The battle of the sexes today is the battle to find them at all.
In a culture that blurs males and females into a blob of humanity, it’s helpful to ask: “What distinguishes a man as a man—without being sexist or patriarchal?” If we toss aside Webster, the definition of masculinity falls to a matter of opinion.
Or does it?
Stephen Mansfield’s book, Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men, explains the author’s purpose up front.
I want to identify what a genuine man does—the virtues, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood—and then call men to do it. I mean exactly these words. This book is about doing.
As a way of saying thanks to my blog subscribers, each person receives a free copy of my e-book, Grow Strong: 30 Devotions to Deepen Your Christian Life.
But you can also grab a copy of the audiobook. And here’s the best part: you can get it FREE.
Audible is offering my audiobook (read by me) as a FREE download with your 30-day trial membership. Don’t want to be an Audible subscriber? No problem. Just cancel before 30 days ends and you can keep my audiobook for free. No strings.
“I took advantage of the Audible version and couldn’t have been happier with the ease of use while driving in my car, studying, and even riding my bike! Whether you are a new Christian or have been walking with Jesus for decades, Grow Strong will help you focus on seeing life through our Savior’s eyes.”— D. Chase
Click to listen to a sample devotion:
I hope you’ll take advantage of this offer to grow deep in your Christian life!
Click to get your FREE audiobook here!
At first, this book felt hard to read. Short sentences. Choppy phrases. At times, random-sounding thoughts strung together like Pascal’s Pensees. Profound but disjointed. Like reading poetry. Not an easy speed-read.
The book has more periods per square inch than most books I’ve read. As a person in a hurry, the many periods of punctuation came like speed bumps, forcing me to slow down. When I did, I found a gift.
Writers do their best thinking with a pen, and One Thousand Gifts reveals Ann Voskamp as a deep thinker. She writes her book around the theme gleaned from Greek verb, euchartiseo, a term that means “to give thanks.” She introduces the theme early and repeats it in every chapter—so much so that you can open the book anywhere and be blessed. The book could be half as long and still as profound.
Every breath’s a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy. —Ann Voskamp
One Thousand Gifts reminds us that contentment begins and continues by giving thanks for the blessings right in front of you. Ann did this by writing a list of 1000 “gifts” from daily life for which she is thankful.
Writing the list is a wonderful idea because it causes you to constantly look for new additions for the list. This daily assignment shapes a renewed mind, habitually searching life for reasons to thank God instead of for excuses to complain.
From the everyday context of mothering, Ann gives us the simple principle that the life we’re looking for is right in front of us—right where we are.
There are thousands of gifts from God if we will only insert many more periods in the sentences of each day.
The hard facts of life, which knock some of the nonsense out of us, are God’s facts and His appointed school of character; they are not alternatives to His grace, but means of it.
I use Evernote to help organize my piles of papers and files at work and home. From bills to blogs, from songbooks to sermons, from cards to conference notes, Evernote has helped me go virtually paperless.
Of course, the greatest benefit of this application is its ability to find what I stick in there. It has become my digital brain—with the added benefit that it never forgets.
Because of Evernote’s optical character recognition (OCR), I can find words I’m searching for in handwritten notes and even in photographs. Any word in any picture—I can find with a few clicks on my computer or iPhone.
This provides a nice benefit for Bible study.
I’d like to show you how to use Evernote to search your Bible Atlas.
“America is not Rome—yet.”
The highly original book, Humility, elevates a quality of American character that few pursue and yet everyone admires. David Bobb introduces readers to what made America great by providing, as its subtitle states, An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue.
True to the wishes of America’s founding fathers, the young country prospered through understanding that greatness and humility weren’t mutually exclusive—something ancient Rome missed. Bobb traces the thread of humility in a select individuals:
- George Washington—who twice declined the opportunity to have ultimate power
- James Madison—who pushed for a realistic—not idealistic—view of human nature in politics
- Abigail Adams—who chose devotion to home and husband rather than to socialites and helped shape America
- Abraham Lincoln—who could have abandoned the constitution and become a dictator
- Fredrick Douglas—who remained appropriately humble of his accomplishments
The book’s premise, of course, is outstanding and convincing.
However, the volume reads as simple history and philosophy—and honestly, pretty dry. With personalities as colorful as Fredrick Douglas and Abigail Adams in the mix, Humility would have been a more inspiring read if it included humility’s companion characteristics of joy or humor.
Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s Love After Abortion reaches its hands into the secret places of your heart—feeling around in the crags and cracks so deep, hidden, and dark you didn’t even know they’re there. But the probing creates a surprising result.
Kim Ketola’s authentic voice and gifted pen guide readers through the difficult journey of an honest appraisal at what abortion causes—and more importantly—at what it doesn’t have to cause: lasting and debilitating guilt.
Kim interweaves her personal story with countless others—both biblical and modern—people who have found the relief that comes from no other place.
Your worst failure can be God’s greatest redemption. —Kim Ketola
The message of hope that flows from each chapter of Cradle My Heart is that God offers genuine hope and true healing. It’s there for the taking.
This book shows you how you can have it.
Exploring Christian Theology (Bethany House Publishers, 2014)
Most theological texts seem to use doctrine as a sleep aid. Dull and dry, these books hide the truth behind the reader’s yawn.
How refreshing to read Exploring Christian Theology! With an appropriate balance of readability, clarity, and humor, Drs. Holsteen and Svigel have made the key doctrines of our Christian faith accessible—without compromising orthodoxy.
Truth should never leave us yawning. This book makes me want more.
Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?
(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.
Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).
For many years, December showed up and I realized I had read very few books that year. This year, I thought I’d try to read more. I set a personal goal to read 50 books by December 31.
It was a crazy goal because I had “no time.” With a busy family, a full-time (plus) job, a demanding blogging and writing schedule, and lots of home projects on my plate, I held the goal loosely—but pursued it eagerly.
Amazingly, this week I completed the goal. (If you’re interested, I’ve listed the 50 books at the end of this post.)
But more importantly, I want to show you how I tackled the goal in order to encourage you that you can read more than you think you can.
You really can.
I would also love for you to tell me how you read books and what books you enjoyed this year.