Swipe Right to Friend: A Review

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Y’all, I have to say that I haven’t been very good with the female friendships in my life. I am more prone to male friendships over the years, as the guys I was close with in college can attest (except for Brooke and Angela). I found that women often brought drama and I wanted as far away from it as possible, still do.

As I have gotten older though I have found that I crave female friendships, women to connect with and talk with. There are certain things that frankly I just cannot with men-and honestly, should not. So I dug into Never Unfriended from Lisa-Jo Baker, her newest out from B&H Publishing over the last couple of weeks.

This book? Well I was prepared to think it was another in a line of gushy women-love books for believers. I was prepped to read alot of fluff and not much content, and oft mis-contextualized Scripture thrown in for good measure. But that was not the case y’all.

It chronicles Lisa-Jo’s own walk in female friendships, starting first with what we fear about them. Chapters dig into the realities of life lived outside of a computer/phone screen in real life with women around us. What holds us back from them, and what keeps us talking about them long after they’ve departed.

“For better or worse, female friendships take courage to start and courage to maintain.” (pg. 43)

She walks you through being the new girl, and y’all, we will always be the new girl at some point. And we’ll also be the girl to include the new girl. Always.

As you dig deeper into this book you’ll find sections on what you can do about your friendships and what you cannot do. We have to embrace both, as Lisa-Jo points out. There are points of application in some areas, and points to pray and seek further wisdom on. There were points where I had to put down the book and reflect on friendships I had let go of and ones I had so desperately clung to when I shouldn’t have.

This book is a much needed resource for women today. It highlights key areas I see continuously besieging friendships I am in, and those I am on the fringes of. You may disagree with her on some points, but allow the Holy Spirit to convict you as you read as well, opening up the space you have guarded off due to broken trust and hurt in past relationships. I highly recommend this book for women in a single context. I wouldn’t encourage a group study on this per say, as you need space to solely process and work through some areas she brings up…or maybe that was just me.

At the end you’ll find where you can start on never being unfriended, but you already have if you’ve picked up this book. Lisa-Jo provides more than platitudes with this book, she provides opportunities for women to connect and grow in community in real-life friendships, not the ones we see plaguing our jealous hearts across Instagram and Pinterest.


In exchange for this review, a free copy of the book was provided by the publisher, B&H. You can pick up this book at LifeWay Christian Stores or on their website, as well as other retailers nationwide.

You are Free

Y’all…you know I love the reading and the books and the writing stuff right? For the last couple of months I have had the privilege of being on Rebekah Lyons’s launch team for her book You are Free, which comes out TODAY!! To say I am excited for this book would be an understatement.

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I had heard about Rebekah around the women’s ministry circuit and in the Nashville ministry rounds as well. I will admit I have not yet read her first book Freefall to Fly but no matter currently because I have read the one hitting shelves and your shopping carts today twice. Yes, twice.

And that’s just in the last two months.

This book from Lyons is a game changer in my life already, and I know it will be for you and the people you know. Lyons goes personal quickly, sharing about her struggle in the enslaving nature of fear, living in bondage rather than the freedom we know we have in Christ as heirs.

Her circumstances of life may differ from yours, as we all do but we all find common ground on our knees in deep surrender, in searching for freedom in our lives. Rebekah leads you through different areas of freedom she has herself wrestled with and allowed God to reveal to her throughout the book. One thing that I absolutely loved was her ability to wrap Scripture into every area, leaning firmly on the foundation of the Word of God to be free in areas of life.

When it comes to our healing in the midst, so often we think we are the responsible parties. That in our human, independent natures we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and slap on the bandaids. As Rebekah’s words echo even know, the revelation becomes all to clear.

“We aren’t responsible for the healing, we’re only responsible for the asking.”

At the end of each chapter, you aren’t finding things neatly packaged up and wrapped with a bow on top. You are left pondering and seeking application in your own life. Rebekah has also placed prompts (3-4) at the close of each chapter to develop further thought and process for the individual. This was a big hit for me as I like application when I read on Christian living, and the struggles in it. It gives you space to look and pray, to stop and see what God might be speaking in to your life about through Rebekah’s words.

If you read my post over the weekend, you’ll see the effect of this book and Rebekah’s heart for freedom in us all already being an influence in my life. I know it will have an impact in anyone who takes the courage to be set free in faith.

 

Review of My Heart

Recent51udk4afeel-_sx321_bo1204203200_ly I was given the opportunity to read My Heart a new book out from Julie Manning. I was intrigued at first by the book and it’s title. Once I received the book I took the time to dig in a bit further to read Julie’s story and how this impacted her view of God.

In reviewing the book I have to be honest here that I wasn’t a fan of it. Maybe because I am not the ideal audience for this book (single) it felt very repetitive. I felt she didn’t have much direction on the writing in the early chapters nor was there much reflecting. As you get to the crux of the book is when her voice shifted into telling us how to go deeper with God. But there wasn’t much application there, only excerpts of journal entries during her time post-heart surgeries.

I was shocked at how I kept coming back to the book wanting more and not really finding much. She seems like a great woman whose faith was solidified in navigating the difficulties she faces with her heart situation. For me, it just didn’t click and I didn’t see beyond the emotionality of her faith journey during all of it. It also felt a bit disjointed having her notes to her sons at the end of each chapter. I couldn’t tell if this was a memoir, a letter to them, or a book on exploring faith and finding an unchanging God in the midst of difficult circumstances.

I recommend others to check it out for themselves, but know that it just wasn’t for me as a reviewer.


The book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.

Deep Diving David

exposition Over the last six weeks I have been utilizing the Christ-Centered Exposition Series from B&H Publishing during my quiet time each day. This particular one is focused on two books of the Old Testament, 1 and 2 Samuel.

These two books focus intently on the life of the first king of Israel and then the second which many of us know as David, the man after God’s own heart.

Throughout this very in-depth look at these two hefty books of the OT we find the juxtaposition of the first two kings that Israel has asked God to give them, and much can be said about how they rule very differently. We see the turmoil of a man who turns to pride and jealousy, who chooses how he looks rather than listening for God in all circumstances. We then see the rise of David, a man God chooses not for his appearance or military prowess, but for David’s heart.

In this Exposition, you hear the voices of J.D. Greear and Heath Thomas come through the writing. They speak from experience, a firm Biblical perspective and a deeper understanding of these two books of the Bible. I had previously reviewed another in this series that had two other authors, and found I enjoyed these two as well as I dove into in-depth study of Saul, Israel, and David. It gave me further understanding of how David truly pointed to the Messiah eventhough this is the Old Testament.

I would highly recommend this particular one if you are weary of studying the Old Testament, or even reading it as a daily quiet time, but desire to still learn and grow in Scripture. The authors give in-depth analysis and applicability to what would seem like very unapplicable circumstances. Also at the end of each section there are questions for reflection which would also provide a great means of use in a small group setting as well. For around $14.99 you get a great tool to use in your own personal study, for teaching, or leading small group, and also for pastoral research if that is your need. It’s not too heady and can be used in spurts as reference material as well.


In exchange for this review, I was provided the book for free by the publisher as a part of the B&H Bloggers program. You can sign up too!

She: A Review

Few books make we want to get to the know authors more than ones where real stories of transparency and vulnerability come through the pages, digging into some matters where I feel like a friend in conversation rather than a reader of a book.

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Photo courtesy of She Reads Truth online. 

She Reads Truth, out now from B&H Publishers, is the dual stories of it’s co-founders and the heart of their ministry with the online devotions. Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams (yes, that’s her real maiden name) have lined up a format in this book that isn’t uncommon but fresh in the Christian living world, where you alternate between their two stories of grief, loss, ministry and hope.

In this book, you see the interwoven story of two women very different now working for the call of ministry in a very unified and straight-forward manner…while showing that it’s not all flowers and butterflies and yet we survive. It’s not in your own will or dependence that you survive or make it through…it’s by seeing Truth as your daily need. To see His words laid out before you and come to write them on your heart, your life.

The women of the pages of this books strive to point each woman daily online and in the SRT community back to being in God’s word. This book does the same thing, interspersing Scripture as they delve into their own stories, and those often shared by many of their online community. While not married or having children, I didn’t feel the tug of awkward or unrelatable in this book.

It felt like hard and deep conversations you have for hours with friends, and now I consider myself a She as well, getting to share in their struggles and revelations on the permanence of God, His Word and His creation. But ultimately it all points back to Him. That He is permanent when all other things are passing away.

It’s that permanence that leads to Truth of Scripture and my need to read it…All of our need to read it daily as women. I highly recommend this read to any woman seeking to dig deeper into how Scripture lives out in our lives, in the very hard and the good.


In exchange for this review, I received the book at no cost from B&H Publishing. Interested in being a review blogger? Apply at bhbloggers.com. Read other reviews here.

Commentary of a Review

In my year of reviewing books for B&H, I have found that I stretch myself in what I am reading more and more. That I won’t just settle for a book by an author I really like, but take a chance on an autobiography, a Bible study, and now a commentary.

Commentaries make me apprehensive, as I worry that they are meant for theology students and pastors to glean and learn on a specific topic or book of the Bible. With the Christ-Centered Exposition from Daniel L. Akin and Jonathan Akin, that’s not the case. I was able to read through a harder book of the Bible, “Ecclesiastes” and walk through both an in-depth commentary broken down by chapter and topic, but I was also able to enjoy application questions following each group.

Ecclesiastes isn’t a book I would pick right off the bat to study in-depth. But I have to say the way both authors laid it out, specifically by chapter and even breaking it down further within chapters made me want to dig in more, to use in my devotion time and then outside of that. I was able to step into Solomon’s words, hear him and see the context of what he was writing.

The authors provided great examples, further observations and readings as well as the ability to glean further within yourself rather than be reliant upon what they had to say on the matter. The application questions and discussion at the end of each section are great personal devotion questions, as well as small group study topics to delve further.

The theme of Exalting Jesus that this commentary series is focusing in on provides the viewpoint in which to study books of the Bible which one might not necessarily get when reading them, especially the Old Testament books. We often relegate Christ to the New Testament, but as the authors show us here, Christ is written across all of His Word.

I would highly recommend this commentary series to anyone seeking to dig deeper into a book of the Bible but feel daunted by commentaries or feel they are only for theology students or pastors. This series does an excellent job of providing breadth and understanding to God’s Word in a way that also has His handprint upon it. It’s great for personal study, sermon preparation or small group study.


In return for this review, I received a copy of the book for free from the publisher as part of a review team.

Play With Fire

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Play with Fire released yesterday from Bianca Olthoff and I couldn’t be happier to have gotten to read this earlier this summer.

I have waited for two months to share my review of this book, and it’s been killing me y’all.

I have to say I was apprehensive about reading this because I wasn’t sure where Bianca would take us. She took us deep within her to what God was showing her throughout many years, having to live through it in order to then turn and share it.

Play With Fire hits on the journey of Bianca Olthoff from a place of doubt and question, choosing to allow God to break her completely at pivotal moments in order to pursue what He would have her choose, what would bring Him the glory and her to a deeper relationship with Him.

“Being chosen, then, clearly doesn’t mean being comfortable.” (p. 31)

This book will make you uncomfortable because He challenges you through Bianca’s words, His moving in her life and what He taught her about being chosen and His timing. Throughout this book Bianca talks about how we are not to fear the fire of life, the fire that can be daunting and wearying.

No, the fires of this life, ones which we can walk into boldly knowing He is with us, or attempt to be drug through kicking and screaming, are ones which refine us. They change us, hopefully towards the better, towards the God of glory and His plan for us. It leads us to understanding Him more in glimpses of the flames and relying upon Him throughout, even in the hard, even in the difficult.

Bianca shares from a vulnerable and honest place about her experiences of pain and suffering, of glimpses of joy and where she ultimately had to get to a place with God to allow Him to work things out in her fully. She admits to being a work in progress, as we all are, in the refining process.

“What survives in the fire will determine what is truly valuable and real.”

(p. 168)