I was an avid reader all growing up, really up until I had kids. I just couldn’t find time when I had so many little ones running around and needing so much. Recently I have started reading again, nonfiction, to get the encouragement and wisdom I need as a christian, mother, and wife. I have recently finished two which have challenged me to examine my surrender and live more fully for my Savior.
No other book is able to make a huge impact and change on a person’s life like the Bible, but reading good books is like surrounding ourselves with godly counsel. I think of these books like godly older christians instructing us younger ones. Their writings have been so convicting to me! These in particular, I know that I will not glean all there is to learn from them in just one reading. They are both available free in the public domain, but you may want to just purchase the physical books to come back to again and again.
The first one is not a big book, but more of a booklet. It is the booklet “If” by Amy Carmichael. She wrote it not meaning for it to be read all at once, but for one or two “if’s” to be read and meditated on.
I say, “Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,”
as though the God, who twice a day washes all the
sands on all the shores of all the world,
could not wash such memories from my mind,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.Amy Carmichael
As I read through these and ask myself, “How well do I know Calvary’s love?” If I examine myself, I have so much more to learn!
I myself dominate myself,
if my thoughts revolve around myself,
if I am so occupied with myself I
rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself”,
then I know nothing of Calvary’s love.Amy Carmichael
The second book was written in the 1800s by hymn writer Frances Havergal called “Kept for the Master’s Use”.
“Now, if our hands are full of ‘other things,’ they cannot be filled with ‘the things that are Jesus Christ’s’; there must be emptying before there can be any true filling.”Frances Havergal
When I first started reading it, I had a hard time getting into it because the writing style felt old-English (and the kids were noisy at that time). But once I started, I could’t put it down!
“Does this mean that we are always to be doing some definitely ‘religious’ work, as it is called? No, but that all that we do is to be always definitely done for Him. There is a great difference. If the hands are indeed moving ‘at the impulse of His love,’ the simplest little duties and acts are transfigured into holy service to the Lord.”Frances Havergal
In it she goes through the song, “Take My Life and Let It Be”. Each chapter she shares in depth how we should use each part of our life and body for the Master’s Use – our life, our hands, our lips, our money….examining if it is really, truly surrendered and kept for HIS use, not just for our pleasure.
“‘People must have entertainment,’ they urge. I do not find that must in the Bible, but I do find, ‘We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.’ And if you have any sort of belief in that, how can you care to use those lips of yours, which might be a fountain of life to the dying souls before you, merely to ‘entertain’ them at your penny reading or other entertainment?”Frances Havergal
Truly one of the MOST convicting books I have read outside of the Bible! We sing the song, surrender to the Lord, but our lives are not fully consecrated to HIM…and she directly points out that hypocrisy! As she went into detail on each part consecrated to Him, I realized how short I fall! It is a book I will want to read again and again prayerfully, surrendering to Him areas I have held for myself.
“All that is not ‘kept for Jesus,’ is left for self or the world, and therefore for Satan.”Frances Havergal
Do we need books outside of the Bible?
No. But I believe “but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
Have you read any books recently (or anytime) that really challenged and encouraged your walk with the Lord? Please, comment below! I’d love to hear!