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I’m in the middle of writing an article on loneliness as a means to drive us deeper into God’s heart and was just struck by the passage this nugget came from. The context is distress and anguish, feeling the grip of death’s crushing pull. Maybe you can relate. But the author of this psalm lifts his eyes above his circumstances and prays for deliverance. He meditates on the character of God; how He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. He remembers what God has done; how He preserves the simple and rescued him when he was flat on his back, hopeless and alone. Then comes verse seven. Circumstances haven’t changed for the author but, then again, God’s worthiness to be worshipped has never been contingent on ideal circumstances. No matter what our lives might look like right now, no matter how uncomfortable or excruciating our circumstances might be, if we have been redeemed by Jesus, we have every reason to “return to our rest;” for the the Lord INDEED has dealt bountifully with us. And He is worthy of our praise and confidence right here. •••• [Also, 1) this is not a staged photo and 2) you should go read all of Psalm 116 for yourself.]
Happy birthday to the best big sister! 🥳 You are as genuine and intentional as they get; you love deep and feel big, and I’m so thankful for your heart and life. 💜 Additionally, I’d like to know how much you were paid to hug me in this photo.
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.” -Charles Spurgeon
“Theologians who limit the means of grace to overtly redemptive religious practices miss something about the God who speaks without words in the theater of His creation.” -David Powlison

Follow me as I follow Jesus

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It’s the middle of January so I thought it would be a great time to post a reading list from two months ago.

Bless.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” -Lemony Snicket

November

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The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

One of the best. I listened to this book on Audible for the first time and, though I was prepared to hate it, I loved it. Every return to Narnia is better than the last. 

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

This is the third time I’ve read this book and I was once again overwhelmed by the clear display of the Gospel in it. Such a beautiful, intense read for believer and nonbeliever alike. What a Savior we have. 

Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs

Books and food are two of my favorite things so this seemed like a no-brainer. I listened to this Audible version of the book and was entertained by the fascinating documentary, however, there were a few (of what I would consider) inappropriate comments. 

Strong Ending: A Journey from Combat to Comedy

I love the military and I love comedy so I thought this would be a great fit. While it was insightful and fun, it was also (unsurprisingly) extremely inappropriate at times. Cannot recommend.

Steadfast Love: The Response of God to the Cries of Our Heart by Lauren Chandler

Highly recommend. This was my second time reading it this year and I was once again mesmerized by the glory of the God we serve and the stability of His character (and therefore our lives as a result).  

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The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore

Undoubtedly one of the best books of 2018. I love Dr. Moore and this book was so good. Highly, highly, highly, highly, highly recommend for anyone. Also would be a great book to go through with unbelievers who are investigating true Christianity or are considering marriage or experiencing family struggles.

Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything by Steve DeWitt

Okay, Steve, hi. Thank you for writing one of the best books I read this year. I loved this stunning book. It was so helpful for my heart (prone to fearfully resist good things) and it was charged with beauty and ways of seeing that beauty all around us then helping our eyes soar to the Source. READ IT RIGHT NOW AND LET YOUR HEART EXPLODE IN WORSHIP.

This quote might be “long” but read it anyway and thank me later, OH MY WORD:

“The end of the Big Story is beauty, because the end of the story is God. This world and its history are prelude and foretaste; all the sunrises and sunsets, symphonies and rock concerts, feasts and friendships are but whispers. They are prologue to the grander story and an even better place. Only there, it will never end. J. I. Packer said it so well: ‘Hearts on earth say in the course of a joyful experience, ‘I don’t want this ever to end.’ But it invariably does. The hearts in heaven say, ‘I want this to go on forever.’ And it will. There can be no better news than this.’” -Steve DeWitt

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Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick

I read this with one of my best friends and it was a tremendous help to both of us as we are beginning to navigate through the reality that we don’t actually believe God loves us. This was extremely helpful and the Scripture content alone was worth it all. Definitely recommend. Great for a counseling aid as well.

December

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Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp

The introduction is worth the price of the book but then it just keeps getting better. There were certain days that weren’t as “wow” as others, but they were all packed with the Gospel and full of hope, conviction, and truth. Highly recommend.

The First Songs of Christmas: A 31-Day Advent Devotional by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

I did not love this. It wasn’t as Gospel-driven as I wanted it to be and actually tended to be more focused on self than Christ.

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Two Funerals, Then Easter by Rachel Welcher

My friend Rachel knocked this out of the park. This, her second book of poetry, was beautiful and deep, intense and holy. Read it and let yourself feel all the things as you worship the One who sits with us in our ashes and teaches us to see His beauty there. Read this book, especially if you’ve walked (or are walking) through pain and darkness. 

 

 

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