Finished this month:
She is Mine by Stephanie Fast
I had to opportunity to meet Stephanie Fast and hear her share part of her story at a conference two years ago. I have been waiting to read this book for about 9 months (since I heard it was going to be released - and then I had to wait till Christmas to get it!). I read it in one day – it’s not very long, but very riveting! This well-written and moving account draws you into this little girl’s story. It is so awful how cruel human beings can be to others, more incredibly to innocent children! If I had not heard much of the story already I probably would have cried the whole way through! Even so, I cried… The hardship, abuse and cruelty she suffered was unthinkable – and yet God preserved her, rescued her and redeemed her. This book is only the first part of Stephanie’s story – she’s working on a sequel that tells of her life as a teen which is when God really got a hold of her life personally. Can’t wait!
Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher
I bought this one almost as soon as I heard about it. I really wish I could have read it 5 years ago, but then it just came out in 2012! This is a book to Calvinists, about Calvinism and if you’re in that camp than this is one you should definitely read! To sum up what this short little book is about, if you believe and love the doctrines of Grace (also known as Calvinism) and you want to see it thrive and be preserved here’s what NOT to do. He writes, “if we don’t live our Calvinism, we might just kill it.” (p. 10). Greg Dutcher is very honest with mistakes he’s made in regards to his attitude and focus when it comes to this area of theology. The truth is that the reason many people are turned off from Calvinism is simply because of the attitude of those who hold to it. “Imagine if the first words that came to mind when people thought of Calvinists were ‘gentle’ and ‘empathetic’ instead of ‘scholarly,’ ‘argumentative,’ and ‘arrogant’.” (p. 99). Are we allowing our belief that God chose us (and not the other way around) to humble us, or do we become proud as if we have some sort of “superior knowledge”? Greg asks, “Do we Reformed folks tend to assume that because we are right on predestination, we are the only ones who can actually be right on everything else? Or can we allow the possibility that God has given genuine wisdom and insight to other kinds of believers from whom we can benefit? Even if they are not Calvinists?” (p. 61, emphasis his).
“I unhesitatingly believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation. Therefore (and thus is only logical), I believe that the Arminian understanding of the sovereignty of God in salvation is wrong. But the question of application is a simple one: can I live with this theological conviction and still not look down on those with whom I disagree?” (p. 84)
Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell D. Moore
This book was so good I read it through twice. In one month. Yup, true story. Really good book! A great exposition of the temptation of Christ with lots of practical application! He discusses the root of what Satan was after in each temptation, how those were real temptations to Jesus and how Satan uses the same ones today to tempt us. He also connects these to the first temptation in
Eden, with individuals like Saul
and David and with the temptation of Israel in the wilderness (which are
set up for us as examples in Scripture). He reminds us of the importance of gratitude (for it’s when we are not
thankful that we turn to other things) and humility
(the opposite of which is pride which is really resisting God’s authority and
rule). May we grow to be more like Jesus even as we are brought through
temptations and trials; we can be
victorious not because of our own strength, but because of who we are. “You are not what you want. You are who you are.
And that’s defined by the Word of God.” (p. 72) This was very encouraging and
strengthening, I’d definitely recommend it as you seek to fight temptation and
sin in your own life and grow in Christ-likeness.
“Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, doesn’t just free us from our appetites by crucifying them with him, he also enables us to walk in the freedom of his newness of life.” (p. 94)
“Jesus didn’t come to protect himself. He came for the world. He came for the church. He came for you. He bore your reproach, strapped on your curse, carried your exile. This other-directedness freed Jesus to live out a very different life from the cringing, anxiety-filled lives so many of us carry on.” (p. 113)
“We’re Just Friends” And Other Dating Lies by Chuck Milian
This was a very interesting book – I got it cheap on my Kindle. In this book Mr. Milian has come up with an interesting and seemingly good method of helping bring clarity and health to the area of relationships. While I would probably push the physical boundaries he would allow up a level (or two!) he gives clear guidelines (guardrails) and counsel regarding how you should be interacting at various stages of a relationship. He spends a whole chapter on the importance of honest and open communication and another on how to manage feelings, expectations and thoughts. Both of these areas are CRUCIAL and I very must appreciated his practical counsel. If you want some practical advice on this area of life, this is a good read.
The New Covenant and New Covenant Theology by Fred Zaspel
This is a short little book giving a good overview of New Covenant Theology. This “system” is just a way of understanding the relationship between the covenants in Scripture especially the relationship between the old and new covenants. This system essentially believes that the New Covenant is brought about through Christ and that Christ Himself is the fulfillment of the old. The New Covenant fulfills all the promises of the OT covenants and thus as Hebrews 8 teaches, the old becomes “obsolete” and the new takes its place. While we live under the New Covenant in the present, there is still a fuller completion to come in the future. We have the eternal rest promised, but yet to do not see it fully realized in the present.
The Fear of God – The Soul of Godliness by John Murray
Very short little book (more like a booklet) on the fear of God, but some great reminders of how we should to a degree be afraid of God – He is holy and we are not! We all need more fear of God, we all need to come to see how holy He is, how awesome and perfect. In order to walk before God and be godly you must have a fear, awe and reverence for God.
In Light of Eternity (Biography of Leonard Ravenhill) by Mack Tomlinson (note: this is BIG book so my goal is to get through it in two months.)
Additional books I want to read this month:
Counseling the Hard Cases by Stuart Scott, Heath Lambert & others and I might get to this one, we’ll see: The Gospel’s Power & Message by Paul Washer. I’m taking 2 classes this semester so will be busy with class reading and homework, thus my reading list may be shorter for the next 3 months!