Becky tagged me in a recent post of hers and asked that I share the five most influential books I’ve ever read in my life (besides the Bible). All of the books mentioned below play (and still play) a major role in my theology today. By reading some of these books, my heart was changed and is still being softened today…..I need the daily reminder.
The Dangerous Duty of Delight, by John Piper – Simply put, this book – albeit it small and slim – worked mightily in my soul. It helped me to find joy and fulfillment in delighting in the Father. This book also changed my attitude toward worship and my purpose of living. I keep it on my nightstand.
Journey in God’s Sovereignty, by Richard Belcher – I read this book when I was a counselor at a camp the summer I graduated from college. I walked to get my diploma in the morning and, by nightfall, I was sleeping in a cabin with other female counselors who were there for the amazing summer for which God had prepared our hearts. I was eager to study God’s Word that summer but I was also struggling with my theology (not my salvation) and wanted an easy read. At the time, I didn’t know I was surrounded by reformed people who eventually put this book into my hands. It’s written in novel form which made it easy to follow and allowed me to imagine myself in the narrator’s shoes. MY LIFE CHANGED that summer.
Valley of Vision (Banner of Truth) – The impact on my heart of this collection of Puritan prayers and devotions has been humbling. I have seen the dirt in my life, the offense of my sin, and the ugliness of my heart as I’ve read this book….but God has also shown me the depth of his undeserving great love, his passion for my holiness, his pursuit of my soul, and the awesome gift of his precious son.
Then, Sovereign Grace Music recorded an album by the same title and, once you put music to powerful words, I can’t help but be moved to tears at the awful wonderings of my heart captured by His amazing love. This book points me to the cross.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis – (I’m not stealing this from you, Becky! HA!) – There is no other book of fiction that makes me see Jesus more clearly. When I read the words spoken by Aslan, I tingle. Then, once the book was put to film, I would get chills when Aslan would make an appearance on the screen and speak. Who knew that a lion character would point me to Christ? Not to mention the conversion of C.S. Lewis to the faith – what an act of God!
While at camp that summer, Mr. Charles read a chapter each Friday night to the staff while we sat on his living room floor looking up at him in his reading chair. I enjoyed how he used various voices to portray different characters (my favorite was Mr. Beaver). He brought the book to life!
Evidence Not Seen, by Darlene Diebler Rose – I read this book my freshman year of college. I first heard Darlene’s story on the radio (Focus on the Family) and knew that I wanted more details…so I bought her book. Of all the missionaries that have served the Lord, it’s Darlene’s story that preached the gospel the loudest to me. She and her husband were taken as prisoners of war (WWII) when they were serving as missionaries in the jungle of New Guinea. They were separated into different camps and never saw each other again (he died while a prisoner and she died in 2004). I loved reading the stories of how God provided her bananas after so many maggot meals, the flashlight that worked for six years on the same batteries, the Bible that was never found during raids, and the Japanese official who showed compassion toward her in prison. I loan this book out all the time….wanna borrow it?