Counsel for loving God and others more
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Finding Hope in Hard Things: A Positive Take on Suffering by Pierce Taylor Hibbs: This book’s simple thesis: “Hard things are going to shape us in ways easy things can’t.” Hibbs writes vividly about three hard things in his life—his father’s death (while Hibbs was in college), his anxiety disorder, and his constant self-doubt—and how each has shaped him in positive ways. Hibbs communicates honestly about the pain and shows sympathy to other sufferers while keeping God in the picture. The final chapters remind readers of God’s love and the sufferings of Christ, who can sympathize with us in every trial. Trusting God to work through trials brings hope in hard times. The book’s blend of teaching and personal narrative is perfect for someone who needs hope fast.
Loving Messy People: The Messy Art of Helping One Another Become More Like Jesus by Scott Mehl: Loving other Christians is not complicated, but it requires intentional effort, writes Pastor Scott Mehl. One difficulty: People are messy. Everyone is suffering, whether from crippling trials or the daily inconveniences of life in a fallen world. Everyone is also sinning and being sinned against. But these messes should not intimidate Christians. “God loves using messy people to minister to messy people,” Mehl writes. “If he used clean and shiny people, they would receive all the glory.” Besides offering encouragement, he outlines how love should look within Christian friendships. This practical, Biblical, and readable book is an excellent starting place for a Christian who wants to counsel or love others better.
Letters to a Romantic: First Years of Marriage by Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon: The first years of marriage are known as the “honeymoon phase.” But instead of coasting until things get tough, couples should seize those years to establish important habits and set the course for a lifelong, godly marriage. Perron and Harmon cover practical topics like choosing a church and getting along with in-laws, plus address common questions like “Have we fallen out of love?” The book handles tough topics like sexual difficulty and impurity (though not in depth), and its emphasis on the authority of Scripture and the importance of discipleship in a local church is especially valuable. Newly married couples would benefit from reading this book together and talking through the discussion questions after each chapter.
The End of Anxiety: The Biblical Prescription for Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Panic by Josh Weidmann: Anxious people cannot know if their anxiety will end in this life, but they can know the purpose in their struggle, writes Weidmann. Knowing and glorifying God are a Christian’s life goals, and those goals still apply during the struggle with anxiety. Instead of seeking only relief, Christians fighting anxiety should work to grow more like Jesus and glorify God. The author shares about his own anxiety over the years and what has helped him along the way. Some of those practical tips come at the end of each chapter, with Bible passages for meditation. Weidmann writes that anxiety can be a physical and spiritual problem, but his book only addresses the spiritual side.
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