Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #47: Fabookulous December 8, 2010

The Overcoming Life by D.L. Moody

Book description:

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!

4/5 stars

Fabookulous

P.S. Stay tuned for details on our brand new book challenge for 2011! We’ll update you once we get through this one 🙂

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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!

 

Book #34: Fabookulous October 2, 2010

A Heart Like His by Beth Moore

Book description:

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…

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 #28: Fabookulous August 12, 2010

Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore
Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance

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:

  • When we won’t forgive, the people we often want to be around least because they’ve hurt us so badly are the very people we take with us emotionally everywhere we go.
  • Remember, God’s pursuit is relationship. Confession is one way we talk back after He speaks. He initiates conversation through conviction, and we answer back  through confession.
  • Without Jesus, history reads just like prophecy.
  • Smooth living invariably, eventually, makes for sloppy spirituality.
  • No family is perfect, and perhaps none less so than the one that tries to convince us it is.
  • Our hearts and minds still need considerable healing as long as somewhere deep inside we still associate fun with sin.

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!

Happy Reading,
Fabookulous


 

Book #22: Fabookulous July 5, 2010

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (Arming Yourself in the Age of Seduction) by Beth Moore

Book description:

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.

4/5 stars.

Happy Summer Reading,
Fabookulous

 

Book #8: Fabookulous March 7, 2010

Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship by N.T. Wright

Book description: “The longer you look at Jesus,” writes N.T. Wright, “the more you will want to serve him in his world. That is, of course, if it’s the real Jesus you’re looking at.”

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.

~Fabookulous~