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(Please note the links in today’s post are affiliate links from Amazon and I may receive a small commission if you purchase a book through these links.)
Where do you like to read? Are you a coffee shop reader? Do you like to sit outside and feel the breezes? Do you have a favorite chair in your house that fits you just right?
I like to kick back when I read. I may read in a hammock, or I may read in bed, or maybe on the couch. But as long as my shoes are off and my feet are up I know that I’m about to fight the Tarkaans in Narnia, or restore an inn and rediscover myself, or discover the intricate workings of the human mind, all through the power of the written word.
As I said last week,
Occasionally I’ll open a book expecting something to capture my interest, but find that it transforms my life instead. Some books rent space in my mind for a couple of days. Others move in and live there for the rest of my life.
Last week I began sharing with you the Six Books That Helped Nurture My Soul. These are the books that reshaped my worldview and opened my eyes to a more beautiful view of who I am and, more importantly, who God is.
See the first three books of the Six Books That Helped Nurture My Soul here, and continue reading to see numbers 4-6. (By the way, in case you’re curious, these books are listed in chronological order of when they impacted my life.)
The Book That Set Me Free
The Cure: What if God isn’t who you think He is and neither are you? by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall
The day that I sat crying with a friend and heard myself saying, “I just can’t do enough for God” was the day I realized that I was wearing myself out on a treadmill of spiritual performance. Striving, running, worn out, and for what? To earn something from God? To impress Him?
And that’s when God brought this book into my life. Just in case I wasn’t paying attention, he also brought me a friend and mentor who had walked this path of trying to measure up. And then I had an opportunity to attend a conference by these three authors, explaining the ideas in this book.
That beautiful season was a spiritual greenhouse of growth for my husband and I. We sat up late into the night, wondering, “Could it really be true?”
You see, I had grown up hearing the gospel of a gracious God, but “itching ears” will hear what they want to (2 Timothy 4:3), and my itching ears wanted to hear that I could earn something. I wanted to try harder and be good enough. I wanted to impress God. But God wanted me to quit making it all about me and just sink into his arms. He is good enough for me, and that’s always been all that matters.
If you’re trapped on the treadmill of spiritual performance…and the inevitable failure and hiding that go along with it, I hope you’ll read this book.
The Book That Felt Like Therapy (In The Best Possible Way)
I have to admit that I opened this book expecting to see some pretty pictures and to read some pretty words. But what I got was so much bigger than that.
In this book, Bonnie Gray walks us through her story in small pieces – the way suppressed memories of her past returned to her. She takes us along with her through her own processing while inviting us to remember buried hurts in our past that might be affecting our ability to see God rightly today.
I wasn’t sure when I started the book that I had anything to “process.” I didn’t think I had buried any hurts. But I decided to trust the process and engage deeply with the book. And God used Bonnie Gray’s story to shine his light on dark places in my heart and bring real healing and growth.
It’s a beautiful book and I hope you’ll check it out!
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The Book That Showed Me God’s Love
Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You by John Burke
Imagine Heaven is a well-researched book that walks you through dozens of first-person accounts of people who died and lived to tell about it.
Yes, it’s a risky book to write, and maybe even more risky to read. It sounds like a book that Satan can use (and the kind of book he has used in the past) to confuse God’s followers and lead them astray. With that in mind I read this book with a grain of salt, ready to assume that every story was a figment of someone’s imagination. But Burke carefully persuaded me to trust him as he explained which stories he counted as true and why, and as he backed every story about Heaven with a biblical reference.
Maybe these stories aren’t true. But based on what God told us in his word the truth will be something like these stories. So I devoured the stories as a picture – either imaginary or real – of what it might be like one day when we graduate from this world and enter the next.
And for the first time I began to understand God’s love, because that was the theme woven throughout the book. Maybe there are animals, maybe a river, maybe a strange cubic city (all biblical depictions of Heaven), but without fail, every redeemed soul felt God’s love. They soaked in it in a way that I don’t think I can fully understand this side of Heaven, but now I think I can imagine it.