Arranged alphabetically by author, I am posting the titles of books as I read them in 2019, along with a short review as I complete them.
Bubeck, Mark. “The Adversary: The Christian Versus Demon Activity”
I read Mark Bubeck’s books out of order. This book actually came out before his book, “Warfare Praying.” But in truth — I don’t feel that I messed things up by going out order. I won’t lie though — Mark Bubeck’s books are not for sissies. For many Christians, myself included, the idea of demonic influence is terrifying. But Mark, through Scripture, takes the reader to a better understanding of how equipped and protected we really are. The enemy is formidable, make no mistake. But when we embrace the tools and resources Jesus has given us, we have His power. “The Adversary” has many powerful truths that Christians need to know. Living our lives with our heads in the sand doesn’t help. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not — as Christians, we are at war. And our only defense is found in the The Word.
Bubeck, Mark. “Warfare Praying”
I saw this book at She Speaks in the event bookstore and picked it up, then put it down. “I don’t need another book — my reading list is a mile long.” But I literally couldn’t walk away from it. I felt an overwhelming need to buy it. And the next day, in one of the sessions I attended, I met the author’s daughter (she was the presenter). I told her about how I had felt so compelled to buy the book. The title says it all — this book is for prayer warriors. The author, the late Mark Bubeck, shared real-life examples of the power of prayer. The book is full of references to the verses we can claim in order to pray powerful prayers that are strengthened by the whole Armor of God. I was about halfway through when I ordered his other book, “The Adversary” on Amazon. It’s the next book on my reading list! I’m grateful for a book like this because it’s a tool filled with practical application strategies by a man who clearly lived his life for God… A man who clearly embraced a strong, bold, and confident prayer life.
Capps, Whitney. “Sick of Me”
I heard Whitney Capps speak at the first She Speaks Conference I attended in 2017 and she absolutely blew me away. She is a passionate Jesus-girl and her message has stayed with me ever since. I was thrilled when I learned she had written a book, and after I read it, I felt like I’d just had a very open and raw conversation with a friend. Whitney has pinpointed a lot of the common issues that make us look inward and challenged us redirect our focus up. We are on a sanctification journey. We’re not supposed to have it all figured out this side of heaven, but we can embrace the process of letting God mold us to be more and more like Jesus.
Chan, Francis. “Crazy Love”
Besides the Bible, this may very well be the most powerful book I’ve ever read. Author Francis Chan challenges the reader to break the habit of trying to confine God to our own understanding and realize that we owe Him nothing… He is bigger than our imaginations can conceive, and yet — He longs for a personal relationship with each of us.
Chan, Francis. “Forgotten God”
This was the first book I ever read by Francis Chan, and I thoroughly loved it. It is a great book to explain the power of the Holy Spirit as He resides in believers. The author spends time exploring Scripture that helps us better understand the role the Holy Spirit has in the life of the believer.
Chan, Francis. “Letters To the Church”
I am turning into a big fan of Francis Chan’s writing not only because it’s good writing – but because he 1) writes Biblical truth and 2) his writing feels like he’s having a conversation with you. “Letters to the Church” is a challenge to the modern church to revisit their current models and compare them to the model set for us in the Bible… to realize that church isn’t about what we can do for the congregation, but training the congregation about how we can serve the world. A powerful book, this one is a great read for anyone in church leadership or who is looking to follow the Biblical calling to “be the church.”
Edman, V. Raymond. “The Found the Secret”
A 20-chapter book that profiles men and women of the faith, this book is designed to help the reader learn from the lives of others. However, despite some powerful truths, it was a difficult book to read. The writing is very academic and the phraseology is a little archaic to a modern reader. Other than two of the 20 testimonies, I didn’t know who any of these people were, yet the author seems to assume the reader has some degree of familiarity with the names. I had to Google all the names to know who they were and when they lived. I’m glad I read it, but probably wouldn’t read it a second time.
“Keep Showing Up” will publish on February 26th and is going to be a lifeline for many frustrated women who are ready to give up on their vows. A Christian perspective on marriage, the author encourages the reader to look at marriage — and themselves — from a Biblical point of view. It’s not about us as wives, or about changing our husbands… it’s about letting God change us through our marriage. A great read for any woman no matter what season of marriage… and honestly, I think it’s a great book for single women too. I found several takeaways that will benefit me in other situations! Karen’s writing style is funny and relatable. She is totally transparent and in the process, gently applies wisdom and experience to the common frustrations that come with married life.
Hodges, Chris. “The Daniel Dilemma”
I had the opportunity to hear Chris Hodges speak at the 2017 She Speaks conference and found him to be a great, engaging, Biblically-minded teacher. At the conference, we were all given advance copies of his book, “The Daniel Dilemma” and it only took me two years to get to it. The book’s tagline is “How to stand firm and love well in a culture of compromise.” This is a book that any Christian needs to read. The author spent time explaining different situations Daniel faced and how he maintained his faith in the face of adversity. The author used those stories, as well as the stories of Jesus, to parallel situations we face today. As sin is embraced more every day and the world becomes more jaded to the Truth of God’s word — “The Daniel Dilemma” gives the reader an opportunity to truly explore the question, “What would Jesus do?” and helps guide and direct to Biblical solutions.
This was my second time reading “Anxious for Nothing,” and I so needed his words. Jesus told us not to worry, but it’s easier said than done. Max Lucado wrote a book that breaks down the instructions found in Philippians 4:6-7. Using his relatable writing style, the author offers Biblical truth, wisdom, comfort, and assurance that our feelings aren’t unique to us. We all struggle with these feelings of anxiety and worry. He uses Scripture to remind us to take our worries to our Heavenly Father.
Lucado, Max. “Six Hours One Friday”
I bought this gem at a used bookstore right after Christmas, really not sure what it was about. But I had previously read Max Lucado’s book, “Anxious For Nothing,” and really enjoyed it. This book is an examination of life storms compared to the promise and hope found at the cross. The book refers to the three anchor points that Christ Himself established for us to cling to in the middle of our storms. An excellent read. I had a very hard time putting this one down. Max Lucado is gifted at painted pictures with words and he described scenes from the Bible that gave them renewed life in my mind.
Mehrer, Colleen. “God’s View of You: Discovering Your Biblical Worth”
Colleen Mehrer has written an excellent book that touches on a common issue for many women — self-worth. We live in a culture that celebrates “being yourself.” Yet, it’s a real problem for many women. We tell ourselves half-truths and outright lies based on our experiences and the comparison games we play. Colleen’s book explores what the Bible has to say about us as individuals. She cites Scripture to help women identify their value and worth from a Biblical perspective. The book encourages the reader to truly embrace who God has made us to be. The book is designed for one-on-one reflection and also includes a leader’s guide for a group setting.
Omartian, Stormie. “The Power of Praying Through the Bible”
This book is a great way to gain additional insights and a solid overview of the Bible through prayer. Praying God’s Word back to Him is a powerful prayer tool and Stormie’s book is a wonderful guide to get the reader started on a strong Bible-centric prayer life. My only criticism in this is that there is no topical index. If I want to read a passage about praying for wisdom, it would be really nice to have a reference tool to go back and cross-check the devotions. I may even end up making one on my own because I really enjoyed this book. It’s set up in a way that easy to read one per day.
My husband and I have been students of Dave Ramsey for several years and deeply respect his wisdom when it comes to managing money. He’s got a profound insight and this book takes a deeper look at what the Bible has to say about money. I’ve long known that the adage, “money is the root of all evil” was not biblical; the Bible actually says it’s “the LOVE of money” that is the root of evil. Dave presented some spiritual truths in the book that I had not considered before. Specifically about how God wants us to be managers of all the resources He provides. I highly recommend this book; I will certainly refer to this wisdom each month as I write budgets and manage my business.
Stanley, Charles. “Handle with Prayer”
Charlies Stanley is one of my favorite preachers. I love his kind approach to the Gospel. He doesn’t sugar coat it, but he doesn’t talk down to anyone either. He’s a great man of God and one I deeply admire. “Handle with Prayer” was a book I desperately needed to read. Though I write daily prayer prompts, I still need my own coaching and guidance through prayer life. It’s an ongoing, daily testament to faith and perseverance. It’s about discovering more about who God is and how to seek His will in every situation. “Handle with Prayer” gave sound, Biblical advice on how to approach prayer from a variety of angles and insight on how to pray to our Heavenly Father.
I am not remotely a football fan. The only reason I know who Tim Tebow is is because of the incredibly legacy of his Christian faith. Indeed, he has fearlessly lived as a man of faith. Many of the football stories meant very little to me in context of the sport itself, but I applaud Tim’s ability to turn those moments into examples of how to live for Jesus. I found the book to be very inspirational and my respect for Tim Tebow increased tremendously. A great book to read!
TerKeurst, Lysa. “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way”
This was my first book of 2019 and it is a game-changer. When it comes to disappointments, Lysa TerKeurst is a survivor. She has experienced the highs and lows of life; she uses her experiences and heartbreak to show others how to lean on God no matter how painful our circumstances.
TerKeurst, Lysa. “Made to Crave”
This is the second book on the list that was a second-read through. I actually listened to Made to Crave on Audible several years ago. This book is the most relatable health-book you could ever imagine. Lysa is funny, poignant, and she so gets me and my struggle with food and weight. It’s a wonderful book that embraces the truth — the weight on the scale does not reflect our value as women.
Yancey, Phillip. “The Jesus I Never Knew”
If you want to gain a deeper insight into the personality and life of Jesus Christ – this is the book to read. I was overwhelmed by the insights about Jesus that I had never considered. Especially the Beatitudes. An entire chapter is dedicated to the beatitudes and I would have never imagined there would be so much to say. But Yancey has delivered such incredible insight with an astute eye for detail. This book has enabled me to get to know Jesus in a more personal way…. To see Him not as the tranquil and soft rendering on a Sunday school wall…. But to see Him as a man with passion, heart, conviction, passion, and unparalleled love. A deity who donned the cloak of humanity in an effort to truly understand life. A Savior who truly does understand our needs, our wants, our struggles, and our emotions.
Yancey, Philip. “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”
This was a used-book store find that has proven to be a priceless treasure. This book is a deep-dive reflection of the word “grace,” and the impact it has on individuals, families, communities, countries, and the world. It’s full of Biblical truths that offer modern-day insignt into how we give, receive, and respond to grace.