Andrew Smith's Blog

My name is Andrew. Come and have a look inside my life and watch me share what is on my heart.

Facing Trials: Thoughts for Meditation by Cheryl Zelenka Book Review


In Facing Trials, Cheryl Zelenka wrote about her personal experiences she learned while going trials and how mediating on the Word of God has changed her entire life. In July 2011, she found how she had a noncancerous brain tumor and God miraculously healed her. This book is a guide on how she let the scriptures change her life and how they can also help readers change theirs. We all experience hurricanes and storms that we feel is going to take us under and we won’t be able to survive and overcome our present circumstances. Cheryl shared that God promises that He heals the brokenhearted and He will help heal their wounds (see Psalm 147:3). It is extremely comforting to know that God is more than able to heal all of our broken pieces we are experiencing because of our situations. She shared the powerful verse found in Joel 2:25 and this one talks about how God declared that he would repay you back for the years the locusts have taken. This verse is an encouraging scripture because it promises that God will not let one thing be wasted.


Another facet of the book was when she looked at the power we let fear control our lives. Fear and worry has a way of taking away our hope and keeping us trapped and unable to move forward. She reminded readers that there is no fear in perfect love (see 1 John 1:7) and we don’t have to be afraid in the mists of our present storm. Fear is one of the greatest weapons he uses against believers in order to discourage and attempt to stop us from reaching our full potential and accomplishing our God given destiny. She revealed that God has said He wouldn’t leave us or forsake us and just like Joshua we are commanded to be courageous against whatever we may face (see Joshua 1:9).    


I would recommend this life changing book to anyone who is struggling in life and they are dealing with a terrible hurricane and they don’t see a way they can survive and overcome this storm. Fear may be trying to overtake you and the fiery darts from the enemy, satan is becoming too strong and you don’t see a way out. But this book is written with you in mind, it contains tons of scriptures verses in order to covey the true message of Christ and the peace and hope He gives His creation. I really loved how Cheryl wrote the book in a way that readers can connect with and they can be encouraged by the words portrayed by someone who has been trials. I truly believe if readers would mediate on the scriptures and words presented in this book, it will greatly benefit them in overcoming and finding strength in the mist of their storm. I strongly recommend you get this book, in order to use this book as a reference when you are needing guidance in the different storms of life!


“I received a review copy of Facing Trials, from the author for this review.”
If you would like to purchase a copy, check out on
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The Spirit of Python: Exposing Satan’s Plan to Squeeze the Life out of You by Jentezen Franklin Book Review


In The Spirit of Python, Jentezen Franklin exposed the numerous strategies and tactics satan uses to hinder and harm Christian believers. He compared satan to a dangerous python. He revealed that satan loves to suffocate us and he is actively trying to squeeze the breathe of the Holy Spirit out of us. In the book, Jentezen Franklin shared there are signs that we are under the attack of the enemy, for instance, “weak prayer life”, “lack attack”, “old habits and lifestyle resurface”, and much more. He guides readers on how to break free from the attacks of satan and the strongholds he has placed in our lives. He also discussed the power of prayer, faith, and praise and how critical this is in dealing with satan and his maneuvers.


I would recommend this eye-opening book to anyone who is ready to stand up against satan and his schemes with their full armor of God on. This book is one of my favorite book that I read concerning spiritual warfare. I liked how Jentezen Franklin wrote very vividly in describing the way satan works and how he tries to choke the believer out of the amazing life God wants us to live. One of my favorite chapters is “Get the Snake Eggs Out” because this one talks about how satan uses our eyes, ears, and our mouths against us and he tempts us to fall into his destructive trap. Jentezen revealed that satan likes to lure people into looking at pornography, falling into sexual immorality, and being in bondage. I was amazed at the statistics he shared about the effects of pornography and how it controls so many people. I also loved how he shared how to silence the voice of satan and how to fight back against him. The Word of God is mightily strong in fighting against satan and this revealed to me the importance of speaking blessings and talking to our mountains. If you’re looking for a life changing book on spiritual warfare, then read this one!


“I received this book for free from The Booketeria/ Charisma House for this review”. 


If you would like to purchase a copy of The Spirit of Python, then check it out on Family or



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

In Lost and Found, Sarah Jakes takes readers through her life story and how she got lost in her past and God turned her life around. She is the daughter of famous TV preacher, Bishop T.D. Jakes. When she was a teenager, she struggled to discover her own identity and she wanted people to care about her for who she was as a person not just the fact that she is the daughter of Bishop Jakes. She also felt everyone expected her to be perfect since she is the daughter of a preacher. When she was fourteen, she decided to rebel and she fell into peer pressure. She became pregnant and was terrified to reveal the news. The father didn’t want a part in raising his son. When she broke the news to her parents and her siblings, they all decided to rally around her and support her. The rest of the book, she opened up about how she found her husband in college and how she struggled with her self-esteem. Her marriage eventually ended when he was caught cheating many different times. But towards the end of the book, she revealed how she found God again and how she has found her hope.


I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who enjoys reading a book about not letting your past direct your future. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with their self-esteem and finding their true identity. I liked how personal and relatable Sarah Jakes was in sharing about her mistakes and what she learned throughout the whole ordeal. I connected with her in sharing about how she had to learn how to received God’s forgiveness for her past where she could heal and move forward. Her story is a story of redemption and countless people will be able to relate to her story. If you’re looking for an inspirational story, that will give you hope that God can reach you in your darkest need, then read this book!



“I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Publishers/ Chosen book review bloggers program.”     




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Miracle at the Higher Ground Café: A Heavenly Novel by Max Lucado Book Review

Miracle at the Higher Ground Café is a new novel by Max Lucado. The main character, Chelsea Chambers traveled back to her hometown to run her mother’s café after her death. She discovered that the café is in a huge amount of debt, $86,000 to the IRS and she only has thirty days to repay them. She is struggling to bring the profits up and save her mom’s beloved business. She is also going through a recent spilt from her husband, Sawyer. He is a famous NFL player who was dropped by the Seahawks. Another female agent tried to assist him in getting picked up for another tea. They ended up becoming closer and he eventually cheated on his wife. She realizes that the path to saving her mother’s business is going to take time but she is running out of time and she needs a miracle. God’s sends her an angel, Manny to assist her in her business and He also creates an internet connection exclusively to her café. This connection allows customers to directly ask God a question and He in facts replies.


I would recommend this exhilarating novel to anyone who enjoys reading novels that have a Christian message portrayed throughout. I have read many non-fiction books by Max Lucado but this is the first novel by him that I have read and let me tell you, he can write fiction and non-fiction. I really liked how he was able to describe the scenes as if I was watching them happen and how he easily mixed the perfect amount of faith based concepts in. I liked how this one included angels and how it illustrated that they are ever so present helping us through our everyday tasks. I especially connected with the notions of God answering people’s questions and like most people sometimes I wish we had a way where we could ask God a question. If I could ask God a question, I would ask one about who I would marry. If you’re looking for a new novel to read, then read this one!


“I received a review copy of Miracle at the Higher Ground Café, from Litfuse for this review.”

About the book:

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe (Thomas Nelson, February 2015)

What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would he answer?

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea's door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They've come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life's biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.
Purchase a copy:
About the author:

More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.
Find Max online: website, Facebook, Twitter


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In Max Lucado's new fiction release, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, he asks, If you could ask God anything, what would you ask—and how would he answer? When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

Join Max in celebrating the release of his new fiction book by entering his iPad giveaway and RSVPing to his Coffee with Max webcast!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A copy of Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced March 24th on the Litfuse blog. Then tune in later on the 24th for his Coffee with Max webcast. RSVP here!



The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce by Tez Brooks Book Review

In The Single Dad Detour, Tez Brooks shared the countless lessons and principles he learned going through a divorce. His wife decided to leave him when their two children was little. He attempted to restore their marriage by going to counseling, having prayer times, and date nights but she refused and turned her back on God. He struggled like most men with the reality that she could be going out with other men, another man could be kissing his children goodnight, and his self-worth was diminished. He revealed the powerful truth found only in forgiveness and how he was finally able to do just that. The book also covered how he handled dating, getting remarried, and creating a blended family with his new wife.


I would recommend this book to every single divorced father who is struggling in dealing with the painful effects of a divorce and raising their children. This book is very unique because there isn’t many books written primarily to single Christian dads. I’m not in the target audience for this book and I’m not married yet or have children. I choose to read this book in order to learn and increase my knowledge.  I liked how Tez Brooks shared what the divorce taught him and how he dealt with the many changes he encountered. One of my favorite things, he discussed was the temptations that could appeal to you especially when your lonely. I liked how he warned divorced men to be extremely careful and not fall into the trap of having make up sex with your ex-wife because in God’s eyes you’re not married anymore. Passion has a way of getting us in trouble but we have to stand our ground and resist. If you’re remarried, then it’s a different story. I appreciated how honest he was throughout the book about the mistakes and the things he learned. I also enjoyed how he included scripture at the end of each chapter and a prayer meant to be prayed. This book will encourage dads that there is in fact life after divorce and healing can occur and their heart will mend. If you’re looking for an inspirational book about surviving a divorce, then read this book!


“I received a review copy of Single Dad Detour, from Litfuse for this review.”


About the book:

The Single Dad Detour (Kregel Books, February 2015)

Practical steps to embrace God's mission for single Dads

Conventional wisdom holds that fathers have few parenting skills and that mothers always know best. The single father is often considered a mythical creature, found only in sitcoms as an object of humor or pity. Where does that leave real single dads? Too often, it makes them susceptible to overcompensation or apathy.

Tez Brooks knows those feelings all too well. He's traveled that road with his own children after an unexpected divorce. The Single Dad Detour is the result of his journey and the lessons he's learned along the way. It's a guidebook for the rocky road of single fatherhood, extending encouragement, confidence, and challenges, using specific examples from dads who've survived parenting and have hope to offer.

There are no unreachable requirements for perfect fatherhood here and no twisty theological mysteries---just authentic, down-to-earth wisdom from one dad to another.
Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Tez Brooks
is the father of four children and a missionary filmmaker for The Jesus Film Project. He has also been a journalist for Cru and a Florida law enforcement officer. Tez has been speaking and writing books and articles for over thirty years.
Find Tez online: website, Facebook
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The divorced father is often portrayed in movies and television as an object of humor, ridicule, or pity. Where does that leave real single dads trying to do their best? It can easily make them susceptible to overcompensation or apathy, which is why Tez Brooks has written The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce

Tez is celebrating the release of The Single Dad Detour with a "Day with Dad" $150 cash card giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $150 cash card (perfect for taking your kids for a "day with dad" at a baseball game, at the movies, or at home video gaming with pizza)
  • A copy of The Single Dad Detour
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 31st. Winner will be announced April 1st on Tez's blog.



I Like Giving: The Transforming Power of a Generous Life by Brad Formsma Book Review

In I Like Giving, Brad Formsma shared personal stories about how giving has changed his life and most importantly other people lives. Brad founded the non-profit organization, I Like Giving and they started a movement of people giving to strangers and being a blessing. He started out creating a business while in college and when his first son was born, he decided to take Jesus more seriously and he noticed that he was greedy and driven by money. Eventually God dealt with him and this is when he began to give to others and decided to quit his business and pursue God’s dream for him. Throughout this book, he shared how giving increased his joy and it changed his entire purpose.


One of the stories, he shared was about Henry who took his two little boys to Chuck. E. Cheese and a guy who was working there at the entrance commented about how much he love his golf t-shirt. This shirt was a golfing shirt from a popular university. He felt it upon his heart to give the young guy his golfing shirt. He knew the guy wouldn’t be able to afford it. When he got back into the car, he took off his shirt and made one of his sons take it to the guy. He was concerned about driving home without his shirt and that his neighbors might be gossiping about him about him not wearing a shirt. A small act of kindness can dramatically benefit others!


I would recommend this life changing book to every single person who is ready to radically change their lives and the lives of others. I immensely liked the concepts Brad Formsma presented throughout the book about giving to others. I really enjoyed reading the passion and the joy he experienced in creating a movement of giving. I like he included stories that was small and big where readers can see the giving doesn’t always have to enormous to make a difference. One of my favorite stories was a story about Susan. She shared about how she went through a divorced when her son, Nathan was only two years old. Her ex-husband eventually remarried and Nathan had a new step-mom. She struggled greatly to get along with his new wife. When Nathan got married and they did the mother and son dance, she felt in her heart she should let her son also dance with his step-mom. This was a powerful moment for Susan, Nathan, and especially his step-mom because she wasn’t expecting this. His step-mom lost her own son years before and this was the only dance she would ever get with a mother and son dance. This just confirms that our giving can have a powerful influence on other people’s lives. This book taught me a lot about giving to others and it contained countless stories to encourage readers to give to others. If you’re looking for a superb book on giving, then read this impactful book!


“I received this copy of I Like Giving for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.




If you would like to purchase a copy of I Like Giving, then check it out on



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What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life? : God’s Will Demystified by Johnnie Moore Book Review


In What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life, Johnnie Moore explored the critical keys to discovering God’s will for your life and staying committed to the call. Moore revealed that there is an intense battle going on between your will for your life and God’s desire and will for your life. Most of us want to know God’s entire will for our life but God doesn’t let us see the whole big picture. It’s extremely important to realize that we must trust God and walk in faith. Moore shared the painful truth that the majority of us wait too much on God sending a sign from Heaven where we know what His will is for us. When God is really waiting on us to get moving and accomplish God’s will for our lives. Throughout the book, Johnnie Moore looked at the life of Paul and how he followed God and completed his destiny. Paul traveled to countless places in the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel and he didn’t stop and pray for numerous days seeking where to travel next and asking for a neon sign on where to go next. He kept moving until God commanded that he stopped.


I would recommend this incredible book to anyone who is waiting to hear from God and they desperately are striving to figure out God’s will for their lives. This book will turn the reader’s whole entire scope on waiting on God to answer and give them a sign. Instead it will motivate readers to get moving in a direction and listening to God’s leading and using wisdom, scripture, and prayer along their journey.  One of the strongest lessons this book taught me was the importance of being committed especially in today’s times. He has discovered that many people struggle with staying in one place for a long period of time. A lot of people like to change relationship partners, friendships, careers, and churches like it’s nothing. Commitment would dramatically change if we were committed to the call! I liked that he included a chapter filled with five steps to assist readers in becoming more committed. If you’re seeking a book to assist you in following God’s will for your life, then read this book!

"I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program."  

If you would like to purchase a copy of What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life, check it out on

First: What It Takes to Win by Rich Froning with David Thomas Book Review

In First, Rich Froning wrote a personal autobiography about his life and his journey in becoming a two-time CrossFit Games champion. His parents taught Rich that hard work really does pay off and is required to accomplish and be successful in life. In middle school, he grew up loving to play baseball and he had a dream of playing in the major leagues but after his parents divorced he stopped liking it. When he was a junior in high school, he tried playing football and in the third game, he dislocated his shoulder and his football days were over. He decided to give baseball another shot and when the school had a new Coach, Butch Chaffin. Coach Chaffin taught him how to work out and this prepared him to train for CrossFit, he just didn’t know it at the time. His team made it to the co-champions of that district. The rest of the book he walked readers through the problematic training for the CrossFit games and how his determination and faith kept him pressing on to the finish line. 


I would recommend this awesome book to anyone who enjoys books related to fitness especially to people who love CrossFit. Though I haven’t personally tried CrossFit this book taught me a great deal about the sport. I liked how real he was in sharing about the challenges and preserving through the different games no matter how massive the tasked appeared. I liked how the book contain CrossFit definitions about the different activities where readers could understand what they consisted of.  I loved how he revealed his testimony and how Jesus became his personal Savior and how he gave God credit for the glory for all of his victories. I also liked how he shared the story about how he met his wife, Hilary. Rich Froning has a remarkable that will encourage readers to never give up on their dreams and to press on even when it’s difficult to. If you’re looking for a new autobiography to read, then read this book!


“Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.”


If you would like to purchase a copy of First, then check it out on


First-Time Dad: The Stuff You Need to Know By John Fuller with Paul Batura Book Review

In First-Time Dad, John Fuller shared personal insight to first time dads about the joys and challenges that are ahead of them in parenting. Like most parents, they were thrilled after they found out they had a positive pregnancy test especially after two years of trying to conceive. He began the book by asking dads what their expectations were now that they are officially a dad and what they are truly afraid of. This is critical and must be discussed with your spouse especially if there is baggage from your childhood. There is a helpful chapter in the book entitled, “Break the Chain” to assist readers in dealing with the hurtful past wounds where it won’t be repeated in the future! The book also discussed the importance of loving your wife and staying connected and in love when little ones join the picture. The book covered the difference between girls and boys and how to help your children succeed in life.


I would recommend this astonishing book on parenting to every single dad whether you are expecting a baby or already have a few children. Moms are also welcomed to read this book as well but it’s more geared towards men. I appreciated how direct John Fuller was in sharing with dads how a baby is going to affect their whole entire world and there will be days of triumph and days of feeling like you failed as a dad. And this is something every parent goes through. I liked how he shared how a baby will affect your marriage in many ways and it will take some adjusting to. For instance, we all know your sleep cycle will get thrown off for a while, romance and finding time to make love will be challenging, and going out on dates will became rare. I liked how he included suggestions to help parents deal with the changes a baby brings and how it’s possible to stay connected to your spouse during this time. He recommended striving to have weekly dates and communication times. I liked how he included a chapter devoted to sharing the differences between girls and boys to guide parents in raising their children. I also enjoyed that he discussed how to lead your children spiritually, how to build character in them, and how time means a lot to your children. Even though, I’m single and not a parent yet, this book taught me a lot about parenting my future children. I highly recommend this book and if you’re looking an excellent parenting book, then read this one!


"I received this book free from the publisher through the Moody Publishers book review bloggers program." 



If you would like to purchase a copy of First-Time Dad check it out on or Christian


How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? : What God Wants Us to Hear When We Talk to Our Kids By Rachael Carman Book Review

In How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You, Rachael Carman writes from personal experience about the countless lessons God has taught her when raising her seven children. In writing this book, she surveyed and asked parents and their children what their parents were saying to them and what God was attempting to communicate to them. Rachael stated there are three categories of messages we are conveying to our kids, such as: giving our children commands, trying to shape their behavior to fit our expectations, and sharing our feelings about how much we love our children. She strongly believed that we must change our behaviors and it’s critical to display and help our children to understand God’s love for them. If love is at the center, it becomes much easier to modify our children’s behavior. This book covered the topics of, “I Love You, Hold My Hand, I Remember the Day You Were Born, God Has Great Plans for You, Answer Me When I Call, and much more.


I immensely enjoyed the chapter entitled, “God’s Has Great Plans for You” because she believed in instilling hope into her children’s lives. Every night she would hold her children and speak out loud and remind them that God had phenomenal plans in store for them. What really touched her was when one of her boys reminded her one night that God had great plans for her too and this is something parents often times forget once they have children. I think this is imperative that we teach our children they have a destiny to fulfill and they must run their own race.


I also liked the chapter, “Not is Not the Time” this one discussed how her children wanted something like candy to eat before breakfast and she told them no because the timing wasn’t right. I liked how she related this lesson to how we want God to answer our prayers right now and let our dreams to come to pass right this instant. But sometimes the answer isn’t no, sometimes it’s more of the fact that the timing isn’t meant for right now. We have to remember that God’s has perfect timing and when it’s supposed to happen, no devil in hell can stop it!


I’m not married yet and I don’t have any kids, I requested to review this book because I wanted to get a head start on learning about parenting. I would recommend this amazing book to every single parent who is seeking to learn how to improve their parenting skills and they are wanting to help their children learn more about Christ and His infinite love for them. I really liked how transparent Rachael Carman was in sharing personal stories in each chapter to teach a valuable lesson she learned in parenting her own kids. It had very practical Christian parenting principles enclosed throughout the entire book that will assist parents and help them to convey God’s love to their children and it contained helpful questions at the end of each chapter. I also liked how this book could be read like a parenting devotional and this is especially beneficial for the busy parent. If you’re looking for an excellent book on parenting, then read this one!


“I received a review copy of How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You from Litfuse for this review.”
About the book:
Rachel Carman’s book, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, will challenge your parenting and spiritual life. Many of the same things you’re telling your kids are what the Heavenly Father is saying to you! You’ll learn to recognize and appreciate God’s instructions for your life, even as you seek to follow His example as a parent.
How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? (Apologia Educational Ministries, September 2014)
You’ve probably said these things to your kids, but have you listened to what you’re saying?
“I remember the day you were born.”
“Turn down the music!”
“This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.”
“Hold my hand.”
Your heavenly Father wants to tell you many of these same things. Rachael Carman knows how noisy it can be when you’re raising children—she has seven! But this lovely devotional book will help you to hear God’s still, small voice amid the chaos of carpools, cut fingers, and carpet crawlers. You’ll learn how to recognize God’s instructions for you, even as you seek to follow His example as a parent.

About the Author:
Rachael Carman is an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries. The wife of Davis and the mother of seven children, Rachael challenges parents to live by reckless, obedient faith. As a direct reflection of her heart’s desire to encourage, inspire, and celebrate motherhood, Rachael also leads Real Refreshment Retreats, weekend events that energize and invigorate homeschooling mothers with meaningful worship and speakers plus practical encouragement for the homeschool journey.
Find out more about Rachael at
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