Book Review: Dreaming the Dream: 8 Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith, and Dreams by Multiple Authors

Dreaming The Dream Book Cover

Book Review: Dreaming the Dream: 8 Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith, and Dreams by Multiple Authors
Written by Felicia McKnight
7/6/2016

Dreaming the Dream is a collection of 8 Inspirational stories by 8 different authors on their journey to accomplishing their dreams. Each author has a different message of hope, encouragement and a testimony of their journey to accomplishing their dreams.

Author, Shawneya Ellis, reminds readers that negative thoughts can kill our dreams. We have to have faith in God’s word to detoxify the negative thoughts that hinder us from pursuing our dreams.

Author, Romella Vaughn, encourages readers to trust God and wait on instruction from Him concerning the assignments He has for us. Waiting is a time for self-evaluation and spiritual and emotional healing. As we wait God will guide us every step of the way along our journey.

Author, Kishma George, shared her testimony of how God protected her in the area of relationships, so she could fulfill her God given destiny. She did not let her desire for marriage get in the way or put her dreams on hold. Kishma pursued her dreams as a single woman and continues to have faith that God will still bless her with her mate.

Author, Pippa Ashley, encourages those looking and hoping for love that we will indeed find it.

Author, Dr. Yomi Garnett, shares how to never stop dreaming and encourages readers not to let past mistakes, mishaps, hurts, and failures hinder you from your future. He encourages us to turn our negatives into a positive.

Author, Rodney Davis, speaks on the barren womb which is a place of failure, unfruitfulness, setbacks and hopelessness. He shares what He learned from his own place of barrenness. Barren womb dreams are the opportunity for us to operate in perseverance faith. We are to remain in a place of faith that no matter the circumstances dreams will come to pass.

Author, Tammy Collins Markee, gives us hope that there is a fire power dreamer in each of us. We have to remain positive and speak life to our dreams. We have to surround ourselves with individuals who will affirm us and encourage us along our journey.

Author, Trina Bowers, teaches us how loyalty brings promotion. Loyalty is standing with others through adversity and trials trusting by faith God will bring you out. It’s learning to stick things out in businesses and relationships. It is trusting that God is faithful. Trina uses the life of David and Ruth to show readers how we can be ushered into our destiny and God’s promises by remaining loyal.

These are some of the words of wisdom I took away as I read each chapter. Regardless of where you are in pursuing your dreams there is a word for you in this book. If you are in the initiating or planning phase, the phase where hope seems loss, the waiting phase, or the phase where things didn’t work out then a word of encouragement awaits you in the book. You may order a copy of the book on Amazon.com in paperback or kindle.

Dreaming The Dream Authors

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Book Review: Prayer Warrior: The Power of Praying Your Way to Victory by Stormie Omartian

Prayer Warrior Book Cover
Book Review: Prayer Warrior: The Power of Praying Your Way to Victory by Stormie Omartian
Written by Felicia McKnight
6/1/16


“When you understand your authority in prayer, you will go from simply having a prayer life to enjoying a dynamic and exciting life of prayer. And that is always a good thing.”
– Stormie Omartian

This phenomenal book on prayer reminds us that there is a spiritual war going on amongst all of God’s children. It is a war between good and evil. This book instructs on how to wage war as a part of God’s army. This book is not one that shows you how to pray for material things, but how to purposely pray with strength, boldness, and according to God’s word your way to victory on behalf of yourself and others.

In this book we are reminded that God is our Commander. Stormie uses military examples to paint the picture of this. We have to know who God is and be able to decipher God’s voice from the enemy’s voice. God desires a relationship with us and we establish this through continuous prayer and the reading of His word. The more of God’s word that we know the more we can decipher His voice from the enemy’s voice. We are reminded that the enemy is the father of lies. Every step of disobedience to God puts us more in collusion with the enemy. As God’s army we win wars by staying close to God and His word and seeking to be led by the Holy Spirit.

In this book we are also encouraged to be certain of our authority in prayer. Through our salvation we have authority as prayer warriors. Through Jesus death on the cross and through our salvation Jesus transferred authority to us. Therefore this makes us a part of God’s kingdom and not the enemy’s kingdom. We have the Holy Spirit in us to pray God’s will. Through all of this God has called each of us to be intercessors by standing in the gap to intercept the enemy’s plans for our lives and the lives of others.

We have to follow God’s commands to resist the enemy. “ Our prayers will be more powerful and unhindered when we are in top condition physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.” (page 76) Just as someone in the military conditions themselves for battle we condition ourselves by:
• Spending time with God in prayer.
• Live in a way that pleases God.
• Get rid of anything in your life that is not glorifying God.
• Refuse to be prideful.
• Fulfill God’s command to love others.
• Don’t be careless with your body.
• Separate yourself from the ungodly.
• Don’t dwell on what you are not.
• Walk in a way that produces fruit of the spirit.
• Be renewed in the mind.
• Be forgiving.
• Watch what you say.

Finally we are to become skilled in our spiritual weapons. God has equipped us with the spiritual weapons outlined in Ephesians 6 to fight against the enemy. The more we train and practice in our knowledge and retention of God’s word, the more our faith develops and the stronger our faith will be. We have to pray, read God’ s word and stand in faith in spiritual battles.

Ultimately God wants us to place Him first in our lives by making Him a priority and separating ourselves from sin, worldliness, and pride. He desires for us to have a complete dependence on Him.

These are some of the key points that I took away from this book. There was a wealth of knowledge here to guide us all to have victorious lives as prayer warriors. There are valuable principles that destroy yokes and bondages by bringing forth healing, breakthrough and victory in our lives and the lives of those we pray for.

If you are looking to take your prayer life to the next level and grow spiritually while doing so, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. Stormie also provides several powerful prayers at the end of the book regarding various subjects that believers deal with on a daily basis.

Book Review: Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story by Angie Smith

Seamless
Book Review: Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story by Angie Smith
Written by Felicia McKnight
4/27/2016

In the Fall I had the pleasure of taking a 7 week small group study on the book, “Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story” by Angie Smith. When I first purchased the book I was trying to figure out how we would accomplish discussing the entire Bible in 7 weeks without having to read all day and all night. Well I am here to say we did. This was a phenomenal study that captured the Bible chronologically from beginning to end.

The study takes you on a glance of the Bible in a chronological format. It points out key stories and characters from each chapter that ties together God’s love story of redemptive history for all of us. I appreciated how she took the time to utilize various symbols to help put in better perspective what the biblical chapter meant to God’s story.

Some of the things Angie pointed out in this story I may not have gotten on my own. If you have ever gotten to that long passages of names and lineages in the Bible chances are we have in common that you breezed right past them as it may have gotten a tad boring to read. However, in this study Angie was able to point out the meaning of some of these pages that caused other areas of the Bible to come to life for me. She focuses on a lot of the details that we tend to overlook when we read our Bible.

This bible study is listed for beginners in the Christian Faith, however I believe it is ideal no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. This is for someone who has never read the Bible from beginning to end. This is for someone who struggles to understand certain things like the meaning of the geographic regions, lineages, and tribe names. Once I made it through this study it enhanced my understanding of various biblical stories.

If you are looking to gain more in depth knowledge of the Bible in a short period of time this is the book for you. Be blessed and encouraged.

Book Review: Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst

Kingdom Woman
Book Review: Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst
Written by Felicia McKnight
12/17/14

I had been in a plateau in my spiritual life. I felt like I was at a dry place and needed a personal study to help give me a spiritual jump start. I was in a place of feeling like I was pouring more out to others spiritually than I was pouring into me. I had been searching for something and finally decided to pick up the book “Kingdom Woman” by Pastor Tony Evans and his daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst. The book was very engaging and enlightening. I made it through the first four chapters and felt like I was in information overload and that I read too fast. There was so much spiritual wisdom that I decided to start over and read the book slow as a daily devotional. I was able to take notes and ponder on key points that ministered to my soul.

“Kingdom Woman” was a book specifically designed with me in mind. Reading this book was an enlightening reading experience that gave me biblical principles on being a better woman of God by surrendering to His will and allowing Him to dictate every area of my life. It showed me how to be a better woman, mother, wife (someday), prayer warrior, and disciple. It gave me biblical principles in all of these areas. Some I was able to put a check mark next to and some reminded me of the areas of my life that need improvement. What I appreciated most is each chapter was aligned with a Women in the Bible or an applicable biblical story that applied to the principal being taught.

Who is a Kingdom Woman?
A Kingdom Woman is a woman who positions herself under God’s authority, His Lordship, and allows Him to be master and ruler over every area of her life. She operates according to the rules set forth by God in His Holy Word. The Kingdom Woman is a powerful being and a spiritual force to be reckoned with. She is a highly influential being. She knows who she is according to the word of God and she knows her worth and value. She is a direct reflection of God’s image. The Kingdom Woman was placed on earth with a purpose which is to glorify God in all that she does by promoting the Kingdom of God in her own life and in the life of others. The Kingdom Woman is a woman of value, hope, excellence, and commitment.

A Kingdom Woman is truly a beautiful woman in spirit and everyone in her circle recognizes it. She is valuable to them as a nurturer, advisor, comforter, and encourager. She is inspirational to them. The Kingdom Woman is strong, intelligent, capable, giving, resourceful, efficient, and spiritual minded. She is a woman who operates as she was created to be which is in the image and the likeness of God.

What sets a Kingdom Woman apart from other women is her fear of God. She trusts God completely and surrenders every area of her life to Him. She trusts in God and keeps her eyes gazed on Him regardless of the circumstances. She knows that Jesus already established victory for her life at the cross. She is a woman who allows God to transform her by getting to the root of her issues and changing her completely.

A Kingdom Woman is special and unique. She is called o a higher standard than what the world has set. She choses to live by God’s standards. She doesn’t dwell on the past and knows how to press on and focus on what lies ahead. She keeps her eyes on her destiny and the direction she is headed.

A Kingdom Woman is a woman of faith. She knows that if she stands on God’s word and believes by faith that her prayer can change circumstances in her life, her family life, in the lives of those she impacts. She is a praying woman not just when she needs God, but prayer is a way of life for her.

A Kingdom Woman is a committed woman to her family. She knows the priorities God has set for her marriage and her children. She is a committed woman in her church. She has no problem mentoring younger women and serving in her community. A kingdom woman is a woman who allows God to use her to make an impact in the lives of others. The kingdom Woman is a woman of faith and of purpose.

This book is one I encourage every woman to read regardless of the season of life you are in. Read it so that we can all blossom, shine, and grow to be the Kingdom Woman God created us all to be. As I read this book I realize there are so many phenomenal attributes of a Kingdom Woman. She seems perfect, however, “A Kingdom Woman is not a perfect woman. She is a forgiven woman who has been loved by the Master despite her past, her weaknesses, or her struggles.” (Chrystal Evans Hurst, pg 192) We will never be perfect on this side of heaven and that’s OK. Imperfection is why we need Jesus on a daily basis. The ultimate take away from this book is as long as we live a yielded and surrendered life, then God can mold us and refine us in the areas we need work on, so that we can be all that He created us to be.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

P.S. Men, I don’t want you to feel left out. Tony Evans has written a book specifically for you called “Kingdom Man”.

PRAYER
Heavenly Father, give us the wisdom, knowledge, and the strength to be obedient to You so that we can be the kingdom men and women you have called us to be. Order our steps to your word daily and help us to take time out each day to communicate with you in prayer. Give us the strength to live surrendered lives to you and allow you to completely be our Lord and Master of our lives. Continue to mold us and shape us so that each day we are conforming more into your image and your likeness. In Jesus Name. Amen

Book Review: Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life by Sarah Jakes

Lost & Found: Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life

Book Review: Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life by Sarah Jakes
Written by Felicia McKnight
10/31/2014

Sarah Jakes, daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes, has written the memoirs of her young life. She tells her journey of how she wanted a life of love and happiness. She struggled to connect with the church and with God by allowing Him to lead her to her destiny. Sarah Jakes set out on a self-directed journey. Instead of finding her way to a fairy tale lifestyle she found her way to several dark places.

As a teenager Sarah wanted love and a sense of belonging. She wanted someone to talk to but couldn’t find anyone she could relate to at the age thirteen with the issues she was dealing with. As she set off on her journey of finding hope she ended up in the wrong places. She found herself pregnant at thirteen, a mother at fourteen, didn’t complete college, rejected, settling for less than God’s best, and a marriage full of infidelity which ended in divorce.

As I read this book I was engaged in every page and encouraged, because it is a very transparent story that we don’t often see enough of in the church. As I read her story and her mishaps I was able to see some of my own mistakes that I’ve made along life’s journey. It’s amazing how things look when you are on the outside looking in yet you can totally relate. I found myself thinking at some of her story lines “I did the same thing or I’ve been in the same situation”, but thank God for a God of grace who can steer us to the right path.

As I reflect on Sarah’s story I think of so many of God’s children who look for love and acceptance everywhere except to God himself. We tend to look to people, relationships, drugs, alcohol, lifestyles, and poor choices all for love, acceptance, and validation when these are all things God has promised us through salvation. When we stray from God He gives us plenty of warnings and open doors to get on to the right path. We often can get so caught up that we miss God in his multiple attempts of deliverance. We continue to make mistake after mistake and wrong choice after wrong choice. I’ve learned in my own life and in the observation of others that we cannot receive complete deliverance until we want it for ourselves. People can fast, pray, encourage, and lecture us until they are blue in the face, but nothing will happen until your own mind is made up that you want change. The first step to God’s grace is realizing when you’ve had enough of things going wrong and enough rock bottoms. It’s when you realize that you can’t live a life of self-sufficiency, but you need the guidance and power of an all sufficient God. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom or stripping us to nothing for God to get our complete and total attention so that He can lead us back on the path He has in store.

This is where grace comes in. Before we can receive God’s grace we first have to admit that we’ve messed up and that we are in such a low place that God is the only one who can bring us out. We have to acknowledge our faults to God. The wonderful thing about God is He was there all along patiently waiting for us to return to Him. God is a God of restoration and He can restore the souls and the lives of His children. Sarah Jakes who found herself in several places of darkness is now sharing her redemptive story not only in this book, but in various speaking engagements and platforms across this nation.

• If you have ever been so lost that you tried to find your way instead of relying on God….
• If you ever allowed yourself to be mistreated by someone and mistook it for love….
• If you have ever reflected on the mistakes you have made and wondered if life could ever be better…
• If you ever wondered who you would have been if you would have made better lifestyle choices or career choices…
• If you have ever wondered if your destiny was blocked by your poor choices….

Then this book is for you. Sarah Jakes experienced all of these but now she is a living testimony that if you will yield yourself and surrender to God and allow Him to perform His perfect will in your life, then you can receive all the wonderful things He has in store. Your mistakes are not in vain. God can turn your mess into a miracle. He can turn your mishaps into a testimony that can help others overcome and lead them to a place of hope, restoration, and destiny. We have all had places in life where we have been lost, but there is a redemptive place to be found. God is just waiting for us to turn and surrender ALL to Him.

Thank you Sarah Jakes for being transparent and sharing your story! Be Blessed and Encouraged on today.

Book Review: Stepping Up: A Journey Through The Psalms Of Ascent by Beth Moore

Stepping Up_Beth Moore
Book Review: Stepping Up: A Journey Through The Psalms Of Ascent by Beth Moore
Written by Felicia McKnight
9/3/2014

I have been hearing for years about the wonderful Beth Moore studies and this summer I finally had the opportunity to participate in one of her 6 weeks studies, “Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent.” For me personally this has been one of my favorite small group studies since I took a class called Master Life about two years ago.

“Stepping Up” is a six week journey through Psalms 120-134. Each psalm was sung by the pilgrims on their way to various festivals. The book is divided by six chapters:
– Where Will My Help Come From?
– Our Eyes Look to the Lord
– Great Things for us
– A Fruitful Vine
– My Hope is in the Lord
– Blessings from Zion
The study is designed to go through one chapter each week with five lessons to study (one for each day of the week).

I truly enjoyed this study because it allowed me the opportunity to go through each psalm. Beth Moore breaks each Psalm down into a real life relatable topic. I’ve read through many of these Psalms before but I didn’t quite have a revelation of their meaning until I went through this study. This study was transformational for me. It reminded me that even in Biblical days the pilgrims experienced the same high and low emotions that we experience today. One minute they were in a low place and the next they were rejoicing. This study allowed me in some areas to deal with the soul, others my relationship with God, and in others my relationship with my family and my role as a parent.

Studying the pilgrim’s journey also reminds me off our personal life journey that God has called for each one of us. Just like the pilgrims God is leading each one of us somewhere. He is leading us to a destiny that He has purposed and planned for us. The journey can be rough at times. There are times we won’t know where God is leading us. There are times we know God is going to come through and we just don’t know how. There are times we will face opposition. Throughout the entire journey we have to continue to keep our eyes focused on God and obedient to the steps He orders us to take. As we step up in God He calls us to be fruitful throughout the process. He wants us to share Him in our home and in our community. God promised us in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We have to keep our hope in God knowing that He has an expected end that is far greater than we can imagine.

Each step that we take with God is a step of faith that allows us to go higher in Him. The more we can trust God and the path that He has us on the higher we can go in Him. Our obedience to Him leads to His best for us. As we continue to grow in Christ we set ourselves and our families up for blessings that will last for generations far beyond what we will be allowed to see.

This study also enhanced my relationship with God. In the introduction of the book Beth Moore recommends a posture of prayer that I personally hadn’t tried before. When I did as she suggested for the first time I was blown away by what I experienced and continued to experience as I worshiped God in this posture of prayer. This study showed me more of His character and His power. It reminded me that it’s OK to talk to God about the good, the bad, and the ugly. He wants us to talk to him about everything and every matter that concerns our heart. The study also reminded me not to be afraid of what the future holds and to trust God every step of the way. This drew me even closer to my Heavenly Father. The closer I got to Him the higher I seemed to climb spiritually.

This study is designed for women, but God’s word is for everyone and there are certainly many lessons to be grasped for all of God’s children in this book. I completed the study in a small group setting. It was a challenge at the time because I was not able to take all the time I wanted to during each daily lesson of the study as I had to have all of the lessons read by class the following week. After I completed my small group class I committed going through the book a second time. I wanted to slowly go through it until my spirit grasped what it wanted to grasp. For me my six week study has turned into a twelve week study and I was even more blessed the second time around. This is an awesome study that can be done in a small group setting or as an individual. The blessing of the group setting is that you are able to receive others perspective of the lessons that may be different from your perspective yet it enhances what you got out of it on your own.

This is one of those studies I highly recommend grabbing some friends, church members, your devotional group, or whoever is willing and partner with one another to Step Up in Christ.

If you have already taken this study then I encourage you to leave a comment on this page so that others can see your testimony and what you were able to get out of reading this book. Remember God called us to be fruitful and multiply. As we share our journey with others they are encouraged to grow as well. Be blessed and encouraged on today!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for this awesome study by Beth Moore that uniquely took me on the journey through the Psalms of Ascent. Father, I lift up every reader today that they may all be led to cultivate their relationship with you in a group study or a personal study. Lead each individual to a bible study class or book that will meet their individual needs and cause them to step up higher in you. In Jesus Name. Amen