Praying the Attributes of God by Ann Spangler
An award-winning and bestselling author, Ann Spangler is tremendously skilled at writing books that delve into relevant yet timeless truths time and time again. What I especially love about her writing style is how she weaves together the elements of Scripture, prayer resources, and personal narrative into penetrating devotional Bible studies. I adored Praying the Names of God, so I was not surprised to discover that Praying the Attributes of God is another marvelous piece. With the profundity of God’s nature often forgotten amidst the distractions of life, this book calls readers into focused remembrance and reflection on God’s attributes. The book provides devotional readings, discussion questions, Scripture references and promises, memory verses, and even prayer guides with steps to “Reflect On,” “Praise God,” “Offer Thanks,” “Confess,” and “Ask God.” I highly recommend this and other books by Ann for anyone pursuing wise and uplifting resources for spiritual growth.
To read: The One Year Devotions for Women by Ann Spangler
The Gospel Comes With A House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
When a dramatic scene of DEA agents swarming a house, for a suspected Meth Lab was unfolding, a lady next door made scrambled eggs, a big pot of coffee, put some Bibles on the kitchen table, and invited the gathering neighbors on her front lawn, inside to eat and process together.
This was my introduction to what normal life is like for Christian, wife, mom, former-lesbian professor, and, neighbor, Rosaria Butterfield. The title of the book speaks to the call of genuine, Christ-exalting hospitality: “Making strangers into neighbors and neighbors into family. Because that is the point- building the church and living like a family, the family of God.” (p.14). The world needs to see and experience this. From us! This book was a cold shower and warm blanket to my soul all at once, especially in this COVID-19 season of my own temptations to hunker-down with the family, close off, and half-heartedly resolve to be hospitable “when it’s safer”. Hospitality is risky, but it’s worth it if I believe that Jesus is worth it. Reading through the pages also challenged my tendency to think about all the things we don’t have (or think we should have) in order to be good at hospitality. After all, we live in a small condo with three kids! How can we invite anyone over or make sure this-or-that is enough?? The book offers so many practical ideas, and theologically-rich insights, to put my mind at ease, and put my heart, wallet, time, and body to work, for the blessing of our neighbors, us, and God’s glory.
To-Read: Follow Him: A 35-Day Call To Live For Christ No Matter The Cost by David Platt
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate
Though I’m more of a nonfiction reader, I decided to pick up this bestseller after learning it was partly the story about Jen, a young woman who works for a publishing house (#relatable). The novel alternates between Jen’s real-time quest to find the anonymous author of a mysterious manuscript and the “chapters” of the story as she discovers them. Her journey takes her to a remote area of the Appalachian Mountains—and to a past she’d rather not revisit. Before she can fulfill her quest of finding the author and the rest of The Story Keeper manuscript, Jen must reckon with unhealed wounds from the past and unresolved tension with her family in the present. I’m about halfway through this novel and already it has cost me some sleep, but that is the power of a captivating story. I look forward to seeing how both the manuscript and Jen’s own story resolve in the end!
To read next: Your Story Matters by Leslie Leyland Fields
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There is much to love about The Hate U Give. It tells the story of a black teenager caught between two different worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the posh prep school she attends. After she witnesses the fatal shooting of a friend at the hands of a police officer, her two worlds collide in a jarring way. Packed with loveable characters and relevant themes, this book shines a light on the reality of being black in the United States. Despite being a work of fiction, The Hate U Give explores real issues. I read this book with a group of coworkers, and I highly recommend reading it with others. The discussions revealed so much of what we didn’t know and what we were learning together. I also enjoyed the humor woven throughout. I found myself chuckling at many of the characters’ quips. The Carter family’s banter was especially fun to read. For those looking to engage in the current cultural conversation, try here.
To Read: The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller
Tell us, what are you currently reading? What’s on your To-Read Pile?