Skip to main content

What I've Been Reading



Before we left Niger, I was reading this book by Richard Foster: The Freedom of Simplicity. I hadn't finished it, but didn't want to bring it to the US and then have to carry it back to Niger. Books are too heavy to carry if I don't really need it! I need to see if I can find it in the library here so I can finish it.


Anyway, I would recommend this book. By Simplicity he means getting rid of things in your life that prevent you from concentrating on what is most important. He talks about getting rid of things that cause us to live beyond our means physically. He doesn't say that "things" are wrong or that you have to live austerely. He does say that simplicity looks different for everybody but how we all need to hold things loosely.


Then he talks about how we live beyond our means emotionally by trying to do too much and by being over-involved in too many things. This is what he suggests....and I'm still mulling it over. He suggests recording all our activities and then categorizing them like this:


1. absolutely essential


2. important but not essential


3. helpful, but not necessary


4. trivial


Then he says we should eliminate everything in the last two categories, and eliminate 20% of the things in the first two. That would eliminite so much of the emotional bankruptcy we find ourselves under. So, that's my food for thought this summer.


Foster also says, "Joy, not grit is the hallmark of holy obedience. We need to be lighthearted in what we do in order to avoid taking ourselves too seriously. It is a cheerful revolt against self and pride. Our work is jubilant, carefree, merry. Utter abandonment to God is done freely and with celebration. And so I urge you to enjoy this ministry of self-surrender. Don't push too hard. Hold this work lightly, joyfully.


I love reading novels, but try to read some serious books, too. Here are some others I've read in the past year:



The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perservance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce by John Piper. John Piper gives brief autobiographical sketches of these three men and shows how each of them persevered against extreme hardship. It's a very encouraging book, especially if you are going through a discouraging time in your work or ministry.

You have probably all heard of this book, The End of the Spear, but if you haven't read it yet, you should! It is an autobiography that reads like a novel. It is very moving and challenging.


Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala describes how the Brooklyn Tabernacle grew from a handful of discouraged people to a huge, vibrant church. Jim Cymbala says people ask him all the time what the secret is to growing a big church. They want to copy his program and have a church like his. He says there is no secret. It has to be a work of the Spirit and the only advice he can give is to make prayer a priority. This was a timely reminder to me to keep praying and not give up when the church in Tera seems doomed to failure. God is still at work!

Do you think that in heaven we're just going to sit around on clouds strumming harps? Most of us think that sounds pretty boring. Heaven by Randy Alcorn explains what heaven will really be like. This is a long book, but worth it. You cannot read this book and not get excited about going to heaven!




The Red Sea Rules: The Same God Who Led You in Will Lead You Out by Robert J. Morgan was probably my favorite of all these books. God wants us to be quiet, stand still, and listen! Here are some of the "rules" to whet your appetite:

Realize that God means for you to be where you are.

Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief.

Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.

Pray!

That's just a few of the "rules".....you'll have to read the book to find the rest. If you only choose one book in this list, choose this one!

I also read The Practice of the Presence of God with Spiritual Maxims. This is a Christian classic and was also challenging. In this book Brother Lawrence explains how to be aware of Christ's presence and live for his glory even when doing mundane tasks.


So, if you're looking for some "serious" books to read, these are some I would recommend!


Comments

Dusty Penguin said…
Great blog. You're a good example to me and motivator. I can't remember when I last read a serious book. I actually haven't done much reading at all, and when I do, I usually just grab a quick novel. I really think I'd like to read the one you mentioned about eliminating some of the activity from our lives and focusing on what's more important. Thanks for sharing these. P.S. We got Dad back onto his blog now.
Laura said…
I've read "End of the Spear" and "Heaven". Thanks for some suggestions on some new-to-me books. I do keep up on your blog; just am not good at making comments. Going down to Klamath Falls on 7/16 to help w/ the last of the packing (?) and spend time with Jeannette and the kids. I've noticed your comments on Palmer's blog. :o) Big move.
Hannatu said…
I just try to read 10 pages a day or a chapter if it's around 10 pages. But I have siesta, too! That's when I do my serious reading. The book Heaven took me months to read!
Dusty Penguin said…
I definitely miss siesta reading time!

Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  




I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.



While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…

Happenings in November

Well, here we are, more than half way through December, and I'm just now getting around to telling you about November.  It was a fun, busy, and eventful month.  We were still on vacation and we got in a lot of good family time during the month.

We were still in Ohio with Suz and Theo at the beginning of the month.  Suz and Theo were working hard to get Hezekiah to gain weight.  He kept losing weight for the first few weeks of his life, but he's doing great now.  We tried to spend as much time as possible with Tera so Suzanne could concentrate on adjusting to the new baby ... but mostly just because we wanted to and we enjoy her so much.  





We also tried to get in as many baby snuggles as we could.



Whenever we are in the area, my dad's cousin, Jeanne, invites us for a meal. She is actually closer to me in age than to my dad, so I've always just considered her a cousin and don't try to figure out if she's a second cousin or a first cousin once removed.  Whatever the …