Good Reads in 2018

While we’re still in 2018, I thought I’d do a book-related post. I had to revise my challenge on Goodreads when I realised I wouldn’t achieve 30 books this year, but I did get to 26.

So, here are my top 5, in no particular order:

“The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God who Rocked her World” by Liz Curtis Higgs. This woman’s like me; she really loves her Bible. You could tell she put her heart and soul into this; it’s so well-researched. I was surprised at the amount of material just on these 4 chapters in the Bible, and Liz brings it together for us in her unique style. If you enjoy this book, her Word by Word podcast is also worth a listen.

“Mark: The Gospel of Passion” by Michael Card. These books on the gospels are expensive at their normal price, but you can sometimes find them on offer. Chapters are broken down into sections of roughly 20 verses each. The Bible-verses are written out first (so you don’t need a Bible with you in order to read it), and each part is studied in-depth. Having previously read his book on Luke, I preferred this one, and it made me look forward to the others in the series.

“Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her” by Kate McCann. I chose to read this because I remembered the case being on the news when Madeleine went missing. I think it’s stayed with me because I felt for her parents, and it’s a reminder to keep praying for them. Just this year, there was talk that Madeleine may still be alive. My only criticism of the book would be that perhaps it needed a better editor. When the author’s so emotionally involved, I imagine it’s easy to include a little too much detail.

“Dance, Stand, Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground” by Jess Connolly. I’ll never understand why these books have such long titles! “Dance, Stand, Run” would have been fine. It’s a book about knowing God is pleased with us, living for Him, and showing that life to the world around us. Chapter 4 was particularly good. As I said in my Goodreads review, I wish this book had been around when I was first figuring out what it meant to live for God.

“The Christmas Sisters” by Sarah Morgan. Only a matter of days since I read this, but I really enjoyed it. Firstly, my sister and I remind me very much of two of the characters – Hannah and Posy. It’s also a great story. Usually with these Christmas books or films, the ending’s no surprise, but I couldn’t have predicted one of the twists in this one.

Those are my top 5, but what about you? Have you read anything good this year?

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The Engagement Ring

In a letter to the early church, Paul says God “set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22). I loved hearing at church about the ancient Greek word for ‘Deposit’. Apparently it doesn’t mean anything in modern Greek, except they do have one word like it – their word for ‘Engagement ring’.

As I said in my previous post, betrothal (what we think of as engagement nowadays) was a binding agreement. It wasn’t like a couple hoping to get married one day, but more like two people who’d already committed themselves. In that context, can you think of the Holy Spirit as an engagement ring? Once we’re in that covenant/agreement with Jesus, we’re His bride. The engagement ring guarantees our place at the wedding banquet in heaven, where we’ll be to our Bridegroom “one bringing contentment” (Song of Solomon 8:10). What a great guarantee to have in our lives. Isn’t that something to thank God for?

Wake Up, Have Faith – The Story of Joseph

C. S. Lewis once said: “Is there any pleasure greater than a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” I think Joseph would have been that sort of person – a wise counsellor you always wanted to be around, because he had such a heart for God.

When we meet him, he already has a faith that stands out. Having learnt that Mary (his betrothed) is pregnant, in his kindness, he doesn’t want her getting the punishment that fits the crime. A betrothal is a binding agreement; she’s virtually already his wife, and the Law says adulterers should be stoned to death. Since Joseph doesn’t want her publicly disgraced, he wonders about divorcing her instead.

It’s when he’s considering this possibility that God’s angel meets him in a dream and he learns how Jesus was conceived – by the Holy Spirit. There was no other man in the equation after all, and Joseph’s told not to be afraid to take Mary home as his wife.

When he wakes up, he has some decisions to make.

Read the rest at my friend’s new website, Worship Unlimited Ministries, home of the Worship Unlimited radio-show. Lots of good stuff there, and your song or prayer-requests are always welcome.