make it happen |review

Allow me to introduce you to my new favorite book:

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This book was recommended by a friend on Instagram and, I have to admit, the cover was so beautiful, I had to check it out on Amazon.  Then the subtitle pulled me in further – Surrender your fear. Take the leap. Live on purpose? Me, me, me!  I want to read that! That book is for me!  Needless to say, as soon as I had a new Audible credit, I downloaded it.  Man, am I glad I did!

Make it Happen by Lara Casey

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

Have you ever felt scared about pursuing a more purposeful life?  You’re stuck in the routine grind of work or you’re not sure what’s going to happen after graduation.  There are dreams tugging at your heart but you know that if you took that leap, you’d be free falling and you’re not sure how you’d handle the great unknown.  If you’re like me and you have doubts about your place in this thing called life then this book is for you.

Lara Casey tells her story.  The highs and lows.  The details she’d rather not remember much less see in print.  And it’s not that her story is anymore remarkable than anyone else’s but what drew me in was her honesty and the candid truth that God created each of us with a specific purpose.  The journey can get messy and scary sometimes but He still wants the best for us despite our not-so-good choices.

What also drew me in was her invitation to practical application.  I like practical books.  I don’t just like to know someone’s story, I want the manual that comes with the story and tells me how to make the successes work for me.  I want lists and bullet points, writing prompts and inspiring new ideas.  This book as it.  And that’s why it’s my new favorite.

I can’t recommend this book more highly.  It was soooooooooooo…ooo good!  If you don’t go to Amazon.com right now and order it, at least go to Lara Casey’s website and check out all her cool resources!  You’ll be glad you did :)

Stop chasing the world’s version of perfect and live on purpose for God.

Happy reading y’all!

This book counts towards the following challenges:

 

what are you waiting for? | book review

So I’m going through the list of reviews I have waiting for me to write and I realized I had one more in the little series I was doing on books about singleness and purity a few months ago! Here we go with another fantastic read by Dannah Gresh!!

whatareyouwaitingforWhat Are You Waiting For? The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex by Dannah Gresh

Rating: 4.0 – 40

In my review of And the Bride Wore White I mentioned that it is geared more for the high school aged girl.  Well, What Are You Waiting For? is where it picks up for the ladies in the college years and beyond.  Once again, Gresh, with her honesty and openness, superbly addresses sex and what the big deal is about waiting for it.

Sex is a sensitive, intimate topic but, nevertheless, needs to be discussed.  Gresh doesn’t mince words – she’s straightforward and to the point about the struggles, challenges and addictions that so many in the church find themselves grappling with.  Intimacy is more than physical – it’s emotional and spiritual and God designed it to be an incredibly awesome experience. Unfortunately, the world has made a mess of this amazing gift and has left us confused, deluded and frustrated.  What does the Bible have to say about all this?  Gresh tackles all the tough questions, addressing them biblically and, in many cases, with scientific research to back it up.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re a single gal with questions about what the big deal is and want to know that one thing no one has ever told you about sex, read this book!!!  I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Happy reading, y’all!

Elyssa

praying for your future husband | book review

Hello Everyone!

As I said in my last post, I have several books on relationships, singleness and purity to review so I’m just going to pick it up with the next title I want to share with you.

10401427Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer 

Rating: 3.5 – 4.0

My Thoughts:  When we were in junior high and high school, my best friend and I read Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy Miller Series.  Not only were we captivated by the story, we were introduced to the intriguing notion of writing letters to your future husband.  A decade later, and I’m happy to say I’ve got a growing collection of letters of my own.  So when I saw this book, it didn’t surprise me at all that Gunn co-wrote a book on this subject.  I knew I had to read it and I’m so glad I did!

He’s not someone you really think about.  Your future husband, I’m mean. Yeah, you might dream of him, think about all the qualities you want him to have, all the characteristics that would make you tick if he possessed them.  You dream about how great life is going to be when you’re finally part of a couple.  And you know that looks shouldn’t matter but you pray that God would please give you someone you’re attracted to! These are all natural, of course, but when we’re single, we still don’t think about our future husbands as living breathing human beings who walk around working, playing, learning, struggling, laughing, and crying just like we are!  But he most certainly is.  Think about it, if marriage is in God’s plan for you, then your future mate is out there somewhere in the world.  Some minds have just been blown.  Or maybe you’re thinking, well, duh!  Okay, so what are you going to do about this piece of information?  Gunn and Goyer encourage us to pray for him.  Right now.  Even if you’ve still yet to meet him.

Proverbs 31 contains the beautiful Virtuous Woman passage and one of the things you find out about this wonderful lady is that she does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life (verse 12).  All the days of her life would include the days before she meets him, yeah?  Now that verse alone contains so much I could unpack but that’s a post for another time – staying on topic!  If being a virtuous woman means doing your husband good all the days of your life then why not pray for him?  I’ve come to the conclusion that it is, indeed, a beautiful thing!

The authors walk readers through different areas of life in which to pray for both your future husband and yourself.  They share personal accounts of their struggles and victories in their own love stories and offer advice and counsel on how to handle different life situations.  There are even discussion questions and places to journal throughout the chapters.

I personally found it a bit of a light read which is why I didn’t give it a 4.0 rating.  I felt like they could have gone a tad deeper in places.  But that doesn’t deter me from highly recommending this book to any single gal who wants to enhance her present single life in faith while holding on to sweet dreams of the future!

Happy reading!

Elyssa

Operation Deepen Faith 2014

I know I said in my previous post that I’m keeping my reading goals modest this year.  Yeeeah, well, I’ve kind of disregarded that already.  I’ve already pledged to read 100 titles this year instead of the 50 I tried for last year.  Notice I said ‘tried for‘ because I didn’t quite make it.  Almost, but not quite.  Is that going to stop me from the temptation of pledging to read 100 titles?  Pshh, ‘course not!  You can check out book reading pledges on GoodReads and 50 Book Pledge

But I’m starting off-topic.  Let’s get to the purpose of this post.  There is one more reading challenge I want to participate in and it deserves it’s own post.

OPERATION DEEPEN FAITH

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Hosted at Operation Actually Read Bible

I tried to read the whole Bible last year and didn’t finish (I’m noticing a trend in book reading failure :P).  I found this great challenge and decided to give it a go.  Here’s how it works:

I. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible using a Bible Plan

  • I’m going to be reading the Bible chronologically this time around.  I’ve chosen the Chronological Life Application Study Bible KJV. It’s on it’s way from Amazon now and will arrive on Saturday :). Sooooo excited to begin!!!

II. How Firm A Foundation. Goal: STUDY one book of the Bible throughout the year.

  • I’m not quite sure which book I’m going to choose yet… I’ll keep you posted!

III. Deep and Wide; Goal: read multiple books of the bible in multiple translations.

  • My pastor is doing a study on different Bible versions so this is perfect!  I’ll pick a few to go through specifically this year!

VI. Christian Nonfiction. 

  • My minimum goal will be to read at least 10 Christian nonfiction titles.  And they can be in any genre: spiritual growth, women’s interest, biography, etc.

I am super stoked about this challenge!! Check out the complete details for Operation Deepen Faith and peruse the whole website by clicking HERE.

Stay blessed and Happy Reading!!

the pilgrim’s progress | book review

I have a list of 13 books I’ve read over the past several months and failed to review and I’m chipping away one at a time.  The first title I need to get done is definitely The Pilgrim’s Progress.  

You may know that I hosted a read-along (my very first!) for this book this past summer. Well, I did a final check-in post but never got around to typing up my thoughts on the entire book!!  So here goes!

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The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Rating: 3.5 – 4.0

My thoughts:

First, it must be said that this book is not to be rushed through by any means.  If you’ve read it or attempted to read it, you know what I’m talking about!  This book is rich with imagery and meaning and depth.  It’s not just a classic, it is a religious book, period.  The spiritual themes cannot be ignored and a reader with a working knowledge of the Bible will understand the language and commentary.  It definitely deserves a re-read, only, next time, nice and slow!  My copy was great because it had notes, and Bible references in the margins which helped a lot!!  If you’re thinking of getting a hard copy, I highly recommend the Barnes & Noble version like the one pictured here.

There’s something special about reading something written by someone who believes in what they’re writing about.  Bunyan wrote this book from prison where he was incarcerated for preaching the Gospel.  It doesn’t get any more intense than that!

I’m not going to go through details of the book, I already did some of that in my check-ins:

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Final Check In

What I will say about the book is that as difficult as it was at times, it’s a beautiful read.  I think every Christian should read it at least once.  It makes you think and evaluate you’re own walk.  I’m very glad I included it on my TBR list this year and tackled it this summer!

This is also a good time to note that my dear friend, Jobe, from Jobe Reads, won the giveaway and I will be sending her a hard copy of  The Pilgrim’s Progress for her personal library!!

I’d love to here your thoughts about the book!  Did you participate in the summer read-along?  Have you read it in years past?  Or maybe it’s on you list and you haven’t gotten to it yet.  Leave a comment below!!

Happy reading, y’all!

when God writes your life story | book review

223366When God Writes Your Life Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy

Ratings: 4.0 – 4.0

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness I looooooooooooooved this book!  I mean, I’ve loved every book I’ve read by the Ludy’s but this was absolutely FABULOUS!!  And in the light of starting my new job and facing my last year of undergrad study, it was perfect timing.

Just as they always do, Eric and Leslie encourage counter-cultural, God glorifying, holiness-pursuing Christianity that defies all things ordinary and mediocre – and I love that!!  In this book they talk about Christians in the past who gave up all for Christ and in return, Jesus scripted extraordinarily adventurous lives for them.  While this often meant suffering and trials and struggles, it also meant peace and assurance that God’s hand was working in their lives and that their ministry was impacting others for the kingdom of heaven.

This is the stuff of Christianity.  And we so easily forget that it can be that way in our lives as well.  The adventure, the miracles, and the victories aren’t to be left in the past but continued into the present because God doesn’t change, the world’s need for Him hasn’t changed, and His commission for His followers has not changed.  God’s dreams for us are big and wonderful and, a lot of times, seemingly impractical or impossible. He calls us to live passionate, sold-out, abundant lives for His glory and for the benefit of those around us no matter the cost.

So what happened to our little-kid passion for achieving the impossible? When did we stop shooting for impossible goals and start aiming for realistic targets instead? As little kids, we dream of a bigger-than-life existence. But eventually we grow up. We lose our “oomph” to keep aiming high. We settle for everyday mediocrity. We stop trying to be heroic and finally accept being average.

As we grow up, the worlds tells us that aiming our lives at the impossible only leads to disappointment. Somewhere along the way, we are persuaded to loosen our grip on our dreams and pitch our tents in the land where everyday humans dwell.

If you’re feeling like your Christian walk is missing something, READ THIS BOOK!!

If you’re feeling comfortable in your Christian walk, READ THIS BOOK!!

If you profess to be a Christian at all, READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!

It was amazing and awesome and inspirational and honest and real and deep and I loved it so much!

Happy reading, y’all :)

the pursuit of holiness | book review

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges The_Pursuit_Of_Holiness_Ca_large

Ratings: 4.0 – 4.0

My Thoughts:

I got this audiobook as free download from Christian Audio awhile ago.  After having listened to it, I want to get a hard copy to go over what I missed and make marks and notes.

This was a fantastic look at holiness and how Christians should make the pursuit of holiness, not an activity to fit into daily life, but a lifestyle.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.

There’s this idea in modern Christendom that we’re human, we sin, that’s the way it is, and there’s nothing we can do about it.  That’s is hopeless theology right there.  Jesus died on the cross so that, through Him, we would have victory over sin.

What I like about this book is that, while Bridges was straight forward and real about holiness and sin, it didn’t feel preachy or holier-than-thou, or over bearing.  While the subject matter was serious, he was matter-of-fact and honest throughout the whole book.  His approach was also very practical, which I totally appreciate!  When reading a book or listening to a sermon, I look for the practical application.

“The Christian living in disobedience also lives devoid of joy and hope. But when he begins to understand that Christ has delivered him from the reign of sin, when he begins to see that he is united to Him who has all power and authority and that it is possible to walk in obedience, he begins to have hope, and as he hopes in Christ, he begins to have joy. In the strength of this joy, he begins to overcome the sins that have so easily entangle him. He then finds that the joy of a holy walk is infinitely more satisfying than the fleeting pleasures of sin. But to experience this joy, we must make some choices. We must choose to forsake sin, not only because it is defeating to us but because it grieves the heart of God.”

Bottom line, this book was deeeeeeeep!  And I totally recommend!  If you have the chance, I also recommend the audiobook, the narrator was easy to listen to and wasn’t super long.  And like I said in my Lies Women Believe review, approach it with an open mind and prayerful heart.  God has amazing desires for our lives and we should be pursuing Him and the things He loves with everything we are.

Happy reading :)

lies women believe | book review

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Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Rating: 4.0 – 4.0

My Thoughts:

I love this book!  I borrowed it from the library and read it and now I want to get a copy for my own personal library.  I was amused by the negative reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.  So many women found DeMoss too legalistic or conservative or uptight and unreasonable.  It’s true her position on many things is counter-cultural and even counter-Christian cultural but I believe her positions are biblical and, therefore, wise.

I didn’t really learn anything new but rather had some things confirmed or backed up.  I appreciate her honesty and warmth and assurance that God is in control and that He is deeply interested in the things that are important to women – our emotions, our struggles, our personalities, and our passions.  He created us with specific desires and gifts and dreams and has specific roles and responsibilities for us to carry out.  And we live in a world that is telling us different.  We live in a culture that totally disagrees and sells us a pack of lies about us, about God, and about His plan for our lives.  This is what DeMoss addresses in her book and I think she did it beautifully.

I totally recommend it and I encourage you to approach it with an open mind and prayerful heart and then share it with your girlfriends!

Happy reading, y’all :)

true woman 101: divine design review

I’m very much a book nerd, as this blog proves, but I’m also very much a girly girl.  Not in a high-maintenance kind of way, but in a I-like-dressing up-going-shopping-and-watching-Jane-Austen-flicks kind of way.  And I love books on biblical femininity and womanhood.  So when I saw this Bible study on biblical womanhood, I couldn’t wait to buy it!

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Mary Kassian & Nancy Leigh Demoss team up to teach women about what it means go after what God wants for women.  They start at the beginning and talk about God’s purpose for both men and women and why we were created differently and how those specifics are important when it comes to glorifying God.  From there, they go on to address how the beautiful framework of womanhood has been attacked by Satan and how cultural and societal lies have been accepted and woven into our thought processes.  It was extremely interesting and inspiring and I didn’t want it to end!

What’s also super great about this study, is that there is a companion website where you can visit and watch “table talk” videos for each lesson.  Here, authors Mary and Nancy, along with a panel of other women, discuss each chapter and how the lessons have impacted their lives.

This is a great study for women’s groups.  I highly, highly recommend it!  Married, single, it doesn’t matter.  There are so many different ideas and theories about what womanhood is and what femininity means.  This study answers a lot of questions about God’s design is for women and how beautiful His plans for us truly are!

To check out the book and additional resources, check out the website: http://www.truewoman101.com.

dug down deep//book review

Second review of the night.  I read The Power of a Praying Woman and Dug Down Deep last year and am only now taking time to type up my thoughts on them.  Let’s talk theology for a bit.

I got excited to read Joshua Harris’s Dug Down Deep when I first saw the book trailer.

I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meet’s Girl years ago and enjoyed them immensely so I was eager to get my hands on this book.  With everybody arguing back and forth and debating and discussing within and without the church, and the world telling you that truth is relative, that what’s true for you may not be true for me, it’s imperative that you not only know what you believe but why you believe it.  Harris challenges his readers to take a look at theology not as archaic and useless but as a means through which we can get to know the God of our faith better.  Knowing why you believe as you do, to be able to back it by the Word and be able to share and prove it to others will carry you further than just fluffy Christian lingo and a sit-down in a pew once a week.  Christianity is so much more than knowing a few great verses and singing feel good songs, it’s sacrifice and strength and knowledge of the Christ who loves with an everlasting love.  It’s studying the Bible and allowing it to speak to your heart and transform your life.  It’s building your life on the Rock of Ages and trusting completely in Him.

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While I grew up with a fairly solid grasp of Bible stories I didn’t have a clear idea of how the Bible fit together or what it was all about. I certainly didn’t understand how the exciting stories of the Old Testament connected to the rather less-exciting New Testament and the story of Jesus.

This concept of the Bible as a bunch of disconnected stories sprinkled with wise advice and capped off with the inspirational life of Jesus seems fairly common among Christians. That is so unfortunate because to see the Bible as one book with one author and all about one main character is to see it in its breathtaking beauty.

There were one or two theological points that I don’t quite with him on but on the whole, this is a great read and super inspiring and encouraging.  I really appreciate Harris’s writing style and look forward to reading some of his other books!  Has anyone read Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God?