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.

A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue by J. A. Myhre [Book Review]

a_bird_a_girl_thumbnail__54084-1454080876-350-450I rarely read fiction books but I wanted to give A Bird, A Girl, and a Rescue by J. A. Myhre a try. I also thought it would be interesting to read a book from the juvenile fiction genre especially since its setting was in Africa. Kiisa is an eleven-year-old girl who begins her first year at a boarding school. Her father leaves her a special gift in her suitcase-a talking pied wagtail bird which she names Njili.

Kiisa and Njili embark on an adventure that involves a rebel group that attacks the school and the rescue of her fellow classmate Masasi. Along the way they meet Mbega, a monkey that also talks. From a cobra scare to a crocodile attack this book is a fast-paced adventure. While it is fiction, it also brings to light the real life situations that many African children face such as rebel attacks.

The author intersperses common Luwendigo words within the story. A glossary is in the back which defines each one. This aspect of the book allows kids to see a word in another language which I think they would find very interesting. The bold, black and white illustrations were done by Acacia Masso.

I thought the talking animals to be a bit odd. Especially as they were called messengers. This seemed to give a mystical tone to the book which I found unappealing.

I commend the author for donating half of her royalties to the Rwendigo Fund which provides student scholarships, nutrition programs, books and library initiatives to community schools.

I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews and New Growth Press in exchange for a honest review.

Good and Angry by David Powlison [Book Review]

good-and-angry

We know that God is good. The Bible tells us that He is also a God who has indignation or anger every day (Psalm 7:11). God’s anger is a righteous anger expressed over injustices and sin. In his book, Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness, Dr. David Powlison teaches us about God’s anger and how we can rightly handle the anger we experience.

Powlison begins by introducing us to angry people. People like you and me. He brings to our attention six common traits of bad anger:

 

-Irritability

-Arguing

-Bitterness

-Violence

-Passiveness-may show itself with depression, lethargy and pessimism

-Self-righteousness

Anger does not “happen” to you. You do anger. It is something you do with all your heart, soul, mind, and body.

The author challenges us by examining four aspects of responding to anger:

Patience-being slow to anger, willing to work with wrong over time.

Forgiveness-Lets go of the offense.

Charity-Loves those who have hurt us.

Constructive Conflict-problem solving with the goal of being a peacemaker.

Finally, Powlison teaches us through chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of James. From these chapters and other scriptures, he walks us through eight questions to ask ourselves in regard to our anger:

  1. What is my situation?
  2. How do I react?
  3. What are my motives?
  4. What are the consequences?
  5. What is true?
  6. How do I turn to God for help?
  7. How could I respond constructively in this situation?
  8. What are the consequences of faith and obedience?

He concludes with leading us through working out the anger we experience within daily life, anger at ourselves and anger at God.

This book is not one to just be read and placed back on the bookshelf. David Powlison has written an excellent book of application for those who are serious about changing the way they deal with anger.

I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews and New Growth Press in exchange for a honest review.