“Dancing in No Man’s Land,” by Brian Jennings, is a high-five to all those frustrated with the palpable conflict we wade through in modern society. Jennings not only creates clear, Biblical, and educated awareness of where conflict arises from in our lives, but also provides practical solutions to apply as we learn to handle it better.
“To follow Jesus is to let love replace hate.” -Brian Jennings, “Dancing in No Man’s Land.”
In the book, Jennings dubs the space between two sides of all types of conflict ‘bunkers,’ explaining how we navigate the tricky existence of not picking sides. This book has better equipped me, personally, to navigate the difficult waters of reconciliation in an effort to strive for peace.
The author’s notes on friendship particularly resonated with me. He says, “It hurts to be harshly criticized by a distant friend or a complete stranger, but you probably won’t lose any sleep at night. However, the harsh criticism of a spouse or close friend may wound you for nights, weeks, or years.” The Biblical principles in this book helped me personally put a few pieces into place that I needed to process hurts like these through the proper perspective of our loving God.
The questions at the end of each chapter are thought provoking and a little gut-checking. My heart was convicted to make a few changes that will help me navigate relationships better in the future. One of the biggest challenges in relationship rolls in with political discussion. Jennings dedicated a chapter to breaking down the Biblical way to respond and walk through these conversations. Let’s be real …it’s hard to even admit we have a side in fear we’ll be snap-judged or written off! The author quotes Andy Stanley, “Make a difference, not a point. Never sacrifice influence for the sake of making a political point.”
I highly recommend this book to all people. Very few of us like conflict, but how many of us are properly equipped to assertively respond? We don’t have to become doormats to keep the peace, and strive for love. And we have to keep striving to love. Jesus commands we put it above all else.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
“Losing the Cape,” by Dan Stanford, is an empowering message to embrace our inner ordinary as extraordinary. In a society that pushes us to strive for general acceptance by taking on the form of multiple molds, this book encourages us to pull away from the pack with our own unique set of super-hero qualities.
“Before our parents ever saw us on an ultrasound screen, God saw every challenge and opportunity that we would ever face. ‘We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good words, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ (Ephesians 2:10) You already have what you need. Where God guides, He provides. This is what God is hinting at when He asks Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ (Exodus 4:2)” – Dan Stanford, “Losing the Cape.”
This book a practical push forward for the everyday person. The pat on the back and small step in godly confidence that most of us need in our everyday, very busy, millennial lives. Stanford addresses issues of holding onto safety as a idol, being a good steward of the place that God has put us in and the people He’s placed around us, and how our faith in Christ an indwelling power of the Holy Spirit provides super-hero strength.
“We become out of balance when too much emphasis is placed on going to church rather than on being the church.” Dan Stanford, “Losing the Cape.
The analogies and references to many common super-hero stories made the topics addressed in this book refreshing and fun, and surprisingly easy to apply to everyday life …even thought we’re not actual super-heroes.
I highly recommend this book. It’s a quick read that made me laugh and challenged the organization of my daily thought life …which I greatly needed.
(I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
“Life’s greatest fight is within the mind.” Kelly Balarie
This book carries a message that will leave it’s readers feeling encouraged, happier, and spiritually healthier than they were before scanning it’s pages. “Battle Ready”is a soul-shaking equipping to “take captive every thought,” (2 Cor. 10:5) even when the battle has been long, mind-bending, and slightly numbing.
Emerging from seasons of stark change can leave us feeling tossed around by our feelings. This book reminds us that feelings are fickle, leaving us with a better understanding of the human mind and the power of our thoughts. Moreover, Balarie aligns every concept to Scripture, with multiple plans of offense and defense to re-direct rogue thoughts safely into the hands of the One who can be trusted to speak uplifting and encouraging Truth, convicting us to make positive changes, accumulate godly wisdom, and embrace the beautiful children of God that we were ALL made to be.
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix you attention o fGod. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to it’s level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 MSG
Society will pit us against each other …and ourselves. This message shows us how to battle for the brightness beyond our scope of plain sight …even past our preliminary glance in the mirror. More than just a pep-talk, Balarie gives her readers multiple tools to change destructive thought habits. Beyond the obtuse pain that sometimes blocks our vision in the form of bitterness, doubt, worry, fear, and sheer exhaustion, God’s purpose for our lives remains unchanged.
The world is full of light, if we choose to see it. There is good in everyone …battle to find it. We are all made in the image of our good God (Genesis 1:27). But just seeing it isn’t enough. We have to be well-equipped to let it beam out of us, wherever we’re at. A spark in the dark starts a fire, and I highly recommend reading “Battle Ready,” as a way to see and spread more kindness and love in the world, and to ourselves.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12 NIV
This Scripture, at the end of Day 3, hooked me into reading the rest of this smartly thought-out devotional book by Ellen Miller. She relates to the common struggle in our society to juggle more than our joy can sustain. By realigning her readers with the Truth of God’s Word, and challenging them to make some changes in their lives, Miller does an excellent job of delivering the “slow down” message that current generations long understand.
How can we slow our lives down, when responsibilities that we have to acknowledge remain? “Opting out of frantic living …opting into lasting peace,” as the tagline of her book reads, requires a process that comes with a learning curve. Miller is faithful to guide her readers through 90 days of encouragement and spot on suggestions of how to refine our lives in a realistic way, in order to seek Him first. “Reconditioning your heart, retraining your mind, and strengthening your body is a significant undertaking by entirely worth it to cash in on the abundant life,” Miller admonishes in one of her entries. Life, within the love of Christ, is just that. Abundant, and joyfully sustaining, regardless of our circumstances. I highly recommend this 90 day devotional to anyone who struggles to balance the burdens and demand of modern-day life.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is available to purchase here.
One by one, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth unravels many of the lies that women believe in her updated and expanded version of her book, “Lies Women Believe.” As a middle-aged, stay-at-home mom, I feel inundated with these lies daily.
This book was a relief and a weapon to fight them all at the same time. It’s so important for women to take captive every thought, as Scripture says, and align it with God’s Truth. Otherwise, it’s easy to become entangled in a web of lies and comparisons that rob us of the joy and life that Jesus died to give us. He loves us beyond our understanding, and has a plan and a purpose for our lives better than anything we can ask for or imagine. Yet, we swim daily in a sea full of lies that attempt to snatch that full and abundant realization from us. DeMoss Wolgemuth attaches Biblical truth to each lie so seamlessly and logically, that one cannot help to be ministered to in the depths of the heart by reading through these pages.
“We feel that is our circumstances were different-our upbringing, our environment, the people around us- we would be different. We would be more patient, more loving, more content, easier to live with. If our circumstances make us what we are, then we are all victims. And that’s just what the Enemy wants us to believe. Because if we are victims, then we aren’t responsible-we can’t help the way we are. But God says we are responsible- not for the failures of others, but for our own responses and lives. The Truth is, our circumstances don’t make su what we are. They merely reveal who we are.”
Women from all walks of life will be able to relate the arming truths of this wonderful book. I highly recommend it!
(I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)