Books That Impacted Me Most in 2013

I enjoy reading and am an avid reader, but my ability to retain what I have read is minimal.  However, every once in a while, there is one book that has a message that sticks with me, impacts me, changes me.  Scanning through the list of books I read in 2013 (somewhere around 80), I can narrow down to five books that impacted me most:

1.  Accidental Pharisees, by Larry Osborne

This book is phenomenal in that it set me free in areas that I had not even realized I had been captivated.  If I had prided myself of overcoming a legalistic upbringing, this book showed me the new traps in our culture today that I had not recognized as being equally legalistic.  Larry Osborne opened my eyes to see how readily we embrace the worst of sinners but snub the weak believers.  There is no shortage of unhealthy Christians, myself included.  He also helped me to accept that my gifts and calling may not match the flavor of the day, and that is not something I should feel guilty about.  I read this book early in 2013 and I want to read it again.

For more on this book, read my review at : "Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith - Book Review"

2.  Reclaiming Love, by Ajith Fernando

Ajith Fenando showed me how to view the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 in a whole new way, the way God intended. Before, I had limited the application of this chapter to marriage, but he opened my eyes to see how it is meant to live the life of love as Jesus did.  He showed me how to handle the weaknesses of others so that I can get on with the business of loving them and enjoying them.  I know I could still practice this more.  I should re-read this book too.

For more on how this book impacted me, read my review at: "Reclaiming Love: Radical Relationships in a Complex World - Book Review."

3. The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, by Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight, professor of religious studies, profoundly changed my view of the Bible and the Bible's relationship to me in knowing God.  He showed me that our relationship to the Bible should actually a relationship with the God of the Bible. He challenged the "authority approach" to the Bible that I was raised with, pointing out that the Bible is far more than submitting to an authority. Anyone who describes their relationship as such is missing something.  King David in Psalm 119 declares that God's words are delightful and he delights in them (rather than saying he submits to them, which sounds much colder).  You can read more of my thoughts on the blog post inspired by this book at:  "Are You a Bible Worshiper?"

4.  Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman

I picked up this devotional in a library book sale (fill-a-bag for $5).  I had never heard of it before, but as I opened and read the first week of devotions, I realized I held a treasure to be cherished. Much to my delight, six months later I discovered my friend Faith had been reading it too, and we both found strength and hope from this woman who compiled her favorite writings in 1925 while caring for her ill husband.  I am reading it again in 2014.

My blog posts inspired by this book: Sips from Streams in the Desert

5.  Banished, by Lauren Drain with Lisa Pulitzer

Lauren Drain's memoir helped me to see people as individuals in need of Jesus and His work on the cross, even people who misrepresent Him and hate others.  As a former member of the Westboro Baptist cult, she tells of her teenage years seeking acceptance, questioning, and eventual banishment from the cult and from her family. While by far not a great work of literature, her story touched me and changed me.  

My blog post inspired by this book and the ways it changed me are at: "Loving the Haters: a Changed Perspective"


  1. I loved 'Streams in the Desert' too. What a wonderful devotional! 'Banished' sounds really good. I'll have to pick that one up at the library. Thanks for sharing these books that inspired you Paula.

    Happy New Year! : )

    1. Thanks Cathy! God bless you and happy new year to you too!

  2. Looks like a good list, none of which I've read, but all of which I think I need to.

    I remember now that I owe a response to a post your daughter made on my blog. I need to go back and find it ... I'm sorry I neglected that.

    Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year.


    1. I thought maybe you didn't like her review? She's very opinionated! I enjoy your blog. Happy New Year to you too!

    2. It wasn't that at all. I liked her frankness. I think it was that I knew a fair response would take time, so I waited. And then ... time flew.

      Thanks. I enjoy your blog, too. Some good things to think about.

      Have a great new year.