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4.23.2013

Book Review: Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn

Robin Jones Gunn is a highly successful author of several fiction series. She's ministered to many young women with her Christy Miller series, and to many adult women with her Sisterchicks series. A brand new book, Victim of Grace: When God's Goodness Prevails, is Robin's memoir of what it means to be what she calls a "victim of grace."

Let me introduce you to the concept of being a victim of grace. At first, it would seem backwards, as grace is a privilege, a gift. I tried to figure out how that was being a victim, which connotes something negative to me. The more I read, the more I understood.

Robin says, "My thoughts ran to a deep place. I considered how there is nothing I can do, nothing to make the rain fall or the wind blow. Unprovoked by any act o my part, God gives me breath. He opens his hand and gives and gives and gives. I don't control his faithfulness. I don't initiate his mercy. I can do nothing to earn his kindness. I don't deserve his gifts. The truth is, I am powerless to stop his love for me. I did nothing to activate his goodness toward me. I am incapable of deflecting the endless showers of blessings that come from his storehouses and rain over my life. It's all grace. Grace upon grace…I am a victim of grace" (pg. 15).

Then I understood.

This book is Robin's story, but it isn't just a biography. She cleverly weaves the memoir and story into an application that inspires the reader with a sense that we can be victims of grace too. As she talks about how God worked in and through so many details and how his plan brought her so much satisfaction and joy, I can see how God does that for me too.

Robin shares her journey into becoming a published author, a mother, a wife, and a speaker. I heard her share this story during several evening plenary sessions at a writer's conference in 2012 and I was inspired then. As I read the story again, I could hear her sweet voice, hear her smile, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ultimately, it's the story of how God took her dream and brought it to fruition in a more marvelous way than she imagined. She uses examples in each chapter from women of the Bible and truth from scripture.

The discussion questions at the end of the book help readers interact with the material and apply the concepts to life. Readers will learn to consider their own dreams, look at what obedience means, make peace with limitations, embrace each season of life, and look for God's grace in and through their own experiences.


I highly recommend the book, and it releases TODAY! It's also available in eBook.

I received an advance reader copy of the book from the Amazon Vine Reviewer program in exchange for my objective review. I was not compensated for my review or required to write a favorable review. 


About Robin Jones Gunn

Over the past 25 years Robin has written 82 books with almost 4.5 million copies sold worldwide. To her great delight, Robin’s books are doing exactly what she always hoped to do – they are traveling around the world and telling people about God’s love. She is doing the same. Over the past ten years Robin has been invited to speak at events around the US and Canada as well as in South America, Africa, Europe and Australia. 

Robin and her husband have two grown children and have been married for 35 years. They live in Hawai’i where she continues to write and speak in rhythm with her life verse:

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the LORD Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Acts 20:24.
 Read the rest of Robin's story

4.21.2013

Finding Hope in the Questions Amid National Tragedy

What are we to make of tragedy? What are we to make of moments when our fellow Americans fear for their lives and suffer deep loss? Do we move on with life as if nothing happened? Do we rivet our eyes and ears to the television for up-to-the-minute details, or do we shut it off and shut it out? How do we cope with the unspoken fear that burns in our minds, "If it happened there, could it happen here too?" What do we do with our fears?

So many questions.

This week, my heart stirred for the people in Boston who hunkered in their homes waiting for word of a captured killer. I grieved for those fighting for life and courage in hospital beds, limbs missing, bones broken, and skin marred from shrapnel. 

But I also grieved for the people devastated by a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. At the same time they were displaced and wondering when they would be able to get back to the shards of their homes to sift through what remained, the news media abandoned their story to focus on an American terrorist. 

That prompted more questions.
 
USA Today Photo  More info
Why does this person get all of this attention? Why are we focused on the motive behind his insane tirade? What of the people who lost their lives in the Texas explosion? Don't they get fair media time? What about the people who died in tornadoes in the South just a week before? How do we forget so quickly? Where is justice?


Questions might seem to us as a sign of a lack of faith. A sign of insecurity. 

But, I don't think so.

Questions are a sign we still care. When we stop asking the questions is when we have given up hope. As long as we ask the questions, hope is alive. We're looking for a solution. Answers.


I have hope because when I ask the questions, I always come back to one answer. 

God. 

I ask, "Why? What can we do? Where do we go for help?"

He answers, "I am still here." No question in his voice. Just affirmation that he is still in charge. Evil may be present, but it will not prevail. 

So, ask the questions. But then listen for the answer. Can you hear the whisper of hope? He is here. Let's not forget. 


4.19.2013

Book Review: Unglued Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst

Do you ever wish you didn't come unglued when someone irritates you or life hands you a disappointment? What happens when you're tired or annoyed...when you can't resist the urge to criticize? Lysa TerKeurst wants to help you break the cycle of coming unglued.

In her book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst deals with the subject of handling emotions without stuffing or exploding. In the Unglued Devotional, TerKeurst provides a 60-day guide for making progress on handling emotions. Borrowing subjects and some anecdotes from the main book, she provides a practical way to apply the content from the book in a daily devotional format. Some of the devotions give suggestions for an action step to take, others give inspiration from Lysa's story. All teaching is based on a key scripture verse and each day ends with a prayer.

The back of the book has an explanation of the different personality types in dealing with emotions. Readers will be able to identify themselves in the assessment, and then book encourages readers to do a deeper assessment on the unglued website.

I can see how it would be a more complete experience to have the book and the devotional book. However, this is a good interaction with the material, and I think it works well as a stand-alone. I appreciate that it isn’t gimmicky in any way that would make me feel obligated to purchase the whole resource package.
 

I heard Lysa speak recently on this subject at the Free to Fly women's conference and it was very good. In both this book and in her speaking, she's very open about her own struggle and in her transparency. I really appreciate how she comes alongside the reader and doesn't judge.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program. I am not obligated to give a favorable review and I am not compensated for reviews. 


Want to find out your response type? Check out the assessment on the Unglued website

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