Nonfiction Book Review: Bound to be Free

Bound to be free cover

Bound to be Free:  Escaping Performance to be Captured by Grace

© 2016 D. A. Horton

ISBN 978-1-63146-467-6

From the back cover

For years speaker and rap artist D. A. Horton struggled with childhood wounds that left him striving to earn God’s love.  This self-induced legalism colored his entire existence.  The tensions of his life trajectory, his relationships, the desire for affirmation, and peer pressure weighed on him and never relented.  Whenever his striving ended in failure, he imagined that God would punish him. – or even banish him from God’s Kingdom.

My introduction to the author

When I Googled D. A. Horton I found a baby faced man staring back at me.  I thought, “What can this kid have to say?”  He began setting me straight on the first page.


Liberally sprinkled with scripture throughout, Horton writes an autobiographical, occasionally confessional, & ultimately realistic look at how Christians become performance driven and how to find freedom in Christ.  In the process, Horton writes encouragement for believers going through difficulty of any kind by advising the use of scripture as an offensive weapon against the enemy – even if the enemy is just our self talk.


My favorite parts of Horton’s book have to be his personal anecdotes and his application of scripture.  Consider that Paul states we have been given a sword, the word of God, in Ephesians 6.  Now imagine an expert swordsman who agrees to teach you what he knows.  Horton is such a swordsman.  When Horton offers a scripture “prescription” or “antidote” for a struggle, I have the impression that he is sharing proven swordplay.  This book has found a home on my shelf so I can refer to it as needed.

[FCC Compliance:  Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of this review.] 






a hope of Job, 13 of ?

When the Morning Stars Sang Together William Blake [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I can’t tell why this thought of Job’s stuck with me it just has and I don’t know why.

Job 19:23-24:  Job longs for his words to be recorded.  And they were!

Job’s hope – a living Redeemer, 12 of ?

Ilya Repin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
All scripture from the 1984/1987 NIV unless otherwise noted.

In Job 17 Job says,

  • v 1-3 “My spirit is broken….  Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility.  Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.  Who else will put up security for me?”
  • v 8 “The innocent are aroused against the ungodly”
  • v 11 “My days have passed, my plans are shattered”
  • v 15 “Where is my hope?  Who can see any hope for me?”
Job’s state is shocking and I am shocked by my own state of disaster but I remember what Job held to:  “I know that my Redeemer lives,” Job 19:25.
When disaster comes, and it will if you share in His sufferings, 1 Peter 4:13, remember Job and Job’s hope is our hope, too.  Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Christ Jesus is revealed, 1 Peter 1:13.

of Job and that blessed hope, 11 of ?

Albrecht Dürer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Scripture from the 1984/1987 NIV.

I began my walk with the Lord sometime in 1980 after 2 family members died less than a year apart.  Sometime before 1983 our church read through the Bible together.  That’s probably when I first met Job.  I know Job’s story has been my traveling companion for a long time so I do not know when I decided that by “seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” Psalm 27:13, David may have meant the 2nd coming of Christ.  Imagine my surprise when I run into Job saying precisely that in this current re-reading!

In chapter 19:25-27 Job says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me!”  This last echoes Peter’s admonition and encouragement, “…look forward to the day of God and speed its coming…” 2 Peter 3:12 emphasis mine.

Repost: Storms

on storms

Off beat, On purpose October 30, 2012 1 Comment

5.22.04 Very cool storm clouds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve weathered a lot of storms in my life both as a child & as an adult.  The headlines state that the east coast took a beating so I thought I’d share my survival gear.  Its just a few verses from King David found in Psalm 23.  Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death I fear no evil for Your rod and Your staff comfort me.  My paraphrase.

Here’s what it means to me.  Losing your house, a loved one, or your place in your community are stones in the path in that valley of the shadow of Death.  Think of them as small deaths.  My dreams are buried there, a couple of children, hope in the world is buried there and now hope in politicians and the USA lies in fresh graves in that valley.  But.  I fear no evil…the Amplified Bible says something like Your rod and Your staff, one to comfort/protect me and the other to guide me.

That means:

#1 God is with me

#2 He is watching over me

#3 He’s going to come against whatever comes against me

#4 and He’s going to show me the Way out

It may look impossible and scary, but there is Hope.  In the words of Kirk Franklin, “Let’s go!”  My prayer for you is that you would know His presence and peace, in Jesus’ Name, may it be so.

Related articles

Previously entered as dirty laundry, messy hair and life, and being female

I am reposting this because, well, it’s important to keep first things first and remind myself of who I am.  Original found on the Wayback Machine at

dirty laundry, messy hair and life, and being female

Off beat, On purpose October 19, 2012 1 Comment

Matthew Paul Turner writes about the Southern Baptist Convention, Lifeway Publications and Rachel Held Evans having a hard conversation and drags Beth Moore into it.  Sorry Beth, me too.  Some think that’s bad.  I think hard conversations bring the dirt out into the Light where we allow God to deal with it and us.  So, let’s add to the conversation:

I might envy Beth Moore and Rachel Held Evans.  That’s me coming into the Light up front so you know where I stand.  My hair never lays smoothly on my head so I don’t fit the professional, public persona offered on Christian stages everywhere.  That also means that when those women (Beth, Rachel & others like them) speak, I feel like they aren’t really speaking to me.  They don’t really understand me and my pain and daily walk.  My life is and has been “messy,”  my walk very imperfect – even wild like my hair, I don’t wear any makeup because it all makes me break out – yes, even those brand names who make opposing claims –  but does that mean God thinks less of me and others like me?  Absolutely not.

So, if I were Queen of the Christian Women Speakers, I would come before you with hair out of place, no makeup, and the rawness that is borne out of my messy life.  Who knows, more women might feel like God had something to say to them.

Ah, we’re forgetting the topic at hand!  Should women be allowed to lead men as teachers.  Let’s look at what God has to say on the subject of leadership.

From Philippians 2:5-7 NIV 1984:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

I think that the Bible is clear.  We were never called to be leaders.  We were called to be servants.  Now the question is, “Who am I serving today?  right now?”  The fields are white, we’ve got work to do…coming?

describing God well

All scripture used in this post come from the 1984/1987 NIV.

By Vignaccia76 (Wikimedia Commons) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Job has a lot to say about God.  Some of it surprising but what is even more surprising is that God said Job “spoke of Him what is right” 42:7.

Among the things Job has to say are, “God has turned me over to evil men and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked,” 16:11 and “without pity, He pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground,” 16:13.

Then comes the part where Job tells us there is an Intercessor pleading for Job as his Friend, 16:20-21.

There is so much more but:

  1. that’s enough to ponder for the moment
  2. I’m not here to reprint the Bible just give small tastes so you might you want more

If you belong to the Church I would love to know what verses stick out to you.


Rich Mullins once sang, "stories like that make a boy grow bold…stories like that make a man walk straight…"


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