6 Book Reviews For Spiritual Growth
A Place Called Heaven by Dr. Robert Jeffress
This book was so much better than I expected it to be. Not that I am not a fan of these kinds of books, but I typically find informational texts heavy and have to read them slowly.
This one is not like that. It is user-friendly, to put it in a nutshell.
Dr. Robert Jeffress has done his research well and does not come across any way other than wise, knowledgeable, and passionate about sharing what he has found.
Some favorite quotes include:
“The more we think about the next world, the more effective we become in this world.”
“Paul (Paul from the scriptures we read) was made for Heaven, not Earth. He didn’t want to spend one more minute here than absolutely necessary. Yet, Paul realized it was necessary to spend some time here on Earth to fulfill the mission God had entrusted to him.” (See Phil 1:21, 23-24)
“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” – Maximus Decimus Meridius
A favorite takeaways:
- The author talks about the importance of our “inner” and “outer” garments and what each represents.
- He answers common questions like, “What will we do in Heaven?” and “Will Heaven be the same for everyone in Heaven?”
I gave this book a five star rating on Amazon.com because it exceeded my expectations. I am excited to share about this with others in my daily life if the opportunity arises.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.
The Whole Bible Story, Illustrated Edition, By Dr. William H. Marty
My Amazon review:
“It was comparable to sitting at a storytellers feet as they share all they know, and I felt as if I gleaned things I had not realized before, almost like when you read a really great commentary and you have the AHA moment.
I only gave it 4 out of 5 because I think if it had references in the back it would have made it even better, for if the person wanted to pursue more in depth. Overall, I believe it holds value and do not regret reading. It is one my young kids like because it is straightforward.”
- Include a breakdown of the main characters and setting(s).
- Includes photos & facts (but not overly saturated).
This is not meant to have every detail of the scripture, one will know this by reading the Preface and the Introduction at the beginning. I highly recommend NOT skipping over these before you go into it. Also, I put in my review that I wished there were references, but really there are — just not as detailed as I am used to. I wanted to clarify this. The proof of this is in the contents. You will see each chapter lined out followed by the whereabouts in scripture. Some are more detailed than others. Example: ‘Chapter 8 The Kingdom Unites, page 106 — Samuel (1 Samuel 1-8) Saul (1 Samuel 9-15) Saul and David ( 1 Samuel 16-31)’ but then another may look like this…’Chapter 15 The Great Galilean Ministry (The Four Gospels).’
The Holy Land For Christian Travelers, by John A. Beck
My Amazon Review:
The Atlas that Will Complement Any Bible Study, A Must Have For Travelers or Visual Learners
“This was an excellently written book. It starts out with a timeline breakdown, a history of the land beginning from 3300 BC up through the present day. The history explanation alone holds tremendous value.
Following this you will find a layout of the geography and climate of The Promised Land. It is depicted in charts and visual graphics making it easy to take in.
Next, it has an itinerary giving you an idea of how long it takes to get from various destinations to another so you can plan accordingly.
After this there is a section called, Things Travelers Need To Know. It is super awesome to have these facts at your fingertips. Things which will help you know how to pack in order to respect the culture and be legal at all points in time.
It begins closest to the land and works its way outward.
The end has more detailed maps and even has a Bible timeline!
This exceeded my expectations. I am really glad I went for something different. Even if you are not planning to travel here, it is worth the read and serves as a multipurpose reference.”
The God Shaped Heart, by Timothy R. Jennings, MD
As one who has battled with perfectionism and wrong thinking (I need to have it all together to be and do what God has called me to do), I can say with assurance and excitement that this book has been a tremendous blessing.
I have grown up going to church most of my life, and even with Bible study (as if for most I am sure) — there were some things my brain cells just were putting together, and kept me a bit confused about.
After reading this, I feel like my brain and heart have been shaken up, dusted off, and put back together, only better.
The tagline tells it right, and it does transform you! My husband and I lay on the bed last night discussing it. It is something I feel the urge to share with another who isn’t sure how God feels about them, may be confused about the “Old Testament” God versus the “New Testament” God. Because I know I was. I couldn’t understand how people would recite scripture, “He’s the same yesterday, today and forever,” but then hear people in a church say, “We don’t need the Old Testament anymore.”
I am sure I am not the only one who have heard parts of conversations, or messages that leave one feeling more confused than clear. Jennings, uses analogies and comparisons to help us understand some things about God that I have never realized before, but are true. He has scripture references, scientific facts that back up the Bible, and lastly, there is nothing in this book I have found to be “off.” I highly recommend it.
My Favorite Chapter:
Chapter 3, Growing Past the Rules
Jennings lists the 7 Levels of Moral Decision Making. This was profound to say the least. I would have bought this book for this chapter alone!
Why Buy This?
If you know any new believers or anyone who is confused about how God sees us or why the Old Testament is so different from the New Testament, this book is a helper in hand. I truly believe this book was Spirit led, and I wouldn’t say that about just any book. God is allowing Christian authors to help grow His kingdom. I see it through these pages.
Holy Labor, by Aubry G. Smith
“Recovering a Biblical notion of childbirth can help us worship God more fully..” – Aubry
Aubry shares about her childbirth experiences and how she could not find any Christian book that helped her to ’embrace the beauty of childbirth and God’s transformation of our hearts in the process.’ She admits the only thing that came close were New Age birthing books which highlighted the “goddess of within.” But believers know it is the Holy Spirit who can help us, and so Aubry wrote this book for women who desire a Christian view on the matter. Not just a view, but an experience shared with care and consideration.
Previously, Aubry had the belief and fear-wrapped sensation that childbirth was a continual punishment from God for Eve’s sin. Ironically, this sounds like part of the misunderstanding I read in the above book, The God-Shaped Heart. We can’t only view God through one lens. We can’t take one thing and mold him out of it. We must see with spiritual eyes.
Aubry writes that if we solely focus on the pain and anxieties of this miracle, we might miss out on seeing ‘God as caring Creator delivering new life into the world.’
- Gospel and Childbirth
- A Glimpse of God’s Purpose in Childbirth
- Laboring with Christ
“As I studied the Bible’s imagery of childbirth and how God himself participates in the process, I found myself on my face, weeping in awe of od, over and over. This book began about birth and ended as a book about worship, through the very common experience of childbirth.
As we see God and encounter him through his Son –even in childbirth– we are transformed….Find God in the metaphors and realities of childbearing and allow him to bear fruit in us.” – Aubry
Hands down this would make a magnificent baby shower gift to the expectant mother. It would make a great addition to any church library, or free resource for expectant moms within the church. I know not every institution is able to afford things like this, but it disciples to my mama heart and so I know it will for others out there too.
I Am Devotional, by Diane Stortz
Taking what we know about who God is, and letting it change how we live.
My Amazon review:
“Diane has created another treasure that compliments her first I Am, book. This devotional goes deeper into how we can apply what we know about who God is, to our daily lives. The pictures are vivid and it is well written. I didn’t expect anything less than superb from Diane. I recommend this to parents who like to read to their kids, elementary or middle school age children, or Sunday school teachers.”