Unglued Devotional - Book Review

How do you react when others irritate you, disappoint you, or criticize you? Whether it’s your kids, co-workers, or the slow driver on the street, how easily do you come unglued? And when you do, how to you react/respond?  Do you stuff it, or do you explode, or something in between?
Lysa Terkeurst knows what it feels like to live life unglued and admits to her emotions and reactions often being messy in her book UnGlued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress.  She doesn’t claim to be a hero who has all the answers.  She is a friend who has been there, who is there, and understands.  She lets you see how imperfect she is, reminds you of truths to cling to, and extends mercy and grace when you fail.
In a sense, this is sort of her “hope” journal as she expresses her continual need for her Savior and for grace and mercy.  Each of the 60 days begins with a daily scripture verse and thought for the day. The devotional section includes biblical truths shared compassionately and empathetically with stories of her struggles. Each day then ends in a closing heart-felt prayer.
She describes progress as slow steps wrapped in grace. We will face set-backs and do-overs throughout life, but it is progress as long as the line keeps moving forward, even if just a little bit.  She includes an analysis in the appendix to you in determining if you are a stuffer or exploder. This book appears to be a companion book to Unglued, but can certainly be read independently. If anything, it might raise your interest in reading the book where she takes these topics deeper.
If you find yourself struggling with emotional cycles rooted in the past, Lysa Terkeurst offers hope for change in this devotional book.  While bringing you into time with Jesus, she shows how to make emotions work for you instead of against you.  If your emotional reactions need transformation in your life, I recommend this book as a great start. She will not only provide you with instruction, but also grace and reassurance to keep you moving forward enough to make progress, even if it is imperfect.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

My Grandpa's Legacy

My grandpa passed away from this world a week ago today, and he left me a rich inheritance. He was generous in that way.  And it was not just for me, nor just for his family -- he wanted everyone to have it.

The good news of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, – He believed it.  He breathed it.  You could see it in how he valued people.  No one was beneath him to talk to, nor did he have the character of being a busy or hurried man.  He stopped and saw the real person and wondered about their soul – the cashier at the store, his doggy’s veterinarian, the nursing assistant in the hospital. 

My grandpa was an encourager.  He had three favorite verses that he commonly used to encourage me, and it was clear that these were the foundation of his life with Christ because he lived them.

1) Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

His grandmother imparted this verse to her own children and had desired for all her grandchildren to memorize it.  It became his life verse.  He truly believed that when we turned to God, He would “direct” our paths. But it will not necessarily be an easy path.  Sometimes the path may have obstacles and hindrances, but when we trust the Lord, he will lead us around them or through them.    

2)   Isaiah 26:3   You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

When faced with major life decisions and transitions, this was a verse he would quote to me and tell me that he was praying. And when he said he prayed, I knew he really was.  His mind stayed on His Lord, and in the overflow of his heart he wanted others to experience this peace.  When God gave him an open door to testify to His goodness, to share the good news of Jesus, or to offer a word of encouragement, he never hesitated. It was second nature to him to want to know what one’s relationship was with Jesus and then encourage them to seek Him.

3)  I Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  

This verse was my grandpa’s mission statement.  His life goal was to continually be in a position where God could use him.  He didn’t sit around wondering what  God’s plan or purpose was for his life.  He didn’t know what each year, each month, or even each day would bring.  He just knew that all he had to do was be ready for the next task.  He was a humble servant of the Lord.

This is the legacy he leaves behind.  He would want us to trust God with all our hearts, to keep our minds firmly rooted in Him, and to also give our lives as willing and humble servants knowing that each God-assigned task set before us will not be done in vain.

Lord, I Give You This Day - Book Review

My favorite devotionals are condensed with thoughtful/prayerful insights; no silly stories or fluffy illustrations to make a point. Lord, I Give You This Day, by Kay Arthur, fits the category.  Each daily entry is applicable to the reader’s life by asking pointed questions, like “how will you respond to suffering?” and “do you shudder at your own inability to be holy?”

This devotional provides snippets of the best of Kay Arthur’s best teachings for daily reading on a single page, blending with Scripture and closing with a short prayer. 

She speaks with strength and tenderness into life’s demands and uncertainties. She gives biblical direction into situations such as when struggling with choices others make, being unjustly attacked, seeking approval, experiencing self-condemnation, operating in the strength in our flesh, fighting temptation, conforming to the world, etc. She applies to daily life the doctrines of salvation, grace, forgiveness, predestination, worship, prayer, etc.

If you are looking for a power-packed devotional to jump-start your day in a way that will stick with you all day long, as well as build your faith, I highly recommend this book.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Lord Change Me - Book Review

“I try to change, but I can’t. Why don’t I learn? Why do I keep failing? What’s wrong with me?”  Maybe it’s something like anger or bitterness. Maybe it’s addiction.  Maybe it’s small, or maybe it’s big.  Maybe it’s a general character trait that you know keeps you from being like Jesus but you can’t quite put your finger on how to change it. 

James MacDonald says that change is about thousands upon thousands of little decisions we make every day. Change is “moment by moment by moment by moment by moment”.  The short simple title of his book Lord Change Me does not do justice its contents.  This book is packed with biblical truth about change through the transforming power of Jesus. 

The book is divided into 3 parts:
1)    Preparing for change – rejecting faulty methods of change (psychoanalysis, self-discovery, legalism, etc.), and looking biblically at where change begins and what to do. MacDonald guides you through steps to help you identify exactly what it is you need to change.
2)    Process of change – biblically-based steps on how change takes place, such as the meaning and importance of repentance, what it means to be “dead to sin”, God’s role in change as well as your role, what it means to exercise your faith and how to do it.
3)    Power of change – the source of real change and what it means for Jesus to be in my place, “Not I but Christ”, living empowered by the Holy Spirit to let Jesus live His life in us, how to be filled with the Spirit and what hinders the filling.
Each chapter ends with list of different types of questions, a practical exercise to apply the truths of that chapter, and a hear-felt prayer.

In this biblically grounded book with its prolific use of Scripture, James MacDonald speaks with directness and with authority. He admits to this but explains that he wants to avoid the error of amusing without dispensing the transforming truth of the gospel. The truths are stained with his own tears of trying and failing and trying again to be the man God wants him to be. 

Whether you are dealing with addiction or just wanting to become more like Jesus, this book is a great resource for understanding how to change and how we can be transformed to the people God designed us to be.

For more information from the publisher, click here.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


This morning I was reflecting on the times when I feel that I most hear God's voice and direction speaking into my life.  Is it while I am going about my daily business? Is it when I am worshiping alongside others? Is it during a sermon? Is it when I am serving others? Is it when I am reading the Bible? Is it when I am praying? 

He has spoken into my life in all the above, but hands down, it is while I am praying that He speaks the most.  It is when I am praying and listening that the burning-bush moments happen.

I was just reminded of the priceless treasure of getting alone with God in the devotional book Streams of Living Water by L.B. Cowman. She reminded me of all the miraculous acts of God showing Himself and working His power when individuals were alone with Him: Jacob (the wrestling event), Moses (burning bush), Gideon (the fleece), Mary and Cornelius (messages from angels), John the Beloved (island of Patmos) – just to name a few.

Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples, with crowds of people, and with the Pharisees in the synagogue. But I think even more notable is that He spent much time alone with His Master, and through His time alone with the Father, He was given everything He needed to speak into the lives of the people and minister to them.

Earnestly desire to get alone with God. If we neglect to so so, we not only rob ourselves of a blessing but rob others as well, since we will have no blessing to pass on to them. It may mean that we do less outward, visible work, but the work we do will have more depth and power. (page 92) 
I want to hear His voice, for His Word to speak into my life. I don’t want to sleepwalk through my daily quiet time, but instead for Him to work His power into my life and change me, even if it is baby steps at a time.  When I remind myself that those burning bush moments come when I am alone with Him in conversation, I want to search for Him not just first thing in the morning but in those alone moments throughout the day. I want His work in me to have depth and power.


Be Free

Nothing has happened or will happen that, by God’s grace, you can’t climb on top of and rule over and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, be set free from.

-- quoted from James MacDonald in Lord Change Me, page 24