Summer is fast approaching, and with it a change in scheduling. Kids will be out of school, families will be traveling. And in all of the fun disruption, devotional time will require its own flexibility.
The long and free weeks of Summer are a great opportunity to re-group and gain new direction.
Why not consider a new personal Bible study or organize a book study for a group of friends?
Here are 5 books for personal and group study, that are appropriate in length and level of study for a Summer focus.
1. Disciplines of a Godly Woman
Don’t we assume a negative connotation of the word discipline? Oh no, we think. Legalism.
Yet, Disciplines of a Godly Woman could not be further from rules-based approach. Barbara Hughes has produced an excellent resource in her book. Disciplines approaches various angles of Christian growth – church, Bible study, marriage, contentment. And she provides encouragement and guidance as to how to become more disciplined and committed within each of these realms.
2. Calm My Anxious Heart
Though the title is a little misleading, Linda Dillow’s excellent book is more a study on contentment, than anxiety. Having spent many years raising a family as overseas missionaries, Dillow has a wealth of experience in learning contentment.
Within Calm My Anxious Heart, she asks questions such as:
Why are women prone to discontent?
What does God say about contentment?
How can we develop a renewed sense of contentment in our lives?
Linda Dillow has wrestled and attained a wisdom and beauty that comes from learning that Christ is enough.
Calm My Anxious Heart is another book I would recommend as an excellent personal and group study.
3. The Friendships of Women
Dee Brestin’s book The Friendships of Women, is a book which is both useful and broad in scope. After all, which woman does not relate to issues of friendship – the desires, the pain, the tensions, the inevitable conflicts?
Woven throughout Brestin’s book are personal accounts, helping to make the book identifiable. And within each chapter are thoughtful questions, which allow for personal evaluation and reflection.
And it is especially helpful within a context of varying church backgrounds. Because the book is topical in nature, it can be easily appreciated by anyone. But as a leader, there is wide opportunity to insert extra biblical content, if desired.
The Friendships of Women is a book I would highly recommend for group study.
Who does not fell desperate sometimes? Like life is full to the brim with tensions and burdens? Desperate is a book which meets women in the feelings that can propel us into shame, and gives credence to why we feel overwhelmed. Why we feel burned out. Why we struggle at times to love our families.
Far from being a to-do-list book, Desperate is a walk through Sally Clarkson’s own experiences as a young Mom. And with the amazing grace that is characteristic of Sally, Desperate guides and motivates. Sally is a question-asker. And she expects her reader to consider her questions and to do something with the resulting answers.
Desperate is a wonderful personal study. However, I think it would also be valuable in a group setting, in which friends want to support and keep one another accountable.
5. Treasuring God in Our Traditions
Why are family traditions important?
Why does it matter that we cultivate and honor traditions within our homes? These are the questions Noel Piper asks in her inspiring book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions. If you are seeking to establish traditions within your own home, and wonder how to make a rich memory-life possible, this is a helpful read.
Because Treasuring God is a book that inspires creative thought and interaction, I think it would be a fun book for group study. There is much scope for comparing notes and sharing ideas. And room for propelling one another along in establishing rich home-lives.
Finally, if you are a note-taker or journaler. If you feel like notepads might be helpful for your personal or group study, Dayspring sells 3-pack mini-notebooks for $2.47. I have bought several of these- they are inexpensive and fun to look at. These notebooks would be ideal hand-outs at the beginning of a study, so that participants have a place to jot down thoughts as you go.
Enjoy growing in your walk with God.
And this Summer, consider asking others to join you!