A college student wrote me requesting counsel concerning a personal problem, and the last sentence in her letter was "Please don't tell me to read a book!"

She was smart enough to know that reading a book doesn't automatically solve your problems any more than reading a prescription (if you can read it) instantly makes you healthy. You have to process the material you read and then act upon it by faith.

In times of pressure and difficulty during more than fifty years of ministry, I've often turned to these books for enlightenment and encouragement:

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis.

It's available in numerous editions. Mine is a sturdy pocket edition published by Oxford University. Read slowly and meditatively, and don't try to hide or put up defenses. The book brings you back to reality—and to God, who is the source of reality.

Sacred Songs and Solos (Marshall Pickering, 2001), compiled under the direction of Ira D. Sankey.

A hymnal? Yes. Only the words are in this handy volume, but ...

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