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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bad Girls of the Bible review

Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them:

 Women everywhere marvel at those “good girls” in Scripture–Sarah, Mary, Esther–but on most days, that’s not who they see when they look in the mirror. Most women (if they’re honest) see the selfishness of Sapphira or the deception of Delilah. They catch of glimpse of Jezebel’s take-charge pride or Eve’s disastrous disobedience. Like Bathsheba, Herodias, and the rest, today’s modern woman is surrounded by temptations, exhausted by the demands of daily living, and burdened by her own desires.

So what’s a good girl to do? Learn from their lives, says beloved humor writer Liz Curtis Higgs, and by God’s grace, choose a better path. In Bad Girls of the Bible, Higgs offers a unique and clear-sighted approach to understanding those “other women” in Scripture, combining a contemporary retelling of their stories with a solid, verse-by-verse study of their mistakes and what lessons women today can learn from them.

Whether they were “Bad to the Bone,” “Bad for a Season, but Not Forever” or only “Bad for a Moment,” these infamous sisters show women how not to handle the challenges of life. With her trademark humor and encouragement, Liz Curtis Higgs teaches us how to avoid their tragic mistakes and joyfully embrace grace.

My Review:

 Higgs story telling ability really shines in this study book.  I really enjoyed the "contemporary retelling" of each girls story and I liked the way Higgs walks us through the actual Bible verses as well.    Her diligence in research doesn't shine quite as much in this book as it does in The Girl's Still Got It, but it is obvious that she has done it.

What I enjoyed most about this book is the "what lesson can we learn" section at the end of each chapter and of course the "Good Girl Thoughts worth Considering" which is the reflection section (just say that, reflection section.  Fun to say isn't it?).  Higgs manages to show us how we can learn from these "bad girls" and use their mistakes as a way to evaluate ourselves and turn from a path that may lead us to appearing in a future bad girls book.

Higgs personality really shines throughout the book and you feel like you are sitting with a group of your girlfriends having a chat session.  With lines such as "Grab your daisies, sister, and let's pull of the petals, one by one. 'She loved him.  She loved him not.  She loved him.  She loved him not...' Not, it seems," (Did Delilah love Samson?) we see Higgs humor.  With her admission of leaving a store with a book in which she was undercharged without correcting it (she did later, but not at the time!) we see her getting tripped up just like we do sometimes.  (This was in the Sapphira chapter.)  You really feel like you are just hanging out with the gals while reading this, which is a good thing considering what the subject is.

You almost feel like you are gossiping.  "Did you hear what Eve did?"  "Eve, the one that is sooooo perfect?  No, tell me!"  or "Oh my gosh!  You remember Rahab?  You know.... (whisper) the harlot?  Guess what I saw her do!"  Only this gossip has a purpose.  These gal's stories were included in the Bible for a reason.  "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)  Higgs really helps us to examine these particular scriptures and to examine our own lives to see if we have these same wrongs in our own lives.  I bet that you will identify in some small way with at least one of these bad girls!

Learn more about Liz Curtis Higgs on her website
Read chapter 1 of Bad Girls of the Bible here
order your own copy from Amazon here

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cruel Harvest review

Book Description:

"Get out here, now, or I'm gonna kill you!" he hollered.

Little girls are hardwired to hold their daddies in high esteem, so it comes as a shock the first time a daughter feels the back of her daddy's hand across her face . . . or watches him punch and kick her mother to within an inch of her life.

How could this be? Her older sisters teach her how to survive, even when he comes for her in the night.
A girl learns to become invisible, to look the other way, to say nothing when a curious stranger asks if she's okay. To lie. To expect nothing, not even from relatives.

To cry without tears.

To pray silently.

When she is fourteen, and weary, a girl begins to wish she were dead. Cruel Harvest is the compelling story of how she lived instead.

My Review:
This is a difficult subject to write about, especially when you are so close to it as Fran Grubb obviously is since it is a memoir.  Physical, mental and sexual abuse are horrible things to undergo.  Grubb and Reardon do an amazing job of conveying the abuse without being crass.  As a reader you understand the fear, the terrible situations and the acts of evil that occur without the four letter words that must have been used or the minute detail that would have pushed this into something that a Christian publisher would have turned down.

This story, while horrible, demonstrates the power of faith.  How Fran was able to hang on to God when she had no church she attended regularly, no Bible to read and few examples of what it is to be a Christian is a testament to God himself. 

I can't label this as a "good" read.  The subject prevents that.  What I can say is that you will find yourself with tears in your eyes as you watch Fran's family run away from her father, eventually leaving her alone with him.  You will cringe when you read how easy it was for him to walk back into his children's lives and again subject them to his torture.  You will be stunned at the logic that some use to justify committing one evil in an attempt to rescue Fran from another.  If you have never suffered abuse and do not understand how easy it is to be charmed by an abuser or how you begin to believe what the abuser tells you about yourself, you will wonder why the women in Fran's father's life chose to stay.

Fran makes no excuses for the actions of those around her.  It was a different time.  One in which fathers ruled their families however they saw fit.  Spousal abuse, while maybe not common it was often overlooked.  Child abuse as well.  It was a different lifestyle.  As a migrant worker you were never really anywhere long enough to form bonds with others.  As a result few on the outside took notice of what was going on.  For Fran, it was what it was.

This is a story of triumph however.  By God's grace she makes her way out from under her father.  She overcomes, she reconnects with siblings, and she learns to forgive.  Truly a testament to the Spirit that lives in her.

You can purchase Cruel Harvest:  A memoir on Amazon by clicking here

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Girl's Still Got It

Book Description: 

 Walk with Ruth as she travels from Moab to Bethlehem, certain of her calling, yet uncertain of her future. Hold Naomi’s hand and watch love put the pieces of her broken life back together. And hang out with Boaz, their kinsman-redeemer, who blesses both women and honors God, big time.

With best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs by your side, you’ll tarry in the corners of their ancient houses, listen to their conversations, and consider every word of every verse until you can say, “I totally get the book of Ruth. And I see what God is trying to teach me through this rags-to-riches redemption story—he has a plan for my life.”

Girl, does he ever!

Think of it as time travel without gimmicks, gizmos, or a DeLorean: a novel approach to Bible study that leaps from past to present, gleaning timeless truths that speak to the heart.

My Review:

I like Ruth, actually it is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It has hardship, perseverance, romance and a happy ending all centered around God.  What could be better?

I also like the way this book was put together.  Higgs brings us there, using many reputable sources to establish what a day in the life of Ruth and Naomi might have been like.  While she doesn't stray from the scriptural account she does include daily life and gives each person some character (or at least lets them borrow some of hers!).

Higgs leads you through the story with frequent stops to examine what Ruth and Naomi might have been thinking, what they were facing giving the times and culture they lived in and really helps us to understand what they were facing.  But Higgs is a story teller, and that is very evident in this study.

Now don't get me wrong, I like that about this book.  But you do need to be aware that while the information she inserts is always clearly her own interpretation or is backed up and cited by other researchers, there is a lot of inference going on in this study.  So much so that I began to question this being sold as nonfiction at times.

That being said, this is a great study to help us grow, to see God's plan unfold, to help us realize that if God can take this Moabitess and graft her in the to lineage of His Son, what great things can He do in our own lives if we surrender to Him?!

Find out more about Liz Curtis Higgs at her blog here
Order your own copy of this book on Amazon here

edited August 30, 2012
Good news!  Liz Curtis Higgs is planning to do an online study with this book THIS fall!  You can read more about it on her blog here

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