My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. -Psalm 119:167
Does your soul love the teachings of God? That is one of my goals in life. I hope it is one of yours as well. We need to be very careful not to let our faith become something that we merely talk about while not allowing it to be something that genuinely moves us. It means something to say that we love God. It means more to live out what we say. To do that, all of us look to concepts, moments, interactions and resources that help us with that goal. For me, as an introvert by nature, I find that those helps usually come not in a group setting, but on my own, with God and his word, or with a good book that teaches me more or challenges me faithfully to follow hard after God. We're not all hard-wired the same way, however. Some of you would say just the opposite. You find yourselves challenged to seek God more in group settings, maybe in a worship service, or in another gathering with believers, or by watching a video of one of your favorite speakers. One way is not necessarily better than the other. Like I said, God hard-wires us differently. Would it not surely be a less exciting world if he made us all the same way?
With this being said, I want to commend three books to you this week. Many of you may be finding, as I am, that you have a bit more time on your hands now than you had two months ago. Who would have imagined that this pandemic would lead to where we find ourselves as of this writing?
The first book is entitled A Little Book for New Theologians and is written by Kelly M. Kapic. This book is exactly what the title claims, "little" and "for new theologians." It is a very handy 119 pages chock-full of helpful information for those who are just starting out and want some direction when it comes to theology. It is also good for people like me, who have been at this for a long time and need some good reminders. The second book is Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What that Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung. This book is only 124 pages, but Pastor DeYoung does an outstanding job of succinctly showing us the value of scripture while helping us to see that it is indeed exactly what it claims to be — the revelation of God to humankind. My final recommendation is a Christian classic. Mark Twain defined a classic book this way: “A book everyone praises and no one reads.” This book, however, should be read by mature believers. It is entitled The Problem of Pain and was written by C.S. Lewis in 1940, just as the world was moving rapidly into the second major military conflict in half a century. In it, Lewis deals masterfully with issues which are very vivid to us now in the midst of this pandemic. Is God good? If so, why do humans and animals suffer? What is wickedness and sin? Is God truly sovereign? And other vital topics. Where the first two books I recommended are for just about anyone, this book is a bit more philosophical in its essence, and therefore requires a more careful and experienced reader. Nevertheless, it is worth the time and effort!
It will only take you a short amount of time to read each book, and although doing so will not make you love God more by default, it will help you with both your knowledge of God and your application of that knowledge. And help is what most of us need in these areas.
I am praying for our church family daily as we embrace the realities of this world-wide pandemic. I thank God for you all!
Grace and peace,