It's been quite a while since I've written on this blog. I've not posted any books reviews this year, even though I've read a few books I've intended to review. Self-publishing a book at about the same time the pandemic became widespread in the US resulted in a struggle to figure out where I am going next with this blog. I have a few new writing ventures that will probably be announced soon that have been taking most of my spare time. But I have not wanted to completely abandon my love of reading and reviewing books. So I am trying an experiment by listening recommendations of books I've already reviewed on this blog. I will make some brief comments and also link my original review if you want more information. I hope you will enjoy these posts and consider checking out a few of these books for yourself ~ Bethel
We are currently living in unprecedented times. As we are navigating the covid-19 pandemic, many of us are uncertain about the future. We are unsure how long it will be before we can leave our homes without fear. We are unsure where our next paycheck is going to come from. We are unsure when we will times will return to normal. As we try to figure out where to go next, we often struggle to turn to the best source of strength and hope: our Lord and Savior. As I have tried to figure out how to navigate this pandemic, some of the books I've reviewed have come to my mind and have helped me to find joy and peace in the middle of difficult circumstances. If you are looking for books to read during this time, I give you 5 recommendations as a place to start:
Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors
A powerful story of a young women who learned to hope through a series of difficult and trying circumstances, Daring to Hope is an inspiring testimony that will encourage you, regardless of what season you are currently facing (as is her previous book Kisses from Katie).
To check out my review of Daring to Hope, click here.
You Can Trust God to Write Your Story by Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth
A collection of stories from their personal lives, the lives of friends, and the lives of characters from the biblical narrative, this book is a powerful reminder that we can trust God to work in any and every season of our lives.
To check out my review of You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, click here.
Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth
A biblical exploration of the concepts of gratitude, this virtue is important for us to develop, especially with the circumstances that we are currently facing. Our outlook on our circumstances will change significantly if we learn to choose gratitude in any and every season of our lives.
To read my review of Choosing Gratitude, click here.
Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko
One of the best books I've read about trials and suffering, Through the Eyes of a Lion is a book designed to help you face your current and future trials in the strength of Christ. When we face painful situations head on instead of hiding from it, we find the strength to "run toward the roar".
To read my review of Through the Eyes of a Lion, click here.
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
An incredible perspective on prayer, The Circle Maker is the perspective you need to help you change your prayer life. I am currently read through the devotional book Draw the Circle and enjoy its unique perspective on how to pray for God's glory in all that we face.
To read my review of The Circle Maker, click here.
Have you read any of these books? Are there any books that you would add to this list? Be watching for more recommendations over the next month!
In case you haven't heard the news yet, I have a BIG announcement to make:
I am about to self-publish my first book – Beyond Your Wardrobe: Finding Freedom in Embracing God’s Call to Modesty and Unfading Beauty
It’s hard for me to believe that this dream is finally becoming a reality. Just a few months ago, it seemed like a dream that would take years to achieve. But around Christmas last year, it became clear that this was possible and attainable. When trying to decide what the book should be about, the topic of modesty was always at the top of my list. It’s surprising to me how quickly the words and the messages came together, but I guess that’s what happens when you let God use something you are passionate about. I have invested so much of my time and energy into this project, but I have also poured my heart in a message I believe God wants me to proclaim to women and teen girls that need to hear it. I hope that you will be willing to support me on this journey. Let me know if you have any questions about the book or how I'm publishing it ~ Bethel
Does this word make you want to cringe? Do you have images in your head of a woman wearing dresses from a hundred years ago, never going on a date? Do you have memories of strict rules or dress codes that drive you crazy? Then maybe you’ve had some of the following thoughts run through your head. “I don’t want to wear clothes that are out of style!” “Modesty is so out of date.” “I should be able to dress however I want; it’s my body.” Maybe, the opposite is true for you. You’ve always wanted to dress modestly, but you have a hard time standing strong in your convictions when the world tries to sell you so many lies about modesty and beauty. You wished everyone valued modesty as you do, but no one around you seems to value your standards for fashion. Either way, we all feel weighed down by a standard it seems no one can keep. It makes us ask the question: is modesty really all about clothes and keeping rules?
In my new book, Beyond Your Wardrobe, you will learn that modesty is about so much more than the clothes we wear or keeping a bunch of rules. Instead, modesty is an attitude that once you learn to adapt it will lead to a life of freedom in Christ. This begins when we choose to recognize that much of what we believe about modesty and physical beauty are lies that we must reject, least we remain in bondage to them. Then we lay the foundation for learning the truth about this incredible character trait through the lens of God’s word. Breaking down many key Scriptures into our current cultural context, it becomes clear that when we embrace our identity in Christ, you will naturally desire to dress modestly, not out of obligation, but out of gratitude for what He has done for you. Then you will look at yourself the way that God does, and you will learn how to adapt your wardrobe to be appropriate for every situation. When you do, your perspective on modesty and clothes will never be the same. With the inclusion of an appendix about male modesty and links to videos and articles online, this will not be like any Christian modesty book you’ve read before. Instead, it will be an invitation on a journey to discovering the beauty and power that modesty has for all who are will to embrace it. I hope you will consider joining me on this incredible journey.
Around February 21, 2020, the paperback will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The e-book will be available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Books and more. If you want to learn more about this book and this project, stay tuned to this blog!
This book has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. I think my mom found this book on sale years ago and gave it to me. But I wasn’t familiar with Nancy’s work at the time and didn’t think too much of it. When I finally got into Nancy’s writing over this last year, I finally was interested in reading it. I found that this book was so helpful in more ways than one. As a single young woman who has gone through a lot of difficult circumstances over the last few years, I needed a reminder of how important and significant daily gratitude is to the Christian life. It’s also another great example of Nancy’s incredible ability to break down spiritual disciplines from Scripture and make it clear about what God is calling you to do. This is one of those books I would recommend to practically anyone ~ Bethel
“Thank you” is a phrase that is often unappreciated in our culture. We say without thinking about it or actually meaning what we say. We struggle with being thankful when many of us are in general ungrateful. We complain about every little thing and we get overwhelmed when we face difficult circumstances. This seems to be especially true for Christians, and we get frustrated when we are told that that we are to “give thanks in all circumstances”, because we often don’t even know where to start. We want the joy found in an abundant life in Christ, but we don’t know how in the middle of all the difficult circumstances that life brings our way. It makes us ask the question: How can we live grateful and joyful lives in our world today?
In her book, Choosing Gratitude, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth [published under her maiden name, Nancy Leigh DeMoss] helps her audience find the more abundant life that comes when our gratitude is as abundant as the grace that redeems us. When looking at the circumstances, Nancy says we have two options: “I can whine OR I can worship.” We learn what it means to worship and give thanks in everything, not just despite our difficult circumstances, but for our difficult circumstances. Giving examples from Scriptures and from the lives of others, Nancy helps us see that living a life of gratitude is possible in hope of our salvation in Christ Jesus. There is no promise that it’s going to be easy, but we will find peace and hope if we trust and obey. This book is compelling and relevant to all of us, regardless of our age or phase of life. This is a book that every Christian should read. Get your copy today!
Don't forget to check out my other reviews of Nancy's books in the Book Review Archive
When I heard that Nancy and her husband were co-authoring a book, I was so excited. I already loved the video that explained their love story on YouTube (see video below), but I really wanted to hear a more in-depth version of that story. I claimed a review copy* as soon as I could. When I finally sat down to read it, it was not quite what I was expecting, but I was not disappointed with the content. If anything, I loved the content even more than I thought I would. Not everything in this book is about their story, and that’s what I loved about it so much. They shared stories from people they knew (including one of my favorite authors, Bethany Beal, co-author of Girl Defined) and they also shared stories from stories in the Biblical narrative. That’s a huge part of what make the book work so well. It totally spoke to me in the season that I’m currently in, and I believe it will for you too ~ Bethel
The stories of our lives are filled with twists and turns. Some of those twists are happy, while many of those twists are difficult and painful in endure in the moment. Many of us have heard that God is the Master Storyteller. Those of us that have read Hebrews 12 know that Jesus is the “author and perfecter of our faith”, but we have a very hard time holding onto this truth in confidence that that God will work all things out for our good. Sometimes all we can see is the pain, and we push back, trying to find ways to write our own story, which often doesn’t work out very well. He sometimes reject His plan for us, and often end hurting those we love. It makes us ask the question: How can we embrace the story that God is writing?
In their first shared project, You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, couple Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth help us see that we can trust the Master Storyteller by embracing the mysteries of providence. It was originally intended to be the story of how Robert, a widower after forty-five years of marriage, and Nancy, a woman who have never been married in her fifties, fell in love and were married. But it became so much more than that. They found they didn’t want this book to be just about them. So although they share their personal stories throughout, there is only one chapter dedicated to that part of their story. The rest is meant to use the stories of others to illustrate the same lesson that they learned: God can be trusted to write our stories, even in the most difficult of chapters of our lives. Many of the stories shared are people they knew personally. But there are also many stories from the Biblical narrative that so clearly demonstrate God’s hand at work. Through all of this, we are reminded that even in the mist of the most difficult chapters of our lives, God is with us and for us, using the narrative you’re in for your redemption and His glory. It both part of the smaller story you’re in and the eternal story that He is writing, one of which you should feel blessed to be a part. What we need to do, like the old hymn tells us, is trust and obey. This book is incredible. The stories, both personal and biblical, were well-chosen and well-written. Powerful, compelling, and hope-filled, this is a book I recommend to practically anything. Get your copy today!
*I recieved a copy from the publisher for the purpose of this review
Check out some of my other reviews of Nancy's books by going to the Book Review Tab
This book has been on my wish list for a long time, but I didn’t know too much about it, other than it was all bestselling book about prayer. But as I have been trying to improve my personal prayer life, I decided to give this book a shot. I had it read a little over 24 hours after it arrived on my doorstep. I found this book to be insightful and a completely different approach to prayer than I had encountered before. Although I will probably not use all the methods he outlines in the book, I am definitely interested in utilizing some of them in my personal prayer life. This has also made me interested in reading more books by Mark Batterson in the future, as well as other books on prayer. I that is something that all Christians should do to improve their relationship with the Lord. If you haven’t, then you should start today ~ Bethel
We are so often afraid to pray for our greatest dreams. We struggle to have the faith to believe that the Lord a come through for us. Sometimes, it’s because we misunderstand the way God answers prayers. This often results in us putting an all-powerful God in a tiny box, limiting what He can and can’t do, which in turn limits how far we will go when asking God for our greatest dreams. Yet, many of us know that there is more to prayer. We read stories of those whose prayers virtually moved mountains, but don’t know how to get there. It makes us ask the questions: How can we pray for our biggest dreams when we aren’t sure how God will answer?
In his bestselling book, The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson walks us through what it means to pray circle around our biggest dreams, which is often give us victory over our biggest fears. We learn the story about Honi the circle marker, a Israelite man of the intertestamental period that drew a circle around himself during a drought and resolving to stay in the circle until God sent rain to quench the dry land. Mark concludes that most of us struggle with our prayer lives is that we don’t pray through – praying until we get to the miracle or the answer. Encouraging us through the example of Honi, as well as Elijah the prophet and the Israelites that marked around Jericho, we are encouraged to define our own prayer circles. The first circle is to dream big, realizing that God can handle our dreams, even when they seem insurmountable. The second circle is to pray hard, fully believing that the dreams we have in line will God’s will can and will be answered. The last circle is to think long, praying and living our lives in light of what will matter into eternity. Through it all, it seems that when we pray through, although things don’t always work out the way we hope, we are often changed by our own prayers. This book is engaging, compelling, and inspiring. It’s an great resource on prayer that it’s no wonder it became a bestseller. Get your copy today!
Personal Rating. I had two small criticisms of the book: 1) Although I understood the heart of his message, I think some people could misinterpret his writings to support the belief that God is like Santa Claus - if you’re good and do everything you’re supposed to, then God will give you everything you pray for. Although he does refute that line of thinking in the book, I still fear that Christians that are not as strong in their faith could be lead astray if they misinterpret it. 2) The stories about his church plant became pretty repetitive and kind of disjointed by the end of the book. I have a harder time when authors tell stories in a circular narrative (jumping back and forward in time) rather than a linear fashion. Other than that, this is a book I was personally challenged or inspired by. If you haven’t read it, you should!