Tag Archive | Christian Books

Book Review: Ruth & Billy Graham

Book Review: Ruth & Billy Graham – The Legacy of a Couple

by, Hanspeter Nuesch

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I stumbled upon this book at Mardel’s in the clearance section. I have never read anything by or about Billy Graham but one thing I’ve been wanting to read more of is biographies and I thought this was a great place to start. I am so thankful I picked up this book. It was really good! Nuesch did a very thorough job of writing this biography and has wonderful pictures and stories and I love how he layed out the topics of the different chapters. If you want to read anything about Billy Graham I definitely recommend this book. I also am excited to utilize his reference index as there are a lot of books listed there that I want to read now!

“Nowhere are we able to express our deepest feelings better than in our prayers. That’s why there is no better recipe for a good marriage than to pray together frequently, because in this way you sense your spouse’s heart. That is what unites you as nothing else can.” p. 73 Ruth Graham

“Graham emphasized the fact that God does not say in his Word that we should ask for humility but rather that we should actively humble ourselves, and then God will grant us grace.” p. 81

“… all of their problems stem from one basic problem, which is the sin of human nature. The problems of the world are not economic or political; they are spiritual. We continue to wrestle with the problems of human iniquity and human failure. Nations have reached agreements only to have them broken time after time. Why? Because they were building their hopes and agreements on the cracked and sinking foundation of human nature… The only cure for sin lies at the foot of that cross.” p. 218-219 Billy Graham

“The ultimate possibility of lifting human nature to the place where it will love instead of hate and will practice honesty instead of deceit and will keep its agreements with integrity is found only at the foot of this cross. The reason we do not have peace in the world is that we do not have peace in our souls. There can be no peace in the hearts of men without reconciliation to God. … We can never build a better world until we have better men and the only way men can be made better is by the transforming and regenerating power of Christ.” p. 219 Billy Graham

“… the efforts toward peace and justice, however important they are, should never replace the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” p. 233

“He should focus more on what a person can become by God’s grace and the enabling of the Holy Spirit than on his or her present condition.” p. 252

“We must learn to listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in order to assist him in his plans and not misuse him simply to fulfill our own plans.” p. 259

“Growth normally takes place slowly, nurtured by God’s Father-love. Our heavenly Father does not love us because we help to fulfill the Great Commission; he loves us for ourselves, even when we fail him again and again. If we lose sight of this fact, life and ministry become a joyless and fruitless struggle.” p. 315

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies.” p. 316 Ruth Graham

“We look at death from the wrong point of view. We think of how much we are missing the one going home. We are not looking at it from God’s point of view: a child is coming home.” p. 323 Ruth Graham

“As personal pleasure and instant gratification have increasingly become the only purpose left in life, the main question has become, ‘What will I get out of it?’ and no longer, ‘What is right before God and man?'” p. 342

“The inflation of mere words has devalued them. People no longer believe our words and constantly question whether we are trustworthy… an individual’s subjective judgment of the sincerity and trustworthiness of the speaker ends up being the sole determining factor as to whether they listen at all.” p. 342

“We might still regard Jesus as our Savior but not as our master.” p. 346

“Christians need to develop the ability to see things and people not primarily as they are now but as what they can become by God’s transformational work.” p. 349


Book Review: The Women of Christmas

Book Review: The Women of Christmas

by, Liz Curtis Higgs

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I was looking for a book to read this Christmas season that would help me see a different point of view of the birth of Christ. I also wanted a bible study about Christmas to learn some more about the history of the time but I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for in that respect and not to mention having a newborn I wasn’t sure how into a bible study I could be. This book met more of the first aspect I was looking for and I really enjoyed reading it. I’ve never read a book by Liz Curtis Higgs. Her writing is very easy to read and follow with so this was a pretty quick read. Nothing too deep but some different perspectives and things to ponder this past Christmas season.

“Though it’s tempting to praise people for their goodness, it’s better to praise the One who made them.” p.7

“What made Mary worthy of her calling was not her virtue; it was God’s virtue. That’s why her story gives every woman a generous measure of hope. God takes us as we are and uses us as he will, for our good and for his glory.” p. 46

“Clearly it’s okay – more than okay – to ask God how he will accomplish something. Even if his answer is ‘Trust me,’ we can be sure he hears us.” p. 51

Talking about Mary: “As a devout young woman, she surely knew the prophecy of Isaiah… Did she begin to tremble all over, realizing Isaiah was talking about her?” p. 56

“To say yes and not be afraid of what others may say about our dependence upon God, about our abundance of joy. If people talk, so what? People always do.” p. 72

“… the first person to hold the newborn Christ was Mary of Nazareth, and the first person to touch the newly risen Christ, however briefly, was Mary of Magdala. God placed himself in a woman’s care when he came to earth, then entrusted a woman to announce his resurrection when he came back to life.” p. 122

Book Review: 1,000 Gifts

Book Review: 1,000 Gifts

by, Ann Voskamp

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This book was a pretty quick read for me. The way Ann Voskamp writes is so different and very enjoyable and it helps to read a book quickly. I felt like I was inside of her head and she was a good friend describing things in a way only good friends can and I really appreciated that. I loved how humbly she wrote. You can see that this book was written alongside a journey she took to understand and learn the content. She wasn’t preaching to anyone but simply fellowshipping and writing so we could all journey along with her. This also was a challenging book and really opened up my eyes to seeing our circumstances with a thankful heart.

“His [God’s] intent, since He bent low and breathed His life into the dust of our lungs, since He kissed us into being, has never been to slyly orchestrate our ruin.” p.17

“That was the fall! Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall – humanity’s discontent with all that God freely gives. That is what has scraped me raw: ungratefulness.” p.35

“Jesus offers thanksgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and wound Him and yield a bounty of joy… Do I really want this way?” p.36

“…moving the ink across the page opens up the eyes, that he may not understand how it sheds light, focuses its lens, but he only knows ‘that there are eyes in pencils and in pens’…the picking up of a pen isn’t painful and ink can be cheap medicine.” p.49 (first part is a quote from John Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God)

“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry.” p.65

“But time is not running out. This day is not a sieve, losing time. With each passing minute, each passing year, there’s this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time. We stand on the brink of eternity.” p.77

“But awakening to joy awakens to pain. Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.” p.84

“You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies – though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet [God’s] beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is.” p.125 (as quoted by Jean-Pierre de Causade in Reuben Job’s A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People)

“When I choose – and it is a choice – to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective – more expedient – than giving thanks?” p.126

“Only self can kill joy. I’m the one doing this to me.” p.177

Reading List 2015

Here is my list for 2015. I did not do so well on my list in 2014 and much had to do with working full time for the first 5 months followed by my 4th pregnancy and a move to a new city! We had a lot of changes in 2014 and I fell greatly behind in blogging as well as reading. I have high hopes for 2015 although it’s almost the end of February and I am only just now putting up my list! This time I put the blame on having a newborn on January 8th : ) it’s always something right! Well… here goes!

I should also preface by saying that God has really brought to my attention my need to focus on my marriage. I have spent the last few years reading a lot of parenting books which have been significantly helpful but there are some areas in my marriage that need some real work and I am making 2015 a focus on that as far as my reading goes.



Bible Study:

Book Review: The Mission of Motherhood

Book Review: The Mission of Motherhood

by Sally Clarkson

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I really enjoyed this book. I love reading these books where the author talks about some of the specific things they have done in raising their children for Christ. It is so great to read some personal examples and then to hear from the kiddos and how they were affected by it. This book reminds me of The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot in that regard.

I also really liked how much this book focused on your heart as a mom. Several times she emphasized that even if your circumstances mean the mom has to do some work outside of the home, it does not mean her HEART is not at home. This was so encouraging for me because of our recent change in circumstances now that I had to go back to work full time. I really struggled with transitioning back to work even though I didn’t go back because I wanted to but out of necessity, I still felt like I was abandoning my heart which desires so much to just be home full time. I was encouraged to hear about other women in the same situations and to know that my presence at work does not change my heart status.

“… the fundamental mission of motherhood now is the same as it always was: to nurture, protect, and instruct children, to create a home environment that enables them to learn and grow, to help them develop a heart for God and his purposes, and to send them out into the world prepared to live both fully and meaningfully.” p. 3

“For thousands of years… Motherhood was seen as a noble and important calling. Women considered themselves blessed to bear many children, and it was considered normal and good for home and family to be the central focus of a woman’s life… Somehow, over the course of the last century, traditional motherhood had become a lifestyle option – and to many, a lesser option – rather than a divine calling.” p.9-10

“As important as my role is, and as important as my children are, they are not to be the center of my life, and my central calling is not to motherhood… My calling as a mother is the same as any other Christian’s: to fulfill God’s will for our lives and to glorify him.” p.14-15

“The mission of motherhood is strategic in providing the next generation with whole-hearted, emotionally healthy, and spiritually alive adults… It is a divine calling that will indeed affect eternity.” p.16

“When God’s commands are obeyed, people flourish because they are living in harmony with the way they were designed.” p.29

“Children do not accidentally become righteous leaders or emotionally healthy and productive adults – any more than seeds thrown randomly to the wind grow to be part of a thriving garden. Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed.” p.43

“… a divided mind that comes from a lack of wholehearted commitment to the home, as well as the simple time pressure that comes from supporting a dual career of home and family, tends to rob mother and children alike of the freedom they need to grow and thrive.” p.47

“Each of us is different, each of us finds herself at a different point on this path of motherhood, and our individual decisions will reflect the difference in our circumstances. But once we commit to embrace the vision of motherhood, God always provides the creative guidance we need to keep moving toward our goal.” p.51

“All that God requires from any of us is a desire to serve him and a trust that he can make up the difference for the things we lack… He will use our willingness and or efforts, then fill in the gaps of our inadequacies, to prepare their hearts for what he has in mind.” p.84

“… unless we take the initiative to gently and lovingly confront our children’s sin and selfishness, they will not learn to be mature adults… The wise mother takes the time to correct her children over and over again so they can experience the peace and freedom of knowing how to govern their lives in such a way as to be mature, wise, and at peace with God.” 91

“Children do not accidentally become mature adults of strong character, great faith, gracious relational skills, effective leadership qualities, and sharp intellects. God’s design includes the presence of a hands-on gardener, a mother, to tend and cultivate their hearts, souls, minds, and relationships… a child whose growth is unsupervised or left to chance will likely grow wild and undisciplined or stunted and unfruitful.” p.142

Book Review: Beth Moore A Woman’s Heart

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This was a phenomenal bible study. Every single one of Beth Moore’s bible studies are phenomenal. God has really gifted her to teach among women it is just amazing. This is a revised study and I actually had already completed the first one about 8 years ago. A lot has changed in 8 years. There were some points that I remember really standing out to me then that really stood out to me again now but there was so much more this time. This bible study and this particular time in my life and just God doing what He’s doing in me has really changed me. I also absolutely love watching her videos that accompany the bible studies. I cry at EVERY SINGLE video. Her passion, her sincerity, her compassion is so moving. She gets it and she wants everyone to get it and God is using her. Here are some of the incredible things the Lord taught me through her and this study:

God pursued Adam AFTER his disobedience (from the Viewer Guide Introduction). God didn’t stand back waiting for Adam to suck up the courage to confess to God about his sin. No. God pursued Adam. “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9. When I sin and am afraid to come to God and think if I just ignore Him and continue on it may eventually just go unnoticed but God is greater than that. He pursues me. He pursues you. When you and I sin He comes after us because He loves us so much and wants us to repent and restore our relationship together.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (from the Viewer Guide Session 7). Jesus always lives to make intercession for His people. Christ thrives on interceding for us. What do you live for? This is what Christ lives for. Jesus and God are talking about us. They are carefully thinking through the plan for our lives. Nothing that happens to us is haphazard but is carefully thought out. And they love us so much. “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:28. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” Psalm 139:17-18.

  • In Romans 8:28 when it says “according to the will of God” the Greek word for will is “boule” which means: “will, project, intention, as the result of reflections; counsel… deliberation and reflection”… denotes the final result of inner deliberation. Her point here is that Jesus and God are reflecting and deliberating what our will is. Again she reiterates in the video that nothing that happens in our life is haphazard but carefully deliberated and reflected on and then decided on. This is profound and incredibly deepens my trust in God that He loves me and cares about everything that He allows to happen in my life.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (from the Viewer Guide Session 10). She pointed out in talking about where the final tabernacle will be that when we get to heaven notice how God ordered these things. He begins with no more death… then sorrow… then crying… then pain. It is in order of worse things to more tolerable things. Of course in heaven we would expect there to be no more death… and of course we would assume no more sorrow. But there’s probably going to be some crying right? Nope. Well, then there’s going to be some kind of pain right? Physical? Emotional? NOPE… NOT EVEN ANY PAIN. How incredible is that?!?!?! If you have never longed for heaven before then that truth surely should put the longing within you. I know for me this verse and her pointing this out has significantly impacted my desire and longing for heaven. Praise God.

There are so many more amazing things I learned through this study but those were the 3 that really stuck out to me and changed me the most. I would highly recommend anybody anywhere at any time… no wait, right now, not anytime… choose now to do this study and watch the videos (or you can listen to the audio but seeing her emotion and passion in real life is so much more moving). May God be glorified in our pursuits of Him!

Book Review: The Power of a Praying Wife & Family Prayer Journal

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I must first start by admitting this has been a 2 year read : ) Not because of the content or at all because it was boring or anything like that. I just simply did not keep it a priority but kept it on the list to finish “someday” : ) This book is amazing! It is just amazing how much God has blessed Stormie with an ability to pray intensively and according to Scriptures. The book is laid out with 30 different topics to pray for over your husband. Each topic is about 3 pages long where she gives a brief intro of the importance of praying for this area and usually a real life example of either herself or someone she knows who saw a significant impact in their husband’s lives because of praying for that particular area. She then finishes up with a prayer and some “power tools” at the end which are 4 or 5 scriptures to pray over for that area. The whole book is saturated with scriptures… it is amazing! It really opened my eyes to “praying without ceasing” and praying for everything. I never thought about needing to pray for over half of these things and even if I thought about it I wouldn’t have known how to or where to turn in Scripture to pray over it. This is such a helpful book. I am also finishing The Power of a Praying Parent at this same time. The book 2 years ago inspired me to make our family prayer journal. In it I basically have pulled from this book all of the topics and summed up what she said in a prayer and added in my favorite verses relating to that area. Over the past 2 years I have added personal prayer requests for our marriage and family. Last year I added 2 new sections… one for “generational sins” that I was noticing were being passed down to our children and began seeing the importance of praying for a breaking of those since in our generation and the generation from us. I also added a “praise” section : ) I love my prayer journal and am so thankful for God using this book to have sparked that in me. I use a reusable sticky tab as my “bookmark” and will pray for one section and move the bookmark to the next section for the next time I pray out of the journal. I cannot wait to see some real fruits in the years to come from this.

We can take a stand against any negative influences in our marriage relationship and know that God has given us authority in His name to back it up. p. 15

Praying for your husband will be an act of unselfish, unconditional love and sacrifice on your part. p.21

Before your prayers are answered there will be blessings from God that will come to you simply because you are praying. That’s because you will have spent time in the presence of God, where all lasting transformation begins. p.22

It’s impossible to truly give yourself in prayer for your husband without first examining your own heart. p. 26

Dying to yourself is always painful… But this kind of pain leads to life. p. 28

When we pray we enter into the presence of God and He fills us with His Spirit of love. When you pray for your husband, the love of God will grow in your heart for him. p. 29

The safeguard you have with prayer is that you have to go through God to do it. This means you can’t get away with a bad attitude, wrong thinking, or incorrect motives. When you pray, God reveals anything in your personality that is resistant to His order of things. p. 33

I’m not going to give any more quotes from the rest of the book those were just the introduction and beginning section of the importance of praying for your husband’s wife : ) Yup… that’s you : ) That’s the first chapter and she goes into great detail of the great importance of getting your heart right and honest before God before going on this journey:

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Psalm 66:18

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The inside of the prayer journal with an encouraging verse. At the top are our kiddos names and birthdates… in case I forget haha! Just kidding : )

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The first section of prayers for our children with the prayer requests and scripture that accompanies.

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Prayers for myself, Adam and our marriage

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Book Review: Family Worship in the Bible, in History & in Your Home

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This was a great little book. I think it was one that was recommended from the Family Driven Faith book by Voddie Baucham. This is a tinsy little book which is a nice change to the longer books I’ve been reading lately. It is a great starting point for some further conviction and ideas on what family worship looks like. This is still not something we have implemented personally but we are getting there. We do a little routine every night of reading right now Leading Your Little Ones to God and singing the song and praying the prayer they have at the end of each section and the kiddos love this. It is so cute to hear Joshie say “Jesus… read… book” and bring it to us and he’s getting down the words to “Alive, Alive, Alive forevermore… my Jesus is alive, alive forevermore… sing hallelujah”. This has been a bedtime song we’ve sung since all the kiddos were born and he’s so cute singing it… “lulah seeen lulah” : ) Makes my heart flutter! Also, prior to reading this devotional with the kiddos we finished Big Truths for Little Kids which has the catechism questions before each chapter. We worked on that for 6 months before finishing the book and it is amazing how many of the catechism questions Amelia remembers and will apply every day. We really only memorized about 15 of them and after we finish this book we will re-read that one as I really liked each section of that book. However I do want to implement some time of worship time with the kiddos and me playing the piano or something just because that seems really neat : )

Bringing children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is not accomplished unintentionally and incidentally. Yes, it should and will happen throughout the day at unplanned, serendipitous occasions, but it should also happen purposefully. p. 19

“And now I appeal to Reason, Conscience, and Experience whether this employment [of family worship] be not more suitable to the principles, ends and hopes of a Christian, than idleness, or vain talk, or cards, or dice, or dancing, or ale-house haunting, or worldly business or discourse?” Richard Baxter (1615-1691). p. 27

“I regard the neglect of family worship as springing from lukewarmness and worldliness in religion.” J.W. Alexander (1804-1859). p.31

Read, pray, sing

Catechize, memorize scripture, read other books

Brevity, regularity, flexibility

Book Review: Hints on Child Training

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This was such a neat book. It was originally written in 1890 by Henry Clay Trumbull who is Elisabeth Elliot’s Great-Grandfather. It reads as though Mr. Trumbull is your own grandfather sitting down on the sofa with you on Sunday afternoons over coffee and sharing his parental advice to you : ) It is by no means a structured method/formula or anything like that on how to parent. And in fact there are not many scripture references that are cited. BUT Mr. Trumbull’s wisdom is clearly from the Lord. He speaks about his advice from a Godly and biblical perspective and often will speak through the bible just as you and I would casually speak about the things of the Lord that are true and biblical without needing to cite the specific reference of where it is in the Bible. Mr. Trumbull has a wealth of wisdom and it is a blessing to me in this 21st century to learn the wisdom of old when the family unit was so much more valued than it is today. I am so thankful to God that this book has remained in print and perfectly applicable today. Not a one of our great-grandparents from the late 1800’s is alive today so what a neat opportunity to glean some wisdom from someone of that generation.

It is a parent’s privilege, and it is a parent’s duty, to make his children, by God’s blessing, to be and to do what they should be and do, rather than what they would like to be and do. p.19

An accurate diagnosis is an essential pre-requisite to wise and efficient treatment. The diagnosis secured, the matter of treatment is a comparaticely easy matter. p.31

  • What are the special faults of my child?
  • Where is he weakest?
  • In what direction is his greatest strength liable to lead him astray, and when is it most likely to fail him?
  • Which of his faults is most prominent?
  • Which of them is of chief importance for immediate correction? p.33

We should guard sacredly their privileges of personal choice; and while using every proper means to induce them to choose aright, we should never, never, never force their choice, even into the direction of our intelligent preference for them. The final responsibility of a choice and its consequences rests with the child, and not with the parents. p.41

Nothing that is worth doing in this world is an easy matter; and whatever is really worth doing is worth all that its doing costs – and more. p.117

Courtesy is the external manifestation of a right spirit toward others p.165 (I love this thought. This truth. In a book by Elisabeth Elliot I read that was just incredible “The Shaping of a Christian Family” she carries on this wisdom from her great-grandfather when she says:  A simple gesture like passing the butter plate to someone else before helping oneself is the outward expression, small and unobtrusive but deeply telling, of the sacrificial principle, “My life for yours.” When there are only a few muffins left, the one who passes up the second helping lives out the words “in humility consider others better than yourselves.” p.171)

When a child thinks of others, his thoughts go away from himself, and self-forgetfulness is a result, rather than a cause, of his action. p.169

True courtesy involves a readiness to apologize for any and every failure, whether intentional or unintentional, to do or say just that which ought to have been done or said. p.172

However great may be the need of a child’s punishing, a parent ought never to administer punishment to a child while angry. p.205

In order to sympathize with another, you must be able to put yourself in his place, mentally and emotionally; to occupy, for the time being, his point of view, and to see that which he sees, and as he sees it, as he looks out thence. p.251

And it is by the dolls and other playthings of childhood that some of the truest instincts of manhood and of womanhood are developed and cultivated in the progress of all right child-training. p.279

Book Review: The Mystery of Marriage

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“Love convinces a couple that they are the greatest romance that has ever been, that no two people have ever loved as they do, and that they will sacrifice absolutely anything in order to be together. And then marriage asks them to prove it.” p.45

I can’t remember anymore where I hear of certain books whether it be through a friend or a blog or the back of a book I’ve been reading but either way I have read some incredible books by following through with some recommendations. This is one of them and I was so blessed to find it at our thrift store for $1 !!! This book is really amazing! Mike Mason says on his website that he doesn’t write books he writes sentences and those sentences turn into books. This is so true. Each sentence packs such a powerful message much like the best writers from back in the day (C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer, etc., etc.). The way Mason describes marriage from God’s point of view really changed my view of it and helped me see how special marriage is and the sanctity of it. It was as though I was sitting down with God Himself and He was trying to convince me of what an incredible miracle marriage is and why He created it and what His heart and hopes are for those of us involved in marriage. It is so powerful and moving the words Mason uses. Mason also has an incredible way of describing the mystery of people itself. Sure he describes a lot in the context of marriage but it really woke up my perspective of how people interact with each other in other relationships. He really got me thinking about these relationships in such a different way and in more of a Godly way and I am so thankful he wrote this.

Here are some great examples but really truly I would encourage any of you who are married or engaged to just go ahead and read it… you’ll never regret it.

“That is the vulnerable place, of course, in all human relationships. What is on the line, always, with every person we meet is our capacity to love and to be loved. But whereas in most other relationships our vulnerability in this respect can be hidden… in the relationship of marriage it is this very quality of vulnerability that is exposed, exalted, exploited.” p. 15-16

“…that is what love does: it brings people out into the light, no matter how painful that transition might prove to be. Love aims at revelation, at a clarifying and defining of our true natures. It is a sort of sharpening process, a paring away of dull and lifeless exteriors so that the keen new edge of a person’s true self can begin to flash and gleam in the light of day.” p.18

“How else can true love be truly known except when it is separated from everything that is like it, from all forms of natural attraction? A marriage lives, paradoxically, upon those almost impossible times when it is perfectly clear to the two partners that nothing else but pure sacrificial love can hold them together.” p.28

“…that is [marriage] very purpose: to get us our beyond our depth, out of the shallows of our own secure egocentricity and into the dangerous and unpredictable depths of a real interpersonal encounter. And that, incidentally, is also what true religion is supposed to do… To know the Lord is to be brought into a personal relationship so dramatic and overwhelming that marriage is only a pale image of it.” p. 35

“We live in a heavily screened, body-guarded reality. Not much gets through the barbed wire, not much gets by the great bulldog of the ego. For truly to open our hearts to another person is to invite them into our own throne room and to sit them down on our very own throne, on the seat normally warmed by no one but ourselves.” p.37

“… people are the consciousness of God in the world, the closest thing to Him in the physical realm, and a more vivid reminder than anything else in creation of His existence, His mystery, and His creative power… to be in the presence of even the meanest, lowest, most repulsive specimen of humanity in the world is still to be closer to God than when looking up into a starry sky or at a beautiful sunset.” p.38

“Other people, let us face it, confront us directly with the reality of love or hate that is in our hearts in a way that all the beautiful sunsets in the world cannot do… We resent one another for revealing so accurately and so openly and so painfully the depth of our own lovelessness.” p.39

“The very next step in human closeness, beyond marriage, would be just to scrap the original man and woman and create one new human being out of the two. But this is exactly what happens… in the birth of a child! Eventually the parents die, leaving the child a living sign of the unthinkable extremity of union which took place between two distinct lives. The two became one.” p.73

“The closer we are drawn into the brilliant and mysterious circle of another person, the more must we ourselves be revealed in the other’s light, revealed for what we are. Others are mirrors in which we are constrained to see ourselves, not as we would like to be, but as we are. Whenever we pull away, searching in one mirror after another for a more pleasing image, what we are really doing is avoiding the truth about ourselves.” p.83

“One thing that is very important to know in marriage is that there is always a way out. And the way out is not divorce! No, the way out in marriage… is simply to put everything we have back on the line, our whole hearts and lives, just as we did the moment we took our vows.” p.95

“…we may be called upon to repeat in marriage our original acts of love and abandonment, but this time without much help from the emotions, and without any help at all from romantic love. We may be called upon to act all alone, out of pure faith and trust, perhaps without even the perceived help of our partner. For it is often God’s way that what He Himself has taught us to do in the light, we must repeat on our own in the darkness.” p.96

“…for two to become one flesh does not mean for the hand to become a foot. It means, rather, for the foot and the hand to become coordinated, to start doing the same thing, heading in the same direction.” p.128

“It is in the very nature of love, in fact, to bear the sins of others – not merely to sympathize or empathize or to share the heaviness, but actually to shoulder the blame.” p.162

“To love is… to see all their weakness, their falseness and shoddiness, to have all their very worst habits exposed – and then to be enabled, by the pure grace of God, no only to accept them, but to accept them in a deeper way than was ever before possible.” p.163