It’s that time again! I couldn’t possibly read or review every good book (not to mention every bad book) that finds its way into my mailbox. However, I do like to look them all over and let my readers know about some of the new ones that are most notable. So here are the new and notable books that appeared in my mailbox over the last month or so. In each case, I’ve included the publisher’s description to give you a sense of what it’s all about.
5 Things to Pray for Your Kids by Melissa Kruger
“Whatever their age, the most important thing we can do for our children is to pray for them. But where do we start? This little guide is both deep and do-able. Melissa Kruger helps us step out of the busyness of family life and pray for our children’s spiritual growth and character development in 21 key areas. For each chapter, there are five short prayer prompts drawn straight from the Bible. Because when we pray in line with God’s priorities as found in his word, our prayers are powerful and effective (James 5:16) and that’s a truly thrilling prospect. Use this book in any number of ways: work through it as part of your daily quiet time, or pick it up whenever a particular need arises. It will help you to pray meaningfully for your child, grandchild, godchild, or kids in your church from tots to teens, and every age in between.”
Humble Calvinism by J.A. Medders
“Author Jeff Medders admits that he is quick to defend Calvinism, but often slow to humbly love Christians who take a different view. His warm-hearted, challenging (and surprisingly witty) book takes readers through the the five points of Calvinism, revealing that a true understanding has a humbling effect on our hearts, fueling a love of Christ and his people that builds others up, rather than tearing them down. This book is both a helpful summary of what Calvinism is, and a helpful challenge to those who are convinced Calvinists. It calls them to hold Calvinism in their hearts, not just in their heads, so that they are humble and gracious as well as zealous for the truth, to the praise and glory of Christ and his church.”
Flourish: How the Love of Christ Frees Us from Self-Focus by Lydia Brownback
“All women are looking to live a life that will satisfy their deepest longings. Worldly thinking offers false hope found in self-focused saviors such as acceptance from others, a checklist for better living, emotional fulfillment, comfort, accomplishments, and more―some of which has crept into the church. Featuring 6 chapters aiming to free women from self-consciousness, self-improvement, self-analysis, self-indulgence, self-condemnation, and self-victimization, this book will help readers discern subtle false messages from the truth in God’s Word―exchanging a self-focused life for the abundant life Jesus promises them in the gospel.”
Suffering Is Never for Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot
“Hard times come for all in life, with no real explanation. When we walk through suffering, it has the potential to devastate and destroy, or to be the gateway to gratitude and joy. Elisabeth Elliot was no stranger to suffering. Her first husband, Jim, was murdered by the Waoroni people in Ecuador moments after he arrived in hopes of sharing the gospel. Her second husband was lost to cancer. Yet, it was in her deepest suffering that she learned the deepest lessons about God.
Why doesn’t God do something about suffering? He has, He did, He is, and He will. Suffering and love are inexplicably linked, as God’s love for His people is evidenced in His sending Jesus to carry our sins, griefs, and sufferings on the cross, sacrificially taking what was not His on Himself so that we would not be required to carry it. He has walked the ultimate path of suffering, and He has won victory on our behalf.
This truth led Elisabeth to say, ‘Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.'”
Devotedly: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot by Valerie Shepard
“Many know the heroic story of Jim Elliot’s violent death in 1956, killed along with four other missionaries by a primitive Ecuadorian tribe they were seeking to reach. Many also know the prolific legacy of Elisabeth Elliot, whose inspiring influence on generations of believers through print, broadcast, and personal testimony continues to resonate, even after her own death in 2015.
What many don’t know is the remarkable story of how these two stalwart personalities—single-mindedly devoted to pursuing God’s will for their young lives, certain their future callings would require them to sacrifice forever the blessings of marriage—found their hearts intertwined. Their paths to God’s purpose led them together.
Now, for the first time, their only child—daughter Valerie Elliot Shepard—unseals never-before-published letters and private journals that capture in first-person intimacy the attraction, struggle, drama, and devotion that became a most unlikely love story. Riveting for old and young alike, this moving account of their personal lives shines as a gold mine of lived-out truth, hard-fought purity, and an insider’s view on two beloved Christian figures.”
Christian Marriage: A Comprehensive Introduction by David Ayers
“There is a lot of confusion about the purpose of marriage today: outside the church as well as within it. Written by a distinguished Christian sociologist, Christian Marriage is a theologically rich, biblically robust, and sociologically informed treatise on the nature and value of marriage. Drawing on recent social science research, empirical data, and social history, Ayers paints a picture of marriage as an institution meant for human flourishing.
Along the way, Ayers addresses such topics as:
- Dating and selection of a spouse
- The importance of premarital counseling
- Sex and procreation
- Mentoring and supporting unmarried believers
- Divorce and remarriage
- Current controversies surrounding premarital sex and same-sex marriage
Though the book is academically and theologically informed, it is written with a pastoral heart. It seeks to provide a rich resource for pastors and counselors on a topic of supreme importance to a vibrant church and society.”
The Life and Faith Field Guide for Parents by Joe Carter
“As a Christian parent, you want your children to develop good character and godly wisdom. But how do you go beyond hoping and praying to teaching them ethical knowledge, practical skills, and virtuous habits?
This innovative guide provides practical, effective ideas you can use to help your children build their faith and character in 50 ways, including…
- engaging with the Bible and culture
- interacting with God and others
- making good decisions
- becoming better learners
- managing conflict
Once you grasp these concepts and discover how to teach them, you will be able to successfully shape the character and worldview of your child or teenager.”