Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe (Baker Books, 2016)

Resolutions are easy to make. But the Christian life challenges our resolve to stay committed to God by testing our commitments against fear, rejection, and expectations.

Dr. Lina Abujamra has given us the blessing of another book, Resolved, written in her inimitable style and with her characteristic passion. Lina has seen life in all its raw reality—where it’s from the perspective of an ER doc, a missionary, or a single who wrestles with the church’s expectations of singles.

Lina tackles ten issues that demand our absolute resolve and offers “resolutions,” much as Jonathan Edwards did centuries ago. These chapters urge us to adopt personal resolutions about our lives and believe, love, obey, yield, speak up, have joy, be in community, give, hope, and rest—all with Jesus Christ as a center.

Rescuing the Gospel- The Story and Significance of the Reformation

Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation (Baker Books, 2016)

The issues of the past will always be the issues of today, because they are the issues of life. History is doomed to repeat itself when we fail to learn from it.

In Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation, Erwin Lutzer offers an excellent introduction to the Reformation by asking and answering questions essential to every generation of believers.

Worth Living

Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy (Baker Publishing Group, 2016)

We were designed by God with a worth that reflects the dignity He designed us to have. Sin has marred that original design, but it has not removed our longing for God’s original intention. We yearn to know we’re worthy—but our fallen nature seeks sources for that affirmation other than the One who gave us our worth.

Mary DeMuth’s pen has once again dipped in the inkwell of her own painful experience and written what we all feel with questions we all ask: Am I worthy? Am I loved? Am I defined by my past . . . or by what I accomplish?

Better still, Mary has pointed us back to God with answers we all need to hear. She records lies we listen to and truths we need to cling to. She writes:

May you look at yourself in the mirror and genuinely smile at who you see—a woman dearly loved by Jesus, one worth sacrificing for, being gentle with. . . . You are his lovely dwelling place, infused with worth.

I was well into Worth Living before I realized Mary wrote it for women! It ministered to me as well.

Entitlement Cure

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way (Zondervan, 2015)

Reading The Entitlement Cure was like sitting in a counseling office with a wise mentor who offered the odd combination of rebukes that encourage. So much of what Dr. Townsend writes connects to our everyday lives and struggles, since he identifies those problem-proned, entitled people we know (including the one in the mirror), as well as identifying the solutions deeply rooted in Scripture.

Whether the issue is a person who fears conflict, or refuses to admit “I was wrong,” or simply is lazy—The Entitlement Cure helps us take the next hard step toward true success, joy, and growth instead of continuing to chase easy choices that dump consequences that are anything but easy.

The book is worth every penny. And then some. I’ll read it again.

NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible

Apply the Word Study Bible, NKJV (Thomas Nelson, 2017)

Most “Study Bibles” contain an introduction to each book of the Bible, as well as a concordance, maps, indexes, etc. But what makes the Apply the Word Study Bible unique are the features that offer devotional insights on most every page. These features offer substantial and interesting background information on biblical characters, places, and history, as well as some practical application. If “study” truly is the goal, the lack of white space and margins in the Apply the Word Study Bible offer significant limitations if one wants to add personal notes or insights beyond underlining. However, if Bible reading is all a person desires, this Bible will be ideal.

God Is With You Every Day

God Is With You Every Day (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Max Lucado’s new daily devotional offers a great affirmation of the book’s title: God is With You Every Day. These 365 readings include a weekly prayer and Scripture, followed by daily devotionals culled from several of Max’s books. Each devotion is brief enough to be read in a couple of minutes, offering an inspirational story or biblical insight written in Max’s inimitable style. Scriptural and topical indexes help make God is With You Every Day a handy resource for study and illustrations as well as a daily devotional. I recommend it.


Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

The most significant chapters of John MacArthur’s book on Parables are the first two—plus the introduction. These explain why Jesus taught in parables—or rather, why He switched from direct discourse to parables. The controversies in Matthew chapters 12-13 show the Pharisees attributing Jesus’ miracles to Satan rather than to the Holy Spirit. Jesus, understanding that the nation of Israel would eventually reject Him, changed His method of teaching to parables. One quote from MacArthur summarizes well the purpose of the parables:

In short, Jesus’ parables had a clear twofold purpose: They hid the truth from self-righteous or self-satisfied people who fancy themselves too sophisticated to learn from him, while the same parables revealed truth to eager souls with childlike faith—those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness. (p. xxi)

The rest of MacArthur’s volume, Parables—accurate, expositional, occasionally abrasive, and bookish—simply explains lessons about Jesus’ various parables — lessons involving justice and grace, neighborly love, justification by faith, faithfulness, wisdom, heaven and hell, and prayer.

What We Believe

What We Believe: Understanding and Confessing the Apostles’ Creed (Baker, 2015)

R. C. Sproul’s new book, What We Believe, is a reprint of his 1998 volume, Renewing Your Mind. But its subject remains as fresh as the day Sproul wrote it. Indeed, its theme is timeless. The book does what its subtitle promises it offers: Understanding and Confessing the Apostles’ Creed. Systematically going through each phrase of the creed, Sproul explains its meaning, offering in essence a general theology of the Christian faith.

To anyone interested in the meaning of the apostles Creed—or of Christianity in general—What We Believe would do a great job providing that introduction.

More Than Conquerors

More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation (Baker, 2015)

I initially took interest in William Hendriksen’s volume, More Than Conquerors, because this 75th Anniversary Edition attested to its longstanding popularity as a commentary on the book of Revelation. One advantage this review has was my unfamiliarity with Hendriksen’s view of prophecy. Although his love and appreciation for Scripture is clear at the outset, it is also evident that he interprets areas of prophecy inconsistently—sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. I don’t mean one should not recognize Revelation’s figurative language—it’s everywhere! I mean one should interpret the figures of speech literally—otherwise these can mean anything. Some phrases also needn’t be taken figuratively at all. For example, his reasons for spiritualizing the “1000 years” of Revelation 20—referred to 6 times—as not a literal 1000 years is unnecessary. For amillennialists, this is likely a volume much appreciated, but for Bible students who prefer a literal interpretation of Scripture, another volume is advisable.