I lost count of the number of books I’ve read in 2019. I do remember that it wasn’t as much as I wanted it to be. But since it was the first year since I started reading books regularly, I consider it to be a success. I’ve learned some amazing things through them, things I want to remember forever.
1. The right fight: How to live a loving life – John Kennedy Vaughan
John uses 1 corinthians 13: 4 – 8 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails... To show us how if we don’t operate in love, we automatically start operating in fear.
I had listened to a lot of sermons on love and the importance of it. Especially as a Christian since it’s the greatest commandment in the Bible which Jesus Christ Himself taught us. But yet I only understood what love was after reading this book. I realized how much we as humans base our everyday decisions as well as our big decisions on fear… which is actually very normal since we live in a fallen world, but as Christian, we are called to be the light of the world, and our Lord asks of us to love above all things. The insight that I got from this book caused me to start reading way more than before. Because as weird as it sounds, I wasn’t aware of the fact that there were books on biblical themes written by Christian (pastors, prophets, apologist…)
When a person stops living in God-who is love-they cannot sustain the love in their lives that produces the blessings of fruit.
This book made me realize how much I was limiting my love for others based on the fear that it won’t be returned to me or simply because of pride. That might sound a bit weird doesn’t it?
If we believe love to be a feeling then we will continuously fight for the feeling we want-fight to win, fight to be respected, fight to not get hurt-and to destroy love itself in the process. What we are doing is fighting for what is beyond our control and, in the process, destroying what is within our control: the source of the feeling.
2. Silence: The power of quiet in a world full of noise -Thich nhat Hanh
To be alive and walk on the Earth is a miracle, and yet most of us are running as if there were some better places to get to.
I am at the age at which it seems like every decision I make will be vital to my future, which is a very scary thought. So, I have often found myself in situations where I was striving with all my might for something that honestly wasn’t even that important to me…
Besides that, the whole society seems to be telling us that we need to do more, which continuously pushes us to be the best/greatest. Less is never an option. Which continuously keeps us busy with everything and at the same time, with nothing.
What are we so afraid of? We may feel an inner void, a sense of isolation, of sorrow, of restlessness. We may feel desolate and unloved. We may feel that we lack something important. Some of these feelings are very old and have been with us always, underneath all our doing and our thinking. Having plenty of stimuli makes it easy for us to distract ourselves from what we’re feeling. But when there is silence, all these things present themselves clearly.
This book taught me the importance of enjoying the moment. It helped me enjoy the precious little moments of life, by just being still and letting myself take hold of the moment. Whenever I start stressing, getting irritated or angry, I remind myself to check if what I am stressing about, being irritated about or getting angry about it is that important to steal my peace.
3. The pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges
What a strange kind of salvation do they desire that care not for holiness… they would be saved by Christ and yet be out of Christ in a fleshly state… They would have their sins forgiven, not that they may walk with God in love, in time to come, but that they may practice their enmity against Him without any fear of punishment.
This quote hits me so hard! These are things we barely speak or think about. Part of the reason I felt spoken to after reading this quote, is because of my lack of seeking for knowledge during those time and partially because I had never been taught the importance of being Holy like the way this book taught me. Even though I lived a devoted Christian life (or at least so I thought) and was part of a Chruch community.
It seemed that living a holy life was something for the pastors, apostels, prophets… those kinds of people. It seemed impossible for me as a simple servant. But I did know it was something that was part of being a Christian so, I prayed for it now and then, but never took it as something urgent. This book taught me that I too have a huge responsibility in my own holiness. It even says that God had already done His part by sending Christ to die for us. We are made Holy through the blood of Jesus Christ. And as the Holy Spirit lives in us, He always helps us to act out the desires of God in our lives.
4. The purpose driven life – Rick Warren
Before I read this book, I did things with the thought that God was for me. Meaning that He existed for my good. To help me, guide me and to give me my greatest desires (which were close to what I believed His desires were for me). As am writing this down I realize how stupid and crazy that sounds. But then again, in those times my faith was built on a prosperity Gospel. Which at the moment I didn’t know. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. After reading this book my eyes opened to certain things and that’s when I started having more and more disagreements within my local church.
You were made by God and for God – and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.
So what this book taught me was that I was made for God and not the other way around. And because He created me for Himself, He knows exactly why He made me. Certain things only started making sense after understanding and accepting this fact. These are the benefits the writter promises after finishing the book:
- It will explain the meaning of your life.
- It will simplify your life.
- It will focus your life.
- It will increase your motivation.
- It will prepare you for eternity.
Am happy to say that they were not just empty words… The book really did do what the writer said it would.
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ‘ Romans 12:2
5. Discerning the voice of God – Priscilla Shirer
There was one specific incident that got me very frustrated.
I dream a lot when am sleeping. The bible teaches us that one way God speaks to His people is through dreams. But these dreams were so symbolic and prophetic that I couldn’t even start to deceiver them with the little knowledge I had of God. So, because the bible also teaches us to pray for dreams, I prayed. But I wasn’t getting any answers. I got frustrated because I felt like I was doing everything the bible told me to do concerning these dreams but God still wasn’t answering me. I never asked for the dreams so, why wasn’t He answering me? This went on for several months. It even got to a point that I stopped praying and one way or another closed my Spirit from receiving dreams. So, yes the frustration was real!
Have you sincerely taken time to hear, to see, to wait, to watch-to allow for the margins that would give God an opportunity to offer you that which you claim to desire so earnestly? Or have you already filled every conceivable space with your own opinions, ideas, decisions, and actions-space that God might otherwise fill with His perfectly timed and precisioned and personal insight?
Y’all I tell you, I felt so convicted after reading that paragraph…
It just struck me! I wasn’t even listening, to begin with.
The worst part is that I’m known to be a very good listener. I love to listen to people. I am the kind of person who is very engaging in conversations by asking questions etc. But for one reason or another when it came to God, I never had the patience to listen long enough. It never struck me that I had to listen to Him as I listen to others around me.
I knew I wasn’t listening because I felt the conviction, but also because after reflecting on the situation, I could see that all I did was pray about it. I didn’t take time to see, hear or watch.
‘And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. ‘ Ezekiel 3:10
Which books have taught you lessons you will never forget? Let me know in the comment below. Have a blessed day!