What a year! With all the joys that come with the birth of my son and the trials regarding his health this year, I am so thankful for the way that God has shown me his grace in the books that I have had the privilege of reading either that were sent to me for review, given as gifts, or ones that have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I am constantly surprised at how God show himself to me through the books that he offers to me just when I need them.
Of the 53 books I have read this year, I wanted to share the ones that have meant the most to me. Perhaps they would make great Christmas gifts for people in your life or you may find that they mean something to you as they did for me.
Here, then, are my top 3 picks of the year, followed by some honorable mentions:
Holiness by Grace
by Brian Chapell
This was a fantastic book! I read this in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when my son was under sedation for days and on full ventilation after his trachostemy surgery. Dr. Chapell tells a moving story about a mother whose child turned blue during the baby’s first feeding after birth. It was a great comfort to me in a time where I was completely helpless to do anything for my son, just as each of us are helpless to do anything that is truly pleasing to God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Holiness by Grace is about how not only are we saved by grace, but we are perfected and sanctified by Christ’s work on our behalf.
Click here for full review.
Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength by Bryan Chapell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yes, that title is correct: Holiness by Grace! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Like me, you may have grown up listening to sermons and Sunday School lessons that seemed to press home some point, “step on your toes,” and challenge you to live a better life each and every week. If you really focused on making the specific changes that you were recommended, you may sooner drive yourself to the insane asylum or give up completely.
What then is this notion of holiness coming by grace? In the book, Dr. Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, seeks to answer that very question. In the book of Galatians, Paul talks about how we received salvation by no merit of our own and that it was completely a free gift from God by way of Christ’s work for us on the cross. Paul goes on to say that by this same way we also receive our righteousness and holiness.
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Who is God? Quite a daunting question if you take it seriously. I think it is safe to say that the infinity of God is more than any of us can grasp. Yet too often in these times we think of God in terms of what He can do for us, and what He has done for us.
There is really nothing wrong with that, except that it puts us first on the cast list and makes God second, at best.
Before God is our savior, before He is love, before He seeks a relationship with us, He is holy. God doesn’t need us and He certainly has no obligation to do anything for us. He has been from eternity past and will be for eternity future. He always was and always will be completely set apart and utterly independent.