This year for Lent I gave up reading all fiction (Christian and secular) and all secular nonfiction and read only Christian nonfiction. I did not have a reading plan of specific books or topics. I simply read free Kindle books in the order I downloaded them, as follows:
- The Disciplined Life (Ebook Short) by Calvin Miller
- The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask: (With Answers) by Mark Mittelberg and Lee Strobel
- Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith by Holly Ordway
- The Rule of St. Benedict by St. Benedict
- Philippians: The Fellowship of the Gospel (Preaching the Word) by R. Kent Hughes
- Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and Justin Taylor
- What Is the Gospel? (9Marks) by Greg Gilbert and D.A. Carson
- Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey
- Craving God: A 21-Day Devotional Challenge, based on Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerLeul
- Raising the Dead: A Doctor Encounters the Miraculous by Chauncey W. Crandall
- Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt
- Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) by Brian Jones
- God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours by Max Lucado
- Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church by Multiple Authors
- Listening to God (Life Principles Study Series) by Charles F. Stanley
- Friendship with Jesus by David L. Miller
Considering that I chose the books simply because they were free, it would seem that the readings would be random and disconnected. But even when my choices are random, God’s plan isn’t. There were a few overriding themes among everything I read:
- God blesses us so we can bless others, not so we can live the American dream.
- We can communicate with God through prayer, reading His Word, listening to the Holy Spirit, and learning from other Christians.
- God is sovereign—He is in control of everything. He can heal physically if He chooses, but if He allows us to suffer, He doesn’t explain Himself to us. Even if physical healing doesn’t come in this earthly life, spiritual healing is always available.
- The heart of the Gospel is the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross. It is all about Him, not about us.
- God’s Word is true—He means what He says, and His Word tells us that Heaven and Hell are real and that accepting Jesus Christ as Savior is the only way to end up in Heaven and not in Hell.
- Each of us as Christians has an obligation to witness to others so they have the same opportunity we do to spend eternity with the Lord. If we loved unsaved family and friends, we will be more concerned about their eternal life in Heaven or hell than being embarrassed about taking about faith.
- Christians should expect to suffer and experience trials and tribulations as Jesus Himself told us we would, but sufferings are part of His perfect plan working together for our good, even when we can’t understand.
- We need to show compassion and God’s love to others who are suffering, both individually and corporately.
Of course, there is much more to learn from these books, but I was struck by the unity of themes among so many disparate and seemingly random titles.
You can read my reviews of all of these books on Goodreads.