Redeeming Money: How God Reveals and Reorients Our Hearts by Paul David Tripp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Once again, Paul Tripp has written a convicting and compelling book. In dealing with the topic of money, we often look to budgets and financial management to help us properly deal with our money. But in this book, Dr. Tripp challenges that with the point that when it comes to money, we must first deal with our hearts. We all have a worldview, and this affects how we approach money. Our hearts were made to worship and if they do not worship the Creator, they will worship the creation. How we spend our money is a reflection of our hearts and what we worship.
“If the eyes of your heart are focused on how God has provided for you way beyond anything you deserve, so that you are filled with humble gratitude and wonder, then your thoughts won’t be captured by all the things you don’t have. If you are persuaded that no one knows better what you need than the Lord and that he has been faithful in meeting those needs, then you don’t look toward the world with a needy and craving heart.”
This book contains a lot of convicting truths about the state of our hearts and what is behind our need to accumulate wealth and material possessions. “It is the direction set by the little, everyday choices that determines how we respond and what we do in the grand, significant moments of our lives.”
I definitely recommend reading this book. It’s not long and packs some powerful truths behind our use of money. “Everyone’s heart is mastered by something, and what masters your heart will shape your thoughts, desires, choices, words, actions, and emotions.” Truth to remember in every area of our lives.
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.
Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life: Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire by Jason C. Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fantastic book on the life and teachings of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I’m now looking forward to reading some of his books, which are actually originally from his sermons. This book is set up in a very straight-forward manner with a logical flow. Lloyd-Jones is known for the phrase “logic on fire” and this book does an excellent job of flowing logically. Doctrine was crucial for Lloyd-Jones and the book gives us an overview of his various doctrinal teachings, including God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith and love (living out the Christian life), and church. From this book I got the impression that Lloyd-Jones was methodical and precise. He put forth the problem and the prescription for that problem. One of the chapters goes through to summarize his book on spiritual depression.
I would highly recommend this book, not just to better understand “the Doctor”, but as encouragement in spiritual growth. Very practical teachings are woven through the book.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.
Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ by Michael Reeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Spurgeon is well known today as a great preacher. This book takes a closer look at his teachings and what his passion was. And his passion was for proclaiming Christ. With tidbits about his life, the main thrust of this book was showing Spurgeon’s desire to make Christ known. It also touched on Spurgeon’s struggle with depression and how this made him more compassionate to others who were suffering.
Laced throughout the book are quotes of Spurgeon to highlight what he believed and taught. He set forth the cross of Christ – “And it is especially the love of God shown in the cross that turns and transforms the hearts of sinners. In the horrifying torture and crucifixion of Jesus we see the highest proof of the highest love. His bleeding makes our hearts bleed, and his shame makes us ashamed. In the cross we see a divine disgust at sin that makes sin appalling in our eyes too. But further, through the cross we see a love so livid that it pierces our apathy and overwhelms our desire for other things.”
“At the cross our pride and sinfulness are mortified, our self-deifying efforts are damned, our wandering hearts exposed, and the beauty of Christ in his humility and holiness are held before us. There is best displayed the love of Christ, which is ‘the transfiguring power in the hand of the Holy Spirit.’ There the glory of God shines brightest in all its transforming power.”
“Sanctification is an essentially Christ-centered matter of turning away from other things to him who conforms us into his own glory.”
For those who are familiar with Spurgeon and his preaching and writings, this gem of a book provides a summary of what he taught. For those unfamiliar with Spurgeon, this book will give a glimpse into who he was, what he believed, and what his ministry focused on. I recommend it!
*I received a copy of this Kindle book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.
Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality by Nancy R. Pearcey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We live in a changing world. And the worldview with which we live in this world affects all that we do. In this excellent book by Nancy Pearcey, she describes how the postmodern worldview is dualistic and thus has made the body insignificant and unworthy. As a result, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgenderism, and the break-up of the family are being applauded and sought. First, she describes the upper and lower story view of the body which has created the mind and values has being valuable (the upper story) and the body and matter as not having any value (lower story). Because of this low view of the body, anything goes. Biological facts no longer matter in what gender someone is. Personhood becomes a subjective matter and what determines value, not being a human. In contrast, the biblical worldview looks at the body as being important and integral with the mind. The totality of the person – body and mind – matters. Through the various chapters of this book, she tackles the secular worldview that is leading to the changes around us and contrasts it with the biblical worldview.
In order to better understand why people think abortion or euthanasia is okay, or what lies behind the push for removing gender from biology, this book shows how the postmodern worldview has led to this way of thinking. The challenge for those of us who hold to the biblical worldview is to compassionately show how this other worldview denigrates the body rather than freeing it.
Highly recommended, though a bit philosophical in parts, this book is needed for navigating our current cultural climate.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher Baker Books through Netgalley.com free in exchange for my review.
Lies Young Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just as the book Lies Women Believe is being revised and updated, so also this one geared toward teen girls is being revised and updated. Overall, this was a good read and packs a good punch, not holding back on some of the ways our culture lies to us about what is true and meaningful. In this day and age it is especially hard for young people to battle against the lies of beauty, friendship, and sex. This book tells it straight – what the lies are that young women are believing, and what the Bible tells us about these lies and how we can counter them with the truth of Scripture.
A minor thing, I found that the verse Ephesians 5:21 was used to talk about submitting to God-given authority, however, that is not what the verse is talking about in context: “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Though it is true that we are to submit to God-given authority, that verse is not the one that should be used to teach that truth.
I would recommend this as a good read for moms and daughters to do together, or a youth group book club read. The book emphasizes the need for young women to be in God’s Word and know His truth, so they can combat the lies they encounter every day in this world.
*I received a copy of this book on Kindle through Netgalley from the publisher Moody in exchange for my review.
Several years ago, my mom, sister and I went through the book Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and the corresponding workbook Walking in the Truth. Later I summarized the book and my thoughts in a series of blog posts that can be seen here. I was interested in reading the updated version and was glad to obtain a copy on Kindle for review through Netgalley. The updated edition will be coming out in January 2018 and includes a new chapter on lies women believe about sexuality.
The book starts off with a reminder of how we get caught up in lies and that we must recognize these lies and replace them with the truth from God’s Word. Each chapter deals with specific lies that we often believe (even if we wouldn’t actually say it) and how God’s Word contradicts those lies. At the end of the chapter the lies are summarized along with the truth and Scripture references to combat the lies. What we believe affects how we live, and if we are believing lies about ourselves, God, marriage, etc. we will not be living in freedom.
While not every woman struggles with every lie in this book, we all struggle with some of them. This is a great resource to point us back to God’s Word to be the source of what we believe. This would be a helpful book to go through with other women, to gently correct and encourage each other to be grounded in the truth of God’s Word and not give in to the lies that subtly sneak their way into our lives in this world of sin that we live in.
*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle through Netgalley from the publisher Moody in exchange for my review.
Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish by Christina Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Friendship is something that many of us struggle with. We long for it, yet often find ourselves on the outside, wondering what it takes to have the closeness we see others experiencing. In this book, the author particularly addresses the area of friendships for women in the church. For Christian women, friendship goes beyond merely being friends, but having a bond and unity in Christ that makes us a family. She uses the example of the Trinity as an example of perfect community – three persons in one – experiencing perfect unity and community. Because we are made in God’s image, we have been made to experience community with one another. But because of sin, that community has become broken and does not often meet the desires that we have for it.
After explaining the theology behind Biblical friendships and the unity we have as believers in Christ, the author then takes us into practical ways that we can serve and encourage each other and thus grow in our friendships. Community takes work and she talks about some of the downfalls that we often experience. Loss of friendships whether through moving, changes of the season of life, or conflict, all contribute to our loneliness and longing for community. In the last section of the book, the author addresses ways that friendships can be destroyed through gossip or even idolizing our friends and placing unrealistic expectations on them.
Developing friendships such as the author describes requires effort on our part. Not everyone at our church will become a close friend. But rather than waiting for others to come to us, we need to reach out in service to our sisters in Christ. While we wait for friendships to develop, we also remember that ultimately Christ is our true Friend, One who never lets us down or leaves us.
I recommend this book, whether friendship is a struggle for you or not. It is a good reminder of what friendships should strive to be and Who ultimately is the Friend we all long for.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher Christian Focus in exchange for my review.
True Feelings: God’s Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions by Carolyn Mahaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Often we look at our emotions and view them as bad. Yet emotions themselves are not bad, rather how we use them. Learning to recognize and control our emotions is a battle we all face. In this book, the authors provide some practical steps to better understand our emotions and learn to use them in a God-honoring way rather than in sinful patterns.
Emotions “tell us what we believe and value. We should listen to what they are telling us and evaluate our emotions in light of Scripture. Emotions also move. We should not try to deny their persuading power, but instead allow them to drive us to God.” When our emotions manifest themselves, we should evaluate what that particular emotion is revealing about what we believe and value. For example, anger at being cut off in traffic reveals that we value our safety. Or it may reveal that we want to be in control and have our drive go smoothly. Recognizing our underlying beliefs and values behind our emotions helps us to then respond according to what Scripture teaches rather than turning to a sinful response. If the beliefs or values that an emotion reveals is not Biblical, that emotion is an indication that we need to change our belief or value so that it lines up with Scripture.
This book provides great information for us to evaluate our emotions Biblically and some practical steps for moving forward. If you struggle with your emotions, this is a good read to provide hope and encouragement.
*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher Crossway through Netgalley in exchange for my review.
Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne A. Mack
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I don’t know if I read this book years ago or not. Most of it seemed pretty familiar, but that could be due to the reading I’ve done regarding anger management and biblical counseling. Very simple and succinct, if you are not familiar with how biblical counseling addresses anger, this book is a good overview of recognizing anger, whether anger is sinful, and how to respond to it. We often get angry because of wrong expectations or a perceived violation of our “rights”. There are quite a few application questions throughout the book to ask ourselves so that we can properly deal with our anger.
The second half of the book deals with stress and how we cope with stress. A reminder is given of God’s sovereignty and how remembering that helps us in coping with the trials we face.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the book, but I don’t know if that was because I was already familiar with the material. It was a quick, easy read.
*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my review.
How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets by Peter J. Gentry
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
This is a short, succinct book on the genre of prophecy and how this Hebrew literature was written. In our Western mindset, we often don’t properly read and understand Hebrew prophecy, as it was written in a style that we are not accustomed to. Peter Gentry takes us through the characteristics of Hebrew prophecy and how to better understand it. He uses multiple examples, particularly in Isaiah, to show the style and genre and demonstrate how this would have been understood to the original readers. As I’m currently studying Isaiah, I found this helpful to better understand what I am reading. There are charts throughout the book to demonstrate the chiastic structure that is common in Hebrew literature. We are not properly understanding the Bible if we don’t understand it the way the original readers understood its meaning. This book is a helpful resource to better understand the genre and structure of the biblical prophets so we can better grasp the original readers’ understanding of the text.
*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.