Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #40: Fabookulous November 2, 2010

It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado

Book description:

There really is more to this life than you’ve been told. We’ve been demanding our way since day one…”I want a spouse that makes me happy and co-workers that always ask my opinion.”

“I want weather that suits me and traffic that helps me and a government that serves me.”

Self-promotion. Self-preservation. Selfcenteredness…

“It’s All About Me.” They all told us it was, didn’t they? And we took them up on it. We thought self-celebration would make us happy…

But believing that has created chaos- noisy homes, stress-filled businesses, cutthroat relationships. We’ve chased so many skinny rabbits, says Max Lucado, that we’ve missed the fat one: the God-centered life.

If you want to shift into high gear with purpose, this is it: Life makes sense when we accept our place! Our pleasures, our problems, our gifts and talents…when they’re all for the One who created us, we suddenly gain what we’ve been missing and find what we’ve been seeking.

This is a book that I started reading a couple of years ago, then saw a study guide that goes along with it in a bookstore. I then purchased the study guide with the intention of starting over and really getting into it. I never did. Until now.

Starting at the beginning again, this book is so refreshing! It seems a regular topic lately is how self centered we all are. Everyone struggles with this; after all we are human. We want, want, want, then we take credit when we receive. We hurt others to make ourselves look better, we pat our own backs when we are successful, the more we have the more we want, and so on and so forth. Of course I’m speaking generally and some folks probably are worse than others (as with anything).

This book is a great reminder WHY we don’t deserve the credit. Why God deserves glory, why He is so amazing and awesome, why we were created. After all, if it were all about us, wouldn’t everything God did be to please us? Wouldn’t we have more say in what happens? But it’s not and we don’t. How comforting!

Max Lucado remains one of my favorite bible teachers, and he speaks so clearly. It’s Not About Me is a great reminder to get off of our high horses. It’s NOT all about us. (Shocker!) This is a very short read yet will provide principles and ideas that will stick with you. I do want to go back to the study guide one day, but for now I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Christian non-fiction as much as I do. May you be better for it!

5/5 stars

Fabookulous

I’m feeling the crunch as I have 11 more books to read by the end of the year! This has been a fun challenge, but it is a CHALLENGE. If you see a review of “Goodnight, Moon” you’ll understand the pressure got to me. 😉 I kid, I kid. Thanks for following our blog all year- we are in the last two month stretch!

Advertisements
 

Book #32: Fabookulous September 17, 2010

Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Book description:

A spiteful boss, a defiant employee, a manipulative mother, a desperate housewife, an envious sister…honey we know these women. We’ve lived with them, worked with them or caught a glimpse of them in our mirrors. Now let’s take a look at their ancient counterparts in Scripture: Sarah mistreated her maidservant, Hagar despised her mistress. Rebekah manipulated her son, Leah claimed her sister’s husband, and Rachel envied her fertile sister. They were far from evil, but hardly perfect. Mostly good, yet slightly bad. In other words, these matriarchal mamas look a lot like us.

If you follow this blog, you’ve seen the recent reviews of Bad Girls of the Bible and Really Bad Girls of the Bible. I enjoyed them so much I wanted to read the final book in the series before moving on to something else. Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible covers fewer women, but a more detailed study of them. Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah get two chapters each while Hagar and Rachel get one chapter. Because Sarah and Hagar’s stories are intertwined (as are Hagar and Rachel’s) it’s a nice twist on how the stories are told. I love getting stories from both sides, rather than just one person.

Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible felt more like a bible study and in depth than the others and I suppose that’s because you’re spending longer with the characters. Either way it’s another fascinating book that will make you think. Liz Curtis Higgs used so many resources in compiling her facts and insights, just looking at the Notes section in the back of the book is overwhelming!

Regardless of a characters motives, thoughts, actions, and what we think may have happened “behind the scenes”, what’s obvious is how God continues to work His Will out regardless of how we may muck it up. I once heard God’s got a mind to do what He wants whether you are on board or not. And that’s true of anything. We’re all bad at some point; nobody is perfect, this we know. But the grace of God is humbling and awe-inspiring.

Personally, I love spending so much time in the Old Testament, studying the culture, the people, the lands. So this was a fascinating study and series to embark upon. Higgs remains one of the most humble authors I’ve read, as she is very candid about her own sordid past (her own words). Her honesty is striking. And she’ll make you laugh out loud with every woman’s story.

4/5 stars

Happy Reading,
Fabookulous


 

Book #31: Fabookulous September 9, 2010

Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Book description:
“If you’ve already read
Bad Girls of the Bible, welcome back. If this is our first chance to sit across the page from one another, welcome home. Trust me, it’s a safe place to be- a place of grace, not judgment. A place where God is in charge and we’re not. (Whew!)

“You’ll meet eight women here whose names you may not recognize, but whose sordid stories felt uncomfortably familiar to this Former Bad Girl. Athaliah’s ruthless climb up the corporate ladder cut close to the bone. Ditto for the tawdry tale of David and Bathsheba- my, didn’t her Good Girl status go down the drain in a hurry? Ah, but it didn’t stay there. That’s the good news, sisters. Really good, in fact.

“Whether they were Bad and Proud of It, Bad for a Good Reason, Bad but Not Condemned, or found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time under a Bad Moon Rising, the lives of these Really Bad Girls of the Bible all demonstrate one thing: God’s sovereignty. Honey, we’re talking ‘Thy will be done.’ Period. The unstoppable power of God to press forth with his mighty plan for mankind, not working around our sinful choices but through them. Imagine that.

“Although we’re all less than perfect, the girls and I are more than ready when you are!”

~Liz Curtis Higgs

The sequel to Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, delves even deeper into the lives of less than perfect women of the Bible and lessons we can learn from them. I found this one to be more interesting in the sense that the women found in this edition are lesser known. Though Bathsheba and Tamar are more familiar stories, it was nice to study other women with small roles (the medium at Endor, Athaliah, Jael, Herodias, and the Bleeding Woman and the Adulteress.)

After reading the accounts of these women, the reader will (and should) walk away with a deeper sense of God’s grace! In our human nature we compare sins and weigh which seem better or worse. In fact it is all equal. Which is even more shocking to see that a woman who bled for 12 years (though not actually BAD but seen that way by her society as such), a woman who requested the head of John the Baptist as reward per her mothers’ suggestion (Herodias), a woman who committed adultery with the king while her husband was fighting in the war (Bathsheba), a woman caught in adultery and brought before the massive crowds and shamed publicly, a woman who tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her so she would conceive (Tamar), a woman who ordered the murder of her family members in her shameful, power seeking attempts (Athaliah), and a woman who committed murder in her tent (Jael) are all on the same playing field. Not one is worse than the other. The point of these women’s mistakes is not to be like or unlike them, rather to see how powerful God is and how willing He is to use us all for His greater good, rather than our own. I liked this sequel better than the first one and I feel Liz Curtis Higgs’ observations and insights were more profound and thought-provoking this time around.

Higgs is not shy about her own past mistakes and sins and it’s surprising to read a Christian themed book in which the author is so candid about her own regrets. I appreciate the honesty and feel that makes the author more relatable and allows the reader to open up more. Nobody is perfect (and we should never think otherwise) but it’s unusual to not feel preached to with Christian themed books. That’s probably the beauty of studying Bad Girls rather than Good Girls. We all know what we SHOULD do and SHOULDN’T do. But do we know we are still of value and use to God even after we’ve messed up, whether it be intentionally or not?

This series has been eye opening and intriguing. It’s no surprise to me that I’m going to read Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible next. If you’re looking for a humbling, encouraging, and insightful book (or series of books), I recommend the Bad Girls of the Bible series to you! Higgs will not disappoint you!

5/5 stars

Happy Reading,
Fabookulous

 

Book #29: Fabookulous September 1, 2010

Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Book description: Ten of the Bible’s best-known femmes fatales parade across the pages of Bad Girls of the Bible with situations that sound oh-so-familiar. Eve had food issues. Potiphar’s Wife and Delilah had man trouble. Lot’s Wife and Michal couldn’t let go of the past. Sapphira couldn’t let go of her money, and Jezebel couldn’t let go of anything. Yet the Woman at the Well quenched her thirst for the truth, while Rahab and the Sinful Woman left their sordid histories behind, proving Bad Girls can have a gloriously good future.

Talk about an entertaining read! Liz Curtis Higgs is a laugh out loud author. She will keep your interest on every single page of this book while you learn from other Bad Girls’ mistakes. Written without a “holier than thou” attitude, Higgs will be the first one to admit she is a former Bad Girl herself. But God’s grace is enough for anybody!

At the beginning of each chapter, Higgs writes a fictional story similar to the biblical one. I thought this was a very creative way to get the reader into the story and imagine the characters, the settings, and the plot in more depth. However, I also believe that is a slippery slope and readers can potentially remember the fictional story more than what the Bible says. Despite the latter, I thought it was an entertaining stretch of the imagination for each woman featured.

After the fictional piece, Higgs shares the Biblical account of featured Bad Girl, and then shares “What We Can Learn” portions as well as “Good Girl Thoughts to Consider.” Though Higgs is not a theologian, I think she shares valuable insight and interesting points to consider with each Bad Girl. For example, she shares ten possibilities of why Lot’s wife may have looked back when her family was fleeing their hometown. Higgs studied several different commentaries to create this book and I think her efforts more than paid off. There are definitely some thought provoking ideas in Bad Girls of the Bible.

I have both Really Bad Girls of the Bible and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, both of which I still plan to read soon. I think it’s interesting to look at the Bad Girls for once, as it seems the Good Girls are usually the examples set before us. But what about those that have messed up royally, continue to do so, and then find themselves seeking forgiveness and redemption? Higgs is hysterical, creative, and reassuring in Bad Girls of the Bible and I look forward to reading more of her books!

4/5 stars

Happy Reading,
Fabookulous