Ah, summer! A time to relax, to vacation, to enjoy a change of pace. A time when it's so hot where I live, you don't feel like doing much of anything strenuous. A time to make an investment in your soul and spirit by reading a worthwhile book.
I'd like to recommend some I've enjoyed recently.
I appreciated Doug Weiss' book Intimacy as much as any I've read this year. Weiss offers a practical, 100-day plan that will energize your relationship with your spouse and create the spiritual, emotional and physical closeness you've hungered for in your marriage. I learned so many things from the book that I kept asking myself, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Jim Reeves' first book, God Never Wastes a Hurt, contains stories from Reeves' life as pastor of the 8,000-member Faith Community Church in West Covina, California, which has a ministry to hurting people. Reeves makes the point that when problems come, how we respond to the hurts determines if life will be full of depression and guilt or full of purpose and meaning. He writes about developing a lifestyle of forgiveness, seeing tragedies from heaven's perspective and learning to reach out to others with power and authority.
How to Hear the Voice of God in a Noisy World by Teresa Seputis, another first-time author from California, is a practical manual that teaches the reader the ways God speaks and how to clearly recognize His voice. It certainly helped me fine-tune my spiritual antennae.
In fact, after reading only a few chapters, I had a dream in which I heard the Lord tell me to get out of bed and do something. Later when I talked to Teresa, she confirmed that I was learning to hear God's voice in a new way.
Evangelist Benny Hinn's book The Blood, a best seller several years ago, is now available in a new expanded edition and has been offered recently on Hinn's daily TV program, This Is Your Day. It helps the believer discover the protection God offers through His blood covenant, making it clear that the blood is the source of God's eternal grace, His plan to protect us from the attacks of the enemy and the means by which the anointing of the Holy Spirit comes.
In his new book Beyond the Shadow of Doubt, popular TBN speaker Mark Chironna asks the reader if he has a shadow of doubt hidden deep within him that sabotages his faith, undermines his confidence and holds him back from his dreams. As I read the book I felt as if Chironna were there in person mentoring me, helping me see how damaging doubt is and how I can find what he calls the "keys of the kingdom within [me]" to overcome walls of resistance and find inner congruence.
Finally, let me recommend a book that has become this year's best seller for Siloam Press, our new line of books on health and nutrition from a Christian perspective: What You Don't Know May Be Killing You by Don Colbert, M.D. When I read it, I gained a different perspective on things I had assumed were harmless.
Colbert asks the reader to consider why our toothpaste tubes say to call poison control if we swallow more than a small amount, what toxic metal could be in our mouths, what dangerous chemicals we ingest every time we eat and drink, and how emotions affect our immune systems. He also tells us which vitamins we need every day and how to detoxify our systems without causing more harm.
Colbert has also written more than a dozen Bible Cure booklets on topics ranging from heart disease to cancer to high blood pressure. Out less than a year, they have sold more than 500,000 copies so far.
You can buy these recommended books at most Christian bookstores including chains such as Berean, Family and Mardel, as well as secular chains that will order the books. They are also available online 24 hours a day at www.charismahouse.com.
When you relax it's good to put something beneficial into your mind and spirit. The Christian Booksellers Association's motto says it best: "What goes in the mind, comes out in a life."
Stephen Strang is the founding editor of Charisma. He invites men to join him August 17-18 in Orlando, Florida, for New Man 2001. For information call (800) 837-0378.