2020 Reading List Part 2
I felt rather lazy this second half of the year, in regards to reading. I told myself I was busy with keeping track of the school requirements for my boys, managing new Bible study planning in the online format, and everything else associated with this pandemic. But the truth is, there were long stretches of time where I just didn’t have the desire to read. While reading can be a source of comfort for me and a way to withdraw for some me-time, when I am feeling stressed then the act of holding a book tires my hands and processing the words tires my brain. Still, when I wrote up this list of books I was pleased to have still accomplished a decent stack in this second half of 2020. The stand out book is by far the first on the list, Defining Deception. So needed for many in the church to understand the dangers of movements that claim to be within the church but are cleverly disguised plots of the enemy to tamper with our understanding of God’s Word.
By: Costi Hinn and Anthony G. Wood
I ordered this off of the recommendation from my dad. It primarily refutes the New Apostolic Reformation with Scripture and historical evidence. It provided a lot of details on certain churches and their leadership and better equipped me to discuss these false teachings with others. Costi Hinn is the nephew of Benny Hinn and was redeemed by the Lord out of that ministry cycle. His personal insight and experience is helpful in deconstructing the show and theatrics of faith healers.
Some notable quotes:
“Experience never defines biblical truth. The truth found in Scripture must always define our experience.”
“We are never to follow anyone who perverts the truth of God’s Word, no matter how gifted that person is, how large of an organization that person commands, or how amazing that person’s work seems to be.” (Quoted from R.C. Sproul)
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem
By: Robert D. Jones
This book focuses on practical solutions to various anger problems by returning to the sin of anger as offense against God. Our anger cannot be properly dealt with while we continue to blame and shame or excusing our planks while highlighting the specks of others. Rarely do we humans find ourselves in situations of true righteous anger, so an accurate look at our sin of anger, the root behind it, and the fruit it breeds is necessary to combat this sin issue. This is a helpful book for an individual struggling with anger, a pastor or counselor helping others resolve their anger, or any person because we all experience and encounter anger in our own lives and in the lives of those we interact with.
His Testimonies, My Heritage
Edited by Kristie Anyabwile
This is a collection of women of color writing about their realities and grounding it in the truth of God’s Word. Psalm 119 is used as an outline for these chapters and the truths in this passage are applied to our daily lives. There were moments that encouraged me and gave me the feeling of “they’re just like me!” There were also moments where I faced discomfort and even disagreement, but I welcomed these chapters so I could try to understand the authors viewpoint, experiences, and grow in my understanding of “different”. I have been learning more about what the Universal Church is and what is foundational and what is secondary. I am so thankful for faithful women of all backgrounds who share their experiences so I may grow in my faith and understanding of God. We are commanded to share testimonies of how God has worked in our lives and these women do just that and give all proper glory and honor to God.
“We do not obey because it earns us favor. The favor is already ours, and it has been bought with a price. Instead, we obey because we love Jesus and are compelled by this love towards obedience.” -Trillia Newbell
“Is ‘It is written’ your answer to the taunts, mocking, and opposition from within and without?” -Jamie R. Love
“God’s word humbles us and exposes us. This helps us to act with caution and temper the desires we have to speak ‘truth to power’ that only serve self-promotion and use the name of God in vanity. We must proclaim Jesus’ will and words using Jesus’ way.” -Christina Edmondson
“We don’t just need to know the truth and facts about God; that’s education. We need a personal and intimate connection; that’s relationship.” -Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
“Fear often arises in our hearts when our minds are idle.” -Kristie Anyabwile
“Sometimes it is easy to rely on other people’s understanding of God through commentaries, sermons, books, or devotionals. These are good servants but they are not our Master.” -Shar Walker
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family
By Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
As part of our adoption education, this was required reading for our Home Study. Adoption creates trauma in a child and there may have been other trauma or neglect in their lives prior to entering your home. This book helps explain some aspects of trauma and how to work with your child to create a secure, loving attachment over time. Experienced parents will need to approach parenting an adoptive child differently than their biological children in some ways. Establishing trust and confidence with the new parents is the first step. Biological children have had their entire lives to build their trust in their parents, while adoptive children have been let down in the past. This book was beneficial for me to understand some possible scenarios that might present themselves after we bring our child home and what resources might be available to help or how I might encourage our child to feel safe and secure in our home.
The Heart of an Orphan
By Amy Eldridge
This was a kindle download years ago. I remember thinking, “This will probably be an interesting read someday when we’re adopting!” I promptly forgot about it. When we began talking about adoption, I scrolled through my kindle library and saw this. When I began reading this, we had just settled on China after years of planning to adopt from Korea (where I was born). This book outlines the origins and ministry of Love Without Boundaries, an orphan ministry around the world. The ministry started in China and I read story after story of these orphans, their lives, and their backgrounds. Each read would end in tears for these poor babies and their realities. It confirmed our pursuit of adoption and softened our hearts even more to China. It helped my understanding of medical needs overseas and the great need for homes for orphans and help to provide care to those remaining. It made me so grateful for the nannies or foster family that may be caring for our little girl right now and even more compassionate towards her birth parents. This is an excellent read for anyone who has a heart for orphan care and seeks to understand their needs and how to help.
A Series of Unfortunate Events:
The Ersatz Elevator
By: Lemony Snicket
Continuing the sad saga of the Baudelaire children, these books think of new and horrid ways for the children’s lives to be made miserable. While the first couple books had some language I’m not ready for my 3rd grader to read, that language has not continued in the series.
By: Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
These are the first two volumes of the Second Formic War collection in the Ender’s Game world. I discovered after I finished them that at least one more book, The Queens, is being written (release date unknown). It gives insight to the battles mentioned in the original series and outlines how Battle School was developed. You feel the tension of humanity fighting as one while maintaining earthly allegiances as well. While these books are science fiction and the war is against the Formics, an invading alien life form, there are many real world applications. The characters are flawed, redeemed, and endearing. I found myself feeling so sad remembering how the Hive Queen thought, “They didn’t forgive us…” in the first series. It is a lesson to have conversations, ask questions, and attempt to know and understand those who are different from you.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
By: Andrew Peterson
So many recommended The Wingfeather Saga to me and one even said it rivaled The Chronicles of Narnia. So I finally decided to start this series in hopes that our whole family could enjoy them together. The first handful of chapters had a writing style I did not favor. I reminded myself that this was full of childish wit and my boys would probably enjoy it (example: Gnag the Nameless who had no name, Dark Sea of Darkness). As with any series, a bit of backstory and set up must be included. Once the story picked up, I was entranced by the world of Aerwiar. I became invested in the siblings’ adventure and quest for answers of their past and their significance to the world. When I finished the first book and they had found a (temporary) safe haven, I was eager to start the next book.
North! Or Be Eaten
By: Andrew Peterson
This second book of the Wingfeather Saga, continued the faster pace of the second half of the first book. With new challenges and enemies, the Wingfeather children embrace their newfound roles. As they journey north, things do not go as planned. The characters are relatable and the world of Aerwiar becomes easier to understand and follow as you journey through it with the Wingfeathers.
The Twenty-One Balloons
By William Pene du Bois
This book was recommended reading from my boys’ school. We read it aloud together and learned all about air balloons. There were mishaps and exploration and discoveries. There were unforeseen circumstances that led to near- disaster (or disaster, depending on how you look at it). It all wrapped up in an ending that left my boys asking, “But why?” But why, indeed. I enjoy reading older books with the boys so they have exposure to classic literature, different forms of language, and little pieces of history. This book gave us a lot of words to define and discuss together and made our brains dizzy with the inventions explained throughout the book. The pictures helped us to envision the story. This was enjoyable to read during lunch times or quiet play time and I think all books should leave us with the same sense of awe and “but why?” questioning as this one.
Come Let Ye Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional
By Paul David Tripp
Paul Davis Tripp is quickly becoming one of my favorite Bible teachers. His writing is easy to read and relate to and he is so Biblically centric. This devotional is based on a collection of Advent tweets that deserved more teaching. Tripp draws our hearts towards the majesty of Immanuel and the Incarnation. He reminds us that the Prince of Peace is the powerful and almighty God. At the end of each entry, there is a way to discuss the lesson with children.
Joy To The World: Daily Readings for Advent
By Charles H. Spurgeon
This book is a collection of 25 short Advent devotionals compiled from sermons by Spurgeon. It is encouraging to read the timeless truths that Spurgeon preached over 100 years ago that are still applicable today. This is another reason why sermons should focus on Scripture and not one-line platitudes that endear the listener to modern issues or feelings. This devotional looked at the various aspects of the Christmas story and what those truths meant for Israel, Spurgeon’s audience, and us today.
25 Days of the Christmas Story: An Advent Family Experience
By Dr. Josh and Christi Straub
This was a brand new release and I was excited to dive into it with my boys. Each day focuses on a different person that is part of the Christmas story, from ancestors of Jesus to those who came to worship Jesus from afar. The significance of these people in the story of Christmas teach children how God uses everything for His glory. There are questions to discuss with your kids and activities to coincide with each day’s lesson.
I am so refreshed by the addition of fiction back into my reading schedule. It has helped reignite my imagination and remember the beauty of story telling. I appreciate nonfiction to teach me facts and I appreciate fiction to engage my mind to better understand myself, life, and others in a less painful way. This year has taught me to be a little loose with rules and my beloved to do lists. While I have a stack of books on my shelf that are newer additions to my library, I plan to choose one (or two) books at a time in no set order. Reading is an opportunity to grow and learn, but should also be enjoyable and not a task. I hope to grow in compassion and understanding for others through my next year of reading and to learn more about God through gifted teachers.
Share your favorite reads below!