Dick Eastman’s Talking with God

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Talking with God: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer
By Dick Eastman / Chosen Books
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During this 12 month stretch of “Safer at Home” and social distancing, I have developed new routines. Once a week, I bake sourdough bread and typically bag up homemade granola just as frequently. With the granola, I’ve had a lot of fun trying new ingredients like coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, and switching between maple syrup or honey for the sweetener. One thing that hasn’t changed is starting my day with a time of morning devotions and Bible reading. Throughout the year, I have enjoyed the book New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp. I’m nearly through the year. So it was good timing when I received Dick Eastman’s Talking with God to read and review. In the last few months during this unprecedented time, I have also been working on my prayer life. I was concerned that I was spending only short periods of time sending up self-centered laundry lists of prayer requests to our Lord. The book Talking with God will equip you with strategies for avoiding these pitfalls and improve your prayer life. The quote on page 9 is what first captured my attention. Eastman writes, “Where there is an absence of prayer, there will be an absence of power. Where there is frequency of prayer, there will be a continuing display of God’s power.”

It’s a lovely book all around. Small in dimensions, so it’s easy to hold. The attractive page layout and the sweet ribbon bookmark boost the positive reading experience. At just 155 pages, it’s reader friendly. I have offered to share it with my church family, but in truth I’m having a hard time removing it from my personal library. The chapters on listening, waiting, and intercessory prayer are moving. I’m so glad I had the chance to review this book. I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

“Test, before You Trust!”

When I worked as a school library media specialist, I repeated this phrase often. Facts should always be verified. When you find a fact repeated the same way at another trustworthy source then it’s a “Go!”- use that fact with confidence.

However, errors often occur and they are frustrating and confusing. Recently I was looking at a historical photo. An anonymous writer had written a caption with some identifying information. The trouble is it didn’t line up with photos I had turned up in the state archives and local historical society. Finally after consulting with another respected researcher we solved the puzzle. He remembered a fact from a previously recorded oral history and together we judged the photo caption to be false. When I wrote my caption correction, I dated it and wrote my name. The lesson I learned is fact check all claims.

You can certainly get lost doing research. I was listening to a podcast last week, and the highly respected author Melanie Dobson said, “I write to support my research habit.” I can identify with this statement. Whether it’s checking facts or conducting an investigation to answer a question, I often find myself doing a deep dive into research. As deadlines near, more than once I’ve told my editorial board, “I’m just going to call it and start writing.” As the word count goes up, it easier to see what is needed and what can be discarded. With a project I’m working on, I still have two more outstanding unverified claims. One involves Henry David Thoreau, and the second is centered on the 1824 visit of the Marquis de Lafayette. Right now, the answers are just outside my grasp, but I’m hoping to prove them both of the claims true.

Smart Choice

032661: Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God"s Illogical Love Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God’s Illogical Love
By Judah Smith / Thomas Nelson

A remarkable book. Judah Smith’s style is accessible and filled with humor. Each day’s reading is concise and memorable. It’s a smart choice for Christians looking for a devotional that speaks to important issues. I recommend this book with enthusiasm. Quite often I finished the daily reading and then turned to my Study Bible for additional research and perspectives on the passage. This author was unknown to me before purchasing this book. I would certainly choose other titles he has written now that I’m familiar with his style and message.

Breaking the Fear Cycle – How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough

35086539When you sit down to read Maria Furlough’s book, be prepared to work your highlighter. You’ll be amazed at the volume of words you mark to revisit. Maria writes about breaking the fear cycle and kindly gives us a roadmap to finding peace. Fear clamps down like a vice grip on our hearts and minds. When left unchecked, it effects our well-being and influences how we interact with our family and the world. Maria shares with us, “Fear will come…But it is our choice how much dominion we are going to allow fear to have over our lives.”

Maria is the mother of five children (four here on earth and one in heaven). She and her family lost an infant son nearly immediately after his birth. God’s promises of protection and peace came alive with new meaning and sustained her during this time. Her heartfelt words tell a life-changing story that offer hope.

When we are consumed by fear, too often our conversations with God are fear-filled pleas. Maria shows us how to replace fear-filled pleas with faith-filled prayers. She touches a nerve when she writes, “Our fears highlight and illuminate the areas we honestly do not believe God’s power can touch.” Essentially Maria reminds us that often our fears are directly linked to how big we truly believe God is. If we have a small sized view of God, and feel there are certain areas that God can’t have control over, then fear will remain. She encourages us to gain confidence and break free of fear and anxiety by surrendering these fears to God. This is an important book for our times. Readers would be wise to choose it as a personal devotional or to read in a small group study. I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.