It’s been a busy season so I haven’t gotten to update and post this till now! (But hey, better than the year it was last time!)
Picture Perfect by Amy Baker
This is a book for people who struggle with perfectionism and those who want to help them. Maybe you just joke about having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) but you’re anxious and/or frustrated… life isn’t going the way you want it to. Or maybe you call it exhaustion – because you’re wearing yourself out trying to please everyone. To many, it’s an actual diagnosis of anxiety or OCD. Whatever it is, you’re caught it a cycle of thinking that you can’t seem to get out of and it’s leaving you anxious, frustrated and sometimes in despair. How do you change? How can y ou help a friend or loved one who’s in this situation? This book gives us some case studies (examples) of individuals who have struggled with perfectionism in different ways. Is it wrong to want everything to be “just so”? Doesn’t God call us to be perfect? Yes… but no. God, being perfect, does demand perfection…. But we cannot deliver. It is only because of Christ that we receive perfect righteousness…. We cannot achieve this on our own. This book is full of practical examples and reminders of what it means to struggle with the tendency to want things “just so” and trusting in God when things don’t go the way you want. If you live your life seeking for things to go your way you’re going to dishonor Christ and hurt the people around you. Growth means trusting God with things that aren’t going the way you’d like and seeking to put others before your own desires and goals. True success is not meeting your goals (what you consider good enough), it’s honoring God and loving others.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi
This was a really powerful and educational book! Nabeel was born into a devout Muslim family in Virginia; a part of the Admadis sect of Islam which makes up a majority of western Muslims, but yet overall it is a very small minority within worldwide Islam (Shia and Sunni being by far the largest). Nabeel explains a lot of the theology and worldview of Islam and the different sects within it. He was well-trained to be devoted to Islam – he had much memorized from the Quran and from Islamic teaching and also some Christian Scriptures that are used to defend Islam. He many times shook the beliefs of Christians he came into contact with. Islam was his whole world and his journey to discovering Islam’s and the Quran’s true teaching shook his very being. If you want to understand Islam and/or why Muslims believe as they do, or why they love Islam and why it’s so difficult for them to see otherwise you need to read this book. If you have friends/neighbors/acquaintances who are Muslim and you want to know how to reach them – you MUST read this book. It was extremely enlightening as to why they are so devoted to their faith, and how western Muslims view the extremists in the Middle East and elsewhere. How do they reconcile history with Islam when so much contradicts? How do they not know the true history of Mohammed? Why is it so difficult for them to leave Islam? Even faced with all the evidence, Nabeel struggled for months and begged God/Allah for dreams to show him the truth. God graciously did and made it powerfully clear that Christianity was the truth, not Islam. It was only then that he had the courage to embrace Christianity.
This book also reveals the great importance of Apologetics in defending Christianity and how it can be a powerful tool in bringing people to Christ. If you do not know why you believe what you believe and be able to defend it – your faith can be shaken when tested. How grateful Nabeel and other converts are that there were Christians in their lives who were well trained in defending Christianity (and who also studied Islam enough to refute it).
Becoming More by Lysa Terkeurst
This was a good book, very practical. I’m very theologically-read so this was pretty basic (and not really very deep). But I so appreciate Lysa’s heart for God and how honest she is about her struggles. Again, very practical and filled with great reminders! A great one to recommend to others – especially women who are newer/younger Christians or who are struggling in their walk with God.
Sacred Marriage by Gary Chapmen.
Mike and I are also listening to The Lord of the Rings trilogy on audio, which has been fun!