When I heard about this book, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect based on the title alone. I knew that I enjoyed several of Nancy’s other titles, but this one seemed a little different. When I finally got around to reading it, I was pleasantly surprised by the contents. This book represents both Nancy’s worldview and a powerful study into the book of Daniel. She even tackles some of the prophetic parts that many other Christian authors are scared to touch in a way that is relevant to modern audiences. This book is another great treasure among the wisdom shared by Nancy in her writings ~ Bethel
This world can be a scary place to live, especially in the times we live in today. It’s hard enough at times for us to keep our heads above the water as we juggle the trials and struggles of our daily lives, especially when we find ourselves amid crises that we did not expect. But then the struggles of our personal lives become compounded by the tumultuous social and political times we live in. It’s no wonder that we have a mental health crisis on the rise and it seems to only be getting worse. For those of us that are Christians, we want to find peace and hope, but the sounds of the chaos in our lives and world tend to drown out the peace we find. It makes us ask the question: how do we find peace when we don’t always know what the future holds?
In her book Heaven Rules, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shares how choosing to take to heart the two-word phrase of the book’s title is the key to calming our fears and finding our courage amid a chaotic world. Nancy teaches her readers that “Heaven Rules” (sometimes abbreviated as “HR”) can become a powerful mantra that can keep us anchored to the truth of God’s word, reminding us that God has control over the micro (the tiny details of our personal circumstances) and the macro (the big picture of what’s happening in your life or even the world). By walking through the book of Daniel, we learn about the prominence of this theme through the book, as well as the consequences when even the mightiest of earthly rulers choose to ignore Heaven’s rule. She even tackles the prophetic half of the book in a way that is contemporary but also biblically sound.
However, I have a few minor criticisms that are unrelated to the content of the book:
1) I don’t understand why this book does not mention the book of Daniel in its subtitle. I believe this to be an unwise marketing choice, because people browsing for the book have no idea that the author is reflecting on the book of Daniel unless they read the book’s description online or the flap of the inside cover. That is a detail that should be included in the subtitle and the back cover so there is no confusion.
2) This small hardcover book is an awkward size. To get a hardcover book with a dustjacket on this relatively short book, they have to make it a smaller trim size that makes it uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time. I had to take the dustjacket off to read it, and even then it was still uncomfortable to hold for too long. I have never had that problem with a physical book before, so it was quite frustrating. Given its short length, this book would have been better suited as a thin paperback. I recommend reading the eBook version for this reason.
Despite these issues, this book is inspirational, as it challenges its readers to use “Heaven rules” as the lens through which they view and interact with the world. It has the power to calm our worst fears and anxieties, give hope to those who feel hopeless, and inspire courage in the fearful. With these powerful and biblical sound teaching at the forefront, this is a book that I highly recommend. Get your copy today!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
I read this book when I was 16 years old. We read it as part of a girls' Bible study for my youth group and met in a meeting room at our local ice cream shop. While in some ways I have fond memories from this study, I also have some negative memories, including seeing where some of the girls that were in the study with me ended up as far as their purity journey and how some laughter happened at my expense when I was too innocent to know what some of the words meant. I do believe this book was a significant part of my personal journey because of what I learned about sexual purity, I see some weaknesses in their arguments that may have negatively impacted my views on sexual purity. So I want to take another opportunity to evaluate a popular book of the purity movement to weigh its pros and cons, so we know how to better serve the next generation when it comes to teaching them sexual purity ~ Bethel
In the book, Every Young Woman’s Battle, Shannon Ethridge (and Stephen Arterburn) helps young women learn how to guard their hearts, minds, and bodies while living in a world that is saturated with unbiblical expressions of sexuality. It starts out by helping young women understand that the battle for sexual purity begins in our hearts and minds by affirming God’s design and explaining what it means to build lives of “sexual integrity” while also avoiding the pitfalls of the way the culture openly defines sexuality. It equips young women with tools that will help them guard their hearts, minds, and bodies, as well as navigate their way to adulthood and possibly future marriage all while drawing closer to God. This book doesn’t shy away from the hard-to-discuss issues, even going so far as to define most sexual terms in the footnotes and having an appendix for young women who may be struggling with same-sex attraction. The most recent editions of this book also include a workbook that can be used for group or individual study. In some ways, I appreciate how straightforward this book was in defining or explaining concepts I didn’t understand or wanted to ask out loud at that age. I also appreciated how it acknowledged that sexual purity and lust are not exclusively guy problems, so they wrote materials to address those struggles from a female point of view. Overall, this was one the best books overall that I read during the purity movement and I think there is still a lot of useful information in it.
However, there are a few problems I see in their methods or reasoning. First, the idea that the reason we should avoid dressing immodestly or inappropriate flirting is to keep our brothers from stumbling is more hurtful than helpful. While avoiding immodest dress or sexual flirting is helpful for our brothers in Christ, it should not be our primary motivation. Our motivation is to obey and honor Christ in our words and actions. Modesty is simply an attitude of humility in the way that you present yourself that defers attention away from yourself and your body and instead brings attention to God or to serve others. We need to make sure that young women understand that they are only responsible for their actions unless they intentionally draw someone else into sin by their actions. We also need to remember that immodesty isn’t just a girl's problem, much in the same way as lust isn’t just a guy's problem. Guys and girls both have the same responsibilities: to avoid creating temptation while also avoiding falling into temptation.
Second, this book gets pretty heavy into rule-setting, which sets up the legalistic mentality of “how far is too far” becoming the standard, all the while making those who have struggled with sexual sin feel like they are a lost cause because of the high emphasis on virginity. While a husband and wife being virgins and sexually pure on their wedding night is the most optimal way for God’s design to be enjoyed, we need to make sure that young women (and young men) understand that losing your virginity before marriage is not an unforgivable sin, nor is any other form of sexual immorality. God can redeem anything in His time for His glory, including our sexual sins, if we live in genuine repentance from those sins. We need to make sure that young people understand the significance of repentance and accepting God’s grace so they are truly able to move on when they mess up.
Lastly, while I know their intentions were genuine, I am somewhat critical of the appendix for young women struggling with attraction toward the same sex. This is because I had a friend who read the information while struggling but was not helped by it. While I do believe the biblical premise is solid, you have to make sure they are committed to Christ for that logic to work. Without the saving grace of Christ to motivate them, God’s design or intentions for our sexuality will not matter to them. After they have committed to Christ, they need to have a godly sorrow that leads to repentance rather than a worldly sorrow that makes them confess their struggle out of guilt. That repentance then will lead to a spirit of self-discipline that will lead to a mental transformation that can redirect those desires. While the “confess your sins and get a mentor” method could be a part of this equation (as it could be for almost any other sin), I think that an overreliance on this method for overcoming sins can tend to diminish the crucial elements of genuine repentance, God’s redemptive grace at work, and the spirit of self-discipline that God has given each one of us to aid in the transformation.
While these elements of the book are not helpful, I still think this book was one of the most useful books of the purity movement and could be a great starting point for conversations about sexual purity. I would recommend it for those 15 or older.
Pre-Teen Rating. This book does a great job of tackling the difficult aspects of sexuality. However, the terminology in the book is very blunt. While the authors took the stance that most girls probably already know most of those terms from school or the media, it could still destroy innocence for a pre-teen who doesn’t already know them. It could also go right over some pre-teens' heads. I would recommend that a girl be at least 15 or in high school before she reads it. Any parents or youth leaders should consider reviewing it themselves before using it, especially the terms defined in the footnotes.
Personal Rating. While I see this book from a more critical point of view from the first time I read it, this book did help me set my heart and mind on the right path toward purity. While there may be some more contemporary resources out there, I still think it was one of the best resources produced by the purity movement
I have been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it. Although truthfully, I wish it was a book that Lysa didn’t have to write and that I didn’t need its message. Many of her last several books have come out of a place of struggle and pain from trials she has endured. To see that those trials have continued is difficult for those of us who follow her. However, many of these last several books have been messages I needed to hear at the time I needed to hear them. As I have continued to process some of my trials, many of them have come back to boundaries that should have been drawn or goodbyes that were incomplete. This book has helped me comprehend some of the hard things that have happened in different relationships in my life through a biblical lens. I know that this book can help others do the same. That’s why it was an honor to be on the launch team for this book ~ Bethel
The topic of boundaries is largely underappreciated or misunderstood in our world today. This is because many of us struggle to understand that we only have the capacity to handle so much emotionally, and that if we don’t set boundaries, people can and will exhaust our emotional resources until we have nothing left for ourselves. Unfortunately, this seems to be an even greatest struggle for some Christians, who have bought into the lie that setting boundaries is unbiblical. This often leads to “boundaries bullying” where someone wants to insist that they have unlimited access to you, even quoting misinterpreted Scriptures to prove their point. This puts us in a difficult position of having to choose between maintaining that relationship and our emotional well-being. It makes us ask the question: is there a way for us to love others without losing the best of ourselves?
In her new book Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst helps her readers develop a biblically-grounded view of setting boundaries and walking away from unhealthy relationships. Through her own story of struggles in her marriage and some friendships, she walks alongside her audience in the process of learning how to love others without losing themselves. After many years of counseling and intense theological study, Lysa learned that boundaries are a biblical idea, going back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first sinned, and that we have to know ourselves well enough to know our own emotional capacity so we can set boundaries to prevent someone from taking away our emotional capacity. She gives five key factors to remember when setting boundaries as well as insights into Scriptures that are misinterpreted to call boundaries into question. She also gives tools to help you determine when a relationship has become destructive enough that it’s time to walk away and advice on how to make peace when it’s time to say goodbye, whether the separation is for a time or is permanent. There is also practical advice at the end of most of the chapter from Lysa’s counselor Jim Cress with more tools on your journey to understanding boundaries. This book is very honest and practical as it speaks from Lysa’s hard-earned wisdom on a difficult topic. The biblical ideas and tools here are essential concepts for Christian women who desire to maintain both relational and emotional health. This is a book I highly recommend.
* I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
Singles Friendly Rating. This book is one that Christian single women should read before they get married. After reading this, I am convinced that understanding boundaries before you get married is essential to having a healthy marriage. But all the concepts are applicable even if you aren’t married.
This is an intriguing and powerful fiction. I discover that the first time I read this back in high school. At first, I was mostly drawn to it because it was written by C.S. Lewis. I didn’t even know what it was about or that it was fiction, given that Lewis wrote in so many different genres. What started as a reading project for extra credit became a book that taught me powerful lessons about heaven and hell. This book is one that I definitely recommend ~ Bethel
In his book The Great Divorce, beloved author C.S. Lewis presents powerful fictional analogies of heaven and hell. When the narrator suddenly finds himself in a joyless “grey town”, he chooses to wait at the bus stop to take the bus out of town. When he gets on the bus and finally arrives at his destination, he discovers that he and other passengers have become ghosts. While they arrived in a beautiful, heavenly country, their ghostly form make it painful to even walk on the grass. The bus passengers are met by people who they had known on earth who try to encourage them to choose heaven. Most of the passengers choose to get back on the bus (and essentially go to hell) by making up all kinds of excuses. The narrator eventually runs into George Macdonald, an author whom he called a mentor, who becomes the guide for the rest of the narrator’s journey. Macdonald helps the narrator to see and understand the excuses others passengers made to not go to heaven, whether or not they realize it before it’s too late. Right at the end, the narrator startles awake, realizing that he was fallen asleep in his study.
This book has an interesting cast of characters that, even years after its publication, are relevant to its readers. In a similar fashion to his book The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce uses fiction to help them understand the struggles of the spiritual realm and our spiritual well-being. If you enjoy insightful Christian fiction, this is a book that I highly recommend. Get your copy today!
Teen Rating. I personally read this in high school. While I enjoyed the individual characters and the lessons learned from them, I felt that the book’s imagery was difficult to process. I had a hard time telling the difference between heaven and hell within the author’s analogies. I only recommend it to teens that have decent reading comprehension, probably 16 or older.
I have already read a handful of Mark Batterson’s books, so I heard about this one, I was excited. I even got onto the launch team for this book. Unfortunately, I was preoccupied during the launch campaign and forgot to pay attention to the release date. Eventually, the book completely left my mind, even as I had a copy sitting on my shelf. Then late this spring, I noticed a campaign his publisher was running to give anyone who had purchased the book a free autographed sticker to make their book an autographed copy. To my surprise, not only did I get the autographed sticker, but a few months later, I won a drawing to receive 8 more of his books for free! After this experience, I knew it was time I made time to read and review this book. In the end, I found that this book is definitely another win for Mark Batterson, especially for any of his readers that want to “win the day.” ~ Bethel
Many of us have dreams we want to pursue, but we don’t know where to start. We struggle with figuring out how to get where we want to be because we are stuck doing the same thing we have always done. We set goals only to see them fail. Even most New Year’s Resolutions fail before the end of the first month. As a result, so many of us are unable to live our lives to the fullest, since we are stuck in an endless cycle of dreams or goals that seem elusive to achieve. We often feel like failures, which leaves us feeling even more stuck than when we started. It makes us ask the question: is there a way to accomplish more so we can see our goals to their completion?
In his book, Win the Day, Mark Batterson helps you build or break the habits that are holding you back and achieve your God-sized goals, starting with asking a simple question: can you do it for a day? Seeing how many people fail at the goals there desire to achieve, Batterson shares seven creatively-titled habits to help us “win the day”. By “flipping the script”, we will change our perceptions of our life’s story that may be holding us back. Through “kissing the wave”, we learn to see the difficult parts of our past as the way to move forward. When we “eat the frog”, we choose to do the hard things and trust God to do what only He can do. If we “fly the kite”, we do little things as diligently as the big things. Choosing to “cut the rope” will allow you to avoid playing it safe and take calculated risks that can lead to the biggest rewards. “Winding the clock” is choosing to make the most of every minute and every moment. And “seeding the cloud” is taking actions today that will produce your desired outcomes in the future. All of these principles are shared in the context of powerful and sometimes humorous illustrations, either from history or from the author’s personal life. This book is powerful and relevant to practically any person who would read it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Get your copy today!
Lion's Eyes Reviews is a blog dedicated to reviews of Christian books, most of which are non-fiction, but may also occasionally review movies and musicals. It will also feature the work Bethel does to help launch and promote the works of Christian authors.
The name is derived from one of Bethel's favorite books, Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko. Through these reviews, Bethel hope to give Christians the tools they need to look at the world "through the eyes of a lion" so they can find the courage to "run toward the roar".
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Bethel Grove is a Christian young woman who loves to read and write, eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards, and disciple teen girls as a youth leader. What started as a hobby of writing book reviews and doing deep biblical studies eventually led her down the path of self-publishing and helping other Christian authors launch their books. She hopes to someday be a vocational youth minister and well-known author.
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