A forty-day interactive journey that challenges readers to come face to face with the reality of their life circumstances, identify the internal battles they must personally declare war on and fight through, and become the difference-maker that God created them to be.
Simultaneous release with a video-driven curriculum perfect for group study.
Every person has a mission and a God-given potential to impact the world, whether they recognize it or not. But the stuff of life—the loss of a job, the death of a friend or a loved one, the inability to focus due to bad moods or self-sabotaging tendencies—presents challenges and traps us in a helpless, hopeless loop of anxiety and fear. These are the kinds of things we face that turn on the dark for any thoughts of a future.
In this book bestselling author and pastor Levi Lusko gives a step-by-step process to take back your life, which includes
a new introduction and perspective from Pastor Levi
stories and testimonies from those whose lives have been changed by his messages, and
an action plan with journaling space to turn your thoughts into real change.
With a unique blend of message and practical tools, using themes and teachings from his bestselling Through the Eyes of a Lion and the more recent I Declare War, Lusko gives readers an interactive forty-day journey of learning how to think right so they can live right.
Take Back Your Life: A 40-Day Interactive Journey to Thinking Right So You Can Live Right, by Levi Lusko, is a great devotional, aimed at helping you realize your worth in God’s eyes and His immense love for you.
I valued Lusko’s candor. He addressed his battles, his struggles, and especially his anguish, agony and grief when his five-year-old daughter passed away five days before Christmas. I cannot imagine the sorrow or ache or loneliness he and his family faced. However, they also triumphed and became closer to God than ever.
The story of his daughter is a small part of the whole but was a very defining part for me. It helped to put my own grief over my losses into better perspective, which I am sure will help me heal even more.
Lusko’s devotional will affect and touch a different chord in each person who reads it. There are so many nuggets to glean from this self-help book, and I’m sure each one will make an impact.
One distraction for me was the style of the breaks in the chapter. For example, in one break it appeared as if someone had written something then scribbled it out. There were also page breaks with hand-drawn images. For me these took away from the gravity and solemnity of the message. I did enjoy the references to current culture. Allusions to movies, music, television shows and other contemporary, cultural references brought the devotional themes to life.
Few things make us feel as helpless as living with a story we don’t like. Maybe one that involves the loss of a loved one, an unwanted transition, a difficult diagnosis, or a dream that fell through. At one time or another, we all deal with disappointments and feelings that life is unfair or that we are being punished.
In Renewed, a four-week study of the Book of Ruth, women glean wisdom from Naomi’s perspective, a woman who lived a story she didn’t choose or like. Forced to chart a new path as she mourned the loss of her husband and two sons, Naomi learned that the journey from bitterness to renewed hope and joy was rooted in God’s promise of redemption.
With insight from her own journey of living with a story that is not easy, Heather teaches women to flourish even as they live hard stories through a willingness to trust that God can transform them and trade their heartache for hope. They will learn to rely on God’s movement in the details of their story, even when it can’t be seen, gain confidence to act in the part of their stories that they can change, and watch expectantly for God to redeem the parts they can’t.
A four-week study of the Book of Ruth from Naomi’s perspective.
This shorter study is ideal for in-between or busy times.
Helps women find the courage to live with a story they don’t like and trust in God.
Participant Workbook with Leader Helps includes group sessions guides, discussion questions, prayers, video viewer guides, and more.
DVD features dynamic, engaging teaching in four 20 to 25-minute segments.
Heather Dixon has taken a Bible story that most of us know, and flipped it on its head. Instead of focusing on Ruth, the title of the Biblical story and its protagonist, she focuses on Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law.
Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Storyis a brilliantly written Bible Study. Dixon delves into the story of Naomi with great wisdom, feeling and insight. She gets real and personal about her own journey, a story she didn’t and doesn’t like. However, with God’s grace and constant communication with the Him, she has been able to succeed, thrive and grow in her life and Christian walk.
I relate to Dixon’s life for numerous reasons and I am grateful for her Bible study. She has written it in an easy to follow format, with a schedule of three days a week for intense study and a break of four days, which makes it perfect for in-depth study.
I feel everyone can benefit from this study. There are several methods of learning to include a Participant Workbook with Leader Helps and a DVD that has four 20-25-minute segments with closed captioning.
I received Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story from I Read with Audra Blog Tours. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
Part 2 of Interview with Heather M. Dixon, Author of Renewed
While most studies on the book of Ruth focus on the book’s namesake, in Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story (Abingdon Press), Heather M. Dixon focuses in on Ruth’s widowed mother-in-law instead. “I’ve always read and taught Ruth from Naomi’s perspective because ultimately, I think it’s her story,” Dixon explains. “For all believers, a transformed heart is one of the key identifiers of life with Christ and as readers, we get to experience that journey with Naomi—from bitterness to renewed joy. Her transformation echoes that of anyone who has struggled with a hard story and found Jesus to be faithful along the way. It’s also my personal belief that Naomi’s response to grief has often been judged too harshly. I wanted to give my readers a safe place to explore feelings of bitterness as they learned to look for God’s movement in their own story.”
In Renewed, women glean wisdom from Naomi’s perspective, a woman who lived a story she didn’t choose or like. Forced to chart a new path as she mourned the loss of her husband and two sons, Naomi learned that the journey from bitterness to renewed hope and joy was rooted in God’s promise of redemption.
Q: Is it OK to grieve the parts of our stories that we don’t like or is that self-pity? What can we learn from Naomi’s bitterness about her situation?
You have permission to grieve! Naomi was bitter because of her circumstances (and who wouldn’t be?), but she still remembered God’s sovereignty. Did He punish her for her bitterness? No, He was always working for her good as He brought renewed hope to her life. Her story reminds us that it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to say this is not what we wanted. It’s okay to acknowledge this isn’t how things should be. We don’t have to be afraid of expressing our honest feelings to God because he understands. Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus, even when He knew He was about to raise him to life.
I think our society has much to learn from an example that values a natural and healthy grief process over stoicism. What’s more, the expression of grief is an acknowledgement that this broken world needs Jesus. When we let it, grief can be a vehicle for deep intimacy with Jesus.
Q: We’re familiar with how Boaz was the kinsmen-redeemer who rescued Ruth, but how did he redeem Naomi? How does this parallel the gospel story and our need for a redeemer?
The gospel story is rooted in redemption and renewal. From the pages of Genesis 3, the promise for redemption through Jesus has always been God’s plan for this world. (“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:15) The kinsman-redeemer promise extended to Naomi also. When Boaz married Ruth, he redeemed all of Naomi’s property that she acquired through the death of her husband and sons. For Naomi, Boaz’s purchase of her property promised provision and care for her future. Without Boaz, she would be debt-ridden and destitute, but his redemption of her property made way for the renewal of her story.
Similarly, through His death on the cross, Jesus purchased our salvation with His blood. He redeemed all that may have been lost from our past circumstances and the entire debt we owe to God for our sins. His purchase promises our provision and care for eternity. Without Him, we would be unable to pay the debt we owe to God. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we have everlasting hope for renewed joy.
Q: How was Naomi reminded that God would always provide?
I adore that one of the motifs from the book of Ruth is the empty-to-full motif. Naomi was empty in every way at the beginning of her story, but it ends with her being full—full with food, family, happiness, offspring. God provided for her every need. God provided companionship for Naomi through Ruth’s determination to stay with her. God provided food for Naomi and Ruth in what would have appeared to be a stranger’s field, but it wasn’t. God provided family through Ruth’s marriage to Boaz. He provided happiness through the birth of her grandson, Obed. And He provided offspring and blessing and security through Obed’s family line, which was the human ancestral family line for Jesus.
Q: What does Naomi’s story teach us about hope for our own situations?
I remember watching my elementary school friends on the playground, climbing up the tall ladder to mount the slide and zooming down it without fear. Hands up and laughing all the way down, they were free and joyful. I didn’t think I could do it myself, but watching them gave me hope. If they could do it, maybe I could too. I sense the same feelings rising when I read Naomi’s story.
She was a woman who walked through what many of us fear the most: the death of precious loved ones and life-altering change. And yet, if God could renew her story, why couldn’t He do it for mine as well? Naomi’s story teaches us that God is sovereign, loving, strategic, and compassionate. Her story prompts us to courageously lift our chins and say “He did it for Naomi, He can do it for me too.” There is hope in that. As a second-grader, I raised my hands as I slid down the slide. As a woman who has experienced much grief and change, I now place my story in God’s capable hands, knowing that God is always working for my good, even when I can’t see it. And that renewed joy is always just around the corner when I am walking with Jesus.
Q: Did you write Renewed for a specific audience of women?
Yes, absolutely. I wrote Renewed for any woman that is carrying a difficult and life-altering story. I wrote it for the woman who is not just walking through a season of hardship, but who has experienced a story that they did not choose and cannot change.
I also wrote it for the woman who yearns to trust God’s sovereignty and His plan for her life even as she grieves and is angered by her circumstances. Trusting God and grieving your story are not mutually exclusive. Renewed is for the woman who needs an honest space to do both as God fills them with hope.
Q: Tell us about the format of the study. How long does each lesson take and how many weeks are in the study?
Because we lead busy lives, this study is designed with just four weeks of study, and three days of lessons each week. Each day’s lesson will guide you through personal study of a passage from Ruth as well as application of what you’ve learned. This study is intentionally designed to offer a flexible but thorough plan to walk through the entire book of Ruth. You may find that setting time aside on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to go through each lesson works best for your schedule. Or perhaps it may be better to work through them on the weekends. Depending on your learning and study style, I would expect to spend 20-30 minutes on each lesson.
Q: What other Renewed resources are available to go along with the study?
Heather M. Dixon is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher who understands living with a story that is not easy. Diagnosed with an incurable and terminal genetic disorder that she inherited from her mother, she is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to trust in God, face their greatest fears, and live with hope, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Just as Christ transforms individuals from the inside out, he is also working on the heart of your marriage. Through this video Bible study series, learn to cultivate and enjoy a beautiful marriage that’s rooted and grounded in Christ. Because whether you have been married for a few years or thirty years, there is always room to grow!
In Starting Strong (Volume 1), learn about the importance of cultivating a strong and solid biblical foundation. The candid, never-before-seen video interviews with your favorite marriage experts will help you explore what it means to have shared vision, unity, and belief in your spouse, as well as how to find your true identity in Jesus. Through touching and personal stories, timeless wisdom, and sage advice, you’ll glean spiritual understanding and inspiration for a lifetime of marriage.
Four DVD sessions, ranging from 8 to 20 minutes long, feature touching interviews and personal advice from John and Staci Eldredge, Chip and Theresa Ingram, Gordon and Gail MacDonald, Les and Leslie Parrott, Art and Lysa TerKeurst plus Gary and Lisa Thomas.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Marriage and love are hard work. They each require a constant daily commitment to dedicate ourselves to consciously affirm we love our spouse and are going to stay in the marriage. Starting Strong (Growing A Strong Marriage)
Volume 1, is a great resource, regardless of where you are in your marriage or how long you have been married.
The booklet and DVD are best if used together, as they complement each other. The DVD gives us a peek at six couples beginning with their adult lives from when and where they met and through their marriage years. One couple, Gordon and Gail MacDonald, reminded me of my parents. The MacDonalds met, were engaged three weeks after meeting, married after only knowing each other for four months and have been married for over 50 years. My Mom and Dad met and married after only knowing each other for just over three months. Their marriage lasted 57 years and only ended due to my Mom’s death.
One aspect of the DVD and study guide that will touch home is its teaching that marriages can go through three cycles-Isolation, Drifting and Oneness. It’s so easy, as the couples recounted, to fall into drifting because of the busyness and business of life. This leads to a roommate type situation and sets the couple up for the feelings of isolation. I think the couples summed up the purpose of a Christian marriage well. Marriage is meant to teach us to love, to be holy and to model our role as the Bride of Christ.
Any couple, regardless of whether they are newly engaged or married for many years, will get a lot from this study.
I received a free copy of Starting Strong (Growing A Strong Marriage) Volume 1, to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.
With her bestselling book You’re Already Amazing, Holley Gerth dared and empowered women to discover who God made them to be and pursue his purpose for their lives. Now Holley helps you build on that foundation and experience even greater life transformation.
In this interactive LifeGrowth study, Holley will guide you through an engaging process that helps you apply heart-freeing truths to every aspect of your life, from relationships to work to how you pursue your dreams. God’s plans for your life are better than you can imagine, and you’ll see them unfold in new ways as Holley guides you to embrace this life-changing truth–that you truly are already amazing.
1. Who God Created Us to Be
2. What’s True No Matter How We Feel
3. Our Amazing Journey with Jesus
4. God’s Plan for Our Relationships
5. God’s Purpose for Our Lives
6. How We Can Thrive for a Lifetime
Designed to be experienced with the You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth DVD. More resources from Holley are available on her website.
As I read Holley Gerth’s book, You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide, I was challenged to stretch and grow in ways previously foreign to me. The Guide gives very specific, detailed descriptions of how and why we, as women, need to discover and embrace who we are and why God placed us here on earth.
The book is written in a straightforward easy to understand (and it sometimes even seems too simple) way, giving examples and illustrations along the way. Every chapter has questions to answer and exercises for you to complete. In addition, there are areas for you to journal, too.
The LifeGrowth Study is a wonderful tool for your own personal guide or for use with friends.
You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide is a companion to the book, You’re Already Amazing, by Holley Gerth.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Mind Connectory is a place where thoughts are shared in the hope that many people can relate to similar situations. I anticipate that it can become a library of knowledge from which people can draw up plans to overcome challenging situations – whether they be brought on by loss or mental barriers. The mechanisms for coping with matters of the mind are quite connected regardless of their cause. That is why I believe that learning from other people’s experiences (both successful and unsuccessful) is the key to self improvement as well as a better future for ourselves and the people around us.