The Coming Apostasy by Mark Hitchcock and Jeff Kinley

We’re creeping (or racing) toward our annual retreat and you know what that means-overflowing nightstands and very low Kindle batteries!  I just blazed through a new book by one of my favorite authors on the topic of prophecy and eschatology, and since it will be released soon I wanted to post something before it was lost in the last sprint of retreat prep. The book is The Coming Apostasy and my expectations were pretty high.

I have unreservedly recommended Mark Hitchcock’s books for years, and I am unfamiliar with the work of Jeff Kinley. While I recommend this one, I would say that it’s audience may be limited. Again, Hitchcock is a favorite on the subject of eschatology, especially for people who are new to Christianity, Similarly, for someone newer in the faith, this book may be helpful to understanding the need for a knowledge of God’s word, the practice of discernment and why Christians fight on social media.

Apostasy simply means a departure or rebellion from  previously held religious beliefs. This book deals with the long held views of Christianity  grounded in the truth of the Bible 978-1-4964-1407-6that are being abandoned by those who once held to them. The first three chapters were a bit redundant, but did include the framework that set up the rest of the book. I appreciated the way the authors made a clear distinction between the behavior and positions of those who are not Christians and those who are. All the discussion of crumbling morality and the worlds anti-biblical views can be a distraction and mask the danger of those same views growing in the church. For someone really entrenched in some of the positions the authors address, I’m not sure their case for inerrancy is strong enough. Chapter 8, Will the Real Jesus Stand Up was a favorite, and I wished that their concluding chapter has been a bit more practical.. Still, this is a solid and readable book on an important topic and help you to be aware of The Coming Apostasy.

Read well, friends!

I received a copy of this book through Net Galley, supplied by the Tyndale for the purpose of this review.

Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

When I discover something I really enjoy, I can hardly wait to tell people about it. I recently had a sandwich with lemon aioli on it, and that sauce was the best thing I’ve had in a while. Except for a tomato out of a friends garden. We should all be growing our own tomatoes, for now, I’m grateful he is. And, when we experience something on a better than average level, we should share it.  Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is a book to be shared, over and over again.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth might be better known to you as Nancy Leigh DeMoss, writer of Lies Women Believe, Choosing Forgiveness, and the Revive Our Hearts series, among others.  I admit that it is hard for me to be objective about a new book by her, because she has been perhaps the most influential woman teacher of the Word in my Christian life. So I opened Adorned with high expectations, and it did not disappoint. Titus 2:10 says the purpose of the instructions in the chapter are “so that in everything they (those that learn them) may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”  Wolgemuth describes “adorn” in the opening chapter as a showcase of the loveliness of Christ. As we are adorned by His love and the beauty of the gospel, we reveal it to a world that desperately needs to embrace both. How do we become adorned?

Careful exposition of Titus 2 combined with gracious application make for a solidly biblical look at a passage that women of every age need to consider in a serious way right now. shareimg6Confusion and contention reigns far too much among women who say they love God but can’t seem to get along with each other, let alone build each other up. Adorned explores why women need each other, the way we can and should build these relationships and what happens when women of different generations minister to each other.

Part of the sweetness of this book is the authors own discoveries of being an older woman, in her late fifties, as a first time bride. The opening story of the late Vonette Bright, sharing as a momma with the about to be wed Nancy on her wedding day shows how we are all older, and younger, than someone else in the Lord. Her transparency of her own continued growth in the Lord throughout the book make these encouraging and relatable lessons.

This is a book about doing more than women’s Bible study together, it’s about the need and the biblical command to do life together. Adorned contains three sections: A Woman Under God, A Woman Under Control (some of the best writing about self-control I’ve read in a long time) and A Woman Under Her Roof.

In the first section, the chapter titled “Doctrine, You and Titus 2” is worth the price of the book. Starting with Paul’s opening verse in Titus 2, to “teach what accords with sound doctrine”, she makes this statement “But the fact is, every one of us and every situation we encounter in life is fueled by some kind of doctrine. It is the ground we stand on as we build our lives.” Everybody, even the atheist, lives by a doctrine, a teaching. Before Paul, (and this book) get into the practice of one-anothering, the foundation of right teaching (doctrine) has to be in place in our lives. I was challenged by this statement she makes-“I have come to believe that every failure and flaw in our lives flows out of some sort of doctrinal deficiency.” When I struggle, or fail, what teaching is influencing me? Biblical doctrine is critical.

Don’t let my personal love of the nuts and bolts of scripture scare you off, this isn’t a dry and scholarly read. In fact, as she progresses into the more practical aspects of what the Titus 2 model looks like in real life, there is an easy flow of encouragement and exhortation that lead you to consider prayerfully how it applies to you. If you’re a bit weary (or a lot weary, like me) of the mommy wars, social media feed spamming alarmist posts of women telling us how we’re getting it wrong, this book will be a sweet breeze of reason and inspiration for you.

Every chapter applies to both the woman in the younger woman season as well as the older woman, and ends with reflection questions for each group. To the younger women Wolgemuth says throughout that the type of older woman you will be begins with the choices you make today. Look for the women ahead of you who have spiritual lives that reflect the joy, peace and purpose of the gospel and find out how they got that way. Older women, what would you tell your 20 or 30-something year old self, in encouraging biblical terms, that you wished you knew then? Find those women and help them navigate this season with some of the wisdom the Lord has taught you. This book will help each age group on the path to fulfilling their respective Titus 2 roles, as we learn what it is to be Adorned.

Read well, friends

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. A free book could never make me tell you to read it if it wasn’t worthy.

Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers

It’s the new year (sort of) and in addition to a gym membership, lots of us are getting new devotionals. I’m a big fan of books as decor, and devotionals are one of my favorites design elements despite my increasing minimalist tendencies. Having a short insight on a scripture at my fingertips often draws me back to a vertical perspective in the midst of a horizontal, task filled day. And for me, this especially true if the devotional is visually pleasing.

In Earth Psalm81j4qtlxafls: Reflections on how God speaks through nature by Francine Rivers, I found both. You know the author primarily as a fiction writer of books like Redeeming Love and Linage of Grace. After many encouragements to write a devotional, Rivers chose to do so while partnering with nature photographer Karin Stock Buursma. The result is a reflective and beautiful book.

Creation offers us lessons on God’s power, His design for both earth and people, and Hearthpsalms3is relationship with both. This book has the elements I love similar to classics like A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (which everyone should read) where we learn faith lessons like “how we like sheep have all gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6) quite literally.

The spiritual insights here are solid and practical, and her gift as a story teller draws you in to the details and help you see what may be familiar truths with a new perspective. Each entry ends with a 91vkodj-rqlReflect question, an Apply suggestion and a Connect With God prayer. This is a great gift for the photographer in your life, the Francine Rivers fan and even someone who doesn’t follow Jesus but loves nature.  You will enjoy this book long after you give up on your new gym membership!

Read well, friends.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishing for review. Free or not, you get only my honest opinion.

 

 

 

We Have A Winner!

The winning name has been drawn in our Longings of the Soul giveaway and its…

SPhillips!!!                                                    longingsbookcover

So if that’s you, email me at threeladiesoflit@gmail.com with your address and we’ll send you a copy.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet because you were hoping to win, I’m so sorry but also pleased to tell you Calvary Vista has copies available and will offer them before and after tonight’s service. Congrats, SPhillips!

Read well, friends.

Longings of the Soul by Rob Salvato

A few weeks back I teased about a new book that was about released, remember? No? What, just because you have one eye out for the delivery truck with your on line gifts and the other on the oven filled with cookie exchange baking while you hope the toddler or cat doesn’t pull down the Christmas tree-AGAIN, you don’t remember something from a month ago?

I forgive you, because I forgot to update you on it for a month. But here it is, and news of a give away!

Longings of the Soul: Discover What You Are Really Longing For by Rob Salvato, the lead pastor of Calvary Vista (and my pastor) is a small book with a big truth about discontentment, longingsbookcoverboth it’s source and it’s solution. The fact that my pastor wrote this book didn’t lend it to any bias from me, in fact, I was probably more critical of it than if it were written by someone I didn’t know. Would the Rob in the pulpit be able to communicate as effectively on the page?

Yes. This passage from the introduction captured me the first time I read it:

They are intently searching for something.They sense a longing in their hearts or something else, something more, something better. But they don’t know what it is they are searching or longing for. So life becomes this proverbial quest for that which is gong to bring purpose, satisfaction, and lasting fulfillment.  And this is not just the plight of the person who has yet to come into a relationship with Jesus. One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is how Jesus can fill our hearts with peace because we’ve been forgiven….yet we can still struggle with feeling of discontentment.” (emphasis mine).

This insight is what makes Longings a book that is for every Christian, those who are following Jesus closely and those who, having once believed are now at a distance, wondering why God didn’t “work” for them.

While we try to find satisfaction in things we do and have, Rob reveals three distinct longings that are both spiritual in nature and at the core of all the longings we struggle with.  Until we address what they are and why we have them, we won’t have the abundant life we expected to have with Christ. What are they?

  • Intimacy with God
  • Heaven or eternity
  • Eternal purpose and impact

This probably doesn’t sound like things you think are the source of your dissatisfaction with circumstances or people in your life. Why they are, and the role they play in your life is explained in a conversational style that isn’t filled with theological terms you have to Google. Instead, short chapters with illustrations that are easy to understand and wisdom that is easy to apply, Longings is a book that will change the way you look at discontentment.

To help you do that, we’re having a Three Ladies give away! Subscribe to the Three Ladies of Lit by Monday, December 19th and we’ll choose one winner of a signed copy of Longings. As 2016 winds down and we head into the new year, make it the year you find satisfaction for your Longings of the Soul.

Read well, friends.

 

 

Seasonal Changes and Other Things

I heard a rumor that in other parts of the country they are experiencing something called “Fall”. Here in Southern California, we are experiencing something called, well, Southern California. That means it is hot, sunny, and we are still expected to be excited about pumpkin everything.

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I love this photo because I frequently drink coffee, read a book and write a letter while I swing. #improbable

We have a backlog of books to tell you about-but not just yet. Today, a week before the official kickoff of holiday celebrations with calorie laden meals, calendar overload and exploding in-box sale offers, I want to encourage you in two things.

 

First, don’t abandon the most important thing you can read, the Word of God. As your routine changes, your days filled with extra activities, make sure the one thing you don’t change is time dwelling in the Bible. Wait. Maybe you have never made it a practice to read from the Bible every day-in that case, make a change, and start today. It’s a great time to start a gospel, maybe the book of Luke as we head toward Christmas. Or, a chronological plan, or the Psalms. Just make sure as you plan for meals you will cook or attend, you are partaking in the most nourishing of meals-the Word.

Secondly, consider making a book part of your gift to your loved ones this year . While I’m a huge fan of e-books, and a growing fan of audio books, for me nothing replaces the tactile experience of sitting with a book in hand. One of my great delights in our little church bookstore is watching children to come in, pull a book of the shelf and after opening it, promptly sit down right in front of the shelf to read. I grew up in a library, my daughter grew up in a bookstore, my granddaughter is growing up in one and I want every child to know the adventure of color and words and stories-especially about the God who loves them. We’ll be sharing some gift suggestions in the upcoming days to help you pick the perfect read for your friends, family and even yourself.

And, very soon, We’re going to share news of what is sure to be our book of the year! It’s coming out mid-December, we’ll be doing a giveaway for subscribers to the blog, and can I tell you, you will be buying more than one copy of this book. What’s the title? Who’s the author? No, no, not just yet! And we’re keeping it a secret from the littlest Lady of Lit because she might tell you. You’re going to be excited, I promise that. And if you’re not, well, I’ll pray for you because you should be. I jest. Sort of.

So buckle up, we’re heading into a new season!

Read well, friends.

 

 

 

 

 

What Does God Really Promise? By Carolyn Larsen

Tyndale has produced another versatile book that I’m happy to recommend. What  Does God Really Promise? 101 Questions and Answers About God’s Promises, the Church and the Futures is part of Tyndale’s’ line that brought us the Gratitude Prayer and Coloring Journal. This little book has short answers supported by scripture that bring clarity to God’s promises-both what they are and who they are for. This is a quick reference for someone new to or asking questions about Christianity, and an encouragement for those who have been following God for many years.

whatdoesgodreallypromiseThe second part of the book answers often asked questions about the church and the future in a concise and balanced way. This isn’t a comprehensive tool for answering the deep questions of life, death and eternity. It can be a springboard, especially for people not familiar with the Bible or church culture, that reveals that there are answers, and they can be given in an objective manner.  As I read it, I thought it would be a great youth group discussion book, or  gift for newer followers of Jesus. It’s charming layout and colors make it something to leave out as an invitation to take a moment to be reminded of the promises and hope that we have in God.

Read well, friends!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.