The greatest buzz of the Christ-following life comes from hearing directly from God–sensing his guidance to lean into some situations and steer clear of others, to speak a word one moment and fall silent the next, to adopt bold new practices and ditch the self-destructive habits that only do us harm. By his own declaration, if Bill Hybels could wave a wand over the entire world, he would wish for each person alive today to have this type of personal, meaningful and frequent encounter with the living God. “God’s wish is to speak into the situations faced by every individual, every family, every church, every school, every business, every government, every media outlet, every organization and every organism imaginable,” he says, “and to train their steps according to his good and perfect will.”
If you crave full-throttle faith, the kind of divinely directed life that God alone can provide, then this book is for you. God still speaks relevant words to his followers, and most likely a grand adventure with your name on it is on your heavenly Father’s lips. Tune your ear toward heaven, and he will direct your steps, accompany your path and celebrate your faithfulness one day.
I picked this book up because the title resonated with me during this season of my life. I felt God whispering to me in a particular way and thought this book would help define that for me. It wasn’t what I expected.
Reminiscent of the God Winks by SQuire Rushnell books (yes, the Q is supposed to be capitalized), The Power of a Whisper shares numerous stories and examples of how God “steered” someone in the right direction. To more effectively and accurately know if you are hearing from God, Hybels gives 5 “tests” to line your whisper up with. And the more in tune you are with the Bible, the more familiar you will be with hearing God’s voice when he speaks to you. The idea of a Godwink is that there are no such things as coincidence– rather opportunities God uses to assure you that you are on the right path. When things seem to line up just right, or a series of events works out just as they should or were meant to be, God is winking at you to encourage you on the path you are on. Hybels is basically making the same point, calling them whispers. Whispers of love, direction, and guidance, if you will.
Though it wasn’t what I expected, it is still a good book that offers guidance and tools for those seeking them. Hybels uses very descriptive language and after a while it sort of seemed like filler to me. (Just this reader’s opinion) In my own life, whispers from God have come up in more way than one lately and after reading this book I’ve found the real-life experiences are richer than any guide can show you. Just open your ears and listen.
An Atlanta slum. A pod of whales off the coast of Alaska. The prisons of Peru and Chile. The plays of Shakespeare. A health club in Chicago. For those with eyes to see, traces of God can be found in the most unexpected places. Yet many Christians have not only missed seeing God, they’ve overlooked opportunities to make him visible to those most in need of hope.
In this enlightening book author Philip Yancey serves as an insightful tour guide for those willing to look beyond the obvious, pointing out glimpses of the eternal where few might think to look. Whether finding God among the newspaper headlines, within the church, or on the job, Yancey delves deeply into the commonplace and surfaces with rich spiritual insight.
Finding God in Unexpected Places takes readers from Ground Zero to the Horn of Africa, and each stop along the way reveals footprints of God, touches of his truth and grace that prompt readers to search deeper within their own lives for glimpses of transcendence.
I started branching into audiobooks late this year as a way to ensure I’d meet our goal of 52 by December 31st. Exploring the world of audiobooks has been a challenge for me. When it’s a fiction book it seems I’m picky about the narrator’s voice. After trying to start a couple fiction books, I’d stop listening not even an hour in– one narrator talked like everything was a question and I knew I couldn’t do that for 8 hours of listening! But what I have found is that nonfiction books are easier for me to listen to (maybe it’s that I like my own imagination to run wild with a fiction book.) Either way, Christian nonfiction just feels like listening to a long sermon, so I can handle those better.
And I think audiobooks might be the answer to Philip Yancey! I’ve read a couple of Yancey’s other books (What’s So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew) in the past yet it always seems to take me a while to get through them. Not because they aren’t good, rather the opposite. They are so good and have so much information packed into them that I want to read slower to absorb it all. I think listening to Finding God in Unexpected Places gave me the best of both worlds: another Yancey book on my “Read” shelf and it wasn’t as challenging to get through since it felt like a long sermon.
I appreciate Yancey’s journalism, world travels, experiences, and his drive to teach the message of the gospel. This book is such an eye-opener and will really make you think. Taking you all over the world and to different jobs and locations, Yancey will travel with you while opening your eyes to where God is (hint: everywhere.) But for me the most powerful chapter is the one on South American prisons and the love of Christ found there. The excitement among 60 convicts gathered together for a gospel message and worship is obvious when you read/listen to this book! You will definitely be surprised at the faith of those around the world. Despite their circumstances and the clear path before them, there are people in this world with far less, yet drastically more faith. We can miss seeing this in action as we don’t get the opportunities or abilities to travel and explore both nationally and internationally. Yancey even addresses this at one part talking about how easy it is for Christians to just “send money” for a need, rather than to go there themselves. Granted, not everyone CAN just GO, but many can yet choose to send a check instead. Shouldn’t giving be sacrificial and if so, what’s more of a sacrifice? Giving of your money or of yourselves?
I started listening to Finding God in Unexpected Places while I was reading Radical by David Platt and I think the two went hand in hand so perfectly! Giving the reader a world vision that can be missed as we focus on our day to day experiences, both of these book are well worth your time! Originally published in the 80s, Yancey printed a revised edition after the attacks of September 11. Our world had changed so much and chapters were added to include the terrorist attacks and to discuss God’s presence during times of trial and tribulation.
Parts of this book felt like a history lesson which, while dry at times, is valuable towards the moral of the story. Like I said, Yancey’s books are PACKED with information so you’ll need time to digest! All in all, this was fabulous and I think in the future if I find another Yancey book that strikes my fancy, I’ll get it in audio!
Status update: Halfway through my 52nd book (wow!!!!!) and I have until 11:59pm tomorrow (New Year’s Eve) to finish! 😉 Look for my review sometime tomorrow and then we’ll have our joint interview posted revealing details of our challenge for 2011! We hope to see you in the new year 🙂
WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?
It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…
BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU?
In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.
Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment –a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.
Where to begin? This book was fantastic from start to finish! Highly recommended by my mom who just read it, I soaked up Radical the minute I read the first word. A pastor of what is known today as a “mega church”, Platt unapologetically, yet tenderly, points out what is wrong with today’s Christianity and reminds us what biblical Christianity actually looks like. Platt paints pictures that will make you think.
This is not to say this is true of every church in America (nor every mega church in America), but think about it. We put on hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, hop into our thousands of dollars worth of cars, drive to our million dollar church buildings, sit in our comfortable seats while we are entertained by bands, musicians, dancers, speakers, and guests, then turn around to return to our homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now picture this. Men, women, children, young and old, traveling by foot for miles and miles, sometimes even taking a whole day to arrive to the “secret church.” Upon arrival, cramming into a small room, lit by a single light hanging from the ceiling, and squeezing into a circle among 60 or more gathered, and all straining to see the single Bible sitting in the room. Discussion continues for up to eight hours a sitting before making the trek home, only to return shortly after to start all over.
I appreciate Platt’s world travels and understanding of Christianity in other countries and areas. And I appreciate him pointing out how much we take it for granted in this country that we can not only OWN Bibles but that we can read them and study them individually or in groups without feeling ashamed or fearful. (Not to say that’s true in every circumstance, rather generally speaking.)
The purpose of Radical is not to make Christians feel guilty, but rather to remind them of biblical Christianity. To remind them that Jesus called us to leave our possessions, belongings, sometimes even our families to follow Him. And Platt beckons the reader to remember it is all about God, not all about us. We’ve made things so comfortable and convenient to our own lives (what church works for us, what messages mean the most for our lives, what we like about the pastor, what programs work with our schedule) and doesn’t this enable us to be selfish? And that’s not what Christianity is about at all, yet it’s the confused message we’ve believed for so long.
Radical will challenge the reader (and Christian) to consider their brothers and sisters in distant parts of the world. Then you’ll be challenged to consider a year long “renovation”, if you will. Divided into five categories, Platt introduces a way to put into practice over the course of a year what you’ve just read:
As he expounds upon each of these suggestions, the reader will be grateful for the opportunity and guidance toward life application. This book can be read by individuals or done as a small group study and I know you’ll enjoy it either way!
Coming into the finish line! Halfway through an audio book and only 2 more to read! Reviews to come. Thanks for your support this year!
What does it mean to overcome the world? D.L. Moody answers the question by posing more: “Are you more patient than you were five years ago? Are you more amiable? If you are not, the world is overcoming you.”
Ever practical in style, Moody cuts right to the heart–if we are not progressing in holiness, in Christlikeness, in obedience to the Savior, we are failing to live the overcoming life.
With salvation as the starting point, The Overcoming Life reminds us of the war we must fight against sin and the rewards that are ours when we do. Moody’s approachable words and insightful illustrations equip us to defeat the enemy wherever he is found– both inside and out.
I’ve wanted to read D.L. Moody’s writings for a while. I’ve heard Moody quoted in sermons for years and it’s always something interesting that makes me pause and think. It’s no surprise to me that once finishing this book my first thought was “D.L. Moody is a very quotable author.” Gee, I wonder where that thought come from…
The Overcoming Life is an excellent guide for those seeking to follow Scriptural instructions in living their lives for the glory of Christ and for their own peace among others while hear. For those that have a fear of death, Moody will give you a new view point and help you find comfort in God’s promises.
I really enjoyed this novel (a part of the Moody Classics collection.) To our faithful followers, subscribers, and other readers of this blog, you know that I’m picking some very short books these days! Must get to 52 before the end of the month! In true form, this book is a quick 165 pages filled with rich insight, advice, examples, and encouragement.
For all the D.L. Moody fans and supporters, you won’t want to miss this one. For those who haven’t read his writings before, I suggest you start here. Moody’s faith is very uplifting and, considering his upbringing, sort of astounding.
Taken from the biographical introduction at the start of the book:
“D.L. (Dwight Lyman) Moody, 1837-1899…was only four years old when his father died unexpectedly in May 1841. Edwin Moody was a good-natured man, and loved dearly by his family, but he drank too much. His premature death left his wife, Betsey, with nine children, including twins born just a month after he died. To ease the financial strain left on the family, Betsey sent several of her children, including Dwight, away to work for their room and board.
The next few major decisions Moody made were influenced by his childhood experience with poverty. By the time he was seventeen, he had wearied of trying to eke out a living on the farm. So the Northfield, Massachusetts, native packed a few things into a carpetbag and hopped a train to Boston, where he went to work as a salesman in his uncle’s shoe store.
As a condition of his employment, Moody’s uncle insisted that he attend church with him…In 1860, Moody abandoned his pursuit of fortune, quit his job, and began to focus on his ministry full time…The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the YMCA, Moody’s church, and his home.
D.L. Moody wrote The Overcoming Life in 1896, just three years before his death, to encourage Christians in their spiritual warfare against sin, self, and the world…Fortunately we have a guide in the fight–a man who rose from poverty to international stardom, all the while humbly preaching the simple message that it is in Christ alone that we have the victory.”
How very inspiring! I really enjoyed this and will continue to pursue more Moody writings in the New Year. Until then, I’m off to start my next short book!
P.S. Stay tuned for details on our brand new book challenge for 2011! We’ll update you once we get through this one 🙂
“Bound and shackled by legalists’ lists of do’s and don’ts, intimidated and immobilized by others’ demands and expectations, far too many in God’s family merely exist in the tight radius of bondage, dictated by those who have appointed themselves our judge and jury.”-Chuck Swindoll [from the Introduction]
The Grace Awakening calls all Christians to wake up and reject living in such legalistic, performance-oriented bondage. The God of the universe has given us an amazing, revolutionary gift of grace and freedom. This freedom and grace set us apart from every other “religion” on the face of the earth.
In this best-selling classic, Charles Swindoll urges you not to miss living a grace-filled life. Freedom and joy-not lists and demands and duties-await all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
With his characteristic style and gentle authority, Swindoll disarms the counter-attack of all those who would not preach grace-filled living and who would claim that focusing on grace would fill our churches with wild, undisciplined people with no godliness in evidence. Yes, Swindoll says, teaching and preaching grace is risky. Some may push the limits and misuse their freedom. But grace is the message of the gospel…the good news of salvation. As Christians, we sing about God’s amazing grace. We understand that we are saved by grace. Let’s learn to live by grace! Discover how in The Grace Awakening.
While Christian non-fiction tends to be my favorite genre, an audiobook of that genre feels like a very long sermon. Which is okay, but just needs to be taken in a little at a time. Which is why I took almost a week to get through this audiobook. I love Charles Swindoll’s books and have been making my way through his Great Lives series. This is the first book of his I’ve read (er, listened to) out of that series; he certainly has a lot to offer in the way of Biblical teaching!
Swindoll shares some valuable insights regarding grace and our ability to abuse it or misuse it. While it is offered freely to us, we tend to abuse that privilege and view it as a right or as permission to keep doing what we want. But what I appreciated most from this book is the discussion on legalism in Christianity. So many Christians follow a list of rules or regulations and then stand in judgment of others who do not do the same. (This isn’t even necessarily restricted to Christians) I love a good discussion on legalism in the Christian faith because among the many denominations, folks really do get caught up in the rules of it all. Swindoll gently reminds us (in a nutshell) to do as we see fit and allow others the same freedom. Isn’t it all about freedom anyway? Why do we put ourselves in a box most of the time and limit our ability? Ah yes–because rules are restrictive.
Swindoll is a mature and seasoned Christian who offers wonderful insight and wisdom. I will probably want to read the rest of his books rather than listen to them and save my audiobook experiences for fiction. But I think I got enough take away from this one to make it worth it anyway!
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!
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!
On Monday morning, October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. In front of twenty-five horrified pupils, thirty-two-year-old Charles Roberts ordered the boys and the teacher to leave. After tying the legs of the ten remaining girls, Roberts prepared to shoot them with an automatic rifle and four hundred rounds of ammunition that he brought for the task. The oldest hostage, a thirteen-year-old, begged Roberts to “shoot me first and let the little ones go.” Refusing her offer, he opened fire on all of them, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. He then shot himself as police stormed the building. His motivation? “I’m angry at God for taking my little daughter,” he told the children before the massacre.
The story captured the attention of broadcast and print media in the United States and around the world. By Tuesday morning some fifty television crews had clogged the small village of Nickel Mines, staying for five days until the killer and the killed were buried. The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor when Amish parents brought words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children.
The outside world was incredulous that such forgiveness could be offered so quickly for such a heinous crime. Of the hundreds of media queries that the authors received about the shooting, questions about forgiveness rose to the top. Forgiveness, in fact, eclipsed the tragic story, trumping the violence and arresting the world’s attention.
Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a central theme in more than 2,400 news stories around the world. The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, NBC Nightly News, CBS Morning News, Larry King Live, Fox News, Oprah, and dozens of other media outlets heralded the forgiving Amish. From the Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) to Australian television, international media were opining on Amish forgiveness. Three weeks after the shooting, “Amish forgiveness” had appeared in 2,900 news stories worldwide and on 534,000 web sites.
Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their own children, grieving Amish families accounted for half of the seventy-five people who attended the killer’s burial. Roberts’ widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greeted her and her three children. The forgiveness went beyond talk and graveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for the shooter’s family.
AMISH GRACE explores the many questions this story raises about the religious beliefs and habits that led the Amish to forgive so quickly. It looks at the ties between forgiveness and membership in a cloistered communal society and ask if Amish practices parallel or diverge from other religious and secular notions of forgiveness. It will also address the matter of why forgiveness became news. “All the religions teach it,” mused an observer, “but no one does it like the Amish.” Regardless of the cultural seedbed that nourished this story, the surprising act of Amish forgiveness begs for a deeper exploration. How could the Amish do this? What did this act mean to them? And how might their witness prove useful to the rest of us?
Talk about inspiring. In a world where tragic events happen regularly, including school shootings, terrorist and sniper attacks, murders, and other crimes, forgiveness does not come easy to many, if not most Americans. Generally speaking, we prefer to hold grudges, stay angry, and plot vengeance. Yet when the Amish suffered their “own version of 9/11” forgiveness flowed freely, grace was extended to the killer’s family, and the country was left stunned at a reaction that, quite frankly, seemed like a foreign concept.
When Charles Roberts entered the Amish school house with his mind made up to take the lives of innocent children, his grief and sorrow had overtaken him. How sad that a man mourning the loss of his own daughter (9 years prior) thought the only way to cure his pain would be to take someone ELSE’S children and then kill himself. That thinking seems backwards to me, but I’m not here to psychoanalyze Roberts’ motives.
Amish Grace focuses on the reaction of the Amish who were mourning the loss of their own children as well as loved ones. In a small community where everyone feels like part of your extended family, the pain was felt by all. Steeped in their religious beliefs that to forgive is divine (and even likening your ability to forgive to your secured salvation), the Amish were able to state their forgiveness in a shockingly short amount of time. Even the Bible says there is a time to love, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to forgive…
What happened to the mourning? Did they allow themselves the time to grieve over the victims? While I’m sure in the privacy of their own homes, they were saddened, it’s inspiring to think it’s humanly possible to forgive so quickly, if at all. I know people who are holding grudges for far less; families that are still angry at relatives 30 years later, lovers still bitter about a relationship’s demise, parents and children that have not spoken in decades, friends who have let a disagreement destroy their friendship, gangs in cities that lie, cheat and steal, and just the other day there was a news story of a fight that took place over a parking place that ended in death. It seems our culture has grown so accustomed to staying angry. Seeking revenge. Demanding to “get even”. Expecting someone else to suffer because we have.
How unfamiliar then to expect anyone to offer forgiveness to a man that would intentionally take the lives of our young children. What was most disappointing in this book was listening to the accounts of those who doubted the truth to the Amish forgiveness. It made me sad to hear about all of the news stories, critics, and spectators that either doubted the Amish truly forgave, critiqued them for doing so, and/or questioned their intention (as if this was some twisted publicity stunt). Hard as it may be to understand, forgiving those who have wronged us will bring healing much quicker than harboring a bitter spirit. Why then are we so hesitant to offer it?
The book, while repetitive at times, is very inspiring and encouraging. Most of us have forgiveness to either offer someone who has wronged us or to seek for ourselves where we have wronged others. Even if we may not agree with “the speed” of how it’s done, we can certainly learn valuable lessons from the Amish in how to live a peaceful life in harmony with others. After all, Jesus did say we must forgive others so we too may be forgiven. Those sound like words to live by to me.
In this in-depth biblical biography, Beth Moore takes you on an intimate, exciting journey through virtually every astonishing episode of David’s remarkable life. From shepherd, to refugee, to king of Israel, David exhibited the purest virtues and the most heinous sinfulness. But through it all, his relationship with the Lord continued to grow. A Heart Like His looks at this bond of mutual love and admiration from today’s perspective and draws spiritual insight and understanding from a man who boldly fulfilled his divine destiny.
Based on Scripture and Moore’s probing insights into the romantic, majestic life of David, A Heart Like His, will show you how to serve God better by understanding our own unique place in His heart.
It’s taken me a while to finish this book. It has nothing to do with how good or not good I thought it was, rather a busy schedule and a new fall study has kept my reading time to a minimum. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind in the “52 books this year” challenge. I do hope to still complete the challenge, and if nothing else this has been a great year for me to plow through all of the Beth Moore books I’ve wanted to get to.
Moore remains one of my favorite teachers and if you’ve been following this blog, you probably feel like you know her too! She writes in such a clear way, you’ll find yourself thinking “That makes total sense, why didn’t I think of that?!” as you study the lives of biblical characters with her. She is also always entertaining and humble in her approach. A Heart Like His is a book based on a bible study Beth created about the life of David. This makes it ideal for those who want to just read the story without the 12 week commitment to a study. As with most of Moore’s books, review questions can be found in the back of the book if you enjoy going a little further into detail.
David has been a fascinating character to many. A “man after God’s own heart”, David seemed like the perfect example of being a faithful servant. Yet when he sinned royally with Bathsheba, thus setting off a domino effect of sins, he still kept God nearby and sought forgiveness. How refreshing, considering we all have our highs and lows. It’s pretty amazing the significance these ancient stories still have today.
Though I don’t feel I gave this book the attention it deserves, I did read it in its entirety. However there really is something to be said for picking up a book, reading a few chapters at a time versus picking up a book and just getting through a few pages at a time. A slower pace really will make you feel like the book is dragging on and on. Sticking with my better judgment, Beth Moore continues to be one of my favorite authors and teachers. This would be a great book for those wanting to discover more about David’s life and the lessons we can glean from reading about it.
For Christian non-fiction fans like myself, add this one to your TBR list! As for me, I’ll still plow my way to number 52 by December 31st…
“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!
Book description: From her first breath of fresh air beyond the pit, it has never been enough for Beth Moore to be free. This author and teacher who’s opened the riches of Scripture to millions has longed for you to be free as well. To know the Love and Presence that are better than life- and the power of God’s Word that defies all darkness.
Her journey out of the pit has been heart-rending. But from this and the poetic expressions of Psalm 40 has come the reward: a new song for her soul- given by her Savior and offered to you here, friend to friend. It is Beth’s most stirring message yet of the sheer hope, utter deliverance…and complete and glorious freedom of God:
I waited patiently for the Lord
He turned to me and heard my cry
He lifted me out of the slimy pit
He set my feet on a rock
He put a new song in my mouth
It is a story, a song- a salvation- that you can know too.
Goodness knows we’ve all been in pits before and wondered how we get ourselves out of them. This message is certainly good and helpful in times like those. I didn’t pick this book up now because I’m currently struggling in a pit, rather I love Beth Moore’s teaching (and if you’ve been following this blog, are well aware of that fact) and I had this in my pile at home. Time to get through these books and either swap them on PaperBackSwap or give away to those who want to read them. I don’t keep books around because (as I once heard in a movie), “I like to lighten my load.”
Anyway, this is probably one of my favorite Beth Moore books yet. Despite the fact that I couldn’t necessarily relate at this season in my life, her teaching is clear, and this is also probably the most entertaining book of hers to read. Her husband, Keith, who she references often and is madly in love with, authors the Foreword of the book. They are such an adorable couple and I love how contagious their faith and beliefs are!
Beth teaches there are three ways we find ourselves in pits: We are thrown in (think: young child gets abused by a parent), we slip in when we are distracted (think: someone who just wants to watch their weight and then find themselves dealing with a serious eating disorder), and we jump into a pit knowing we shouldn’t be there (think: someone who wanted to have an affair or someone who wanted to steal that money). Of course there are tons and tons of other examples, and we’ve probably all been in pits through all of these methods- albeit different types of pits. We just can’t help ourselves. We’re human and we make mistakes regularly.
Several though-provoking points stuck out throughout this book:
Those are just a few nuggets in this book filled with biblically sound teaching and instruction on how to protect ourselves from falling into a pit. God is always there ready to deliver us if only we seek Him and ask. This was brilliantly written, Beth’s humble attitude and willingness to share her trials to help others grow is endearing, and I highly recommend this book!
5/5 stars, without a doubt!
It is reported in the headlines, confessed in the pulpits, and hidden in the pews in churches around the world. The seduction of God’s people by the deceiver is a tale as old as the garden, but we are always surprised when it happens. We must realize that Satan is a lion on the prowl and we are his prey.
Writing with a passion fueled by the biblical warnings of the schemes of Satan’s seductive activity and the broken-hearted concern of a teacher who receives countless letters from repentant Christians limping on the road to restoration, best-selling author Beth Moore examines why devoted followers of Christ indeed can and sometimes do fall into the traps of Satan. Delivering dire warnings to Christians to safeguard themselves against Satan’s attacks, Beth writes, “We, Christ’s church, are in desperate need of developing His heart and mind in issues like these.” When Godly People Do Ungodly Things is a guide to authentic repentance and restoration.
Going back to one of my favorite authors and Christian teachers, I picked up one of the variety of Beth Moore books that are on my To-Be-Read (TBR) list. I’ve had When Godly People Do Ungodly Things for a while, having swapped it on PaperBackSwap. There was no particular reason I read this book other than a simple curiosity and a love for Beth Moore’s biblical teachings.
Today I did the majority of my reading because I finally found a day to relax and read. Seems like the summer has kept me almost too busy to read! By the time I get into bed, I don’t get very far into a book before my eyes are shutting. So I was really grateful for the extra day off work due to the holiday so I could sit under Beth’s teaching.
When Godly People Do Ungodly Things is split into three sections: a warning to believers, a section to show us a plan against an attack from the enemy, and a section pointing the way back to God for those who have been seduced by the enemy. I believe a lot of Christians take too lightly the schemes of the enemy and believe situations and events are harmless when in fact they can be laying the very groundwork for a future attack. Beth argues the latter point in this book as she uses case studies as examples of how something in one’s past can later come up in a bigger, more dangerous way.
I’ve always enjoyed Beth’s teachings and believe she has the best of intentions to deliver God’s messages given to her. Written with a passion for God’s Word that is unparalleled by many, I can see how this book could come on too strong for those who have not read her books or studied one of her bible studies before. While reading the first section, it was easy to see how serious she took her topic. I’m grateful she did as I feel like there is a lot of valuable information and tools in this book for finding one’s way back to redemption.
Another wonderful book by Beth Moore, if you are currently struggling with sin that you can’t find your way out of, if you know somebody who is and you’d like tools on how you can help them, or if you’d like biblical guidance on how to protect and arm yourself for future attacks, I’d encourage you to pick up this book.
Happy Summer Reading,
Have you ever had the feeling deep down in your heart that God put you here for a purpose- and then wondered why you haven’t found it yet? According to beloved minister and bestselling author Max Lucado, that’s a sure sign you haven’t found your “sweet spot” in life. Now in this insightful guide, Max offers practical tools for finding your individual purpose so you can figure out just why God has planted you here on Earth. Max refers to this comfortable place as the “sweet spot” because it’s where we fit so perfectly in God’s plan for us that our work goes smoothly, our lives flourish, our families and friends benefit and our faith reaches new heights. If you need a cure from the “common life,” you’ll be surprised at how easily Max’s medicine goes down.
Do you feel drained by the “commonness of your life?” The day to day patterns that cause you to go through the motions without fulfilling you? You were never designed to live that way! God wants you to thrive, to be completely satisfied and to engage in your gifts that he equipped you with before you even came out of the womb.
I’ve had this book for years and never actually read it. Luckily, the small group bible study I co-lead decided to begin a Christian themed book club while we are in between our bible studies. Having just finished a Max Lucado study, the group voted on Max’s Cure for the Common Life as our first book together. I just finished this book today and I’m not surprised at all that I loved it. Max uses such clear teachings and writes laugh out loud examples. I even read parts of it out loud to those who were nearby.
Max is clearly living in his “sweet spot”, which is writing and teaching and ministering, and he does a fantastic job in helping show the reader how to find their sweet spot. All those quirks, likes, dislikes, and hobbies of your youth, adolescence, college, and first career ventures are signs of what you are destined to do.
While many are familiar with personality tests that are taken for high school, college, and for some even in the workplace, many may not know their spiritual gifts or their “sweet spot” as well. So what’s the sweet spot? It’s where what you do (your unique giftedness) intersects with why you do it (making a big deal out of God) and where you do it (every day of your life). We all came pre-packed with a bag of qualities, traits and tools to discover our sweet spot.
Outlined as your S.T.O.R.Y (Strengths, Topic, Optimal Conditions, Relationships, Yes!- what makes you say Yes!), Max helps you define what you are already equipped to do to cure your case of the common life. At the end of the book is a Sweet Spot Discovery Guide by People Management International, Inc. and Steve Halliday where you can really reflect on your experiences and personalize what you’ve read for your own life.
This was a great read with valuable guidance and teachings. I can’t wait to meet with our group next month to hear everyone else’s thoughts and feedback. I recommend this book for anybody searching for their sweet spot; Max Lucado never disappoints.
Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship by N.T. Wright
Plenty of people in the church and outside it have made up a “Jesus” for themselves, an invented character who makes few real demands on them. He makes them feel happy from time to time, but he doesn’t challenge them, doesn’t suggest they get up and do something about the plight of the world- something the real Jesus had an uncomfortable habit of doing.
N.T. Wright has already written about the search for Jesus in his book, Who Was Jesus? In Following Jesus Wright talks about the “so what?” that necessarily follows from that search.
The twelve exhilarating meditations in this volume explore what it truly means to follow Jesus today. Wright first outlines the essential messages of six major New Testament books- Hebrews, Colossians, Matthew, John, Mark, and Revelation- looking in particular at their portrayal of Jesus and what he accomplished in his sacrificial death. Wright then takes six key New Testament themes- resurrection, rebirth, temptation, hell, heaven, and new life- and considers their significance for the lives of present-day disciples.
Though I think N.T. Wright offers great ideas and intelligence, this book wasn’t the typical Christian read for me. I found it to be a bit “scholarly” for lack of a better word. It definitely wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down as I found I had to motivate myself to pick it back up. There have been Christian authors that I’ve struggled to read before, and its not to say I ‘struggled’ with this book. But I did find myself reading the words without hearing them. In one ear out the other.
Perhaps I felt rushed because while reading this, the library emailed to say that several of the books I was waiting for became available to me and because there was a wait list, I couldn’t check them out more than once. I admit I may not have given this book a fair chance. That being said, there are a lot of other Christian themed books that have really made an impression on me and I’ve retained a lot from. So if you are a believer seeking wisdom on discipleship, don’t let me sway you. Try this one for yourself.
As for me, 3/5 stars.