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Ruthe’s Recommendations | Winter 2023

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 winter 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. Are We Living In The End Times: Biblical Answers to 7 Questions about the Future by Robert Jeffress gives clear answers to questions concerning the End Times, especially in light of the perilous conditions in our world today. While guiding the reader through what may seem to be confusing prophecies of the Bible, Dr. Jeffress gives clarity as well as encouragement and direction in facing the future with hope.
  2. Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Suffering by Dane Ortland presents a deeper, clearer understanding of the depth of God’s longing and compassion for us. Even in His superior state over us, the heart of Christ is such that He reaches down and becomes lowly (or accessible) to each of us. His desire is for us to come to him and find rest for our soul. Ortland verifies every point with multiple Scriptures from more than 120 chapters of the Bible, as well as many quotes from several godly men of great renown throughout the ages. If you are discouraged or seeking a better understanding of how much God loves you, this is the book for you.
  3. Is God Real? Exploring the Ultimate Questions of Life by Lee Strobel gives solid answers to the most important question of all time. Strobel interviews several super-smart experts in various fields of science, math, and philosophy and then presents his case much as you would expect from a person with a Master’s Degree in Law Studies (which he has.)  With the abundant and convincing proof presented in the book, the verdict is in: God is Real!
  4. Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke is a Christian fiction reader’s dream story, set in the days of World War I and centered around the friendship of four preteen girls who meet at the Lakeside Ladies Academy in Connecticut. Upon their graduation a few years later, they pledge lasting love and loyalty to each other for life. But then things happen—awful calamities, romances gone awry, betrayal, and even death. Twenty-five years pass by, and the chances of the four ever being reunited again are hopeless, or so it seems. 
  5. Teddy and Booker T: How Two American Icons Blazed a Path for Racial Equality by Brian Kilmeade relates the true story of the close friendship between President Teddy Roosevelt, a white man of privilege and power, with Booker T. Washington, a former black slave who was determined to make something of himself and his black brothers. Many found their relationship to be scandalous, but that didn’t stop these two icons from continuing their efforts to make the world a better place for all.
  6. Born a Child and yet a King: the Gospel in Carols by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is a new must-read Advent devotional centered around five beloved carols of the season.  It is so much more than an ordinary “story behind the hymn” kind of book, for Mrs. Wolgemuth delves deep into each carol and brings forth little jewels hidden in the text.  She points us to the gospel message presented in each song and tells us that the best carols teach us two things—who Jesus is and why He came. It will bring new meaning to the familiar old carols, deepening your joy of what Christmas is really all about.
  7. Guns for General Washington by Seymour Reit is best read near a roaring fireplace during a snowstorm or blizzard! It’s great for the entire family since it is historical fiction at its best, written for kids, with plenty of adventure and suspense. The (true) story is that Boston was under siege by the Red Coats, and more troops were sailing over to help the Brits blow Boston off the map. It looked bleak for George Washington and the Patriots!  They had little ammunition to protect the city. Then Henry Knox and his brother Will showed up with 183 cannons! They traveled over 300 miles in rough terrain and mountains, sloshing through snow that was waist-high, risking their lives on lakes that were (hopefully) frozen enough to carry the weight of the cannons. Many scoffed and said it couldn’t be done, but they didn’t reckon with the determination and commitment of those mighty Patriots.
  8. Shipwrecked but Not Lost is a very old book written over 150 years ago but with an applicable message for today. Since the story pertains to two young men who find themselves stranded in the cold and frigid Arctic for the winter, it would be a great adventure book to read on a cold, snowy day this winter. The two young men and their captain get themselves into dire trouble, all because of poor choices. It will take a miracle for them to ever see home again. The book is part of the Lamplighter’s Rare Book Collection, which republishes stories that are too good to forget. Try one, and you’ll want to read more stories from that collection.
  9. 4 Centuries of American Education by David Barton addresses some startling facts concerning the education of American children today as compared to the 1800’s. In the process, the author presents a brief history of several of the leading educators of America throughout the years. While the topic is serious, Barton livens it up with a teaser test to see if we are as smart as 4th graders were in 1842. Barton also includes some Bible test questions asked to high school students in Dallas high schools as late as 1974—before the Bible was pushed completely out of the schools.
  10. How to Pray by R.A. Torrey is a superb resource on prayer that has been changing the spiritual lives of thousands since it was first published in 1876. Starting the New Year with this old book, which has been republished several times and can even be found as a free PDF on the internet. You will find the chapters short, giving concise, orderly counsel from a man who practiced what he preached.

We hope Ruthe’s Recommendations have added a dash of excitement to your winter reading plans. Grab your favorite blanket, brew a cup of cocoa, and let these tales transport you to new worlds. Happy reading!