Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson

From the moment I read the cover of Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy, I knew author Susie Larson was addressing a topic that matters to me and many busy people who are trying to do what God wants them to do with their lives.

With humor and candor, Susie Larson discusses the difference reasons we feel compelled to say yes to more obligations than we can sometimes handle. Throughout her book, Susie takes us on a journey of understanding and helps us see how God can use our time and talents better if we are focused on His will rather than secondary concerns. She discusses how we can discern the difference because the sometimes draining obligations created by people and opportunities God gives us to serve Him.

With clarity and compassion, Susie invites us to see how important and sacred our yes is, and how sometimes it is okay and best to say no to an invitation, even a good invitation, if it distracts you from what God wants you to do.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Your Sacred Yes. The book seemed a bit repetitive at times, but the message is so needed now. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson for my candid review.

Advertisements

More than Just the Talk by Jonathan McKee

How do you approach your children and teenager’s questions about sexuality and its place in God’s plan for husbands and wives who are married and committed only to each other? Not too long ago, parents addressed the topic of sex with their teenagers with a one-time talk that may or may not have answered all questions.

Author Jonathan McKee, in his new book More than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-To Person About Sex, explains to us that in a culture of lies and sexual perversions, our children need to be able to feel comfortable enough to come to us about all sexual questions and concerns about sexual behaviors or they will get explanations and lies from inaccurate and wrong sources.

Drawing upon his experience as a youth counselor, McKee introduces parents to the loud voices that youth face every day regarding their sexuality and how those voices and influences often go directly against God’s commandment that sexual relations exist only between a man and a woman married to each other.

With specific examples to underscore his experiences working with youth, McKee offers practical suggestions of how parents and influential adults can teach youth to understand for themselves why waiting for sexual relations within marriage is worth the wait. He also discusses common lies and misunderstandings that youth often have about sex and how that affects their behavior when they do not understand God’s law.

Finally, McKee addresses pervasive sexual perversions, like pornography, that youth confront in our culture and how responsible adults can teach and help youth understand the dangers of accepting and participating in activities that distort God’s true purpose for sexual relations.

Overall, McKee presents a candid, informative message of how to approach our youth with candor and honesty as we help them understand for themselves why sex is good when it complies with God’s laws, and why sex is harmful to them when distorted, perverted, and casually approached outside of God’s prescribed boundaries. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of More than Just the Talk by Jonathan McKee for my candid review.

Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo

Mothering from Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family by Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo was a genuine pleasure to read. I was touched by the openness of the authors as they shared their stories and struggles of motherhood.

Melinda and Kathy introduce themselves with this disclaimer: “We’re not perfect mothers. We don’t have perfect children. . . . We are passionate about sharing with other mothers the lessons we’ve learned and the grace God has shown us.” That introduction sums up nicely the focus and intent of Mothering from Scratch.

I like the helpful, concise organization of Mothering from Scratch. Melinda and Kathy shared so much helpful advice and suggestions but it was couched in their personal experiences and what they learned from those experiences. That approach gives Mothering from Scratch an encouraging and non-threatening tone of mothers learning together and from each other, rather than expert mothers lecturing about what works for them.

A main focus in Mothering from Scratch is helping mothers understand how much God depends upon them and how much God is willing to bless them with His grace as they care for their unique families. Melinda and Kathy encourage mothers to turn to God to better understand their divine potential and to figure out how best to care for their families.

Overall Mothering from Scratch is filled with genuine anecdotes, delightful humor, and touching examples how much God really does care about mothers and vital role they have in their families and communities. Motherhood matters and Melinda and Kathy do a delightful job showing us why motherhood matters and how we can become more confident mothers as we learn from each other and seek God’s help. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo for my candid review.

The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers

If you have ever felt intimated by the Bible for whatever reason, The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible is the perfect orientation book to help you better understand the messages of the Bible. Each chapter focuses on a single book in the Bible and introduces the setting, gives a summary, and concludes a brief “Why this book is significant” section.

As a long time reader of the Bible, I was enlightened by perspectives and insights that Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers share in their book. Dr. Marty and Dr. Seevers impressed me with their ability to share so much scholarly information in such a concise, readable style that appeals to everyone, regardless of Biblical experience or knowledge. Each chapter is short, focused and accessible. While this book can be used as a reference, I learned a lot by reading it cover to cover the first time through.

Dr. Seevers is the author of the Old Testament chapters in The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible. While I learned new information in each chapter, I was particularly touched by the insights Dr. Seevers shared about the first five books of the Bible, including Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers which I have found rather tedious reading in the past. I particularly loved the thought that Leviticus teaches us that “God is holy and his people are to reflect that holiness” (page 25).

Dr. Marty is the author of the New Testament chapters in The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible. I was curious how the book would flow between the Old and New Testament sections with two different authors. Not a problem. Dr. Marty seamlessly carried on what Dr. Seevers did so well in the first half of the book.

Dr. Marty reintroduced me to my Biblical hero Paul and showed so well how determined Paul and the other New Testaments writers were to be disciples of Jesus despite harrowing persecution. Dr. Marty reminds us again how they consecrated all they were and had to obey the resurrected Christ’s commission to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Whether you love the Bible as I do and want to deepen your understanding of it, or if you just want to familiarize yourself better with the Bible for whatever reason, The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible is a great resource. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers for my candid review.

 

Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

Authors Fitzpatrick and Thompson use a Christian approach to discussing difficult topics with our children in their new book Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions. I didn’t quite know what to expect from this book but I was pleased with the thoughtful, organized discussion the authors presented about the following topics: sin, death, Satan, hell, divorce, difficult Bible stories, sexual sin, natural disasters, and murder.

I really liked the introductory chapter that explains why it is so important parents take time to talk with children about difficult issues and help them understand those issues through age-appropriate explanations. While Fitzpatrick and Thompson’s Christian theology differs in some respects from mine or other religious traditions, they provide a useful framework to approach these difficult issues from a religious, God centered perspective. They invite us to use their suggested approaches with the explanations that complement our own individual religious persuasions.

The organization Fitzpatrick and Thompson used was excellent for reading from cover to cover or using as a quick reference guide. Each chapter begins with a general discussion of that chapter’s topic and is followed by a “Talking to Your Kids” section that gives suggested explanations for different ages which the authors suggest you adapt to the needs of your children. I thought the chapter “Why Does God Let Natural Disasters Happen” was insightful, and it gave me a fresh perspective on that topic.

Overall, I was impressed by the thoughtful, concise way that Fitzpatrick and Thompson presented their ideas. Bethany House sent me a complimentary book of Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson to review.