Friday, July 5, 2019

Book Review: How God Grows A Courageous Girl

How God Grows a Courageous Girl. Carey Scott. 2019. [October] Barbour. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: God has big plans for you! And you can be confident in His plans for you because every day He is growing YOU into a courageous girl. He will be your constant companion and will give you just the strength you need to choose faith over fear. These devotions and prayers were written with you in mind. They are lovely reminders of the power you have because you’re God’s girl. Touching on topics that matter to you, like family, friendships, trust, hope, and prayer, these inspiring readings will help you grow a deeper relationship with God as you also grow into the courageous girl He designed you to be.

How God Grows a Courageous Girl is a devotional book with 180 readings. Each reading opens with a text of Scripture--a verse...or two--and closes with a short prayer. The Scripture texts that inspired the devotions come from the Old and New Testament. The prominent themes of the readings are fear, courage, faith, and trust. The translation of the Bible they use throughout is incredibly simple, perhaps too simple so that some verses are bordering on losing their actual oomph.

Expect a LOT of exclamation marks in each reading.

Expect the use of the word COOL and its variant (COOLNESS) throughout.

At times this one did come across as condescending. (Not every reading, not every paragraph but here or there.)

It does seek to speak Scripture directly into the lives of its reader, to offer application advice. This is what the Bible says and this is how you can apply it to your life in situation a, b, and c.

It makes some assumptions along the way. One that all readers are genuine born again believers. Two that they know the ins and outs of the whole gospel message and they don't really need refreshing in that area. To be fair, this devotional book does seem to have a theme of FEAR/COURAGE. So perhaps they didn't want to work the gospel into that theme? Three that all readers have body image issues or low self esteem.

The theology of this one can be very light and somewhat iffy. (I'm thinking of two or three out of the one hundred and eighty readings and not fifty. So I don't want this concern to be taken out of proportion.) But for example, when it talks about "listening to the gut feeling that warns you..." they could have talked about the HOLY SPIRIT DWELLING WITHIN YOU or THE CONSCIENCE THAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU. Either one of those or both would have been better than the vague not specifically Christian idea of "a gut feeling." The author may have had the Holy Spirit in mind when she wrote the word "gut feeling" but will readers pick up on that?!?! There are dozens of Scripture passages about being taught by the spirit, guided by the spirit, walking with the spirit, the Spirit living in you, being transformed by the spirit, etc.

Another reading that didn't quite sit right with me was the one inspired by Philippians 4:13. This shouldn't surprise me--or you. Adults--even adults that should know better--often get this wrong and pull the verse way out of context.
Have you ever walked away from a challenge because you felt weak and vulnerable? It’s common to look at the things life throws our way and say, “Um. . .no thanks. I’ll pass.” Sometimes it’s just too hard. But when we let those tests and trials scare us away, we’re forgetting one very important truth: you have Jesus on your side. That means with His help, you can do anything you choose to do.
The approach at times seemed to be: you can handle most things on your own in your own strength; you've got this, no worries; BUT when you do find yourself in trouble, you can go to God with your needs. Perhaps the author's intent was good. Perhaps she didn't mean it come across that way?! "God is ready to fill in the gaps that need filling. " But the truth of the matter is that we need Jesus all the time, every single day, every single hour of the day. There's never a time when we don't need Jesus--HIM but also HIS grace, HIS love, HIS redemption, HIS strength, HIS presence, HIS promise, HIS faith, HIS compassion, HIS comfort. I could go on and on. Perhaps this is the kind of wisdom that comes with age? Or that only age can appreciate?

But for the most part, most of the readings were good. There were plenty of entries that I liked.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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