For me, reading is among the most important means of grace. This year, I am resolved to devote more time to reading books and learn from godly men and women who were given to the church to edify young believers and moms like me. These are the books that I plan to tackle in 2017. I chose ones which were written for areas I badly need to improve on. 🙂
The Yearly Must-Read: The Bible
This year, I am doing the 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan. 5x5x5 is less daunting compared to Bible reading plans that I’ve followed in the past (90 Day Bible Reading Challenge, Prof. Grant Horner Bible Reading System, and Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Calendar). The scope will just be the New Testament and the plan is to read a chapter per day, five days a week. The two days will be devoted to more reflection and other books.
I chose the 5x5x5 because I want to go beyond reading. During the past years, I’ve spent more than an hour a day just reading. Truly, the fast pace gave me a bird’s eye view of the Bible. This year, I’d like to do slower, more focused study each day.
Still unsure of your Bible Reading schedule this year? You may want to check this link for suggestions.
Motherhood/Parenting: Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook by Sonya Shafer
One of our family’s priority is to instill godly character in our children through habit training. Thus, we are excited to try the method laid out by the British educator Charlotte Mason. I’ve purchased Sonya Shafer’s Laying Down the Rails e-book which identifies and compiles all the habits mentioned in Charlotte Mason’s six-volume series. Shafer suggests not reading the entire book at once as it can get pretty overwhelming. Instead, she recommends that we go through the list of all habits and rank each one according to perceived importance. Once the core habits are chosen, we will read the portion corresponding to the first habit and apply it. Once the habit is established (around 1.5 to 2 months), we read and move on to the second habit. This is what I plan to do.
Justification and Sanctification: Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges
Jerry Bridge’s Pursuit of Holiness is among my favorite books and I was excited to find another one from him in BookSale. Hopefully, this book will give me a fresh vision of grace and strengthen my resolve to live a life set apart for my King.
Personal Holiness/Sanctification: Holiness by JC Ryle
I’ve started reading this in 2016 but I dropped out after reading the preface and the first chapter. I’ll give it another go and hopefully finish it this year.
Financial Stewardship: Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn
Aside from the Bible, this is the only book which I will be re-reading. I was tremendously blessed by this little gem in 2015 and I believe I need to re-learn the kingdom principles for faithful financial stewardship.
Theology: Westminster Shorter Catechism by CI Williamson
This year, I will attempt to dig deeper into the Westminster Confession of Faith through this book. I want to, hopefully, read and study this with my kids.
Gospel/Justification: The Gospel’s Power and Message by Paul Washer
I used to think that the Gospel is just for unbelievers but thankfully God opened my eyes to see its magnificence and beauty as well as it’s relevance in all of Christian life. I know that no book can ever contain all the mystery and glory of God revealed in the coming, dying, and resurrection of Christ. The Gospel is a fusion of God’s wisdom and love and it just becomes more and more precious to me. I need the Gospel daily! I have been greatly blessed by the ministry of the book’s author Paul Washer and my hope is to be drawn more to God through this.
And probably, lots of children’s book with and for my kids.
I hope that this year will be an intellectually fruitful one for me. More than ever, I am seeing the danger of accumulating Biblical/theological knowledge without a change in my affections and actions. And so, I pray to grow in wisdom, “in grace and in the knowledge” of my Lord and Savior.
I’ll end with a quote worth pondering from Spurgeon:
Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.
. . .
We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” — join in the cry.
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