today is an incredible testimony of the transforming power of God's mercy and grace, but is also a wakeup call to the church to be fully aware of the spiritual war that is going on all around them, and to the ultimate battle for their souls.
"I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." Acts 26:18

About the Author: Michael Leehan is an evangelist and minister, but he's also finally a free man. Once enslaved to the dark forces of this world he now lives each day in devotion and service to God through Solus Christus Ministries, a nonprofit organization that offers hope and redemption through the power of God's love, truth, and knowledge of his Word. This is his first book.


My Review: This is a very well written book that tells us the incredible story of a man that hit the bottom on his life and was able to recover just by the grace of our God.
Michael Leehan make a deal with Satan to serve and follow him because he was disappointed with his life and he stop believing in the existence of a true loving God. That decision lead to the practice of dark arts, that filled him with the sensation of having spiritual powers and he used those powers to disturb Christian congregations. Instead of bringing him worldly rewards, he found his life going down the drain and the diligent prayer of a group of Christians brought him to realize that there were powers superior to the ones he knew from the dark side. But the final touch was his encounter with God, when he was about to end his own life out of desperation. That encounter changed his life and the lives of those around him.
This is a powerful testimony that should be not taken lightly. I recommend this book to be in the permanent library of all Christians and they should read constantly to remind them on the spiritual battle that happens daily in the spiritual realm for their souls.

This book was written by Michael Leehan and published by Thomas Nelson in September of 2011 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.

If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book "Enemies of the Heart" by Andy Stanley

About the Book: Break free from the destructive power of guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy.
Divorce. Job loss. Estrangement from family members. Broken friendships.
The difficult circumstances you are dealing with today are likely being fed by one of four emotional forces that compels you to act in undesirable ways, sometimes even against your will.
Andy Stanley explores each of these destructive forces — guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy — and how they infiltrate your life and damage your relationships. He says that, left unchallenged they have the power to destroy your home, your career, and your friendships.
In Enemies of the Heart, Andy offers practical, biblical direction to help you fight back, to take charge of those feelings that mysteriously control you, and to restore your broken relationships.
Includes a six-week discussion guide — a valuable resource for small groups!
Previously released as It Came from Within.

About the Author: Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one campus to five in the Atlanta area and has helped plant over thirty strategic partner churches globally. Each Sunday, more than twenty-five thousand people attend worship services at one of North Point Ministries’ five campuses. Andy’s books include Communicating for a Change, The Next Generation Leader, How Good is Good Enough? and many more. He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Sandra, and their three children.

My Review: The author does a superb job on describing what he calls the primarily four emotions that can give us heart diseases. Those emotions can cause damage to us and to our relationship with others. Those four emotions are:
- Guilt - this is the feeling that I owe those I have offended (I owe you). Suggested treatment is to confess.
- Anger - this is the feeling that everyone owes me (You owe me). Suggested treatment is to forgive.
- Greed - this means that I always want more and more (I owe me). According to the author, it is not a feeling, but a refusal to act. Suggested treatment is to give.
- Jealousy - this is the feeling that I deserve more than what I get (God owes me). Suggested treatment is to celebrate others triumph.

The author uses plenty of examples and advices to prove his point, but it is always easier to say than to execute.
Anyway, it is an excellent book and I recommend to be in the permanent library of any reader that wants to improve his/her self-control and get closer to God.
This book was written by Andy Stanley and was first published in February of 2006 with the Title "It Came from Within" by WaterBrook Multnomah Books and it is now republished in June 2011 by the same publisher but with a different name, "Enemies of the Heart". The publishers were kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Blogging for Books Program. Thanks, Mr. Stanley, for this wonderful book.
If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and give a feedback about this review using the link below.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book "Life Application Study Bible Devotional"

About the Book: Readers of the Life Application Study Bible—the #1 bestselling study Bible—will welcome the arrival of the new Life Application Study Bible Devotional. Let the life of Jesus sink into your mind and heart with 312 readings from the gospels—one for each weekday and one for the weekend. In the Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from Jesus, each week focuses on a different event in Jesus’ life—drawing out daily wisdom from his parables, teachings, conversations, miracles, and interactions with people. You’ll learn important biblical principles, become inspired to put God’s Word into practical action, and be forever changed by a year spent going deeper with your Savior.

My Review: The writers and editors of Tyndale did a magnificent job selecting 52 main topics on the life of Jesus - to be used one per week during one year - and for each topic creating 6 wonderful studies, one for each work day and one for the weekend during a given week. The ideas are well organized. For each study day we have a "Reading the Word" section containing a passage from the Scriptures, a "Setting the Scene" section, where the passage is explained in details, a "Getting Personal" section with questions for reflection, and a "Talking to God" section, with a guidance for your daily prayer.
Some particular days touched me deeply, like in Week 39, Day 2. Topic is "Jesus Celebrate the Passover" and Passage for the day is Luke 22:14-16. Question to Reflect was "What activities and interests threaten to keep you from finding personal time to spend with God?" That was a knock out.
If you are able to find personal time to spend with God and learn more about the life of Jesus, this is a must have book in your permanent library.
This book was published by Tyndale House Publishers in August 2011 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their blogger book review program.

If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

AudioBook "A Trick of the Light" by Louise Penny, read by Ralph Cosham

About the Book: “Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”
But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara's solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they've found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

About the Author: LOUISE PENNY is an award-winning journalist who worked for many years for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She lives in a small village south of Montréal where she writes, skis, and volunteers. Her bestselling first mystery, Still Life, was the winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards; and her second, A Fatal Grace, won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2008. Visit her website at http://www.louisepenny.com/.



My Review: This audio book comes in a 9-CD compilation, read by Ralph Cosham.
The plot is quite interesting and will keep you paying close attention till the end. Clara Morrow is an artist that has her own solo show at the MAC in Montreal. After the vernissage, there is a party at her house in Three Pines. In the morning following this party, a body is found on her garden. Chief Inspector Gamache and his number two in command start working on the case. they had being at the vernissage, as they were friends of Clara and other people from Three Pines where previously they solved a murder case. But in this Art World nothing is as it seems. The person who was murdered is identified as Lillian Dyson, an art critic and an old friend of Clara, before changing into a foe. Nobody is this art world seems to like her. But she vanished from scenes long ago to reapear eight months ago, back from NY into Montreal. Her "new life" is different and her art improved, but somehow now she is dead. Chief Inspector Gamache and his team have to figure out what happen while dealing with some internal issues due to a deadly attack on their team the year before.
Overall this is a masterpice composed by Mrs. Louise Penny, where each character is described in rich details and the voice that Ralph Cosham uses for each one is simply priceless. His narration is superb and contributes a lot to the success of this audiobook. Excellent murder mystery, a must have in the permanent library of any reader that enjoys this genre.

This audiobook was published by Macmillan Audio in August 2011 and Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this audiobook for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.
If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book "Your 100 Day Prayer" by John I.Snyder

About the Book: Readers are guided through 100 days of intentional prayer and biblical truth that transform their spiritual lives and reveal God's provision for their needs.
Anything worth having in this life is worth waiting for and worth striving for. Unlike the world, though, Christians are called to a much different kind of pursuit when they survey their dreams, desires, and needs. Instead of an indulgent wish list, Christians are called to live a transformed life where they become more like Christ through the journey of striving after God’s will. In a time when both the world and even some Christians preach instant gratification, Your 100 Day Prayer offers another path—one of transformation while asking, seeking, and knocking for deep desires and desperate needs.
There is nothing guaranteed about 100 days, but as author John Synder says, “This sustained, stubborn, never-give-up spirit of prayer is not so much to persuade God to give us what we want, but rather to transform us in the process.” Your 100 Day Prayer helps readers combine their need with God’s will in a measured, structured, and instructional experience that results in greater spiritual maturity, clarity about God's provision, and real answers to their very real needs. Because our “Father in heaven gives good gifts to those who ask him." (Matthew 7:11).

About the Author: Dr. John I. Snyder is a pastor, author, and conference speaker. He has taught New Testament Studies at New College Berkeley, California, and has pastored and planted churches in California, New York, and Switzerland.
John received his Bachelor of Arts from Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, California); his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary; and his Doctor of Theology from the University of Basel, Switzerland.
He has contributed articles to Theology Today, Dialog, Theologische Zeitschrift, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, The Washington Times, and others. John has also served on the adjunct faculty of New College Berkeley as well as the World Journalism Institute. He is the founder of Community321.com, an online faith community.
Currently, John is organizing church planting in Europe with his wife, Shirin, and two daughters, Sarah and Stephanie.

My Review: This is not just another devotional book. It is much more than that. It is a guide on pray. If you have difficulties praying, this book is for you. When you start reading this book, you enter into a journey that will touch you deeply. The author provides 100 entries that give us focus on our prayers based on some passages on the Scriptures. After quoting the passage, the author discuss it according to his view, telling a story and preparing you to your daily pray. You will learn that things happen in God's time, not your own time. When you accept that, you will be transformed and things will start to make sense. More and more you will learn to ask, seek and knock toward your needs and desires. Day 39 touched me deeply. It is called Destination and uses Romans 8:18 verse. This is a must have book in the permanent library of any serious Christian person.
This book was written by John I.Snyder and published by Thomas Nelson in September of 2011 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Product "Drinkwell Hy-Drate Dog Ice White"

About the Produt: The Hy-Drate Dog is a healthy way to turn your dog's ordinary water bowl into an automatic water fountain. Designed to fit in your dog's favorite bowl, it remains securely in place with small, powerful suction cups. Fresh water continuously circulates through the Hy-Drate, while small sediments, like fur and food particles, stay trapped in the filter's mesh. One charcoal filter included.

My Review: I order this product with high expectations. It is really easy to install, basically "plug and play" and the filter is also very easy to install and replace. It keeps the water running inside the bowl and avoids any algae to appear in the borders. It makes the water looks really fresh and I was almost tempted to drink it myself. Now, for the dog part: I have a chocolate female labrador retriever and she is a very sweet dog. After I install this filter in her bowl she was scared to death and for about 3 days she refused to go close to her bowl, no matter what I did to attract her. I guess thirsty spoke louder and finally she surrendered to the fact that she needed to drink water. After a couple days after start drinking regularly water from the bowl, she got used to that and she did not tell me any complain... :) ... Overall I liked the product and I really would love to recommend it, but be aware that although you might like it, your dog might not... Just for completeness, the bowl of water was already close enough to an outlet so just a minor extension allowed me to power it up.
Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.
 
If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!