Heaven Rules by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
What I appreciated about this book is how much heart was behind it. Wolgemuth did not write this book because a publisher asked her to or because it was time to pump out another one. She wrote it out of the overflow what God did in her own heart. We will all remember the difficulties of 2020, but quarantines and face masks were just the tip of the iceberg for Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth. On top of the pandemic, they also dealt with Robert’s two separate cancer diagnoses during that year. Born out of that crucible comes Heaven Rules, centered on the book of Daniel and pointing the reader to God’s sovereign rule in the midst of personal, political, or global upheaval.
When Strivings Cease by Ruth Chou Simons
Ruth Chou Simons knows something about striving. She understands a performance-based lifestyle and mindset and has written a book about her own journey from the slavery of perfectionism to the rest found in Gospel grace. While she writes about her own experiences, When Strivings Cease doesn’t feel self-indulgent or pretentious. Simons is able to navigate telling her own story with sharing truth winsomely and wisely. If you struggle with what Simons calls “the gospel of self-improvement,” this book is for you.
Blessed: Experiencing the Promise of the Book of Revelation by Nancy Guthrie
It’s the book everyone wants to learn about but no one wants to teach about: Revelation. If you find yourself scared to tackle a study through Revelation (as a student or teacher), give this book a try. You probably won’t agree with Guthrie’s take on everything (I didn’t), but you will appreciate her ability to demystify what seems to many as totally incomprehensible. In her typical conversational tone, Guthrie walks readers through the last book of the Bible to help them understand the structure and major themes of the book as well as making relevant application along the way. She won’t answer all of your interpretive questions—and that’s not her goal—but she will help give you confidence as a student of the book of Revelation.
Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa Kruger
If you, like me, think that this book will give you the why’s and how’s of mentoring, you will be disappointed. Kruger covers her philosophy of mentoring briefly in the introductory chapters, but states clearly that isn’t her purpose in writing. If you are mentoring someone, or would like to but don’t know what you’re supposed to talk about, Kruger’s book is exactly what you’re looking for. The topics she covers, such as prayer, the church, and evangelism, would be helpful in discipling a new believer or provide a springboard for conversation with a Christian hungry to grow in their faith. A wise, godly woman, Kruger provides a helpful resource for mentors looking for a little direction.
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
For fiction fans, here’s one of the best I read this year. Set in California in the early 20th century, The Nature of Fragile Things tells the story of Sophie Hocking, an Irish immigrant who answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride from a widower with a young daughter. Not surprisingly, the marriage doesn’t have a fairy tale ending. Sophie navigates the truth about her husband, the possibility of losing his child whom she has come to love, an earthquake that destroys the landscape of San Francisco, and a police investigation into her past.
While this book is very clean in content, I would warn readers for whom it might be a trigger that The Nature of Fragile Things contains a description of an abusive relationship, though it’s not gratuitous or graphic in its details.