Monday, March 11, 2013

Everything by Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth speaks to the heart in her latest Christian living book, Everything. I have read Mary's autobiography, Thin Places and her book on spiritual warfare, The Beautiful Battle. Mary's voice is one that draws the reader to join her at the table of her life. She reveals her life as a follower of Christ in her struggles, her failures, and her fears. As she reveals her (sometimes) messy life, she is able to turn her stories into stories that speak into the reader's life.

Mary doesn't always have it together. She had a childhood that has wrought beauty in her life despite the fact that it was tumultuous and victimizing. Despite the things that could have kept her from the abundant life in Christ, Mary has continued to receive the grace of God for her past, her present, and her future. Mary seems to work through the circumstances life throws her way and finds that Jesus has provided for her at every turn.

For the mature Christian, this is not a deep theological book (although you find theology tucked into her writing here and there.) Still I think it is particularly important for those who have lived the Christ-life for years to read this great conversational processing of a life that has and is growing up in Christ. Mary's words are a call back to those who have made Christianity a title they tag to their identity. She reminds us that to follow Christ is to have a real and growing relationship with him that is vibrant and freeing.

Mary is a woman of words that come off the page as timely and practical. She is the friend that everyone needs speaking into their lives----someone who loves God and pursues Him with passion and grit.

Her Texas roots come through in her words. She writes with authority because she backs up her encouragement having lived out her admonitions in the ups and downs of her life---one that is embraced and cherished.

I loved Everything. I would recommend it as a read-through or a book to read chapter-by-chapter as you would a devotional, taking time to consider and journal Mary's questions at the end of the chapters. I intend to read it again and do just that!

I received this book free from Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson Publisher's blogger program. My review is my own opinion and I was not compelled to give a positive response to the book.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Unexpected Love

Julie Coleman's book, Unexpected Love, was an unexpected surprise for me. One reason is because I don't think the title reflected the main theme of the book. It would have better used as a subtitle. The other reason the book was an unexpected surprise is because I really didn't think I had much more to learn about some of the nine women that make up the "characters" of this book. The author wrote explaining with great insight, and from well-documented research their encounters with Jesus. Using the Scripture as her springboard, she took her own ideas about what happened in each encounter based on her study of commentaries and the Greek text to reveal the heart of Jesus toward women. As she points out all them different with one common need---the need of Jesus as their Savior.

I especially liked the insight and biblical history she gave when she wrote about the women brought to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery---where Jesus wrote in the sand and sent her away to "sin no more."

I did a read through of the book but there are questions at the end of each chapter that I think would be great for a book study or club. She provides, with the questions, Scripture references to look up and to dig deeper. I will say the further into the book I read, the better I understood what the author was teaching and I began to appreciate her study and her point of view more and more.

There is also the opportunity to apply what you have read about concerning Jesus' encounters with other women and the circumstances of their lives to those of the reader through a journaling prompt included at the end of each chapter.

Julie Coleman is a teacher at heart. I think she used her gift beautifully in her book. As a women's ministry leader, I see myself coming back to this book as a reference and a refresher on just how Jesus turned the world upside down for women in his encounter and relationships with them.

I reviewed this book for the Booksneeze bloggers program for Thomas Nelson. The book was given to me in e-format. My review expresses my own opinions and the positive review is not given in turn for receipt of the book.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yours Is The Day, Lord, ----Yours Is the Night
Compiled by: Jeanie and David Gushee

With full disclosure I will say have not read every prayer in this morning and evening prayer book since I am not reading it like a regular book. I have enjoyed the morning and evening prayers although I will admit that I read both the morning and evening prayer for the day at the same time. I am using the book daily as the it is intended and have been for several months.

This is a great collection of prayers. I don't believe in rote prayer but I do believe that prayers lifted by others continue to be a fragrance before the throne of God. No prayer goes unanswered. The prayers that Jeanie and David Gushee have collected are important prayers expressed from ages past to ages recent. Often they comfort me and are jumping off places for my own prayers. What a privilege to be able to speak from the heart to Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, to have taken on the privilege as one saved by the gospel of Christ to be one of the priests in the great Kingdom of God.

An aside: this is a light-weight book for it's size (almost 400 pages). I think it would be a good gift for the elderly who might be unable to hold a heavy book. And although the print is not large, it is a quite nice size font for easy reading in even dim light.

I received this book from Booksneeze bloggers program by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The positive review is my own and I was not compensated for it.