Mission Possible One-Year Devotional by Tim Tebow–Book Review

One of the things that has helped me to grow in my Christian life was discovering and living my personal mission, or vision. In this devotional, Tim Tebow guides the reader through the steps of finding your purpose in life and moving forward in that purpose. Some topics covered include:

  1. Identifying your priorities
  2. Making wise choices
  3. Harnessing your passion
  4. Aligning your will with God’s will

Each short, daily reading includes a Bible verse, short devotion, and a question or comment that could be used for discussion or journaling.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. Biblically based and practical!

For more reviews of devotionals see these posts:

Luke: Stories of Mission and Mercy by David Murray–Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review

On-The-Go Devotional by Leslie Hudson — Book Review

A Calendar of wisdom by Leo Tolstoy

This book was mentioned in another book I read recently about Russian literature. Since I enjoy quotes, I was eager to check it out. It is Tolstoy’s last major work, and the one he considered his most important contribution to humanity. It was his own favorite book which he reread over and over.

The entries are dated, one for each day of the year, so it can easily be used as part of your daily devotional reading (that’s what I’ve been doing). Each day lists a series of quotes and thoughts, some written by Tolstoy, some from the Bible, others from great philosophers and thinkers. Not all of the entries are Christian. The quotes for the day all have a common theme.

VERDICT: 3 STARS

For more book reviews see these posts:

Reactivity by Paul David Tripp–Book Review

The Dawning of Redemption by Ian J. Vaillancourt –Book Review

The Gates of Hell by Matthew Heise–Book Review

Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa Terkeurst–Book Review

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who seemed to be demanding more than you could give? Have you felt drained emotionally when dealing with someone you love who is behaving in ways that are destructive to you? Most of us have been there in one way or another. In this book, Lysa Terkeurst takes a hard look at the need to set boundaries when this happens. This isn’t always easy for Christians. We’ve been taught to put the needs of others first, to forgive and to pursue humility. At times others may even use these high ideals to manipulate and confuse us. A careful reading of Scripture teaches that abuse is never acceptable, forgiveness can occur without reconciliation, and it is not wrong to put limits on what we can do to save a relationship.

At the end of each chapter there are some thoughts from a trained counselor, a summary of important points to remember and a prayer. There is also a section at the end of the book which lists pertinent Bible verses, how they have sometimes been misinterpreted, what they actually mean, and how to respond if someone misuses them in order to tear down the boundaries you have established.

Ms. Terkeurst is quick to say that her book does not replace counseling, which may be needed in some cases. She also shares some resources for locating a Christian counselor.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. This is a difficult subject and the author approaches in in a completely Biblical fashion.

For more books by Lysa Terkeurst see:

Win or Lose I Love You! by Lysa Terkeurst

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst–Book Review

How Much is a Little Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander–Book Review

Author Rachael Denhollander is a survivor of sexual abuse. (If you would like to read more about her story follow this link: What is a Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander–Book Review) The decision to come forward with her complaint was difficult, but she wanted to protect others from in similar circumstances. After asking herself over and over, “how much is a girl worth?” she wrote a poem to answer the question. The message is simple: every little girl is valuable, not because of what she does, but because of who she is –the beloved child and image-bearer of the One Who created her. God loved each little girl so much that he was willing to sacrifice His own Son for her good.

The illustrations are lovely and depict girls of different races in a variety of environments. The Gospel message presented is simple and clear. If you have a daughter, you’ll want to read this one with her over and over. It’s probably best for children aged 5-8.

VERDICT: 5 STARS

For more books for children see these posts:

If I Were a Mouse by Karma Wilson–Book Review

Far Flutterby by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

How High is Heaven by Linsey Davis–Book Review

Unruly Saint by D.L. Mayfield–Book Review

If you would like to learn more about Dorothy Day, the woman who started the Catholic Worker movement, this short biography is a good place to start. As the author puts it, “She is a beautiful, complicated person. Just like all of us.”

Dorothy did not do anything halfway. In her early years she sympathized with communist and leftist causes and participated in demonstrations. Sometimes she was arrested. But God was calling her, and she could not deny the call. After her conversion, she remained a radical, and lived out her faith with the same commitment she had always given to her ideals of mercy and justice. She is best known for her newspaper, The Catholic Worker, and the houses of hospitality which she established.

This book focuses on Dorothy’s relationship and work with Peter Maurin, a French social activist and theologian. Together they accomplished things that neither would have done alone. He was a man of ideas, and Dorothy had the energy and practical know how to turn those ideas into action. They didn’t always agree but respected and accepted one another.

The author, at times, applies the lessons of Dorothy’s life to her own. As an ESOL teacher who has worked extensively with immigrants, Dorothy’s stance on social justice and poverty resonates deeply with her.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. An easy and informative read. Even if you disagree with some of Dorothy’s political views, you must admire her perseverance in living her faith in an authentic way.

For more about Dorothy Day see these posts:

Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day) edited by Robert Ellsberg –Book Review

Dorothy Day on Giving

A Quote by Dorothy Day

The Dawning of Redemption by Ian J. Vaillancourt –Book Review

This review was written by my husband, who is a retired Lutheran pastor

In this relatively short study the author, a Professor at Heritage Theological Seminary in Canada, seeks to open the eyes of Christian believers to the many places in the Pentateuch which foreshadow the coming of Jesus. It is sadly true that too many Christians ignore the Old Testament (except possibly the 23rd Psalm and parts of Isaiah) because they want to focus all their attention on the New, forgetting that when Paul speaks of the God-breathed nature of the Scriptures, he is talking about the front of the Bible, not the back.

Professor Vaillancourt wants to open the eyes of his readers to the “big picture” of Scripture by showing that it is necessary to understand how the sins of mankind required a Redeemer. However, redemption required preparation, and so we have the history of the first Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob given to the New Israel that we might see the unfolding of God’s plan.

This book would be useful for anyone who does not have an in depth understanding of the Pentateuch. There are also questions at the end of each chapter which would make it useful for confirmation classes or young adult classes.

VERDICT: 4 STARS.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. If you would like to purchase a copy, follow the link below:

https://www.crossway.org/books/the-dawning-of-redemption-tpb/

For more book reviews see these posts:

I’d Like You More if You Were More Like Me by John Ortberg–Book Review

Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas–Book Review

The Surprising Power of Joy by Roland Morton — Book Review

The Gates of Hell by Matthew Heise–Book Review

This book review was written by my husband who is a pastor, and a church history buff.

The 20th century was rife with totalitarian brutality. We need think only of Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin to see how technology made it possible for violent leaders to terrorize and maltreat their populations. Nowhere was this more thoroughly examined than in the 3 volume Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. A subset of Soviet violence is the little known assault on Lutherans who were living in Russia. This is now documented in a new book called The Gates of Hell by the director of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Matthew Heise.

Prior to World War I there were more than 3 million Lutherans in Russia, mostly descendants of Germans who had been invited to settle there by Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Most of these folks lived in villages in the Volga region where German remained their main language, especially in their worship lives. There were also Lutherans from Estonia, Latvia and Finland living in the northern part of the country. The Lutherans had dealt with some persecution from the Czarist regimes which were tied to the Russian Orthodox Church, but when the Communists took over the persecutions became much more direct as the new rulers sought to drive all Christianity out of the USSR. By 1937 there was only 1 functioning Lutheran pastor left in the country and he would soon be imprisoned. Most pastors who had not fled the country died or were executed in Soviet prisons. Sunday school teachers and members of church councils were also imprisoned where some also died.

This is not a book for the faint hearted because of the mind and soul numbing year by year examination of the destruction of Russian Lutheranism. But for anyone who wants to see how many of our brothers and sisters stood firm for the Lord despite the Satanic attacks by evil men, it is very eye opening and encouraging.

VERDICT: 4 STARS.

For more about Christian persecution see these posts:

Persecuted Saints

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken–Book Review

What is a Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander–Book Review

Have you wondered why it often takes victims of sexual assault years to come forward? Or why once an accusation is made, many others follow? If your answer is yes (as mine is), read this book. It is the true story of Rachael Denhollander and how she exposed the truth about Larry Nassar, a Usa Gymnastics team doctor. Nassar was subsequently convicted of multiple counts of child rape and child pornography.

Rachael’s memoir details the emotional and psychological effects of abuse, including guilt, shame and confusion. Her abuser was a trusted adult, and his medical expertise did help her. Her mother was even in the room as she was examined. Only later did she come to realize that the vaginal penetration and touching (without gloves or consent) were not part of acceptable medical treatment. She was cleverly manipulated and positioned so that her mother did not realize what was happening, and she was too embarrassed to speak up.

Later, she does talk to her mother (who believes her) but fears others will not. Eventually, while working with younger gymnasts, she expresses her concern to a fellow coach. She is told, “I really don’t think you should say anything else…It could go really badly for you if it gets around …”

When an opportune moment arrives, Rachael decides she cannot keep silent. Speaking out is costly to her in many ways. She and her husband sacrifice their time and money so that she can travel to testify; she loses her church family and friends who counsel her to forgive and forget. However, as a Christian, she believes it was her responsibility to love and protect others by holding her abuser accountable.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. An inspiring account that will help others better understand survivors of sexual abuse.

For more book reviews see:

Loving People Who are Hard to Love by Joyce Meyer–Book Review

The Surprising Power of Joy by Roland Morton — Book Review

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold — Book Review

The Creator in You by Jordan Raynor–Book Review

In this book for young children (ages 4-8), author Jordan Raynor takes a unique look at God, the Creator. For six days, God worked to create the universe and all that is in it, including us! However, that was only the beginning of creation, for God made us to be like Him, and that means we, too, are creative. Whenever we build buildings, write books, paint pictures, design computers, compose songs, enact laws, or start a business, we are fulfilling God’s purpose and He is pleased.

What a great way to teach youngsters that our work is a way to reflect God’s character and help others! (Martin Luther would approve, it fits neatly into the Lutheran doctrine of vocation).

Short, bouncy rhymes and beautiful illustrations (kudos to illustrator Jonathan David) will keep children engaged in the lesson. My only concern is the statement that “God made you to look like Him.” Children of this age are likely to take this statement literally, which will cause confusion.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I highly recommend it.

For more Christian books for children see these posts:

Where is Wisdom by Scott James — Book Review

Bedtime Blessings by Marianne Richmond–Book Review

Let There Be Light by Archbishop Desmond Tutu–Book Review

A Birthday Party for Jesus by Susan Jones–Book Review

The animals of the forest are invited to a very special party — a birthday party for Jesus! Little Bunny tries to decide what sort of gift to bring. Would Jesus like the same things he does? Maybe he would want a toy, some candy or a game? No, he is told by Hedgehog. None of these are the right kind of present for Jesus. Little Bunny is confused.

As the party begins, he sees that the other animals have brought packages with labels like this:

*Friendship

*Kindness

*Honesty

Soon he decides on his own special gift — love. He understands that this is the greatest anyone can receive at Christmas. It is the reason Jesus was born.

This book is charmingly illustrated and will help parents of young children reinforce the true meaning of the Christmas season.

VERDICT: 4 STARS.

For more books for children see:

Great and Small Prayers for Babies — Book Review

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You — Book Review

The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell–Book Review