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. Also, this would make an excellent gift book, this holiday season!
C. David Baker founded an award-winning business before redirecting his career to write full-time from his small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eight books, including six novels, one of which was nominated for a Christy Award. He has contributed articles to the Christian History Institute\’s international publication Glimpses, and to Christian Singles magazine. Baker has a Master\’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Stay tuned for a book giveaway later this week, as part of Waterbrook’s 40 Loaves book blog tour. Learn more about this book at (or purchase it directly from) Waterbrook, and check out a .pdf excerpt available for this book.
This review is available as a pdf download.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.