Archive | book review

Books I’ve Loved

Someone recently asked me for some book recommendations. Here are some ones that I read from start to finish – which is RARE for me. Just that very fact means I liked them, was drawn into them, and most of all, they made me THINK.

The Walk: A Moment in Time When Two Lives IntersectThe Walk  by Michael Card

It’s out of print but worth getting if you can.  This little book challenged my view of discipleship and corrected my vision on what it looks like to impact the kingdom for Christ. It’s a very personal story of how Michael’s former professor spoke into his life.

Grace-Based Parenting
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

This is the parenting book that gave me hope and a vision for what I wanted discipline to look like in my home. It challenged me to let go of my stress over correcting things with my boys that just don’t matter in the grand scheme of God’s kingdom and think through exactly what gospel centered grace looks like with a 4 and 5 year old.

Girl Meets God: A MemoirGirl Meets God  by Lauren Winter

This is Lauren’s memoir of her twisted road to God (via orthodox Judaism). I liked how she wrote. Her voice resonated with me. And it made me reflect—on God, on theology, on how we come to Him, on all kinds of things in His kingdom. One small excerpt just caused me to think on The Lord’s Supper. I still think of communion a bit differently since reading this book.

Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands
Sacred Influence  by Gary Thomas
This book changed me. I was heading down the highway of life, and the highway started curving to the left. This book tugged my heart toward an exit, and now I’m heading in a slightly different direction. The scenery on this highway is better. The air is cleaner. And again, I have a better vision for the future. Thank you, Gary.

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of MenFor Women Only  by Shaunti Feldhahn

This rocked my world. I have 3 sisters and no brothers. I did not know anything about men, to be perfectly honest. I’d read a chapter of this book, look over at my husband, ask him a question, and his response echoed EXACTLY what I was reading time and time again. It was fascinating, eye-opening, and SO very helpful.

The Path of Loneliness  and Keep a Quiet Heart  by Elisabeth Elliot

Path of Loneliness, The: Finding Your Way Through the Wilderness to GodI love this lady. She has spoken soooo much wisdom into my life. The Path of Loneliness is hard to read if you still naïvely believe that if you can just get it all together, your life will turn out as you imagine and that you’ll be protected from deep pain. For the rest of us, it is comforting to hear from one who has walked the path of pain and come out boldly professing the hope and comfort we have through God our Father.

That’s a few of my favorite reads. I will post more in the future.

Counsel from the Cross

Oh. My. Word. The short version is BUY THIS BOOK.

Here’s the longer version. I have written much about my concern over pink, fluffy bunny Bible studies. I have often called for a gospel-centered approach to women’s ministry. And stupidly, I thought I was mostly alone (at least in terms of a gospel centered hermeneutic aimed particularly at women). Several commenters have recommended after such posts that I read Elyse Fitzpatrick’s books. Since she’s a Crossway author and I’m a Crossway author, I asked for her books and received Because He Loves Me,  Comforts from the Cross, and Counsel from the Cross.  I have started Because He Loves Me but am focusing my attention mostly on Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ

Wow.  Just wow.  I’m only in the early chapters, but Elyse and co-author Dennis Johnson drew me in immediately with the premise and their thought provoking introduction.  The illustration in Chapter 1 of how to apply the gospel to the hurting mom is alone worth the price of the book (which to be clear, I got for free).  “Madeline” is a homeschooling mom who sacrificed everything to train her children to love God only to have her teenage daughter get pregnant after going behind her back to be with her boyfriend.  The mom is crushed and terribly angry with her daughter.  She sacrificed her life to train her daughter  — for this?!!  Elyse and Dennis walk us through how the gospel informs our view of God, our view of ourselves, and our view of others.  They show specifically in Madeline’s scenario how the gospel corrects Madeline’s views of God (He’s not tallying up merit based on her or her kid’s performance.  He loves His children unconditionally), how the gospel corrects her view of herself (she too is a sinner in need of Christ’s sacrifice;  she too is God’s beloved daughter free from attempting to earn her Father’s favor by her good works or her children’s status in her community), and how the gospel corrects her view of her daughter (her daughter is a sinner but too a precious daughter of God.  Her life is affected by this pregnanacy, but her status before God and in His Body is not).  In some ways everything has changed for Madeline.  But in a much more expansive, supernatural sense, nothing has changed.  And at some point, as Madeline comes to terms with exactly who she is in Christ, she will be free to examine, though only through gospel grace, if some of her parenting techniques provoked secrecy and dishonesty in her daughter.  By the end of this illustration, I had MUCH on which to think, ponder, meditate, and self examine just in CHAPTER ONE!! 

I confess I’m only on Chapter 2.  But if I really like a book, I can never hold back talking about it here until I’m done.  I will probably post a follow up review when I’m finished reading it all.  But for now, this looks like the kind of book I will read, highlight every other sentence, and go back to reread as soon as I’m done.  In other words, I highly recommend it.

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas

I have a great marriage, but I do not have a perfect marriage.  In an older post, I discussed the struggles I have faced in marriage, and those ideas at the time seemed to resonate with many of you.  As the day approached for releasing the Ephesians Bible study, stress came on strong in my marriage.  Note to self — don’t write on Paul’s instructions from Ephesians to husbands and wives or on standing firm under Satan’s attacks unless you are prepared for Satanic attack in your marriage.  It’s funny how firm my conviction can be when I write something on paper and yet how easily I still can stumble when tested on it in person.  I was frustrated, to say it lightly.  Why oh why do I still struggle with such things?!  Why isn’t marriage easier?  I cried out to God in frustration.  It just didn’t seem right for me to struggle so with this right in the midst of my attempts to publish something I was hoping would be helpful to women on this very issue.

Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their HusbandsFor my birthday, a dear friend gave me
Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands by Gary Thomas.  When I got home and opened it, I felt like God had placed it in my hands Himself.  I’ve had a few other moments like that — where God spoke to me so plainly on a very specific need that I could not mistake His voice.  Usually He does it straight from Scripture.  This is the first time He has done it with a book.  But to be fair, this book is filled with Scripture.  I felt that God had sent Gary Thomas to counsel me much as He had sent Nathan to David or Cornelius to Peter.  Don’t get me wrong — I’m not assigning divine inspiration to this book by any means.  I’m just saying that God used this man’s wisdom and compilation of Scripture to speak to me in a very specific way.

As I often do, I am writing this article before I’ve actually finished this book.  I am slowly digesting the ideas, and if I wait to share it until I’m fully done, it may be a very long while.  I may write a follow up article when I’m completely done.  In the mean time, I feel like this older, wise man years ahead of me in both marriage and the Christian faith has put his arm around me in a counseling situation and offered me very good, sound Biblical advice.  Like For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhan, I am reminded that men think differently than women and that the things we face in marriage are not unique to us — they are normal issues that the vast majority of Christian marriages face.  One of Satan’s lies is that your husband or your marriage is particularly bad or problematic.  That lie works because it builds resentment (Why me?!) and discouragement (What’s the point in trying?  No one knows what I’m going through?).  But the truth is that there is nothing new under the sun.  While your marriage may be hard, it is not unique.  And God’s sufficient Word meets you and I in that hard place.  God isn’t suprised by the struggles we face, and He has addressed it.

If you read this book, it may not mean as much to you as it has to me.  But for me, it has been God’s instrument for speaking truth to me, refuting Satan’s lies, and bringing me back to a healthy perspective on marriage’s daily struggles.  I hope it is encouraging to you to be faithful and hopeful as well.

The Promises of Grace by Bryan Chappell

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear;
And grace my fears relieved.

That line from Amazing Grace has echoed in my head for a few years. It’s one of those lines from a song that I had sung for years but woke up one day realizing I had never given much thought. I started a blog article on it a few months ago that I never finished. What does it mean that it was God’s grace that taught me to fear? That hardly sounds gracious. Bryan Chappell’s The Promises of Grace has helped me put into words the thoughts rattling around in my head. And he’s expounded upon them and fleshed them out in very practical ways.

p. 37 “… that apart from the working of the Spirit, men do not even discern their sin; they see only what has disadvantaged them. True spirtual understanding can be explained only by the presence of the Spirit… Were we not His, our sorrow would be selfish, self-centered, and even hostile toward God.”

p. 41 “Praise the grace that reveals the spiriutal dangers that should alarm us. Praise that same grace that amidst the storims of conscience yet whispers, “Peace, be still.”

Praise God for the opening words of Romans 8, that there is NO CONDEMNATION in Christ Jesus. For some of us, that sounds like an excuse to not worry about our sin. If you aren’t concerned by your sin, Chappell makes a good argument that you are not Christ’s at all. Rather, when the grace of God begins its work in our heart, we become well aware and disturbed by our OWN PERSONAL failures. Not the failures that have been projected upon us, but the ones we have done ourselves and the even bigger ones we are capable of. Grace teaches us to fear. Ourselves.

Then grace our fears relieves. Once we have a right understanding of the weight of our sin, God whispers, “Peace, be still.” In Christ, the debt has been paid. The chains of our sin have been broken. We can repent, get up, and no longer be controlled by the behavior we have come to despise in ourselves.

Chappell gives a great illustration of this concerning disciplining his young son. I fully identified with it, because at this stage of life, this is the place of my greatest self-condemnation. I have great idealistic ideas of how I want to patiently parent my children. Then I have moments when I fail in every way. I sat on the floor one day recently crying with my 2 boys (who were also crying) as I felt the weight of failure in how I had responded to them. But Jesus whispered Peace. I knew that Jesus had made the way for me, and that I now needed to travel that path. I asked my boys to forgive me. I told them what I should have done as opposed to what I did do. And we prayed together asking for God’s grace to change our attitudes and actions. And we got up, wiped away our tears, and went forward through the day on a different path from the one we had started the day.

This is only one of the first points of the Promises of Grace. Chappell’s book is a study of Romans 8. He writes in a way that I LOVE. His writing and illustrations are accessible and relevant. He doesn’t need big words to get his point across. I feel a kindred spirit as I read his book. You CAN communicate the deep truths of Scripture without complicated language. The theology in Romans 8 runs deep, but Chappell brings the deep meaning to the surface and shows how the gospel truths there radically change how we view ourselves and our lives.

In keeping with my impulsive tendencies, I am posting this sort-of review before I have finished the book. If I run into anything that totally undermines this recommendation, I’ll let you know. But right now, this book seems like a book of first importance for all Christians to fully flesh out how the gospel changes everything.

Man of Sorrows, Acquainted with Grief

A book arrived in the mail last week, unsolicited by me. I opened it distractedly and thumbed through the materials that came with it. After about a minute of reading, I started sobbing uncontrollably as I stood at my kitchen counter. I am not an emotional woman easily given to tears, but I could hear God already speaking to me, meeting me in a place of deep personal struggle, dealing with questions that were so hard to understand that I kept them at bay as best I could. Over the last 2 years, I have walked with several friends through very dark circumstances. Not your daughter is pregnant out of wedlock dark. Not you lost your job kind of dark–though I’ve seen these too, and those are definitely dark places, and I DO NOT minimize that pain. But I have 3 friends who have walked through things worse than that–among them, the murder of my aunt. I remember sitting across the living room from one of my friends in the midst of an unspeakable crisis and praying to myself as I sat with her, “God I know You are good and I know You are sovereign. But I have no idea how to reconcile that with what I am witnessing now.” As I read the foreword and introduction to the book I received in the mail, I realized I was talking with someone who had been there before me and knew exactly what I couldn’t reconcile on my own.

The book is Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie. Nancy lost both her infant daughter and son to the same metabolic disease a few years apart. In the introduction, she remembered her pastor asking at the graveside service for her infant daughter, “This is the place where we ask, ‘Is the gospel really true?'” And that is the question I asked too as I sat across from my friend in her living room–is the gospel really true? I believe it is, Lord, but I realize I have holes in my understanding that are exposed by this tragedy. I asked it again at my aunt’s funeral. And I’ve asked it repeatedly as I walked with yet another friend through betrayal and abandonment. There are times where the only thing that sustains me is that, like the disciples in John 6, I have no where else to go.

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67″You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

I understand that response. Sometimes, the only thing that seems to hold me is that I don’t have anywhere else to go if I did leave the faith. Nancy Guthrie meets us in that place and points us to Jesus over and over as the answer to those unanswerable questions. She asks the really hard questions and doesn’t skirt around any of them. She reminded me that Jesus does indeed meet us in the worst of circumstances with real answers–not trite, polite sayings that would fit on a motivational calendar but real, HARD, deep truths that have the power to cut through the most awful scenario you could imagine and meet you right there with authentic, genuine hope.

Nancy shared this piece of her story that I found especially poignant.

Our church family had walked with us through some difficult days, joining with us in making the most of Hope’s brief life as they took her into their arms and into their hearts, and sharing the deep sorrow we felt in the emptiness following her death. So when we stood up to tell them that I was pregnant again despite the surgical steps we had taken to prevent another pregnancy, they could not hold back their joy. They burst out in applause before we could get it all out. But there was more to get out. After the applause began to die down, David added, “And this child will have the same fatal syndrome his sister, Hope, had.”

There was an audible expression of dismay. This was not the happy ending everyone felt would have been the appropriate fit for our story, certainly not the one they felt would make following God look good.

(A) friend in class told us that she wept that morning and into the next day. It didn’t seem right to her. And it didn’t fit her idea of the way we can expect our good God to work in the lives of believers. It seemed to her that the fitting end to the story would be that God would bless us with a healthy child, showing the watching world that he makes up for the losses he allows into our lives.

And she wasn’t the only one.

How many of us are right there with her church friends? Surely a good God would not do THAT. Right?! And then the reality sets in–that’s exactly what He did. Well, maybe their faith wasn’t enough. Or maybe I need to reevaluate my belief in the sovereignty of God. Instead, Nancy examines Jesus–His own life’s example and His teachings to His disciples. And we realize that He set them all up for earthly lives and deaths that were about as bad as we could imagine. And He was good to them.

Many of us are not ready to hear this truth. You can not handle the truth that there is a better good than you have ever imagined but that the path to it is excruciating. But others of you are there. You know the pain well and you ask yourself, “Surely the gospel matters in this pain. Surely something about Who God is can meet me in this and transform it from the bitter place I currently live.” I’m not recommending that you let Nancy Guthrie be your guide. I am recommending that you look to the Man of Sorrows Himself–this one who is well acquainted with grief and familiar with suffering. If you are ready to let Him be your guide, then Nancy’s book is a great starting place.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

**Here’s an older post on walking with friends who are suffering.**

The Path of Loneliness

I remember well my reaction twelve years ago when a friend first gave me The Path of Loneliness: Finding Your Way Through the Wildernes to God by Elisabeth Elliot. I was desperately lonely, having broken up with the man I thought I was going to marry, and struggling with the edges of depression that threatened to close in on me. I did NOT want to read a book on loneliness. I did not want to face my loneliness head on. I wanted my loneliness to end–with a man whom I would marry. I somewhat resented my friend for giving me the book and my God for letting me be in that situation. I read the book begrudgingly, too stubborn to really open my heart to all that was in it.

God was much more gracious to me than I deserved, giving me a wonderful husband not long after that. For some reason, while many of my friends had to deal with loneliness for years, I got to put it off for a long time. Then when we started trying to have kids, I was faced with the same threatening edges of depression after miscarrying and having a time of infertility. I read The Path of Loneliness again, and though I was happily married, the book resonated with me in a way I didn’t expect. I reread it a third time when preparing for a Bible study with older single women in our church. We had a deep, fruitful discussion when we got together as a group. I was moved yet again through my study of the book even though I was a wife with 2 young children and way too little time to myself to consider myself lonely.

I love Elisabeth Elliot. Often, when I think about the great cloud of witnesses from Hebrews, that group of faithful, battle-weary believers who have gone on before us and cheer us from the sidelines, I think of Elisabeth Elliot. She is my one real female hero of the faith. She understands the pain and struggle of the Christian walk, especially the particular battles a Christian woman faces. And her writing always moves me.

She opens the book with a poignant story of flying on an airplane a year after her 1st husband’s death and being overcome suddenly with a wave of emotion as she watches a man on another row retrieve something for his wife.

Only the most ordinary of gestures, meaning almost nothing, I suppose, to them. But for me, sitting by the window looking out at the cold stars, it speaks of a whole world that is lost to me now. A man and a woman. Together. His hand stretched toward her to help. (p. 12)

Whether widowed or never married, if you’ve been alone, you can likely identify with her . After several other moving examples, she ends the opening with the question, “What is to be done with loneliness?” This is a question we ALL must answer–single, married no kids, married with kids, empty nester, or widow. Some situations dictate we face our loneliness head on while others allow us to mask the underlying issues that loneliness exposes. But the heart issues that loneliness exposes can only be masked for so long. At some point in our lives, all of us have to deal with it.

This book is not for people who want pink fluff to mask their problems. Elisabeth Elliot exposes our hearts, asks hard questions, and peels away our superficial solutions. But her answers are so RIGHT. Reading this book, I felt the pain of the brutal exposure of my deepest fears, but in turn I felt the great hope that God is bigger than the worst circumstance life can hand me, spoken by someone who has lived it and earned the right to speak with such boldness. She paints a beautiful picture of the value of our suffering when offered up to God.

My theme is oblation–the offering up of all we are, have, do, and suffer. … I hesitate to prescribe a method for so solemn and vital a spiritual transaction … but a very simple thing has helped me. It is to kneel with open hands before the Lord. Be silent for a few minutes, putting yourself conciously in His presnece. Think of Him. Then think of what you have received in the four categories mentioned (are, have, do, suffer)–the gift of a child, for example, or years later, the empty nest; the gift of work on the inability to work; marriage or singleness; pleasures or burdens; joy or sorrow. Next viusalize as well as you can this gift, resting there in your open hands. Thank the Lord for whatever aspect of this gift you can honestly thank Him for …. Then, quite simpley, offer it up. … Lift up your hands. This is a physical act denoting your love, your acceptance, your thanksgiving, and your trust that the Lord will make something redemptive for the wholeness of the Body, even for the life of the world.

Do not look for dramatic effects. There may be no discernible result … It is a mistake to measure such things by introspection. He heard and answered. That is all there is to it. Let the anwswer be manifested in His own time and way.

I think then you will begin to know the strange peace that is not the world’s kind.

Read this book. It’s powerful.

Grace-Based Parenting: A Review, not a Critique

“I’m urging you to raise your children the way God raises His.” (p. 20)

In a previous post, I discussed my objection to the need among Christian bloggers to critique excessively. As an author myself, I have a new appreciation for what an author puts into their books and the impossibility of getting it all right. I know my book has holes. I did my best to say as much as I could as clearly as I could. But I didn’t say everything, and the things I did say, I didn’t always say quite right. So I appreciate very much those who have reviewed my book kindly—not reading too much into things I didn’t say and giving me the benefit of the doubt when I didn’t quite hit the nail on the head. I highly value precision in communication. But I rarely am able to keep my own standard, and I appreciate grace extended toward me in questionable situations.

I say all that to say that I am NOT going to critique Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. I’m not going to give disclaimers. I’m not going to point out holes in his arguments. Instead, I am simply going to review it. The book wasn’t perfect, but it was really good. And I believe the author deserves the benefit of the doubt in any place that left unanswered questions.

This book really ministered to me. I have a two-year-old boy and almost four-year-old boy. They are a handful and have challenged me in every way imaginable. God has sanctified me much in these first 4 years of parenting. I have listened to and observed other parents, new and seasoned, every chance I get as I try to work through my own Bible-based strategy and philosophy of parenting. This book came along at exactly the right season for me to help solidify from Scripture things I’ve been thinking about but needed someone to articulate for me. In fact, I can say honestly that this may be one of the most important books I have ever read. Now—that doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. It’s important to me because it dealt head on with the number one issue with which I am struggling—how to parent my boys consistent with my theology. It’s also important because it gave me confidence from Scripture in a way of looking at parenting that the Spirit was already teaching me.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been wrestling with the true meaning of the term grace. When I first started reading Grace Based Parenting, I thought maybe he should have named it Love Based Parenting. I wasn’t sure at first he was really talking about grace as the Bible defines it, but more like sacrificial Biblical love. The last chapters changed my mind on that. In fact, if I have any “criticism” of the book, it would be that I would move the last chapters toward the beginning of the book since they really define the terms and the big picture of what he’s talking about.

In the first chapters of the book, I had to put the book down and repent, because Kimmel nailed me with his assessment of how many Christians parent—primarily out of fear. I realized that I was more afraid of Satan and the world getting their hands on my boys than I was confident in God’s faithfulness to finish the good work He has begun in them (Phil. 1:6). I had to repent. Then I had to decide if I was going to align my parenting philosophy with my theology. Did I believe God had a good plan for my children? Did I believe that I can trust God with their little hearts and lives?

Kimmel made another important point that challenged me on how I thought about parenting. I wanted to protect my children from outside influences that I feared would cause them to stray. However, my doctrine teaches me that the greatest sinful influence on my children is their own depravity. It’s the sin within them rather than the sin without that most affects them and which I need to parent them through. As Kimmel says on p. 24, “Raising your children in a spiritual cocoon won’t help because Satan operates INSIDE it. He appeals to your child’s heart.”

Kimmel challenged me to be careful to distinguish between my responses toward things that are truly sin verses things that simply get on my nerves. “Many of our kids do things that annoy, frustrate, or embarrass us, but they are not wrong.” (p. 55) If it’s not an issue, don’t make it one. There are way too many real issues in life over which to wrestle with our children to make issues out of things that Scripture does not. “Kids inside homes where nonmoral issues are elevated to a level of big problems don’t get to experience the kind of acceptance that makes a heart feel securely loved. Instead they live with a barrage of nitpicking criticism, receiving put-downs because they are curious, anxious, excited, helpless, carefree, or absent-minded.” (p. 61)

I underlined and made notations through much of the book. Here are a few quotes that especially struck me.

Pages 10-11

The real test of a parenting model is how well equipped the children are to move into adulthood as vital members of the human race. Notice I didn’t say “as vital members of the Christian community.” We need to have kids that can be sent off to the most hostile universities, toil in the greediest work environments, and raise their families in the most hedonistic communities and yet not be the least bit intimidated by their surroundings. Furthermore, they need to be engaged in the lives of people in their culture, gracefully representing Christ’s love in these desperate surroundings. The apostle Paul gave us as parents an excellent goal for our children to pursue: “Do
everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may know on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Phil. 2:14-16)

Page 83

Kids brought up in an environment of legitimate praise build a solid resistance against the insults and put-downs that often bombard them from culture.

Page 113

Safe Christianity is an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp”. Living your life sold out for Jesus Christ has never been a way to enjoy a safe life. It may be a way to enjoy a good life, but not a safe one. That’s because Jesus isn’t safe, but He is always good.

Page 173

… you cannot afford to trivialize these times when your children feel fragile. Satan doesn’t. Actually, he loves it when they feel vulnerable. He traffics in counterfeit solutions to these needs. If you don’t step forward with the love, purpose, and hope they need to compete with these challenges, Satan will.

And maybe the greatest summary quote of the entire book, from p. 220—

Bottom line: Grace-based families realize that their children will struggle with sin. They consider it an honor to be used by God to show their children how to find true forgiveness in Christ. They are not intimidated by the dialogue that brings the discussion of sin into the light. In fact, they are grateful to be able to come alongside their children with an unconditional love during some of their toughest hours.

In conclusion, for some odd, disturbing reason, many Christians I know are suspicious of the term grace. It’s too bad, because grace is pretty much all we have in Christianity. It’s the cornerstone of our faith—the heart of the gospel and core to everything else God does toward us. And if you think I’m overemphasizing the term, I’ll end with the Word of God from Titus 2:11-14. Please note all that grace brings to us according to this passage.

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

There is grace, and there is everything else, and everything else leads to death. If you are a parent, my encouragement is to make sure you really understand what grace means according to the Bible and then examine your responses to your children in light of it. I cannot offer myself as an example, for I have only just starting to walk this road myself and fail often. But if you, like me, are interested in parenting your children the way God parents His, this book is a thought-provoking study.