I am an avid fan of reading, there are many books I just love to lose myself in, and if I can learn from the book as well, fiction or non-fiction, then that much better.
But there are a few that I look back on that have literally changed my life, they moved me or shaped my thinking in such a way that I transformed myself because of what I read. Some I've already written about here but here is a quick review/recap of how I felt after reading those books:
Boneman's Daughter - follow the link for my previous review, but in respect to forgiveness and peace I realized in this book, God's judgement is perfect, he will deal accordingly with those who hurt me, and me when I hurt others. There is peace in knowing I don't have to judge anyone or even deal with them, forgiveness is all that's required of me. There is also peace in knowing how far my Father will go to save me.
The Shack - follow the link for my full review of this one I wrote right after I read it, but to sum it up I'll use this quote from the book, God speaking - "In my relationship with men, I will never bring up what they did, or shame them or embaress them. I don't do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation. They don't produce one speck of wholeness or righteousness. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationshp can be established.... forgiveness does not excuse anything. Believe me, the last thing they are is free. And you have no duty to do justice in this, I will handle that."
Philippians - I love this one so much I'm attempting to memorize it! There are so many reasons this book of the Bible gives me an all encompassing peace, here are just a snippit of the verses that have taken away my anxiety and given me confidence in his purpose for me:
1:6 - Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.
3:7-12 - But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ….Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
4:6-9 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things….And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks to these books, the peace of God is with me.
New Appreciation for Creation
The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia) - the amazing description of a world created, reading this gave me a feeling that I was right there with the creator when it all happened, it moved me to tears, as Aslan often does.
Black (The Circle) - again, the amazing description of a world created (very much a tribute to the above book I believe), as well as reading about the relationship with the creator among his own creation was a truly heartfelt experience, moved me to want to know my creator more.
A Case for a Creator - a behind the scenes look at not just the facts that show our world has a creator, but how much effort went into creating a world perfect for us, in such a way we could see how special and unique we are.
Not only does appreciation for creation give me confidence in the faith I have everyday looking around at the awesome wonders I get to live among, but it makes me long for the pure earth he first created, what I believe Heaven will be like.
Slumber of Christianity - this non-fiction book (by my fav author) aims at awakening a passion for Heaven on earth, and that it did! Everything good here is just a small taste of all the goodness in store for us when we join our Father's house, so everything I 'love' down here will be just that much more magnificent in our eternal bodies.
The Shack - again, I've already written a review focused on the forgiveness, but this book also gave me an awesome glimpse of Heaven that completely re-focused how I appreciated God's earthly creations and how they are likely but a murky reflection of Heaven.
When Heaven Weeps - a beautiful and touching story that showed how pale this world can become compared to living life with God....that glimpse of joy in this story is like a song you just can't, and don't want to, get out of your head....
The combination of these books led me to this insight that still colours the way I see everything now.
The End of Days
The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia) - like all of the Narnia series, the Bible's imperitive message is spun in a way that you can recognize the story but the retelling is done so well it sheds new light and have a way of gripping you more than just reading Revelation alone.
Sinner - the religion of tolerance has overtaken society, a tale mirroring the great deception that also draws on the reality that is already changing our world, really makes the verses I was learning from in Revelation at Church at the time hit home that much more.
Revelation - This one is admittedly a hard read, and only with the help of our Church at the time, and these books, did I really begin to grow a passion for reading this book on it's own. So far I haven't completed it on it's own, but that's because I want to really study it, not just read it. I want to really grasp how it relates to me and what lessons God has waiting for me in it's words that are for TODAY, not the undetermined future. Believe me, once I feel I have the best understanding of this imperitive truth, you can bet I will be sharing more details!
The impact all these books have had on me has steared, and keeps stearing me, towards a more ernest pursuit of God's truth about everything, my life, the life of our world, death, after life. They have been a amazing catalyst towards a passionate pursuit of a closer relationship with my Father. I can only hope I continue to find such books to continue spurring me forward in this journey. You can bet I'll be writing about those as I find them too :)