December 28, 2020

10 Great Reads of 2020


My goal for 2020 was to read 50 books and I was able to surpass that to 66 books. I so enjoy reading and audio-books have allowed me to read even more. I listened to the 2 classics on this list and found it really enhanced the experience. Maybe you'll find a good read here to add to your 2021 reading!

 Here are my favorites from this past year...

Identity Theft by Various Authors - Each chapter in this book deals with who we are in Christ, as Christians, encourages us to find our identity in Him alone, and to not let anything rob us of it. I loved that the chapters were written by a variety of female authors. It was nice to hear different and unique voices all coming together to teach the same Biblical truths.


Evelina by Frances Burney - This was a really fun classic novel. It had inspired Jane Austen's writings, which made me curious about it. A diary of sorts of a young quiet girl learning the ways of life in 18th century London society. I loved her attitude and reflections. It was nice to hear her inner thoughts, when others thought she was simple and boring, she was thinking intelligently and deeply. It was an introverts delight to read!


Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross by Various Authors - An Easter devotional compiled by Nancy Guthrie with reflections on the cross from contemporary and classic Bible teachers and theologians. So encouraging and gospel-filled. Loved it!


Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp - Wow! This advent devotional is also so gospel-filled and beautiful. I'm almost finished it, as it includes 31 days of devotions for December. I highly recommend it and will be reading it again.


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - The theme of this book is grace. It's considered a masterpiece of literature, and I'd have to agree! Though there were some long drawn out parts, the novel as a whole was amazing. I read (listened to) it slowly throughout 2020 and enjoyed it very much. 


Epic by Tim Challies - This was such an interesting idea for a book! Tim Challies took a trip around the world, visiting places of Christian significance and writing about Christian history through objects he observed. The book also contains many photos, which added to the meaning of each story he was telling. 

You can read my thoughts on the book... HERE



You're Not Enough (and that's ok) by Allie Beth Stuckey - This is a much needed book in the days we are living. Self-love has taken the place of Kingship in many women's hearts and it is not only ungodly, but idolatry. This book was written beautifully with grace and encouragement. I will be posting about it soon!


His Indwelling Spirit by Charles Stanley - I loved this book! Filled with truthful and beautiful teachings on who the Holy Spirit is and what He does, simply written in quotes.

You can read my thoughts on the book... HERE



The Reformation by Stephen J. Nichols - If you read my blog you know by now, I love church history. This was an easy to read book on the period of the Reformation. A great book for someone starting out on learning about this subject.

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton - Another great book! This was a memoir of sorts from an African American man who spent 30 years in prison on death row, for a crime he didn't commit. His conduct and faith were so encouraging and humbling to read about. 


                                Happy Reading in 2021 and I hope you have a blessed New Year.

November 29, 2020

Some Christmas Reads for 2020


Every year I look forward to reading some Christmas books. Here are a few I'd like to get to this December.



Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp

This is a daily advent devotional encouraging us to look to Jesus during the Christmas season. The last few years I've been picking up these kinds of books and been so enjoying them. I'm really looking forward to reading through this one!


Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

I love Charles Dickens 'Christmas Carol' and enjoy books inspired by it. This book contains 3 novellas and I'm hoping to get to at least one of them.

The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel

In this book Lee Strobel sets out to explain why the biblical account of Christ's birth is important to our faith. I've started this one and though it's a bit choppy, I'm finding it very interesting. (I believe this book is excepts from another book of his, 'The Case for Christ'  hence the choppiness. I'd like to read that book as well some day!)

Searching for Christmas by J.D. Greear

I don't know anything about this book but heard it was good.

Goodreads says of this book:

"This book looks behind the birth of the baby in a manger to discover how the deeper truths of the Christmas story offer the hope, peace, and belonging we're all searching for, one way or another."

Are you reading anything Christmas related this season? : )

September 28, 2020

Epic: An Around-The -World Journey through Christian History

This was such an interesting idea for a book! Tim Challies took a trip around the world, visiting places of Christian significance and writing about Christian history through objects he observed. The book also contains many photos, which added to the meaning of each story he was telling.

I thought I'd share a few that I found extremely interesting.

The Book of Kells

Tim visited Scotland to learn of the history of this unique book, which is now displayed in Ireland where he traveled next. 

He says here of the book:

"There is nothing quite like it anywhere in the world. It's a manuscript containing the four gospels in Latin, and it dates all the way back to around AD 800. What first stands out to those who view it is its sheer beauty. The pages are made of fine vellum, and nearly every page is adorned with beautiful, intricately designed illustrations. The Book of Kells is an ancient Bible, but it is also a stunning work of art."

Out of all the objects he talks about in his book this is the one I would love to see the most. I think the care and love that went into it, not only shows us the beauty and majesty of its words, but how highly the makers of it appreciated its truth and wanted it carried on to the next generation.

Jan Hus's Cell Door

Years ago I read the letters that Jan Hus wrote while in prison. They were inspiring and uplifting, written by a man who put his trust in God and His Word.

Jan Hus was one of the first to protest against the errors of the Catholic church at the time. He was from Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic), born around 1370. As a preacher He encountered the writing of John Wycliffe of England and the rest is history.

Tim Challies says here:

"Eventually Jan Hus encountered these teachings, and they changed his life... He began to read the Bible with fresh eyes, and he adopted much of Wycliffe's theology, including the belief that the church is made up of all of God's elect for all of time and that the church's rightful head is Christ rather than the Pope."

This later got him imprisoned and later tied to a stake and burned to death. Some of his last words were:

"In the truth of the gospel I have written, taught, and preached; today I will gladly die."


Charles Wesley's Organ 

Charles Wesley wrote over 6000 hymns, some still sung today. One of his best known is 'Hark! the herald angels sing' This organ is where he wrote so many beautiful songs to the Lord. Songs sung by millions of believers, all over the world, ever since.

Tim Challies quotes one particular verse from a song called 'And Can it Be?'

"And can it be that I should gain
An int'rest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love?! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"


The Slave Bible

This chapter took me aback. I had never heard of the Slave Bible. I found this appalling, that men, who claimed to be Christians, could take the Word of God and twist it for evil gains.

Tim Challies says here:

"Not all of the objects I saw on my travels had a positive story to tell. The Slave Bible is one of those. It's a story that warns us of the dangers of compromising the message of the gospel to accommodate our sin. And it's a timely reminder that sinful human beings can use good things - even the precious Word of God - to commit great evil."

The Slave Bible omitted Scripture that pertained to freedom for all in Christ. How horrifying is that?

Scriptures like:

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28 
 And as Tim describes here:

"The great future promise of Christ's gospel is a day when God's people will gather before him as 'a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.' Revelation 7:9

This reminded me of how important it is to honor God's Word as a whole.

George Muller's Collection Box

I love George Muller's story. I read his book 'Answers to Prayer' and was amazed at how he trusted God. In a world of greedy TV preachers, it's hard to imagine a man like George Muller. A man who never asked for a penny, but bowed before God and petitioned to Him for all his needs. And God provided so much, and for so many, because of his obedience.

George Muller instead put out collection boxes for whoever God moved to give. Never asking or pleading for money. God worked through his obedience and many orphans were given a home from the streets of England in the 1800's.

Tim Challies says here of the boxes:

"The front says simply, 'For the orphans.' Muller would not ask people to give money but instead would pray for the Lord to provide. One of these boxes was placed within each of the orphan houses so that people could give as the Lord directed, each one perhaps inadvertently providing an answer to those earnest prayers. Those simple boxes aptly tell about the simple but expansive faith of a great man."


*note - I couldn't find a picture of the collection box so I've inserted a picture of George Muller

September 21, 2020

5 books on my future reading list

What Jesus Demands from the World

I'm really excited to start this one. It has very short chapters, which is always helpful when trying to get through a large challenging book. : )

Goodreads says here:

"The four Gospels are filled with demands straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ. These demands are Jesus' way of showing us who He is and what He expects of us. 

They are not the harsh demands of a taskmaster. 

For example, the demand that we come to Jesus is like the demand of a father to his child in a burning window, "Jump to me!" Or like the demand of a rich, strong, tender, handsome husband to an unfaithful wife, "Come home!" What Jesus demands from the world can be summed up as: "Trust and treasure me above all." This is good news!

In What Jesus Demands from the World, John Piper has gathered many of Jesus' demands from the four Gospels. He begins with an introduction that puts the demands in a redemptive-historical context, then concisely examines each demand. The result is an accessible introduction for thoughtful inquirers and new believers, as well as meditative meat for veteran believers who want to know Jesus better."

The Faithful Preacher

I'm also really excited to read this book! I've had it on my shelves for years and didn't realize what a gem I had, not until I read about one of these men in a recent read.

This book consists of short biographies of 3 African American preachers, Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833), Daniel A. Payne (1811-1893), and Francis Grimke (1850-1937), as well as several of their sermons.

John Piper says of these faithful preachers:

"Related to their faithfulness is their longevity. Their careers span most major periods in American history, including the American Revolution, slavery at the height of its power, the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconstruction, and World War I. 

Through these periods, they faced extreme hardships. None of them were born into privilege. All of them either witnessed or tasted the lash of slavery and the racial prejudices that followed that institution. 

Around them American society changed radically. However, their commitment to the ministry and their understanding of it remained constant. They continued in the same glorious work of proclaiming the gospel 'instant in season, out of season' (2Timothy 4:2)"

You're not enough (and that's okay)

As Christians we undoubtedly know we are in need of a Savior. 

And I think this book is going to be a reminder of that.

Amazon says here:

"We're told that the key to happiness is self-love. Instagram influencers, mommy bloggers, self-help gurus, and even Christian teachers promise that if we learn to love ourselves, we'll be successful, secure, and complete. But the promise doesn't deliver. Instead of feeling fulfilled, our pursuit of self-love traps us in an exhausting cycle: as we strive for self-acceptance, we become addicted to self-improvement.

The truth is we can't find satisfaction inside ourselves because we are the problem. We struggle with feelings of inadequacy because we are inadequate. Alone, we are not good enough, smart enough, or beautiful enough. We're not enough--period. 

And that's okay, because God is.

The answer to our insufficiency and insecurity isn't self-love, but God's love. In Jesus, we're offered a way out of our toxic culture of self-love and into a joyful life of relying on him for wisdom, satisfaction, and purpose. We don't have to wonder what it's all about anymore. This is it."

The Book of Lost Names

I just started this one and loving it already. I really enjoy novels based on true stories and this one sounds like its going to be fascinating and heart-felt.

The inside flap says here:

"An unforgettable historical novel about a young woman with a talent for forgery who helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis.

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II."

Saints and Scoundrels in the Story of Jesus

This one sounds really interesting.

The back cover says here:

"The story of Jesus in the Gospels includes all kinds of interesting people—some who claimed to be saints but proved to be scoundrels, as well as scoundrels who were transformed into saints. 

In Saints and Scoundrels in the Story of Jesus, Nancy Guthrie provides a fresh look into what shaped and motivated people such as John the Baptist, Peter, the Pharisees, Zacchaeus, Judas, Caiaphas, Barabbas, Stephen, and Paul. 

Join her as she reintroduces us to these biblical characters, helping us to see more clearly the ways in which they reveal the generous grace of Jesus toward sinners."

August 24, 2020

She Came To Slay - The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman

A few months ago I watched the movie 'Harriet' which was based on the life of Harriet Tubman. She was considered the Moses of her time, and I was curious to learn more about her. This book was a great introduction to her life and work, and what an extraordinary life she led.

With all that's going on in the world, we desperately need the Lord, and Harriet was a great example of someone who depended solely on Him in hard times. It was so encouraging to read her story. A story of going deep into the heart of slavery to rescue her family, to working with the abolitionists of the time, as well as being a spy and nurse during the civil war.

As I read about her accomplishments they almost seemed impossible, but they reminded me of Matthew 19:26...

"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

And John 15:5...

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing"

God worked through her because she abided in Him and therefore many were saved from a life of slavery.

And Harriet always gave Him the glory.

Harriet suffered much during her life. One struggle being severe headaches for most of her life caused by an angry overseer in her youth.

The author relates the story here:

"...Araminta (Harriet) and an enslaved cook from the same farm were sent on an errand for what was supposed to be a quick, uneventful trip to the store to pick up a few items needed for the house....An overseer was in hot pursuit of the man who had the audacity to abandon his post, as if he were free. And his pursuer had every intention of whipping him. Tension was palpable within the walls of the store. The overseer ordered Araminta to help tie down the enslaved man, but she refused, allowing the slave the opportunity to slip out of the store. In fury, the overseer picked up a two-pound weight off the counter and hurled it in the direction of the runaway. Araminta's head received the full force of the iron weight instead. The impact broke her skull, as she later recalled...

"It cut a piece of that shawl clean off and drove in into my head. They carried me to the house all bleeding and fainting. I had no bed, no place to lie down on at all, and they lay me on the seat of a loom, and I stayed there all that day and the next."

She was never treated for her injury and was forced back to work. Harriet is quoted again here:

"I went to work again and there I worked with the blood and sweat rolling down my face till I couldn't see."

 And yet miraculously she went on to accomplish much.

Harriet persevered when most would have given up. Her strength was incredible and her determination brought much change. We can learn a lot from her - to have faith and dependence on God, a strong work ethic, and to never give up on the good fight.

Harriet was a woman to look up to, but more importantly her life showed how to look to God for strength and direction and to put our trust in Him for all things.


I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to finding new reads that share her extraordinary life.

I highly recommend this book!

Buy it HERE on Amazon

June 22, 2020

His Indwelling Spirit

I loved this book! Filled with truthful and beautiful teachings on who the Holy Spirit is and what He does, simply written in quotes.

Here are the chapter headings:

1. Who He Is: God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity
2. What He Does: Leading Us From Glory to Glory
3. Why we Need Him: Imbuing Us With Power
4. Where He Protects Us: Strengthening Our Inner Being
5. How He Transforms Us: Conforming Us to the Likeness of Christ
6. When He works Through Us: Bearing Eternal Fruit

This book is made up of excerpts taken from many of Charles Stanley's writings on the Holy Spirit. Each page contains a quote relating to the chapter as well as a Scripture verse.

Often the Holy Spirit can be over or under emphasized. I loved that this book was balanced and gave us a biblical view of who He is and what He does.

I thought I'd share a few quotes from each chapter here.

1. Who He Is: God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity

"We don't worship three gods. We have one God who exists with three unique functions. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit live in perfect agreement and oneness, with all the same attributes. Each is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, unchanging, equal, and fully God." 

'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.' 2 Corinthians 13:14

"The Holy Spirit is not an apparition, floating about here and there and manifesting Himself in a mysterious, now-you-see-Him, now-you-don't manner...The Holy Spirit is the living personhood of God...the full personality and identity of God resident in us as believers."

'Who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.' 1 Corinthians 2:11

"The word 'helper' is parakletos, which means, 'one who walks alongside, assists us, and is our steadfast companion.' Scripture teaches that every believer has a constant, unending, faithful companion - that is the person of the Holy Spirit."

'The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.' John 14:26

"The Holy Spirit is not a force. He is as much a person as Jesus is. He is the One who walks beside us, our Helper and Comforter. He is the One who gives us assurance of our relationships to the Father. He testifies to each believer, 'You are one of God's children. you have been adopted into the kingdom forever."

'The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.' Romans 8:16

2. What He Does: Leading Us From Glory to Glory

"The Holy Spirit takes up residency in believers - forever. He doesn't just pass through. He makes us His home. He comes to stay." 

'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body.' 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"Receiving the Holy Spirit is a onetime event - we receive the Holy Spirit when we receive Christ as our Savior...The decision to grow and to keep on growing is a decision that we must continue to make every day of our lives. We must choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit each and every day." 

'For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.' Colossians 1:9-10

"The Helper sees the depths of your difficulties. He translates your feelings more accurately than you could articulate them yourself. And He comforts you with the knowledge that He understands what you need."

'The Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.' Romans 8:26

"The Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God. And He imparts (that) knowledge to believers."

'We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.' 1 Corinthians 2:12

"The Holy Spirit strengthens your intimacy with the Father by continually drawing you into His presence. However, He does not usher you to the throne of grace simply so you can give the Lord a list of demands. This means He encourages you to share your heart with God but also directs you to pay attention to what the Father is teaching you."

'Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.' Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

3. Why We Need Him: Imbuing Us With Power

"You were saved because God's Holy Spirit moved in you, opened your blind eyes, exposed the Word of God to you, and gave you enough truth by which you could be saved." 

'No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.' John 6:44

"You cannot interpret the Word of God properly, you cannot live a godly life, and you cannot serve the Lord adequately apart from the power of the Holy Spirit working in you."

'To us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.' 1 Corinthians 2:10

"None of us can do the ministry God gives us on our own. That is part of God's plan. We must have His Holy Spirit at work in us." 

'I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.' Luke 24:49 

"When you confront others with the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God speaks through you, taking the Word of God and illuminating their minds to understand the truth. He convicts them of their sins, shows them that the death of Christ was for their forgiveness, and grants them the gift of faith through which they receive Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. It is not up to you to convince anyone. It is God's supernatural work in them that does so." 

'Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.' 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 

4. Where He Protects Us: Strengthening Our Inner Being

"Anything that clashes with what is true is not of the Spirit...Therefore, to walk in the Spirit, we must get serious about guarding our minds." 

'Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.' Proverbs 19:21

"The sword of the Spirit - the Word of God - is our defense against satanic attacks. When we face battles, we're not to argue or debate with the enemy. We simply say, 'Here's what God says.' and Scripture teaches that when we do this, the Devil flees." 

'Take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm...and take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.' Ephesians 6:13,17 

"Stay clear of any teacher, preacher, or anyone else who encourages you to do something, read something, or say something to harness the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's power cannot be harnessed. His power cannot be used to accomplish anything other than the Father's will."

'No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.' 2 Peter 1:21 

"Men and women who claim to be doing miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, but who are doing it in such a way to draw attention to the miracle rather than to Christ, are deceivers. Jesus wouldn't have a part of it then, and He will have no part of it now." 

'False Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.' Mark 13:22-23 

"Although you may be facing a situation that makes you feel isolated, helpless, or directionless, understand that you're never alone. The Holy Spirit is with you, to live the life of Christ through you - helping you face every challenge in a godly, victorious manner." 

'The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all...The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will  be condemned.' Psalm 34:18-19,22 

"We live under the protection of the Holy Spirit; nothing can happen to us that God does not allow, and we know that whatever He permits - no matter how bad it may seem - He can turn for our good."

'We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.' Romans 8:28

5. How He Transforms Us: Conforming Us to the Likeness of Christ

"Whereas before you had a general sense of right and wrong, the Holy Spirit began renewing your mind to more specific and complete truths...You participate in this renewal process every time you read your Bible, attend worship, memorize a verse, or pray."

'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.' Romans 12:2

"It wasn't enough for the Holy Spirit to inspire men to write the Bible. He knew each of us would need someone to lead us through the test as well. So every time a believer opens his or her Bible, the Spirit goes to work to illuminate the Scriptures. In that way, He is able to minister to each of us, at the right pace, according to our particular needs."

'Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.' Romans 15:4

"The Spirit-filled life is a life of faith...The Spirit-filled life is not a formula; it is a relationship, a relationship with a Person - the Holy Spirit."

'We are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.' Philippians 3:3

"Once a person becomes a child of God, the conscience takes on new significance. It becomes a divine tool. It functions as a megaphone in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It becomes the means through which the Holy Spirit reveals the will of God to the mind."

'Our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially towards you.' 2 Corinthians 1:12

6. When He works Through Us: Bearing Eternal Fruit

"The people who do God's work God's way don't wait until their efforts fail before they begin trusting Him. They begin their projects as dependent people. And in most cases, they maintain their dependent spirits until the end."

'Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.' 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

"The Spirit-filled life begins when we are absolutely and thoroughly convinced that we can do nothing apart from the indwelling strength of the Holy Spirit."

'Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.' 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

"It is Christ's life pouring into us that enables us to live the Christian life and to bear the hallmarks of character that we call the fruit of the Spirit."

'I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.' Galatians 2:20 

"This is the will of God: That He can reveal Himself in and through you as a result of the Holy Spirit living within you. This means that from you flows love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - all the fruit of the Spirit that demonstrates His character."

'My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and prove to be My disciples.' John 15:8

"The Holy Spirit has already been poured in...You have all of Him you are ever going to get. The question is, How much of you does He have?"

'My dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.' 1 Corinthians 15:58

"The Spirit is calling out to us to carry out the ministry God has given us. His responsibility is to prepare the Body of Christ - sending us out, motivating us, and empowering us to do the work of getting this world ready for the Lord Jesus to return. "

'The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come, let the one who wishes take th water of life without cost." Revelation 22:17

I really enjoyed reading through this book. I highly recommend it!

Buy it HERE on Amazon

March 23, 2020

What I'm Currently Reading

Happy Spring everyone!

Here the sun has been shining and the flowers are starting to come up, which has helped with the stress of what is going on in the world. God is good.

I've been reading some interesting books and thought I'd share about them here today.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross Edited by Nancy Guthrie

Since Easter is around the corner I've started this one. It's a compilation of short chapters on the Easter story by Christians leaders from the past and present. Christians like Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, J.I Packer, Martin Luther, Timothy Keller and Jonathon Edwards.

Each chapter is full of great wisdom and gives you something to think about deeply, towards the cross.

Here's a quote from Alistair Begg's chapter titled, 'An Innocent Man Crushed by God':

"Here's the gospel in a phase. Because Christ died for us, those who trust in him may know that their guilt has been pardoned once and for all. 

What will we have to say before the bar of God's judgment? Only one thing. Christ died in my place. That's the gospel." Pg. 25

The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
I'm not to far into this one yet, but enjoying it so far. Elizabeth Gaskells writing is beautiful, even in biography form! Charlotte and Elizabeth were friends which makes this book even more lovely.

The first chapter starts out with a description of the parsonage, church and yard, where the Bronte's lived and were laid to rest. Here their tombstones are, sharing their short, but impactful lives that have touched so many.

I'm looking forward to continuing with this one.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis

This book has some beautiful and thought-provoking quotes. It was written in the 13th century and therefore needs to be read through the lens of that period of the church.

It's amazing though how throughout time the basic faith of Christians and their love of God, hasn't changed.

Here are a few beautiful quotes:

"A lover of Jesus and of the truth, and a true inward Christian, and one free from inordinate affections, can freely turn himself unto God, and lift himself above himself in spirit, and with joy remain at rest." Pg. 107

"To be without Jesus is a grievous hell; and to be with Jesus, a sweet paradise." Pg. 124

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

I'm only a few chapters into this novel, but really impressed by the writing and storytelling so far. It follows two couples who end up working and serving together at a Presbyterian church.

Goodreads says here of the novel:
"The Dearly Beloved follows these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, these four forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy. It's a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives."

So far it has introduced the four characters separately, touching on their home lives, as they enter their college years and how they first meet each other. 

One character has stood out to me so far, a young man who recently puts his faith in God and attends divinity school. His desire is to help and show the love of God to others, but has no desire to share the gospel story. This is starting out sadly, as we see this in so many pastors and churches today. Sacrificing the gospel, which brings life, in exchange for a feel good church.

I'm hoping this character grows in his faith and is moved by the power of the gospel, but because this book is not considered christian fiction I'm leery of its direction.

I'm looking forward to getting more into this one and routing for its characters.

March 16, 2020

Thinking on These Times

I'm a thinker.

And my mind reels with thoughts constantly. I can let my thoughts go to places they shouldn't or I can trust in the God who made me. Through these crazy and uncertain times, when the world is fearful of getting sick or getting a loved one sick, I've been thinking.

Thinking about the Sovereignty of God, which simply means, that He is in control.

"The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all."   Psalm 103:19

"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him."   Colossians 1:16

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep."   Psalm 127:1-2

"And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts."   Revelation 21:6

It's hard to fathom His sovereignty, especially when horrible things happen in this world. But I find it incredible that the more I think on His sovereignty, the more I have peace. I don't understand it, but I trust Him. I trust He has my best interest at heart even through my fears.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."   Philippians 4:6-7

"It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes."   Psalm 118:8-9

When our thoughts get away from us we can turn to Him. Because thinking on Him and His Word will bring true peace.

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."   Isaiah 41:10 

The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.

The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works."   Psalm 145:8-9

I encourage you to think on these Scriptures as well as any you read. Remember they are promises, and God always keeps His promises, even when we don't see or understand.

I thought I'd leave you with this song called 'Anchor' by Skillet which I found encouraging...

February 11, 2020

5 books on my future reading list

On Stories and Other Essays on Literature by C.S. Lewis

Lewis is a favorite and I'd like to read all of his books! Here is one I hadn't heard of and now looking forward to.

Goodreads describes it here:

"C.S. Lewis is widely known for his fiction, especially his stories of science fiction and fantasy, for which he was a pioneering author in an age of realistic fiction. 

In On Stories, he lays out his theories and philosophy on fiction over the course of nine essays, including “On Stories,” “The Death of Words,” and “On Three Ways of Writing for Children.” In addition to these essays, On Stories collects eleven pieces of Lewis’s writing that were unpublished during his lifetime. 

Along with discussing his own fiction, Lewis reviewed and critiqued works by many of his famous peers, including George Orwell, Charles Williams, Rider Haggard, and his good friend J.R.R. Tolkien, providing a wide-ranging look at what fiction means and how to craft it from one of the masters of his day."

The Reformation by Stephen J. Nichols

I've started this one and I'm enjoying it so far. Such a rich and messy and wonderful history.

Ligonier Ministries describes it here:

'Mention history and some might struggle to stifle a yawn. But when presented as a narrative it can often be compelling reading. Stephen J. Nichols takes a key period in time, the Reformation, and presents its major players in a fresh way. 

From Martin Luther, a simple monk who wielded the mallet, to kings and queens, this book goes behind the scenes to uncover the human side of these larger-than-life Reformers. Along the way readers meet Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Anne Bradstreet, and many others.

For those wanting to see history in its context, Nichols also provides a sampling of primary source materials. It is an engaging read that will remind readers of the foundational truths that can never be taken for granted by the church in any age."

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

One of my favorite reads of 2019 was called 'Just Mercy' by Bryan Stevenson, who was the lawyer who worked with Anthony Ray Hinton while he was on death row.

This is Anthony's story.

Goodreads says of it here:

"Anthony Ray Hinton was poor and black when he was convicted of two murders he hadn't committed. For the next three decades he was trapped in solitary confinement in a tiny cell on death row.

Eventually his case was taken up by the award-winning lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who managed to have him exonerated, though it took 15 years for this to happen. 

How did Hinton cope with the mental and emotional torture of his situation, and emerge full of compassion and forgiveness? This is a story of hope and the resilience of the human spirit."

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys 

Ruta Sepetys writes for Young Adults but her books can be enjoyed by all. She writes about historical events that aren't highlighted in our history books but are important non the less. I've read 2 of her books which were both excellent.

Goodreads says of this one:

"Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. 

Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. 

Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city."

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross by Nancy Guthrie

With Easter coming in the next few months I'm looking forward to reading this collection.

Nancy's web page says here of the book:

"Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross is a collection of 25 short readings drawn from the works of classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers that will lead readers into thoughtful contemplation of the cross. 

The short meditations are drawn from a number of sources including books, other writings, and sermonic materials from: 

C. J. Mahaney, Adrian Rogers, Phillip Ryken, John Owen, Stephen Olford, Skip Ryan, Martin Luther, John Piper, Tim Keller, Martin Lloyd-Jones, Ligon Duncan, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Saint Augustine, J. I. Packer, John Calvin, Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Ray Ortlund, Jr., Francis Shaeffer, J.C. Ryle, James Boice, R.C. Sproul, R. Kent Hughes, and Joni Eareckson Tada."

January 20, 2020

8 Classics I'd Like to Read in 2020

I love reading classics. I love that they not only take you back to a different time and place, but also that they were written in that time and place.

Most of these authors I've never read before so I'm hoping to discover a new favorite. : )

Here are the ones I'd love to get to this coming year. Crossing my fingers, as some are very long!


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - I've heard there is so much more to this book than any movie or play adaptation. I'm hoping to listen to it on audio, as well as read a bit from my physical copy. I believe this edition (pictured) is coming out on audio from Audible soon.

From Goodreads:

"Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose."

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy - I don't know very much about this classic, but the description sounds interesting! I'm looking forward to reading from this new to me author.

From Goodreads:

"Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down."

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell - I've really enjoyed the few books I've read by Elizabeth Gaskell, 'Wives and Daughters' being my favorite so far.

From Goodreads:

"This is Elizabeth Gaskell's first novel, a widely acclaimed work based on the actual murder, in 1831, of a progressive mill owner. It follows Mary Barton, daughter of a man implicated in the murder, through her adolescence, when she suffers the advances of the mill owner, and later through
love and marriage. 

Set in Manchester, between 1837-42, it paints a powerful and moving picture of working-class life in Victorian England."

Evelina by Frances Burney - This was a novel that influenced Jane Austen to write. That in itself makes me curious to read it. It was written in epistolary form, as a series of letters, which also piques my interest. Excited to read this one.

From Goodreads:

"Evelina, comic and shrewd, is at once a guide to fashionable London, a satirical attack on the new consumerism, an investigation of women's position in the late eighteenth century, and a love story."

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer - I remember trying to read this in high school - it was a no go. ; )  Recently, I found it at a used book store and thought I'd give it another try. I read a few pages and I think I'm going to enjoy it this time!

From Goodreads:

"The procession that crosses Chaucer's pages is as full of life and as richly textured as a medieval tapestry. The Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Squire, the Prioress, the Wife of Bath, and others who make up the cast of characters -- including Chaucer himself -- are real people, with human emotions and weaknesses. 

When it is remembered that Chaucer wrote in English at a time when Latin was the standard literary language across western Europe, the magnitude of his achievement is even more remarkable. But Chaucer's genius needs no historical introduction; it bursts forth from every page of The Canterbury Tales."

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - I've been wanting to read another Dickens novel and thought this popular one would be a good one to pick up. I don't know to much about this one either other than its about an orphan boy.

From Goodreads:

"The story of Oliver Twist - orphaned, and set upon by evil and adversity from his first breath - shocked readers when it was published. After running away from the workhouse and pompous beadle Mr Bumble, Oliver finds himself lured into a den of thieves peopled by vivid and memorable characters - the Artful Dodger, vicious burglar Bill Sikes, his dog Bull's Eye, and prostitute Nancy, all watched over by cunning master-thief Fagin. 

Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery."

Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau - I've heard good things about this novel. Excited to try another new to me author.

From Goodreads:

"When the Ibbotson sisters, Hester and Margaret, arrive at the village of Deerbrook to stay with their cousin Mr. Grey and his wife, speculation is rife that one of them might marry the local apothecary, Edward Hope. Although he is immediately attracted to Margaret, Hope is ultimately persuaded to marry the beautiful Hester and becomes trapped in an unhappy marriage. His troubles are compounded when a malicious village gossip accuses Hope of grave-robbing, threatening his career. 

A powerful exploration of the nature of ignorance and prejudice, Deerbrook also may be regarded as one of the first Victorian novels of English domestic life." 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - I cant believe I've never read anything by Mark Twain. I'm looking forward to this one, which sounds like a fun read.

From Goodreads:

"A nineteenth-century boy from a Mississippi River town recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave, encountering a family involved in a feud, two scoundrels pretending to be royalty, and Tom Sawyer's aunt who mistakes him for Tom."

Do you enjoy classics? Let me know what your favorites are! Happy reading in 2020!