Deeper Waters and Other Summer Reading

IMG_1330My companions this summer were more in the form of creased corners and highlighted words than the physical presence of friends. I think that is okay for a season. Many times the words of others can ignite my creativity, cause me to ponder humanity more deeply and spur me on in my pursuance of Christ.

Deeper Waters by Denise J. Hughes was definitely a spur-me-on book. The author divided Ezra 7:10 into four parts:

-Determining in Your Heart

-To Study God’s Word

-To Obey God’s Voice

-To Teach God’s Precepts

She then encourages the reader in each of those areas but in a unique way. Interwoven with encouragement to be immersed in God’s word is also her personal struggle with the Lord as she grew up watching her older brother deal with his paralysis from a car accident. She writes:

In the morning an eerie hush stifles the air. No one speaks. No one looks at each other. We shuffle to our cereal bowls, feeling the weight of this final blow. No surgery, no prayer meeting, and no super-evangelist can restore this brokenness. Faith is crucified and buried. Hope dies. And a permanent wheelchair ramp is built to our front door.

Yet it is through this tragedy that she does find hope in God and His word. This is what I loved from Denise! She is all about His word! Part memoir and part exhortation, I highly recommend this book to new believers, those who have found themselves in a desert and anyone in between. Denise is also the author of the Word Writers Bible study series which incorporates writing out the scripture passage and studying it.

Other books I read this summer:

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I picked this book up at a Little Free Library in Pinedale, Wyoming. How fitting since it is a book with Yellowstone National Park as its backdrop. It is the fictional story of an unexpected bond between a recovering alcoholic and two young boys that come under his care for a short time. It was the first fiction book I had read in a while and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading another one of her books some time again soon.

Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller

The author encourages the reader to embrace a true Sabbath rest by being intentional in preparing for it and tuning out worldly distractions for this special day. I enjoyed reading the book, but I think we each have to find what is right for us on the Lord’s day. While she promotes quiet reflection, my husband and I find rest in watching an old Western on TV. Though I didn’t agree with everything she wrote, the book was a good reminder to me of what the Sabbath is to be.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

This was the first book I had ever read by this author. I loved reading about her daily life but most of all I enjoyed the writing aspect of her life which she also shares in this first book of The Crosswicks Journal series.

I will share my favorite read of the summer in a separate post. So how about you? What was your favorite read this summer and why?

Adorned:Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth {Book Review}

So many times we ask God about His will for our lives. Or we seek the Lord about having some type of ministry. He does have a plan and a ministry for us as women. It is found in Titus 2:1-5, 10 which is the passage that Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, founder of Revive Our Hearts, expounds upon in her book “Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.” God’s plan for us has no age limits. It is for the older woman and the younger. Every stage of life has a plan and a ministry:

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Nancy begins her book with thoughts on the ending verse about adorning the doctrine of God our Savior. Doctrine simply means teaching. The biblical doctrine (teaching) that we know gets lived out daily in our lives. Nancy continues through the bible passage, giving each characteristic a chapter. She encourages the older women to step up and the younger women to grow up by impacting each other through the ministry of mentoring.

This is Nancy’s first book after her marriage. I have read many of her books through the years and it was neat to see how she can now relate happenings within her marriage relationship to the word of God. While it is a longer book, Nancy writes in a clear, conversational style that makes it easy to read. Each chapter ends with questions for older women followed by questions for younger women. Through these questions, the older reader is asked to pray about opportunities to minister to a younger woman and the younger to pray about seeking out an older woman that she can learn from.

The chapter that convicted me the most was “A ‘Sophron’ State of Mind. It is about developing self-control in different areas of our lives. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is the only one who can give us control over our tongue, our thoughts and our actions.

The Titus 2 Model is God’s will for our lives and a ministry He has given us to do. Nancy’s book is a tool we as women can use to carry it out.

Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard [Book Review]

“Women are an essential element in church history.” So begins Rebecca VanDoodewaard in her book “Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth.” The author shares with us twelve biographical sketches on women that are widely neglected in other reformation books. Most of the women in this book came from royal families but each of them had different personalities and roles in which God used them to further His kingdom. The author lists five characteristics that these women had in common and that we would do well as women to also heed:

  1. They were devoted to the Protestant church.

The church was the center from which their lives revolved.

  1. They were married to believers.

They were devoted to the work of their husbands.

  1. They were given to hospitality.

From orphans, to refugees and visiting pastors, these women had open homes and open hearts in caring for the needs of others.

  1. They stewarded their intellectual abilities.

Education, whether through schooling or self-taught, was a God-given means to equip others to bear fruit.

  1. They were brave.

Obediently they followed the path that honored God even in fearful circumstances.

Each concise biographical sketch leads us through the women’s birth and death with their various ministries in between. The book concludes with seven ways in which the commonalities of these women could help fortify the church today. As much as I enjoyed reading about these women who helped shape the church, the conclusion was my favorite chapter because of the application for women today in serving the church. The author exhorts:

“These women were not hanging out on social media or mommy blogs, waiting for spiritual maturity to happen. They actively pursued it: Bible reading, prayer, attendance at worship (often several times a week), fellowship with the saints, theological study and discussions, and conscious self-denial matured them into usefulness that God blessed. Personal projects, comfort, and plans were subservient to the mission of the Great Commission.”

I highly recommend this book as a way, not to just learn about the history of these faithful women, but to apply their faithfulness to our own lives.

I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews  in exchange for a honest review.