Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Devotionals for Women: 101 daily devotions to comfort, encourage, and inspire women

compiled by Susan Heim and Karen Talcott,
Chicken Soup for the Soul Publications, 2009

This is a little different from the traditional Chicken Soup style. As a collection of stories designed to "comfort, encourage, and inspire women," each devotional opens with a Bible verse, includes a story that connects with the verse, and concludes with a prayer. Several cartoon illustrations are scattered throughout the book as well.

While I initially found it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that this was a Chicken Soup book, and thought, "I could write this," as I continued reading, I found many of the stories quite touching. I can't say I'd read it as a daily devotional, but with only 101 stories, it clearly isn't intended to be read that way, despite the book's subtitle.

Convenient to pick up and read when you only have five minutes to spare.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Grown-up girlfriends : finding and keeping real friends in the real world

by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver,
Tyndale House, 2007

Now this is a book worth reading on the subject of female friendship. Much better than the book I reviewed last August. Co-written by friends, Erin and Carrie, the book tackles a variety of subjects, including:
  • levels of intimacy
  • self-knowledge
  • boundaries
  • differences
  • communication
  • forgiveness
  • letting go, and
  • growing up

Along the way, each author shares personal stories of friendship successes, challenges, and failures, and each chapter concludes with questions for reflection.

A few highlights:

  • I found it helpful to think of the "basket system" of friendship - not all friendships are of equal depth, and once one determines which "basket" a particular friendship belongs in, one better understands its limitations and/ or the expectations one can reasonably have within it.
  • Most women have fears, and we all certainly have buttons that others can push. The authors show us how the fear dance works, our own roles within it, and how participating in the dance is unhelpful if we truly want to make and keep our friends.
  • The section on conflict and confrontation is particularly helpful for those of us who prefer to avoid either at all costs. Successfully working through conflicts strengthens friendships and enables them to grow deeper.

I highly recommend this book to all women, but especially those who may feel lonely or friendless. It is possible to find friends, keep them, and be enriched through them. Smalley and Oliver show us how.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Angels: Who they are and How they help - What the Bible Reveals

by Dr. David Jeremiah
Multnomah, 2006

Angels are fascinating, but much of what we read about them today is based on misconception and myth. A whole industry, no doubt spawned by New Age beliefs, has sprung up around these mysterious beings.

Yet are they really so perplexing? Dr. Jeremiah finds that the Bible has much to say about these agents of heaven, and using only the Scriptures, enlightens the rest of us as to their functions and purposes. We get a guided tour of the various appearances of angels in the Bible, an understanding of what they are, and the differences and similarities between angels and humankind. We spend time with the angels around the throne, angels at war and at watch, cherubim and seraphim, Michael, and Gabriel. We see that angels show us how to worship and how to work. We see their relationship with Christ. We even spend a little time with the fallen angels, but they are not our focus. The main thing Jeremiah wants us to learn is that "angels truly love the Lord ... will always love to serve him" and we should follow their example.

Last year I read Dr. Jeremiah's book, What in the World is Going On?, a fascinating account of prophecy. Angels is somehow less excitingly written, but is definitely informative and worth reading.

This book was provided for review by the publisher, who also provided a copy for me to give away. Posting a comment will enter you into the draw. A winner will be chosen at random on February 10th. Good luck!