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Recent Reads

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Recent Reads |

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

A creative retelling of the story of the prodigal son, this book was difficult to put down once I got a few chapters in. Not being at all musically inclined, I enjoyed the theme of the power of music throughout this book, from tent revivals and simple piano to concerts at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

“We’re all broken, all walk with a limp. Here is the truth about you and me: even when in a far-off country, wasted life, stripped bare, smeared, squandered, nothing but scar tissue and shameful, self-inflicted wounds, the love of the Father finds the son and daughter.” 

Unsupermommy by Maggie Combs

Basic premise: you don’t have to be a superhero to do all that God has placed before you to do when you rely on said all-sufficient, all-powerful God. I enjoyed Maggie’s challenges to my tend-to-take-on-all-the-expectations heart, but I especially enjoyed how practical her wisdom was.

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Summer 2018 Reads + Reviews

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The written word has always been a treasure to me. I am mentored by men and women long in Heaven and rejuvenated in my faith by living followers of Christ. I enjoy both turning tangible pages and reading multiple books at a time on my Kindle. And while it took a little adjusting, I hardly take a drive over 20 minutes or fold a basket of laundry without listening to a book.

This summer I covered a lot of ground, and for my personal enjoyment and for other bookworms out there, I share with you what I’ve read. They aren’t in any major order, some fall in the spiritual growth category, others personal interest.

Here’s my system of review:

  • 5 = I loved the book and enthusiastically recommend it.
  • 4 = I liked it, but not necessarily doing cartwheels over it.
  • 3 = Eh. It was okay.
  • 2 = I’m reluctant to pass it along.
  • 1 = Don’t bother.

The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael, by Elisabeth Elliot: 4.5 stars. A glimpse into one brave and devoted missionary life, this book is a compilation of historical details and the faithfulness of God. A truth I absorbed while reading this book is that if God calls you to a particular ministry or mission or task for His name and kingdom, He goes before you, and He will provide and be everything you need.

[Amy Carmichael’s] great longing was to have a “single eye” for the glory of God. Whatever might blur the vision God had give her of His work, whatever could distract or deceive or tempt other to seek anything but the Lord Jesus Himself she tried to eliminate.

In His Image, by Jen Wilkin: 5 stars. Jen Wilkin’s desire to unearth a high and lifted up vision of God in the hearts of believers has had a deep impact of me. After having read her first book of similar title, None Like Him, twice, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. This book is her approach to answer humanity’s deeply rooted need to know God’s will with a charge to become a person who images Jesus in their daily life. She tackles big theological aspects of God in a way that quickly sticks to your soul. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Everything we say or do will either illuminate or obscure the character of God. Sanctification is the process of joyfully growing luminous.

The Mark of the King, by Jocelyn Green: 4.5 stars. I have always enjoyed historical fiction, and this story did not disappoint. It took a few chapters to engage with the story, but halfway through, with my curiosity piqued, it was difficult to stop. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, but I probably won’t read it again.

Talk to the Lord, Julianne. Even if you’re mad as hornets. If you keep it all bottled up, you’ll only end up with a belly full of bee stings.

Rejoicing in Christ, by Michael Reeves: 5 stars. Before this one, I read Michael’s book on the Trinity, and greatly enjoyed it. Personally, Michael deepened my understanding of Jesus, cultivating an even sweeter love for him. It really is as the title says, a delightful feasting on the cornerstone and center of our salvation, marveling at the person of Jesus in relation to the Father, Spirit, creation, salvation, and more.

Jesus Christ, God’s perfect Son, is the Beloved of the Father, the Song of the angels, the Logic of creation, the great Mystery of godliness, the bottomless Spring of life, comfort and joy. We were made to find our satisfaction, our heart’s rest, in him.

Identity Theft, edited by Melissa Kruger: 5 stars. I picked up this book because I’m an ‘identity-in-Christ’ junkie, but I was surprised how much I gleaned. In this book, a variety of God-fearing, people-loving women each write a chapter, for the purpose of the book’s tagline “reclaiming the truth of who we are in Christ.”

Satan shows us our sin so we might despair. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy. God shows us our sin to lead us to Jesus. He wants to give us life, and life to the full. We may struggle with sin, but it’s no longer our identity if we’re in Christ. Melissa Kruger

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Books That Transform Lives

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Books. Worlds to dive into, catapults to new perspectives, adventures of knowledge. Various paths forged by unique personalities to help love God with our minds.

I asked a handful of friends for a book they would say has transformed their life in a meaningful way, and why they choose it. Enjoy their answers! I certainly did.

Steadfast: A Study of the Prayer Made David’s Whole Heart Rely on a Steadfast God by Lauren Mitchell

This is one of my favorite devotional books because it walks you through the life of a very imperfect man that God raised up to lead a nation. I love that despite David’s sinfulness, his disobedience to God, and his very imperfect life, God (out of his steadfast love for David) still chose to do a redeeming work in him, use his life to write history, and use his story to show more of God’s character. This devotional walks you through six areas of life: Your Time, Your Identity, Your sin, Having No Fear, and Your Destiny. Lauren’s writing is easy to understand and her ability to break down big concepts will keep you engaged and help your understanding of Psalms. I highly recommend this devotional because through it you begin to understand God’s amazingly steadfast love for you and how he meets you where you are at and uses us – broken people – to show his character. Erika Carder, Lifestyle & Product Photographer

“David understood and accepted God’s character and promises. He did not find steadfast to be a quality that inspired fear, but rather stability.”

Lady in Waiting by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall

As a woman, I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life waiting for the next thing… a job, marriage, children, vacation! When I’m so focused on “what’s next”, I often miss what God has for me RIGHT NOW! Although it was written specifically for single women looking towards marriage, Lady In Waiting  written by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall, holds truths that have convicted me and encouraged me in many different seasons of my life. Using the biblical book of Ruth as a guide, Jones and Kendall remind women to keep their focus on the Lord and live a life of reckless abandonment in and for HIM… not for a husband (or children, or job, or friends). Faith, patience, and contentment IN THE LORD are essential to living a life that glorifies God. The first time I did this study was in college and it completely changed my perspective on my state of singleness – I stopped looking for a husband around every corner! Instead, I started to focus on living my life for the Lord. And what an amazing difference that made in my spiritual growth! As a married woman, I’ve lead young women through this study and bought more copies of it to hand out than I can count! Each time I revisit the truths presented, I’m convicted to refocus my life and energy on what the Lord has for me THIS DAY, in THIS SEASON of my life. Michelle Parnell, Appling, GA

Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright

Surprised By Hope was a book God used to refine my understanding of the beautiful, breathe-taking, overarching storyline of Scripture. I find a strong grasp of biblical theology to be essential to any and all Bible study, and Wright’s book is revelatory in this aspect. With a continued emphasis upon life after life after death, Wright exposes the true Christian hope as the restoration of creation as opposed to the evacuation from creation. He writes, “The central Christian affirmation is that what the creator God has done in Jesus Christ, and supremely in his resurrection, is what he intends to do for the whole world—meaning, by world, the entire cosmos with all its history,” (91). All groaning creation finds its only hope and rescue in the Kingdom-inaugurating work of Christ Jesus. “What creation needs is neither abandonment nor evolution but rather redemption and renewal; and this is both promised and guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead,” (107). The story of the Bible is the story of a God who does not abandon His original design after its corruption in the garden but instead sets out to redeem, reclaim, renew, and restore it. And how would God accomplish such a mission? Through the life, death, and resurrection of the King of glory, who brings sight to the blind, light into the darkness, and raises the dead to life and in whom now all creation eagerly awaits. Matt McKinney, Pastor at Madison Street Baptist Church

Anything by Jennie Allen

I weep now again as I write this. I weep because I almost got away with a wasted life. What if I had blown off the interruptions he was offering? I might be stuck with the mediocre life I was so afraid of losing at the time. But it was like he lifted my head, while I was in a puddle on the bathroom floor, and let me see into his heart, into heaven, into the brokenness of those suffering, into my own soul. And in a moment what had never occurred to me made perfect sense. So much sense that I was willing… desperately willing… to do anything. (78)

Few times has a book so resonated with me like Jennie Allen’s journey to praying “anything.” After purchasing the book, I held on to it for a while. I would carry it in my purse everywhere I went but wouldn’t dare open it. I knew the potential impact it would have on my life and it scared me; the woman was saying to God that she would do anything – literally anything He asked. I was right. The moment I opened chapter one, I could not put it down. I saw myself – a college girl wild for God and wanted to see the world be awakened to the Kingdom of God. And then life happened. Responsibilities pressed in and God was being pressed out. I’ve always known there to be more than what we lived and experienced in college, but our schedules had gotten in the way. This book gave voice to what I had been feeling for a long time, and encouraged a reckless, courageous surrender to obediently risk all that I knew as I step into anything that God calls me to do. Lizzie Attaway, Atlanta, GA

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