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Here’s something you won’t hear me say too often: I’m actually a little bit ahead in my 2013 reading goal!

Luckily for me there’s still 10 months to fall behind.
I wouldn’t want to upset the natural order of the world or anything.

I wanted to share two books that I’ve read so far this year that have been absolutely stellar reads.

First up, Unbroken: A Word War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

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This is the best biography I’ve read in along, long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in history, biographies, or just books that share a message of hope.

Seriously, an amazing book.

The second book is a parenting book called Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With The Love Of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (mother/daughter team).

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I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It really opened my eyes to some areas where my guidance as a Christian parent was severely lacking.

Here are a few quotes:

“Most of us are painfully aware that we’re not perfect parents. We’re also deeply grieved that we don’t have perfect kids. But the remedy to our mutual imperfections isn’t more law, even if it seems to produce tidy or polite children. Christian children (and their parents) don’t need to learn to be “nice.” They need death and resurrection and a Savior who has gone before them as a faithful high priest, who was a child himself, and who lived and died perfectly in their place. They need a Savior who extends the offer of complete forgiveness, total righteousness, and indissoluble adoption to all who will believe. This is the message we all need. We need the gospel of grace and the grace of the gospel. Children can’t use the law any more than we can, because they will respond to it the same way we do. They’ll ignore it or bend it or obey it outwardly for selfish purposes, but this one thing is certain: they won’t obey it from the heart, because they can’t. That’s why Jesus had to die.”

“Pure, unadulterated, consistent love for God and pure, unadulterated, consistent love for others is the summation of all the law God has given us in both the Old and New Testaments. Of course, the problem is that we never obey these simple commands. We always love ourselves more than we love God or others. We are always erecting idols in our hearts and worshipping and serving them. We are always more focused on what we want and how we might get it than we are on loving Him and laying down our life for others. The law does show us the right way to live, but none of us obeys it. Not for one millisecond.
Even though our children cannot and will not obey God’s law, we need to teach it to them again and again. And when they tell us that they can’t love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them. We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.”

“Everything that isn’t gospel is law. Let us say it again: Everything that isn’t gospel is law. Every way we try to make our kids good that isn’t rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law. We won’t get the results we want from the law. We’ll get either shallow self-righteousness or blazing rebellion or both (frequently from the same kid on the same day!). We’ll get moralistic kids who are cold and hypocritical and who look down on others….or you’ll get teens who are rebellious and self-indulgent and who can’t wait to get out of the house. We have to remember that in the life of our unregenerate children, the law is given for one reason only: to crush their self-confidence and drive them to Christ.”

Excellent book. Excellent.

I can only hope all of the books on my list this year will be as awesome as these first two were!

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