Book Review: The Purpose Driven Life

I read this book last year – I’m so far behind in writing reviews, haha.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For?The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? by Rick Warren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has a lot of great points and I enjoyed the writing style and the writing style overall. But there were a few things I wanted to specifically point out.

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.”

Fear is a prison. I’ve seen some reviews (on Goodreads) tear this apart because of the odd comparison with faith and love being weapons. I really don’t have a huge problem with this imagery, but I wanted to go ahead and see what the bible says. I didn’t find a place where faith and love are weapons, but in Ephesians 6:16 where it talks about the Armor of God, faith is a shield. (Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.) Along with Faith, these others are also mentioned as different pieces of armor: Truth, Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, and Salvation. Only one is a weapon: The Sword of the Spirit, which is The Word of God. So I think it would actually be more appropriate to use the shields of faith and love (and I don’t have a problem with those two together because Paul used them together often, such as in Ephesians 6:23). But I still appreciated this. 🙂

“Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them.”

At first, I wasn’t sure, but I think he is stating the same thing that came to my mind – that the most important thing is God’s will. His purpose and will are the same, right? However, I do think that knowing Jesus period is the most important thing. Not just His will for your life. So I liked this reminder.

“It is impossible to do everything people want you to do. You have just enough time to do God’s will. If you can’t get it all done, it means you’re trying to do more than God intended for you to do (or, possibly, that you’re watching too much television).”

…or browsing too long on the Internet. Guilty. X) Putting my will before His. It’s not just doing everything everyone wants. Its also doing too much that I selfishly want. This part resonated with me.

“You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. God says, ‘You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me this way?” ‘ “

This, I have problems with. The Bible does say that, but I think this is out of context. So, here is the verse in context:

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’ On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” (Romans 9:14-20)

The way Rick comes across is that we should be unapologetically ourselves. This verse is NOT talking about the moment when God created us. It talks about resisting God’s will. I could go on a rant about being ourselves, but I already did that here: (https://followinghimbesidestillwaters…)

Think about it. “Anytime you reject any part of yourself…” Does this mean I am not to reject the sinful parts of myself? Jesus said we should die to ourselves daily. We must give up flesh like a caterpillar gives itself up to become a butterfly. To not give up sinful parts goes against Scripture. I’m not saying Rick meant it this way. I only think he should have clarified this part of the book because it could be taken the wrong way. 🙂

“I read that book a long time ago, and I don’t remember Rick ever suggesting that we should not try to overcome our sins. If that is so, why read into this quote what he did not mean to say? The way I read this is, if I have irreparably crooked teeth, or freckles, or shortness, or difficulties understanding certain subjects, or illness, or disability, or poor eyesight, or hearing loss, or any other number of genetic problems, it would be extremely prideful of me to be angry with God and very disrespectful to argue with Him for how He made me. Also, coveting the abilities God has given to others instead of appreciating and using the abilities that He has given me to serve Him would be another way to be the clay arguing with the potter.” — Ruth, in the comments of this post

**Clarification – I realize this is needed after Ruth’s comment. 🙂 When I was a teen, I used the excuse that God must have wanted me this way (depressed, gothic, must want to suffer emotionally) when I was younger because He didn’t take away the pain and didn’t seem to care if I was on the darker side. (I thought if He didn’t like it, He would stop me. He IS God after all.) So that’s why I was so harsh on this point of rejecting parts of yourself. If I had read this when I was younger without a little clarification, I would have used it as a “well look He made me like this so there is no point in changing.” If Rick is speaking about disabilities, physical challenges, illnesses or things like that, then I can agree with this. 🙂 I think my personal struggles clouded my thoughts and I added meaning into it that Rick didn’t mean. After much consideration, I really don’t think the intention was that it’s okay not to give up sin. I just want to be careful that anyone who was of the same mindset I was doesn’t take what he said here as an excuse.

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Review: Once Upon A Summer by Janet Oke

“…God loves you … He plans for your good, not your hurt. It’s true that things happen in life that seem wrong and are painful, but it isn’t because God likes to see us suffer. He wants to see us grow. He wants us to love Him, to trust Him.” – the preacher

Once upon a Summer (Seasons of the Heart, #1)Once upon a Summer by Janette Oke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Josh’s parents died when he was a small child. Ever since then, his Auntie Lou, who was only five years older than he was, took over the role of his mother in the best way she knew how. They lived with Grandpa (Lou’s dad) and Uncle Charlie. And then when Grandpa and Uncle Charlie started talking about marrying Auntie Lou off, Josh wondered what he’d do without her. And then he decided, maybe he won’t have to find out…

“Holes in socks are sorta like sin, Josh. If you don’t tend to them right away when they’re small and controllable, they grow with amazing speed.” – the preacher

(I had to stop reading the book when I came to that quote and ponder it. Just… wow.)

As if that wasn’t bad enough, his great grandma died, leaving his great grandpa a widower. Grandpa and Uncle Charlie invited him to live with them. Josh wasn’t sure what to think about this, but he felt like it would disrupt everything.

Between Grandpa and Uncle Charlie trying to marry off Auntie Lou and a great-grandpa that he had never met coming to stay with them, Josh had a lot on his mind. The big question was, what would he do about it?

“Whenever something comes into our life that hurts us, we do the decidin’—do I let this work for my good, as God intended, or do I let bitterness grow like a bothersome canker sore in my soul?” – Auntie Lou

This story is told from 12-year-old Josh’s point of view. The writing style is so different, which I enjoyed, though it took me a chapter or two to get into the rhythm of it.

Josh’s character was well developed. Without revealing any spoilers, it was a joy to follow his story from start to where he is at the end of the book. He grows a lot. And the ending almost brought tears to my eyes. It was great.

There were too many amazing quotes in this book to list them all, but I think this one was my favorite:

“He could let us go through all of our life, bundlin’ us and shelterin’ us from anything and everything that would hurt us. I could do that with my petunias, Josh. I could build a box around them and keep them from the wind and the rain, the crawlers and the bees. What would happen iffen I did that, Josh?”

I jest shrugged. The answer was too obvious.

“They’d never bear flowers,” said Auntie Lou.

Aaaand the fun doesn’t stop here, because Janet Oke wrote four books in this series – which I have and look forward to reading soon. 🙂 However, I think this book could be read as a stand-alone. Until recently, I didn’t know that this book was even part of a series. If I had, I would have gotten my hands on the other books long ago!

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Review: Black (The Circle #1) by Ted Dekker

Black: The Birth of Evil (The Circle, #1)Black: The Birth of Evil by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What is a dream? What is the reality? Reality is a waking dream… or is it? For Thomas Hunter, distinguishing the two is difficult. In one, he is in Denver and has a sister, and there is a deadly virus that could wipe out the whole Earth’s population. In the other, there is a beautiful girl, a colored forest, and the presence of Elyon – and a sinister entity named Telah…

But which is real? Or could both be real? Could it be two worlds? And could they be connected somehow?

The plot thickens when in one he finds out that all he holds dear in both worlds is in jeopardy. However, he thinks he may be able to change events in one from things he finds out in the other. Will he be successful? Or will one or both come to an abrupt end?

This is the first book in The Circle series. A friend gave it to me two years ago for my birthday and I enjoyed it so much! (Obviously, I am behind in writing reviews; though technically, I wrote the review last year and forgot to post it… oops. 😅) The writing style was great. Thomas is very entertaining. And the dream // world switching was done nearly flawlessly. I really felt the urgency that the character had, and I appreciated the detail that Dekker gave to the Colored Forest and the Black Forest. I also saw a bit of symbolism in the Colored Forest from the Garden Of Eden, which made me enjoy it all the more!

I loved this book so much that when my parents asked me to pick out a book for Christmas, I asked for the next in this series, Red! It’s been sitting on my to-read shelf for the past six months, and I’m looking forward to reading it. My friends keep saying that it was better than Black. 🙂

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Review: The Agony And Glory Of The Cross

The Agony and Glory of the Cross by Charles B. Hodge Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” Luke 9:23-25

I started reading it last year, but I took it slow so that I wouldn’t miss much, and it was worth it. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from it:

“Jesus was not on the cross six hours, but thirty-three years. He lived the life before He died the death. Salvation is free, but it costs us everything – our lives!”

“The way up is down; we empty ourselves to be full. We confess being wrong to be made right. The strongest are the weakest; the poorest, the richest. We die to live and give to get.”

“Jesus was both totally humbled and totally exalted. His exaltation did not destroy His humanity; rather, it glorified His humanity. ”

“Our salvation is not for a moment but for a crucified lifetime.”

“The U.S. has the Declaration of Independence; Christians have the Declaration of Dependence.”

The author includes a special section especially for meditating on before each chapter. Very thought provoking stuff! (Though it looks like one of the later printings took out the meditations, which is a shame – so if you look into getting this book, try to make sure it’s the older printing with the “More Confusing Than Amusing” meditations before each chapter – it’s the one without the “Give The Gift of God’s Love” on the cover.) I enjoyed this book so much. This is the perfect book to read during this Holy week; or anytime before or after! 🙂

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Review: When Dreams Come True

When Dreams Come TrueWhen Dreams Come True by Eric Ludy and Leslie Ludy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much! I’ve had this book for a while, but was saving it until close to Valentines’s Day. It didn’t disappoint! It was hard to put down. I loved their writing styles.

“And amazingly, through it all, there was a God watching me fall, watching me break His heart, and loving me still…” – Leslie

“The next hour passed like a hiccup attack in the middle of a wedding ceremony.” – Eric

(Those two sentences are from different parts of the book, by the way.) It pulled me right in.  I didn’t expect the book to have much conviction in it since it was a love story, but I was pleasantly surprised. Here are just a few:

“Eric, God doesn’t care about you accomplishing things, He cares about you obeying. When you obey, it’s truly amazing what you can accomplish!” – Eric’s mom

“I was in pre-med, and doing what I had always dreamed of,” he shared animately, “but I realized that, even though I’d been a Christian since I was five, I had never asked God what He wanted to do with my life.” – Eric

And there are also plenty of gems for the single Christian (like me):

“And as I had slowly learned to trust Him completely as the Lord of every area of my life, I had felt His gentle challenge to my heart, I have someone special for you, My precious child. Wait patiently for that man, set yourself aside for him in complete purity and faithfulness. I will bring him into your life in a way more beautiful than anything you can imagine. But wait for My perfect timing. Use this time of your life to focus on Me instead of chasing after foolish, short-term pleasure.” – Leslie

This book was such an enjoyable read, and I loved how Eric and Leslie respected their future spouses without even knowing them yet. It was beautiful.  It truly is a love story that only God could write. ❤

* Also, if you read the book, it advertises their music in the back. Leslie Ludy allows you to listen and download a few tracks for free on her website, Set Apart Girl, which are AMAZING.

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Review: Evidence Not Seen

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War IIEvidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1.)

Darlene Deibler and her husband went to New Guinea as missionaries, and at first, all was well. But then World War Two came along and she found herself separated from her husband and a prisoner of war. This book is about how Jesus sustained her during those hard times. Even after all she went through in the course of the book, she never lost her faith. She was quite an amazing women of God!

“Lord, I believe all that the Bible says. I do walk by faith and not by sight. I do not need to feel You near, because Your Word says You will never leave me or forsake me. Lord, I confirm my faith; I believe.” – Darlene

A friend gave this book to me Christmas 2016, and I’ve been slowly reading it since the beginning of 2017.  Even though it took me a while to finish, it wasn’t because of the lack of interest. I didn’t want to rush through the book too fast and miss something because there were many times I needed to stop and mull over the points she made or how God was working in her life and the lives of others. (Though I ended up reading much faster at the end of December when I first started to get sick; it was such an encouragement during that time, though I almost regret reading the end so fast because now it’s a giant blur. 😆)

This book was incredible and I highly recommend it. 🙂

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Review: Hinds’ Feet on High Places

Hinds' Feet On High PlacesHinds’ Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Much-Afraid, who lived in the village of Much-Trembling, desired to serve the Chief Shepherd with her whole heart, but she feared that she fell short of ever pleasing Him. Her feet were deformed which made walking difficult, and her face was disfigured, and more than anything she wanted to be free from things that she felt were holding her back.

But those are not the only things holding her back. Her relatives, the Family of Fearings, were always lurking in the Valley…

Mrs. Dismal Forebodings, her aunt, raised her along with her two cousins Gloomy and Spiteful and their brother Craven Fear, of who mistreated her horribly on a regular basis.

When Craven Fear and his family try to force her to marry him, she flees to the pool where the Chief Shepherd is waiting, and she explains all to Him. He tells her that she can come to the Kingdom of Love if she allows Him to make her feet into hinds’ feet – and He would have to change her name because a Much-Afraid cannot enter the Kingdom. And in addition to that, she would have to allow Him to plant the seed of Love into her heart…

He chose two guides to help her on her journey: Sorrow and Suffering, and she is as scared as her name suggests. Will she allow Him to work in her life so she can enter the Kingdom of Love, or will Old Lord Fearing have his way?


This story was so gripping. A friend gave this to me in August 2016, and it sure didn’t disappoint!

Hannah Hurnard’s writing style pulled me right in. The names of everyone and everything was so cute. (In addition to the ones I mentioned above, there was Pride, Bitterness, Self-Pity, and a little flower named Acceptance-with-Joy.) The symbolism and allegories were fantastic. Also, this book managed to expand my vocabulary with words such as estuary and hoary; I always appreciate when a book makes me use my dictionary.

The poems make me so happy and are based on Scripture. Here is one of my favorite ones from the book:

“I am the Rose of Sharon, a wild anemone.
As lily ‘mong the thorn trees, so is my love to me.

An apple tree ‘mong wild trees, my Love is in my sight,
I sit down in his shadow, his fruit is my delight.

He brought me to his palace, and to the banquet hall,
To share with me his greatness, I, who am least of all.

Oh, give me help and comfort, for I am sick with shame,
Unfit, to be his consort, unfit to bear his Name.

I charge you, o ye daughters, ye roses among the trees,
Stir not my sleeping loved one, to love me e’er he please.”

I believe this is based on Song of Solomon, chapter two.


I did find one error: “You will give me a new name when I get to the top?” quavered Much-Afraid, who all of a sudden seemed to have become deaf to the music who all of a sudden seemed deaf to the music around her and to be full of fears and forebodings again.

I reread that sentence so many times. But in hind-sight (oh, bad pun!), it wasn’t that big of a deal.


Spoiler-y stuff (in white text – highlight to read):

I loved how when Much-Afraid reached a milestone, she took a literal stone as a reminder – this reminded me of the rocks in Joshua 4 where the Lord ordered 12 large stones be taken out of the Jordan in remembrance of what the Lord had done for them, so that their children would see and ask about them and they could be told the stories of how God parted the river for them. Anyway. At the end of this book, the rocks Much-Afraid picked up were turned to jewels!

And her new name. LOVE.

And when she reflects upon her journey, it was so touching.

The end of Act One left me almost speechless. So emotional. So wonderful. And heart-wrenching.

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