Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reading List! (January 1, 2014)

Happy New Year! December was actually quite a busy month, but I still got a LOT of reading done! And… I got a Kindle for Christmas. I have been quite against digital books because I really like “real” ones, but I must say… I love it! I still say I shall still never give up my real, paper and ink books for digital and there will still be books I shall want to get to hold in my hands and keep on my bookshelf!

“…the only knowledge worth having in the end is knowledge that leads to love – love for God and love for people.” (- John Piper, Does God Desire All to Be Saved? p. 11)

Finished this month:

When I Don’t Desire God – How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
This is my second time reading this book and it’s in my “top 10” list. It’s such an amazing book (unless you’re the kind of Christian who is just happy all the time and you never struggle…). One question he asks is one that I have sometimes struggled over: “How can all these good things serve joy in God, and not usurp the supreme affections of our hearts?” (p.178) This he discusses in some detail for a few chapters and it is very helpful. Convicting, yes, but that’s a good thing.

“… the way we destroy deceitful, joy-killing desires that threaten to overwhelm us with destructive cravings is to hear and believe the Word of God when it says that He and His ways are more to be desired than all that sin can offer.” – John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God, p. 105

The Jefferson Lies – exposing the myths you’ve always believed about Thomas Jefferson by David Barton
If you want to better know who the real Thomas Jefferson was, you should read this book! It’s amazing to me, that even with my classical Christian-based education I’ve still gotten some false information or impressions about Jefferson. It is so sad how so many people have taken his own writing (and other information spoken about him) out of its context and defamed him, his beliefs and character. I could write a whole blog post reviewing these lies… oh wait, I did here….

“My views… [are] very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions.” (p. 83)

A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A Carson
I had started this book quite some time ago and never finished it… so I did! It was really excellent. When I first started it, it was a bit tedious, and then I got distracted by some other books so it got set aside. But it was a great book on prayer; why we should pray, why we don’t often pray, how Paul prayed and how we should imitate him.

“It takes nothing less than the power of God to enable us to grasp the love of Christ. Part of our deep ‘me-ism’ is manifested in such independence that we do not really want to get so close to God that we feel dependent upon him, swamped by his love. Just as in a marriage a spouse may flee relationships that are too intimate, judging them to be a kind of invasion of privacy when in reality such a reaction is a sign of intense immaturity and selfishness, so also in the spiritual arena: when we are drawn a little closer to the living God, many of us want to back off and stake out our own turf. We want to experience power so that we can be in control…. Our deep and pathetic self-centeredness is precisely why it takes the power of God to transform us…” (p.197)

Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I have written a review of this book here. This book was something I really needed. Not only does it delve into forgiveness, but it goes deeper into anger, resentment and bitterness. It's a powerful book that every Christian should read!

“God has grace available to help us deal with the offense and forgive the offender. At that point, we have one of two choices: We can acknowledge our need and humbly reach out to Him for His grace to forgive and release the offender. Or we can resist Him, fail to receive His grace, and hold on to the hurt.” (Choosing Forgiveness p. 75)

Distinguishing Marks of the Spirit of God by Jonathan Edwards
This is the first thing I downloaded on my new Kindle that I got on Christmas day. It was .99! And I read it in 3 days! :-)
In the 1st section he dispels arguments that some use to show that a work is not of the Spirit of God (example: “What the church has been used to, is not a rule by which we are to judge; because there may be new and extraordinary works of God, and he has heretofore evidently wrought in an extraordinary manner.” And “It is not reasonable to determine that a work is not from God’s Holy Spirit because of the extraordinary degree in which the minds of persons are influenced.”). In the 2nd he discusses what clear indicators are that can make us quite sure a work is of God (example: “The surest character of true divine supernatural love – distinguishing it from counterfeits that arise from a natural self love – is, that the Christian virtue of humility shines in it; that which above all others renounces, abases, and annihilates what we term self.”), and the 3rd section is application (here’s a great quote: “Lukewarmness in religion is abominable, and zeal an excellent grace; yet above all other Christian virtues, this needs to be strictly watched and searched; for it is that with which corruption, and particularly pride and human passion, is exceedingly apt to mix unobserved.”)

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I don’t recall ever reading this before… it was free on my Kindle. A great classic!

“…now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught be to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” 
– Estella to Pip.

Does God Desire All to Be Saved? by John Piper
This is a short book, but very intellectual. It was rather helpful to me though – and it led me to worship and love God more for His infinite love, wisdom and mercy! The introduction to the book was great – I love Piper’s humility about the whole thing!

“God’s expression of pity and His entreaties have heart in them. There is a genuine inclination in God’s heart to spare those who have committed treason against His kingdom. But His motivation is complex, and not every true element in it rises to the level of effective choice. In His great and mysterious heart, there are kinds of longings and desires that are real – they tell us something true about His character. Yet not all of these longings govern His actions. He is governed by the depth of His wisdom expressed through a plan that no ordinary human deliberation would ever conceive (Rom 11:33-36; 1 Cor 2:9). There are holy and just reasons why the affections of God’s heart have the nature, intensity, and proportion that they do.” (p. 49)

Currently Reading:
On Asking God Why by Elisabeth Elliot
Addictions – A Banquet in the Grave by Edward T. Welch (I was reading this as a study with a friend, and want to finish it this month!)

Additional books I want to read this month:
Temptation by John Owen
Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (on my Kindle)
Les MisĂ©rables by Victor Hugo (another Classic that I’d like to read on my Kindle)

Also, over the next 3 months I am taking a Biblical Counseling course through CCEF ( The two books I’ll be reading for it are:
Why Does it Have to Hurt? by Dan McCartney & The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson

BONUS: If you’d like to know what my “top picks” are for this past year, here they are:
Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris
When People are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch
When I Don’t Desire God – How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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