BOOKS & STUFF

WELCOME to a place filled with hope!

Have you ever gotten bogged down in the overwhelming world of Amazon options and reviews? Me, too! I want to help by sharing the books & stuff that encouraged me through emotional turmoil. My confidence in God grew as I learned more about Him. Build your faith and knowledge of our wonderful God, and become convinced of His endless love and grace.

Just a note: Books & Stuff contains some affiliate links for your convenience. For example, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I might earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more. Thank you! Learn more in my Affiliate Disclaimer. All products featured are my personal recommendations and meet my rigorous standards for awesome encouragement. Enjoy!

Biblegateway.com app

I have to admit; I haven’t tried many Bible apps. When I found BibleGateway.com, and the app I use on my iPad, I didn’t look any further.

I am not a technically gifted person, so finding a site easy to navigate and user friendly is important to me. They offer a paid version, but the free one has satisfied me.

What I enjoy most is being able to compare several Bible translations at one time, and searching by book, verse, or keywords. Their site offers a verse of the day, devotionals, and ever-changing menu of study courses.

If you are looking for an easy way to read or study the Bible, or help figure out what translation of the Bible relates best to you, give BibleGateway a try.


Canva.com

This amazing design program is packed with so many ways to be creative. Would you like to take your social media content to a whole new level? Don’t stop there! You can create anything in Canva: invitations, teacher worksheets, videos, slideshows, comic strips, books. The list is endless. They even offer printing services. Make t-shirts and coffee mugs, too.

I enjoy Pinterest and create pins to promote my blog. I’m not exactly technically gifted and was easily frustrated by other design programs. Canva is intuitive, very user friendly, and fun to use.

You can have a free account, but I recommend going Pro. For the monthly price of two coffees, you have access to current-trend templates you can customize with 100+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics to use anywhere and everywhere. Also, they have the training you need to create engaging content.

If you long to create but have yet to sense your God-given abilities, check out Canva. You can get your creativity humming and discover your inner-artist!


the chosen

This program is the first-ever multi-season series about the life of Christ. Currently, with two seasons completed, it is the highest crowd-funded media project of all time. A Hollywood studio or network does not sponsor it.

Dallas Jenkins, son of Jerry Jenkins, writer of the successful Left Behind book series, created the project. Dallas is a writer and the director. They are currently funding and filming season three, and you can access the first two seasons free with their app, or you can purchase DVDs on their website.

The series is, in a single word, incredible. It brings to life what I have only tried to imagine. If you are like me, it is challenging to knowing how things happened at the time Jesus lived on Earth. The quality of the production is impressive and powerful. Unlike a lot of Christian productions, it is not cheesy (sorry, but true). Admittedly, I cry in every episode. You will love watching The Chosen.


The message canvas bible by eugene h. peterson

I enjoy reading The Message Bible because they present it in modern-day language and use easily relatable reference examples. It is fun to read and inspiring in its accessibility to Bible truths.

It helps make the Words of the Bible more personal, allowing God’s promises to get past my mind and down into my soul. With each reading, the cool breeze of understanding and peace gently sweep away the cobwebs of negative thoughts attempting to cloud my mind.

There are many formats, but The Message Canvas Bible is like a ready-made art journal, containing beautiful illustrations for coloring. Bonus! I love anything that adds fun and creativity to my day.

Also, check out The Message Devotional Bible. With notes and reflections by the author, his questions help you understand the context of what you are reading. The back cover encourages us to “Open the door between Scripture and your world.”


holy bible: new living translation by tyndale publishers

The New Living Bible is an update, conducted by over 90 scholars, to the Living Bible, originally published in 1971. The Tyndale Publisher’s website explains the purpose of their efforts to update Biblical truth to modern day language: “Reading God’s Word can be inspiring, instructive, and encouraging. Most of all, it is a means of connecting with God and His power to change your life.”

Often in my devotionals, I quote the Living Bible because I am familiar with it. The New Living Bible, like its predecessor, is very readable. You can spend more time getting to know God and less time trying to figure out what you are reading. I would recommend either version.


God’s word for you series by various authors

God’s Word for You is an excellent series for Bible study. With 19 different authors, each volume covers one book of the Bible verse by verse. Published by The Good Book Company, their website explains the guides as, “Less academic than traditional commentaries, these flexible resources can be read cover-to-cover, used in personal devotions, used to lead small group studies, or used for sermon preparation.”

But don’t let the word “sermon” put you off! Of the few I have read so far (and I hope to complete them all), they are easy to comprehend. As I learned more, I became less intimidated by Bible study. This led to a greater desire to learn and more confidence that I could understand and develop my relationship with a loving God. If you yearn to learn, start here! The link takes you to the Kindle option or you can explore other formats.


God’s wisdom for navigating life by timothy and kathy keller

Written as a daily devotional in the Book of Proverbs, I learned so much I have listed God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life under Bible study.

Timothy Keller is a highly respected pastor in Manhattan. He and his wife, Kathy, communicate in a style that is easy for me to understand and they show how to practice God’s Word in daily life.

If you want to transform the way you live to correspond to God’s instructions, please read this book, and the one to follow.


The songs of jesus by timothy and kathy keller

As with the book on Proverbs, they wrote The Songs of Jesus as a daily devotional in the Book of Psalms. Because each day there are additional scriptural references, and so much information, I wanted to list it under Bible study.

This book influenced the way I approach prayer and praise and to understand that I don’t need to be perfect to receive God’s love and grace. If you need encouragement, help in getting your prayer life started, or understanding the power of praise, I recommend beginning with this book.


hope for each day by billy graham

My love of Billy Graham began as a child, watching him preach to thousands of people on television. A couple of years ago, my life became embroiled in dealing with deep emotional scars I thought were long healed. My search for answers, peace, and wondering where God was in my experience, led me back to Graham’s teachings.

As I struggled to face each morning, Hope for Each Day reassured me that God is still God, and He is with me. Graham gave me hope for each day. This book helped me deepen my personal relationship with God, finding my answers, and beginning my journey to peace.


redeemed:devotions for the longing soul by will graham

After I had completed Hope for Each Day, I began searching for another devotional and discovered Redeemed: Devotions for the Longing Soul by his grandson, Will Graham.

Will writes in an easy-to-understand style, very much like his grandad. I especially appreciated his use of stories about his grandparents to illustrate his points. If you like Billy Graham, you will find encouragement and enjoy Will’s remembrances.


The message: solo women’s devotional by Eugene H. peterson with michelle hindman

The Message: Solo Women’s Devotional, along with Hope for Each Day, saved me from the dark hell of depression. I began each day with these two books, reading, praying, crying, and pleading with God for understanding. Every day, God gave me what I needed to keep going.

Each entry in the Solo Women’s Devotional begins with Bible verses in The Message translation, followed by sections to help you emphasize your reading, thinking, praying and living out these verses. There is room for journaling answers to the questions the co-author asks you to consider.

I highly recommend this devotional. I sincerely believe it will challenge the way you think and you will grow in faith.


The red sea rules and the jordan river rules by robert j. morgan

During my search for an emotional escape plan, I found The Red Sea Rules and The Case for Grace. Both recommendations are filled with examples of God’s endless love and grace. I feel you would have a tough time denying the goodness of God after reading these books.

Robert Morgan is easy to read, relatable, actionable. A year and a half later, I still read the ten Red Sea Rules at least once a week! You will learn new insights into Moses and the crossing of the Red Sea. From the stories and scriptures, we can feel confident God is still acting on our behalf today.

I just began reading Morgan’s follow-up book, The Jordan River Rules. It continues with the story of the Israelites finally taking their Promised Land after 40 years in the desert. I recommend reading The Red Sea Rules first!


the case for grace by lee strobel

Mr. Strobel, an atheist-turned-Christian, is the former award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, and is a New York Times best-selling author of over forty books. As an atheist, he began an extensive research project on the validity of Christianity. Convinced, he has spent his life sharing the proof Christ.

In The Case for Grace, Strobel defines, through real-life stories, true grace. He reassures us, no matter our sins or backgrounds, we can receive and offer grace.

If you have a tendency toward being judgmental of yourself or others, I highly recommend this book.


the powerful purpose of introverts by holly gerth

During the pandemic, I faced the realization that I am a true introvert. Holly’s book helped me understand I don’t need to apologize but fully embrace it! I was like this as a child, but I allowed people, over time, to persuade me I needed to be something else to be successful. Denying your true nature can only lead to continued restlessness, discontent, inner judgements, and depression.

In The Powerful Purpose of Introverts, Holly will show you, through scientific research and God’s Word, that God made you to be you for a powerful purpose. Amen!


100 bible verses everyone should know by heart by robert j. morgan

With each verse Morgan suggests for memorization, he adds history, quotes, and stories of miracles and faith in action. I read it as a kind of devotional. With the suggestions in memorization techniques, I was surprised how quickly I could remember verses.

I highly recommend 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart for encouragement, inspiration, Bible study, and faith building.


the freedom of self-forgetfulness by timothy keller

The title of this book intrigued me. Growing up, I was taught to look out for Number One. If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will. How, in our selfie-driven society, could we possibly forget ourselves? Anyway, doesn’t Jesus say, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”

Within The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Keller explains it all from a biblical perspective. He shows us the difference between self care and selfishness. If we seem stuck in introspection, his teaching is very revealing of our need to change our perspective.


Stampington & co. magazines

I have been a long-time reader of Stampington’s various publications. For more that 25 years, they fill each issue with beautiful photographs and mixed-media storytelling. The company has been a leading source of information and inspiration for arts and crafts lovers, mindful living, and women’s interests, delivering creative DIY content. Here are just a few of their titles:

  • Bella Grace – Devoted to discovering magic in the ordinary, everyday moments.
  • Willow and Sage – Homemade bath and body recipes.
  • Somerset Studio – Play. Create. Be Inspired.
  • Art Journaling – Packed with creative journal prompts, tips, and techniques from the hottest journaling artists.
  • In Her Studio – Spaces and stories of creative women.

Check out Stamptington’s website for special offers on these beautiful and unique publications and other resources. Prepare to be thrilled!


the charm of simple things

This book was a gift from my sister. It is a lovely little volume filled with stories, quotes, and recipes, sprinkled among pretty photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and colorful page designs.

Purely for inspiration, it delights. I use mine as a journal, writing thoughts and prayers in the ample margins. It always brings a smile to my face. I’m looking forward to trying the recipe for Japanese Fruit Pie this fall!


children’s books

I know what you are thinking, children’s books? Yes! When was the last time you browsed the kid section? If you are a parent of youngsters, it may be recently. If not, I challenge you to try it.

I think there is inspiration, delight, and regained perspective from reading children’s books. You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang is great for reminding us about the complications of being judgmental and labeling people by how they look. Christian children’s books are fun for reminding ourselves that Jesus said come to Him as a child. Check out Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science by Louie Giglio and You Are Special by Max Lucado. (Lucado’s message is one we all need!)

I am always amazed at the creativity of children’s books. Take the kid book challenge: find one that delights you and read it frequently!


for king & country

I recently found this Christian pop duo. Joel and Luke are brothers, born in Australia and immigrated to the US as children. Based in Nashville, they have won four Grammy Awards, seven GMA Dove Awards, and a Billboard Music Award. Talented guys!


jason upton

I found Jason’s album Remember during my emotional journey to find peace and healing. One morning during prayer, I cried out to God that I just wanted to be FREE! Music is a significant source of comfort for me, so I began searching my music app. Somehow, no, I believe God led me to this album, and specifically to the song Fly. I can’t describe the sensation I had listening to this song, but deep in my soul I knew God was telling me I was already free by my faith in Him.

I researched Upton to find more of his music, and in my search, I read a story on the recording of Fly. Those who produced the song believe they recorded an angel singing in the background. I will let you search it out and decide for yourself!


mercyme

This Contemporary Christian band began in 1994. They are best known for their song, I Can Only Image, released on their debut album, which received triple platinum certification. The band has won many awards.

In 2018, a movie version of the inspiring true story behind the song, written by lead singer Bart Millard, was released. This song brings tears to my eyes. Every. Single. Time!


steven curtis chapman

I went to my first SC2 concert back in 1993 at Six Flags Over Texas. His career has spanned over 30 years and he is the most awarded artist in Christian Music history. Besides writing songs, he is an author, record producer, actor, and social activist. His lyrics are full of faith and great guitar. Enough said!


third day

Although Third Day called it quits in 2018 after 25 years, they are still one of my all-time favorite Christian Rock bands. I enjoy their classic rock sound and, especially, Mac Powell’s voice. They racked up a bunch of awards, including 10 nods on Billboard Magazine’s Best of the 2000s lists. Mac is currently working on a solo Christian album.

I love so many of Third Day’s worship songs. Check out: Cry Out to Jesus, God of Wonders, Sing A Song, Creed, and Offering.


sailboat church by joan s. gray

I am recommending Sailboat Church to those of you who want to be involved in your church.

Gray explains how the church, and its leadership, should rely on the Holy Spirit’s direction before undertaking internal, community, or outreach endeavors. Insightful, you will understand how some congregations get frustrated and lose sight of their mission. It is also helpful in showing a layperson the things to consider when entering service at church.