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.

The Food Ain’t the Problem [Book Review]

food-aintWhen I turned thirty I began gaining 5+ pounds a year. While I didn’t document it, I have no doubt that when I turned forty I was 50lbs. heavier than at thirty. Thankfully, having just turned fifty recently, I didn’t gain another 50lbs. but I still gained more. I’ve done Weigh Down Workshop when I didn’t have much bible literacy and couldn’t see the numerous verses taken out of context by Gwen Shamblin, the founder. I did lose weight, but I also became obsessed, eating very little. Even misleading my husband, telling him I had ate at work but not that my meal consisted of a piece of banana cake. The obsession ended and the weight returned plus more. Next it would be First Place. Lost some weight, but not much. I had a hard time keeping track of the food diary and eating so much of this or that. Nor am I going to try to figure out if a meal is a S or an E. I don’t think God intends for us to do that with food. Because in the end as Carole Holliday entitled her book “The Food Ain’t the Problem.”

Carole shares her weight loss journey though it is much more a journey of her being obedient to the Lord and His word. Now, don’t run off dear reader. I know you may have wanted smoothie recipes, a food plan and exercise regimen.  I’m sorry you won’t find those in Carole’s book. What you will find is discussion of the words: greed, coveting and gluttony. Carole shares scripture as to how God feels about these words. Let’s look at some quick definitions:

Greed-desire to have more, covetous.

Coveting-having an excessive desire or longing.

Gluttony-the act or habit of eating or drinking too much.

Gulp. How many times am I guilty of these? Right now I want to get back into my Chewy Spree packet and finish it off even though I’ve already had plenty.

Carole began her journey in obedience with these three guidelines:

  1. Not to DIET, but eat normally.
  2. Be patient for Him (God) to take the weight off in His time.
  3. She would lose weight eating anything; there were no bad foods.

Why?

Because the food ain’t the problem.

Greed + Gluttony + Coveting=Sin that promotes long-term weight gain.

Can anyone else relate? I sure can!

Carole exhorts us to look at our motives for weight loss:

“Overcoming gluttony alone, or whatever sin you struggle with, isn’t the issue. The issue is your surrender to God. Don’t make the goal the weight lost, but make the goal of your life to serve God with your obedience.

I see book upon book, row upon row, of every weight loss scheme there is. The bottom line is I must move more than I take in. I must eat to the glory of God. While no food must be off-limits, my food choices should consistently be those that are best for my body. Carole writes:

“Blaming any food for our long-term weight gain is disrespectful to the God who created it. When we demonize many foods, it’s as if we raised our clenched fist to our loving Father and said, “God it’s your fault I’m overweight, that I have diabetes, bad knees and a bad back! You made this food far, far too good!”

As Carole became obedient in her repentance (which she stresses) and eating, she increased from her first plan and added a few more things:

  1. Eat less food.
  2. Eat a variety of food.
  3. Use a smaller spoon.
  4. Eat three meals and three snacks.
  5. Drink water.
  6. Take time to see and appreciate food.
  7. Intentionally exercise.

Carole began to listen to her body. She began to remove foods that made her feel bloated or tired. That’s what I have to do. Pasta and garlic bread is enjoyable going down but it has a negative effect on my body. While I am not a gluten-free person, I like to choose gluten free pasta. It doesn’t have the same effect on my stomach as the other.

Carole writes in a conversational style that is like having a discussion with her over a cup of coffee. Most importantly of all, her book begins with the gospel and ends with the gospel. This book is not a quick fix diet program. It is about life change that is centered on the gospel.

I have challenged myself to first of all come before God with a repentant heart for the way I have used and abused food then secondly to follow with eating for His glory so that I can serve Him more effectively. For me this means:

-Eat less

-Choose foods for health and energy

-Drink water

-Exercise

I will share this start to my own journey the first week of May.

My blogging friend at Fancied Freedom wrote about her three months on following the biblical principles laid out in Carole’s book.

You can visit Carole’s encouraging blog here. She also has a Facebook page.