Here are reviews of some great non-fiction books. Enjoy!
Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You
Author: Stasi Eldredge
I love Stasi Eldredge. I love her writing and her heart for women who love Christ. I really loved her latest book, Becoming Myself.
In it, she addresses things we women face:
overcoming childhood wounds
embracing dreams for what we want from life
becoming a woman of faith and worship
being encouraged because Jesus is on our side
I had two favorite chapters. The first was “Becoming a Woman of Faith.” In it, Stasi explored the life of Jesus’ mother Mary, as an example of a woman of faith. I have come to love Jesus’ mother, during the writing of a Bible study about her as part of my With Faith Like Hers Bible study series. I loved seeing Stasi’s way of exploring Mary’s identity in Christ, not only as Jesus’ earthly mother but also as a woman who simply loved God.
My second favorite chapter was “Becoming our True Name.” I have an ongoing ministry to create prayers for people to pray that their loved ones (or themselves) live the meaning of their name. Stasi echoed my belief that our names are important. They are written in Jesus’ Book of Life and mean something. She suggested we inhabit the meaning of our names. I suggest we live their meaning. I loved this chapter.
Becoming Myself was filled with chuckles and tears as Stasi shared her struggles with her readers and allowed us to see ourselves within her stories. This book encompasses many of the questions we women have about who we are and most especially, how God is helping us become the woman He intends us to be.
Do You Know Who I Am? And Other Brave Questions Women Ask
Author: Angela Thomas
As I’ve been thinking about what to post for readers today, I’ve also been working on a book series with a working title of Who Am I? Working on the series reminded me of Angela Thomas’ book Do You Know Who I Am? And Other Brave Questions Women Ask.
That seemed like a serendipitous reason to revise a book review I did two years ago and post it for any women readers out there are looking for a book like this.
In her book, Thomas asks 12 questions that we women pose as we strive to live godly lives but feel inadequate to the task. With a seminary degree and years of bible teaching behind her, Thomas does an excellent job of combining relevant scripture and narrative in a way that speaks to women’s hearts and assures them that they are loved by the God of the universe.
While many authors use examples of people who have accomplished enormous things in their lives, Thomas looks at the daily lives of typical women. She freely uses examples from her own life, opening her heart to us. She uses examples from other women’s lives, also. All combine to encourage us that although our trials may seem small to the world, to us they are big. And they are important to God.
Each of Thomas’ 12 chapters begin with a question that God can answer based on His character. They are:
Do You Know I Am Afraid to Dream Big?….He Is Worthy
Do You Know I Am Invisible?….He Is My God Who Sees
Do You Know I Am Trembling Inside?….He Is My Comfort
Do You Know I Am Worn Out?….He Does Not Grow Weary
Do You Know I Am Suffering with a Thorn?…He Is My Sufficiency
Do You Know I Am a Sinner?….He Is My Savior
Do You Know I Am Lonely?….He Is Here
Do You Know I Am Undisciplined?….He Is My Strength
Do You Know I Am Hesitant?….He Is Generous
Do You Know I Am Ordinary?….He Is My King and Father
Do You Know I Am Broken?….He Is My Redeemer
Do You Know I Am Disappointed?….He Is My Hope
Thomas finishes each chapter with the focal point of that chapter, posed as a question to God. “Do you know I am …” Then she writes, as if God were answering the question, by focusing on one attribute of God’s character revealed through scripture. This sweetly-written chapter ending is as if it comes from God’s heart directly to the heart of each woman reading.
Thomas’ writing style is light and humorous at times; touching and tender at others. Her grace and openness to share her own pain and vulnerability give the reader courage to look at her own pain and find comfort, knowing that God sees the pain and stands ready to love us through it.
Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days
Author: Dr. Tim Riordan
Whether Christians are sure the end days are just around the corner or far into the future, the fact is that we are surrounded by an enemy determined to attack our faith however possible. Our task is to remain strong in our faith—immovable, as Riordan says. In this book, Riordan focuses on the armor of God, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to help us stand firm.
Part I of Immovable explains the last days as set out in Scripture and what life might look like for modern folk. Then, in Part II, Riordan discusses each piece of armor in detail, focusing on how together they can help us stand firm in our faith. Summaries and questions for further thought at the end of the book help readers take the next step in applying Riordan’s points in tangible ways.
Although the depth of Riordan’s teaching will appeal to mature Christians, his ability to explain Scripture makes this book one that seekers and new Christians should also be able to understand and embrace.
I highly recommend this book both for those interested in prophecy concerning the end times and also because it will encourage a desire to deepen an understanding of Scripture and God’s plan for us.
Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life you Want
Authors: Michael Hyatt; Daniel Harkavy
There are things we must do; things we should do; things we want to do. Unfortunately, it is hard to get things done. Hard to focus. Hard to settle on what is important. As I learn what God means to “number my days” I find that—with less time left on this earth—everything feels important. I want to get it all done. I don’t want to leave anything unresolved or any goals uncompleted.
I “say” this or that is important. But am I spending the time on those things in a way that is evidence of their importance? Am I spending too much time on the mundane and leaving the bucket list on the back porch where I can conveniently ignore it? Lately then I’ve begun a process of prioritizing.
Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s latest book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life you Want helps you understand whether or not what you profess to believe is important is what you are actually spending time on.
As Hyatt and Harkavy recommended, I spent a week thinking. Then I spent a day writing about the areas of life I wanted more focus, what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to accomplish them. Based on this book, I’ve focused my life plan on spiritual matters, my relationships with my husband, family members and people outside my family, health, writing, and hobbies.
The hardest part of the plan? Reading the 17-page, single spaced, 3000 word document every day. Out loud.
There’s something about reading my plan out loud every day though that has increased my commitment to it. It’s about announcing the plan to myself, to anyone in hearing distance (usually my dog who interestingly enough comes over and shakes my hand), the world in general and God in specific.
You may be a person who flies by the seat of your pants. Or you may think you don’t have time to create a plan. But plans can help you move forward with confidence, even if the plan changes from time to time.
As we bring the year to a close, many of us look forward to what we’d like to accomplish in the New Year unfolding before us. This book is a great read as we prepare to do so.
Author: Stephen Olar
One of the great things about the Bible is that it shows the character of God. While our human words can be pretty limiting when it comes to describing God, it’s nonetheless helpful to growing our relationship with Him when we try. That’s one thing I love about Olar’s Bible study, The Name of the Lord.
Olar’s easy writing style makes this Bible study fun to do. Yes, there are lots of study questions and charts to fill in. They are thought provoking and comprehensive. Olar’s way of sharing information and asking questions however makes the process less daunting and more of a joyful activity.
You just have to read the book title, to think that young adults might enjoy this study. It’s “like totally excellent!” I’d recommend this study to all ages though. It reminds us that knowing God is joyful and our study of His character should be, too.
Praying the Armor of God: Trusting God to Protect You and the People You Love
Author: Rick Stedman
Sometimes we don’t know how to pray for the people we love. Praying is something to be practiced, not only because it should be done consistently and continually, but also so that it becomes a natural part of our lives. Until the time when praying becomes natural, it is lovely to have a guide on how we might pray. That is one of the beauties of Stedman’s Praying the Armor of God.
Praying the Armor of God is divided into two parts. Part 1 discusses the specific pieces of armor the Apostle Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:10-18. Stedman takes each stated piece of armor, gives a bit of historical background to it and ties it nicely to relevant Scripture on how each piece would protect aspects of our loved ones: for example, praying for Jesus to put the helmet of salvation on family members who do not yet know Him or praying for Jesus to put the belt of truth on family members to protect them from Satan (the great deceiver) from gaining a foothold in their lives.
Stedman then gives his readers a handy method to help them remember which days to pray for which piece of armor: for example, pray on Wednesday to Wield (the Shield Faith); pray on Friday to Fight (with the Sword of the Spirit). Matching the letter of the alphabet of the day of the week and the type of prayer, becomes a handy memory tool.
Part two of Praying the Armor of God contains written prayers that can be personalized by filling in the names of people we are praying for, with specific suggestions for various groups of people (men, women, siblings, teens, prodigals, leaders, etc.). Additionally, the book contains helps that make the book easily adaptable for a small group study.
Stedman includes other relevant Scripture to compliment Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He also shares personal anecdotes and comments that make the topic of study easy to understand and a pleasure to read.
Because of the depth of topic, the book would be helpful for people whose faith is already strong and who already have an active prayer life. In that case, Praying the Armor of God provides one more topical way to pray.
On the other hand, because of Stedman’s helpful sample prayers and tracking journal, the book would likewise be helpful for people just beginning to learn to pray in new ways for people they love.