One Blood Book Review

When I first picked up One Blood, I knew it would be one of the heaviest and important reads I would face. It proved to be exactly that. This book addresses the topics of racism, prejudice, ignorance, injustice, and fear of our differences- head on. It then gives a blueprint for how we should look as Christ’s church according to the Bible. God knew what He was doing when he placed this call on the life of John Perkins. For someone who has experienced so much personal pain at the hand of those who are ignorant, yet chose to live the life he lived, is truly only the work of the Holy Sprit. By the grace of God He traded bitterness for a life committed to getting deep into the trenches to help shape things into the way they should be. John sees what this world could look like if the church walked the way we were called. Every tribe, nation and tongue living in unity together. With everything going on in the world right now, a book like this is desperately needed. One Blood walks us through exactly why and how things should and can change. He explains many misconceptions in the Word and in our biology. This book is a gift to the church and it will challenge our beliefs on how we see ourselves as one body.

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I received a copy of One Blood from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.

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Obedience, Discipline & Covenant

Obedience. Discipline.

These are among the words I despise on most days. But they’re ones that have been resounding in the ears of myself and those closest to me for the past few months.

In the Christian world, legalism is a bad word, as it should be. And for this reason, we shy away from these words a lot of the time for fear that they will become legalistic tendencies. But this is love! That we walk in obedience to his commands (2 John 1:6). Obedience is not a bad word. Neither is discipline. In fact, we have been given a spirit of self-discipline and the one who loves discipline loves knowledge. But these go further than running from temptation and hating the sin that lives in us. It goes further than asking God to keep us from gossip and hate lying. Discipline and obedience fall into our every day actions, our minute-to minute decisions. And you know what most of it has looked like for me lately? Preaching to myself, and preaching to those I love.

You are going to go through dry seasons. Ones where the thought of getting up early to go to church, reading your bible when you’re tired, or praying when you don’t feel it are not activities that excite you. You will walk through times where the thought of making decisions that are uncomfortable in career, relationships, or finances will be the last thing you want to do. You will go through seasons of being tired, burnt out, and just wanting a break from obeying God and following where He leads. But guess what? Excitement and butterflies are not the foundation of commitment.

You are in covenant with God, and covenant means putting in the work when you don’t feel it.

But here’s the catch. It is the best news we could hope for. When you put in the activities that feel like work, you are in the process of building. And the return for the hard work of building is the luxury of a firm, solid, and steady structure when the storms do come. A stable foundation that is “firmly rooted, and now being built up in Him, and established in your faith.”

There will be times in this walk when we simply feel nothing at all. No desire, no anticipation, no passion whatsoever. There is not something wrong with you, you have not broken, you are walking the path and experiencing the trials that are on it.

But the more you put into your relationship with God, the more you hunger and thirst for more of Him, the more you do the things that you know will grow you even when they don’t excite you, the more “we will grow up in all aspects into Him who is the Head”.

In my relationship with Jesus, in my marriage, in my friendships, and in my dreams, goals and passions, I am learning that most of it is just pushing through when it’s hard, draining, or uncomfortable. The day to day is not always exciting, but every minute is worth what we’re building.

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that all may see your progress.”
1 Timothy 4:15

Just Let Go Book Review

Just Let Go is a sweet story of a small town romance. But this book isn’t just your typical small town romance. It’s as down to earth and realistic as a small town romance gets. The characters have real life struggles that we all face in different ways at different times in life. The themes of resentment, bitterness, fear, forgotten dreams, and
forgiveness are explored. Best yet, everything does not work out in the end, and that is just fine because something better takes place in the hearts of these characters: the promise of redemption and new life. We see both extremes from being too fearful to take any risks to taking risks recklessly, the range actions of those who have been hurt and experienced loss. This story leads us through a realistic vision of what life is like when we hand over our wounds to the care of Jesus and what beauty He can make of them through our surrender. The subtle gospel theme that’s woven into the story really reels you in. It isn’t in your face, but it’s there. All in all, God changes and redeems any heart regardless of how badly you have been hurt or have hurt others. The best taste this book will leave in your mouth is the power of forgiveness. God enables us to love and forgive ourselves and others for even the worst offenses, and that is one the most comforting truth.

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I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of this review.

Ten Tips For Tackling Your TBR Pile

I try to read about one book a week. Yes, you saw that right. One every 7 days. That may sound crazy to some, but the rate at which I order books and the time between receiving them and the required review period is so short that I should probably be doubling my average. You see, I only started tackling my reading goals when I began reviewing books and having set times they needed to be posted. That’s my main motivation, but it hasn’t happened overnight. I’ve learned to be creative in creating new habits and making them part of my daily life. I want to share the most effective ones I’ve found with you.

1. One Chapter A Day

This is the hack that will take you further than any other, in my opinion. One chapter a day is simple and easy to follow. On top of that, reading is a good activity to pick up if you want to be soothed. So it’s good to incorporate this into your nightly routine anyway. Most books will have between 15-30 chapters. At one chapter a day, you will finish an entire book between two weeks-a month. A book a month is most peoples goal, so you’re on the perfect track.

2. Set A Goal (and stick to it)

We are creatures of habit. We love to-do lists, schedules, and setting goals. On the flip side, we are also creatures of PROCRASTINATION. And the things we do for enjoyment usually fall into the procrastination category because, you know, responsibilities and adulting come first and all that. But if reading is something you’re serious about, something you value, something you know will better you and add to your life, then make it a priority. Set an attainable goal (I.e, one book a month!) and follow through. You’ll feel accomplished and proud of yourself when you complete it.

3. Rewards System

This may seem obvious, but it’s much harder said than done: stop taking in new books! In my case, I have an amazing list of new books thrown at me every single month to choose from and saying no is not something I DO NOT enjoy doing. I try to stay away from book stores, but I was at the dollar store the other day and Lord have mercy, I bought a book from there! They are EVERYWHERE! Taunting, begging, nagging, and crying for me to adopt them. Instead, use your TBR pile to motivate you. Is there a book you want badly? Well, determine a system. Finish two, reward yourself with a new one. Find a way that works for you and it will motivate and excite you all the more to get through your TBR pile!

4. Just Start

Have you ever had a book that just stared at you for weeks, maybe even months? You know what I’m talking about. It goes with you everywhere. It sits beside you while you sleep. You’ve read the back of it a thousand times. But you just cannot force yourself to BEGIN? I’ve had a few of those. I’m looking at one now. I know I’ll love it, but for some reason, I can’t start reading it. You wanna know the solution? Just start. Once you do, you’ll most likely be pulled in and then wonder why it took you so long to dig into it in the first place.

5. Put It Down

For the love of all that is good and holy, put the book down if you are not enjoying it. This is a LEISURELY activity. But also remember that if you keep reading, it’s likely you’ll begin to like it. So don’t write it off until you’ve given it the proper amount of time to appeal to you.

6. Lend Them Out

One of my favorite things to do is lend out my books to friends. Unpopular opinion: even the ones on the TBR list. If a friend wants to read a book I have, they will come back and let me know about it. If their review is exciting, it will encourage me to read it as well. Seems kind of backwards, but it’s worked for me.

7. Don’t Write Off The In-Between Moments

One of my favorite times to squeeze in a few extra pages or even a chapter is on my 15 minute break at work. This may seem like not much time for reading, but you’d be surprised by how much of a book you can get through just by utilizing that 15 minutes. It adds up. Find those spare times in your day and use them!

8. Switch Shows To Movies (for a bit)

Are you the kind of person who always needs to have a show that you’re watching? Always searching for the next best one to have on your Netflix list? Let me just say this, TV is the enemy of reading. Truly. If you struggle to have self-control, you will end up using all your spare time watching your new favorite show. Then the next. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s easier to numb your mind with picture than engage it in text, especially after a long day. So if you want to tackle this pile, finish your current watch and switch over to watching movies instead. This will mean once you’re done, you’re done. And you can then get on with your TBR list. This is what I do in times where the pile is sky high. Don’t write off tv, just readjust.

9. Get The Audiobook Instead

Though I love the feeling of fresh new pages running through my fingers and the smell of new book, I also love anything audio. You can listen to the book on your commute to work, walking the dog, doing household chores or even showering. It’s an amazing invention, that audiobook. You’ll FLY through your reading list this way. So ditch (donate) the book and get the audiobook instead.

10. Donate!

When I first moved out of my parents house, I needed to downsize my bookshelf. When moving across the country (multiple times) your most loved books are all that can come along. So I did one of the hardest things and decided that if I did not love it or was not truly interested in reading it, it was getting donated. When it comes to your TBR pile, it’s likely it has existed for years. Go through it and determine only the ones you truly want to read. The rest of them, get rid of. Here is a great link with an extensive list of up to date places where you can find a good home for your unread books!

No matter what you decide to do to get the pile down, choose to read instead of hoard. It’s better for everyone involved!

Generous Love Book Review

Generous love is a book that brings it all back to basics. You will see your life through a new lens and realize all the places where you have lacked in being generous with your love. Becky is not stingy with the amount of scripture she quotes. Verses are not few and far between, they are on every page. You are reading scripture and given a practical way to live it out chapter after chapter. Becky’s stories will keep you engaged and excited to get to the next paragraph to read more. One of the best parts may be the amount of ideas she gives her readers on how to love BIG TIME, in small ways. Significant, but simple. My kinda gal. I have so many ideas in the back of my mind that I will be able to pull out in order to bless people. Pre-saved” (as Becky calls it), just-saved, or the has-been-saved alike will be blessed by this book by being shown how to live life as a blessing to others. 

If I’m being completely honest, I wanted to write Generous Love off within the first few pages of reading. I found lessons I’ve already learned, phrases I’ve heard a million times. But for the sake of writing this review, I kept on reading. The deeper I got, the more I saw just how far my mind is from a right perspective. The lessons within this book are straight from the Bible itself. Back to basics. Not prettied up, but right out of the principles found in God’s own Word. As I spent the week reading this book and weighing the words in it against my own life, I began to realize just how far away I was from practicing these principles on a daily basis. My mind needed renewing big time. They are simple principles, but difficult to execute. Easy to understand, but profound (the same goes for everything Jesus taught, doesn’t it?). I seriously struggled as I realized just how far I am from thinking others first. From living to bless others. Maybe you, like me, need to get back to basics. Maybe you need a fresh reminder of simple truths that we have gotten so far away from with our big theology and dressed up phrases.

If we don’t have love, we are nothing. Let us never forget that.

33116225_1936334329718441_4631969413799608320_o I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of this review.

Just Open the Door Book Review

I opened up this book because it drew me in. I have been looking for books on how to practice biblical hospitality for a long time, but most ended up being a how to guide for entertainment. I knew based on my upbringing and personality that entertaining was not for me. I am not the Pinterest perfect lady who can make a gloomy room sparkle. I am not gifted in this area. I can barely match my clothes, so when it comes to interior design or making things elegant, I am not your gal.

I have, though, experienced hospitality. The kind where you are welcomed into the less than perfect home. Eat off of chipped plates with mismatched forks and face no opposition when you offer to help wash the dishes in the sink. Given a couch, and invited to stay for as long as you need. This is the type of hosting that made me want to become a great host myself. Knowing this, God sent this book my way. From the second I began to dig in, Jen made it clear that Entertaining and Hospitality are not the same. I let out a huge sigh of relief.

We don’t need to have it all together. More times than not, we won’t. In fact, if we are waiting for the perfect time- impeccable home, elegant arrays of dishes, high energy levels, it will likely never come. But something beautiful happens when we invite people into our space, as is. With dishes still in the sink, with a let’s cook breakfast for dinner plan, after a long and tiring day for the host and guest. This is where the floor is opened up for true, real, and raw vulnerability.

In this book, Jen shares practical advice as well as personal stories that really got my creative juices flowing. I was inspired to be the neighbor I desire to be, the friend, the coworker, the servant. She made it seem possible to open my door regardless of the mess in my home or in my heart on any given day. I am convinced now that this is the heart of hospitality, the heart of Jesus.

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I received a copy of this book from B&H Publishing Group for the purpose of this review.

In Bloom Book Review

In Bloom by Kayla Aimee throws out every single run-of-the-mill Christian Woman’s piece of writing out there. For many of us, the out of context and quick fix notions have grown stale. Life is hard and none of us have arrived. We don’t want a sermon or a speech. We don’t want a self help book, either. As you read this book, you’ll find yourself nodding your head and saying “me too” more times than you can count. You will also say things like “wow, she just went there” and “YES!!!” many, many times. Her quick wit and numerous references from her teen years are endearing and keep any possibility of boredom far away. If you grew up in church, her honest descriptions of what youth group life was like, both inviting and messy, are everything you’ve ever looked back on and thought to yourself. She sheds a light on what it is like to have a past of sin and the shame that we are told should still cling to us by those in our own congregations and in leadership. She shares a list of vulnerabilities ranging from marriage struggles, to motherhood struggles, to friendship struggles and everything in between. If you’ve ever felt left out, unsure, or like “too much”, this is a book for you. Truthfully, it has something in it for every woman because we have all at some point compared ourselves and faced insecurity. You will feel as if you’re being encouraged by a friend who has not yet arrived either, so she is willing to walk through the mess alongside you. It isn’t preachy or neatly boxed. It’s real and raw and fun and by the end, you will feel like you just made a lifelong friend. I received a copy of this book from B&H/Lifeway for the purpose of this review. You can find In Bloomhere:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-bloom-kayla-aimee/1126513386?ean=9781433686115