Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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3 Books on Life that Every Single Should Read

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read”. – Charlie Jones

What a true statement! In our singleness we have been given the gift of flexibility and time. One of the ways I have been most intentional about living fully alive now is through the books I choose to read. Books and the truths we clean from them are a bit like bricks we can use to build the framework of our character. Through several short posts spread out through the remainder of this 31 Days Series, I’m going to try to share with you several of the books that have impacted my life the most. I could tell you why I like each of these books, but really, all my mini reviews will come out sounding mostly the same : They changed my life! So I’ve included a few quotes and ideas so you can taste them for yourself.

 Warning: If you want to live comfortably, don’t read these books. They are not for the faint of heart. In their pages I have wept more tears of repentance, change, and growth. But also have I found freedom, strength, and grace.

1. The Bait of Satan: Living Free From Offense – John Bevere

If forgiveness is a debt paid, than offense is a debt owed. What would it look like to Be led by the Spirit – not reaction?

“For many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.’ – Notice it does not say, “For as many as react to a difficult situations, these are the Sons of God”- Bevere

This spring I wrote a full review on this book. Check it out here.

2. Loneliness – Elizabeth Elliot

Elizabeth Elliot was single for five years while loving a man she did not know if she could ever marry. Over the years she was married three times loosing her first husband as martyr and the second to cancer. She knows a few things about loneliness can be found in every stage of life. You see loneliness isn’t something that just singles struggle with, singleness is just the best opportunity we have to learn how to handle it.

“… this acceptance  I speak of is not passivism, quietism, fatalism, or resignation. It is not capitulation to evil, or a refusal to do what can and ought to be done to change things. It is a distilled act of faith, a laying one’s will alongside God’s, a putting of oneself at one with His kingdom and His will… Acceptance is abandonment [of self], the great risk of great lovers, when an awesome power is given over – the power to hurt…. To love means to open ourselves up to suffering.” Elisabeth Elliot – Loneliness

 3. Keep Your Love On – Danny Silk

This book is about choice. About relationships. And single friends, ‘relationships’ is not a word for romantic couples, it’s for us too. Any person you see on a regular basis you have a relationship with. Therefore, this book is for you!

“I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” 1 Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. His side of the relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice.” – Danny Silk, Keep Your Love On

If you want to throw out this book after the first few chapters (I get it, and I almost did) But– keep reading! This book was so

Danny Silk

Danny Silk

foreign to the way I was used to doing relationships that it rankled me to no end. I was only rankled though because I was a powerless person. What’s a powerful/powerless person? Well guess you had better read to find out!

Live intentional and fully alive today – pick up some books and start building! What have been some of the most character building books for you? I’m always reading – Comment below? I would love to hear your suggestions.

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive “3 Books on Life, Every Single Should Read” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Pulling Back the Shades {A Book Review}

Spanning from the deep edges of black to the translucent edges of white are many shades of grey. Some hues are dark and easy to discern, others nearly white and invisible. As it is with grey, so it is with our sexuality. In their newest book, “Pulling Back the Shades; Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart,” Dr. Julie Slattery and Dannah Gresh address the spectrum of women’s sexual longings and why we have them.

Originally written as a rebuttal and answer to the popular series “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James, Pulling Back the Shades goes deeper and answers the question why women (Christian women too) are attracted to and reading the newly termed genre of “erotica” (romantic fantasy). Quickly becoming an emotional version of pornography, erotica’s lead seller, The Fifty Shades of Gray series has sold more than a million copies world wide. Pulling Back the Shades addresses why the series went viral, as well as why women are attracted to watching and reading romantic fantasy. The book also covers the positive and negative sides to erotica.

When I was given “Pulling Back the Shades” to review from Moody Publishers, I was excited as I respect both Gresh and Slattery’s work. When they decided to write a book together I was thrilled. Only I had never read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, so I wasn’t sure if the book would be interesting or apply to me at all.

 It did.

In deciding to write a book that would address the growing obsession for erotica, Gresh decided to not read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, while Slattery did. One of the reasons I really enjoyed the book was that both women brought two entirely different experiences and perspectives to the table. The book is written in alternating fonts as each woman shared her perspectives on the different issues they address. It’s probably one of the most balanced books that I’ve read that addresses a specific issue (Fifty Shades of Gray) and a general topic (erotica).

This book is a great resource for anyone wanting to be able to converse with fellow believers and the world on our sexuality. Erotica is a growing phenomenon within the church – witnessed by the number of Christian romance novels. Are these books wrong? Probably not in and of themselves, but why do we have the need to keep reading them? What drives our longings? Dannah and Julie take an honest, real approach to answering these questions and more.

 “The fantasy of erotica inspires one thing – the longing for more . . .You will never reach contentment reading something that is intended to make you long for more”. Pg. 36-37

Our longings were given to us for reasons, good, healthy reasons, but they won’t be satisfied in the pages of erotica, or viewed before us on a screen. Gresh and Slattery do an excellent job of addressing some of the dangers of erotica, while still conveying the excitement and joy of healthy, godly sexuality. This is not a “how to” or legalistic book that comes down on sexuality in any way. It’s balanced, thought provoking, and filled with grace. “Pulling Back the Shades” dives bravely and deeply into areas of a women’s heart that the church really needs to be talking about.

This book is for you if you:

  • Have read “Fifty Shades of Gray,
  • Are curious about cultural trends
  • Work with women and teen girls
  • Or you want to know more about your own longings.

If you have not read “Fifty Shades of Gray” like myself, or the co- author, Dannah, this book is still very applicable and challenging. We all have longings, but do we know why? Or know what to do with them? – Pick up a copy of “Pulling Back the Shades” and find out!

 

In Short Review: Dannah Gresh’s book “Get Lost – Your Guide to Finding True Love”, is a great practical, book that beautifully and tangibly looks at how to have our longings fulfilled in Christ. I would recommended it as a follow up to “Pulling Back the Shades” or “What are You Waiting For“. In short, Get Lost, is the practical application to Dannah’s other books! 


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Walled In

I heard nothing as I listened to him talk, or watched him walk around. That is – my spiritual ears heard nothing – nada. Silence to a discerning person is very eerie and unusual. It’s like the modem from your spirit to heaven stops sending and receiving data, and all connectivity ceases. I had become unplugged when around this person. Why?

Offense.

I was offended. And then I was offended to learn I was offended! Last summer the Lord took me on a very revealing growth journey with offense – what it was and how to deal with it. Although I’m a passionate person, I’m also very easy going, so I would never have thought of myself as someone who could be offended. I wasn’t bitter or angry with this person, but I was walled in around them.

Proverbs 18:19 says that:

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

I always read that verse with the idea that if I had offended someone they would be harder to win back than getting into a walled city. Offense creates walls in both the offender and the offendee. I was the one that was walled into my frustration and distrust of this person. Offense had walled me in and shut off my spiritual gifts. I saw the person who had wronged me only for what they were not, rather than for who they could be, or were in Christ.

Offense takes on many forms and looks very differently in each person, but we are all exposed to opportunities to be offended every day. In Luke 18, Jesus even tells us that offense will come! So how do we respond when they do?

John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense, and in it he walks through what offense is and how to handle it in a way that free’s both people. The Lord used this book to radically change my life last year, and I want to pass that opportunity onto someone else. I’m giving away a copy of The Bait of Satan, over at Kindred Grace. Will you join me over at Kindred Grace to win a copy of the book and read a short  review? Click here. The book give-a-way ends on Thursday 3.13.14 at Midnight.

 


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Sacred Search – Review and Give-a-Way

Sacred SearchBut seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:33, ESV)

What if we based our search for a spouse on seeking first the kingdom of God? What if our criteria for entering into a dating or courting relationship was not based on how we felt, but on our compatibility for serving the Lord and seeking Him together? In Sacred SearchGary Thomas asks these questions and more.

 Would you please join me over at Kindred Grace for the rest of the review and a chance to win a copy for yourself? Click Here 


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Favorite Things – Give A Way!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Would you like a brown paper package all tied up with string? This week I’m doing a give a way of my favorite things!

Today I’m joining with my fellow Ladder Bloggers (A wonderful group of ladies I blog with!) to share some fantasitc giveaways with our beloved readers. A bunch of us have each chosen a few of our favorite things to giveaway on our blogs, and we’re all linking to each other, like a giant, progressive ‘dinner’ of giveaway goodness. I’ll share ‘directions’ to their ‘homes’ and goodies in a minute, but first, my gifts to you… Continue reading


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Out of a Far Country

Next on my list to review from Blogging for Books is Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yaun. (I get free books to review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group – feeds my reading habit!) It’s a true story of a mother and son and their journey through homosexuality. An unusual non-fiction story that reads like fiction – Out of a Far Country is a smooth but gripping read.

I personally loved this book as it balances the homosexual issue and Christian faith very well. It has a strong presentation of biblical truth while bringing it to a personal level as the mother struggles to accept a homosexual son and that son wrestles between an orientation and a faith he doesn’t understand.

This book was very helpful in opening my eyes to better understand the homosexual/faith debate. The biggest thing the book shows is that the balance for heterosexual and homosexual orientation is not one or the other but a call to holiness for both. As in the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality but holiness.

Out of a Far Country is a great, balanced book – a real testimony dealing with faith, homosexuality, and AIDS in modern day America. Check it out.


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What Are You Waiting For?

When it comes to sex, why are we waiting?  We are told not to have premarital sex, we’re told to be pure and save ourselves. But why? We’re told sex outside of marriage is wrong and maybe sometimes we’re told about diseases or adverse emotional effects – but why are we told to wait? Why does the Bible say it is wrong? What and why are we waiting for?
In Dannah Gresh’s newest book, “What Are You Waiting For – The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex?” she answers those questions and more. She explains the “why not” and the “just don’t”. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program to read and review it for them. It is by far the best book I have ever read on sex for young women; and although written for women, some guys would really get a lot out of it too. It combines scripture, science and real life examples.

Gresh is also not afraid to tackle the hard issues of porn, homosexuality and masturbation.  She does a great job of being real, without getting graphic. Her word studies into the Hebrew and Greek make scriptures come alive as you hear God’s heart on human sexuality. This is a MUST read for all unmarried girls* and young adults.

I highly recommend this book for youth leaders – it is a big tool we can use to address why we wait to have sex. There are discussion questions in the back if you choose to use it as a small group curriculum. It is designed more for the individual but can be used for small groups. God doesn’t say no to spoil our fun, He says no because of …. Well – you’ll just have to read it!

Parents, if you have older teenage girls or young adult daughters this book will be a huge resource to you both. It’s the most balanced, biblical and scientific blend on purity that I have ever read. And it’s not just for girls who haven’t had sex yet. It speaks to young ladies wherever they are at. Get it. You will be glad you did!

*Due to the content of the book I wouldn’t recommend it for girls any younger than 16 unless the parents have read it first or the girls are mature.