As a writer, I love to read.
I love losing track of time by getting lost in a good fiction story; even more, I love a good faith-based non-fiction book that challenges me to grow in my faith.
Books that have a tendency to stay with me in the years that follow.
These four books are on my bookshelf and every now and then I pull them off the shelf to re-read the truth that is in them. Simply put, these books have pointed me to Jesus.
I highly recommend them.
1. Fitted: The Christian Checklist
By Alan Clark
In Fitted, Alan shares his story of finding himself in need of a warrior-like prayer life.
In the midst of family illness and an adoption, Alan knew he needed to take the words in Ephesians 6 and apply the Armor of God to his prayer life. This prayer allowed him to battle the doubts and thoughts that were fighting for his mind and keep God as the authority in his life.
Alan and his wife, Kim, are the real deal when it comes to a pastor’s family. Alan pastors Gateway Community Church in Franklin, TN where my family calls home. Four years ago, after a google search led me to Pastor Alan’s adoption blog, we walked through the Gateway doors and we’ve been loved on ever since.
Alan’s book came out while our family was in the adoption process. I quickly ordered a copy of this book and began praying the Armor of God over my life. Like Alan, I needed a warrior-like prayer life.
It became further proof that God always gives me a way out when I am tempted to doubt or let unhealthy or negative thoughts fill my mind. Whenever I feel a battle begin to brew, I grab my Bible and pull this book off the bookshelf to remind myself that God’s already fitted me with the armor I need to fight every battle I face.
2. Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard
By Jennie Allen
In Nothing to Prove, Jennie keeps it simple (and I love simple!).
We have nothing to prove because we have Jesus. We busy ourselves with noble, Godly tasks but somewhere in the midst of it all, we begin striving for Him instead of doing the work with Him.
I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to be perfect and prove myself to other people. I wanted to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, and the perfect employee. This book put into words what I couldn’t say but was feeling on the inside for years.
Learning that I didn’t have to prove a thing and that obedience mattered more than outcome freed me. I realized that I could strive to be perfect but I would always feel empty because it was always about so much more than tidy boxes and perfection. Living a life fully surrendered to the one true King is all that truly matters.
If you deal with people-pleasing and perfection (or fake rules), the message in this book will point you to the person who can free you.
And who doesn’t want to be free?
3. God is Able
By Priscilla Shirer
Priscilla Shirer does an amazing job breaking down Ephesians 3:20-21.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
If you’ve spent any amount of time in church, you’ve probably heard a sermon on these verses. The problem is this.
Do we actually believe that God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine? It’s a nice thing to say, but a hard way to live. Priscilla challenges us to truly believe and live out these verses.
I worked through this book while we were in the midst of our adoption. I made a list of all the ways God had shown up and done immeasurably more in some hard circumstances. As I pulled the book off of the shelf to write this blog, I noticed a list of questions I had asked about God showing up in regards to my needs at that time.
One of the questions I wrote down was, “Is God able to bring our adoption to completion?”
Oh, yes, He brought our adoption to completion and so much more!
The day the cardiologist told us our daughter (who China said had a heart condition) was healthy, balloons and streamers should’ve fallen from the sky. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that would happen. I just wanted to complete an adoption.
God didn’t just want a physical miracle for my daughter though. He wanted to grow closer to me so that I could look to the future and through faith proclaim that God is able.
4. Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul
By Jennie Allen
I wasn’t sure if I should put two books written by the same author in this post, but it’s my blog and I make the rules. Ha! Plus, I’m a huge fan of Jennie Allen’s writing, and we're basically best friends (see proof below).
Jennie and her husband felt empty and tired by a safe, practical Christian life and they prayed the simple prayer, “God we will do anything. Anything.” This book tells the story of their journey to the night when they whispered this prayer and the events that unfolded since.
We so badly long for our lives to matter and so we busy ourselves with important work that we created. When we surrender our wants and desires, it allows God to open our eyes and change our desires to align with His calling for us.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss God’s plans. When I faithfully trust His plans, He usually knocks my socks off.
I think about this book often. It’s had a huge impact on my thought process and the realization that God doesn’t always call us to easy or practical things; however, He always shows up with indescribable peace and joy.
More importantly, God is always glorified when we give up all of our earthly desires and develop a sole desire to follow His call to do anything for His Kingdom.
Each of these books drew me into a closer relationship with Jesus. If you haven’t read a single one of these books, you need to pick one and read it. I promise you won’t regret it.
I’d also love for you to comment below about books that have made an impact on your life.
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