Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Favorite Non Fiction Reads of 2015

I read a lot, and this year I read more than normal.  My top strength in Strength Finders is learning which might explain part of it.  But when I am stressed, I read.  When I am on vacation, I read.  Most evenings, my husband and I read either together or on our own.  When I travel or go to appointments, I always have my kindle with me.  Before I go to bed, I like to read a few chapters of a book to settle my mind. The crazy thing is that I didn't set out to read more books this year but less.  My goal this last year was to read more nonfiction books which I think I did but if you look at my list I still probably had too many fluff books.  If you want to see the full list of books, I read click here.

For my favorites, I have two categories-non fiction and favorite fiction authors.  These are books that I read this year not necessarily books that were published this year.  This post will include my favorite non-fiction reads.



My Favorite 5 Non-Fiction Reads

God always sends the right book at the right time.  Each of these books was timely to that season.  Most of them I plan I read again.

1. The Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin 



For the first half of the book, the author shares the story of his family's time in Africa and how they end up leaving the field discouraged and with questions about why things happened the way they did.   Nik's journey continues in the second half of the book as he travels around the world collecting stories from believers who have been persecuted for their faith.  Their stories inspired me to look at the strength of my faith and to thank God for their faithfulness. The book also challenged me to stay faithful even when it gets hard which this year has been.  


"Serving God is not a matter of location, but a matter of obedience." (p.75)
"You don't have to come back.  You just have to go." (p.167)

2. Counter Culture by David Platt











Every summer a friend and I read a book together and discuss it.  This was our choice for the summer.  David Platt did a great job of biblically talking about the issues of our day.   Each chapter covers a different issue and then has ideas at the end on how we can be more involved in making a difference.  One thing I appreciated is how David doesn't point fingers but gets to the heart of each issue.  I would say this quote sets the tone of the book.
Instead, the most offensive claim in Christianity is that God is the Creator, Owner, and Judge of every person on the planet.  Every one of us stands before him guilty of sin, and the only way to be reconciled to him is through faith in Jesus, the crucified Savior and the risen King.  

3. Anything, The Prayer that Unlocked My Soul and My God by Jennie Allen



I read this book in the spring as I trying to figure out what my fall would look like without kids.  Was I willing to do anything?  What was the anything that God had for me?  In her book, Jennie tells the story of her anything interspersed with wisdom from stories in the bible.  Here are a few of quotes that I challenged me.  
"To risk is to willingly place your life in the hand of an unseen God and an unknown future, then to watch him come through.  He starts to get real when you live like that." (p.9)

"Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated by the life of King David.  He made so many terrible mistakes, and yet he bled God.  He was passionate. .... Because he feared and adored God, he feared nothing else.  No one else.  What was different about my faith than David's?  Why did I live with this stream of fear of people?" (p.35)
"Abandonment only makes sense if there is a God worthy of abandoning everything for.  The greatest gift in surrender is that in letting go of everything you think will fix you and make you feel better, you find a person... not a pat answer or a verse or a cause. After your head clears from the struggle of wrestling yourself to the ground, you see a person." (p.168)
My anything ended up with my husband and I moving to a new city where I helped with a new school that was starting.  It has been a good fall.  Even though parts of it have been hard, it has been the right place for us in this season.  

4. Unlikely Rebel by Kelli Gotthardt








I was able to meet Kelli when she came to Central Asia a few years ago for a ladies retreat.   In her book, Kelli takes the reader on the ups and downs of her spiritual journey including her year of saying no.   Kelli reminded me that the journey is often hard, and progress may seem slow.   She has honest and real approach to life throughout the book which was encouraging me to be real and honest about my faith and journey with those around me.   

Two quotes that stood out are...

I didn't need a great quiet time, I needed a God-centered lifetime.
Faith is the most difficult thing you can give your children because it requires you to allow them to be in situations that require it.

 5. Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You Through Life's Transitions by Kristen Strong



This book was good for my soul.  In a crazy fall with so many transitions, each chapter presented truth about transition and seeing God in those transitions.  Kristen as a military wife speaks from experience on how to navigate the changes with grace that God brings our way.  I also liked how each chapter ended with a prayer for the day.  I wouldn't be surprised to find myself rereading this book this year and it ending up on a similar list next January.  Here are three of my favorite quotes.
The lonely, quieter space brought by change is a prime opportunity to open our hearts to see exactly what Jesus wants to teach us.  Lonely is not an unfamiliar place for Jesus.
The point of our breaking points?  They are the perfect place for Christ to come and be what we cannot.  They are the perfect place for us to remember we have a savior who identifies with our weaknesses.  
But just maybe by offering up your gratitude in all things, you are also showing how you trust God in all things too.  It's one way you put feet and wings to your belief, to let proof of Christ's love into your heart.  It may feel contrary to what you want to do, but in the long term, that will be the medicine heals.  

What was your favorite non fiction book of 2015?   


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