Soul food… Could this post be about chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, fried okra, greens and/or green beans, and pecan pie? Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? But, could soul food get any better than the things I mentioned? It can! And that’s the subject of this Giving Matters post.
Soul Food That Lasts
The ‘food group’ for my imaginary meal comes from a cultural term about some of our favorite, southern foods. These foods have at least three common characteristics:
- BUT…hunger will return
And that brings me to soul food that lasts! What is that? It’s a little play on words. I’m talking about food for the soul.
Soul Food For Disciples
The following resources are great gifts for any believer. And my personal view is every believer ought to read each of these and several other titles as well. Why? Think of your table, menu, and general eating habits. You know certain physical foods are not good for you for various reasons. The same is true for things people tell you are good for your soul. These are classic works of time-honored value. In essence, really good food to grow your soul.
So what follows is a short list of resources that can be purchased through Amazon via the links provided here. Yes, Amazon will send us a dollar or so if you make the purchase. However, I’d recommend these to you if I had to send Amazon a dollar! Each of these soul food resources will challenge you and/or a loved one on your giving list. Need a stocking stuffer? These will do nicely!
I first encountered this book as part of doctoral studies. But don’t let that scare you. It’s anything but dry and boring. I like practical. And the subtitle of Eat This Book tells you its practical intent as well as why this book is on my list:
A conversation in the art of devotional reading
Devotional reading is a skill to be learned and honed. Eugene Peterson is the author. You may recognize his name. He was the lead figure in the development and publication of the Message Bible. This book is not a history of that work. However, Peterson does share a couple of applicable stories from that publishing process. And I can assure you they are fascinating. I highly recommend this book whenever anyone asks me for good devotional study materials.
This soul food list will betray another thing about me. I am a big fan of C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity stands as one of his greatest works. And you should know a couple of things about it.
First, it’s a defense of the Christian faith. One who defends his faith is called an apologist. So it doesn’t mean what we think when we see the word apology. The name given to this genre of writing is apologetics.
Second, Lewis provides a very logical rationale for the Christian faith. And that is why this book is included among the ones I said every believer ought to read. There are other quality volumes in the area of apologetics. But Mere Christianity is in the top tier of this kind of writing. And since I’m on this subject, you and yours might also enjoy the work of the Christian Apologetics And Research Ministry (CARM @ www.carm.org).
The Great Divorce
This is another great resource by C. S. Lewis. One may find many things to like in this classic work. I have quoted from The Great Divorce in sermons and on this blog. It is here that Lewis wrote:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’
That is a stunning summary of humanity. But I also like the creative nature of this book. The main character boards an odd kind of bus. His purpose is to take a tour through Heaven and Hell. He meets many different people on his journey. And he comes to some revealing conclusions about the nature of good and evil. I guess the creative setting appeals to the writer in me. But again, this is worth the time to read and it will be food for your growing soul!
The Great House Of God
I don’t think Max Lucado’s writings have had time to reach classic status. But when, or if, they do, I believe The Great House Of God will be on the classic list.
Lucado points to the believer’s heart as God’s habitation. And he correctly makes the point that God is not shopping for a vacation home or a weekend getaway spot. That should be obvious, but the point has to be made. And then there are logical implications for God’s permanent dwelling place. What does it look like? What’s the layout?
Those questions are answered with another creative piece of writing. The ‘floor plan’ for God’s house is to be seen in the Lord’s Prayer. That is Lucado’s path for teaching. It’s good, creative, engaging, and the clear simplicity is refreshing. And don’t be surprised if readers find themselves wanting to do a little house cleaning before they are done reading!
My Utmost For His Highest
Many of you may already have My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I have found this book to be very helpful and very challenging. Unlike the other resources on this list, this book is a daily devotional guide for an entire year. So, there are 365 entries. And in case you are not familiar with this classic resource, some quotes may give you an idea why it has been loved for so long:
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is.
The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.
I hope this is helpful. And I hope your giving list will include some soul food so others will grow. The world needs more well-fed disciples!
Soli Deo Gloria!