Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Review: "The Passionate Mom" by Susan Merrill

Using the book of Nehemiah as inspiration for the material in this book, I was definitely excited to pick up this book. "The Passionate Mom:  Dare to Parent in Today's World" by Susan Merrill did not disappoint! The entire book is a treasure trove of fabulous principles that moms at all stages can implement to help parent confidently.

I loved the idea of creating a parenting book using the example of Nehemiah, a former cupbearer to the king of Babylon turned wall-builder for the city of Jerusalem. Just as Nehemiah's focus was on rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem for the protection of his people, Merrill likens the role of moms to be a wall builder for our families and our children. There are ten different "bricks" that we can use to build the wall for our kids, including perception, passion, prayer, planning, and preparation. She discusses each brick at length and includes some ideas for "mortar" that we can use to help hold those bricks firmly in place. She also includes a wonderful chapter about the different "gates" (opportunities for our children to be tested in independence) that we open and close as necessary. That chapter includes a number of Scripture prayers that moms can pray as we begin to open those gates. At the end of the book, she includes a number of resources which can be found on her website, iMOM.

Overall, this was a fantastic book that is well suited for moms at all stages. This would be a great book to go through as a women's Bible study or a book club. There are so many wonderful application points that discussion would really be helpful to fully process all that you learn through this book.

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Review: "Humble Orthodoxy" by Joshua Harris

The final chapter of Joshua Harris's last book, "Dug Down Deep", was entitled "Humble Orthodoxy". People loved that particular chapter so much that they expressed their desire that he write an entire book about the concept. Thus, the book "Humble Orthodoxy" was born. Taking the main points from the chapter of the same name and expanding on them, this short book (only 61 pages plus a study guide) is full of necessary and relevant truths that deserve to be discussed and wrestled with.

Since the word "orthodoxy" tends to be misunderstood, Harris starts off with a definition:  "The word orthodoxy refers to right thinking about God. It's about teaching and belief based on the established, proven, cherished truths of the faith. These are the truths that don't budge. They are the plumb line that shows us how to think straight in a crooked world" (p. 1-2). He then goes on to define humble orthodoxy as "we must care deeply about truth, and we must also defend and share this truth with compassion and humility" (p. 5). With those two definitions in mind, the reader is then ready to tackle the rest of the book.

Harris points out over and over that truth matters. Doctrine matters. But we need to allow the truth of God's word to shape and influence our lives first and foremost. We need to allow the gospel of grace to impact us so that we can go out and impact others. "...while we shouldn't be mean and spiteful in representing biblical truth, neither should we apologize for believing that God has been clear in his Word. The humility we need in our theology is first and foremost a humility before God" (p. 28-29).

This little book is so relevant for our time. Every believer should read this book, wrestle with the content of it, and allow the Holy Spirit to do a work. The study guide at the back of the book makes this book perfect to go through with a Bible study, book club, or even as an individual. The questions will really help take the material to the next level. Highly recommend this book!

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Waterbrook-Multnomah through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Review: "The Icecutter's Daughter" by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is my favorite Christian fiction author, and her latest historical novel, "The Icecutter's Daughter" does not disappoint. Set in Waseca, Minnesota in the winter of 1895-1896, the story focuses on Merrill Krause and Rurik Jorgenson. Merrill lives on a Belgian horse farm with her father and four brothers where they earn a living harvesting ice, logging, and freighting. Rurik moved to Minnesota from Kansas to assist his uncle with his furniture business.

Prior to moving, Rurik and his fiancee dissolve their engagement. Their fathers arranged the match, and while Rurik desires to honor his deceased father's wishes, he can no longer hide that he simply does not love Svea Olsson the way that a husband should love his wife. A chance encounter brings Rurik and Merrill together and over the course of the next several months, they fall in love and begin to make tentative plans. The future is quickly put on hold when Svea and her older brother (and Rurik's best friend), Nils, show up, demanding that Rurik marry Svea. Scandal ensues and time begins to run out as they wait for truth to emerge. Will they ultimately learn to fully trust God in what appears to be a pretty dismal situation?

I found this to be a wonderful story. The characters were rich and well developed. The plot was well thought out and had enough twists and turns to remain engaging the entire length of the novel. The end wraps up nicely with a wonderful subplot of forgiveness and redemption. This is a great first novel in the "Land of Shining Waters" series. I look forward to the next book that Peterson has in store for us!

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

A Review: "The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson

"The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson completes the "Lifegiving" trilogy that also includes "The Lifeg...