The Top 10 Christian books that have changed my life:
1. Boundaries-When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend
This was the first book I read on my journey to healing. It was referred to me by my Christian counselor. My close friend paid for one session for me to attend counseling a long time ago and after my first session my counselor referred this book. If you struggle with having boundaries and have a difficult time saying ‘no’ to people and continually allow others to control you, then this book is for you. This book definitely opened my eyes to how poorly I allowed people to treat me. This book helped empower me to take charge of my life and my happiness.
2. Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't by Henry Cloud, John Townsend
This book is for anyone that has been in a relationship that has wounded and abandoned you deeply. This book explains why we tend to gravitate back and repeat the same mistakes over and over. This book will teach you the 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people, how to make safe choices in relationships, how to identify balanced, nurturing and safe people.
3. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson, Jeff VanVonderen
This book talks about how powerful and manipulative spiritual abuse is to get people to do what is desired of them. Its not just in the church but also in homes. Parents can use spiritual abuse to coerce children into doing what a parent wants. The key to preventing spiritual abuse is balance. Spiritual abuse occurs when religious leaders (parents, pastors, etc) cross the line and violate the healthy boundaries of others, while misusing Scripture to condone their behavior. Many Christians have been wounded by the Church and need God’s healing. This book gives excellent counsel.
4. A Matter of Basic Principles, Bill Gothard & the Christian Life by Don & Joy Veinot, Ron Henzel
This book was very personal to me in that I grew up in the Bill Gothard cult and it had an extremely negative effect on my life. In that my father has extremely chauvinistic, misogynistic authoritarian-style views, this religious cult was a perfect fit for him. Not being allowed to ever watch TV, listen to the radio, date, choose my occupation, college, and being required to have my father ‘approve’ my spouse had a very powerless and hopeless effect on my life. My parents taught that only a ‘man’ was able to hear from God, under Bill Gothard’s “Umbrella of Authority.” A woman (wife or daughter) could not go to God and hear from God regarding His will for your life. Therefore, since I was female, I had to be under my father’s authority and he had to make all decisions on my behalf until I was married, in which I was then required to be under my husband’s authority. I was NEVER allowed to have choices or a voice, which is why I started this ministry (www.ChoicesandaVoice.org). I believe that everyone is entitled to choices and a voice. Just because you are born ‘female’ should not eliminate one’s freedom. Bill Gothard’s “Umbrella of Authority” is definitely NOT biblical and is so destructive to women. This is a cult that clearly attracts misogynistic men. This book was very emotional for me to read, but in the end I was able to obtain healing and sincere pity for any man or woman that is still in bondage to this kind of cultish belief.
The author of this book states, “He (Bill Gothard) is an authoritarian tyrant whose treatment of others is nothing less than oppressive, heartless and cruel. What's so confusing and keeps people coming back is that he can be quite charming and kind at times. When Jesus walked on earth, the greatest problem He had, was with the religious leadership of His day; for although they had an outward display of religious zeal, Jesus pointed out that a heart for God (which should be demonstrated by love for others) was sadly lacking in their lives. This error was so serious that Christ considered them His enemies - they later confirmed their "enemy" status by openly turning on Him and putting him to death.”
5. Christian Men Who Hate Women by Dr. Margaret J. Rinck
This book was very beneficial to helping me understand my childhood and mostly why my father was the way he was. This book addresses the terrible bondage that misogynistic (men who hate women) behavior causes. It addresses why Christian women love men who hate them. For men and women afflicted by misogyny, this book offers hope for reversing deeply rooted patterns of relating to and coping with cruelty.
6. Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
This book explains our purpose here on earth and God’s reasons for creating us. This book will give you a purpose, hope, and insight to God’s amazing plan for your life. It will help you focus your energy, simplify your decisions, and prepare you for eternity. I would highly recommend this book!
7. Love is a Choice-Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships by Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth, M.D., Paul Meier, M.D.
If you suffer from co-dependency at all, then you will greatly benefit from this book. I had been raised in a home with alcoholic parents (before they became religious) when I was young and an extremely abusive authoritarian father (even after he became a Christian). I found myself to be quite co-dependent and not understanding why I was a magnet for people with problems. In all my relationships I seemed to automatically step in and solve people’s problems and never had anyone to ever step in and help me when in need. It seemed to leave a very empty hole in my life. I have learned how to have healthy boundaries and change unhealthy behaviors in my life. I would highly recommend this book.
8. The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman, Ph. D, Ross Campbell, M.D.
This is a great book if you have children. It goes into detail about the 5 love languages that people/children have, which are quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Since we don’t all have the same love language, this book helps us to understand all 5 love languages to we can meet our children’s deepest emotional need of feeling loved.
9. Grace-based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel
This is another must-read for Christian parents. In a world that mainly focuses on performance, this book offers a much needed perspective of grace. The author talks about the 3 essential needs in a child’s life, which are security, significance and strength. It will help any parent keep their focus on teaching character rather than focusing on performance only. Today, so many parents are trying to raise the ‘super child’ who excels at every sport, gets excellent grades and keeps their rooms perfectly clean! It helps keep parents focused on what really matters, which is developing Godly character in our children.
10. God Calling by A.J. Russell
This is one of the most encouraging delightful devotionals I have ever read. I take this book with me everywhere, even on vacation. It was written by two women who chose to remain anonymous. They lived together in England in the 1930s. The insight, wisdom and encouragement that these two women offer in their writings is extremely profound . I dearly love this book!
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