Book Review: Women Who Move Mountains

Women Who Move Mountains
by Sue Detweiler

Part workbook, part regular book, part devotional, Sue Detweiler’s, Women Who Move Mountains, helps individuals and/or small groups study the power  of prayer in every aspect of life.  How can we pray with peace instead of anxiety, with humility  instead of pride?  She begins each section by answering these questions with examples from Scripture, her own life, or her experiences in ministry.  In some ways, these chapters are about refining our identity through prayer.  The titles reflect that (I am Chosen.  I am Healed.  I am Secure.)  Each subsequent chapter  continues with the same topic, but this time focuses on Bible study questions and activities.

At the end of the book, Sue also includes 1″21 Days to a Spiritual Breakthrough.”  This section could be used as a daily devotional  to  complement the themes in  the rest of the book.

An individual reading the book could, of course, simply read the book content and skip the workbook-style questions, or enjoy all of  it.   The book’s format works especially well for book clubs, Sunday School classes, and other small groups.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review | As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As Kingfishers Catch Fire
by Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson has long been one of my all-time favorite writers for  both the beauty of his prose and the depth of his insight about Scripture.   His latest release, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, does not disappoint.

None of his books are “easy reads.”  They are best chewed over and savored.   As a collection of 49 sermons spanning decades of pastoral ministry, this book in particular lends itself to slow reading.  I typically read one chapter a day, sometimes even less.

The sermons are broken into sections and systematically walk you through Scripture:   Books of the law, poetry books, prophets, gospels, etc.   He shares fresh ideas and foundational theology, both.

For those longing for a deeper walk through the entirety of Scripture or for an awakening about the beauty and wisdom of God’s Word, this book is a powerful and beautiful choice.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review | Kingdom Family Devotional

Kingdom Family Devotional
by Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans

Dr. Tony Evans and his son, Jonathan, have partnered to bring families the Kingdom Family Devotional, a year-long study of themes about spiritual growth.  The lessons are broken up into 52 topics (one topic for each week) with five readings per week.  This format offers a lot of flexibility so that families can either read together Monday through Friday or have two nights off each week on evenings when the schedule is especially crazy.

Topics in the devotional include Love, Faith, Self-Control, Family, Church, Worship, Money, Maturity, Fear, and Perseverance.  The lessons include a Bible verse to read, a fairly brief devotional thought, and sometimes some discussion points or object lessons/activities  that can be done with easily accessible items from around the house.  This is really important to  me as a busy mom with four kids.  I don’t want to have whole  lessons to prepare before nighttime devotions.  But if I can grab a simple object or two (like a glass of water, for  instance) than that works for me!

In reading through these devotions, I liked the wide range of ages who could participate.   It’s not a devotional  focused just on older teens or just  on younger kids.  It’s truly a devotional for families and even includes discussion questions that help improve the strength of your own family relationships.

 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review | 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart
by Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs has been one of my favorite authors and Bible study teachers for years, especially with her Bad Girls of the Bible series and The Girl’s Still Got It. Her newest book is classic Liz.  In 31 Verses to Write On Your Heart, she breaks down 31 of our most favorite Bible verses, often examining individual words in order to teach us what the verses mean.  Each chapter is extremely brief, probably the length of reading a blog post, which makes this book a particularly good fit to read one-chapter-a-day, giving you time to really let the lessons soak in.verses

To her great credit, Liz chooses extremely well-known and well-loved verses and gives both context for them (something we occasionally lack when we quote these particular Scriptures) and fresh perspective (something quite remarkable given that most of us have read these verses many times).  I particularly love how she draws from many translations to give nuance and clarity to particular words or phrases in Scripture.

Each chapter ends with a brief and lovely prayer, as well as some helps to memorize the Bible verse in the form of a memory tip, the verse typed out in the NIV version, and then space for you to look it up and write it in a different translation.  She also gathers all the memory tips up and re-lists them at the back of the book and includes a study guide with two questions per chapter to help you go deeper or for use with a small group.

31 Verses to Write On Your Heart is for new believers and long-term Christians alike and would make a lovely gift to encourage someone.  It would also help to anyone wanting to develop the discipline of Scripture memory!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

 

Book Review | Unashamed

Unashamed
by Christine Caine

The first time I heard Christine Caine speak, I was stunned by this powerhouse of a preacher, and her voice in her new book, Unashamed, is just as powerful as ever.  This book tells her very personal journey of overcoming the prison of shame that could have held her back both in relationships and ministry.unashamed

When most people talk about overcoming shame, they focus on the shame of what we’ve done and maybe a little on shame of what’s been done to us.  Christine Caine’s story goes even beyond that. She does talk about overcoming the shame of being a sexual abuse victim as a child.  But she also talks about the shame of growing up in the marginalized Greek community in Australia, about finding out as an adult that she’d been adopted (info her adoptive parents kept secret because of their own shame over fertility issues), and she talks a great deal about overcoming the shame of being “different” as a woman.  She’s a leader, that’s for sure.  But growing up and even within the Christian community as an adult, she was taught that she had to be “less than” because she was a woman.  She shouldn’t lead or be too smart or too capable.  She just needed to get a man and have kids.  So when she talks about shame, it includes feeling shame over who we are and how God has made us!

With any Christine Caine book, she writes as she speaks.  It’s easy to read.  It packs a lot of punch. It’s not intense and in depth Bible study, but it’s challenging and inspiring and can bring a lot of freedom.  In Unashamed, she talks about choosing not to be a victim, finding freedom in the mercy of Jesus, controlling your thought life, and forgiving even when it’s so very hard to forgive.  Ultimately, her message returns to the freedom Christ gives us.  She says, “God is not only more powerful than anything you’ve done but also stronger than anything ever done to you…God is bigger than your mistakes, your inadequacies, your past, and your limitations.”

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review | Seasons of Waiting

Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed
by Betsy Childs Howard

Waiting is one thing most Christians have experienced before, and something most of us complain about.  Waiting stretches us.  It tests faith and reveals character.  It shows whether we deep-down trust God or not.  And, it’s usually uncomfortable. I’ve been through my own long waits for provision and fulfilled promises before, so I was excited to read Seasons of Waiting by Betsy Childs Howard.  seasonsofwaiting

Overall, I felt her outlook on waiting offered a new, big-picture perspective.  She argues that what we wait for in the here-and-now illustrates how all of creation longed for a Savior and how we are all still longing for the return of Christ.  This made me realize how my own waiting means far more than just character-building or faith-growing in my own life.  I wait with creation. I wait with all humanity.  It helps me to pray in a new way and tap into a greater longing for God Himself rather than just whatever I’ve been seeking.

After an initial introduction to the greater context of waiting, Howard then offers a series of chapters on specific things many people wait a long time for:  Marriage, Children, Healing, a Home. This section of the book was, to me, okay.  I felt disappointed in the content because those aren’t really how I’m finding myself waiting.  It appears that this book was launched after an article the author wrote for The Gospel Coalition on being, at that time, a single Christian woman.  But when she transferred that to book form, it felt too audience-specific.  Howard does make attempts to broaden the audience in each chapter, reminding us that those waiting for a human husband represent the bride waiting for the return of Christ.  This was mildly helpful, but still left me wanting more.

At only 98 pages, this book ended up far shorter than I expected and didn’t really delve into the greater spiritual lessons on waiting that I wanted.  I didn’t need to read about specific waiting scenarios.  I wanted to follow the journey of those who waited in Scripture.  I wanted to know what to do in the waiting, how to pray in the waiting, how to serve others in the waiting, how to be content in the waiting, and the like.   To me, the book could have replaced the middle content with much deeper lessons on a subject we all need to learn more about since we’ve all been in a season of waiting before (or are in a season like that now). Of course, for others who are waiting for marriage, or children, etc., this book may feel particularly relevant and helpful.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

 

Book Review | Rooted

Rooted: The Hidden Places Where God Develops You
by Banning Liebscher

Process. Banning Liebscher’s new book, Rooted, is all about the process of how God deepens our roots in the hidden places usually long before he allows us to have any visible impact.  This process can be slow and full of the unknown.  God digs us down deep in Him, checking our motives, teaching us to trust Him, and developing intimacy with Him.  Sometimes we get so frustrated in the long journey from vision to fulfillment, but God is at work  in the season of waiting and preparation.rooted

Using David’s life as a guide, Banning makes a case for why being rooted matters and then studies three specific roots that God needs to establish in us:  Intimacy, Serving and Community. I loved his discussion of how God roots us. He says, “We’ll never thrive in the process unless we accept the place where God has put us, because that’s the only place He will work with us.”  Banning argues for resting in God and trusting Him with the “how” of fulfilling His plans for us.  He also reminds us that “if we try to rush our growth, we’ll only destroy it.”  That’s a powerful lesson for those of us who want to skip that process and get to the results already!

Rooted would be a powerful book for any Christian, but I think it can particularly impact those in ministry because it reminds us to stop seeing things from our own impatient, often rushed perspective on success and goals and to remember God’s true desire for us to walk with Him in intimacy and humble obedience.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review | The Fruitful Wife

The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God can Produce
by Hayley DiMarco

In her book, The Fruitful Wife, Hayley Dimarco does something unique in her study of the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5; she applies the “fruit” to marriage.  What would a fruitful wife and a fruit-filled marriage look like? After an introduction to the concept of fruitfulness, she studies one theme per chapter (love, joy, peace, etc.).  I’ve read quite a few books on the fruit of the spirit and quite a few marriage books, but never one that looked at these two ideas together, so I was intrigued by the topic and the way she handled it.fruitful wife

I read the book on a Kindle, so I can’t speak to the problems other readers had with the text color being difficult to read.  On the Kindle at least, the book design seemed lovely from the great cover to the teal-colored, well-designed title pages at the start of each chapter.

I loved the concept and the idea of studying the fruit of the spirit in the particular context of marriage.  Marriage draws out so much about the core of who we are.  You can fake goodness or gentleness or kindness or exhibit those characteristics in your own strength or as your natural personality, but when you’re in the nitty gritty of a close relationship and you see the faults of your husband and he sees all your mess, too, well that’s when it gets real.  You can’t pretend anything.  Any situation that by definition relies on selflessness (marriage, parenting, caregiving), can bring out the worst in us, but ultimately build into us the beauty of Christ as we let the Holy Spirit be at work.

I think DiMarco did a great job of emphasizing that point also.  Nonbelievers can be good or gentle or loving.  But it’s not Spirit-fruit.  In the context of relationships, we might think we’ll definitely show love in marriage during our engagement because we’re so “in love,” but of course true, Spirit-fruit is so much more than that.  The true test of whether we’re displaying the fruit of the spirit comes when there’s conflict or when it’s hard.  That’s when we’re relying on the Spirit to do the work rather than ourselves.

I liked her honesty and vulnerability, especially when sharing about the early days of her marriage, and I thought she did a good job of discussing each fruit, giving its biblical definition, examples from Scripture, and personal stories.  I liked some of her definitions of the fruit also, like emphasizing how gentleness doesn’t mean being a doormat and goodness is really “imitating Christ.”  Her chapter on joy was particularly well done.

With all that said about the positive aspects of the book,  I did wonder at some of her personal examples in the book.  She talks about marrying late in life and being set in her ways.  So she describes honeymoon tantrums, breaking plates as anger therapy, not saying “please and thank you” to her husband and more.  The hope, of course, is that if she started out that way in marriage and grew into fruitfulness, than anyone can!  Most of the examples, however, seemed to describe what she got wrong and boy was it wrong!!  It would have been helpful to see what the spiritual fruit looks like in action, not just hear about a marriage that is lacking in gentleness or patience and the like.

I also (like other reviewers) am not sure she fully intended to suggest that many mental disorders  (“obsessive compulsive disorder, hypochondria, or other social phobias”) were simply a lack of patience or trust in God.  I do think, like many other issues and disorders, there are spiritual and physical components.  But she didn’t clarify that and for some people that could be hurtful or even dangerous.

I believe with most marriage books you should “read and glean.”  No book you read may be 100% helpful for your own marriage and you might not agree with every single thing an author writes, but you can still glean.  This is a book worth gleaning from.  DiMarco offers a unique look at spiritual fruit in marriage and also shares powerful insights about the Galatians 5 fruit of the spirit.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review: The Blessing of Humility

The Blessing of Humility
Jerry Bridges

Years ago, I read Respectable Sins, the first book I’d ever read by Jerry Bridges.  At the time, I remember feeling a bit undone—in the best way.  Without being preachy or combative, condemning or judgmental, he managed to stir up a heart of repentance and draw his readers to the heart of the gospel.  He does the same in his book, The Blessing of Humility.  Chapter after chapter, Bridges reminded me of my dependence on Christ both to save me and to transform me in this Christian life.blessing of humility

Bridges walks through the Beatitudes in this book and ties each one back to the unifying theme of humility.  He caught my attention right from the introduction, saying, “The character trait of humility is the second-most frequently taught trait in the New Testament, second only to love.  At one time I counted fifty instances of love taught, either by precept or example, in the New Testament; I counted forty instances of humility.”  This study on humility seems especially relevant to me in our look-at-me culture of selfies and Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds and more.  It seems like we are always vying for attention.

The Blessing of Humility is quite brief and very to the point.  The text itself is about 95 pages and a discussion guide in the back extends the content out, making it useful for small group discussion.   It would be easy to make a short book like this little more than a lecture on a theological idea.  Bridges doesn’t do that.  He shares his own heart, his own need for redemption, his own mistakes, and he seems to come alongside the readers rather than wagging a disappointed finger in our face and shaming us.  This itself made the book a treasure, making it feel like a discussion with an honored Christian mentor whose passion for God and His Word inspires and challenges you.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

 

 

Book Review | None Like Him

None Like Him: 10 Ways That God is Different Than Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing)
by Jen Wilkin

Jen Wilkin gives an insightful, accessible overview of the attributes of God in her book, None Like Him.  In the book, she discusses how God is:  Infinite, Incomprehensible, Self-Existent, Self-Sufficient, Eternal, Immutable, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Sovereign.  She also reminds us that we aren’t like God and that’s a good thing.   There’s so much freedom when we stop trying to be all-knowing or all-sovereign, and when we allow God to be God and worship Him for who He truly is!none like him

I’ve read other books before that discuss comprehensive theology such as this; Jen’s is my favorite thus far.  She explains things so clearly and it’s so well-written.  It didn’t feel like a chore or a seminary exercise to read this book, and yet the way she draws on Scripture has great depth.   Because there are so many books out there that study the names of God and what they say about His character, Jen’s approach to the character of God stood out as unique.

My only quibble with the book is its brevity.  At just 121 pages long, this is a book you could read in an afternoon sitting.  But you probably shouldn’t.  It’s far best savored, considered and maybe re-read.  Jen includes verses for meditation, questions for reflection, and a prayer at the end of each chapter, which are great for an individual who wants to go deeper or for a small group or Book Club to use for further discussion. I would love, love, love, though, to see this book’s content offered in a workbook-style Bible study for deeper study.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com