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In her devotional book written for a female audience, author Amy Lively deals head-on with the difficulties Christians encounter by vulnerably sharing her own “The End of the World as We Know It” (TEOTWAWKI) experiences and narrating those of several other women. She asserts, “Following Jesus doesn’t exempt us from earth-shattering, heart-breaking events in our own homes. We still have cancer and car accidents. Our kids are still suicidal; our marriages are still struggling. Our parents still have Alzheimer’s. Our loved ones are still making bad decisions with big consequences.”

Lively assures readers that by getting to know Peter by exploring his first letter, they will be encouraged to “set aside our hopeless fears and hopeful fantasies and instead set our hope fully on God’s faithfulness.” Lively’s ultimate goal for introducing readers to Peter is that when they get to know the apostle, they will get to know Jesus.

As Lively explores God’s never-ending faithfulness and sovereignty over all, she points especially to 1 Peter 1:13: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (ESV).” Lively skillfully points out the difference between the words “hopefully” and “hope fully”: “Oh, what a difference a space makes! ... Hopefully is just an expression of my desired outcome for my current circumstances based upon my feelings. … To hope fully means your confidence, trust, and reliance is perfectly, completely, entirely, and steadfastly established and rooted in Jesus Christ. Hope isn’t an escape from reality; it’s a real person.”

Lively’s theological perspective differs from that of Reformed Christians. While she emphasizes that Christian hope is fulfilled when believers go to heaven after they die (with no mention of a new heaven and new earth), Reformed Christians believe that Jesus, at his second coming, will unite heaven and earth and make all things new.

Suitable for either individual or small group study, this devotional has much to offer Christian women of all ages and denominations as they encounter their own TEOTWAWKI experiences. It could also prove to be a helpful resource for women who have not yet met Jesus and might be facing difficulties and asking questions about how God can allow suffering. (Kregel Publications)

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