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Five Star Reviews

Book Review | The Women of Easter

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The Women of Easter
Liz Curtis Higgs

I’ve read through Liz Curtis Higgs’s book, The Women of Christmas, twice because it’s one of my favorite studies of the Christmas events.  Now, she’s written The Women of Easter, a look at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany and Mary the Mother of Jesus.  I love this second book in the series just as much as the first one.

Liz breaks down Scripture verse by verse and compares multiple translations, which I love.  Her Bible study style is both deeply spiritual and constantly practical because she always returns to life application.  She’s also full of grace, sharing her own testimony of life transformation  and identifying with women in different stages of life and a variety of circumstances.  She’s so “real” and her passion for God’s Word draws the reader in.

This is a wonderful book to use during the season of Lent in preparation for Easter.  I loved the brief quotes from hymns she used to begin each chapter.  The book works well for individual study and for small groups, with a study guide in the back for further discussion.

 

Affiliate Disclosure: LifeVerse Books 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

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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 | Rooted

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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 | Unashamed

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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.”

Book Review | None Like Him

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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, I loved Jen’s unique approach to studying the character of God.

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

Book Review | The Longing in Me

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The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God
by Sheila Walsh

I’ve read several of Sheila Walsh’s books by now and thought I knew most of her story, but her new book, The Longing in Me, is even more open and honest about where our cravings can take us when we look for fulfillment in the wrong places.  the longing in me

She weaves her own story in with the account of King David in Scripture and covers longings such as:  The longing to be chosen, to be protected, for what used to be, for control, for your rights, etc. Interestingly, she didn’t choose to focus on what we typically consider ‘cravings,’ and extended this list to include some of the eternal longings God Himself placed within us, like “the longing for what would glorify God or the longing to share the grace and mercy we’ve received from God, and the longing for God alone.”

This book would work well for an individual read or for  Book club to discuss.  It does not include a study guide or discussion questions, so small groups would probably want to use the separate study guide instead.

This is one book that I read quickly because it drew me in, but it really deserves a slower re-read to let her points sink in.  I loved that even after reading or hearing lots of lessons on David’s life, i learned some fresh insights. Ultimately, the message Sheila drives home is that of grace:  “He rescued us because He delights in us, not because we got it right and not because we got it wrong.  SImply because He delights in us and invites us to delight in Him.”

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