10 Favorite Books from 2022
Winter is coming. Days are shorter, evenings are longer. It’s the best time of year to read a good book. Also, Christmas is coming. If you know another avid reader, what better gift than a really great book?
This past year I read voraciously as usual. Here are my favorites. I hope you find one that you will enjoy and perhaps one you can share with a friend.
Each book title has a hyperlink to Amazon for your convenience. I do not receive any compensation from anyone if you buy because of the link.
True Stories that Inspire
Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown, by Eric Blehm
This book gave me an entirely new concept of God’s calling on people’s lives. For the first time I understood that God gifts people for special callings, and it is not limited to pastors, teachers, doctors, or nurses. God obviously gifted and called Adam Smith to be a highly trained special forces soldier.
Adam Brown was fearless and fiercely protective from the moment he started walking. All through school he protected the defenseless, befriended all, and loved to perform daring acts to test his physical abilities. He was a leader who inspired his football team to achieve their best.
Once he graduated from high school, things changed. He went from being a big fish in a little pond in his small town to a little fish on a big university campus. His identity crumbled and he lost his way. His life spiraled out of control into meth addiction. His downward spiral drove his parents to seek the Lord and a church family. The combined prayers of his parents and their church community eventually led to his conversion and a firm reliance on God. The story of how he fought his way out of drug addiction through the power of God, family, and a faithful wife, eventually becoming a member of the elite Seal Team Six, is amazing, gripping, and inspirational. Plus, you get an inside look at seal training and missions.
Nerves of Steel: How I Followed My Dreams, Earned My Wings, and Faced My Greatest Challenge, by Captain Tammie Jo Shults
Tammie Jo dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot in an era when women were not accepted into the fraternity of fighter pilots. She shares the incredible story of how her dependence on God allowed her to be able to keep trying until the Navy finally allowed her to begin pilot training. But the road was filled with potholes and all manner of obstacles. Using God as her greatest confidant and shield, she continued to train and rise through the ranks of the fighter pilot world in spite of those who tried to stop her.
When she was treated unfairly, discriminated against, etc., instead of getting mad and fighting, she wrote all her frustrations, trials, and disappointments out in a journal to God and left them in His hands. She shows the true value of “casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you.” As a result, God was often able to use the very things others intended to destroy her career to prepare her for the greatest challenge of her life—safely landing a Boeing 737 after the engine blew up, tearing away whole sections of the aircraft. Because of her training, and her habit of always turning to God for strength and wisdom, she was able to land an aircraft that technically was not flyable. Her story has much to teach about truly relying on God in difficult places. Well written and a delight to read.
Jumping Through Fires: The Gripping Story of One Man’s Escape from Revolution to Redemption, by David Nasser
David Nasser and his family escaped Iran during the religious revolution of 1980. He came away from that experience hating religion because of the horror of what it did to Iran and the people he loved. Eventually, they came to the US where David had to learn English and how to fit into the American culture that was decidedly anti-Iranian at the time. It was a long painful process that eventually led him down the road of drugs and alcohol. But then a group of Christian youth basically love him into a relationship with God.
David tells his story with candor, balance, and hope. His eventual conversion and journey to successful pastoring is filled with honesty, humor, and valuable insight into soul-winning. Never preachy, always humble, and down to earth. I actually read this one twice.
Dividing Sword, by Katrina D. Hamel
Beth and Reuben grow up near the sea of Galilee. They are best friends. But when Reuben chooses to become a Pharisee in order to escape the life of a fisherman, they part ways. When Jesus comes on the scene, Beth is drawn to the Savior and ends up following Him on His travels around Israel. Reuben sees Jesus as a threat to all that he has achieved and to the religion that should be uniting Israel. Watching both of their lives unfold in response to the choices they make illustrates Jesus’ iconic statement, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” But the ending will surprise you. Well researched and a good, thought-provoking read.
Biblical Studies in Laymen’s Terminology
This book was a surprise. I expected a complicated theological treatise on the book of Genesis. However, it turned out to be very interesting and easy to read even though it delves into some heavy topics. Though deep, the truths are presented in such clear, simple language that they are easy to grasp and a pleasure to read. It is obvious that the author spent a lot of time meditating on and studying the book of Genesis. He shares powerful insights into the key stories from Creation to Abraham. If you want to dive deeper into Genesis, this book will not disappoint.
Crazy Faith: It’s Only Crazy Until It Happens, by Mike Todd Jr.
Faith is such a key topic for Christians and yet so nebulous. To be honest, I am still digesting this one. I am on my second time through it. Mike Todd’s presentation is practical, biblically based, and at times, downright funny. He has a way of using the ordinary to illustrate hard-to-understand concepts and then tell just the right story to drive it home. If you are looking to understand faith better and grow your relationship with God, you will enjoy this one.
The Refiner’s Fire, by Gavin Anthony
Gavin Anthony uses his own Job-like experience to explore the theme of affliction, pain, and disappointment in life. Using solid biblical research and well-selected anecdotes, he challenges us to look at the trials in our lives from a whole new perspective and to allow God to use them to refine us to reflect His image more fully. Well worth the read for anyone wanting to take their spiritual life to the next level.
Strengthen Your Marriage
In Unison: The Unfinished Story of Jeremy and Adrienne Camp, by Jeremy and Adrienne Camp
Jeremy Camp (who wrote the song “I Still Believe”) and his wife Adrienne share honestly about their struggles in marriage and how keeping God at the center of their lives allowed Him to reveal healthy ways to overcome their differences. They provide tools as well as questions for reflection that will help you look at your issues from a whole new perspective. This book highlights how a successful marriage between a man and a woman is possible only as each one fully submits to Jesus and seeks His will for their lives. It inspired me to seek God with my whole heart in all circumstances and all relationships in my life. If you’re looking for a highly God-centered book on the marriage relationship, this is a sure bet.
9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, by Sheila Wray Gregoire
I wish this book had been around when I first got married. Sheila Wray Gregoire has written another powerful book to help marriages thrive. Primarily for women (though I think men can benefit from reading it as well), she addresses nine negative thinking traps that women can (and often do) fall into and ways to overcome them. Biblically centered, honest, and straight from her heart to ours. This book is a must-read for newlyweds or pre-newlyweds, and a game changer even for those of us who have been on this journey for a while.
Marriage Under Cover: Thriving in a Culture of Quiet Desperation, by Bob & Audrey Meisner
I was first introduced to Bob and Audrey Meisner’s inspiring story when they shared their testimony with Priscilla Shirer on one of her shows. Captivated, I went looking for a book that detailed their story and their road to healing.
Bob and Audrey were both in full-time ministry. They thought because they were serving God, their marriage was secure. But in a season of intense activity, Audrey had an affair. Their choice to remain together and do the hard work to rebuild their marriage is astounding in its raw, painful honesty. However, it reveals God’s amazing power to heal. Their story is a living example of what God wishes to do for each one of us in saving us from ourselves and restoring marriages. Profound spiritual insights displayed in a real-life situation. Good for your spiritual walk with God. Good for your marriage. This is not recreational reading. It is a soul-searching one.
Did you read a book this year that you would highly recommend? Send me an email and let me know. Or put the title in the comments below so others can see it too.
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