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Monday, August 20, 2012
Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing by Pete Wilson is an exceptional look at the idols that often fill Christian's lives. Wilson defines idols as "look[ing] to something that does not have God’s power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give" (page 5). He establishes the importance of examining these idols by pointing out that, "Idolatry isn’t simply a sin. It’s what is fundamentally wrong with the human heart”(page 9).

Wilson spends a chapter examining: achievement, approval, power, money, religion, beauty, and dreams. While keeping the consistent theme of God being the only one who can truly fulfill, he deconstructs each common idol and shows why each idol can only offer empty promises. He does this using scripture, anecdotes from his own life, as well as from the lives of those he’s counseled as a pastor.

This book was both encouraging and convicting to read. Identifying the idols in one's life is the first step in combating them. Wilson offers helpful questions in a majority of the chapters that if answered honestly will help the reader identify and deal with various idols in his/her life. Wilson does a good job of both offering practical advice as well as continually going back to Christ as the ultimate fulfillment in the life of the believer. I'd recommend Empty Promises to anyone interested in identifying and dealing with those things in his/her life which may be offering him/her false hope. 

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Monday, August 13, 2012
Unlocking Your Family Patterns by Drs. Henry Cloud, John Townsend, Earl Henslin, and Dave Carder is a useful introduction in how harmful patterns are passed on through generations, and how these trends can be stopped. The authors' combined years of experience in working with thousands of families adds a realism that lends credibility and clarity to the principles and ideas that each chapter is based on. The authors take turns writing each chapter which allows the reader to experience the topic from complimentary, yet different, points of view.

The most unique and best aspect of Unlocking Your Family Patterns that distinguishes it from other family counseling books, is the fact that each chapter includes a biblical family that illustrates the chapter's main focus. The examples help the reader understand what could be abstract concepts without such clear examples. It is always dangerous to take a modern day concept and impose it on scripture; however, the patterns discussed have existed as long as families have, and the authors are careful to start with the scripture and show how what the text says illustrates the pattern being spoken of, not the other way around.

After giving examples from both scripture and his own counseling experience, each author gives steps that can be taken to break each pattern and find healing. Questions are included at the end of each chapter to help the reader examine that chapter's particular pattern in more depth in his/her own life and family.

Overall, Unlocking Family Patterns has a logical flow and is very easy to understand. The authors are able to communicate what could be complex psychological thoughts in a clear and concise manner. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how one's family's past affects today, as well as those interested in breaking those patterns and finding healing.

I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Moody Publishers Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255