I have been a casual fan of Duck Dynasty since the first few years of the show. I’ve even had to chance to hear three different members of the Robertson family speak at a few different events (Alan, Missy, and Sadie). Since that time, I have been interested in reading some of the books that have been written by the Robertson family and admittedly own a few of them that I haven’t read. But when I learned that they were going to be releasing a biopic movie about Phil Robertson’s godless years called The Blind, I knew that I wanted to read Phil’s personal story first. When I found this book in Goodwill last week (two weeks before the movie was to be released), I knew it was a sign that it was time to read this book. In the end, I was not disappointed. I found Phil’s writing to be honest, witty, and gospel-oriented. I’ve come to admire Phil before that I had before for all he overcame, his heart for the gospel, and his determination to live a simple life. Reading this book has made me look forward to watching The Blind and reading some of the other books by the Robertson clan in the future ~ Bethel
In his first book, Happy, Happy, Happy, Phil Robertson of the popular reality show Duck Dynasty shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of the journey that led him to become known as the Duck Commander. He describes his humble beginnings living in a log cabin house, where he learned to work hard and live simply off of the land. He eventually met Kay Carroway and fell in love, getting married when he was 16 and she was 15, having their first son before she graduated high school. Not long after, even as their family was growing, Phil fell into a period of living wild and recklessly, struggling with drinking, drugs, and lawlessness that was common in the cultural revolution of the 60s. It was a difficult, dark, and uncertain time for their whole family, especially his wife and their three sons. It wasn’t until he ran all of them out of the house that he realized that needed help and was finally open to hearing the gospel. He was baptized shortly after and his life and family were never the same. He eventually went on to revolutionize the hunting industry with his duck calls and founded Duck Commander, which eventually became a multi-million dollar company. However, he never forgot his roots and chose to do his best to live simply while also growing in his faith and loving his family. All of this story is shared in the context of a lot of practical wisdom, honest opinions, and solid gospel truth. You will hopefully be moved, inspired, and a little amused by Phil’s story. Get a copy or plan to go see the movie The Blind, in theaters on September 28, 2023 (check out the movie trailer below).
While there are some difficult elements of Phil’s story (especially a portion told from Miss Kay’s perspective), they are told in a tasteful and appropriate way. As long as they are emotionally mature, I wouldn’t have a problem recommending this to a teenager if they were interested. I would recommend it for those 15 and older.
Celebrating My 100th Book Review
This review is special because it happens to be the 100th book I’ve reviewed on this blog (There have been a few unofficial reviews I did of supplemental material to other books that would put me over 100 earlier this year, but I am counting mostly full reviews that explore the content and give my recommendation of a book). It’s hard to me to believe that I have reached this milestone. When I started this blog in late 2014, I didn’t really have much direction for it until I was accepted onto a social media book team for the first time and eventually started reviewing books. Within a few years, that became the exclusive focus of this blog. This blog has been a fascinating journey, leading me to meet many great people on their pages (and in some cases real life), learn so many valuable life lessons, and support some great authors in the process. I also had no idea when I started how writing these reviews would become training ground for my eventual work as a self-published author, teaching me about the publishing industry, review site systems, and book marketing strategies. I am so grateful for this continuing journey and everyone who had supported it along the way, especially the authors who have inspired me.
100th Book Review Giveaway
In celebration of reaching this milestone, I am doing a book giveaway. The winner will receive 5 of my favorite books I’ve reviewed so far. There are multiple ways to enter for your chance to win. Don’t miss out! Enter below:
This book is one I’ve appreciated from the first time I heard about it. I’d been a fan of Dannah’s work for quite a while when I got this book last in my college years. This book is the next level to her most popular book on sexual purity, And the Bride Wore White. It was released toward the end of the purity movement (2011) and while it falls into some of the pitfalls of the purity movement, it still does a good job of remaining biblically grounded and not shying away from difficult questions that some Christian authors used to dance around. It may be one worth checking out ~ Bethel
In her book What Are You Waiting For, author Dannah Gresh addresses many of the difficult questions that teen girls and young adults have about sexuality, including the most significant question: Why should we wait until we are married to have sex? This question is addressed by exploring the meaning of the word that the Old Testament uses to talk about sex – yada. This word describes a deep and intimate knowing that not only is used to a married couple having sex, but also the deep knowing and trust that God wants to have with us. Seeing sexuality through this lens helps us to see God’s plan in a new light and illustrates the problem with doing things our own way. She then dives deep into the questions that many want answers to but most are afraid to ask when it comes to what is appropriate with our sexuality and how to repent and start over if you recognize that you have fallen short of God’s plan for your sexuality. It goes deeper and is intentional about addressing many girls’ questions about sexuality while remaining grounded in Scripture. It even gives biblical guidelines for qualities you can look for in a man who honors Him.
However, this book does have a few minor problems. This book was released toward the end of the purity movement and it does share a few of the same problems as many of the books that were part of that movement. In Dannah’s attempts to be honest and blunt, her wording and methods for resolution have the potential to cause guilt or shame for anyone who has struggled with sexual sin. Even the title indicates that you should be a virgin when you get married, which was one of the purity movement’s most faulty goals. As she has done in several of her books, she defines sin as “to miss the mark” and uses an archer’s target to illustrate that anything that doesn’t hit the bullseye on the target is sin. While I agree with the premise of this definition, it can come across as legalistic when you start pairing it with man-made methods of how to walk away from sin, which can lead to guilt and shame. As Christians, we have to be careful about the way that we define sin and make sure that we carefully explain God’s ability to redeem our sins for His glory so they can feel free to come into the light.
Secondly, this book encourages young women to find a godly older woman to confess their sins to and hold them accountable so that they can overcome their sins. This method was a common remedy of the purity movement and is largely based on common misconceptions about confessing our sins to others as it’s encouraged in James 5:16. That verses says that we should confess to one another and pray for each other, not to confess and then rely on them to help you get out of your sin. In my opinion, seeking an accountability mentor should not be a catch-all solution to overcoming sin, especially sexual sin.
Please understand that I am not saying that younger women shouldn’t learn and be taught by older godly women. Titus 2 encourages older women to teach younger women and I am not trying to discredit that. I also understand that when sin becomes any sort of addiction, a person probably will need outside help to overcome it, such as programs, support groups, or counseling. What I’m trying to communicate is that the Bible doesn’t talk about mentorship the way it is described in most Christian circles today (when a younger and older person meet for coffee once a week while the mentor does a colonoscopy on the young person’s personal life). Asking another sinner to hold you accountable in many cases diminishes the power of self-discipline (or self-control) God had already given to each one of us (2 Timothy 1:7). If you want to stop any sin, you have to be fully convinced in your own mind that it is a sin that you want to leave behind and never return. Once you have determined to walk away from your sins, then you can confess your sins to someone you trust, not to tattle tale on yourself out of guilt, but to give you other Christians in your corner praying with you through the battle.
Lastly, there were some assumptions made about a few of the specific sins addressed that were clearly assumptions that could not have been backed by readers, especially in Chapter 10 (which I am avoiding mentioning by name for the sake of younger readers).
Aside from these issues, this is a good book that could be a good tool for helping teen girls and young adults develop a biblically grounded view of sexuality. If this appeals to you, it’s worth checking out.
Personal Rating. This is a good resource. I especially enjoy the discussion about the word “yada” and the use of Ephesians 5 to find traits for admirable men. However, parts of the material are dated and have a few problems with making assumptions, potentially creating guilt, and blunt terminology. It’s good for adult women and older teen girls, but I would struggle with recommending it to anyone else.
When I attended Ozark Christian College, I had to take a lot of Bible classes. Some of my classes were incredibly memorable and some were much less memorable. One of the classes that I remember most clearly was Hebrews with Chad Ragsdale. While I had memorized Hebrews 11 in the eighth grade, I had otherwise not paid much attention to Hebrews before then. However, this class changed all that. I began to see how this book helps modern Christians see some incredible connections between the Old and New Testament and teaches many relevant lessons on faith, trust, endurance, and community. So when I heard that he had published a book about Hebrews, I was excited to read it. It reminded me of some of the illustrations and applications we discussed in class and how they still apply to our lives today. It’s definitely worth the read ~ Bethel
In his book Holy Grit, Chad Ragsdale walks through the practical application of the book of Hebrews chapter by chapter to help his readers discover how to develop a faith that lasts. Instead of approaching the text as a commentary, this book focuses largely on making sense of confusing concepts and how the truths from the book of Hebrews apply to our lives today. We discover how the original audience was also struggling with their faith when things got difficult and even with moving forward in their spiritual maturity, which are struggles Christians still face today. While some of the Old Testament references are considered to be confusing by many, this book helps clarify much of the confusion surrounding these metaphors and how the elements of the old covenant made way for the new. Throughout all of this, we see how we can cultivate a faithful resilience, which Ragsdale calls “holy grit”, which will allow us to stand firm and hold fast to faith and hope when life becomes difficult or uncertain. As it does in the book of Hebrews itself, each chapter of Holy Grit builds on the hope and endurance it gives its audience to live out faithful resilience, both individually and in the context of community with each other. With personal stories throughout and discussion guides at the end of each chapter, this book is a great resource of knowledge and wisdom from one of the New Testament's most mysterious books. This is one I highly recommend.
Personal Rating. My only criticism is that I think that the book got slightly confusing in some places. Because this book was largely applicational, it sometimes got confusing to track where the narrative of each chapter was going in comparison with the text from Hebrews. However, most of this can be resolved by reading Hebrews with each corresponding chapter of the book. Aside from this minor issue, I enjoyed this book very much and would highly recommend it.
To read my review of Chad Ragsdale's book,
Christian Convictions, click here
I was excited to hear that Dannah Gresh was going to be releasing another True Girl Bible Study. But when I found out that it was going to be about Mary’s faithfulness, I was all the more interested in reading it. When I finally did, I was not disappointed. This Bible study is an incredible resource for tween girls as they learn how to study God’s word and what it means to live in faithfulness to God. This is one I highly recommend for tween girls, their moms, or their youth leaders ~ Bethel
Faithfulness is a virtue that we struggle to find in our culture today. While we want to have it in our lives and relationships, we struggle to find it and often struggle even more with practicing it. We want to trust and be trusted, but we also want to do things our own way or have felt the string of betrayal or rejection, which makes us unable to trust others fully. This is especially true when it comes to pre-teen girls. It makes them ask the question: how can I live a life of faithfulness?
In her tween girl Bible study Mary: Becoming a Girl of Faithfulness, author Dannah Gresh teaches girls how to live a life of faithfulness by looking to the example of Mary, mother of Jesus. Through this 6 week study on the story of Mary, girls learn how faithfulness begins with trusting God’s plan, no matter what happens. Through all the difficulties, uncertainties, and even pain Mary experienced, she trusted God and obeyed what he asked her to do. Even in the moments when her life was ordinary, she continued to trust God, which allowed her to rely on Him when difficult times came her way. This knowledge is what gave her the ability to worship when things were uncertain and believe that God could provide when natural resources had been exhausted. And it was by this incredible faithfulness to Him that God used Mary to fulfill his plan to save us from our sins through His son, Jesus. All these powerful truths and more are shared in the context of a Bible study that is geared to tween girls (between 7-12 years old).
Including fill-in-the-blanks, places to highlight Scripture, and interactive puzzles and prompts, this book will be engaging and impactful to any tween girl that reads it. It would also be a great resource for the moms of tween girls or youth leaders looking for a Bible study for this unique age group. Get your copy today!
* I received an copy of this book from the author's ministry for the purpose of this review
This was a book that I needed. Like many of us, I struggle with finding peace when circumstances are not ideal or things don’t go according to plan. I was considering a few different books on peace or anxiety and landed on this one. This book ended being exactly what I needed and more. It connected the dots between many subjects and many obstacles to finding peace in a way that I had never considered. It revealed that the true key is to choose contentment in all the areas of our lives and surrender our uncertainties to Him. If you are a woman who struggles with anxiety, fear, or discontentment, then this is the book for you ~ Bethel
Contentment is something that Christian women want but often struggle to find. We know Paul’s declaration that he found contentment by doing all things in Christ’s strength, but wonder how that is even achievable. We tend to get caught up in the disappointments and fears that result when life doesn’t go the way we planned it. Uncertainty fills our hearts and gives way to other struggles, such as discontentment, grumpiness, bitterness, and even anxiety. We wonder if we will ever find our peace. It makes us ask the question: How do I find contentment in all circumstances?
In her book Calm My Anxious Heart, author Linda Dillow walks women through the biblical and practical tools they need to find contentment and overcome struggles with anxiety. She acknowledges that every woman deals with worries and “what-ifs” that threaten to still our joy and contentment. However, when we learn how to see our difficulties through the lens of trusting God with what He’s given you, it allows you to find peace in situations you never thought possible. You will discover the areas of your life that may be holding you back from contentment, such as body-image, self-image, bitterness, and even the questions “what-if”, “if only” and “why”. It’s when we get these areas in order when we learn to lay our burdens at the foot of the cross and be content with who we are and what we have.
I only have one minor criticism of this book. She frequently uses the phrase “Blessed Controller” to talk how we should trust that God is in control of our circumstances. While I understand what she was trying to communicate, I am not fond of this description of God. I think it can be misinterpreted to imply that God somehow takes away our free will when we surrender to Him, which is not the way He works. I wish she had chosen a different phrase to help us grasp God’s sovereignty and how our choice to trust Him completely can help us find contentment.
Linda speaks with strength and wisdom to the heart of every woman’s struggles with finding peace and contentment. With many Scriptures to study, stories to inspire, and a study guide to help you dig deeper, this book is a great Bible study for any woman who struggles with discontentment or anxiety. Aside from these issues, this is a book that I highly recommend.
Singles Friendly Rating. While this book relies heavily on illustrations applicable to married women, it also does a great job at addressing contentment in singleness. Chapter 4 specifically addressing being content with your current role, including single, married, and even widowed. Even the illustrations using married women feel relatable to singles. Definitely a worthwhile read for single women.
To read my review of Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery's book, Surprised by the Healer, click here
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".
To find the detailed archives of these reviews, you can check them out here:
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To understand the rating used in these reviews, click here
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.
Author Bethel Grove
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