Thursday, December 13, 2012

Best Books of 2012: Spiritual

Technically, I could have put these books in my "nonfiction" category from yesterday. Yet because my spiritual growth is a very important part of how I am being embraced by the journey, this category stands apart. I have read several devotionals and religious books this year, but I narrowed it down to these four because they are ones that I will reread and refer back to in years to come.

Although this book is written from a Christian perspective, I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about marriage, is engaged, is newly married, or wants to reawaken their marriage. Author Timothy Keller speaks raw truth about marriage, not sugar-coating the "profound mystery" of marriage (Ephesians 5:32) while still upholding it as "next to our relationship with God... the most profound relationship there is." He discusses how to love your spouse fully when expectations are unmet, when your spouse changes, and when your pride gets in the way... all necessary topics for a healthy, deep relationship with your spouse! It's so different from what our culture often tells us about marriage that it's worth a read.

"Whether we are husband or wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or wife in marriage." 

This book is a quick and engaging read, especially for history lovers. Again, whether or not you are a Christian, this book will interest you. Who is This Man? dives into the impact that Jesus had on history and life as we know it. Author John Ortberg shows how Christianity has impacted our education, charities, politics, architecture, and even feminism. It will change the way you view history, and certainly how you read the Bible.

"The historical impact of Jesus' thinking is so pervasive that it is often take for granted."

I wrote about Captivating earlier this year, and this book is written for any woman to read, young or old. It beautifully describes how God uniquely created women and that "the desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman are telling you of the life God created you to live." What are your longings? Or, if you are married, what are your wife's desires? Authors John and Stasi Eldredge show how every woman has a beauty to unveil. As I've stated before, by unveiling your beauty and being all of who you are, you also invite others to experience beauty - in you and in themselves.  

"A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become." 

I read a lot of Tim Keller, and listen to his podcast, so it's only fitting that two of his books made this list. King's Cross goes through the book of Mark, but it is not your typical commentary. I believe it will change how you read the rest of the gospels as it explores what the Bible has to say about Jesus. One of the most profound lessons that I learned in this book is how Jesus identifies with each of us on a personal level. Every miracle he performs and every person he talks to, he does with intention and understanding.

"Jesus always give you what you need, and he knows better than you what that is. He's the Wonderful Counselor... And because Jesus identified like that with us, now we know why we can approach him... Don't be too isolated to think you are beyond healing. Don't be too proud to accept what the gospel says about your unworthiness. Don't be too despondent to accept what the gospel says about how loved you are."

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