faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

They Came For Freedom

TheyCameForFreedom

I wanted to read this book, because there has been a lot of discussion about the United States being a Christian country from the beginning, and many want to go back to those values.  I wanted to read a history book that looks at the factual events, so I could decide for myself whether I agree with the statement that this country started as a Christian country.  

The 1600s were a difficult time of monarchy rule, monarchy chosen religion, with riches for royalty, but only hard work for little benefits.  The common people were very poor, worked hard 6 days each week, and paid taxes to royalty.

This book is about the Pilgrims, and as the title suggests,

“They Came For Freedom”. 

I really enjoyed reading this book!  The author, Jay Milbrandt, did a good job of research and filled in many gaps in what I remembered about the Pilgrims’ history.  The story begins in England, because that history sets the stage for why the Pilgrims went to America. 

Of course it wasn’t even America yet.  It was a new world, still being explored for how other countries could use its resources to make money.  Spain, England, and France were all sending ships to bring back a bounty of animal furs, sassafras, and fish.  They were hoping to find gold and silver, but that didn’t happen this early in the history.

The people that later were called Pilgrims, were called Separatists in England.  This meant that they separated from the Church of England.  That was illegal.  They had to worship in secret.  The law in England said that everyone had to worship at a Church of England every Sunday.  Breaking this law would end you in prison.  Many of the Separatists did go to prison.  Some died there. Some survived.

First a group of Separatists left England to move to Holland, where people were free to choose their own religion.  It was illegal to leave England without permission.  Once again, they had to be hidden to avoid going to prison.  Some were caught and did go to prison.  Life in Holland was still hard.  At least they had their own church.  When England got word of the Separatists in Holland, they were in danger of prison again.  This time they decided to go to the New World.

By the time the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, explorers had already mapped the coastal areas all along the East coast.  There was already a settlement established at Jamestown.  They definitely were not the first to arrive.

The Pilgrims and the other settlers that came from England in the Mayflower ship, were going to the New World for different reasons.  Many were seeking their fortune. The Pilgrims mainly wanted religious freedom.

 In 1636, all the men on the Mayflower signed a document laying out the rules of law that they would follow.  This document was called the “Mayflower Compact”.  They decided to separate church and state, to guarantee religious freedom.  They gave land ownership to all men, and inheritance to all sons, not just the first son.  They made marriage a government function, not the church. These three decisions were in total disagreement with the ruling classes in England, France, and Spain.  There was to be no king.  There would be a governor, chosen by the people.  This was the first self-government of the common people.  None of these are really Christian based.

The book continues the story of how the Pilgrims lived and where they settled in the New World.  It covers their relationship with the Indians in the area.  It also covers the first thanksgiving feast.  Their lives were still very hard.  Many died. 

About the same time as the Pilgrims settled in the New World, the Puritans also arrived.  Although they both had Christian beliefs, they did differ, and did not live in the same towns.  The Puritans later became well known for the Salem witch trials. 

I believe, knowing our history, gives us good knowledge that can help us avoid some pitfalls.  Unfortunately, most people ignore history, and they are then doomed to make the same mistakes.  Some of the things Christians did after coming to the New World were good and worth following, but some things are not.  Even as Christianity exists today with many different churches and beliefs, the same was true in the day of the Pilgrims. 

People tend to want others around them to believe like they do.  Some Christians even want the United States government to legislate based on Christian beliefs.  This would be directly counter to the freedom the Pilgrims came here to find.  They wanted freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.  If we want freedom, we must give that same freedom to every citizen!

The story of the Pilgrims is complicated.  It is not clear from their story alone whether this country can be called a Christian country from the beginning.  I believe instead, what we can say is that it is a country with freedom of religion to all, and should stay that way.

If you would like to read the history, and make up your mind on this issue, this is an excellent book to read.  Just remember that the Pilgrims are only one part of the story.

–>Click HERE to get “They Came For Freedom”.

 

Jay Milbrandt also wrote the book “The Daring Heart of David Livingstone”.  If you enjoy history, you may want to read it too.

–>Click this to get the book about David Livingstone.

I am supposed to tell you that I got a free copy of “They Came For Freedom”, from —>BookLook Bloggers so that I could write my honest review of the book for you. Enjoy!

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Penned Without Ink

PennedWithoutInk

“Penned Without Ink: Trusting God to Write Your Story” by  Sarah Lynn Phillips is an interesting book!  It tells the true story of how one family trusted God to get them through tragedy.  The title tells why they must trust God — He writes our story from beginning to end. (But God does not write it down; no ink is used.)

“Penned Without Ink” is about a normal family with a Christian faith.  One day they had a horrific car accident that brought them near death.  If they were going to recover, they needed to hold on tight to God.

Sarah, the mother and wife, tells the story.  I was riveted on her words about how the family dealt with everything after the accident.  Their story is compelling.

 Their story is also teaching us how to trust God through the worst things in life — unexpected tragedy.  (Did you catch that in the title it says — “trusting God to write YOUR story?)

Sarah does a very good job of writing down their story.  I did wish that she had put the story down all in order from start to finish.  The parts of the book where she reflects on an event out of sequence, or has the reader reflect, were interruptions to the main story I was most interested in reading.  But in reflection is where we grow in our faith and trust in God.  In reflection we see the answered prayers.  In reflection we see how God arranged the details to bring about the help we needed.

I suggest you read this book, especially if you find it hard to trust God sometimes. Sarah is a strong woman to have dealt with everything she had to do, but she did not do it alone.  She walked with God through it all.

–>Click HERE to get a copy of this book!

If you have never read a book from this publisher before, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, then you are in for a surprise!  Many of their books are available in Kindle format for free or 2.99 cents or less.  You can sign up to get regular emails from them, that will list the titles available for free.  I get lots of books from them!

–>Click HERE to get access to free books!

 

Leave a comment »

River of Doubt

Although the title might suggest a topic about how to deal with overwhelming doubt, that is not the case at all.  The book I am reviewing today is an amazing adventure story that is all true!  The people in the middle of the action are brave and reckless, standing up to all odds against them to explore a large river in the Amazon jungle of Brazil, a river that had never before been explored! It is amazing that any of them survived. Even more surprising is who was on this 1914 expedition.

RiverOfDoubt

The book, “The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard is about a dangerous exploration trip set up by the former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

I had heard a few comments about Teddy Roosevelt’s bravery, but this book really opened my eyes.  I would never expect a former President to ever go on such a dangerous trip, let alone be the first person to travel a large river with many unknown white water rapids.  This river was called the River of Doubt, because it was doubtful that it even existed.  In fact, many people thought Roosevelt was making the story up when he returned to the States, but he proved them wrong!

The author Candice Millard did an excellent job of research to write this book! Bravo to her! Luckily she had access to some journals that some of the men wrote in almost daily during their trip.  This first person witnessing of what happened on the river helps make this story riveting!

The book is long, but it is filled with history, mystery, bravery, intelligence, physical endurance, and determination.  Making it even more exciting are the treachery of long hidden local Indians, poisonous snakes, unbearable heat, malaria, betrayal, even the loss of food, equipment, and canoes!  

I love action movies!  I wish this book was turned into a movie.  It would be a blockbuster!  The book is filled with so much history I did not know about, that I am very glad I read it.  It would have been a tragedy not to have read it, especially since I am a history fan, and love to read true stories.  Not even Teddy Roosevelt himself could have written a better book about his trip through the Amazon Jungle!

I borrowed this book from my local library.  It is also available at bookstores.

–>Click HERE to get the book!

I just want to share a little bit about the author, Candice Millard.  I am grateful to her for writing this book, making this part of history available to us all.  Candice was a writer and editor for National Geographic Magazine.  That experience helped her do the research necessary to write this book, and gave her the interest in real life exploration. Thank you Candice.

Candice Millard has also written two other historical books,  “Destiny of the Republic” about President Lincoln, and “Hero of the Empire” about Winston Churchill.

–>See all her books HERE!

2 Comments »

A Dream So Big

AfricaMissionary ADreamSoBig

Some books are exciting and some are sad, but “A Dream So Big” by Steve Peifer is a real life story full of happiness and sadness, hope and despair!

You will not be bored reading this book!

Steve and his wife, Nancy are missionaries in Kenya.

Steve tells the story of their lives very well.  He gives us a picture of how missionaries live.  He talks about the exciting and amazing things like seeing the wild animals of Africa, and the baboons on their porch.  He also talks about the daily tasks that are so difficult in Africa.  There are so many children who go hungry all the time.  There are so many children who do not go to school.  There are so many children in Africa who have no hope.

Steve decided to do something about the children of Africa, as many missionaries do.  He started a feeding program at some of the schools, and set up computer centers at several schools.  Many children started coming to school just so they could have one meal each day of school.  Many of them had never seen a computer.  One man deciding to do something, accomplished so much.  Steve’s true story shows the difference one person can make.  It will give you hope, and encourage you to do something to help others.

–>Click on THIS to donate or see their website.

Steve tells us what missionaries have to do to raise money so that they can go to Africa and work.  Missionaries don’t get paid unless they raise enough money.  People like you and me can answer that request and give money to a missionary.  Missionaries care about the people they are working with, and the people who live in their community.  They always do much more than they were asked to do.  To be a missionary takes a strong dedication and a loving heart, this is what keeps them working so hard.

Steve and Nancy were sent to Kenya to work at one school doing various jobs, but they did so much more than that!  Their story is one that grabs your heart, and may make you cry, but it also makes you feel thankful for what you have, and thankful for people like Steve and Nancy who are willing to leave their home and travel to a foreign country and live in poor conditions, all to help people and show people the love of Jesus.

I highly recommend you read this book!

–>Click HERE to get a copy!

–>Press HERE to see what they are doing now.

Leave a comment »

Black Lives Matter

BlackLivesMatter Cover

I want to know why we need “Black Lives Matter”.

That is why I read “When They Call You a Terrorist” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

This book is about the formation of the group “Black Lives Matter”.  I wanted to know how it came about, and why it is needed.  This book explains that.

The author is one of the founders of the group “Black Lives Matter”.  I wanted to know more about “Black Lives Matter”, but much of the book is about the author’s life.  However, that does explain how she came to create “Black Lives Matter”. 

There were many factors in the process.  There was her life growing up in poor neighborhoods.  There were her experiences growing up in the Black culture. There were political factors.  There was the tendency of the police to call any group of Black kids, a gang.  There also was the tendency to call Black political or social activists, terrorists.  By labeling them terrorists, they could treat them with more severe tactics.  Their civil rights as citizens were often ignored.  Then there were a string of instances when police killed unarmed Black suspects on the streets.  This brought with it, fear and anger and mistrust.

The three women who started “Black Lives Matter” did not do anything illegal.  They did not kill anyone, nor make a bomb, yet they were labeled terrorists.  The author writes about her fear that at any time, police could kill her or one of her friends or family members.  She writes about needing to find some hope.  

Even just this week, improper arrests of Black people, even children, are in the news.  Yes, we need “Black Lives Matter”! Our society needs to change.  Change will not happen without protest.  Change will not happen without listening to both sides of the story.  

Taken in full, this book does explain how “Black Lives Matter” was started and why we need it.  This book is a political history, but it is also a memoir.  That is a strange mix, and yet it is the life the author experienced.  Out of her life, “Black Lives Matter” was born.

Reading this book will explain a lot about what living Black in the United States is like.  It will explain why we need “Black Lives Matter”.  For me, it explains why we should encourage the group “Black Lives Matter”.  We do not have freedom, until every citizen has the same freedom.  

–>Click HERE to get a copy of this book!

Just a note – Nelson Mandela was labeled a terrorist by the FBI, yet he later became President of South Africa!

I am supposed to tell you that I got a free Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com The book review is my own opinion about the book’s merits.  Your comments are welcome in the comment section below.  I would love for you to share about this book on Twitter or Facebook or other social media. Thanks!

 

2 Comments »

Be the GIFT

BeTheGift Cover

“Be the GIFT” by Ann Voskamp —

When I saw that Ann had this new book coming out, I pre-ordered it in hardcover!

It is now available at most book stores.  It is a book that includes:

  • page after page of color photos that Ann took herself
  • a list of 60 ideas of how to be the GIFT (Give It Forward Today)
  • 20 card-stock gift tags of Ann’s own color photos (or use as 10 bookmarks)
  • journal space to write about the ways you chose to Be the GIFT
  • over 200 pages

This book is a GIFT on its own!

Ann is a very generous author! This is a beautiful book with color photos, poignant words, as well as the encouraging spirit of the book, which is to “be a gift” to other people.

I was delighted when I received this book to see the quality of it!  I began reading it immediately, and had to smile in thankfulness. 

Each book is Ann being a GIFT to us!

Purchase this book for yourself or someone you love, and you will smile in thankfulness too.

–>Get the book HERE!

To me, this book is healing, encouraging, challenging, hopeful, and caring

Ann is reaching out to us, despite her pain, despite our pain, and she says, let’s help each other; let’s “Be the GIFT” for each other, and heal our pain together. 

Sample Bookmark photo —

AnnVoskamp BookMark

(Break at the perforations to get 2 gift tags.  On the back it says To:/From:)

(To get the gift tags/bookmarks, you must purchase the hardcover, not the e-book.)

 

Leave a comment »

At Any Cost

AtAnyCost

The true story, “At Any Cost” by Mike & Hayley Jones, is an amazing story of faith!

When we say “Yes” to doing something for God, we can’t always know the full cost.  The Jones’ family had two young sons, and they decided to say “yes” to the call from God in their heart to adopt a child from Africa.

They thought they knew the cost of this venture, and were willing to jump in.  They had no idea what God had planned to ask them to do.  They had no idea how much time, money, courage, patience, and faith they would need to accomplish this adoption.  They did it! Despite feeling like they were building an ark in the desert like Noah did.  It was a huge undertaking that people thought they were crazy for doing!  But God asked, and they said “Yes”.

This story will challenge you to think bigger.  What big thing is God asking you to do?  Will you commit to it “At Any Cost”?  Read this true story first, so you can see if you have the courage and the faith to say “yes”.

The adopted children in this story are miracles themselves! These kids had to deal with an entirely different culture — different clothes, different food, different games, different schools, different weather… and they met every challenge!  They even had to home school to catch up with their grade, since their schooling in Africa was not up to standards.  

Only God could make this family work.  Only God could give them the vision, the courage, the strength, and the financing.

This family even set a world record for adoption, —  but I’m not revealing what record they set.  

–>Get the book HERE!

–>Check their website for current news!

Leave a comment »

Beyond the Castle

BeyondTheCastle

“Beyond the Castle” is by Jody Jean Dreyer.

This is a fun book to read!

Maybe you didn’t think non-fiction could be fun, but this is the memoir of Jody Jean who worked at Disney for 30 years! 

As you might expect, she is fun, up-beat, has a great sense of humor, and has a ton of information about behind-the-scenes at Disney World.

This book tells you stories about the people who work at Disney parks.  As well as information about characters like Tinkerbell.  Of course the author also knows a lot about Mickey Mouse.  She tells us about Walt Disney himself, too.  She even tells us the rules of being a Disney princess!

The book starts with the author’s first visit to Disney World when she was 10. Later she talks about how she got her first job at Disney, and many more jobs to follow.  She even got to be on the Grand Opening Team for EuroDisney! (in Paris, France)

This is not just a book about Disney.  It is also about how to live a successful, happy life.  The author talks about things she learned from working at Disney.  There are a lot of things that Disney does right.  After all, for over 50 years, it has been a very successful business!

You don’t need to be a fan of Disney to enjoy this book, but it helps if you at least have visited one of the Disney parks, somewhere in the world.  There are Disney parks in California, Florida, Hawaii, France, Japan, China, and Hong Kong!  (Personally I have been to Disney parks in California and Florida, and loved all my visits!)  Maybe reading this book will inspire you to visit again!

You won’t believe who was the first Tinkerbell that “flew” over the castle during evening fireworks at Disney World in Florida!  I’m not going to tell you, because it is so surprising…

–>Click to get the book!

–>Go to the author’s website.

Have fun reading this book!

(I did get a free book through –>BookLook Bloggers so I could write my honest review. I so enjoyed reading this book!)

 

Leave a comment »

Failure to Communicate

Communication 2people

You may have heard it said, —

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”!

(It’s a famous line from the movie –>“Cool Hand Luke, 1967, said by Paul Newman.)

There definitely are times when my husband and I are struggling to understand each other.  We try to rephrase what we said, to repeat what we said, to say it louder even!  HaHaHa!  There are times we just shrug and say, “Oh well I guess we just don’t understand each other on this issue”. 

The book “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner is targeted at this problem of communication between men and women.

“The Respect Dare” is about communicating with respect.  It is intended for wives who want to communicate with their husband better.  It is also definitely relevant for a woman and her boyfriend.  The key to communicating better with a man, according to several books I have read, is to show respect.  Evidently, research shows what is missing from most male-female relationships is respect.   Respect is shown in attitude, tone of voice, words used, facial expressions…

In case you didn’t know it yet, men communicate and think differently than women. Duh! We knew that right? This book tries to help women communicate better with the men they love.  It does not address how men can communicate better.  But as the book points out, you can’t change him, you can only change yourself.

There are 40 short lessons in this book, each on a different aspect of communicating with respect.  The book assumes the reader believes in God and wants to follow God’s teachings.  There were parts of the book that were too conservative for me in the attitude toward women, even though the book is written by a woman.  I chose just to ignore those few lessons.  Generally I try to get as much as I can out of self-help books, so I don’t throw out the whole book just because I don’t agree 100% with the author.  If you don’t want to ignore some old-fashioned attitudes toward women, then it might be better to skip this book.  I have definitely learned some helpful things from “The Respect Dare”.

At the same time I am reading “The Respect Dare”, my husband and I are reading “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  This book showed me that even though I thought I respected my husband, I was not always communicating that to him.  I realized I needed help figuring out how to communicate with respect, so I bought “The Respect Dare”.   

Dr. Eggerichs’ book (“Love & Respect”) covers both sides of communication, both how a man can communicate better with his wife through love, and how a woman can communicate better with her husband through respect.  I may post a book review of his book in the future, but I mention it here in case you want to understand how it is important for women to communicate to their husband with respect.  The same premise works when communicating to any man — your dad, your son, your boss.  Both books, however, are targeted to husbands and wives.   

I don’t agree with these authors that only women need to communicate with respect.  I wish all men communicated to women with respect!  Unfortunately, neither of these books addresses this problem.  Again, we can’t change men; we can only change ourself.  The hope is that by changing how we communicate, our husband will change in response.

My take on reading these two books – If I can have a better relationship with my husband, by communicating with respect, then I want to learn how to do that!  How about you?

–>Click THIS to get the book “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner.

–>Look HERE for the author’s website.

–>Tap on THIS for the book “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

 

Leave a comment »

Love Casts Out Fear

Love BrotherNathan

The book “Love Casts Out Fear” by Brother Nathan is a true story. 

This true story is shocking, but also encouraging!  It is a good testimony for the Bible verse in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

The book covers Brother Nathan’s life from birth to the current day.  It shows how difficult it is for Christians living in Egypt.  His world is shattered when his father is murdered.  But he is transformed when he chooses to follow Jesus.  

Brother Nathan describes a picture of life in Egypt in small rural villages, and in the big city.  Through this book, Brother Nathan will give you an understanding of the heroic lives Christians must live in Egypt.  I found this very encouraging.  

God finds a way to reach people with the story of Jesus, even in remote places, and even in places of fear.  It is wondrous to see how Brother Nathan is freed of fear, and now lives boldly for Jesus! 

In the dedication, Brother Nathan says of his mother: “for more than eighty years Mama has shown us how to trust God for everything”.

He learned this lesson well!  

–>Click HERE to get the book!

 

 

Leave a comment »