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encouragement

Books That Transform Lives

Posted in books

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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a high view of God is our stability in any situation

Posted in faith

It’s a week where multiple out of control things have crossed our path – a scary diagnosis, an uncontrollable wildfire, difficulty among relationships.

Out of control being the key phrase. I can’t change hearts. I can’t send rain. I can’t heal someone’s body.

In trials, tempting emotions are fear, worry, disappointment, or hopelessness, but an even greater call than those is the call to look at God.

To gaze at God is another way of saying: remember God! (Which is another way of saying “look away from you and your resources and look to your Father.”) We must go beyond acknowledging His existence and step higher into His nature.

God is vastly different than we are. He doesn’t need sleep or nourishment. He isn’t surprised by circumstances. He doesn’t need to learn new facts. He is present in yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is sovereign over every rain drop, sickness, activity, problem, and occasion. Not only is His power limitless, unrivaled by anything on earth, He is purely good and perfectly kind, never changing.

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3

Our view of the Trinity must be higher and greater than our view of what is around us or inside of us.

To widen, deepen, and lengthen this vision of God, we need Scripture. If we don’t learn who He is from His Word, we unintentionally live considering God like we consider ourselves.

I write this from personal experience. My view of God was small, human-like, resulting in a distorted view of His nature, producing anxiety and pride, instead of blood-bought identity and new life. But He’s gracious in not leaving us in our natural patterns of thinking, but continually renewing us to holier ones.

In her book None Like Him, Jen Wilkin says this:

Image-bearing means becoming fully human, not becoming divine. It means reflecting as a limited being the perfections of a limitless God. Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord. They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God. When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never flags. When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out.

Find comfort in this: God is an expert on you. He knows every detail, past and future, of every circumstance, joyous or sorrowful, in your life. We remember Psalm 139:1-6, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”

He is an expert on every heart. We cannot change people, no matter how passionately we desire peace, restoration, or maturity for them. This is God’s domain. We pray His great grace in another’s life, and encourage them toward His Word however we can.

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