This has become a new tradition – every year I post the books I read throughout that year. I got the idea from a friend of mine, who in turn got it from a friend of his. Unfortunately, I didn’t read too much for pleasure in 2012. Most of my reading time came from textbooks for school (and those aren’t listed.) I did, of course, read the Bible extensively. Most of my reading comes from the Bible, and I hope anyone who considers themselves a Christian does the same.
- The Bible
- Reclaiming Youth at Risk – Brendtro, et al – A book about reaching out to at-risk youth. Any aspiring teacher should read this.
- 30 Minutes in Heaven – Don Piper – A man is in a car crash and medically dies for 30 minutes, experiences heaven, then is brought back to life. A true story, and a must-read.
- Radical – David Platt – Returning the nation back to radical Christianity – the way Jesus said it should be.
- A Seminary in You – Ben Pierce – An introductory guide to how to properly study the Bible, as well as supplementary texts to enhance Christian studies. Highly informative. I recommend it to any Christian lay-person who hasn’t had a chance to go to seminary.
- Wherever I Wind Up – R.A. Dickey – An autobiography by Major League pitcher R.A. Dickey. He talks about life, baseball, and most notably, his Christian walk. A must-read for any baseball fan, and for Christians.
- Life of Pi – Yann Martel – Fiction. (The only fiction work on this list!) A boy gets shipwrecked with a tiger. An amazing story. Exceeded my expectations. Not what I thought it was. I highly recommend it.
- The Case for the Real Jesus – Lee Strobel – Christian Apologetics – A journalist investigates the truth behind the historical Jesus.
I hope to have a more extensive list for 2013!
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Life ain’t easy. I’ve heard it said that as Christians we’re all either in the midst of a battle, coming out of a battle, or going into a battle. This is life. At least, life here on this world. Someday, when God’s kingdom comes, the strife will cease, but until then, we’re here to serve God, and that means having to go through “battles.”
When we go through battles in life, oftentimes we don’t understand things. We don’t understand why things are happening, and we are often afraid of the eventual outcome. This is normal. But we don’t have to worry, and we don’t have to be afraid.
The book of Esther is an interesting read. Long story short, the Jews were living in the Persia-Media Empire, and for the most part, things were just fine. One day an evil guy named Haman decides to exterminate all of the Jews, and all of a sudden the Jews are thrown into a panic. Obviously, when someone is trying to kill you and all of your people, that’s a pretty good thing to be concerned about. But see, instead of trying to take things into their own hands, the Jews turned to God. They knew God would deliver them from their crisis.
Mordecai, in particular, demonstrated faith in God. In the above quote, I like how he said “relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise.” He didn’t say it “might” arise. He didn’t say “I hope it’ll arise.” He said it will arise. He knew God wouldn’t let his chosen people be destroyed.
God not only delivered them from this crisis, but he used it for their benefit – the Jews gained new wealth and status in the empire as a result of this circumstance. God turned a crisis into something good for his people.
“He works all things for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)
When a time of crisis hits us – and we can be sure it will from time to time – we can rest assured knowing that God is in control no matter how bad/confusing/chaotic things may seem. Not only that, we can be sure that we’ll come out of the crisis better off than we were before, as long as we stay close to God. He promises to use these things for our good, and we know that God always keeps his promises. The key is to continue to seek God, no matter what. No matter how confusing, bad, or weird things get, we must always seek God. If we do, everything will turn out right in the end.
Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is.
“Satan’s evil spirits and your flesh can speak to you and even quote Scripture, but neither one can counterfeit God’s deep, settled peace. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
[Excerpt from Choosing God’s Best, by Don Raunikar]