Pre-Order the Paperback Version of “Predatory Lies: A Survivor’s Story”

Guess what? My book is available for pre-order on Amazon! 

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Also, my devotional for FaithWriters was published today. Check it out here:

My Two Cents

Happy Saturday

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“Surviving the Predatory Lies of Anorexia” is HERE

my book

It’s the holidays, brutal times for any family plagued by an eating disorder. This book will be an encouraging and enlightening read for anyone seeking understanding of this disorder and light at the end of the tunnel.

Click through to view it on Amazon. Below are a number of other ebook formats where you can purchase it.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389934

Book Review: Unseduced and Unshaken

When I hear the word seduce, I think of a brazen vixen, oblivious to an innocent man’s wedding ring. With her long black lashes, polished lips and glistening skin she expertly maneuvers him away from all things chaste and moral. Unseduced, would be that man’s extraordinary willpower to resist such advances.

Rosalie De Rosset’s book, Unseduced and Unshaken, isn’t only about withstanding sexual temptation. The book is about that and so much more. Unseduced and Unshaken explains describes a postmodern culture as a seductress. De Rosset points out the predatory nature of advertising, pornography, peer pressure and other things that particularly young women must be wary to stand firm against.

De Rosset uses classic literature and well known movies to exemplify both desirable and unbecoming character traits. She enforces the need for dignity, modesty, self-confidence and strong, Biblical theology.

One of the most valuable aspects of the book is the extensive list of suggested reading in the appendix. De Rosset lists all of her sources and whets the reader’s appetite to know more about each one of them.

The book is easy to read and extremely well written, calling on a vast vocabulary. While the book is directly targeted at young women, De Rosset’s points apply to every Christian.

 

Book Review: In the Land of Blue Burqas

Kate McCord left a flourishing career to begin a non-governmental organization in Afghanistan with the goal of helping Afghan women. In her book, In the Land of Blue Burqas, she uses her “boots on the ground” perspective to describe the countryside, homes, people, culture and emotions of a country few non-military Americans will ever see.

Quite literally, I could taste the dust swirling through porous homes. As I read, I felt the piercing cold and the tingle of sweat in the midst of the extreme seasons. I could feel the tension between McCord and her Afghan co-workers when the subject of faith inevitably surfaced.

In the Land of Blue Burqas, is a unique book, in that it goes beyond painting an almost tangible image of this mysterious country and its people. McCord shares how she learned to boldly share her faith in Jesus Christ without alienating Muslims who would as soon kill an infidel as entertain their witness.

A couple of McCord’s explanations of her faith to Afghan friends actually strengthened my own understanding of my Christian faith. My favorite was her depiction of the Trinity.

“God the Father is like the sun that sits in the midday sky. The sun is so strong that if we stare at it, we would be destroyed because it burns with such a great fire. If we did get to it, we would be destroyed because it burns with such a great fire. We cannot come near the sun in the midday sky. God the Son is the light of the world, just as your Holy Quran says. We need the light of the sun to live. Without it, no plants would grow….God Jesus is like the light that comes from the sun in the sky. And God the Holy Spirit is like the warmth that the sun provides. Without it, the earth would be covered with ice and we would die. The sun, the light it shines, and the warmth it gives are all one thing; they cannot be separated…The three are one, and yet they are different.”
(In the Land of Blue Burqas, pg. 242)

Kate McCord’s book deepened more than my understanding of the country of Afghanistan. It also increased my compassion for all who work desperately to appease a God they do not know and who die with no certainty of salvation. McCord calls Christians to consider how they approach differences between faiths. How do we act in love? express forgiveness? explain our relationship with a loving God?

Finally, McCord doesn’t leave her readers with more questions. Her book provides numerous examples of speaking the truth in love and being unashamed of the cross of Christ.

Shhhh…It’s the Quietest Gospel

The Quietest Gospel. Kind of self explanatory, but Wax explains there are a couple angles. For the sake of baiting you to read the book, I’ll only explain the version that I struggle with the most.

The conservative version maintains the appearance of prophetic speech by speaking out against certain sins. But it often reduces the gospel announcement by relegating its implications to personal fulfillment in a way that makes the church irrelevant to public discourse. (pg. 140)

Flight into the invisible is a denial of the call. A community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (quoted on pg 140)

The problem is I observe plenty blatant sins in my daily life. It’s easy enough (though sometimes I wimp out even still) to declare that am pro-life and abortion is wrong, that taking God’s name in vain is a sin, that stealing is wrong and so is sexual immorality and lying and abuse and sorcery and… you get my drift. Many people, priding themselves on morality, would support these assertions. However, the true Gospel calls me to more than that.

Where is a Christian living out the bold apostolic Gospel that defies evil even when to do so will cause pain? Where is the Christian willing to take the true Gospel for all its political assertions, for its nitty-gritty implications on everyday life? I suggest to you that there aren’t many living in the United States.

It is frequently heard from our pulpits, “Just preach the gospel.” I have heard many Christians say, “I don’t really say much about my faith, I just hope people see Jesus in my life.” That’s not the Biblical Gospel.

Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Amos, and Ezekiel had no trouble holding together the proclamation of good news with the prophetic call to care for the poor and needy, to stop economically unjust practices, and to return to a heartfelt worship of God.” (pg. 145)

I think on a smaller scale of other examples of a quietest gospel: when we’re afraid to raise our hands in church or kneel in worship because of what others may think; when we don’t give money to that homeless person because we don’t know their real motives; when we don’t tell the truth about where we’ll be on Sunday morning when asked to make other plans. Anything sound familiar?

This morning I began my quiet time as usual with my journal open on my lap. Suddenly, after a few pages of drivel and standard prayer requests, the Holy Spirit dug deep into my heart. He asked me, “Abby, if there were no hell, would you love me?”

What?

“If there were no eternal consequence to sin, no fiery hell to be avoided, would you love me? Or would you say, ‘A little longer, I’ve almost got it right down here;’ or, ‘I’m actually enjoying this for now.’ How passionate is your love for me? Is it greater, louder, more fulfilling than your comfort, your reputation, your self-esteem?”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4

Good For Explaining the Good News

Foundational, mind-boggling principles becoming clear.

Have you ever found yourself in such a conundrum: Someone you dearly love and long to share eternity with has questioned your faith?

Well, um… I believe that Jesus died for my sins. He was buried and rose again. Now he lives eternally, and as my sins have been paid for, I can spend eternity with him in heaven.

“Well, that’s just great,” they rejoin, “but what is true faith? Why do you call God ‘Father’ and why does a God who loves me let bad things happen to me?”

I distinctly recall being in that position about seven years ago. I worked with one of my best friends. I’ll call her Kelly. Kelly was never hostile to my faith, in fact she was genuinely curious. But she never lobbed easy questions at me. Whenever work was slow, we’d be organizing and checking dates on millions of supplement bottles (we worked at GNC) and she would begin asking the tough questions. Kelly wanted to know all about the Trinity. She wanted to know why Jesus had to die. She wanted to know if God really listened to and answered prayer. She wanted to know if he offered peace of mind concerning her husband who was currently deployed. Kelly wondered what made Jesus of the Bible any different from the founders of other religions.

I did my best to answer her questions. I remember going home at night and calling my mom tearfully. “What if I don’t have the right answer? I know what I believe, but how do I explain it?” Praise our good and loving God. He had already marked Kelly with his name. Despite my bumbling answers, two years later, Kelly called me with explosive enthusiasm. “I’m getting baptized tomorrow! I accepted Jesus as my savior! I know I’m going to heaven.” Convictingly, since that day, I have had to humbly accept rebuke, training, teaching and affirmation from this once baby Christian. Kelly has found the Bible to be the living source of nourishment that God promises His word is. She as grown like a tree firmly planted by streams of water and has borne much fruit.

As I have slowly plowed through Kevin DeYoung’s book, “The Good News We Almost Forgot” I have unearthed a wonderful resource for sharing my faith. DeYoung is a compelling author, making even potentially dry subjects seem humorous and interesting. However, I don’t recommend simply handing the book to your questioning friends and expecting the proverbial lightbulb to blink above their head. As a historic Christian document, the catechism employees many terms specific to the Christian faith. The questions themselves are pretty heady.

Perhaps the best use of the book is personal. A Christian (speaking to myself) has no business attempting to explain the good news of the Gospel, if he has lost its wonder in his own heart and mind. Read to remember. Remember that…

True faith is not only knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in Scripture is true; it is also a deep-rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.

I trust Him so much that I do not doubt He will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and He will turn to my good whatever adversity He sends me in this sad world.

That I am not my own, but belong –  body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

These are just snippets of answers offered in the catechism and expounded upon my DeYoung. Additionally, the catechism addresses the 10 Commandments, one at a time, and the Lord’s Prayer. Each is afforded useful answers.

The Heidelberg Catechism is not an infallible document. And DeYoung does not profess to be a new source of truth. The Catechism is based fully and unashamedly on the infallible truth of the Bible. It is a trustworthy source of instruction and useful for training in righteousness – and for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. The Good News We Almost Forgot, takes this ancient resource and repackages it in a less-intimidating paperback. Don’t miss this. 

P.S. To make sure you don’t miss it, I’m giving away a copy at the end of this week. Make sure to comment and repost the link for a chance to win your copy!