Book Review: A Gospel Primer

A Gospel Primer: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love

by: Milton Vincent

I am immediately starting this book again.
My Dad recommended it to me after I sent him a letter in the mail deeply disturbed by the thought that someday I would have to stand before the LORD and be held accountable for all that I had done in this life. I am ashamed of my sinfulness, that my efforts continually fall short of showing God how much I love him. I was saying with Paul- I do the very evil that I do NOT want to do, even when I set out to do good.
This book eloquently conveys the heart of the gospel. The amazing love that our God graciously bestows upon us when we claim him as our own and return to our true home- his presence.
I completely agree with the author. As we dwell on the gospel, joy fills our soul. Gratitude comes naturally- and out of thanks for the love poured into our lives- while we were still sinners- obedience comes, not begrudgingly, but exuberantly as we seek out the presence of one who loves us so far and above anything we can imagine or hope for.
Our God is amazing!

Favorite Books of 2012

I have been putting this off because choosing my favorite books is so hard!

I love reading and spend time with a variety of genres and it is hard to compare those- but I will do my best to come up with my favorites from 2012 (in no particular order).

  1. The Outlander Series (so far)  by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Pursuit of God  by  A.W. Tozer
  3. Rediscovering Holiness by J.I. Packer (bought this and am reading it again)
  4. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (gift from my Dad- I have almost read it twice)
  5. Sacred Parenting  by Gary Thomas
  6. Unplanned by Abby Johnson
  7. Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer  by  Karen V. Wasylowski
  8. Waiting on God  by Andrew Murray
  9. Screwtape Letters  C.S. Lewis
  10. A Perfect Persecution  by James R. Lucas

(affiliate links if you click on images)

Rediscovering Holiness

Rediscovering Holiness  

by: J.I. Packer



I chose to read this book because Ann Voskamp, who wrote One Thousand Gifts, cites it in her book.  I wanted to read more books that talked about living a thankful life in praise to God.

It is amazing how God has used this book to convict and inspire me in the past several weeks.

I love the way Packer writes.

He is organized and thoughtful in his writing; he cites countless Scriptures referring to each topic he covers, and his passion for God almost jumps off the page.

I am already certain that I will buy this book, for it is one that I will want to read again and refer to specific chapters over and over again.

I just finished his chapter on confession as an essential part of the Christian life.  He quotes many Christians from ages past- and I love how he weaves their stories and testimonies into his discussion of the essential habits that should be daily practiced by Christians seeking to live a holy and set apart life for God.

It begs the question: are we truly Christ followers if we are not daily seeking to be holy, as God is holy?

He has also inspired me to spend more time reading in the gospels- to study with life of Christ with renewed intensity- and truly seek to model my life after his.

I would highly recommend this book.


The Pursuit of Man

The Pursuit of Man

By:  A.W. Tozer



I have become a big fan of Tozer in the past year.  I read The Pursuit of God earlier this year, and just finished my second book which this current entry concerns.

If you want to go deeper in your relationship with the Lord, Tozer’s books can inspire and help ignite a passion for God in your heart.  He does say, and I agree, that his books simply point you to the source you need to seek- God.

He longs for us to throw off all that hinders us from living this life in complete surrender and devoted service to our God.  To worship Him and bring glory to His Name.

In this book he talks at length about the Holy Spirit, and how his presence transforms the believer.

One of my favorite chapters is titled “Why the World Cannot Receive.”  Here is a quote from that chapter:

We may sing, “Crown Him Lord of All,” and rejoice in the tones of the loud-sounding organ and the deep melody of harmonious voices, but still we have done nothing until we have left the world and set our faces toward the city of God in hard practical reality. When faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed.

His books can be confrontational and bring conviction into your heart.  If you are eager to grow and conform no longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, Tozer can support you on that journey.

I highly recommend it, and will definitely be reading it again.



The Pursuit of God

The Pursuit of God

A.W. Tozer

When I first opened this book, I was struck by the timeliness of picking up this book now.  If I had read it a year ago, it would not have resonated with me like it does today.

I keep reading chapters over and over, thinking about them- looking at the verses he referenced and praying about things as I read.

I felt as though Tozer was mentoring me and discipling me through his words, reminding me of ways I related to God in my Christian youth that need to be reinstated.  I have lost the glow of newness, the simple adoration and excitement in knowing Jesus.

This book has also inspired me to delve deeper- to invite God into every moment- to see where the values of my culture and habitual sins have infiltrated my life. I need to begin weeding those things out.

If you are hungry to grow closer- to go deeper- in your walk with the Lord, then I highly recommend this book.  I know I will read it again.

One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts  

by: Ann Voskamp






My Dad sent me this book earlier this week, and I have been slowly making my way through Ann’s journey.

One of my favorite quotes so far:

“I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, “I’m thankful for everything.” But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life. A lifetime of sermons on “thanks in all things” and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten itself to a life unless nailed through one very specific nail at a time.”

I am already thoroughly enjoying all that she has shared- and have thought often about gardening while I am reading- the joy of a new bloom.  I have also thought about blowing bubbles with the kids and the child-like delight I find when playing with them.

It is bring to mind the sweet blessings- in tiny ways-throughout my day.

Will share a more thorough review once I finish- if you have read it- let me know what you thought about it.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by: Diana Gabaldon

If you have been following my posts about this series, then you know how much I have been enjoying it.

That continues to be true, I would encourage anyone to give the first book of this series a try- especially if you enjoy historical literature, romance, and a little fantasy (time travel) tossed in.

Great characters, love the way this author writes- she is becoming one of my favorites.


The Fiery Cross

Just started The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon.  This is the 5th book in the Outlander series.  The fact that I am reading this book- when I have a list of over 100 other books on my to-read list- speaks to how much I am enjoying this series.

The majority of the books are 900+ pages.  I have never read a series this long before.

And I continue to enjoy every minute.  I feel pretty certain that I will buy this series once I reach the end.

Definitely want to purchase for my Kindle- 900 page books are REALLY nice on an e-reader.

If you haven’t tried this series, read the first book- if you like it, odds are you will be captivated (as I am) and not be daunted by the length of these books but grateful to linger in their world.

Of course, I am not to the end yet, but I seriously doubt that the author is going to disappoint me in these last few books.

I fully expect to continue to be engrossed in this series till I turn the last page.

Full review:

I don’t know what more to say except, I am still reading- this book was almost 1,000 pages. I would not spend my time reading these books if I did not love them.

I laugh, I almost cry, I turn the pages in excitement and anticipation. I love these characters and the way Gabaldon writes and continues to keep this story interesting- I would have thought it impossible.

So again, I urge you to consider giving the first book in the series a try. If you like it, well, you’ll have enough additional reading to keep you busy for a while.

Drums Of Autumn

Cover of "Drums of Autumn (Outlander)"

Cover of Drums of Autumn (Outlander)

I have continued my reading in the series by Diana Gabaldon.  The first book of the series is Outlander and usually the whole series is referred to as the Outlander series.

I am on the fourth book of the series.  These are long books, they are not for the casual reader- at approximately 1,000 pages a pop- it takes some time to get through the books.

As an avid reader and a huge fan of this series- I am enjoying every moment.

By this time, the characters are familiar, almost like friends- you root for them and feel their pain and disappointment.

The plot has so many layers due in part to the complicated nature of these stories and time. I don’t like to give away too much but time travel is part of this series- and opens up so many new directions for the story.

This series has perfectly mixed almost all my favorite genres.  I know this will not be the only time I will read this series.  My only reservation lies in how it will all end- that will determine a lot for me.

More detailed review of Drums of Autumn coming soon.


Sometimes, as you read a series of books, it gets boring, predictable, or the plot takes certain turns and you start to lose interest. It doesn’t seem to fit the characters- you wonder as the reader if they would really make those decisions based on their character…

Not so with Drums of Autumn. Not only am I enjoying this series more and more with each book- I am constantly surprised by the direction of the plot- her creativity in describing scenes and people- and there will always be some moments in each book- where I am thinking- I know what is going to happen next- and I am ALWAYS wrong.

I can’t wait to start the next book- it has been sitting on the shelf- waiting. If you haven’t read this series give it a try. For me, this is just a perfect case of all the things I love about books (genre, writing style) colliding in one perfect series.

I haven’t read the end yet- but the more I read I feel myself growing confident that the author won’t disappoint.


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Masquerade and Revelations

These are two books in the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz.  I read the first book, Blue Bloods, over the Christmas break.  I was worried that this would be another knock off of some of the other vampire novels written in the past- with no original ideas or plot.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Melissa de la Cruz has in fact found a niche all her own.  So far I have found the plot predictable at times but not completely- so therefore there are some portions that keep me wondering- and very interested in the story.

If you are a fan of vampire fiction- you will really enjoy this series.  They are fast reads and very enjoyable.

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