Have you ever read something that so resonated with you that you were forced to pause and wonder at the words? Maybe it was a magazine article that highlighted parenting tips. Maybe it was a blog post that challenged your perspective on life. Or, maybe it was just one of those popular quotes on Pinterest.
I’ve often had that experience. Some of my most meaningful moments with the Lord have been when His words have leaped off pages of the Bible and grabbed my attention, giving me new understanding of Who He is. Yet, the Bible isn’t the only book God uses in my life. Walking down Memory Lane, I can think of several books that God has used to benefit me. Let me share a few:
1. When I first became of follower of Jesus, I was eager not only to learn about God, but to learn how to be in relationship with Him. When I found Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby, I knew I had struck gold. This interactive workbook helped me understand God’s ways and His purposes. I began to more clearly see God at work around me and feel much more connected to Him. My husband and I literally surrendered to God’s call of full-time ministry as we read Experiencing God, and I still choose to read through it each year.
2. A few years ago, a friend tweeted about favorite book of hers being sold online for $1. Now, I’m a sucker for a good deal, so I was lured in. Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wumbrand, has become one of my favorites, too. This true life story of a pastor in Romania who was imprisoned because of his faith in God is shocking and heart-wrenching. I couldn’t relate to the pain and loss this man endured, but I cried nonetheless. More importantly, God used it to challenge my own faith. Did I believe as much as this pastor did? Could I firmly stand for my Savior as this saint did? Is my faith as pure and focused as his? I thank God for this man and his testimony. God certainly used it to correct a few selfish attitudes I had.
3. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich came along for me at a time when my husband and I were bickering often as we failed to understand the other’s point of view. God used Eggerich’s words to soften my heart and develop some healthy communication skills. As parents of three kids and leaders of a thriving church, we couldn’t afford to let our marriage take a backseat to the busyness of life. Love and Respect taught me invaluable truths about my husband and marriage.
4. I didn’t just read the next one. I lived it. My husband wrote The Measure of Our Success about the highs and lows he and I faced in church planting and all the lessons along the way. Shawn would write, I would edit, and we both relived the memories. Out of our journey came an impassioned plea to other pastors and ministry leaders to redefine what success in ministry really is. This book calls all of us back to the “main thing”–the call to love people and make disciples–and to measure our success the way God does. As a ministry leader, that’s a challenge I need…..daily.
5. No reading list would be complete without a little mind-candy. The Circle Trilogy, (Black, Red, and White) by Ted Dekker is my all-time favorite Christian fiction set. The books are incredibly well written and full of suspense, action, love, and mystery, yet that’s not all. The story parallels our own relationship with God and drives the reader to wonder at the love God has for people. As I read the words in White I found myself tearing up at the thought of His great love for me…..as I read a fiction book!! Call me crazy, I don’t care. This book set pricked my heart and caused me to fall in love with Jesus a little bit more. Any book that can accomplish that is on my bookshelf, for sure.
So, there you have it. Some of my favorite books. I’d love to hear from you! Which books has God used in your life, in your marriage, or in your ministry? Let’s share!