NEED TO READ by Larry Stout
10 Books Every Christian Needs to Read Series
Yes, I know, these are two different books — so why are the listed as Book #6 in my list? Very simply, because they represent the best (in my opinion) of a genre that every Christian should be continually reading, which is a daily devotional book.
I grew up by reading The Upper Room, a daily devotional guide put out in monthly publication. Originally published by the United Methodist Church, it is now an interdenominational and independent global organization, publishing the guide in 35 languages and reaching people in as many as 100 countries around the world.
The continual popularity of this little on-going devotional demonstrates the hunger Christians have of reflecting on God and His word on a daily basis. Two books that have endured for over a century that serve this purpose are My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers and Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon.
Oswald Chambers was a Scottish man who lived from 1874-1917. He had a deep spirituality and a powerful preaching style. While serving as a YMCA chaplain in World War I, he was stationed in Cairo and told his fellow YMCA workers that he was going to abandon concerts and movies for Bible classes. They thought he would kill their program, but instead, hundreds of soldiers packed their tent night after night to hear this engaging man.
Fortunately for Chambers, he married a man who was a master at shorthand, able to transcribe 250 words a minute. She wrote down almost everything he uttered, and after his death put together the best of his thoughts into a daily devotional which she entitled, My Utmost for His Highest. This work has never gone out of print and has been published into 39 languages.
Another master wordsmith is Charles Spurgeon. It is doubtful that any Christian speaker or writer has been able to capture ideas as colorfully and yet as Scripturally, as Charles Spurgeon. Even in his early twenties, he had thousands of people flocking to hear him preach in London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle in the mid to late 1800s. Before radio and television, it is estimated that Charles Spurgeon preached to as many as ten million people!
He was not only a brilliant orator, he was also an incredibly skilled writer. He wrote a vast number of books, but the one that most people are familiar with today is a simple book of short devotionals for each day, one in the morning and one in the evening, hence the title, Morning and Evening.
There are so many nuggets in these two books, it is hard to pull out a single gem, but we will do our best.
First, My Utmost for His Highest for November 12, “No flowers were ever so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious, too.”
And from Morning and Evening, the morning devotion of December 6, “Pause here, devout reader, and see if you can without ecstatic amazement, contemplate the infinite condescension of the Son of God in thus exalting your wretchedness into blessed union with his glory. You are so mean that in remembrance of your mortality, you may say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘You are my sister;’ and yet in Christ you are so honored that you can say to the Almighty, ‘Abba, Father,’ and to the Incarnate God, ‘You are my brother and my husband.’
There is no better way to start a day than reading a portion of Scripture, spending some time in prayer, and lifting your spirits with great men of God such as these.