“Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain” by Paul Meier

This book covers how to overcome pain in life and seek G-d’s purpose to fulfill every empty need and desire. Meier and Henderson cover seven different categories that seem to be the core relations of pain and struggle in our lives: injustice, rejection, loneliness, loss, discipline, failure, and death. Reviewing each section as its own chapter, they guide the reader through the healing process in that area, and into a more insightful, and godly, life.

 

I have not finished reading this book, but it is definitely a good resource to use to help others that may be struggling. In all honesty, this book was a slight challenge for me since I have not held these issues in my own control, but relinquish them to G-d every day. That is what we must do to overcome, and the doctors agree. However, if you are struggling in any of these areas or know someone who is, grab this book and read it. It can benefit everyone involved. They do an excellent job covering injustice, in my opinion. For anyone who knows a “generation me” person, this is a great chapter. We have a new generation that feels entitled to everything, but this book sheds the truth on that lie and addresses it directly.

 

Struggling with relationship issues? From chapter eight, “[w]henever two people meet, there are six people present – the two as they see themselves, the two as they see each other, and the two as they really are.” I love that quote, and so true. This is a good section to read if you have issues with rejection, which is a big obstacle in many relationships today.

 

This book manages to not just present the issues, but put together a resolution plan. For example, are we spiritually fit? Check the fitness inventory to find out…but in the end, I’m just another person.

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

“What Difference Do It Make?” by Ron Hall

In essence, What Difference Do It Make is a retelling of the first text, with expansions and additions of “stories of hope and healing.” I don’t want to give too much away, but this guides us through the lives and pain of Ron and Denver, seeing part of their original text, with much more information added in, after the fact, that helps complete the story. Overall, this book is, more than anything else, about hope.

 

This book was quite a challenge to accept in many ways. Before I started reading this book, I had a discussion with some men I am discipling. We were talking about our concerns helping the homeless because they may use what we give them for sin addictions. After reading this book, I cannot say the same. Y’shua said that we are to give of anyone who begs, and for those who would ask a coat, give them also our tunic. I have learned that we need to give to the least of these, as if entertaining angels. Secondly, it isn’t helping them. It is blessing them. To help them would get them out of there entirely, but requires us to get quite dirty on our own end as well.That, and the fact that if the church stepped up and did what they have been called to do, there would be no homeless situation.

 

Biblically-based, rooted in scripture, and of sound foundations, I support this book for those either looking for a hopeful tale or need a serious wake-up call about how we are to help the homeless.

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

“The Noticer” by Andy Andrews

“The Noticer,” by Andy Andrews, is a simple fictional story about a man named Jones. Not Mr. Jones, just Jones. He calls himself a Noticer, someone gifted in noticing things in life – very much so from a different perspective than those in the situation. He travels through several individual’s lives during the book, narrated by the first person mentioned in the story. While we never get to see Jones’ perspective at every situation, or truly discover who he is, there are suggestions that lead you to a story similar to the Holy Bible…

 

Excellently written, this story includes a “group study” section in the back for use in small groups. That being said, this is a great read that is simple to understand and brief, while allowing a deeper understanding for those looking behind the scenes. Overall plot, characters, scenery, etc., permitted me to visualize the story taking place, as if I were a participant. Not many books give me the perspective of the narrator, however, at times this one did.

 

Overall, the message was inspiring and excellent. Andy writes this book as if it was him at an earlier age, and at some points I wonder if it is fiction at all…in fact, with the resources provided for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers, there was the statement, “based on a remarkable true story.” This is something I would love to investigate more in the future.

 

Written in a manner that contains the Gospel, without direct references to the Gospel, this book also allows perspective for those not connected in the church or Christianity – even with the provision of the Love Languages Gary Chapman presents, yet in a simpler, easier to apply, format.

 

I give this book the green light for people to read, and I have been recommending this book to several individuals. The idea that I started reading on my Kindle, and found myself having difficulty putting it down…that is a very good thing.

 

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

“The Expanded Bible”

The Expanded Bible, by Thomas Nelson, is an interesting take on biblical translation. With contributing scholars Tremper Longman III, Mark L. Strauss, and Daniel Taylor, Thomas Nelson Publishing has released their very own version of the scriptures. The New Testament only, Expanded Bible does not have an index, concordance, set of maps, commentary, or the like. Rather, it is simply their translation for reading purposes, but, well, expanded.

 

After attempting to use this book to for reference in teaching a Bible study, I have concluded the following:

 

PROS

Easy to read

Good typeface

Scriptures in bold, alternative options regular text, enclosed in brackets

Referential scriptures on side panel to view story in other parts of NT (parables, etc.)

Thicker paper to permit highlighting, pen marks without bleeding

Larger font than most Bibles, easier to read with less eye strain

 

CONS

Translation team only consists of three members

Not very durable

Advertised as Bible translation but fits the bill of paraphrase

 

Quite some time goes into the research from original texts, etc., even when it comes to revisions of the same translation. It is very important to ensure that the scriptures are, in fact, the scriptures. In the “Introduction” to the book, there is no evidence of sound research, etc., that is provided by other translations. Rather, there is only an explanation on the creation of another translation, and the statement, “no translation serves the goals of clarity, accuracy, and readability better than The Expanded Bible.”

 

While this text can be used for reading and provision of resource for research when creating lesson plans, it seems to be more of a paraphrase than legitimate scripture. Falling in line with The Message, this book is an excellent resource for enhancing your understanding of the scriptures, but is not scripture in itself. Great as a resource, but not recommended as a Bible.

Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.