Lifelong Love Affair: How to Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage by Jimmy Evans with Frank Martin (Baker)
Jimmy Evans relies on years of ministry to married couples, as well as his own experience in marriage, to pass along valuable lessons that can help couples strengthen and improve their marriages. Couples who have been married at least five years would benefit most from this book, as it gives numerous examples of situations and challenges that often develop well beyond the honeymoon phase of the marriage.
A theme throughout the book is the idea that it is never too late to improve your marriage. Along with the strong scriptural support for his ideas and suggestions, the book is filled with practical advice all couples can consider adopting for their marriage relationship. A few good examples include an annual "vision retreat" to help communication and intimacy flourish and surrounding yourselves with other couples who share the same commitment to lifelong and fulfilling marriages.
Couples who would like to strengthen their relationship with their spouse would benefit greatly from this book.
and vice president for
East Texas Baptist University
Divorcing? Remember Me by John LaNoue (Xulon Press)
John LaNoue wrote the first half of this intensely personal book more than 50 years ago. In it, he describes with painful honesty the heartbreak of growing up in a home where his parents divorced, remarried and divorced again. His parents' choices caused 16 years of emotional torment for their son and produced the need for six decades of healing. "I wish with all my heart that my folks would have remembered they had produced a child who belonged to both of them, a child who was a part of both of them and a child who did not divorce either of them," LaNoue writes.
The transitional chapter between the first half of the book and its concluding chapters tells how at age 16, two laymen from First Baptist Church in Beaumont visited LaNoue at his home. They introduced him to a new concept—that by confessing his sins and committing his life to Christ, he could become born again as a "new creation." At that point, he realized his life always would be influenced by his past, but it did not have to be controlled by it.
The latter chapters of the book tell the rest of the story. They describe LaNoue's court-ship of Kaywin—the West Texas beauty queen he met at college—and their 57 years (and counting) of marriage. While it's not a marriage manual, LaNoue offers practical, biblically based advice for a happy and God-honoring marriage.
When You Need a Miracle: How to Ask God for the Impossible by Linda Evans Shepherd (Revell)
Linda Evans Shepherd brings a fresh perspective on miracles and the power of prayer in her new book, When You Need a Miracle. She states, "Miracles are not about praying the perfect prayer; miracles are about what happens when we welcome God's presence and power into our situations and our lives." She builds her thesis around several factors that will allow God into one's life to do his work—factors like trust, love, truth, forgiveness and praise.
In each chapter, Shepherd includes a miraculous prayer for the reader to pray about the chapter material and a Scripture portion to read aloud and ponder. Through these, she focuses the reader back over the materials of the chapters. A reader's guide, which basically is questions, will be of help to internalize the materials or can be used as a guide for small-group discussion.
In her conclusion, she states that having finished the book, the reader will have "experienced the miracle to trust (God), no matter what."
When You Need a Miracle is a good read that will stimulate your prayer and devotional life.
retired executive director
Texas Baptist Men
Travelers Rest by Ann Tatlock (Bethany House)
Schoolteacher Jane Morrow says a tearful good-bye to her fiancé when his National Guard unit deploys to Iraq. She eagerly awaits his return as she plans a happily-ever-after wedding at her grandmother's rural bed and breakfast.
But Ann Tatlock's Travelers Rest isn't a fairy tale. When an improvised explosive device makes Seth a quadriplegic, he insists Jane treat him as dead. Instead, she arranges to spend the summer near the VA Hospital. There, she encounters a deeply wounded man who says he doesn't want her.
Facing an uncertain future, Jane remembers the words of her favorite cook at the bed and breakfast: "Life's gear shift's got no reverse, so you've got to just keep moving forward." Through new friends at the VA, Jane finds the courage to pray. While the answers may not be what she wants, she learns God is in control. But first, she must let go of the past and trust him to move forward.
The author offers honest and sometimes heart-wrenching pictures of war's results. Her multilayered characters provide beautiful portraits of God's love and power. And while the ending might not be what the reader wants, the tears reflect real comfort and joy.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman's Missionary Union of Texas