5 Questions You Need to Answer In Writing A Superb Book Review

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Book reviews are “staple food” here at Delighting Grace and I hope everyone is enjoying every morsel of it. But you might ask, what does it takes to write a book review? How can someone start writing a review? Well for starters I’m not an expert on whipping up one. However, I do have questions I need to answer when ever I write a book review. It serves as a guide to me. Here are five of them:

Is the title, sub-title or book cover appealing? There is nothing special about me. I may have a blog and I review books, still I’m just an ordinary Joe who likes books. Like many, the name, sub-title, and cover  also influence what I want to check out. For me the cover and title are Easter eggs for things to expect to the book. It might be titled boldly and reveals in the sub-title some claims that raises my eyebrows. So along with a great book cover, it will lead me to want to investigate if it really holds up to what it says up front. Will it keep what it wants to say to the end or will it be a meh? That’s where the the book aesthetics may cause me to read it.

Is it relevant to me, my ministry or church? This is important to me because . On one hand I reading it for pleasure and in another I consider if its important to my personal growth, ministry or church. After all, I’m investing my time reading this book to learn something I might as well invest on what will benefit me. It might be controversial or popular as long as it will provide solid food for the various areas of my faith. It might not be for immediate application but something I can take note of.

After reading the book, does it push me to action? When I put down this book, does it move me to do something? Does this book points back to God’s will for me as a Christian? I’ve encountered books that is so engaging that I didn’t need to finish it and I just sat down for a few minutes and meditate on it. It makes you want to apply the truths that touched your heart. This might  be getting your hands dirty for the Lord or sharing this truth to other Christians, either way, the words from the book connected to you is enough to hack up a great review.

Is the book biblically solid? Does the book centers on Jesus and the gospel? Does the author digs deep on the passages of Scriptures and not just slapping a verse here and there in the book just to make it biblical? Does he exalt enthusiastically Christ in the book that brings a certain excitement as you read the book? These are some questions that will guide someone when writing a book review.

Did I enjoy reading the book? It doesn’t matter who wrote it, or if it’s a long or short read nor who endorses it, it matters if I enjoyed it. It might come through how creative the topic was presented, or the style of writing of the author. His cool illustrations,  wit and humor that keeps you reading are also some factors to consider as long as the truth is thoroughly conveyed and satisfied my expectation for the book. Simply put, do I walk away happy?

That’s my 5 questions that will prep you up if your considering to write a book review. Now get a pen and paper (or laptop) and start writing that great review.

 

 

The Quotable Round-Up #39

Jolly good day guys! It’s this time of the week that we collect some of the best quotes. The book we are now featuring Donald S. Whitney’s “Praying the Bible”. Grab this book because I highly recommend it.

“You will never go through anything in life in which you cannot find the root emotions reflected in the Psalms. Exhilaration, frustration, discouragement, guilt, forgiveness, joy, gratitude, dealing with enemies, contentment, discontentment—you name it: they are all found in the book of Psalms.”

“As we pray the Psalms, therefore, we are returning to God words that he expressly inspired for us to speak and sing to him.”

“With what I’m advocating, our primary activity is prayer, not Bible intake. Bible reading is secondary in this process. Our focus is on God through prayer; our glance is at the Bible. And we turn Godward and pray about every matter that occurs to us as we read.”

“Once the Spirit of God brings people to spiritual life, he preserves them in that life, granting them the grace to persevere in the evidences of that life, such as prayer.”

“When God brings someone into a relationship with himself through Jesus Christ, he begins to live within that person by means of his Holy Spirit.”

The Quotable Round-Up #38

Jolly good day guys! Its this time of the week that we collect some of the best quotes. The book we are now featuring is Donald S. Whitney’s “Praying the Bible”. Grab this book because I highly recommend it.

“God’s mind and God’s Word are so much broader than our own perspective, and he will prompt you through the Bible to pray with an awareness for things far beyond the same old things.”

“Prayer is talking with a person, the person of God himself. So prayer shouldn’t be considered a one-way conversation. And yet, somehow, many people assume that when they meet with God, they must do all the talking.”

“The good news is that you don’t have to come up with new ways to adore the Lord. The Lord has given us 150 chapters of divinely inspired praises (that is, the Psalms) for us to use in adoration.”

“Virtually every line in a New Testament letter suggests something to pray about. In fact, as we’ve already noted, many of these letters include actual prayers.”

“Your confidence that the Lord will indeed answer grows as you ask him to answer you, not because of the earnestness of your pleading but because of the reality that he has set you securely on high in Christ.”

Book Review: Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

Missional and motherhood might the last two words you’ll put together. Missional is a task of engaging the world with the gospel either in Zimbabwe or your next door neighbor. Motherhood in the other hand might give you pictures of a homebound mother feeding her children. However in Gloria Furman’s latest book, “Missional Motherhood” these two words convey the plan of God to His elect, how Christ work uphold this nurturing and the important role of “mothering” to the church and the world.

Part 1 of the book is the story of God’s grand plan for us. It’s a re-telling of the Old Testament stories which God despite of what sin has done to us, He is there as a nurturer. Even if the image bearers rebels over and over, God’s redemptive plan is unhindered. It’s a long read that might make want to skip because you already know some of it. Then again for those who are not familiar with the story (it’s either a new believer or a non Christian) this is a thrilling read. Imagine reading the OT in one sitting and understanding the big picture.

Gloria gave the last part of the book the solution to what seems to us a foiled plan of God for us. She showed how Christ intercedes to us as we become “nurturer”.  We see here Christ as a creator, redeemer, prophet and more. It’s a well executed writing from Gloria Furman as she connects Christ roles to motherhood. It’s not a copy and paste thing then poof a book on missional. She knows what she’s writing.

Gloria Furman wrote not just another missional book but THE missional book about motherhood. She’s not jumping on the bandwagon but she sets something that everyone should give a second look. “Missional Motherhood” can set a bandwagon in itself because of its biblical and theological rich content that is engaging and accessible to everyone. Yes I said the word: EVERYONE. This book is not just written for “mothering” women but “mothering” men also. Men should not read this to understand women who are “mothering”but how men can be “mothering” too. Great book worth grabbing at Amazon or you local bookstore.

My verdict 4.5 out of 5

Review copy of the book was provided by the author.

My Goodreads review of the book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1653777109

More book reviews here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

7 Things We Miss Out If We Reject the Gospel (Part 3)

This week’s installment of our lesson, we will take a look at “Heavenly Rewards” and “Victory”. We should expect these things because it is given to us by God. On behalf of Christ, He imparts these to us so that we will give our best for Him. Check the Bible verses and meditate on it. We can clearly see the goodness of our heavenly Father that will make us cling for Him daily. If you are not yet saved, think of these things and pray that God will give you faith to accept His gospel.
5. Heavenly Rewards

“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”1 Peter 5:4

“Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

Out of gratitude of His glorious gospel that saved us and also because God sets us in good works (Ephesians 2:10) after He grants us salvation, in heaven we will receive rewards because of our works for Christ. Our service to Him will be finally recognized and given rewards. We will face Christ not at Him juridical bench but an awarding ceremony for the works we did for Him. Will you be there at that event? What rewards will you receive from our gracious God?
6. Victory

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15: 56-58

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” 1 John 5: 4

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Romans 8: 37

In this life we always strive for excellence. We do all we can to win in every area in our life. Sometimes we triumph in battles we face. Sometimes we have to surrender. God’s child also goes with this daily struggle. But the good news is that we are victorious through the goodness of God. He might not have that trophy or medal but we have God and His promises that make us a winner. We don’t want to be in the losing side here and in eternity. Come to Christ who won the victory for us.

(to be concluded next week…)

Four Stages on How an Unbeliever Comes to Jesus Part 2

Now we come to the last 2 stages of how an unbeliever comes to Jesus. We might find these people are not necessary following the four phases. They might be in the indifference, curious, seeking or belonging stage. But in any case meet them at any phase with the gospel.
Seeking
“Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?” Song of Solomon 6: 1

After being curious, they want to see for themselves who this beloved that the Shulammite woman keeps talking about. As a Christian, this is an opportunity to further tell them about Jesus or take them to church. In this point they might accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

Belonging to Christ
“Return, return, O Shulammite, return, return, that we may look upon you. Why should you look upon the Shulammite, as upon a dance before two armies?Or dance of Mahanaim” Song of Solomon 6: 13

The daughters of Jerusalem found beauty from the Shulammite woman. Because of what how she spoke and how passionately love her beloved, she won the people’s heart. The word “return” was repeated four times suggesting they want more for her. They want what she got. However, King Solomon intercedes to their demand for his bride. It seems as if King Solomon is saying “Look at me”. The woman became beautiful because of King Solomon. Her beauty is brought up by how much she loves her beloved. At this point they might have accepted the gospel. They could be even gone through baptism. Believers should be aware that as they lead people to Christ, they need to keep on pointing them to our Savior. They might be there for you, for the church, for the music and for the warmness of the believers. Make sure they are there for Christ. Tell them their allegiance in on Christ. To be much useful in the church and to the world, they must be grounded to Jesus. We belong to Christ. Let us not forget that.
God bless us all as we lead others to Christ.

(To be concluded next week…)

6 Ways to Fall in Love With Christ Part 3

Now we are at the last two ways on how to grow to love our Savior. Let us all pray and desire to have this in our Christian life.
Give
“Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages; let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.” Song of Solomon 7: 11-13

True love is not just taking but giving. Love is not meant to be just words. It is also can be shown in action. Its shows how the extend of the affection you have for that someone special. Self sacrificing is deep love. The more you show less of self and more of the interest of others is your priority the more you know love. Do you love Christ enough to sacrifice your time, money and talent? You love the Savior because of His sacrifice for you on the cross and now it’s time to give it back by giving.

Beautify
“What is your beloved more than another beloved, O most beautiful among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved,that you thus adjure us?
My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven. His eyes are like doves beside streams of water, bathed in milk, sitting beside a full pool. His cheeks are like beds of spices, mounds of sweet-smelling herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh. His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires.Hebrew lapis lazuli His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” Song of Solomon 5: 9-16

Make Christ look good to others. Don’t just be satisfied that you’re the only one that is looking at His beauty, make others look at Him. Share the gospel and live out the gospel every day is the way to make Jesus look good.

6 Ways to Fall in Love With Christ Part 2

Now we go on to the # 4 of the ways to show how much we love Christ. God provided in His Word on how we can cherish and make much of Him more:

Attentive
“The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me:”Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away,” Song of Solomon 2: 8-10

Like a lover who wants to please his beloved, we should be attentive always to God. Here are the things we should pay close attention if we want to be attentive to God:

a) To His voice:
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,” Hebrews 3: 7-8

Be ready to listen to what He wants for you to do.

b) To His coming:
“I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” Revelations 3:11

Be ready for His imminent coming and keep pressing to do His will.

c) To His calling:
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, Ephesians 4:1

Be ready to walk to what He has set us to walk on.

(To be concluded next week)

Book Review: Get A Life…Online by Mighty Rasing

Fresh from #SuperEpic” Mighty Rasing delivers another book about a subject he really really knows. Social media is going leaps and bounds. Then it got out of control (sort of). And what better way to sort it all out by reading “Get A Life…Online”.
This book packs lots of meat to enhance you digital life. It has everything for the novice to the hardcore netizen. Mighty not only wrote a book that is readable because its Taglish but grasp the Pinoy context of being online. He knows the Pinoy culture, ethics and behavior that affect how we use social media. He tackled topics like useful apps, how share your talent online, how to use social media for a good cause. The serious issue of privacy and cyber bullying were discussed. All of these topics and much more for a 75 pesos book!
I enjoyed reading because knows well the online culture of Pinoys or making much of social media but also he shared his personal experiences of being a netizen. For someone who’s been there as one of the popular new media practitioner, stories of failures and success is inspiring to people who wants their voice be heard.
This great book helps us understand and engage the online (and also offline) life for every Filipino. If you love “#SuperEpic” then you’ll love this one too. Embrace the digital explosion Pinoy style with “Get A Life…Online”.

Book Review: Ha-Ha-Hatsinggg! by Dr. Luis P. Gatmaitan MD and Redge A. Abos

Its the rainy season and you know its also colds season. And kids are most likely prone to colds. Take a journey with Patrick as he battles the evil army of virus. Also joining him is his Ate Sofia and Nanay Teresita as they discuss what really causes colds, debunking some myths and health advice.
This is another very informative book about health by Tito Dok. It gives children a dose of prevention in an entertaining story kids would love. This is the best way to teach children to take good care of their health specially this cold season.

Teachers Can Make an Impact
I once read a T-Shirt that somewhat reads “Teacher’s Makes Impact to a Student for Eternity”. Indeed, teachers does have that ability. They are the ones that build up a person that will also make an impact to others. Do you remember your teachers in elementary and high school? What kind of teachers do you remember that really did influenced you? Is he the kind one or the terror you dont want to attend the class? Who ever he or she is, you should be thankful because of that teacher, you were able to read this article.
Speaking of teachers, Galatians 3:24 states that the law (specially the 10 Commandments) is a teacher (schoolmaster or tutor in other Bible translations) that leads us to Christ. Without this law we will not know that we sin against God (Romans 7: 7-13). Have we examined ourselves in the light of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20). Are you good enough for heaven? Have you lied? Took something that doesnt belong to you? You’re a thief if you have done that. Have you been angry with someone? According to Matthew 5, Jesus says thats murder. Thats only 3 of the 10 Commandments which is enough for God to punish us. And the punishment of our sins is eternity in hell.
The 10 Commandments of God serves as a mirror to see our filthiness (sins) and it also says that we should come to Jesus to wash us clean. God is holy and we cannot come to Him because of our sins. But being merciful, God made a way so that we can come to Him by sending Jesus Christ to save us (Juan 3:16). Doing good works, being charitable, having baptized and being a member of a church wont make us righteous to God. If we insist in doing that to be accepted by God, we are like a criminal trying to bribe a good judge. Only through the blood of Jesus Christ he shed in Calvary can wash our sins. Why not repent and trust in Jesus today (Efeso 2:8-9, Romans 10:13) and receive His free gift of salvation? Call on Him today and He will save you.