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Book Reviews

Thoughts and musings on books I’ve read.

Be a hero

Girls with Swords REVIEW

For the last several years, I've wanted to get better about using God's Word in my life. It's more than just wanting to know Bible verses. It goes deeper than being able to apply Scripture to life's trials and temptations. I deeply want to take Scripture and use it -- to fight life's battles, to stand firm in chaos, to deflect and defeat the enemy's schemes, to encourage and embolden friends and family members. I want to see it's real, practical, powerful effects and confidently know that Heaven went to work for my benefit. I crave the ability to expertly handle Scripture the way Yoda wields a light saber or Thor throws his hammer. With all of this in my heart, I looked forward to reading Lisa Bevere's book Girls with Swords.
It hid in the shadows

The Sneaky Side of Shame

Strongholds. If you think of them like a high-security prison, the four walls surrounding the person encased within would be fear, shame, powerlessness, and hopelessness. If you would have asked me last month what the biggest, most fortified walls in my strongholds are, I would have easily said fear and powerlessness. I don't make it much of a secret that I battle fear, and powerlessness is like a first cousin working to keep me subservient to fear. They held me in such tight bondage for more than thirty years that I now actively fight them when I see their evidence in my life. I don't do this perfectly, and sometimes I hesitate to step into battle with it. But most of the time, they don't win. Shame, on the other hand, stood silently by. It is still a suppressing force around me, but it went about its work much more quietly than fear. Much more stealthily than powerlessness. It hid in the shadows, casting its tentacles in subtle ways I dismissed and overlooked because the fight with fear was more prominent. Perhaps you easily see shame all around you, or perhaps, like me, its presence is more subdued. In either case, as speaker and author Christine Caine says, it's not the life God has for us. Keep reading to see my review of her book Unashamed: Drop Your Baggage, Pick Up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny.
Is balance biblical?

Free to Lean: Making Peace with Your Lopsided Life

A balanced life. It's a common mantra in our world today, with books, television shows and psychologists all proclaiming that we must find balance. Work-Life balance. Family time and personal time balance. Physical, spiritual, and emotional balance. And while I understand the precepts and the health that so many are trying to promote, I always struggled a bit within their spouted parameters. While what they say sounds good, is it truly what God wants for me? Is balance biblical?
How kind are you?

The Secret to a Happier Life

How kind are you? Seriously ... on a scale of one to ten, where would you rate your kindness level? How often do you show appreciation? Are you gracious to others? Do you practice patience or speak compliments? Does the Golden Rule echo in your actions? Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Matthew 7:12, The Message Would your family or coworkers give you the same rating as you are giving yourself? Hmmm.
Does motherhood matter?

The High Calling of Motherhood

My three kids are a huge part of my life. When I introduce myself, I frequently apply the labels wife and mother to myself, yet my role as a parent can also be a place I highly struggle. Over the last twenty years, I've found many joy-filled moments. My children have loved me, encouraged me, challenged me, and brought me a lot of laughter. As we prepare to launch a couple of them into the world, I look forward to all God will do in and through them. But, like most moms, I'm sometimes wonder if I did enough. This is one of the many questions Chimene Shipley Dupler tackles in The High Calling of Motherhood. "Motherhood is messy and hard. But it is also a gift" (page 28).
8 Best Books

8 Best Books of My Year

I know most of you are readers and like to hear about great new books or authors. Every couple of months I try to help you out by updating you on something in the publishing world.

In February, I listed ten excellent authors you may not have heard of, and if you missed that post, you can find it here.

This month, I want to share with you the eight best books I’ve read so far this year.

Fiction Books

207068521. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker. Phenomenal. More than once I identified with the thoughts of the main character, although our lives are tremendously different. I love her interactions with Jesus, but more than that, I was particularly struck by her conversation with Stephen. … Want to read more?

Made to Last cover

Book Review: Made to Last

Three men, secrets trying to come to light, and difficult family relationships. With so much that could go wrong in this storyline and the promise of lots of fun, I couldn't resist picking up Made to Last by Melissa Tagg.
front cover of Rebellious Heart

Book Review – Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

The first book I read by Jody Hedlund drew me quickly, and every time I put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. I found the same hard-to-resist draw in Rebellious Heart.

The good Lord don’t want us walking around in fear. He wants us to have courage, love our enemies, and use our minds.

Book Description from GoodReads

front cover of Rebellious HeartBecause she’s a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she’s determined to marry well, so she’ll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.

Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better.… Want to read more?

Undone front cover

Book Review – Undone

I first heard of Michele Cushatt on the Michael Hyatt podcast This is Your Life. At first she came across as sweet, thoughtful, and genuine. And then one day, Michael turned the tables and interviewed her about her new book. Wow! What a life full of pain and uncertainty.

Fear has only as much rope as I give it.

Book Description from GoodReads

Undone front coverUndone is author Michele Cushatt’s quest to make peace with a complicated life. It is an honest confession of a diagnosis of cancer and the joys and disappointments of motherhood and marriage, ripe with regret over what is and, yet, still hopeful for what could be.

With enough humor to ease the rawness of the story, Undone takes the reader on a roller coaster two-year journey through the unexpectedness of life.… Want to read more?

What does God think about wealth?

Book Review: The Legacy Journey

What do you believe about money? About rich people? About the 1%-ers? What if you became one of them? What if you gave away (tithes and offerings) $500 million, and drove a $100,000 car — and got hate mail for the car? It’s happening, so the question we should be asking is this: What does God think about wealth?

There’s a war on success happening in America today, and it’s something we as believers need to talk about.

Book Description from GoodReads


The Legacy Journey front coverWhat does the Bible really say about money? About wealth? How much does God expect you to give to others? How does wealth affect your friendships, marriage, and children? How much is “enough”?

There’s a lot of bad information in our culture today about wealth–and the wealthy.… Want to read more?