Book Reviews: Demons, Jesus Calling & More

Donna ReidlandIt’s summer and, hopefully time for a little more reading. So here are my thoughts about some specific books and reading in general.

I’ve been wanting to include more book reviews here on my blog and when I read Laura Connell’s excellent review of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters on her blogsite God’s Girl, I thought it was time to feature a few.

Then as I scanned down to the bottom of her blog to other posts, I spotted this one. I know I may step on some toes, possibly of some people I love and respect a great deal. And while I know good Christians can disagree, when I read Laura’s comments on Jesus Calling, she was saying what I’ve been saying about the book. So here is her review of Jesus Calling.

If you like to read fiction, I hope you choose wisely. As Christians we need to guard our hearts with all diligence (Prov. 4.23). Everything in our lives flows from the heart. Therefore, what we put into our minds matters!

Proverbs 23 says this in the New Century Version:

23 Be careful what you think,
because your thoughts run your life.
24 Don’t use your mouth to tell lies;
don’t ever say things that are not true.
25 Keep your eyes focused on what is right,
and look straight ahead to what is good.

There is good fiction out there. One of my favorite Christian authors is Francine Rivers. If you’ve never read Redeeming Love, it’s a must read. Once you start, you won’t be able to put it down. It’s a retelling of the Gomer and Hosea story. Powerful!

Some of my other Rivers’ favorites are The Last Sin Eater and the Mark of the Lion Trilogy.

But I hope you, also, fit non-fiction books into your reading plan. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, ““You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” That’s especially true of reading good Christian books.

Probably, all of us know that Matthew 28.19 tells us to go and make disciples, but we sometimes forget verse 20 says, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Shouldn’t that “teaching” be for us, too? Do you know “all things that Jesus has commanded”? I know I don’t!

We need to be growing in our understanding of biblical principles for living and good Christian theology. (Yes, we’re all called to be theologians! Theology is simply the study of God.)

Some recommendations:

Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick – Elyse does an excellent job of helping us understand what is really going on in our own hearts and why we respond to things the way we do.

Gospel Treason by Brad Bigney. If you’ve never heard of Brad, you’re missing out!

Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. If you struggle with anxiety and worry this is a read read.

From Pride to Humility by Stuart Scott. Trust me! We all need this one! As the author says, pride is not something you have and I don’t, it’s something we all have. It just shows up in different ways.

The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges. I haven’t read this one, but Jerry Bridges is an amazing writer. My husband has been reading it. In fact, he is reading through it for a second time.

What I’m reading

I’m generally reading  or re-reading several books, often things I’m covering in my different counseling cases. I just finished Christ Centered Biblical Counseling by a number of authors. I’m rereading The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo (about dealing with and preventing anger in children) and another of Lou’s books with a new title, Picking Up the Pieces about recovering from broken relationships.

Right now I’m also reading Something by fellow blogger Kathy Gossen of “Cornerstone Confessions: And the Word Became Flesh. It’s a guide that takes you through the New Testament in 90 days, along with prayer prompts and Scripture memorization. It makes having a consistent quiet time very doable!

So get reading! And have a great summer!

Some more info about some of my recommendations:


52934: The Screwtape Letters The Screwtape LettersBy C.S. Lewis / HarperOneWormwood, a demon apprentice, must secure the damnation of a young man who’s just become a Christian. He seeks the advice of an experienced devil, his uncle Screwtape. Their correspondence offers invaluable—and often humorous—insights on temptation, pride, and the ultimate victory of faith over evil forces. 160 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
525132: Redeeming Love Redeeming LoveBy Francine Rivers / Multnomah BooksSold into prostitution in childhood, Angel is a bitter woman who trusts no man. But when God tells Michael Hosea to marry her, she learns to love—until fear overwhelms her and she returns to her former life. Can she be redeemed? A skillful retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea. 464 pages, softcover from Multnomah.
384026: Gospel Treason: What Happens When You Give Your Heart to Idols Gospel Treason: What Happens When You Give Your Heart to IdolsBy Brad Bigney / P & R PublishingIs it harder for you to change and grow as a Christian than itshould be? Do you wonder what is holding you back? Have you ever considered that it might be idolatry?Using real-life stories and examples, Brad Bigney’s Gospel treason: Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols shows us how the idols we might not even recognize can still have devastating effects in our lives. In this transparent, honest book, he helps us to identify our idols, understand how they lead us to commit treason against the gospel–and finally repent of them and root them out forever by turning to the only One who can fill our every need.
21984: Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God AloneBy Elyse FitzpatrickAre you feeling trapped in a pattern of habitual sin? Fitzpatrick believes that ungodly behaviors stem from a bigger problem—idolatry. Explaining that the Holy Spirit can change your heart, she offers guidance for understanding your weakness, putting Christ first, crushing false gods, avoiding legalism, and giving “undivided adoration” to your heavenly Father. 240 pages, softcover from P&R.
904379: From Pride to Humility: A Biblical Perspective From Pride to Humility: A Biblical PerspectiveBy Stuart Scott / Focus Publishing IncorporatedGod has given us a model to follow,in order to be what he wants usto be, and that model is the person Jesus Christ. We must first want to glorify God with our lives and realize that it is Christ likeness that will help us to do that.The humility of Jesus Christ is his most stunning attribute, and the sin of pride is probably the most detestable to God. Pride is a form of self-worship and is often manifested in the most subtle ways.Contained in this small volume is an exhaustive list of manifestations of pride, which me must put-off, followed by the challenging attributes of humility, which Christians can pit on through the spirit.
835074: The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross...Every Day The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross…Every DayBy Jerry Bridges / NavPressThe gospel of Jesus Christ is the door to eternal life, but what difference does it make once we’re inside God’s kingdom? Jerry Bridges says the gospel is the very lifeblood of our walk with God. It is the key to our salvation, for sure, but it is also the power for our daily progress in holiness. This new paperback edition includes a study guide to help you experience every day “the unsearchable riches of Christ” that are available to us in the gospel.
061417: Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman"s Guide to Finding Contentment Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding ContentmentBy LindaDillow / NavPressWomen worry a lot. We fret about our children, our friends, our careers, our spouses—the list goes on and on! If you’re tired of being held hostage to a million “what ifs,” Dillow’s 12-week Bible study will provide the help you need to exchange your anxieties for godly peace and contentment. 240 pages, softcover from NavPress.

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8 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Demons, Jesus Calling & More

  1. Hi Donna, thanks so much for your kind attention to my posts. So thrilled to see the blog mentioned here – more important maybe we can get people re-thinking Jesus Calling.

    • Laura, yes, I pray that you are right. Our enemy is so subtle. If he can’t get us off track with a frontal attack, he’s appears as an angel of light. Thanks again for your post. Blessings on your ministry. Donna

  2. Francine Rivers – great author! I think I have read about all of her books… that is, the ones she wrote after she became a Christian! LOL! Jerry Bridges – I think he’s the one who wrote a book on the Sovereignty of God that helped me so much when I lost so many family members in a tragic accident years ago. I may have to check out his “Gospel for Real Life”…

    • I have read lots of her books, as well. Many were stories that I hated to see come to an end, especially the Mark of the Lion series. It really give you a perspective of what other believers have suffered for the cause of Christ! Jerry Bridges wrote Trusting God (When Life Hurts). Many people have been comforted by it in times of loss. Blessings, Donna

  3. Such an interesting perspective on Jesus Calling. I haven’t read much of it – but I totally get where the review is coming from and it really resonates with me. I love Francine Rivers and Linda Dillow’s book meant so much to me after losing my first two babies. I really must do a review on it soon. Thank you – these are excellent suggestions!

    • Rosilind,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting and for your linkup. I’ll look forward to your review. Donna

  4. Miss Donna I feel so horrible now for recommending and buying this book for several people. I have been using it myself for a long time. I threw it out today after reading your posts. Am I guilty of misleading people?? I feel I’ve let Him down by not being more discerning!

    • Carol,

      You shouldn’t feel that way. Once when I was asked to teach a class I hesitated because I knew that I had previously taught things that I had learned were not doctrinally sound. The woman I was talking to asked me the reason for my hesitancy. When I told her, she said, we could all say the same thing because we are all growing in our understanding all the time. I know that I understand the things of God better now than I did 5 years ago and I’m sure 5 years from now I’ll be saying the same thing. Just keep growing and sharing your faith with others. It’s always a lot more about what the Holy Spirit is doing than us, anyway! You’re a blessing! Don’t stop! In His grace, Donna