Book Review

NIV, Life Connect Study Bible [Book Review]

_240_360_Book.1861.coverNIV, Life Connect Study Bible  is one of the best study bibles I own. I love the layout of this Bible but especially love the S.O.A.P. sections.  This Bible features cross references, Life Connect articles that allow for deeper scripture reflection, and notes at the bottom of each page that provide historical background on specific texts.

I’ve been looking for a good study Bible for a while now and this one hits the mark in every area.

The Life Connect Study Bible is great for beginners who want to dig deeper into the Word. The S.O.A.P. method is my preferred way to study scripture so I was super excited this was incorporated throughout the text.  This Bible also features one word quotes throughout each book of scripture which allow for reflective prompts during study.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

Beautiful Uncertainty by Mandy Hale [Book Review]

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Beautiful Uncertainty by Mandy Hale is great book for single women and it was the perfect read for me as I’m entering another year single. I don’t know if it was the style of Mandy’s writing or her transparency, but all of it hit home and connected with me. I try to stay away from books and articles that give cliched Christian advice on how to deal with singleness, but Beautiful Uncertainty wasn’t cliche, it was honest and I deeply admire Mandy for it.

2 years, 1 month, and 25 days

This is how long I’ve been single. I needed this book to remind me God’s plan regarding my singleness is greater than my own understanding and importantly, life still goes on.

Beautiful Uncertainty won’t resonate with everyone, but it will to those who at times struggle with their singleness. I found myself nodding in agreement with Mandy throughout this book, laughing along with her, and found we’re similar in a lot of ways. I think this is why I enjoyed this book so much; I saw a bit of myself in her and could have easily written this book myself.

If you’re single, give this book a read. You’ll either love it, hate it, or learn to appreciate it. Either way, it’s worth a read.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

#Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World by Craig Groeschel [Book Review]

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#Struggles by Craig Groeschel was the best book I read to close out 2015. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I value it for the people I’ve met and connected with over the years and still keep in contact with now, but after reading this book, I’ve learned how important it is to disconnect.

#Struggles discusses how social media influences every area of our life, specifically, our relationship with God and each other. I’ve been connected to the internet since 2001 and have seen both the good and bad of being too connected. This book will force you to reevaluate your relationship with the internet and how it deeply affects you and those closest to you.

Since reading #Struggles, I’ve had to take a step back and look at my life and how I connect with people. It’s easy sometimes to sit behind a screen and feel connected but what it inevitably ends up doing is isolating you from the real world. Of course I don’t realize I’m doing it or maybe I do and I avoid it, but after reading #Struggles, I’ve learned to put down my devices, and deepen my relationship with God first and others second. I’ve had to access the areas in my life that are most important and I don’t think I would have realized those things had it not been for #Struggles.

Very rarely has a book impacted my life like this. If you have a stronger relationship with your cell phone and computer than you do with God, then this book is for you. If you struggle with sexual addictions, idolatry, and comparison, this book is for you. This book will convict you, challenge you, and at times humor you.

I highly recommend it.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human [Book Review]

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This is the second book by John Mark Comer I’ve read and was a very timely read. Garden City is a book that I believe will resonate and connect with any one who finds themselves wondering if their job in life matters. I know for me, I often get wrapped up in the idea of “What’s next?” or in the mentality that God wants better for me. But what if where God has us is where we are meant to be? I believe God uses us where He plants us.

Garden City emphasis is that no matter what we do, everything, the most mundane, unimportant stuff in our life should be “for the glory of God.” John Mark reminds us we’re the image of God and our job is to make the invisible God visible, to mirror and mimic what He is like in the world.  Whether our position is an assistant, parent, clerk, teacher, student, all of this matters and all of it should glorify God.

In life, we are God’s representative. People see God’s presence and beauty in how we live.

From personal experience, I found this book challenging. A lot of John Mark’s points hit home. I highly recommend this book if you are working an ordinary job and wasting your time and energy chasing the next “big thing.” God is in the business of equipping us for the work He has called us to and I believe it starts in our life doing the ordinary things we think are insignificant.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

NIV Bible for Teen Girls: Growing in Faith, Hope, and Love Growing in Faith, Hope, and Love [Bible Review]

_240_360_Book.1643.coverNIV Bible for Teen Girls: Growing in Faith, Hope, and Love Growing in Faith, Hope, and Love is probably one of the best Bibles I own. The Bible is not only visually appealing but makes scripture simple to read and understand. One of the many things I love about this Bible are the devotionals in each book of the Bible.

Recently, I’ve joined a Bible Study and have used this Bible instead of my original NIV and Amplified versions I currently own. This Bible is easy to carry and not too bulky. Though this Bible is meant for Teen Girls, I believe any woman can benefit from it. The other feature of this Bible I find extremely helpful is how it highlights key verses for you.

Simple is truly better for me as I study scripture and this Bible definitely does that. This will probably be the last Bible I own. It’s really that good.

I highly recommend NIV Bible for Teen Girls for any woman, any age.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.

Slow to Judge: Sometimes It’s OK to Listen by David B. Capes [ Book Review]

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This was probably one of the most important books I’ve read this year.  Capes brings up the topic of being quick to judge others without first listening and I believe this is a very timely reminder in this season of life. Having been on both ends of judgement, I identified a lot with what was discussed in this book.

At some point, we have all been guilty of rushing to judgement too often and too soon without first understanding other people or learning the power of forgiveness and grace. I believe this book is for any one but I especially liked how Capes pointed everything back to scripture.

There were quite a few memorable quotes from Slow to Judge which I found myself writing down and memorizing as I read through it. Some of the following points by Capes really connected with me:

The prerequisite for judging another is humility. Without humility and without inspecting our own faults first, we should best remain silent.

We are not to judge in order to damage another’s reputation. If we judge at all, we must do so with a deep and sure hope that faults can be mended, relationships restored, and depression lifted. If there is no hope for reconciliation, then there may be no point in expressing our opinion.

It is easy to love everyone in general and no one particular.

Love must be particular. Love must have an object. And the object of love is often a particular person who is imperfect, flawed, and occasionally a real mess. 

Honestly, right now I’m dealing with judgement both on and offline. I know there have been many times in my life when I felt no one understood me, tried to understand me, and have made assumptions based on perception rather than truth. Of course I try to remind myself people will think what they want about you regardless. And it’s something I have to continuously have to remind myself of as I put more of my life out there both on and offline.

At the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves God is the ultimate judge. God will place the right people in our life at the appropriate time to speak truth in love and pour their wisdom into our life, but He is our example.

It takes discipline and hard work to be slow to judge and quick to listen. 

I highly recommend this book if you struggle in this area.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans [Book Review}

_240_360_Book.1565.coverSearching for Sunday is the first book I’ve read by Rachel Held Evans and it’s one I had to read in stages rather than tackle all at one time. Each section I identified with and I found myself nodding in agreement to a lot of her points as the book progressed. What I most identified with is how honest Evans’ was with her experience in and out of Church.

I know over the years Rachel has received a lot of backlash for her writing, primarily her blog, but I read this with an open mind. I think regardless of where someone is in their faith whether they have been wounded by the Church or not, they will find themselves relating to a lot of what shes says. Searching for Sunday is a very honest book told from Evans’ own experience with Church; both finding, leaving, and returning.

At some point in our walk we all have questions about Jesus, God, and our faith. Questions are good and what I love about Searching for Sunday is I didn’t feel alone with my questions. There was someone out there I could identify with and it validated my feelings; they felt more real.

Any person in their faith journey can identify with this book. I highly recommend this to any one who is struggling or has questions they’re afraid to speak of in their Church community.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity [Book Review]

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Are you a poser Christian?

This the question Jarrid Wilson wants us to ask ourselves in his book Jesus SwaggerI’ve been following Jarrid since 2011 and have seen him evolve the past few years thanks to social media. Jesus Swagger offered a small glimpse into Jarrid’s personal life offline, but I felt there was more his book could have offered.

Jesus Swagger has a lot of tweetable quotes and is targeted primarily for younger generational Christians who are new in their faith.  Jarrid’s book asks good #heartcheck questions, but I felt his approach was a bit too cliche’.

I connect more with writers who are authentic, who share their stories, and connect their message through their own personal experiences. There wasn’t much story telling in Jesus Swagger, as it was more of eight chapters of what not to do and what to do more of as believers. I think my expectations were set too high for this one.

Chapter 3, “Love Without Limits resonated most with me. Jarrid made a lot of solid points about what it means to love other people. Some of it was a #heartcheck for me as I read through it, so it connected with me out of all the other chapters.

Some quotes that stood out to me were:

What we cannot see, God still provides. What we cannot understand, God still creates. And what we cannot comprehend God still continues to make reality.

Sometimes your willingness to love those who need it will be the difference maker in whether or not people come to realize the love of Jesus really does exist.

Regardless of what the Bible says about cursing, drinking, homosexuality, sex, cheating, lying, or stealing, we are still called to love one another. It’s that simple. No questions asked, regardless of how you interpret Scripture.

 This chapter stood out most to me because I’ve been there. I’ve been slandered and rejected for loving people who the world chooses to reject and shun. Isn’t that what Jesus did? 

Jesus Swagger is a fast and easy read. It’s not a book I would recommend to a mature believer, but it is definitely for teenagers and young adults who need a little push in their walk with the Lord to begin taking it seriously.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

 

 

Scary Close by Donald Miller [Book Review]

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Donald Miller’s Scary Close” is one of probably the best Don has written. One thing I really appreciate about Scary Close is Don’s honesty and transparency throughout this book.

Everything is a performance and act until the veil must be pulled back and who we are is truly exposed. It took Don almost his entire life to truly learn to be intimate with others. Not intimate, sexually, but intimate, relationally; allowing someone else in.

It’s scary.

But, Don’s story and raw transparency throughout his book gives readers a glimpse into what it’s like for someone else to be on the inside of their life. This book is more than just being good at relationships, but learning to be good at loving ourselves, our real selves, and letting someone else see this person without edit.

Scary Close is a reminder it’s okay to be perfectly willing to be perfectly human.

What I love about Don is how he knows he has more work to do to be completely comfortable with being himself, but at least he admits it. Some of us will go our entire life trying to win the approval of others and care what others think, but this journey is our own.

If you are trying to discover and unearth this person, I encourage you to read Scary Close.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say it, and When to Say Nothing At All [Book Review]

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Karen Ehman’s book “Keep it Shut: What to Say, How to Say it, and When to Say Nothing at All” is such a timely book. Words are powerful. They have the ability to build up or tear down. Karen’s book reminds us to know when to speak the right words, how to speak them, and when silence is sometimes the best option.

As a woman, I haven’t always used my words for good. What I like most about Karen’s points in her book is she shares others’ stories and gives real life examples/experiences to encourage us to be better with our words.  She also gives practical, applicable, advice on how to improve how we speak to others and tame our tongue.

God wants us to honor Him with our bodies but also our mouths. 

I cannot recommend this book enough to every person who has ever struggled with controlling their tongue. This book is definitely one you have to chew on, it’s not an easy read but it’s a definite #heartcheck. 

If you’re a woman who struggles with your words, this book is for you.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Lean On Me: Finding Intentional, Vulnerable, and Consistent Community [Book Review]

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Anne Marie Miller’s, “Lean On Me” could have not have come at a better time in my life. Anne’s story pretty much solidified much of what I went through last year in finding genuine, life giving friendships and consistent community.  Chapter after chapter hit home for me. I think all of us at some point have searched for intentional, vulnerable, and consistent relationships in our life, but Anne, through our own story, pain, and struggle reminded me  why community is so important through the difficult patches of life.

Lean On Me reminds us how important our need is for God and others.

I, wholeheartedly recommend this book to any one who is in a season of loss and looking for a glimpse of hope.  I will definitely be revisiting this book again in the future as a reminder how imperative it is to find others willing to do life with you and that being vulnerable, while scary, is exactly what Jesus needs from us.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 

NIV Once a Day Bible [For Leaders] Review

The NIV Once a Day Bible [For Leaders] is the best Bible for readers who prefer a more disciplined and structured approach to reading scripture. One thing I liked about this Bible is how it pairs the Old and New Testament together along with Psalms and Proverbs.  The NIV translation has always been my favorite translation of the Bible (Sorry NIV haters) so reading this Bible is perfect.

My favorite part about this Bible is the “Reflection” section before each day ends. The reflection section has quotes from well known Christian leaders and writers so the scripture really connected after reading their insights.

The NIV Once a Day Bible [For Leaders] is good for those of us who live busy lives but still want to make scripture apart of their daily routine. I know the advantage of making Scripture a part of my daily life. Without it, I’m spiritually dead. No fruit can be produced if we don’t read scripture and apply it to our lives everyday.

Recently, I started reading through the Psalms each day so this is a good addition to that and since I’ve never read through the entire Bible, this Bible is a good fit.

I would recommend this Bible for any one, whether leader or new believer.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers  book review bloggers program.