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
True Feelings by Carolyn Mahaney
True Feelings is a book that I feel like was written for me personally, but I think every woman who reads this will think the same thing. For most of my adult life, I’ve had the idea that anything to do with my emotions is a bad thing. I’ve apologized for being emotional countless times. I never had the understanding that God made our emotions, and like every thing else in the fall, they too need to be redeemed. This book opened my eyes to that concept and helped me truly understand how I can use my emotions the way God intended them to be used. I have a feeling I’ll be reading this one year after year. Ashton Morgan, Charlotte, NC
Dominion; the Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully
Dominion; the Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully was the book I didn’t know I was looking for. While I thought it would be thrilling, and perhaps even therapeutic, to read words of someone like me – a Believer in God and a passionate animal advocate – I didn’t realize it would be a means to freedom. I was brought to a place where I clearly identified discomfort and anxiety due to my convictions that, I quickly realized, were not popular with anyone around me. The words of a modern Christian that sees animals as deserving of mercy helped me uncover freedom from the need to justify my own convictions, freedom to not feel tiny and shamed when other Christians accuse me of worshipping creation over Creator, and freedom to openly and unapologetically extend compassion to ALL without feelings of defeat because others see my path as insignificant. Farrar Seymour, Augusta, GA
And frankly, even if they are all doomed, their suffering unavoidable, their bleats and squeals and whimpers unnoted even in heaven, I only love them more. But I think that their cries are noted. As we often remind ourselves in other contexts, His ways are not our ways. There is, as the old hymn goes, a wideness in God’s mercy greater than the mind of man. And who among us is so imbued with divine wisdom as to be certain that His mercy cannot reach down even to them? Here, more than anywhere, the animals can teach us a lesson in humility. Take man in all his glory, man in all his brilliance and power and conquests, and what are we to Him but what they are to us?
Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday
I finally decided to take a break from my usual pick of thriller novels and pick up some books that could actually enrich my brain and entertain it as well. I chose to read Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes To Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God and Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday. These two books helped shape my new perspective about life and my career. Developing a new thought process is crucial to finding balance in your life.
Although the title Black Privilege may steer people to believe the book is about Black empowerment, it’s actually the subtitle which gives a better description of the content. Charlamagne simply told his story and lessons that came with it into a helpful guide of not blaming people around you or your environment for the reason you’re not where you want to be. Pivoting my thoughts to see the glass half full was aided by this book. I always thought ego was a deficient characteristic in my life. After reading Ego Is The Enemy, I realized my ego has been present in a way that I denied to acknowledge. It’s a fruitful short read that helps diagnosed some issues that are rarely in the spotlight and help you level up in your personal journey. Once again, it’s all about perspective and getting out of your own way! Cherrelle King, Elmont, NY
Prodigal God by Tim Keller
One book that has impacted my life among many is Prodigal God by Tim Keller. The reason this books stands out amongst others is because it changed my perspective on not only the Bible and famous parables, but my perspective about God. The lessons learned turn my “if I do this, He will do this” into “no matter what I do, He will always be.” Most would believe this is a book about the parable of the Prodigal Son, and you would be right. However, that parable is just as much about the Father than it is the son. When I used to work with students at my church, one thing I always told them is, “Life is not about you, life is not about me, life is not about us at all, it is about Him”. This takes the pressure off of us performing and allows us to start living. Knowing we have a Prodigal God allows us to live our life in freedom, love, and forgiveness. Knowing our “if, then’s” are actually “no matter what, He is.” changes things. He is Love. He is Reckless. He is Prodigal. Caleb Meeks, Augusta, GA
Is there a book that has been transformative for you? I’d like to hear!
Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash
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