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Ruthe’s Recommendations | Spring 2024

By First Dallas Staff

Welcome to our page dedicated to Ruthe’s Recommendations, your ultimate guide to a remarkable reading experience. Ruthe Turner, our beloved librarian at First Baptist Dallas, provides a collection of her top 10 favorite books to read this spring to inspire, entertain, and deepen your love for literature. 

The Truett Memorial Library, located in the basement below the Historic Sanctuary, is home to over 27,000 physical items and 5,000 Ebooks and MP3 audiobooks. Ruthe’s Top 10 Recommendations for the quarter are hand-picked to captivate readers of all ages, and visitors are encouraged to stop by and pick up a copy during their next visit.

  1. Let Me Die in Ireland by David Bercot cuts away the myths and gives a more accurate account of the life of Saint Patrick. The author begins with a captivating historical fiction story, based on careful research, using 20 book resources plus Saint Patrick’s own small book of 30 pages, “The Confession of St Patrick.” The Epilogue is equally fascinating and informative. Forget the corrupted way the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death is celebrated today. Instead, celebrate with honor this man of great faith and prayer, who had an intense burden for Irish souls. No wonder Dr. Criswell preached a sermon on March 16, 1958, entitled “St. Patrick was a Baptist Preacher.”
  2. Like a River by former country singer-songwriter Granger Smith tells the story of the accidental and sudden death of his little son, who drowned in the family swimming pool. The grief and guilt almost destroyed Granger. He obsessively looked for answers in self-help books, even devotional books and revival videos. Nothing helped until, while watching a video by a Christian pastor, God revealed to Granger His deep love for him.  On that day, March 1, 2020, Granger became a new man, born again and with a new mission fueled by his new, insatiable desire for God’s Word. No longer a traveling country music entertainer, Granger now travels the world to share how God brings healing and restores lives to those who seek Him in truth.
  3. Winning the War with your Mind by Craig Groeschel shares from his own experience how Satan plants into our minds seeds of destructive, debilitating, depressing thoughts. Reminding us that God has provided armor to stand against Satan, Groeschel then encourages believers to replace Satan’s lies with God’s Biblical truths, rewire our brains by cleaning up our thinking patterns, reframe our perspective in all circumstances, and rejoice! As you clean out the flower beds and clean out your closets this spring, why not use this book to help clean out the seeds of destructive thoughts growing in your mind like weeds and replace them with God’s Words of Truth? Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior Pastor of Life Church in Edmund, Oklahoma, with locations in 12 U.S. States.
  4. My Heart Christ’s Home by Robert Munger is a small but powerful book you can read in one sitting but will want to read again and again. Thank you, Dr. Jeffress, for mentioning it recently in a sermon. Based on a very popular sermon preached in 1947, the book tells the imaginative story of a new believer inviting Jesus into his heart—or dwelling place. The new believer then sees each room within that dwelling place from the viewpoint of what Jesus would see, and the man realizes he has some serious Spring cleaning to do! 
  5. Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God by Noelle Piper introduces five amazing and faithful Christian women separated by time periods and countries but united by their faith in their extraordinary God. You will be inspired to read about Sarah Edwards (Mrs. Jonathan Edwards, of the Great Awakening;) Isabella Trotter, who gave up a promising career in art to serve as a missionary in Algeria; Gladys Aylward, the little woman from London who became a giant of a missionary in China; Helen Roseveare from England who served many years in the Congo; and Ester Ahn Kim from Korea, a woman of great fortitude, who defied the order to bow to their god, then endured six years of brutality in a Japanese prison until freed when WW2 ended.
  6. 10 Days of Easter Story: a Family Experience Through the Feelings of Holy Week by Josh and Christi Straub is a book for families of younger elementary children to read together with their parents during the Easter season. Together as a family, they will reflect on the key events of the final week of Jesus’ earthly life, with a special emphasis on the emotions that were felt that week, such as the happiness of Palm Sunday, the sadness of the Crucifixion, and the joy of the Resurrection.
  7. Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, edited by Nancy Guthrie, describes the book as a compilation of sermons and writings “from gifted theologians and Bible teachers [that] will help us to stop and linger at the cross.” If this list of books were compared to a menu, this book would be the vegetables. You know, the least appealing, yet so good for you to grow a strong and healthy faith. It’s not to be gulped down, either. Take a bite, then contemplate. Feed slowly from the delicious morsels of insight given by renowned writers and pastors on the central theme of our faith, the Cross. Soon it will become your favorite book on the list.
  8. All My Secrets by Lynn Austin is a timely book to read near Mother’s Day in May. The book is a delicious dual-time story based on three related women—grandmother, mother, and daughter.  They all reside together in a luxurious mansion in New York City during the Gilded Years when success among the elite is measured by the opulent lifestyle one could display, provided one married well. Through the back-and-forth story of the grandmother and mother, the reader will know what the daughter needs to know as she makes her own decisions about marriage. But will the grandmother and mother finally be honest and share their secret sorrows with the daughter before it’s too late?
  9. Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury is another timely story for Mother’s Day, this one being a sweet reminder that while we tend to celebrate our children’s “firsts,” such as first steps, first teeth, first smile, we should also consider the “last times,” the last time to be held, to be read to, to be rocked. Kingbury’s lovely book is a reminder to cherish every moment as our children grow, and we will be rewarded with sweet memories to last a lifetime.
  10. Just Once by Karen Kingsbury is a beautifully written story of love and loss experienced by a now-aged couple who, while facing new challenges in their waning years, reminisce of the days gone by when their love was new and life was fragile during the days of WW2. Through their reminiscing, we learn of the sacrifices they made for our freedom today and are reminded in the story that others gave the ultimate sacrifice. Though just a historical fiction book, its message is timely for us as we look toward Memorial Day in May: to never forget to gratefully honor those who gave their all.  

As spring unfolds, we hope Ruthe’s Recommendations have brought new life to your reading list! So, grab a book, find a sunny spot, and dive into these pages as the world around you blossoms. Here’s to discovery, reflection, and the simple pleasure of a good read this spring!