Strong Brave Loved

About the Book

You want to be a woman who looks life in the face and says, “You can’t beat me.” A woman who knows love is a risk and reaches out anyways. A woman who understands kindness takes real courage. Who doesn’t fake it or try to hide her scars. Who fights to believe she is who God says she is and helps others do the same.

In Strong, Brave, Loved, bestselling author Holly Gerth offers you sixty short devotions to empower you to be that kind of woman. It’s simple, personal, and practical, with room for you to journal your own responses and reflections as you learn to live in freedom, hope, and holy courage.

My Thoughts

THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL!!! The gold is just gorgeous with the red flowers. I know we shouldn’t judge books by their cover but how can you not when it’s that gorgeous. It’s simple and feminine and just excellently designed. Then you open the book and the “devotionals” are so good too! Now I put devotionals in quotes because they’re not full devotionals in my mind. They’re more encouragement with a little scripture and a prayer thrown in with each passage. I don’t know if I would type this book as a devotional. That said, I love the writing. It’s encouraging. It’s motivating. It’s empowering. I love it. It’s very practical, which is awesome. And it’s relevant. The topics covered are ones women today are hit with from all sides. The questions at the end of each passage are great for reflection and processing where you can apply what you just read to your own life. I found many things I wanted to underline. Many moments where I found myself saying, “YES!” “I need this!” One of my favorite lines came in passage Sixteen. It says, “What we really need from each other is not a pared-down version of ourselves that’s been polished and carefully presented. We need to be true to who we are, to show up as is, because that’s the only way we actually feel less alone.” I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s great. Pick it up and read it often. Your life will be better for it. I received a copy of this book from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about the author visit her website https://holleygerth.com/

back roads to belonging

About the Book

At one time or another, shifting seasons in family, friendships, employment, and communities will bring each of us face-to-face with the feeling of being on the outside looking in. Because we are made for connection, this will often lead us down one of two roads. Either we will hop on the popular but crowded highway that asks us to do whatever it takes to get noticed or we’ll stand still, paralyzed by the fear that we’re not important, lovable, or worth other people’s time and attention.

But there is another way — the back road to belonging — and Kristen Strong is ready to walk it with you. With compassion and encouragement, she shows you how to remain in Christ and relax into the unique role God has for you. Along the way, you will learn simple, doable actions that will not only help you know that you belong but welcome others in as well.

My Thoughts

I was drawn to the tag line of this book: “Unexpected paths to finding your place and your people.” I wasn’t sure what I expected to find inside but I liked the wording. Sometimes the strangest things catch your eye and intrigue you. The best part of this book was how relational the author is. She tells her story. I feel like I know so much about her. It’s like we sat together for hours, her telling her story, and me listening in with a cup of coffee in my hand getting cold as I listened. She makes some great points throughout the book. Real life things that anyone can do to help them find their path towards where they belong. Ms. Strong’s story is a great example for this book. I cannot imagine a life as a military family having to move all the time. But even though that’s not my life, I know what it’s like to feel like I don’t belong. So these principles are applicable to anyone.

I did struggle a bit with how much story there is. The scripture content was rather low in my opinion. There was a lot of talk of scripture though which is nice but I want more meat. I feel like the content got clouded a bit by all the stories. I felt like the stories jumped around a lot and I had trouble picking through the stories for the message. The book could have been much shorter and packed a bigger punch.

I gave this book 3 stars. I received a copy from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

the Next Right Thing

This is the best book I’ve read all year.

I set high reading goals for myself… I read a lot. So to say a book is the best one I’ve read all year is pretty significant. This is one of those books that you need to recover from. By recover I mean change the way you function in life after reading it. It’s impossible to leave this book and not feel different. It put words on things I couldn’t articulate. It felt hard at times. It felt funny at times. It was eye opening.

The goal of the book is to help you create space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right things. This goes right along with my word for the year:

Together

I got this word from Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” I started the year wanting to walk together with God, not running ahead, and to live in intentional Christlike community together with others. I wanted 2019 to be a year of community. A year of together. And this book goes right along with that theme and has helped me align myself more with the Lord.

One of the ways the book helps guide the reader towards creating space for our souls to breathe is to name the unnamed things. This is hard for me. I have a hard time putting a word on it. My go to is to push the unnamed things into a box and store them for later. But later that box comes tumbling down and all the contents fall out in a heap and cause chaos. This book encouraged me to spend time with the Lord to name the unnamed things so that I can process and deal with them instead of numbing out and pushing them aside til later.

The book also encourages the reader to seek out others. Live in community! God created us for community and we need each other.

The short chapters hook together like rings on a chain. As you continue to read through the book they build on each other. Each chapter ends with A Prayer and A Practice. The first time through the book I just read through these parts. I didn’t spend much time in reflection. My plan is to reread this book and go slowly, taking time to reflect on the questions and further ingest the material. This is definitely a book you read and reread. Work through it slowly so you can experience the great benefit of personal reflection.

The author writes with great clarity. She gives her stories freely but not in a condescending or trite way. She offers her experience as an example, giving God the glory for conforming her and teaching her. The reader can see how her life has been changed and that is so encouraging. Her voice is easy to “listen” to. As soon as I saw her reference Ruth Haley Barton I knew this was an author I would follow! Love Emily Freeman’s podcast as well. Don’t miss this book. It’s life changing.

I gave this book 5 stars!

For more information visit Emily P. Freeman’s website at https://emilypfreeman.com/

One of my favorite of her podcasts is titled “4: A Beginners Guide to Self-Reflection” and can be found here https://emilypfreeman.com/podcast/the-next-right-thing/84/

I received a copy of this book from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Basics for Believers

The Core of Christian Faith & Life
A Study of Philippians
By D.A. Carson

My Thoughts

Wonderfully insightful and applicable, this book will help the new Christian and the seasoned Christian understand the basics. There’s always something new to learn. I love the personable feel of this book. The author is sometimes blunt and to the point but it’s such an effective way to communicate the message. It is easy to read, understand and apply the lessons. The book of Philippians came alive to me in a new way.

The book is divided into 5 sections:
1. Put the Gospel first.
2. Focus on the Cross
3. Adopt Jesus’s Death as a Test of your Outlook
4. Emulate Worthy Christian Leaders
5. Never Give up the Christian Walk.

I was encouraged and challenged throughout this book. It is definitely one I will go back to in the future.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Whispers and Wildflowers

30 Days to Slow Your Pace,
Savor Scripture
& Draw Closer to God

By Sarah Beth Marr

About the Book

Do you feel constantly busy but, deep down, constantly soul-weary? In this inspiring and practical book, Sarah Beth Marr helps you develop a regular practice of withdrawing from busyness to realign and refresh your heart, mind and soul.

If you feel distracted, burnt out, depleted, or overwhelmed, let Sarah Beth be your gentle and uplifting guide to greater personal peace and simplicity.

My Thoughts

My very first thought was, “This book is gorgeous!” Isn’t the cover just beautiful. I was so attracted to the book because of the cover. Then I opened it and found beautiful biblically based devotionals that were both encouraging and challenging. Sarah Beth draws from scripture, her personal life experiences, others’ experiences etc to weave a beautiful text that is easy to read and understand. I found myself wanting to spend time quietly with the Lord and let him into the garden of my heart. The prayers are great and the reflection questions are perfectly paired with the devotionals. They help the reader connect with the Lord on an intimate level. I did feel the devotionals were a little long. They could have been shortened a bit and not lose any effectiveness. Other than that I loved this book.

I received a copy from the publisher. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about the author, visit her website at http://sarahbethmarr.com/ or her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sarahbethmarr/

Praying God’s Will for Your Life

My Thoughts

Starting from “the most important step you’ll ever take” (p15), salvation, on to laying a firm foundation and into applying prayer to our walk with the Lord, this book takes the reader through why and how we should pray. The author uses personal examples, tons of scripture, and written prayers throughout the book. The personal content is applicable and relatable. I feel like there is a good balance of commentary, personal narrative and scripture. The chapters are broken up into good digestible chunks. It’s not too much to process all at once. I love this book. I like how you can read one chapter and put it down for a week and then pick it back up and read a little more, apply it to your life and be forever changed. It’s a powerful tool for a new believer, a growing believer or even a seasoned believer! This book will remain on my frequently picked up shelf.

I received a copy of this book from Booklookblogger program. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Book Description

Now with bonus journaling space! A twenty-day prayerful walk to spiritual well-being from the author of the bestsellers The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent.

Praying God’s Will for Your Life is not a book about finding the right person to marry or deciding on a career. It is a book about a way of life and a heart attitude that are God’s will for everyone who knows Him. That way of life encompasses three important components:

An intimate relationship with God
A solid foundation in God’s truth
A commitment to obedience

As she has in previous bestselling books—The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent—Stormie invites you to discover the power of prayer, this time encouraging you to pray for yourself as you deepen your walk with God. Accept her challenge to pray for yourself in these areas every day for twenty days, and watch how God changes your life as you move into the center of His will. As you experience the power of God’s will in your daily faith journey, take advantage of the bonus Prayer Journal, which offers Stormie’s own words of encouragement and plenty of space for reflection and listing prayer requests and answered prayers.

Holy Roar

My Thoughts

“…the question isn’t what sort of worship makes you comfortable or will meet your need, but “What kind of worship does God call for?” (page 114) If I’m throwing a party for a friend, I want it to represent her. I don’t want it to represent me. I wouldn’t have all my favorite foods there. I would have her favorite foods. When I’m worshipping the Lord, it’s not about my preferences of what, why and how, but God’s! God instructs us in the Bible how he wants to be worshipped. This book highlights 7 of those specifics:

The Hands of Praise
The Fools of Praise
The Music of Praise
The Expectation of Praise
The Posture of Praise
The Songs of Praise
The Shout of Praise

What a simple book about how God wants us to worship. It’s not at all what we want or our preferences. We need to learn what God wants and do that. This book helps every reader, the new Christian, the teenager or preteen, the seasoned Christian and everyone in between, understand the words for praise used in the Bible and what they tell us about how God desires to be worshipped.
The simplicity of the book makes it powerful. It’s not super deeply theological. It’s easy to understand and super applicable. I learned so much reading this book. It’s a quick read too that packs a punch. I love the stories behind the songs that are included. It gives the songs so much more life to know where they came from. The scriptures are pointed and well chosen. The questions at the end of each chapter help the reader process the current state of their worship and help push them towards worshipping the way God calls us to. 

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.

Indivisible

Indivisible by Robert Noland

Indivisible is a book of 50 devotionals for couples on various topics geared towards strengthening marriage. Each day starts with a verse, a devotional, a “Creating Connection” section, and ends with questions for couples to discuss together. I loved the Creating Connection section. It was something to do. Go on a date, ideas for creating connection in various ways, challenges, fun school day love ideas like writing your names all over the place with ‘n’ between, etc. They are so helpful to apply what you read in the devotional. Everything is based on scripture and encourages building a God centered marriage. This book is great for newlyweds, couples who are 10, 20, 30 years in, as well as couples married for 40, 50+ years. It’s for everyone. The devotionals don’t take long to read through and the questions at the end can go as deep/lengthy as you like. The topics cover a variety of bases and are well thought out and well written. They are relational and easy to read and understand. I love this book! I think you will too. Check it out!

I received a copy of this book from Booklookblogger program. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

When We Say Father: Unlocking the Power of the Lord’s Prayer

When We Say Father:
Unlocking the Power of the Lord’s Prayer

By Adrian Rogers & Steve Rogers

My Thoughts

Slowly and carefully, this book wades through the Lord’s prayer. Line by line. Explaining and applying every word. The book is a small quick read but packs a punch. It goes through each section covering: The Person of Prayer, The Priority of Prayer, The Provision of Prayer, The Pardon of Prayer, The Protection of Prayer, The Praise of Prayer, and the Promise of Prayer. Every page focuses on scripture. It explains it in such a way that even a new believer can understand but a mature believer can grasp new things and understand the Bible better. There are practical examples and situations presented that help the reader further understand the text. I learned a lot through this book. The best thing the book does is that it encourages application! It’s no good to simply know about prayer if we don’t practice. This is a great little book. I encourage you to pick it up today!

I received a copy of this book as a BH Blogger. I was in no way required to write a review. Nor has this influenced my review in any way. All thoughts are my own.

*Affiliate links included. I receive a few cents from purchases made through these links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog. 

Silencing Insecurity

Silencing Insecurity
By Donna Gibbs

Everyone struggles with insecurity… but everyone deals with it differently. If I don’t have my beliefs solidly planted in God’s truth I just might find myself free falling off the cliff of defeat, discouragement, and demise. Silencing Insecurity by Donna Gibbs is a great resource. The book moves from Part 1 about Identifying identity thieves to Part 2 which dives deeper into the different things that can cause identity questions and then on further to Part 3 which covers how we can look to God for our security and for defeat of our identity thieves. Each section has an intro which gives the reader a great summation of what they will be learning in that section. I feel like when I am done reading this section I will know all these things… and that is a great addition to this book! Each section finishes with some questions. They start off more focused on past and present thoughts and I wished they would have extended more into application but I found that the questions in Part 2 and 3 were more of those type. There is a great balance of scripture, commentary, personal experience, and the experience of others in this book! I think that is one of the greatest things about it. It’s not condemning at all. I loved the material in Part 3 and the questions were well thought out and very helpful for self-reflection and application of the material. I struggled a little bit with the layout of the book. I kind of wished the 3 sections were mashed together a little bit more so I didn’t have to wait til Part 3 to get to that material. This is just my personal preference though and not something I want to get nitty gritty about. Overall the material is great and pushes the reader towards Christ! The book might be considered geared towards young adults but anyone can read it and glean valuable insights.

I received a copy of this book from Revell. This has in no way influenced my review. I was under no compulsion to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

*Contains Affiliate links. I receive a few cents for purchases made through these links at no cost to you.