A Few of My Favorite Things

I’ve had a few conversations recently with people stressing over what to buy for Christmas this year. This is especially difficult for those hard to buy people on your list. I felt convicted this year that, in whatever I give, I want to share the good news of the Gospel. What better gift to give than the gift of the Word of God? Now, I know some will appreciate this more than others, but you never know how or when God might use it in their lives.

This conviction came as I was reading 1 Peter: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things” (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Now, to be clear, the prophets were not treated well. Ostracized, rejected, imprisoned, tortured, killed. And they endured all of this serving us, not themselves. Can you imagine? What a gift we have been given in the Word of God. Without it, no one comes to understand this salvation that is ours in Christ Jesus. I felt this was an important enough reason to give the Word. Love reaches for the highest good of another, not what is necessarily pleasing or expected by them. Right? This is my thinking anyway.

I am looking for creative ways to share the Word. Things beside the obvious of just giving someone a Bible – although I am doing that too for the children in my family. For example, I plan to give a certain someone a painting with a letter from me including the passage of Scripture that inspired it. I am hoping when the recipient looks at the painting, it will be with recognition of the truth contained within it. This comes with a prayer that this truth will settle upon the heart.

I’ve been asked recently for devotional ideas. This got me thinking and putting together a list of some of my favorite resources. These are books that have personally impacted me, that I’ve given as gifts, or plan to give this year. They are in no particular order. If you are looking for a special gift, check out these possibilities. I hope they give you some ideas for the hard to buy gifts on your list this year!

Favorite Advent Reflections

Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: I used to print Ann’s devotional and Jesse Tree ornaments off the internet. Now they are available as a family devotional. This is an excellent resource for your family, and a wonderful gift!

Ruth Haley Barton, Advent Reflections: This one is more for personal devotional usage. I have ordered Ruth’s Advent and Lent booklets for the last couple of years. She is a powerful, reflective writer who combines her insights with the Word in beautiful, life enriching ways. I love everything she writes. Side note: I HIGHLY recommend her Invitation to Solitude and Silence book on audio. This is a great gift for any woman who wants to grow in intimacy with the Lord.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger : Excellent Advent reflection. I quoted him extensively last year on my blog in this post (<—- read it again to see what I mean!)

Favorites for Children

Starr Meade, Mighty Acts of God : This Bible is written from a different perspective than most – God’s. In each story, you get truths and attributes of God. I love this Bible! I am reading it now with my children. We just completed the Old Testament and are beginning the New Testament, so we’ll be reading about the birth of Christ right at Christmastime!

Starr Meade, Grandpa’s Box : This book is part of Chloe’s history curriculum for school this year. She is in the 4th grade. This would make an excellent read aloud for kids her age. It is the same author as Mighty Acts of God, but more in-depth for older kids. This book is my all time favorite!

Favorite Devotionals

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Those of you who follow me know how much I love Oswald! I have read this devotional every year for the last seven years. Each time, I get new insights or am confirmed in truth. My favorite version is the Old English, but there is a modern translation. This year, I am reading the modern to change it up a little. I like to compare this version with the old. I’ve heard pastors say this devotional is second only to the Bible in its significance, and I have to agree.

Frances Roberts, Come Away my Beloved : I love this devotional because it is written as if God is speaking directly to you. It’s kind of a original form of Jesus Calling (many friends read and recommend this one too).

Amy Carmichael, Mountain Breezes : This one is for the poet in your family. A dear friend gave this to me for Christmas. I treasure it, and everything written by Amy Carmichael!

Favorites for Spiritual Growth/Discipleship

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline : This book is significant for me right now, with where God has me. I can’t say enough positives about it, or another of his books, Sanctuary of the Soul , which focuses more on prayer.

Donald Whitney, 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health : I loved this so much I considered using it as a springboard to write a blog series with each of the questions. I may still do this in 2015. It is very good stuff!

Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline the Glad Surrender : Elisabeth is another of my “go-to” authors. Anything by her would be a great gift, or personal growth resource. I just finished this one, because discipline is an ongoing theme for me right now. I loved it, as I do everything she has written.

Favorite Biographies

Corrie Ten Boom, the Hiding Place : You knew Corrie would be on my list, didn’t you? I wrote about the impact her life story had on my life in this post : (<—– also worth a second read!)

Watchman Nee, Man of Suffering : His life is another who has had a major impact on mine, and I wrote about it here (<–truth tunneling).

Favorite Fiction

Francine Rivers, A Lineage of Grace : I’ve given this as a gift to several women. It has 5 short stories, one of which is Mary, mother of Jesus. I love anything Francine Rivers though. Mark of the Lion is my favorite series and Redeeming Love is my favorite book.

I could literally go on and on with books. I love books! But hopefully this list gave you at least one more gift idea. I would love to hear your ideas too. What books are on your gift list this year? Leave me a comment to share! If we get enough of a response, I will post a summary to share with everyone. Let’s give the gift of the Word this year. We are serving others in love when we do; the way Jesus commands us to love. And what better way is there to celebrate the Love that came down to us at Christmas than by sharing it with others?

4 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Things

  1. Hi Sue, glad some of the suggestions were good ones for you! My art business is going. I have slowed down since being back to school with the kids, and now with Christmas coming. But I am learning to rest in His timing too, an ongoing struggle for me. It’s not easy being on a special diet – that is full time work. You are right in the Lord sees, knows, and walks with you in each step. I love your beautiful work in whatever pace you share it! Have a Merry Christmas. Love, Robyn

  2. Thanks for the list Robyn, great idea!! Thanks for reminding us what Christmas is all about!! Love you!

  3. Hey there! Really great post and enjoyed all of your recommendations for devotional books. I have read so many books myself over the years and I’m looking for something new and inspiring and your list has given me some really nice options to try! Also good ideas for gift giving! Thank you!

    How is your art business going? I still am working on getting my website up LOL…!! For some reason I am just dragging my feet getting it together. My goal is to still get my website and blog completed and get my artwork up for sale but just can’t seem to get my focus on this in the midst of everything else I’m working on, including my health which takes up a good three quarters of my time with all the special preparation for the healing diet that I’m on. But God knows and is helping me do what I need to do now and I know when the time is right it will all come together according to his perfect plan!

    God bless you and I pray for wonderful prosperity for the year 2015 for you!

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