Ever on the lookout for a great new book, I was intrigued by the subtitle of this book: Unexpected Love, God's Heart Revealed in Jesus' Conversations With Women. In a world that didn't (and doesn't) offer equality for women, Jesus always did--and does. So I was curious to read this closer look at what this author had to say about this.
"God has revealed all we need to know about him in his Word.
We need to make it our business to find out what that is.
When we know of his power, his goodness, his wisdom,
his patience, and his justice, we have a reason to put our trust in him.
And we will not be disappointed when our trust is based on truth."
Julie Zine Coleman takes an in-depth look at nine different women in the Bible and their encounters with Christ. Each chapter shares the relevant Scripture passage and then the author elaborates on the scenario, taking into account the culture and setting and takes us on a little fictional journey about what could have been going on in the thoughts and actions of those from that passage. She writes this in a very tasteful and accurate way, not embellishing too much. After placing the reader squarely in the mind frame of that particular setting, she then brings application "for today's woman". Finally each chapter is wrapped up with "food for thought" and a journaling section which gives the reader questions to ask themselves and also more Scripture passages to look up and dig deeper into the topic at hand.
"God's grace is lavish.
It accomplishes what our most sincere and stringent
efforts never could. The scope of its magnitude is beyond what
we could ever do that might threaten its effectiveness.
It is given, not in remuneration, but in spite of what we've done.
Extravagant is a perfect word to sum up the width, depth,
and height of the grace of God."
This book is a very good read, full of nuggets of wisdom. It would even make a wonderful Bible study for women. I have very much enjoyed reading it, each chapter revealing new insight to me about the character of God.
I was intrigued by the title of Unexpected Love: God's Heart Revealed in Jesus' Conversations With Women. It's often difficult to understand exactly what we should take from various Bible stories because of our extreme cultural and historical differences from that place and time, so I hoped this would help clear that up some. I didn't hear much in the way of new insights (from previous books, sermons, and articles examining these characters) and was not real comfortable with some of the conjecture that took place as the author tried to breathe new life into "old" stories. ie I was reading some aloud to my daughters and found myself stopping to say "well we don't know if he or she REALLY thought (or said or did) that".
But on the other hand, I did like the format of the book very much. After the brief reiteration of the story, we are given a bit more historical and theological information, an application section entitled "For Today's Woman", then some questions to think about, and finally some journaling prompts. My favorite part was the application section, especially the one on Martha. It zeroed in on what Jesus was truly admonishing her forÃ¢â¬ânot her actions or busyness, but her attitude. It was her critical spirit, her focus on self, and her need to control things that got her into so much trouble. And yet Jesus loved her and extended grace to her at each interaction, gently drawing her into deeper relationship with Himself.
Unexpected Love makes a great devotional book, particularly if you invest plenty of time on the journaling section, but it would also be good for Bible study or discussion groups.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
I had the pleasure of reviewing the book Unexpected Love by Julie Zine Coleman and I read it really fast, for me, and gobbled it up! This book was all about God's heart revealed in Jesus' conversations with women. Through 9 chapters, Julie takes you on a journey through different passages of Scripture in which Jesus interacted with and had a conversations with women. Julie starts with fleshing out the story, making the reader feel connected to the woman and her situation. Then, she explores the historical and Biblical contexts, digging deeper through addressing a number of questions that were different for each chapter. Next, she made it applicable to women today in the part For Today's Woman and ending each chapter with some questions to work through and suggestions on ideas to journal.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it interesting, provoking and I just kept wanting to read more! Julie definitely held my attention and the content of this book made me think, process and pray through what I was learning. I enjoyed the way the book was laid out and feel that it covered great information, provoked my heart and gave me practical suggestions to diving deeper into these Scriptures and God's heart on women. I would absolutely recommend this book to others, especially the awesome women I know. I brought this book along to a women's group I'm a part of and it contributed to our dialogue in a great way, provoking the hearts of my girlfriends. They all want to get their hands on a copy!
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
This is a book about the Gospels, about how Jesus interacted with the women he encountered while on earth. It is a book about the heart of our Savior, about his desire to build the Kingdom - and to not exclude half the world while He did. While it has much to say about God's heart to women, it is also about God's heart generally - that is, what God says to women is not exclusively for them, either.
Julie Coleman does a really wonderful job of highlighting the mission of Jesus, through his encounters with women. She highlights some important truths: Jesus is interested in all of us, Jesus is crazy about us. He wasn't peripherally spiritual - He was engaged, committed, and impactful. To quote the conclusion "His concern does not depend on how spiritual I might be or how important I might seem in human eyes. It is not dependent on my performance or even my good intentions. I matter to him not because of who I am or what I do. I matter because of who he is" (page 205).
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with their worth. You are important to Jesus. He wants you for his own. The details of his interactions with women in the Gospels are one way that is demonstrated, and Julie Coleman's book does a great job of making that point. It is not the only way to understand Jesus and his heart for the people he created and came to save, of course, but it is one that deserves the attention it receives here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
This book has SO much specific content on each passage presented, each women discussed and most interestingly the historical information that helps the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the specifics surrounding each relationship discussed.
Coleman takes the reader through a variety of different women who all have very specific encounters with Jesus. Some encounters were years long, others were simple one time conversations. Each encounter shows us a consistency in Jesus, he was caring and respectful towards women.
I appreciated the authors thoughts on some of the unanswered questions, mainly the "whys" and I also appreciated the authors attention to detail regarding the historical details of the days these encounters occurred.
I would recommend this book as a book study/Bible study, or for someone who really wants to dig deeper into a Jesus conversations with women.