Recently I began reading, Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, by Rueben P. Job. The engaging, inspirational, small book of 77 pages posits three concepts for changing the world for good-by living a god-centered life. Those concepts are: Do No Harm; Do Good, and Love God. The Do No Harm spiritual discipline encapsulates the essence of the following Scriptures: Matthew 5:28; Philippians 4:8; Romans 12: 1-2, and I Corinthians 13: 4-7. It also inspires me to work on further developing my spiritual nature.
My initial reaction to the book was to read it through during a single sitting. However, about halfway through the first section I decided to spend time honing the Do No Harm discipline before reading the rest of the book. It has not been an easy task. When someone cuts me off in traffic, litters, doesn’t curb their dog, behaves rudely, or makes a mistake, etc.; I must consciously reject the negative thoughts about the person that come to my mind and resist the urge to say something mean about him/her. I do this by redirecting my thoughts to either I Corinthians 13:4-7 or Philippians 4:8. Since embarking upon the spiritual quest of doing no harm I cannot count the number of times in a day that I have had to redirect my thoughts. Consequently, my spiritual nature is developing.
As is often the case with me, reading an inspirational book prompts thoughts about many aspects of life. That is exactly what happened to me during the reading of Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living. I started thinking about other books, aside from Scripture, that have profoundly impacted me. After prayer and meditation, I decided to compile a list of those books to share with others. Such a list could consist of hundreds of books from multiple genres. But a long list would not be useful. Therefore, I have narrowed my list to ten the books that have most profoundly impacted my ethical, moral, and spiritual development.
Most of the books highlight two simple truths. One, Christians are to proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Christ in accordance with Scripture: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever will shall be saved.” John 3:16 The second truth is, the way Christians think about and interact with others illustrates the veracity of their witness. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7 & 8
Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book illustrates the universality of suffering and it addresses the question that many ask, why do bad things happen to “good” people?
- My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers
- When Bad Things Happen to Good People Rabbi Harold Kushner
- The Cross and the Switchblade David Wilkerson and others
- Please Make Me Cry Cookie Rodriguez
- In His Steps Charles Sheldon
- The Hiding Place Corrie ten Boom
- The Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoffer
- The Desert Fathers
- The 30-Day Experiment
- Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living Rueben Phillip Job
- (One of the books I am currently reading.)
6 thoughts on “Ten Inspirational Books”
Not that you asked, but another take on the whole “why do bad things happen to good people” question is a phenomenal book by English Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”. It takes a chapter or two to get used to the Puritan writing style, but it is well worth the effort.
Thanks for the information. When I finish the books I am currently reading, I’ll consider reading Burroughs. What books, apart from Scripture, would you include in your list of Top Ten Inspirational books? I’m anxious to see your list.
Hmm. Interesting question. Off the top of my head, in addition to Burroughs I would include The Pearl of Christian Comfort by Petrus Dathenus, The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges, The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy, The Cross and the Swastika by F. T. Grossmith, Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, and The Power of God Unto Salvation by B. B. Warfield. But I reserve the right to change my mind 🙂
Wow! Your list sounds a lot more scholarly than mine. I don’t know if I want to delve into such heavy reading, I did enough of that during my more than eight years of formal study. .
The only thing really heavy in there is Calvin. But what struck me most when I read The Institutes was not Calvin’s logic or his intellect but his pastoral heart (indeed there were a number of times reading the Institutes when Calvin’s words prompted me to stop reading and pray immediately). Warfield is a collection of sermons, and the remaining books are much lighter reading. Bridges and Dathenus it seems to me are clearly written for laypeople, Leahy is a series of short devotions, and Grossmith is a fascinating and inspiring look about the work of the Protestant chaplain at the Nuremburg war crimes trial.
Thanks for sharing your list and for the explanation. I hope readers of this blog take time to investigate the books on your list. It has been years since I read anything by Calvin. I don’t recognize the titles of the other books. FYI, today I received My Utmost for His Highest as a gift. I smiled from ear-to-ear. The gift giver had no idea that the book is one of my favorite devotional guides.
Your list is interesting. Why don’t you post it on FB?