Best Books 0223 FORTUNE

Best Books

In 1687, a baby was born in colonial Maryland. She was the child of a mixed-race couple, but she was born free. Her name was Fortune Game/McGee. When she was eighteen, an unholy alliance of commerce, power, and ungodly theology changed Fortune’s life. The rules governing the positions of slavery and freedom were amended and hardened. At eighteen, she was forcibly placed in indentured servitude by a court. Her enslavement was sanctioned by law. Her enslavement was sanctioned by the church. Her enslavement was an abomination in the sight of God.

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Fortune is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts in Alabaster.

Author and Christian activist Lisa Sharon Harper is a direct descendant of Fortune. In her book, Fortune – How Race Broke My Family and the World and How to Repair It All (Brazos Press), Harper shares her family’s history. It is a captivating story of how Fortune’s descendants survived in a nation held in spiritual bondage by the chains of injustice. Each new birth marks a new generation living in the crosshairs of America’s national sin. Some thrived, and some did not. Some struggled more than others. There are some with a known history and some are shrouded in mystery. At the end of this line of men and women whose dark bodies enshrined the image of God comes Lisa Sharon Harper, calling us toward a beloved community, showing a path forward with a new vision of a just and more Christlike society.

Eight generations have passed since Fortune was born, and the echoes of racism, injustice, and exploitation are still with us today. The hypocrisy and hostility that fueled the abuse of Fortune’s dark body centuries ago are still insidiously lurking in the soul of this country. There is an ungodly lie that has seeped into the ethos of white America, including white Christianity. The lie maintains that racism is behind us, and that nothing needs to be said or done about the sins of the past and the conditions of the present. I am persuaded that the story of Harper’s family is a story that cries out to God. Perhaps God, in His abundant mercy, ordained that this nation established Black History Month in February, for the season of Lent begins soon after and God is still waiting for the church and this nation to fully repent. May God forgive us as we bring forth, by our words and deeds, the fruits of repentance.

-Darrel Holcombe, Owner

Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts

Colonial Promenade, Alabaster 



Best Books 0223 Meet Me

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Nothing is more important than our relationship with the Father. But we are a weak, frail, and floundering people.

At times our wandering seems endless, and our prayers repetitive and empty. The void within our hearts burns for fulfillment and the desire to feel worthy for a deeper relationship with God cries out. This is when we call to Him. “Meet me where I am, Lord. I must start but the mountain seems too high, the cliffs too steep. I am at the foot, scraping my nails into the rock and reaching.” To know Him better, we understand we need Him to take a willing heart in hand and begin at the bottom. Meet Me Where I Am, Lord by Cindy K. Sproles will lead you in ninety-days of reflection where you will meet God where you are.

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Meet Me Where I Am, Lord releases on February 28 and is available for pre-order now.

Meet Me Where I Am, Lord is a refreshing way to enter the throne room and feel the touch of an ever-present God. Sproles is proud of her mountain heritage. Born, raised, and still living in the Appalachian Mountains, her desire is for the “old ways” of the mountain people and life to never be forgotten. She is an author, storyteller, speaker, and conference teacher. Sproles is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and served as a project lead manager for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and Iron Stream Media. She is the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference, the executive editor for and She also is a mentor and editor with Write Right, a private editing service.

Sproles is a best-selling and award-winning author. Her first novel, Mercy’s Rain was named IndieFab Book of the Year and her second, Liar’s Winter, was named Golden Scroll Book of the Year and was also a Carol Award finalist. Her latest book, What Momma Left Behind, was the 2021 Christian Market Novel of the Year. Her devotions have been published across the eastern seaboard and she writes monthly eldercare articles for The Voice Magazine.

Meet Me Where I Am, Lord publishes on February 28, 2023, and is available for pre-order today wherever books are sold. †

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Best Books 0123 Brave Enough

Best Books

Disappointment bruises the bravest of souls. The nagging ache of uncertainty causes us to grow weary and afraid to hope. Doubt entices us to wonder if God is good when life is not. Yet, our hard questions can become opportunities for Jesus to show us who He is. 

Perhaps you know Thomas for his bouts with doubt. But Jesus knew Thomas for the courage to question and the bravery to believe. When a crisis of faith revealed his deepest doubts, Jesus met Thomas’s deepest longings.

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Brave Enough to Believe releases on January 17.

Angela Donadio and Hubert Morris, co-authors of Brave Enough to Believe, bring two unique perspectives to flip the script on the story of Thomas. Whether you are a seeker, skeptic, or seasoned leader, you will learn to live untangled from uncertainty, leverage adversity, and lead with confidence through challenging circumstances. Thomas exchanged his uncertainty for a life of tenacious faith. When we encounter Jesus, we can too.

In addition to being an author, Donadio is a speaker and host of the Make Life Matter Podcast. A seasoned Bible teacher and ordained minister, she empowers women in Africa and serves alongside her husband, Dale, to lead a multi-ethnic church. Morris, an ordained minister for more than 50 years, has served as a pastor, presbyter, and university vice president. He has taken the Gospel to Africa, China, Haiti, and Sri Lanka and is currently the president of Assist Ministries, Inc.

Discover Jesus’ invitation to come closer when doubt drives us away.  Learn more about Brave Enough to Believe at †


Best Books 0123 52 weeks

Best Books

At the beginning of each new year, most of us take a moment to reflect on ways we may restructure our life. We commit to take better care of our health, change our behavior, or reorganize our financial priorities. Some of us will also reflect on our spiritual life and consider ways to strengthen our journey with Jesus. Among the latter, the most common resolution is to read and study the Bible with greater intensity.

52 Weeks in the Word
52 Weeks in the Word is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts in Alabaster.

In her new book, 52 Weeks in the Word (Moody Publishers), Trillia J. Newbell has written an excellent resource to accompany those who aspire to read the Bible through in one year. Each week she suggests a section of Scripture to read. There is an introduction to the section, and she provides a series of questions which prompts the reader to reflect more deeply about the passage of scripture they have engaged. What does the passage mean? What does it tell us about Jesus and his gospel? What did you learn about God and His character from the verses? How might you apply the verses to your life? Space for notetaking is also provided with each section.

Although January is an excellent time to start 52 Weeks in the Word, it is not necessary to start at the beginning of the year. Nor does one have to stay on the fifty-two week/one year schedule. A reader can start any time and go as fast or as slow as they wish. Newbell’s companion for reading the Bible is adaptable to whatever pace you desire. I personally think a slower, more thoughtful and sustained study of each week’s scriptures may prove to be more beneficial for many readers.

As we enter a new year, perhaps 52 Weeks in the Word can be a valuable resource for your engagement with the scriptures. May God bless 2023 with His peace and power as we encounter afresh the salvation history found in the Word of God for the people of God.

-Darrel Holcombe, Owner

Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts

Colonial Promenade, Alabaster 



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Best Books

Each Autumn I browse through all the new Christmas books for children, looking for the one that I like best. I have four grandchildren, so the ritual is of considerable significance. This year I have chosen a lovely book that will undoubtedly enrich the hearts of many children this Christmas.

The Good News of Christmas: Celebrating the Glory of Christ’s Birth Story (Harvest House) tells the story of how God promised His people long ago that He would send a savior. After many centuries, the long-anticipated Messiah came to save the world and usher in the kingdom of heaven.

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The Good News of Christmas is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts in Alabaster.

The angelic visitation of Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, and the visitations by shepherds and wise men from afar are simply told and beautifully illustrated. The Good News of Christmas adheres tightly to the actual events as portrayed in the scriptures and does not deviate from the biblical story. The illustrations by Sian James are realistic, yet rich and colorful enough to appeal to a young child. 

In the closing pages of The Good News of Christmas, Rousseaux Brasseur explains why the ancient Christmas story is not only historically true but is also good news for us today. If we open our hearts to the good news of Jesus and his kingdom, we too can receive the glorious Christmas gift from God – the good news of Jesus Christ.

-Darrel Holcombe, Owner

Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts

Colonial Promenade, Alabaster 



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Best Books

The Readable Bible is Scripture the way it would look if the biblical writers had been sitting in front of a computer when God spoke through them.

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You can learn more about The Readable Bible at

There hasn’t been a cover-to-cover Bible formatting update in the last one hundred years! Just think of how much differently we format today than in the 1920s. The Readable Bible is primarily a word-for-word translation that arranges the text in the easy-to-read formats of today’s books. It’s the best of both worlds: accurate yet understandable.

One day in 2008, Rod Laughlin was standing in an airport bookstore looking for a book to read. He asked himself, Why am I looking for something to read when I have a Bible in my briefcase? The answer came quickly: The Bible is hard to read. He thought, You’re a seminary graduate, a pastor, a Bible teacher! Why is it so hard to read? He walked over to the how-to book section and started browsing. Unlike the Bible, all the books presented information in formats that made it easy to understand. 

On the plane, Laughlin wondered, What would the Bible look like if God spoke through Moses, David, and Paul today? After arriving home, Laughlin went through the Bible and identified over two dozen categories of information, all presented in paragraph form. Now he had a new mission—to create a new Bible version that presents the original text and uses modern formatting to make it clear and easy to grasp. The Readable Bible is available now as a full Bible, in 27 books, and as a 27-book set. Learn more at †


Best Books 1122 Advent

Best Books

One night long ago, near a small village called Bethlehem, a group of shepherds was guarding a flock of sheep. Shepherding was a job held only by those on the margins of society. Shepherds were usually poor, uneducated, and devoid of any sense of respectability. They were a band of nobodies simply trying to survive. Then the unimaginable happened. A terrifying angel. Tidings of great joy. Skies filled by angelic heralds of a Messiah. God scanned the world and chose a raggedy band of poor shepherds to welcome the birth of His Son.

Making Room in Advent
Making Room in Advent is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts in Alabaster.

Making Room in Advent (InterVarsity Press) by Bette Dickinson is a beautifully written and illustrated Advent devotional that celebrates the people and events of the birth of Jesus. The devotion involving the shepherds is just one example of Dickinson’s emphasis on how the story of Jesus, from the very beginning, reveals God’s orientation toward the outcast, the poor, and the seemingly insignificant. From the Annunciation to Jesus’ childhood trip to the Temple, the author selects twenty-five stories that lead us to a greater appreciation for the wonder of Christ’s birth. Each devotion includes an original work of art, a reading with scripture, a question for reflection, and a prayer.

Christmas can be a frantic and busy time of the year. We all feel the pull of distraction from the meaning of Christmas. Making Room in Advent is a wonderful resource designed to help us focus and reflect on the story of Jesus’ birth and what it means for us today. In a sense, are we not all shepherds? Are we not all of humble estate – unworthy recipients of God’s attention and grace? This Christmas, may we do what those poor shepherds did on that dark night long ago. May we, with wonder and humility, bow before the Messiah and worship.

-Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster

Best Books 1122 devotions

Best Books

Alabama Devotions
Title Town, USA! Few cities in sports have been able to claim that nickname. Boston. Pittsburgh. Green Bay. Add Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to that list!

Alabama DevotionsWith more than five NCAA national championships since 2009, the Alabama football team certainly deserves its spot among the greatest in sports history. And, of course, Bama fans love to relive the glory moments—long runs by a star running back, deep passes from a Heisman-winning quarterback, key stops by an All-American defender. Relive some of those key plays and pivotal moments in Alabama Devotions and let award-winning sportswriter Del Duduit show you something deeper about each. You’ll discover there is more than just victory on the football field. These forty devotions highlight a memorable biblical or spiritual lesson in each play dear to the hearts of Bama fans.

Auburn Devotions
Auburn Devotions CoverWith a winning percentage that ranks among the top fifteen in college football history, Auburn has given its fans much to cheer about for more than one hundred years. Two NCAA championships. More than 15 conferences titles. Nearly eight hundred wins. Three Heisman trophy winners. With good reason, fans love their Tigers. They win- and win often. In Auburn Devotions, Duduit will show you there’s more than just victory on the football field. These forty devotions highlight a memorable biblical or spiritual lesson in each play dear to the hearts of Tigers fans.
Whether you shout Roll Tide or War Eagle, grab your foam finger and relive your favorite plays with an added biblical twist in Alabama Devotions or Auburn Devotions.†

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Del Duduit is an award-winning sportswriter and author. He blogs weekly at Alabama Devotions and Auburn Devotions are available at


Best Books 1022 Legend of Christmas

Best Books

To believe, or not to believe, is a question surrounding Christmas. For Christian families, the answer would seem obvious. After all, we are believers. And yet, when it comes to Christmas, the talk of believing is all about Santa Claus and Christmas magic. 

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Visit to order your copy of The Legend of Christmas.

Commercialism in Christmas has concerned parents for generations. It’s hard to combat the onslaught of shiny new toys, the latest electronics, and the hope in a child’s eyes. Let’s be honest, it is our Christmas joy to give children gifts that make their faces light up. The idea of a Santa Claus gives parents a story and a fun way to enjoy Christmas giving. Cartoons and Hallmark specials light up the season with warm thoughts of Christmas miracles and magic. For young Christian families, it’s a time to create childhood memories. It can also be a time to lay a foundation for the truth of Christ, and the man their classmates call Santa. Parents no longer have to choose between celebrating the birth of the newborn king, and Santa. 

Santa Claus is the evolution of the Dutch name Sinterklaas, which means Saint Nicholas. Who was in fact a real man. Not only did he live, but he also followed his faith, just as his mother taught him as a child. Living during a time of severe Christian persecution, his good works were in stark contrast to the world around him. And like the Apostle Paul, he spent part of his ministry in prison. In The Legend of Christmas: An Untold Story of the Real St. Nicholas, children are introduced to a rugged man in tattered clothes being cared for by a cellmate. The stories of his kindness, bravery, and powerful prayers had spread throughout his small Mediterranean village. The scruffy younger man is amazed that a good man like Nicholas could be in prison with a thief. 

Historically accurate, with beautiful images spread over each page, parents have a new story to give their children–and something more than an elf to believe in. Parents are encouraged to try new traditions of honoring the birth of the savior by following Jesus, with childlike faith, just as St. Nicholas did. Whether or not to believe in Santa, is arguably the first time Christian children are confronted with the fantasy of our culture, and the faith of their family. This true story of Christian history, untainted by secular commercialism, gives families a deeper sense of their own spiritual heritage, and inspiration to create new faith-filled traditions this Christmas.

-Theresa White 

Best Books 1022 the Lord Roars

Best Books

Around the 8th century BC, God raised up several prophets to address the crisis confronting His people. Among them were Amos, Micah, and Isaiah. Their ancient prophetic message, now enshrined in our scriptures, voiced God’s love and frustration for a nation that claimed Yahweh as their God, offered him sacrifices, sang his praises, observed holy days, and read the scriptures. They thought they were in good standing with God – that they were doing it right and believed the right things. They were, however, terribly mistaken. Not only were they in a political, social, and national crisis – they were in a theological crisis. Even their religious leaders were divided – often offering competing views on what was true and what was false. Sound familiar? 

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The Lord Roars is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books & Gifts in Alabaster.

In his new book, The Lord Roars- Recovering the Prophetic Voice for Today, M. Daniel Carroll R. presents a powerful appeal for modern Christians to learn from these ancient prophets. Amos, Micah, and Isaiah have a message for us today. Their warnings to God’s people about systemic injustice, nationalistic arrogance, materialism, and economic inequality are just as relevant today as they were when proclaimed to ancient Israel. The prophets of the Lord can speak into our world. The writings of the prophets are both a warning for us and an invitation to live in the hope of a world more closely conformed to the righteous vision of God. The Lord Roars is a message we would be wise to heed.

The prophetic vision for the world is not dead, nor is it confined solely to the future. As Christians, we are called to live in anticipation and hope of the coming kingdom of God, a reign of justice and abundance and true worship. But we are also obliged to live in alignment with that hope right now, in this world. We are to yearn for a just society, to work and pray and speak boldly. What does the Lord require of us? Do justice, now. Love mercy, now. Walk with humility, now. Our allegiance is not, nor should ever be, to any political or social ideology. Our allegiance is to the Roar of the Lord.

-Darrel Holcombe, Owner

Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts

Colonial Promenade, Alabaster 


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