I read this book a few years ago and recommended it to a friend recently. As part of a different study, I am always answering her questions with a question that causes her to think about what she is asking. I have been doing this to her for a year now and she has started this for herself. When I was researching just which book to recommend her to go through wth a different fried, I started laughing while reading the back cover knowing this was the perfect book. Questions make things uncomfortable... at first.
Devotional books abound these days. They remain popular since Christians continue to desire books which help them connect with God. Scriptural readings followed by devotional thoughts, a prayer or a poem - this is what one expects to encounter with books in this genre. One doesn't expect to be given penetrating and even troubling questions.
40 Loaves does just that. C.D. Baker dares to ask and discuss the questions that find their way into our heart of hearts. Why do I so easily lose self-control? Why am I so uncomfortable with doubts? Why can't I overcome sin in my life? Why am I so discontented? These questions (and more like them) aren't addressed easily.
I knew that this book addressed such questions. I wasn't prepared for how relevant the treatment of them would be. Baker uses such questions to probe deeply into our souls, and to ground us firmly in the gospel of God's free grace. Throughout his devotioanl readings, he displays a gift in cutting to the heart of the problem.
Each reading begins with a story or example which draws us into the problem represented by the question covered in the reading. The stories are gleaned from Baker's ministry and life experience, and they do much to keep the book interesting. The devotional then considers the question and finds the key issue or obstacle such a question reveals. The Scripture is briefly applied to the problem at hand, and some questions for further reflection are provided. The section ends with a brief prayer pertinent to the issue.
The readings are short, 4 small pages each. Yet their message is weighty. Don't think the book is frighteningly sober or dreadfully serious. It is, but it isn't. Baker manages to keep the readings eminently readable, interesting and above all, helpful.
As a once-upon-a-time-legalist, I found Baker's emphasis on grace refreshing, and his exposure of their peril of performance-based Christianity convincing. Baker also quite often gives encouragement and reminds us that we are human after all. It would be wrong to assume that Baker just offers a cheery view of the world, however. He acknowledges and addresses the grittiness of the Christian struggle. And his thoughts are grounded in Scripture. I appreciated his emphasis on the centrality of the gospel and his encouragement to focus on Jesus.
This little volume will be a blessing to you. All the more if you find yourself voicing some disturbing questions. 40 Loaves will prove to be accessible to almost any reader, and offers a high return on any investment involved in the reading. This book has made me interested in picking up some of Baker's other devotional books. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, you won't be disappointed.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
I like asking questions. I encourage my kids to ask questions. Questions lead us to search for answers and dig deep for understanding. However, when it comes to faith-related questions, some people are afraid or ashamed to ask. This book addresses 40 questions that some Christians may be struggling with. Questions like: Why do I so easily lose self-control?, Why am I so confused about finding God's will?, Why do I always feel exhausted?, Why are my feelings so easily hurt?, Why do I fear unbelief?, Why do I care so much about my reputation?, and more. I truly appreciate Mr. Baker's transparency, humility, & honesty and his reliance on the Scriptures for answers. Each question in the book will help draw you closer to God and His Word. Each "loaf" ends with food for thought and a prayer. This book is small but is packed with valuable insights and Biblical wisdom. It's easy to read and it is nourishing to the soul. 40 Loaves is definitely delicious and healthy to feast upon!
~This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.