In the back of my journal, I keep a running list of books I have read. I will sometimes put a star beside the titles that especially impacted me, jot a note about how the book impacted me, or include a quote or excerpt.
I was looking over these lists the other day, remembering and reflecting upon all I’ve learned and how God has used these authors to grow my faith, and I thought it might be beneficial to share some of them with you.
I was able to narrow the list down to the 15 most impactful that I’ve read in the last 3 to 4 years. I’ve listed the books in no particular order – they’ve all touched me in different yet significant ways. For the sake of space, I’ve divided the list into 3 separate posts. I’ll post them over the next few days. Enjoy! 🙂
1.) The one that made me see more clearly that America is a mission field with many parallels to India of the late 1800’s (though this wasn’t the intended message of the book at all), and inspired me to live a life more fully dedicated to serving God in the circumstances I’m in at the moment. The one that made me disdain frivolities, and begin to hunt out the hypocrisy of my own life.
A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot (biography of Amy Carmichael, missionary to India)
“Missionary work in a place where Christ has never been named is sometimes less arduous than in places where, though named, He has not been honored by lived of holy obedience. How were the heathen to see Christianity in action, how feel its force, when so many who went by the name of Christian were nothing more than the descendants of people who had ‘crossed over’ [from pagan religions] during ‘one of those dreadful mass movements’ of the early nineteenth century? They lived in a sort of twilight, far from the true Gospel light.”
2.) The one we bought to read to the children during morning devotions which ended up leaving me convicted every single day. The one that taught me more about what God says about work than I’d been taught in my lifetime thus far.
Created for Work by Bob Shultz
“A discouraged man doesn’t have to stop living. He doesn’t have to wait until he feels joyful to accomplish his work. When you are committed to a job you don’t feel like doing, do it anyway…Discouragement is allowing your mind to keep your body from doing what it ought to do.”
3.) The one that opened my eyes to the fact that I really didn’t care about the lost, and began our family’s path toward a lifestyle of evangelism.
One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill
“I firmly believe that we must change our mindset about sharing our faith. Me must view it as the awesome opportunity that it is and not as some sort of drudgery. It should be a joyful activity that we can’t wait to do instead of the worst part of our week.”
4.) The one that redefined my understanding of the word discipline and made me realize that there is more to my personal walk with Christ than showing up Sunday morning, attending a ladies “Bible study”, and reading a cutesy devotional most mornings.
The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
“The apostle Paul says, ‘he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life’ (Gal 6:8)…A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do it provide the right conditions for the growing of grain…This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines – they are a way of sowing to the Spirit. The Disciplines are God’s way of getting us into the ground; they put us where he can work within us and transform us. By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done. They are God’s means of grace.”
5.) The ones that contain simple biblical truths about womanhood, purity, and Christ as our fulfilling Love – truths I so desperately wish had been taught to me and modeled for me as a young teenaged believer before I’d plunged into mistakes that led to consequences I still experience today. The ones I pass on to as many parents of young ladies as possible, with the hope that some of those young ladies will avoid a fall such as mine.
“A set-apart young woman dreams differently than the rest of her female contemporaries. Instead of dreaming dreams that bring her to center stage in society’s spotlight, she begins to dream God’s dreams for her life. And God’s dreams cause her to seek her Prince [Christ] above all else, prior to all else, and at risk of all else. She becomes fantastically preoccupied with her gallant Jesus.”
Caveat: (though in my opinion I shouldn’t have to point this out) The Lord used the work of these authors in conjunction with His own Word to help me to grow in grace and truth. I do recommend them for your own reading. This does not mean that I affirm every belief of every author, nor every thought in every book, nor that there won’t be some “bones” to spit out when reading some of these books. I don’t believe in or agree with every conclusion reached by every author. I don’t share the same theology & beliefs in all areas with every author (as always, if you wonder where I stand, see my statement of faith). I do still think that these books are all worth reading, though. Please use discernment, and as with any book you’d read do so “with Bible in mind and on hand”. It should also go without saying that when you must choose between the Word of God and another book due to time constraints, the Word of God should always come first.