Monday, February 9, 2015

Favorite Books in 2014

I greatly enjoy reading on the days when I feel well enough. Sometimes brain fog flares up, and I have to read small books or light and easy books. At other times brain fog makes reading impossible. But even with bouts of brain fog, I was able to read 35 books last year! It was fun to read so much. I especially enjoyed reading biographies and memoirs, books about theology, and books about chronic illness and disabilities. 

I have a goal of reading 30 books this year, and so far I have read three books. If you want to see the books that I am reading currently, you are welcome to connect with me on Goodreads

These are my favorite books from 2014:

Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven about the Death of a Child

Many people have questions about babies and young children who die. Do they go to Heaven, and if so, how do we know that? In this book John MacArthur answers questions such as:
  • Where is my child?
  • What can we say with certainty to those with empty arms?
  • How does God regard children?
  • Will I see my child again?
  • How shall we minister to those who are grieving?
I recommend this book to anyone who has lost a baby or young child or to anyone who is ministering to a friend who is dealing with the death of an infant or child.

Beside Bethesda: 31 Days toward Deeper Healing

In this book Joni Eareckson Tada takes the reader on a 31 day journey of discovering the ways God uses our suffering to bring about what she calls “a deeper healing.” She shows through her personal testimony and through God’s Word that suffering is not in vain. With the gentleness and wisdom of someone who has suffered, Joni explains how God uses the hard things in life to make us more like Christ. The reader will learn how to live with joy, find hope, and have peace in the hard times. The reader is challenged to walk more closely with Jesus, to see the inner transformation that God brings about through trials, and to trust in God’s sovereign plan for his or her life.

Barrier Free Friendships: Bridging the Distance between You and Friends with Disabilities

If you want to reach out in friendship to someone with a disability, Barrier Free Friendships by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Jensen will be a valuable resource for you. You will learn why it is important to befriend people with disabilities and how you can reach out to them in friendship. If you have a disability, the last two chapters are specifically for you! You will learn about God’s plan for you in friendship and how you can be a good friend while dealing with a disability.

God Is Just not Fair: Finding Hope when Life Doesn’t Make Sense

God Is Just not Fair is written by Jennifer Rothschild, a woman who started going blind at the age of 15 and has now been blind for over 25 years. A few years ago she really struggled in her faith and was battling depression and questioning God. In this book she writes about her struggle and shares the answers she has found to some big questions of faith. The first question she tackles is “God, are you fair?” Jennifer comes to the conclusion that “thankfully, God is not fair.” He “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). He gives grace that is far beyond what we deserve!

Other questions Jennifer answers are:
  • God, do you err?
  • God, do you hear prayer?
  • God, do you care?
  • God, are you aware?
  • God, are you there?

Rinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God when Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough

Kristen Welch shares her story in Rhinestone Jesus. She shares about high school, the early years of marriage, and the challenging days of motherhood. She shares about the hard things God brought them through as a couple and as a family. She tells the story of travelling to Kenya with Compassion International and her heart being broken there. The time in Kenya shook her awake from her American dream, and soon a dream for a maternity home in Kenya began to grow. In the process of telling her story, Kristen shares practical tips and ideas for nurturing our own families, growing closer to one another, and keeping our family focused on glorifying God. Throughout the book, Kristen encourages other Christians to follow the Lord and say yes to Him in whatever He calls them to do, no matter how “big” or “small” it is. 

Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home

In Glimpses of Grace, Gloria Furman explains how the gospel makes a difference in our everyday lives. The gospel isn't just something we believe so that we can be saved. It has implications for all aspects of life. Gloria shows how the gospel affects our home life, friendships, hospitality, generosity, contentment, and cheerfulness. She shows how the gospel removes our shame and gives us hope. I found this book to be thought-provoking, challenging, and encouraging.

PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace

This book takes a new approach to teaching the doctrines of grace. Instead of relying on the old acronym, TULIP, that has often been used to teach Reformed theology, Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones have come up with a better acronym: PROOF. PROOF stands for Planned grace, Resurrecting grace, Outrageous grace, Overcoming grace, and Forever grace. If you want to understand what the Bible teaches about the grace of God in salvation, this book is for you. Prepare to delight in and be dazzled by God’s amazing grace!

Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship

In this book John MacArthur gives a clear and detailed history of the Charismatic Movement. He uses biblical principles to evaluate the modern Charismatic Movement and discern whether or not it represents an authentic work of the Holy Spirit. After dealing with works that are falsely credited to the Holy Spirit, MacArthur explains ways in which the Holy Spirit truly is active in our lives today.

As someone with a chronic illness, I especially appreciated the chapter on healing. MacArthur shows the difference between modern counterfeit healings and true healings that took place in New Testament times. If you have a chronic illness or disability and have been told that you would be healed if you had enough faith, then you will greatly appreciate this chapter, and indeed the whole book.

For those who wish to understand the errors found in the Charismatic Movement, and wish to learn how the Holy Spirit is active today, Strange Fire is a great book to read. It is biblical, helpful, and easy to read and understand.

A Christmas Longing

This is a wonderful book to read during the Christmas season. Joni Eareckson Tada writes about the joy and anticipation of Christmas, and she reminds the reader that the God who came will come again! Joni’s words and beautiful artwork will draw you in, help you to see the wonder of Christmas, and encourage you look with anticipation to the future return of Jesus Christ. A friend and I read this book together this Christmas season, and it was a blessing to both of us. We will be reading this book again next December!

Up from Slavery (not pictured)

Up from Slavery is an autobiography by Booker T. Washington. I learned about Booker T. Washington as a child, and it was fascinating to learn more about him and read his story in his own words. In his autobiography he shares about slavery, emancipation, and his work during the Reconstruction period. I found it especially fascinating to read about his hard work in pursuing an education and establishing the Tuskegee Institute.

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