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Recommended Reading


There is so much power in words. (I think John 1:14 is an indication of the reason for that.)

Here are a few of the books I recommend, and a few outstanding video and audio resources, as well. They are here because their messages have been a part of my own spiritual formation.

image of book


Faith


The Second Mrs. Wu by Agnes Sanford (Arthur James, 1966)

I could hardly put this book down; it is a riveting read for both its content and writing. I wrote this blog post about it.

Faith with Grit by AmyLu Riley (AmyLu Riley, 2019)

During some very tough years with my health, my faith caused me even more pain. Why didn’t the God who could heal me, heal me? The books I could find at the time were about what Francis MacNutt would call acceptance and resignation. But I didn’t want either. I wanted to be healed. I wanted to know what God was doing. So I went on a quest for answers, and in the process, my faith got grit in it. Get sample chapters.


Healing


Healing by Francis MacNutt (Ave Maria Press, 1999)

This book was absolutely an answer to my prayers, especially the chapter “Eleven Reasons People Aren’t Healed,” which was the first part of this book I read. It blows my mind a little bit that God used a book that was written in 1974 to answer my prayers decades later. I highly recommend the book, which I talk more about it in this blog post, but don’t stop with this book. MacNutt’s other books recommended below rounded out my understanding of several issues in important ways.

The Power to Heal by Francis MacNutt (Ave Maria Press, 1992)

Informed by his decades of hands-on healing ministry, MacNutt’s insights are especially encouraging and practically helpful for approaching chronic illness from a biblical perspective and not giving up when praying for healing of chronic health issues. In this blog post, I share my experience with the book.

The Healing Reawakening by Francis MacNutt (Chosen Books, 2005)

This book was such a timely eye-opener. I saw how, through subtle, clever means, Satan has tried to rob the church of our healing ministry. Humanity, for thousands of years, has been like the proverbial frog in the pot of water that was gradually made hotter, until we were nearly cooked. In this blog post I talk more about the book and how it truly awakened me to Satan’s oppression of the sick. I highly recommend the book.

Anointed to Heal by Randy Clark and Bill Johnson (Chosen Books, 2017)

Faith-building and eye opening, as I listened to this book in its original audio interview format, I realized something new: I am hungry for miracles because there are miracles. Today. In the country in which I live.

Sealed Orders by Agnes Sanford (Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2009)

What a book. Sealed Orders is the story of a writer, a woman, a pray-er, and best of all, someone who expected her Christian faith to grow and who constantly held spiritual ideas in tension and watched for God to guide her. Sanford truly lived by the Spirit. I wrote this blog entry about my experience with Sanford’s books. (I recommend reading this one before reading The Healing Light.)

The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford (Ballantine Books, 1983)

Seeing the gifts God gave this woman and how she stewarded them was both exceptionally instructive and highly encouraging to me. I wrote this blog entry about my experience with Sanford’s books. (I recommend reading this one after reading Sealed Orders.)

An Introduction to Christian Healing Ministry by Judith MacNutt (Free Video Online)

In this video, Trinity Welcomes Judith MacNutt, Judith MacNutt of Christian Healing Ministries gives a concise introduction and overview of Christian healing ministry. She introduces four types of healing modeled in the New Testament: physical, spiritual, inner healing, and deliverance. She mentions connections that may exist between physical illness and other wounds and how more than one type of healing may be needed for a person to be healed. And she touches on some concepts from Francis MacNutt’s excellent book Healing.

Agnes Sanford’s Teachings on Inner Healing (Free Audio Online)

Several audio recordings of talks by Agnes Sanford, a pioneer in Christian inner healing in the last century, are made available free online by CFO, (one of the organizations that frequently hosted her talks).


small hand in large handMiracles


Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts by Craig S. Keener (Baker Academic, 2011)

Faith-building and hard to put down. Keener reports on miracles from all over the world, with careful notes about the perceived credibility of the eyewitnesses and availability of medical documentation. (He also includes some excellent scholarly chapters on the theology of miracles.) Get ready for something new.

Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick (Tyndale House Publishers, 2012)

In 2006, when Jen Barrick was 15, she sustained catastrophic brain injuries from a car accident. Doctors did not expect Jen to live through the first night, but she did live and received a very unusual healing miracle. Jen’s story reminded me of the power of miracles to extend beyond the person to whom they are given—and that they seem to be inherently designed to work that way.

Eyewitness to Miracles by Randy Clark (Thomas Nelson, 2018)

I appreciated the case this book makes for the scientific research and record-keeping of modern miracles that scholars have begun to undertake. The book also gives eyewitness accounts of many miracles, and makes practical suggestions for the reader.


Prayer


UpperDogs: Christians Have the Advantage. It’s Time to Take It. by Sarah Thiessen and Heather Hughes (WestBow Press, 2015)

I really benefited from this book’s sensible, intelligent discussion of the metaphysical impact of prayer. This knowledge encourages my persistence in prayer and motivates me to pray in and for situations I might have otherwise missed.

Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority by John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson, 2017)

I got so much out of this book, including having aha moment of synthesis about why Elijah’s prayers were so effective and how I can apply the same principle to my prayers. I wrote about it in this blog entry (which is mainly about Francis MacNutt’s book Healing), in the section called “How Knowing the Will of God Relates to My Healing.” Moving Mountains is a life-changer.

Behold Your God by Agnes Sanford (Macalester Park Publishing Company, 1958)

I think the dedication of this book best explains who will most benefit from it: “To those who have mastered the teachings of my other books, and who have longed to venture farther in an understanding of the spiritual kingdom, this book is dedicated.” I am glad I did not read it before I did (because I wouldn’t have been ready to receive it), or a moment later than I did (because I very much needed it). This book is a storehouse of treasures for spiritual growth and formation; I wrote about it in this blog post.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer by C.S. Lewis (Mariner Books, 2002)

This creative book is a page-turner that further develops some of the concepts on prayer that Lewis discussed in Appendix B of his book Miracles. It’s accessible and memorable, and has given me more confidence to pray in certain types of situations that I would not have previously thought prayer could influence.


sandaled feet in waterLife with God


Fully Alive by Susie Larson (Bethany House Publishers, 2018)

The first time I saw Susie Larson speak online, the faith and life that emanated from her and from her words—and the bold yet humble way she prayed—captured my full attention. I began reading her books one after another, starting with Fully Alive. After listening to Fully Alive first as an audio book, I then started through the DVD and print book because I wanted to really take my time and chew on it some more. It was life-changing.

Waking the Dead: The Secret to a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson, 2016)

Another life-changer. Eldredge dismantles long-entrenched notions that aren’t helping Christians. He introduces a synthesis of four ideas that can get people free. (And in case you are into audio books: I listened to this as an audio book, and the narrator is excellent.)

Gift & Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today by Craig S. Keener (Baker Academic, 2001)

This is an amazing resource on how God is empowering his people to do his work. Grounded in Scripturally sound doctrine, and written with wisdom and humility, Gift & Giver is accessible and understandable regardless of a person’s faith background.

All Things New by John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson, 2017)

If you need a perspective shift about the daily grind, especially when life is hard, the unique vision Eldredge shares in this book should certainly do the job.

The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson, 1997)

This book zooms the camera lens way out from my one brief life on earth, to reveal the huge picture into which that one life fits, and tells the story of what has happened and is happening in that much larger picture. It’s good to know where one’s life fits, and to see the role of God’s love in that story.

Walking with God: How to Hear His Voice by John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson, 2016)

Eldredge tells his story of walking with God, by transparently recounting events from his own life. It’s authentic and captivating.

Stay: Why I’m Still Here, A Spiritual Memoir by AmyLu Riley (AmyLu Riley, 2019)

In this intimate inner journey, I recount how God brought love, compassion, and restoration to a life pressed hard by chronic illness. Get sample chapters.


sword imageSpiritual Warfare


Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual by Francis MacNutt (Chosen Books, 1995)

This book is a wealth of useful information for gaining and living in spiritual freedom and helping others to do the same.

UpperDogs: Christians Have the Advantage. It’s Time to Take It. by Sarah Thiessen and Heather Hughes (WestBow Press, 2015)

In addition to the other insightful aspects of UpperDogs discussed above under the heading of Prayer, this book gives an excellent explanation that a child can understand about the spiritual battle all Christians are in. As Thiessen explains, spiritual warfare is a part of life that even young Christians can—and need to—learn how to do.

Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority by John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson, 2017)

Eldredge shares how pervasive spiritual warfare is in daily life, from the seemingly mundane to the deadly serious, and how he fights.  (See more about this book discussed above under the heading of Prayer.)

Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (Geoffrey Bles, 1942)

With the perspective of this classic wry, witty tale, teens and adults will be better equipped to spot enemy strategies from a distance. (Randy Alcorn has also written a modern takeoff, Lord Faulgrin’s Letters (Multnomah, 2001).) These stories serve as a very accessible introduction for those new to the topic of spiritual warfare.

Prayers for Spiritual Protection

At 14:09 into this video, called Healing Prayer for Our Families, are two simple but important prayers for spiritual protection, taught by Judith MacNutt of Christian Healing Ministries.

image of open book


Suffering


The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards (Tyndale House, 1992)

From God’s own viewpoint, how does it look when God appears not to rescue or answer a suffering one he dearly loves? This is a beautiful story, both acknowledging a mystery and bringing comfort at the same time, with the truth it contains.

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins 2001, McMillan 1944)

How can a loving God can allow suffering and pain, and permit other bad things to happen? This book expanded my foundational understanding of what really happened when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and how that relates to our present suffering. Reading this book helped pull together truths and highlight their applicability to my life.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (The Seabury Press, 1963)

Lewis shares so many incredibly expressed thoughts about the nature of faith, suffering, and illness, that this book has much wisdom to share, far beyond the named experience of grief at the death of his wife.

Leap Over a Wall by Eugene Peterson (Harper San Francisco, 1997)

In chapter 18, (pages 194-199 and 201-204), the author explores the concept of multiple, interconnected causes of suffering in the life of King David in the wrenching matters involving his son Absalom, as well as what David gained and how he was changed through the experience. This is useful in self-examination.


Testing


The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2017)

The second chapter of this book focuses on the life of Abraham, with a section specifically dedicated to the testing of Abraham. Peterson puts Abraham’s famous testing in a new light, which helps cast all testing in a new light.


Calling


In this YouTube video, Sarah Thiessen gives an inspiring and practical talk on finding your calling.


Related blog post: 10 Books That Surprised Me in 2019


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