Monthly Archives: September 2013

21 Books!

This week, I turned twenty-one.

That means if WebMD is correct, I have lived nearly a third of my life expectancy. Sobering thought, that.

So, I decided to share with you my favorite twenty-one books!

These are the books that have shaped me, encouraged me, brought me joy, and inspired me. Other than the Bible, of course!

You will see fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and theology. I hope you find a few that will bring you joy, as well!

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One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  by Ann Voskamp.

This book has changed my life in so many ways! A gentle reminder to stop and see the everyday joy that surrounds us.

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Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian.

See the story of Jonah through different eyes!

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All is Grace by Brennan Manning.

The memoir of a self-proclaimed Ragamuffin who wasn’t always called Brennan. An amazing story of Grace!

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The Woman at the Well by Dale Evans.

The true story of how the life of one of my favorite actresses was forever changed by Grace.

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Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman.

A book I happened upon at the Christian bookstore that changed my life! Encouragement to leave “good” girl behind in your pursuit of God.

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Art for God’s Sake by Philip Graham Ryken.

The best book on using our God-given gifts for the glory of God that I have ever read.

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Yesterday, Today, and Forever by Maria von Trapp.

An inspiring look at how our Savior never leaves us and why He came.

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Alone, Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger Craven

Based on a true story, this book was a stand-by during my teen years. It never gets old!

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The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

The beloved fantasy series by Lewis that has captivated millions.

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The delightful tale that introduces the world to our favorite little people!

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

A Southern classic that addressed important cultural issues and continues to be a beloved novel.

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The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

A series of books that will make you think long and hard about how our decisions define us.

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Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

Fall in love with everyone’s favorite red head!

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Tomorrow About This Time by Grace Livingston Hill

Several years ago I discovered a beautiful hardcover in an antique store and have loved the writing of Grace Livingston Hill ever since!

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Life is But a Vapor edited by Wesley Strackbein

A touching tribute to a young man who passed at a young age, but made a great impact. If you ever have a chance to get your hands on a copy, snatch it up!

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John Calvin: Man of the Millennium by Philip Vollmer

A wonderful book about the life of Calvin, suitable to be read aloud as a family.

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The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

An enjoyable read about the Guinness family and legacy. It will make you want to go buy a Guinness!

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The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum by R.J. Rushdoony

A powerful evaluation of education!

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Joyfully at Home by Jasmine Baucham

A hilarious, yet encouraging book about living life fully and joyfully wherever you may be!

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The Lord God Made Them All and other books by James Herriot.

I have spent many nights laughing until tears over the accounts of the English country vet, James Herriot!

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Credo by Ray Pritchard

An in-depth look at The Apostle’s Creed.

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Review of “Follow Me”

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I have heard much good about David Platt, of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, so when a dear friend pulled out a copy of Follow Me, and encouraged me to read it and do a book review of it, I was excited, as I always love reviewing books that others have recommended!

As a Christian girl entering her twenties, the title “Follow Me” struck me as intensely interesting. Because that is what I want to do. I want to follow Christ whole-heartedly, wherever He takes me, and I want to do it with joy.

“And in dying, to live. To live in Jesus.”

From the very first page, Platt questions us as Christians. He asks hard questions that demand answers. Am I willing to die? Am I willing to give up my life, my dreams, my hopes, and use my gifts to live in Jesus? 

Platt recounts the brutal deaths of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Christ called to these humble fishermen, “Follow Me”, and they did. They willingly lost their lives proclaiming the everlasting life that Christ offers.

Are we willing to die for Christ?

“We have subtly and deceptively minimized the magnitude of what it means to follow him… We’ve taken the lifeblood out of Christianity and put Kool-Aid in its place so that it tastes better to the crowds, and the consequences are catastrophic.”

Platt is right. We have diminished “Follow Me” to repeating a prayer or walking down an aisle.

But that is not what Christ has called us to do: He has called us to lay our lives down at His feet and be changed into His image. Because if we are not changed people, we are not His people.

“Ultimately, our reason for living changes… We now want God’s glory more than we want our own lives. The more we glorify Him, the more we enjoy Him.”

Outside of Christ, we are unable to change. We are stuck in sin, and it is only by God’s Grace that we can ever live for something bigger and greater than ourselves.

That is what Platt is reminding us of: we were created for far more than ourselves. As Christians, God has commanded us to live for His Glory, and to enjoy Him fully.

What better way is there than to heed His Command, to Follow Me?

“If being a Christian is merely a matter of superficial religion, then no amount of persuasion will convince us that we need to step out of our comfort zones, alter our priorities, sacrifice our possessions, risk our reputations, and potentially even lose our lives to share Christ with others.”

In the end, that is what the call to Follow Me is all about. It is about those whom Christ has called choosing to step out in faith. It is about us being willing to, as David Livingston said, go anywhere, provided it is forward.

Because it really does not matter what the world thinks of us, as long as we obey the call to Follow Me. 

“God will lead us to live in all kinds of different places in the world. Yet regardless of where we live, the task we have is the same.”

Overall, I found David Platt’s Follow Me to be an exceptional book that is convicting, encouraging, and filled with Biblical truths. Platt was clear that no matter where God has us, or where He will take us, our main purpose is to glorify Him, enjoy Him, and make disciples. I would give the book an “A”.

I would also recommend Tim Challies’ review of Follow Me, which can be found here.

Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

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Review of “Grace”

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There are some authors that absolutely inspire us with their words, from the subjects they write about to the style of their writing.

For me, Max Lucado is one of those authors.

His writing always leave me humbled, blessed, in awe at the feet of my Savior.

One theme that flows through all of His Writing is the Grace of God. So last year when his new book, Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, was released, I knew I had to read it!

And I finally got around to it.

“Precious as it is to proclaim, ‘Christ died for the world,’ even sweeter it is to whisper, ‘Christ died for me.'”

Lucado begins the book by discussing how God is in the business of changing hearts, of how His Grace brings salvation.

He goes further, though, saying that while we think we know what Grace is, we really do not understand it.

Why? Because we have settled for what Lucado calls “wimpy grace”. Far too often, our understanding of God’s Grace is too small, and we just don’t get it.

We simply cannot wrap our little minds around a God who, as John Stott says, stoops.

And that is Grace.

“Grace is not blind. It sees the hurt full well. But grace chooses to see God’s forgiveness even more.”

Life is hard. And it hurts. Sometimes, it hurts a lot.

But Grace is so consumed with forgiveness, that there is no room for bitterness.

Ouch. How convicting, because it is so much easier to hate than to love, to be bitter than to bless, to slap than to kneel and wash feet.

Yet, God, full of Grace, left glory for our grime. Humbled Himself and wore our skin. Loved the unlovable, because really, that is all of us.

“Grace happens here. The same work God did through Christ long ago on a cross is the same work God does through Christ right now in you.”

Overall, I felt like Grace was a much needed reminder for my soul. A reminder of just how great His Grace really is. From cover to cover, I was challenged, convicted, and inspired to better embrace Grace, but even more, to pour out and share the Grace that I have been given. I give the book an “A”, as I would highly recommend it!

Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

 

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