School is out for most children, vacations are planned and raring to go, and it’s time to encourage our mental growth. What are you reading this summer? If you check out the latest bestseller list, you can be overwhelmed and wonder where to start. Each bestseller has raving reviews, but not all bestsellers are great books to read. Here are some things to keep in mind when picking something to read this summer.
What Not to Read: Continue reading
Augustine of Hippo, who stands as a church father of theology, was an intellectual giant whom I must confess I fall short in writing about. He wrote over 100 books, 500 sermons, and 200 letters. Many who read Augustine relate to him because of his rebellious life and the inward struggle with truth. The Bible reminds us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). Augustine as a new creation was able to look at truth, which he passionately pursued, with new, clear lenses. With a clear look at truth, he saw that truth is found in Christ. He is a world changer—he impacted not just those in North Africa in the 4th century, but so many believers throughout history because his writings have been preserved.
Andrew Murray (1828–1917)
Though Andrew Murray has now been with the Lord 100 years, his life still shows us the closeness one can have with God. The life that he lived is contagious to the believer. Just like an infectious laugh, someone who shows the reality of God’s presence is someone the Christian wants to model after. He penned over two hundred and fifty titles, which include some of his more well-known books, Humility and Abide in Christ. Andrew Murray is a world changer.
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)
I remember being a freshman in high school and receiving as a gift from one my Christian friends a copy of My Utmost for His Highest. At the time of my receiving this devotional, I had no idea of the impact it has had, nor much about the author. Years later, as I come across the different pages from that devotional, I see nuggets of truth to be mined. I see why this devotional has lasted so long. I am thankful for Oswald Chambers and also for his wife and daughter, who transcribed much of his writings.
What is interesting about Oswald Chambers is that he was little known in the Christian world at the time of his life. Over thirty different titles are attributed to him, yet he only penned one in his lifetime. His most famous work, My Utmost for His Highest, which has sold millions of copies and is written in several languages, is really a result of Oswald’s wife, Gertrude (who was called Biddy by friends), and their daughter, Kathleen. Though the impact of Oswald’s work during his life may have been limited (he lived only to 43), he is a world changer as he has impacted many believers with his writings. Continue reading
One of the most colorful and impactful figures who led the Scottish Reformation is John Knox.
It has been said that Martin Luther was the hammer of the Reformation, John Calvin the pen, and John Knox the trumpet. Martyn Lloyd Jones would call Knox the first English Puritan as Knox desired for the church to be pure and would pave the way for puritanism.
This remarkable man may have been somewhat forgotten through the ages as his gravesite is in parking stall #23 of St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.
This defender of truth who fought against religious idolatry in Scotland and England was born in 1514. Knox went to school and was part of Roman Catholicism. It was through his study of John 17, Jesus’ high priestly prayer, that Knox was converted. He was like a sponge absorbing the water of God’s Word. He couldn’t get enough and he devoted himself for over two years to meticulously studying the Bible.
It is Palm Sunday and we can go through the traditional mindset of Passion Week. But, let us not treat Palm Sunday like an event on rotation on the calendar. This event in history is huge. It was prophesied many many years before Christ and of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah prophesied by saying,
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foul of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 ESV).”
Zechariah was writing of what we read Jesus did to fulfill this prophecy as he entered into Jerusalem at the beginning of passion week, riding on a colt as the Triumphant King.
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Every generation seems to have that person who stands out more than the rest. For the early twentieth century, it would seem that person is A. W. Tozer. The Bible gives us a brief story about a man named Enoch. Not much is known about him other than a few verses in the Bible. His life is summed up this way: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Though Tozer did not leave this earth like Enoch, we can summarize his life the same way. Tozer walked with God, pursued after God, and then went home to be with God.
Tozer was a pastor, author, editor of The Alliance Witness Magazine, conference speaker, and one who walked with God and knew Him intimately.
Have you ever been asked by your children for the same thing over and over again? You start getting frustrated, your eye starts twitching. Or, maybe it’s me. I have this tendency to show patience to others but can be very impatient to those who are close to me.
Maybe it’s not your kids but you have had to endure the abuse from some authority or peer at work. Maybe it’s a neighbor and your patience for them is growing thin. They keep doing that one thing to annoy you. Or, maybe it is a physical ailment. Something that seems to be consuming your thoughts and it doesn’t look like it is going away.
The apostle Paul writes, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12–13 ESV).
Like some, we choose a book to read based on a situation that you may be currently facing and it comes recommended. A Small Cup of Light is one of those books for me. For almost the past year, I have been dealing with some stomach ailments. I have had numerous tests done but all came back negative. Though I am thankful that nothing serious was found, still, not knowing what is causing these problems has been frustrating. What I deal with feels like having a constant stomachache—the feeling when you have the stomach flu and your stomach hurts, but it is constant. I know my affliction is so minor in comparison to others, and by no means do I want to compare, but it is my affliction nonetheless.
A Passion for the Lost
Dwight Lyman Moody has been described by Warren Wiersbe as possibly the most remarkable Christian layman America has produced. He was a pioneer in evangelism and thought outside the box when it came to reaching the lost. His legacy and vision can be seen through history in the lives of evangelists such as Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and now today Greg Laurie.
He never was ordained nor did he ever have any formal pastoral training. Yet, he was willing to learn and seek counsel from men who were formally trained. God would use a man with very little education to become an administrator over an educational facility, Moody Bible Institute. God would use a man who was not formally ordained or trained to reach a whole generation. God would use a man who came from an unknown family to leave a legacy in so many lives of other men.