Devotional: The Classic Spiritual Disciples

Below are reviews for four books that I read that have had a profound impact on my life. The author, Dr. Richard J. Foster, is a Christian theologian and author in the Quaker tradition. His writings speak to a broad Christian audience. He has been a professor at Friends University and pastor of Evangelical Friends churches.  He earned his undergraduate degree at George Fox University in Oregon and his Doctor of Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Fullerton, California. He has written four books dealing with the classic disciples of the Christian faith. Enjoy the reviews and just maybe, you will read one of the books.

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster

The late Dr. Harry Piland who headed up Southern Baptist Sunday School work during the 1980’s and early 1990’s first introduced me to this book. He said only the Bible has had a greater impact on his life. As I respected Harry’s walk with the Lord, I wanted to see what was so great about the book. I found out in the first few chapters. I never thought that reading this book would change my life so deeply. Dr. Richard J. Foster, the preeminent Quaker theologian of this age, helped me to understand every discipline in a simple way and inspired me to put them in practice in my every day life. The book is divided into chapters that explore one of the spiritual disciplines in a deep, insightful, and yet simple way. The disciplines described are: meditation, prayer, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance and celebration. After reading every discipline you’ll know what it is, learn how to do it and most of all, you’ll want to do it! I have read the book (originally published in 1978) about every two or three years since my first reading in 1981, and every time it motivates me to seek for God’s will in my life and learn how to grow in my spiritual journey. The book is one of the all time classics in Christian literature. If the Lord tarries, this book will be read regularly until His return.

The Challenge of the Disciplined Life by Richard J. Foster

I first read this book in 1986. The Challenge of the Disciplined Life has guided me often from then until now. Its clear ethics will give valuable insight to all who will apply its ageless principles. Foster’s blending of practical reality linked with biblical concepts leaves one thinking in biblical ways that still make sense in a world whose ethics seem to be changing daily. The insights expounded by Foster will continue to make a profound positive impact. It shows the dangers/temptations of money, sex, and power to draw one away from Christ.

Freedom of Simplicity by Richard J. Foster

I bought this book in Nashville, Tennessee at the Lifeway Christian Bookstore. Written in the same warm, accessible style as Richard Foster’s best-selling Celebration of Discipline, Freedom of Simplicity articulates a creative, more human style of living and points the way for Christians to make their lives “models of simplicity.” Foster provides a way to review our priorities and to “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.” He shows us how to live in harmony with the rich complexity of life while stressing the relation of simplicity to prayer, solitude, and all the Christian Disciplines.

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster

This wonderful book is a nearly 20 years old. I have read this book twice. I have come back many other times to reread parts of the book. Richard Foster is a Quaker. He is probably the best known Quaker in the world today. He takes us into twenty-one different types of Christian prayer. He divides these twenty-one different types of Christian prayer into three movements of prayer, moving inward, upward and outward, which correspond to seeking transformation, seeking intimacy and seeking ministry. For those of us who love prayer, seek increasing intimacy with the Father or who have found difficulty with prayer in at least some of its forms, this book is a wonderful how to guide and aid. It helps us gain a better understanding of what each type of prayer is about.

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