Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray

SurrenderRarely do I come across a book that has such value that it impacts from the first few pages of reading. Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray is one of those books. The depth and richness of the challenges set forth by Murray are of such caliber that every Christian should read this book and could you benefit from making it a yearly habit.

Murray sets forth the premise that Christians are living life without the power and grace of God because they are not fully surrendered to him; absolutely surrendered is the term he borrows.

Starting with the example of King Ahab in I Kings 20, with particular attention to verse four, Murray shows the heart of absolute surrender. King Ahab is being attacked and his response to the demands of the invaders is “All that I have and all that I own are yours” (my paraphrase).

Murray challenges Christian to take this approach in their relationship with Jesus Christ. From this challenge, Murray then gives examples of the benefits and blessings of being absolutely surrendered to Christ and calls all Christians to seek such a life.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need, Revised and Updated by Peter B. Stark and Jane Flaherty

NegoiateNegotiations can brings images of boardrooms where companies executives and lawyers hash out deals and agreements while trying to get the best they can for their companies. Or, it may involve bribing your child to eat his vegetables with the enticement of ice cream.

However, Peter B. Stark and Jane Flaherty, submit that we negotiate more than we realize and often where both sides are happy with the results. A husband may offer to take out the trash and the wife in turns will unload the dishwasher. A son may offer to rake the leaves if he can have his best friend over for a video game night. Examples like these are negotiations and many may not even realize it.

In their book, The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need, Stark and Flaherty guide the reader through the negotiating process. From language to use, body postures to have or avoid, and even tips like writing down key data points, the authors intent is setup the reader for success in whatever negotiating environment in which they may find themselves.

Armed with this basic information, the authors then give 101 ways to use this information if varying circumstances. They allow the reader to see a potential way to put into use what they have just read.

I found this book quite helpful and would suggest that everyone read it paying special attention to information on listening and hearing. How much trouble could be avoided if we simply listened and asked the appropriate questions to clarify when talking to someone?

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Accuracy of Translation by Robert Martin

accuracy_of_translation-194x320Translating the Bible is a great undertaking. A translator not only has to understand the language being translated but also understand the language using the translation. Such difficulty arises when certain words cannot be translated or if a word or phrase has fallen out of usage thus making it difficult to translate.

Dr. Robert Martin understands some of these difficulties and has written a small book on Bible translation and why accuracy is so important. Using the NIV Study Bible (1984), he shows how translation goals could influence how a version is translated.

Does the translation seek to be a thought-for-thought translation or a word-for-word translation? This could be a problem for either option. For example, in America if a person “kicks the bucket” we understand this to mean that someone has died. Should a foreign person translating our books translate the words as “a person died” or use the term “kicked the bucket” and explain it elsewhere?

Dr. Martin gives examples of where he believes the NIV has failed in translation and should be reconsidered as a Bible. He gives cause to be alarmed as he sees some cultural influences in the NIV that may detract from the original intent of Scripture.

Martin uses this example on page 26 of his book. Mark 9:24 in the NIV reads, “…help me overcome my unbelief.” The words “me overcome” are interpretive and Martin argues should be placed in brackets indicating that these words are not in the original. This is just one example of issues Martin has with some of the translational choices of the NIV Translating team.

I found this book to be quite helpful in understanding Bible translation and how certain committees adopt a policy on how they will translate the Bible. It really opened my eyes that not all translations have the same goal and it would be wise to have several to at least compare.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

A Day at the Beach by Jedd Hafer and Todd Hafer

978-1-4964-1487-8Sometimes we just want to get away and relax. To just have a few moments of refreshment and mental peace. Jedd and Todd Hafer have had these moments too. They wanted to get away; to go to the beach.

In their small devotional, A Day at the Beach, the Hafers write quick thoughts to give the reader a chance to reflect, ponder, and meditate on God; on His peace and His love. They want they readers to take those “day at the beach” moments to draw closer to God and not get weighed down by the grind of life.

I found this small book an easy read to challenge my thoughts. While I tend to read more heavier devotionals (My Utmost for His Highest and The Valley of Vision to name two) sometimes the simplicity of a devotional is needed. This book does just that; power in simplicity.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

225_350_book-2296-coverCan a person comeback from a defeat? What if dreams are crushed, can they be revived?

In his book, The Comeback, Louie Giglio gives encouraging words that God is not a one-and-done God. He does not give us just one chance and if we fail He abandons us. Rather, God wants us to continually seek Him despite our failures.

Giglio gives story after story of how failures occurred but God did not give up on a person. The failure was used by God and people still were used in mighty ways. Such encouragement is needed in a time when failure can be perceived as disapproval by God.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Battlefield of the Mind Bible by Joyce Meyer

eeeb3ba02c1f7a205b740f47233722abThe Battlefield of the Mind Bible by Joyce Meyer is a Bible that has collections of the teachings of Joyce Meyer and the associated Bible passages. The thoughts and teachings of Meyer are laid out to correspond with passage of Scripture being read.

I appreciate the use of the Amplified Version of the Bible. This particular version is not often used in churches today and I believe that can be a loss. While I do not agree with everything Joyce Meyer teaches I do recommend the Amplified version for study.

One area of disagreement is the prosperity teachings. I do not see anywhere in Scripture that promises Christians a life of prosperity. Yet this is taught by Meyer as a truth for all Christians. The Bible clearly states that Christians will be hated, abused, and even killed (John 15:18, Romans 8:35 NET). If this is prosperity, then my dictionary needs updating.

That said, the Bible itself is neatly presented and is bound well. I have the leather-soft edition and that particular edition feels good in my hands. The Bible is a little heavy for those looking for something to transport easily. However, the nature of the Bible it is a decent Bible to use for study minus some of the teachings that I disagree with by Joyce Meyer.

I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from the publisher and exchange from an honest review.