New Reading List – Must Reads:
*1. The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero (This is the my favorite book of the year! It’s created a new and deep reality with Jesus. Truly, every friend in leadership must read this! This is a book that reveals our need for Jesus and delivers new ways to see lasting growth! Chapter 7: and chapter 10 are part of my weekly devotional plan! Life changer!)
2. The Prophet: Amos (Sons of Encouragement Series #4) by Francine Rivers (Maybe the greatest thing -other than the actual book of Amos -that I’ve studied about the Old Testament prophet. In the midst of inductive deep study of this book, THIS brought color and reminded of the humanity of Amos.).
*3. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller (This book constantly reorients my “ Older Brother versus Younger Brother” thinking. A great challenge and invitation to grow! I LOVED reading parts of this to my family!)
*4. God Loves You: He Always Has, He Always Will by David Jeremiah (A constant of truth! A great book to remind us of what’s God thinks of His people!)
5. Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf ( I read parts of this book to Brian. We liked the way she describes the difference between the brain and the mind. Encouraged by the authority God’s give us over our lives! Part 2 has real ways to apply this!)
*6. Dreams and Visions : Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? by Tom Doyle (This was a road trip book-created HUGE discussion!)
7. Sundar Singh : Footprints Over the Mountains by Janet & Geoff Benge (Brian and I reread this story. He is a favorite-unknown yet known to the One. Character-building!)
8. The Greatest Among You: A Student’s Guide to Servant Leadership by Randy Sims (My son loved this-deep truths here by a great example!)
9. Ten Girls Who Changed the World by Irene Howard (I love this and love sharing with my daughter!)
10. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (I have to read this a little at a time to really learn.)
*11. Finding Calcutta by Mary Poplin (A once a year read for me! My favorite book on Mother Theresa & her humble ministry.)
12. Girl in the Song: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Lost Her Way -and the Miracle That Led Her Home by Chrissy Cymbala (A powerful story that inspired me to pray !)
13. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton (I like the pace of this book-refreshing , serene, and focused.)
14. The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg ( Jaw-dropper, couldn’t put it down, astounding current and future news. Truly, I learned more about Islamic Eschatology through this book than anything else.)
Not a huge reader? Not a ton of time? The book titles with astericks would be my “must reads”! ENJOY!
The phrase “broken-hearted” always stops me. Broken-heartedness reflects a specific human emotional state-grief. Grief is that experience no one chooses and the pain no one is ever prepared for. “Broken-hearted” makes a whole lot of sense in this context. Grief strips you of pride, power, & (sometimes) purpose. Yet, feeling pain is indicative of heart function. Why does God allow His people to endure heartbreak? Does He delight in our pain? No, He delights in our NEED FOR HIM. Broken-hearts need treatment from the Great Physician. Godly people walk through trials of existence -trials that seem to engulf and strangle . Our typical instant response will always be a fearful “Get me out of this!” Yet, the Father says with Authority, Comfort and Power, “Get Me in your situation!” God wants to stand next to us, whisper quiet words of truth, and comfort with the depth of His love. He says “I am joining you because I love you. You are not alone in this grief. I have felt everything.” His Unseen Presence is the best emotional salve for our broken human hearts.
Brian and I experienced this so very powerfully through years of infertility & multiple miscarriages. I’d never struggled with the “fairness of God” issue before. I learned that grief is not just sadness. It is pain and it can almost become a garment. YET, His Unseen Presence literally carried me. I sensed Him near me. He loved me, comforted me, and (to my surprise!) was able to handle my frustration with Him. I NEEDED HIM. No one else could comfort my heart like my Divine Cardiologist. He was near to my broken-heart.
Throughout the years, we have walked through a lot of heartbreak with many brothers and sisters. Heart-break is brutal and many times a peppy “Just trust the Lord!” mantra won’t comfort heartbreak. The brokenhearted need comfort from God’s people and from the God of these people. Believers communicating their shared pain brings peace, comfort, and maybe (eventually) healing. We help each other acknowledge our common broken-heart.
God knows all that is the unseen heart of man. He knows the ultimate life of blessing He wants to give us. It’s not just a response of “Well, I guess I needed this trial” that heals the heart. For me, I needed to turn and look at Jesus and say “I don’t get any of this. But, I trust that You do. I hurt but I will follow because you are the Author of Love. I put my heart in your healing hands. Would you put some of Your strength in it?” Then, He did.
- Many of us at Grace Bible Church have loved going deep into our Amos bible study! It’s SO exciting to dive into this powerful Old Testament book! Many of us have studied much of the Bible but had never stepped into Amos. Yet, all of us decided we wanted a new challenge! Why study this book? Amos is sandwiched into a section of Scripture called the “Minor Prophets”. Maybe it’s just me, but I think I avoided this book because it seemed so very “minor”. Can there be anything new to learn here?
YES! The 9 chapters of Amos portray a typical society in human history that had become consumed with its own importance and eventual abandonment of God’s preeminence. Throughout this book, God used Amos to call our attention to the PRIDE of Israel, the IDOLATRY of Israel, the SOCIETAL EVILS of Israel, and the impending JUDGEMENT on Israel. Amos is sent from Judah to Israel to point out the people’s sin and to point up to God’s constant mercy. God shows Himself in this book in fascinating ways. How?
- He is a LION who roars in response to His people’s disobedience.
- He is the divine JUDGE who will call to account His people’s idolatry and subsequent oppression of their fellow men.
- He is the CREATOR who sits above the vaulted sky and orchestrates the symphony of time.
- Finally, He is who He always is–the patient spurned FATHER who asks His people to return to Him because He loves them completely!
This book is so very timely for us.
Whether ancient Israel or Rome or America, the SOCIETAL CYCLE OF IDOLATRY AND OPPRESSION always follows a typical pattern: a society blessed with physical prosperity is often disregards God which leads to neglecting other people. We are forever ignoring what Jesus called the greatest commandments, “to LOVE GOD AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” His judgment is consistently executed on disobedient civilizations. If we are to learn from the book of Amos, we must ask ourselves some questions: How much of the world’s values do we weave into our Christian faith, not realizing we’ve compromised the exclusivity of God and become idolatrous? How much of our society’s love of luxury has wounded fellow human beings made in His image? Finally, how do we get out of this cycle?
SEEK THE LORD. The most glorious and hopeful section of this book centers in Amos chapter 5 where three different times, God offers Israel a divine escape hatch and opportunity for cultural restoration. He offers FULL PARDON, FULL HEALING, and FULL BLESSING if they will seek Him and Him only. He is the Ever Patient One.
The book of Amos will challenge, convict, and renew our hearts. He will enable us to see our culture more clearly & guide us to responding appropriately to His loving leadership. We will see age-old patterns of human (and God’s) history dropped into these 9 chapters and boldly shared by the prophet Amos. Not bad for a “minor” prophet. 🙂
You ready for the challenge? Download this FREE study at www.grace-bible.org!
Tristie Fisher Abby Anderson Perry Carolyn Jones
Amos | Grace Bible Church
This seven lesson study of the Old Testament book of Amos will help you see the heart of God’s just nature and how His relationship with His people can include judgment for corrupt worship, injustice and oppression of the poor. GRACE-BIBLE.ORG