We believe it is important to continue to learn and grow in our faith. Our main source for growing in the Lord is by reading His Word, praying and seeking wisdom (which He promises to give us when we seek Him for it.)
It is also beneficial to our spiritual growth when we glean from the wisdom God has granted others in this Christian walk. One of God’s many blessings to us is the availability we have to learn from other pastors and believers. Here we are posting some recent books that we have enjoyed. Below are some new Christian books recommended by our team:
1. Unstoppable by Christine Caine:
In Unstoppable, Christine Caine mesmerizes us with true stories and eternal principles that equip us to run the race we were born to win, receiving and releasing the baton of faith in sync with our team, the body of Christ.
2. The Story of Marriage by John Bevere:
In The Story of Marriage, John and Lisa Bevere invite you to rediscover God’s original plan. Whether you’re married, single, or engaged, your story is a part of His.
3. Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions by Tim Keller:
In Encounters with Jesus, A renowned pastor Timothy Keller explores Jesus’ answers to life’s biggest questions by showing what happened to those who met Jesus personally.
In Love Does, there are light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.
5. Girls with Swords by Lisa Bevere
In Girls with Swords, Lisa Bevere explains a spiritual enemy is seeking to disarm women on every level.
We also have other blogs on the website with suggested reading by topic. A few of those include:
1. Parenting books for all stages.
2. Streams in the Desert – devotional
3. The Jesus Answer - biblically based answers to the most commonly asked questions about the life and person of Jesus
4. Gary Chapman education – learning to grow as a friend, spouse and do relationships better
5. Christmas Movie - The perfect gift is a wonderful christian movie
6. Soul Surfer – Looking for an uplifting hollywood movie that shows the Christian life? You’ll love Soul Surfer.
David wrote Psalm 119 and included a powerful example for us: when we know God’s word (hide it in our hearts) we recall it in times where we are tempted to sin. I know this to be true in my life. Moments when I’m discouraged I remember verses about how treasured I am, and that God calls me his child. In moments when I get angry, I recall verses about being slow to anger (James 1:19) and in my anger do not sin (Ephesians 4:26).
Often, we post verses as blogs at ACL that we think you would be wise to memorize. This is one of those posts.
A few tricks I’ve learned over the years to help are: 1. Write the verses on my mirror at home with a dry erase marker. 2. Print the verses out and keep on my desk at work and in my car. 3. Set calendar reminders to read that week’s verse.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Psalms 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Hiding God’s Word in our hearts allows us to remember God’s perfect word in the times when the enemy seeks to steal the truth from us. Make the effort to begin today!
What are some of the tricks you’ve used to memorize scripture?
I once heard my pastors compare his job to a waiter. He said his main role was to serve good food to us.
Check out these 10 inspirational quotes from pastors that we love. Our prayer is that they will satisfy your appetite!
1. Andy Stanley
“when…God initiated his relationship with mankind, it didn’t begin with a command; it began with an invitation: will you trust me?” – Andy Stanley Quote
2. Perry Noble
“Every number has a name! Every name has a story! Every story matters to God!” – Perry Noble quote
3. Mark Driscoll
“Dead faith rooted in morality, religion, spirituality, or tradition is fruitless. Only faith rooted in Jesus will produce lasting fruit.” – Mark Driscoll quote
4. Timothy Keller
“Religion says, ‘I obey; therefore I am accepted.’ Christianity says, ‘I’m accepted, therefore I obey.” – Tim Keller quote
5. David Platt
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” – David Platt quote
6. Chuck Swindoll
“God often turns tragedies into yet another opportunity for spiritual growth. ” – Chuck Swindoll quote
7. Mark Batterson
“You cannot be in the presence of God and be bored at the same time. For that matter, you cannot be in the will of God and be bored at the same time.” – Mark Batterson quote
8. Max Lucado
“Haven’t you shouldered that guilt long enough? Let grace happen for heaven’s sake. ” – Max Lucado quote
9. Christine Caine
“Life is too short, the world is too big and God’s love is too great to live ordinary.” – Christine Caine quote
10. Lisa Bevere
“Jesus did not go around “being good”; he went around “doing good” and releasing all who were oppressed. What has he anointed you to do?” ” – Lisa Bevere quote
Who are some of your favorite pastors to listen to? Do you have a favorite inspiring quote?
Out of more than 31,000 verses in the Bible, we selected these wonderful 15 Bible verses for scripture memorization. We hope you print them out and take them with you to remember and memorize. Feel free to Pin them and come back later if that works well for you.
1. 1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
2. Isaiah 41:1
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
3. Galatians 1:15
Before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.
4. Isaiah 45:2
I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight.
5. Matthew 19:26
With God all things are possible.
6. Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
7. Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
8. James 1:19
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
9. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
10. Luke 18:1
Always pray and never give up.
11. Matthew 28:20
I am with you always.
12. Numbers 23:19
God keeps his word.
13. Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
14. Matthew 9:29
Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”
15. Proverbs 16:9
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Leave us a comment with the verses you recommend for us to have on our next scripture memory blog post.
Will you take 5 minutes to learn about what each of them do?
1. A21 Campaign
Equip people to help in the fight against slavery.
2. Blue Skies Ministries
Work: Blue Skies offers week long family retreats to bring the hope of Christ to families living through the challenges of pediatric cancer. Our hope is that children who are sick will laugh and play again; that siblings, who often compete with illness, will feel cherished and valued; and, that marriages and families will be renewed and strengthened.
Where: Southern United States
3. The 3:15 project
Work: The 3:15 Project empowers and challenges people to write a short testimony, record it on video and share it on the internet where God can use it to reach people in times and places otherwise impossible. The participant grows by going through the process an intentional and reverent process.
Where: United States
4. Care for Aids
Opportunities to serve:
If you have wanted to do a mission trip to Kenya, I highly recommend them. I have 5 friends who have gone on mission trips with Care for Aids and had their own lives changed.
5. Amazima Ministries
6. END IT Movement
Work: The End It Movement has a simple goal – make it known that slavery still exist in the world today. They have partnered with many organizations who are doing the work to help end slavery, but after hearing these organizations tell them over and over that people are unaware – they set out with a mission to tell the world!
7. Nightlight international
NightLight’s mission is to do “whatever it takes” to affect change within the global sex industry.
8. She Is Safe
Work: Preventing sex trafficking all over the world. Educating girls. Restoring women after tragic times.
Website: sheissafe.org Visit the Resist the darkness campaign and your donations will be matched.
9. Samaritan’s Purse
Work: Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
10. Compassion International
Work: Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
Social Media: Compassion Facebook
11. Hope for the Children of Haiti
Work: Hope for the Children of Haiti is called by God to give Haitian children the opportunity to become well-rounded adults who are self-sufficient in Christ.
12.Wears Valley Ranch
Work: Wears Valley Ranch provides Christian homes, education, and counseling to children in crisis situations. Our vision is to see each child inspired to follow Christ, healed from the past, and equipped to reach their potential.
Where: Sevierville, Tennessee
Wears Valley Facebook
13. Hope International
14. Living On the Edge
Work: Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Founded by pastor and author Chip Ingram, the ministry provides Biblical teaching and practical tools that help believers live out their faith on a daily basis by fulfilling God’s calling on their life.
15. Radical Mentoring
Work: Our vision is for believers to follow Christ’s instruction to create disciples in His name. We do this by enlisting older, wiser, Christ-followers (mentors) to focus on intentional mentoring relationships with younger men (mentees) that challenge, inspire, and encourage them to be better husbands, fathers, and leaders in their businesses, churches and communities.
16. Angel Tree
Work: Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, reaches out to the children of inmates and their families with the love of Christ. This unique program gives your church an opportunity to share Christ’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.
Truths to hold onto about the One true God:
1.He is Sovereign. He is Lord over all and there is nothing that is not in His control.
2. He is Good. God doesn’t use his control for evil- instead He works all things to His good and perfect will (even our rebellion and sin.)
So not only can we trust Him and rest in His plan, we can count on it…
What do you need to hand over control to today?
Last year we posted a question on Mothers day on one of our Facebook pages. The responses from mothers had a bit of a theme: “recognize how much I do around here.”
A buzz word right now in the business world is “employee engagement” which comes down to recognition, rewards, appreciation and support. The needs of everyone in the home are not so different (after all we are the same people with the same emotional needs as the business world.) What if we took a small page out of a business playbook and applied some of the lessons they are learning about the needs of people within our relationships at home?
It is going to start with you. Yes- you. You have the ability to start changing the culture in your home by being the example. Start by saying things like “Thank you for ___” or “I really appreciate all the time you spend doing ____.” Take a little time to think of the things that your family are doing – the things you probably haven’t really thought about before and TELL THEM. All of us need to know that we are appreciated, and you can be the encouraging light in the home. You can start a new tradition of showing gratitude. You can make it normal to start that pattern of noticing all the things mom does (or dad, or siblings, etc).
- mention something specific that she did
- mention something recent (within the last week)
- when she says “you don’t have to thank me for ___” respond with ”I know, but I want to”
Give Mom what she really wants this Mothers Day. Tell her how much you appreciate her. Be specific with examples that you took the time to notice. That will be a gift that lasts in her heart much longer than you realize.
There are thousands of books on parenting. Even if you had time to read them all (and what parent does) you wouldn’t want to read most of them. Authentic Christian Living has put together a few categories of Christian parenting books to help narrow down what to read and what you can skip over. All the books below link to Amazon where you can review the details a little closer. No book is perfect, but we think each of these books are amazing and would help grow any parent.
As you grow and learn as a parent, we hope that you are doing so in the light and love of your heavenly father. Know that as you raise up these precious children of yours that He beams with fatherly pride at the person you are choosing to grow and become. Let us continue to seek to be closer to Christ, more like Christ and to grow as parents who teach their children about Christ.
Books on Fatherhood:
Birds & Bees conversations:
Of course, we also believe that great parenting comes from putting your marriage first. There are a lot of great marriage books out there, but here are a few that we highly recommend…
We also have reviewed a few books for single parents. Here are some great options for you to read:
Step parents and blended families:
Remembering what you read
Now that you know just what to put on the nightstand to continue learning and growing as a parent, we ask that you pass on the wisdom! Donate any books you’ve got collecting dust to your church, goodwill, local library, friend or other parent that would enjoy them.
We also suggest a little organization to your reading. Take the time when you finish a book to do a 1 page summary with your favorite takeaways. This will help you in the future remember what you thought of the book, what points you need to remember and help you decide at some point if you want to read it again. Writing a summary also helps you remember the book in the short term, what the key take-away’s that apply to your life will be and help you think to implement them in your life.
Be an active reader. Take notes in the margins, highlight favorite lines, book ear pages that you want to come back to in the future… this is especially true for reading books on parenting because you may want to pass the book to your spouse. This gives them a chance to see what was meaningful to you. (Even if you are a single parent- you may want to pass the book on to someone you are dating or when you get married.) Taking notes and highlighting reinforces what you read to your mind. It also lets you come back later and skim a book that you’ve already read. Finally, being an active reader will help you write your summary.
Let us know what you think of the Parenting Books we’ve recommended in the comments below.
There are days when we need reminders on how to love well. We often post encouragement and hope on our support marriage Facebook page. Here are some that we have recently posted. Keep them nearby as a reminder or Pin them to your pinterest so you can see them again.
1. Be the person you want to be married to.
This came from a simple idea similar to the golden rule. We all have expectations of others. Often these lead to disappointment. The truth is, it isn’t logical to be mad at another for something they never agreed to. Often our expectations are not only not something our spouse agreed to, but we haven’t even communicated it! Instead of building up expectations of the other, lets be awesome DOERS of love and BE the kind of person that YOU would want to be married to.
2. If you can’t be kind, be quiet.
What a wonderful habit to get into. Proverbs 12:18 says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” When you begin to pray and ask God to change your thoughts and how you see your spouse, you will notice that your words to them also begin to change. Let’s build up our marriages. Become an expert in the strengths of your spouse.
3. Your love should drive your spouse closer to Christ.
Is your sport and encouragement bringing your spouse toward Christ? Or do you push them away from Him?
It can be little things like wanting to watch movies or TV shows that push us away from God – or it could be our attitude and mood…there are so many ways we can pull one another away from the Lord. Seek to find ways to be a light to your spouse and gently show them the light of Jesus.
4. Covenant Love
The love you share with your spouse, isn’t like any other kind of love. It isn’t the same as brotherly love, or friendship, or romance – there is some of all of those kinds of love within it… but it is so much more. Covenant love isn’t dependent on the other person. Once we make a vow – that is our word to our spouse, and it is not based on their actions, feelings, mood, health… etc.
Covenant love says “I will, even when you won’t.” It says “I do, even if you don’t.” Covenant love is beautiful and powerful and a glimpse at the way God is faithful to us.
1 Corinthians 13:4 – Bible
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
5. To have and to hold… Forever
Did you say something like this to your spouse: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.”
Take some time and write out your vows to your spouse again. Put them somewhere that you will see them often and renew the promise in your heart.
6. Walking together for a lifetime
God made Eve from Adam’s rib. He put her by his side. Adam is not in front of Eve, nor is he behind her, rather God intended Adam to walk alongside Eve. Yes, Adam is to gently lead Eve and take responsibility for their family. God called men to lead our families as a way to give order to the home (anything with 2 heads is a monster.) It isn’t about men being more important or more valuable- it is about order. The same way that order is needed in the military, you can’t say that a soldier is less important than a captain…both are needed and valued! However, we need order and headship provides that order in our families.
7. Speak my love language
What is your the love language that your spouse needs from you? Learn to speak their love languages (most of us have 2 primary). You should be an expert in how they receive and give love, take the time to learn them…
8. Be a moment maker – create lasting memories together
When we take the time to plan memorable trips & special dates. Say all the things that you would wish you had said if you lost your chance. Be a great moment creator. It takes planning, effort and prioritizing.
9. Be wise in choosing who you you listen to.
Counseling is a great source of help during troubled times, however be sure to ask your counselor if they believe in divorce. Unless you hear an emphatic “no” keep looking. We hear countless stories of couples who have made it through the hardest of times.
Please Pin any of these posts that you need help remembering in your own life.
Have you ever thought: “I just don’t love my husband any more.” “I’m just not attracted to my wife anymore.” “My life would be so much better if I was married to _____.” “I wish I lived like _____”? You know how you’re “supposed to act” towards your spouse but it’s just so hard, and it doesn’t feel like things will ever change. The good news is that these feelings will not stay around forever. That marriage love will come back. The better news is that we can give you some tips that we’ve seen bring an incredible joy and love into hundreds of relationships.
Plug the holes in your cup
Picture a big glass cup in your kitchen. No, not the dirty one that’s on the counter – a clean one. Let’s imagine that this cup holds all of the love you could possibly have for your spouse. Now, let’s imagine that there’s a small hole on the bottom of the cup and a few more on the sides.
These holes are there in our real life too and the sooner we patch them, the easier it is for the cup to refill.
- Stop focusing on your past mistakes: This is one that is really hard for me personally. I’ve messed up so many times my family and friends could write a book – maybe even several books. If you’re a Christian, you know you’re saved by grace, but there’s also a little voice that likes to remind us of our pasts. Focusing on your past mistakes actually makes it more likely to repeat them and others. Stop it! You may still have to deal with the consequences of your past actions, but you have to decide to believe God’s promise of grace. For me, this often comes from talking to Father about it and listening to His answer.
- Change the station: This includes TV shows, the radio station and the movies you and your family watch. Without realizing it, the toxic relationships and actions we see and hear in these seep into our cup and pollute our thinking. Be very intentional in finding shows and movies that support positive relationships. For music, turn to K-LOVE. Google K-Love or search for it on your phone’s app store.
- Choose whom you listen to: Everyone likes to give advice (my hand is raised right now too), so whom do you listen to? For me, an easy guide is to look at the person’s life. Would you want their life? Are their relationships healthy? If you want to rebuild your love for your spouse, listen to the people that have the relationships that you’d like to see in your house. Listen to those that are open to exposing the cold seasons and downturns, not just the joyous time they may be in right now.
Increase the positive flow
- Spend more time with Father: If you’re only source of meaning and love is your spouse and your children, you will be crushed whenever it feels like they turned on you. Spend time in Scripture, talking to and listening to God. His view of you never changes and He loves to boast on His children.
- Doing things side-by-side: Take a few hours and make a list of all the things in your area that your spouse would like doing, even better if you’d like doing them too. I mean make a long list. Play tourist, find those hiking trails, pick up a bocce ball set for the park, ask friends and Google for community events in the next four months. Now, put some time on the calendar to spend some time side-by-side with your spouse. It’s easy to fall into the same routine and just sit around the house. This will take away those excuses and side-by-side time is VERY important.
- Intentional time with couples that have strong marriages: Think about the people in your life and community that are maybe a little older than you in terms of your marriage that have strong marriages. Talk to them; ask them to one of those activities; make time for them. This step is hard. People have busy lives and are sometimes reluctant, but stay diligent in it.
- Prayerfully serve: Nothing transforms a marriage and our feelings like serving with our spouse. What is a need in your community that you, your spouse and maybe even your entire family could meet? Serving at a food pantry, volunteering to lead a small group with a local church, taking care of the lawn for an elderly neighbor? It’s less important the “what” and more important that you pick something for the next 3-6 months and start.
Many people will tell you that you can’t fall back in love with your spouse, but that just doesn’t match with reality, with God’s Word or with the stories of couples that have been married 50+ years. The initial “in love” feelings only last a few years at first, and our relationships tend to go through highs and lows. The good news is that learning a few news skills and having the motivation to use them can drastically shorten any of the lows in your marriage.
Let us know how refilling your cup goes and find more tips on your marriage on twitter @SupportMarriage and on Facebook at Marriage is Forever.
Please share this post with your friends. New skills plus a little motivation can change tomorrow.