Pastor Mike highly recommends the following books:

Disability & the Gospel by Michael S. Beates

bookMichael Beates’ concern with disability issues began nearly 30 years ago when his eldest child was born with multiple profound disabilities. Now, as more families like his are affected by a growing number of difficulties ranging from down syndrome to autism to food allergies, the need for church programs and personal paradigm shifts is greater than ever.

Working through key Bible passages on brokenness and disability while answering hard questions, Michael offers helpful principles for believers and their churches. He shows us how to embrace our own brokenness and then to embrace those who are more physically and visible broken, bringing hope and vision to those of us who need it most.

Little One Lost – Living with Early Infant Loss by Glenda Mathes

The grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn loss is often misunderstood and frequently ignored. In Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, Glenda Mathes writes of her own experience and shows from Scripture that these littlest ones are not really lost. Several couples share personal stories about a variety of losses, including the pain of infertility. Additional sections deal with acknowledging loss, finding comfort, grieving with hope, and healing pain. Steeped in biblical wisdom, this book will resonate with mourning parents and assist anyone who longs to comfort those who grieve a little one lost.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Like most readers, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists about once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“How,” Voskamp wondered, “do we find job in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing her and now?”

A beautifully practical guide to living a lift of job, One Thousand Gifts invites you to wake up to God’s everyday blessings. As Voskamp discovered, in giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she always wanted.

Following Voskamp’s grace-bathed reflections on her farming, parenting and writing life, you will embark on a transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling gifts. Along the way, you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to gratitude, a way of living so you are not afraid to die, and a way of becoming present to God’s presence that brings deep and lasting happiness.

One Thousand Gifts beckons you to leave the parched ground of pride, fear, and what-knuckle control and abandon yourself to the God who overflows your cup. As Ann Voskamp invites you into her own moments of grace, she gently teaches you how to biblically lament loss, turning pain into poetry, intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude; and slow down and catch God in the moment.

Not a book merely to read, One Thousand Gifts begs to be embraced as a dynamic, interactive primer inviting you to engage with truths that will serve up the depths of God’s job and transform your life forever.

PAIN: The Plight of Fallen Man, by James Halla, MD

Do you suffer from pain? At last—a book on pain management from a Christian viewpoint! You can read with confidence that will direct those suffering from severe pain to God’s solution to the problem from the Scriptures. Dr. James Halla, a practicing rheumatologist from Abilene, Texas and a member of the National association of Neuthetic Counselors, knows from experience how to use the Scriptures to help those who hurt and those who are trying to help. “I have been able not only to read and learn from Dr. Halla’s new book but I have also profited from his medical treatment. I strongly recommend this volume to all pain sufferers and to those who counsel them. I know of no other book which deals with the problem of pain so biblically. Jim, a rheumatologist who deals with those suffering from pain every day, recommends something more than relief!” Dr. Jay E. Adams

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, by NANCY GUTHRIE

In This Paradigm-Shifting Book, Nancy Guthrie gently invites readers to lean in along with her to hear Jesus speak understanding and insight into the lingering questions we all have about the hurts of life: What was God’s involvement in this, and why did he let it happen? Why hasn’t God answered my prayers for a miracle? Can I expect God to protect me? Does God even care?

According to Nancy, pursuing answers to our questions either take us far from God or cause us to press into him more deeply. It is as we hear Jesus speak into our confusion that we come to clarity about the promises of the gospel we may have misapplied and the purposes of God we may have misunderstood.

In Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, Nancy shares the answers she has found as she has heard Jesus speaking promises (My grace is all you need”), imperatives (Be healed!”), and prayers (Thy will be done”) into the sorrow of her own life.

“Nancy Guthrie writes with the realism and perspective of one who has been refined in the cauldron of life’s tragedies. She does not offer up a panacea but the peace that comes from hearing Jesus speak into our sorrows.” HANK HANEGRAAFF, president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast.

“Nancy’s style is straightforward, raw, and yet full of faith. This is a book I’ll refer to and recommend often to those struggling with unanswered questions about suffering.” KAY WARREN, executive director of the HIV/AIDS Initiative, Saddleback Church. “This is no theoretical treatise but a compelling book hammered out on the anvil of a mom’s heart.” DENNIS RAINEY, president of Family Life and host of Family-Life today

BE STILL MY SOUL, Edited by Nancy Guthrie
25 Classic Contemporary Readings on the Problem of Pain

When life becomes difficult—when we face deep disappointment, agonizing loss, or on-going-pain—we set out on a search to find answers to significant questions: Why would God allow this to happen? What good could come out of this? What will it look like to trust him?

In this collection of insightful essays and excerpts, classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teacher—ranging from John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Tim Keller, John Piper, and D. A. Carson—explore Scripture in regard to the causes and purposes of suffering, as well as what it means to trust God in the midst of hardship and pain.

Nancy Guthrie explores the issue of suffering as one who has suffered the loss of her two children. She is the editor of Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, and has authored six books, including Holding On to Hope and Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow.

SUFFERING and the GOODNESS OF GOD by Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson

“When people are hurting they need biblical answers, not platitudes. Here the editors and authors have thoroughly combined the Scriptures to give us the answers we need in tough times. This book should help both those who are suffering and those called upon to comfort and encourage others in their suffering.” –Jerry Bridges, author, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts.

“The skeptic chides: ‘if God is good, he is not God; if God is God, He is not good.’ With Scripture to answer the pain of real-life questions, and with real-life pain to question Scripture, these theologians address the hardest questions with honesty, tenderness, and deep truth.” Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary


“John Piper and friends tackle some of the hardest and most significant issues of Christian concern, producing one of the most honest, faithful, and helpful volumes ever made available to thinking Christians. It is filled with pastoral wisdom, theological conviction, biblical insight, and spiritual counsel. This book answers one of the greatest needs of our times–to affirm the sovereignty of God and to ponder the meaning of human suffering. We need this book.” R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

“For all who don’t live a charmed life, for all who have given themselves to the point of exhaustion, for all who have been betrayed by pious backstabbers, for all who wonder if they can even go on, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God will be green pastures and deep, still waters.” –Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Senior pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tennessee.

“This book will challenge you to believe that God is truly sovereign, not just in the safe haven of theological inquiry, but also in the painful messiness of real life. You will be encouraged to live more consistently by God’s grace and for his glory.” –Mark D. Roberts, Senior Pastor, Irvine Presbyterian Church, Irvine, California.


Polishing God’s Monuments is the true story of a young woman and her devoted husband who face it all (and then some) as a baffling, mind-boggling illness hijacks their youth and shatters their dreams. It blends straightforward theology with the account of this young couple’s afflictions. A sober reality in the life of faith is ‘that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” God’s people are buffeted in two ways: sometimes we suffer for the faith and other times we suffer with faith. Either way, our faith remains a work in progress. In the midst of troubles, our emotions can vacillate between hope and despair, submission and rebellion. Our understanding can alternate between moments of comprehension and times of total confusion. This book confronts these issues head-on and offers believers biblical perspective, practical direction, and sustaining hope.

“This Book doesn’t tip-toe around the topic of suffering, but hits head-on the hardest questions we have about the goodness of God and the problem of suffering. Julie’s story will shake you as well as inspire you!”–Joni Eareckson Tada, International Disability Center.

“A true story so gripping and moving and inspiring that one cannot put the book down. To enter into this theological reflection on suffering is to accept the challenge to grow deeply in Christ, and to cherish the sure and certain promise of the gospel.” –Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


This is an outstanding work through which you will gain a deeper appreciation for the absolute Sovereignty of the One who is infinite in wisdom and perfect in love.


A modern English reprint of Thomas Boston’s classic “The Crook in The Lot.”

THE LIFE Of DAVID, by Arthur W. Pink

A unique combination of biography, commentary and devotional offering an intimate view of the many sides of David in a way that cuts through the heart of life’s greatest problems

HOW LONG, O LORD? by D. A. Carson.

Reflections on Suffering & Evil. “This sober,encouraging book is prophylactic therapy for the many Christians, both pastors and lay folk, who are in agonized confusion regarding pain and evil. The two sides of the author, the biblical scholar who reads, thinks, and misses no detail, and the pastoral/teacher who understands people, feels with them, and cares for them, combine here to give us a treatment of suffering under God’s sovereignty which is outstandingly accurate, wise, and helpful. All who follow the author’s fast-flowing argument will find their heads cleared and their hearts strengthened,”—J. I. Packer.

“The author writes, with Bible in hand, less as philosopher than as a devout and battered pilgrim. His meditations on suffering and evil and the questions they raise and address are solid study-group materials conducive to faith, joy, and hope,”–Carl F. H. Henry.


This book has been written primarily for those members of God’s family who are being chastened. It is designed to assist them in interpreting God’s ways, not merely in finding comfort under trial but in drawing profit from it.


This book thoroughly explores a New Testament incident–the raising of Lazarus–to affirm that the sure comfort of God’s love and the power of Christ’s presence is available to those in the Crucible of suffering and sickness.


Illness, sickness and death come to us all sooner or later, even though some people seem to think that when they become Christians all their troubles will disappear. The question for Christians is how we are to face them. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were devoted and earnest Christians when sickness and death entered their family. Starting from this biblical case study, the author draws on his own personal experience and that of great men of God in the past to show how we can find rest and encouragement in God even in times of great personal stress.


The only aspect of God’s character the world still believes in is His love. His holiness, His sovereignty and His wrath are often rejected as being incompatible with “a loving God.” Because pop culture has so distorted and secularized God’s love, even many Christians have lost a biblical understanding of it and, in turn, lost a vital means to knowing who God is.

IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH, by Abraham Kuyper.

Meditations intended to serve as a help in stimulating us to sit quietly in the presence of the living God who alone can heal the wounds which invariably disturb and distress the heart and so restore us to a peace which passes all understanding.


For more than a decade, this Christian nurse author has walked the pathway of excruciating pain. Pain that at times leaves her totally helpless,devastates her dreams and challenges her faith. Yet, Jane is confident God has a plan for her life.

Writing with sensitivity and insight, Jane Grayshon shares her journey from the depths of despair to the peace and comfort she found in allowing God to work through her life. She deals openly and honestly with tough issues such as:

How can a compassionate God allow suffering? Why do prayers for healing sometimes go unanswered? Why me?

“My acceptance of God’s will was not a passive submission to what I could not change,” writes Jane. “I had not resigned myself to God’s will. I had done something much more positive than that. I had begun to embrace God’s will, and as a result I discovered that some precious fruit was growing within my suffering.”

In this sensitive book, you’ll find encouragement, strength and hope for your own pathway through pain.

Jane Grayson is a nurse specializing in midwifery. She has lectured internationally and created an audio-visual program which is used in hospitals throughout Britain. Her honors include an award from the Royal College of Nursing.

DESTINED FOR GLORY, by Margaret Clarkson.

A powerful and easily understood book which meets the sufferer where he or she is-in pain.It deals with these problems in a sensitive, practical manner.

GRACE GROWS BEST IN WINTER, by Margaret Clarkson.

“..the special book that I read back in that first winter of my disability. Grace grew then for me. And through grace, you will grow too!” Joni Eareckson Tada from the forward

ON ASKING GOD WHY, by Elizabeth Elliot

A collection of meditations in the tradition of ALL THAT EVER WAS OURS. Once again, with great insight and candor, Elisabeth Elliot challenges such “modern ideas” as abortion and divorce. She also confronts the many issues we must deal with in our daily lives, from the ordinary occurrence of another birthday: “Deck yourself with joy,” to serious topics like funerals: “…visible signs of those glorious invisible realities which we believe with all our hearts.” Throughout ON ASKING GOD WHY, you are encouraged to question your God in heaven and allow yourself to trust Him without reserve, because in Him you will find every answer.

A DIVINE CORDIAL by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Romans 8:28. We know that all things, both the good and the bad are working together for the ultimate good of followers of Christ.


What does the Bible say to such a question? What hope does it offer parents grieving the loss of a precious child? The answers are merciful. However, the implications are not simple. Is God a universalist? Is there salvation after death? What is the role of infant baptism? And what about the doctrine of depravity? If a baby is born into sin, then what? What happens to the unborn-to the miscarried and the aborted? This book provides answers to comfort grieving parents.


Why does a good and all powerful God allow us to experience pain and suffering? In the last decade this question has been dealt with often in various palliative ways, but Stanley Hauerwas explores why we seek explanations for suffering and evil so desperately in today’s world. Modern medicine, he declares, has too often become a noisy way to hide the gaping silences created by the painful experience of childhood illness and death. Alternatively, he shows us a God who “can give a voice to that pain in a manner that at least gives us a way to go on.” Offering no easy answers and no false comfort, Naming the Silences is a provocative and sensitive exploration of a matter that concerns all of us.


A book on pain management from a Christian viewpoint. A volume you can read with confidence that will direct those suffering from severe pain to God’s solution to the problem from the Scriptures. Doctor James Halla, a practicing rheumatologist from Abiline, Texas and a member of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, knows from experience how to use the Scriptures to help those suffering pain.

“I have been able not only to read and learn from Dr. Halla’s new book but I also have profited from his medical treatment. I strongly recommend this volume to all pain sufferers and to those who counsel them. I know of no other book which deals with the problem of pain so biblically. Jim, a rheumatologist who deals with those suffering from pain every day, recommends something more than relief!”-Dr. Jay E. Adams

FACING SUFFERING, by Herbert Carson

In spite of the advances made in medical science and technology, today’s world is the scene of increasing suffering brought about by the violence of war, social and moral breakdown and the sheer pace of modern life. Yet often it is not until we experience suffering in our own lives that we begin to ask the question: “Why?”

Herbert Carson examines this urgent question and suggests thoughtful answers based on real understanding of the problems. Such issues as the problem of evil, the problem of pain and death, mental and physical handicap, unhappy marriage and depression are examined and many practical lessons drawn. The author avoids a detached or clinical approach. He writes from the warm heart of a pastor familiar with the everyday problems of those encountering suffering.


587 B.C. Jerusalem has fallen. In It is the darkest hour in Israels history. And in the midst of her anguish and despair, a poet writes. Where pain and grief are, there is Go, our portion, whose mercies are unfailing, whose faithfulness is great. “Lamentations,” writes Dr. Kaiser, “will teach us how to sharpen our response to this greatest of all human difficulty by working through it in ways that accomplish the purposes of God in our lives.”

COMFORT in AFFLICTION, By James Buchanan D. D.

Just as extreme affliction caused Job to think hard, and sometimes wrongly, about the nature of God’s providential dealings with himself, so believers today will be tempted by Satan and indwelling sin to fret, or complain, or doubt because of affliction. They will need reassuring and comforting by God Himself; and by His Word and Spirit He can do that so effectively that even severe affliction will be acquiesced in as a necessary part of a heavenly Father’s loving care. This book treats the subject expertly, and is well named “Comfort in Affliction.”


The truth found in this book will not only be helpful to those who have passed through suffering, but also to those who are presently being tested, or who will soon face a severe trial. It is my belief that this book is one that should be read by all Christians as it not only deals with the reasons for suffering, but also points out the very positive aspects of the times of severe trials in the life of a Christian. One cannot read these pages without being drawn nearer to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and understand in a new way His great love for us. Merrill Womach.


An excellent study of God’s providence in the Book of Esther.

IN ALL THEIR AFFLICTION, by Murdoch Campbell, M. A.

WHY DOES IT HAVE TO HURT? The Meaning of Christian Suffering, by Dan McCartney

“Dan McCartney’s splendid book…has all the qualities necessary to help us deal with such a sensitive, personal, and often difficult question. It is thoroughly honest and realistic; its approach is marked by Christian wisdom; and above all, it is biblical–and set out in his clear, readable, and easily followed style…the result is a book which every Christian should read.” –Sinclair B. Ferguson.

“…the best treatment of suffering I’ve read from a reformed point of view…gripping,practical, encouraging.”–John Bettler

“I grow tired of books on suffering which either ignore the real problem or offer cliches as answers to the problem of suffering. Dan MsCartney has done neither. He looks the “monster” in the eye and, with Bible in hand, gives honest answers to honest questions about suffering. This is a refreshing book. Read it! You’ll be glad you did!”–Steve Brown.


“Peter Kreeft takes up the unanswerable and carries it inexorably to the stunning answer. He tells us in lucid and vigorous prose the old, old story. I already knew how it would end, but I was swept from one clue to the next as willingly and thrillingly as if I had been racing through a mystery novel. Rabbi Kushner, can you refute his case?”–Elizabeth Elliot, Author of Through Gates of Splendor.

“To lead others to the edge of life’s greatest mystery, the mystery of suffering, a guide needs to demonstrate humility, compassion, and, ironically, a kind of ‘lightness of being.’ Peter Kreeft has all these qualities and one more: a sharp, well tempered mind. He proves a trustworthy guide.”–Philip Yancey, Author of Where Is God When It Hurts?”

“A book of clarity and comfort and one that really makes a difference. This is the real answer to the question why bad things happen to good people.”–William Kirk Kilpatrick, Author of Psychological Seduction.”

NOT BY CHANCE, Making Sense Out of Suffering, by Brian Edwards

If God is a God of love, why is there so much misery and suffering in the world? Why does he not prevent natural disasters and curb the cruelty of evil men? If God really cares about people, why is the world such a difficult place to live in?”

WHERE HAS GRANDPA GONE? Helping Children Cope With Grief And Loss, by Ruth Kopp

There is a natural tendency to try to shield our children from the pain of grief and the reality of death. Yet, if we do, Dr. Ruth Kopp warns, we fail our children. Death is woven into the fabric of life in a fallen world” A pet dies. A relative dies. A best friend contracts a debilitating, terminal disease.

The problem, Dr. Kopp writes, is that if children are not guided by parents and other adults in learning about death and suffering, they will learn by themselves–and be vulnerable to misinformation, emotional anguish, and a distorted view of themselves and God.

As a mother and a physician to the terminally ill, Dr. Kopp is uniquely gifted to write this book. In it she covers a wide range of questions and concerns to help us guide children through trials and times of loss. She enables us to–

Understand what concepts a child grasps at various age levels; See the sensible reasons reasons behind a child’s seemingly strange questions; Distinguish between positive emotional signs and unhealthful ones; Appreciate the meaning and value of a child’s attending a funeral; Deal differently with accidental death situations and natural deaths.

Two appendixes–”The Theology of Death” and “Suicide and Christian Teaching”–will help parents formulate satisfactory answers to difficult questions. There is also a ‘read aloud’ section for adults to read to children to help explain the meaning of death and ways to cope with grief and loss.


Few people are equipped by nature or by temperament to face the needs of a person who is dying. It is only when someone we know or love is dying that we struggle to learn how to respond. This is a book to help the person who is ready and willing to learn.

Ruth Kopp, a specialist in clinical oncology, has written this book on the basis of her considerable experience with terminally ill patients. It is a handbook for the patients themselves, for those who counsel them, for their friends and loved ones, and for people of the medical profession who care for them.

The shadow of death brings with it a sense of helplessness. With such a handbook as this, we need no longer feel that there is nothing we can do. Dr. Kopp is able to equip those who are dealing with terminal illness to understand and respond, using the resources God has given. “We are not at sea in a rudderless ship, nor are we totally alone.”


While illness brings time to think, the natural tendancy of our thoughts may not be comforting. Sickness may end activities we once enjoyed; it will make us dependent on others: and feelings of pain, or of uselessness, or of anxiety about the future, may be very real. To help those who are in sickness the author does not under-estimate the strength of those hindrances to comfort. Far from offering superficial advice his position is that no comfort is obtainable unless there be, first, true knowledge of ourselves and, second, right knowledge of God. His main aim is to state what this knowledge needs to be, and to show how with faith in God’s character and presence suffering need not be a dark experience.


We must remember that the Lord has a glorious end in view; our suffering serves to provide the “dark threads the Weaver needs” in the pattern He has planned for each of our lives. As Christians we must submit to God’s purpose because through the suffering we endure He is making us more like Jesus Christ, an example and comforter to all suffers.

In Dark Threads the Weaver Needs the author shares how God’s wise purpose will be accomplished as He watches over us in all His love, wisdom, omniscience, and justice. The comfort of God, Christ, the Spirit, Scripture, and other believers will console us in our suffering until that time when we will suffer no more.

DYING, DEATH, & DESTINY, by Herbert Lockyer

In a day when you are continually confronted with the harsh realities of life, this book offers sensitive encouragement as well as a serious challenge for you to live before God and others in view of the imminent issues of eternity. Dr. Herbet Lockyer believes that death is merely a turning point in the continuity of life: for the believer, it signifies the glorious exchange between earthly toil and heavenly bliss. With the uplifting, soul-stiring prose that is a Lockyer trademark, Dying, Death, and Destiny presents a heartfelt portrait of the great leveler of humanity, laced with assurance, hope,and spiritual significance.

THE LIFE BEYOND, by Herbert Lockyer

In this day and age our eyes are continually drawn downward-to work,to entertainment, to possessions. Yet now and then our thoughts turn from the here and now to the hereafter. Basing his discussion on Scripture, Dr. Herbert Lockyer treats immortality as the good news of the life to come and shows how hearts can be elated now with the glorious thought of inexpressible happiness in the life beyond.

THE MISSION OF SORROW, by Gardiner Spring

“This is real writing. It is deeply devotional reflecting the fine writing of the period. I read the apt illustration of President Samuel Davies mother who said, as she looked at her son in his coffin, ‘There lies my only son and there lies the will of God, and I am satisfied.’”—Geoff Thomas, Pastor In Aberystwyth.

The Mission of Sorrow by Spring is one of the most complete books ever written on the subject of sorrow. Each chapter builds upon the other, until the sorrowing believer is brought at last to heaven.”—David Ash, Pastor in Gainesville, Georgia.”

“Gardner Spring was a powerful preacher and a gifted writer, but above all he was a faithful and tender shepherd. Whenever he saw a need he sought to meet it with the Word of God and prayer. “The mission of Sorrow was written during the early years of the great conflict that was tearing his beloved country apart: The War Between the States. As a pastor his heart was deeply touched by the thousands upon thousands of young men being injured and killed during this tragic war. Within his own congregation there was a great loss and his desire was to address his people from the Scriptures on God’s Purposes in our Afflictions.”…Michael A. Gaydosh, November 2007, Publisher’s Preface to New Edition.

[ I have taken the liberty of modernizing the language and scripture references for today’s readers and posted four of the nine chapters of this excellent work. Click the “TIMELESS INSIGHT’S” link on the “Old Five Pointers” sermon’s page, Mike Cunningham ].


One does not hear much these days about the human conscience. It has become popular to explain away the aching of a troubled heart as some anxiety or stress unrelated to any moral failure. Modern self-esteem theology even urges people to reject guilt feelings as a way of boosting self-image. I do not know of a single book published in the past twenty years that explains in depth how to respond biblically to a grieved or wounded conscience.

Here’s an ideal volume to fill that gap. Few books in history have treated the subject as completely or as clearly as Robert Bolton’s classic work, A TREATISE on COMFORTING AFFLICTED CONSCIENCES, first published in 1626, The book remains a definitive study on the issue of dealing with guilt. Practical, biblical, meticulously precise, carefully reasoned, it maintains a straightforward simplicity that cannot fail to touch the sensitive reader’s heart.

If Reverend Bolton’s language seems somewhat dated, the content of his book certainly is not. The timeless truths he unfolds are as relevant as when they were first written-and perhaps more necessary than ever in this age of indulgence and immorality.

Scripture teaches that a sound conscience is crucial to spiritual health. and growth. This book will cause you to examine your own conscience carefully. It will guide you through whatever corrective measures are necessary to make your conscience healthy and active.And above all, it will direct you to biblical comfort for an afflicted conscience.

John MacArthur, November 1990.

SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION: Its Causes and Cure, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The author’s acquaintance with the subject of this book, an undeniable feature of modern society from which the Christian has not escaped, is intimate, and consists in patient and faithful years of bringing to the spiritually afflicted the example, faithful saying, and power of the Word of God. The author believes that one of the greatest needs of the hour is a revived and joyful church. Spiritual depression is a poor recommendation for a Faith that is inspired by the event of Easter, he says, and points out that there can be little doubt but that the exuberant joy of the early Christians was one of the most potent factors in the spread of Christianity.

In these pages, the causes that have robbed Christians of the unique spiritual power and vitality that are theirs through the mind and the spirit of Christ are thoroughly laid bare, and the cure is consistently sought and found in the Word of a gracious and almighty God. This enduring collection of twenty-one sermons by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, each originally delivered at Westminster Chapel in London, carefully and compassionately analyzes an undeniable feature of contemporary society from which Christians have not escaped – spiritual depression. “Christian people,” writes Lloyd-Jones, “too often seem to be perpetually in the doldrums and too often give the appearance of unhappiness and lack of freedom and absence of joy. There is no question at all but that this is the main reason why large numbers of people have ceased to be interested in Christianity.” Believing that Christian joy was one of the most potent factors in the spread of Christianity in the early centuries, Lloyd-Jones not only lays bare the causes that have robbed many Christians of spiritual vitality but also points the way to the cure that is found through the mind and spirit of Christ.

“The pastor who is bleeding with and for his people will find here above all a consuming and exemplary effort to cause burdened minds to discover a clear vision of the merciful God and the atoning Christ.” — Concordia Theological Monthly “Spiritual depression is here probed with a sharp scalpel…. These sermons present conservative theology in its most winsome, persuasive, and useful garb.” — The Christian Century “These sermons, reproduced in the style in which they were delivered, open to the reader in text after text the abundant riches of the gospel.” — Church Herald D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who died in 1981, retired as minister of Westminster Chapel, London, in 1968. His other books include A First Book of Daily Readings and Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.


Do we believe that everything in the world and in our own lives down to the minutest details is ordered by the providence of God? Do we ever take time to observe and meditate on the workings of providence? If not, are we missing much? It should be a delight and pleasure to us to discern how God works all things in the world for his own glory and his people’s good. But it should be an even greater pleasure to observe the particular designs of providence in our own lives. “O what a world of rarities,’ says John Flavel, ‘are to be found in providence…With what profound wisdom, infinite tenderness and incessant vigilance it has managed all that concerns us from first to last.’ It was to persuade Christians of the excellency of observing and meditating upon this that Flavel first published his Mystery of Providence in 1678. Since then the work has gone through many editions. Based on the words ‘God fulfills his purpose for me’ (Psalm 57:2) this work shows us how providence works for us in every stage and experience of our lives. The book is richly illustrated from the lives of believers and from the author’s wide reading in church history. There are avenues of spiritual knowledge opened to the Christian in this work which he probably never knew existed.

THE PATH OF LONELINESS, by Elisabeth Elliot

It may seem like a wilderness, but it can lead you to God. “Loneliness comes over us sometimes as a sudden tide. It is one of the terms of our humanness, and, is a sense,therefore, incurable. Yet I have found peace in my loneliest times not only through acceptance of the situation, but through making it an offering to God, who can transfigure it into something for the good of others.” Elisabeth Elliot.

REJOICING IN THE LORD JESUS: in all cases and conditions, by Robert Asty

In the Puritan era, heavenly warfare against discouragement was considered no small part of the life of faith of a child of God. Here we find a wonderfully readable, well expounded, thoroughly Biblical battle-plan and rules of engagement against this nasty foe Discouragement, and helps for both newborn saint and seasoned pilgrim, each subject in their own peculiar way, to assaults of darkness.

In this collection of insightful essays and excerpts, classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teacher—ranging from John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Tim Keller, John Piper, and D. A. Carson—explore Scripture in regard to the causes and purposes of suffering, as well as what it means to trust God in the midst of hardship and pain.


ONE STEP CLOSER, A Bridge From Grief to Healing, by Elvia Atherton

One Step Closer was written for you to help you walk through your own process of grief. Elvia shares her very personal journey in a most poignant manner. Using her journal as the framework for her story, she takes you on a journey from devastation–her young son’s untimely death and its aftermath–to a place of healing, acceptance, and resolution. Her transparent honesty and sensitivity will be your guide from tragedy to wellness. The tools she presents to her readers are immensely practical and can be utilized by anyone. Her faith in God has brought her to the amazing realization that every step she takes is truly just One Step Closer….. From the back cover:

“Such a heartfelt biblically sound practical guide for navigating through the grief process could only have been produced by a fellow Christian who has already made the journey. The reader will profit greatly by Atherton’s testimony of the awesome power of the indwelling Spirit strengthening and sustaining her along the way as another one of His followers being used by the Lord to trample those evil cosmic forces of darkness under Elvia’s feet.”

“One Step Closer” ought to be required reading for anyone aspiring to enter the Christian Pastoral Ministry and those who have been Spiritually gifted with that of mercy and compassion. I wish I had access to this insightful resource years ago. I intend to keep several copies on hand to give to Christians who are grieving over a loss through the sudden death of a loved one as well as those experiencing other losses such as the unexpected death of their marriage. And–in humble reliance upon the Lord’s blessing, “One Step Closer” can become a powerful evangelistic weapon in His arsenal Christians can utilize in the relentless spiritual warfare raging throughout this dark sin infested planet.”

Pastor MIKE CUNNINGHAM, New Covenant Baptist Church, South Burlington, Vermont

“One Step Closer was written by my lifelong friend, Elvia Atherton, as a result of some of the darkest days of her life. Each of us at some point will likely face the loss of someone they love. Elvia invites us into her personal journey of recovery following the sudden death of her young son, Brian. She shares with utter transparency and bold honesty how God led her through grief, healing, restoration and, ultimately, peace and joy. Her story is a powerful, practical and personal look at the real struggles of recovery from loss. It is an invitation to break free of every hindrance to possessing and enjoying God’s best for us, in us, and through us.”

“Elvia’s story awakens new hope and brings new understanding of how the grace of God sustains us through our trials, taking us into a deeper reality of His faithfulness. One Step Closer calls us to the promise of greatness we all carry despite what we go through and toward a new hope for tomorrow. She takes us into her personal journal, sharing invaluable lessons she learned of how God provides light for each step toward healing. She tackles the issues that are a part of loss: fear, anger, brokenness, and forgiveness. With personal insight, she navigates us through the truth of God’s Word and points us to the healing love of our heavenly Father. Elvia’s no nonsense, straightforward challenge to go beneath the surface opens up truths that are mind-changing, life-challenging, and spirit-transforming. She addresses common questions and fallacies about the grief process and shares her depth of understanding of our need for utter dependence on God.” From the forward.

“Elvia has been knocked down but not out…quite the contrary. Although she has been through crushing and unthinkable times, she has come through the crucible of life with the compassion and authority to be able to comfort others with the comfort God has given to her. Refusing to become bitter or allow grief to back her into a dark corner, she has emerged with fresh faith and trust in God. She has found and embraced a deep and lasting peace which nothing earthly can disturb. Elvia discovered that there is God’s part in the process, that there is our part in the process, and how important it is to understand both.”

“One Step Closer is one of the best books on healing from loss that I have ever read. Throughout the pages of this book, I found myself between tears, reflection, and personal application. Although it was painful to see someone I love so much walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I have been blessed and inspired as she contended to go to a higher place. Dissatisfied with shallow levels of ‘healing’ that try to pass off as true freedom, she courageously plunged into the depths of all that God had for her, choosing His ways over hers. My heart has been forever impacted by her life and I believe this book will be a powerful tool in the hands of hurting people who are ready to move forward. Thank you, Elvia, for sharing your story, your pain, and your journey toward restoration and destiny with such practical truth and personal transparency.”

Rev. DIANA L. KRIESEL, South Burlington, Vermont

“Many years ago I lost one of my dear nephew’s in a tragic accident and the Lord became my constant source of comfort but I still miss him today and always will. My sister had a very hard time of it after her son died and searched for healing in many places. Depression became a constant companion with her. I wish I could have shared with her Elvia’s lovely book filled with hope and I am sure I will.

Elvia has been given a special gift from God to help many who are going through a deep loss, be it the death of a loved one or any other significant loss. The steps she has been given can guide many through grief to healing. Thanks for sharing the book and especially Elvia with me.”

Sister KAREN POZNIAK, SNDdeN, BCC Chaplain Educator Fletcher Allen Health Care

“ONE STEP CLOSER, written by Elvia Atherton, speaks of love, courage, determination, faith and the many blessings from God in the face of utter despair and loss

Elvia is a dynamic speaker who will keep you on the edge of your seat, with lots of unexpected thoughts and ideas of how she and her family dealt with the sudden loss of her 21 year old son. You will leave her presentation with greater insight of how to handle life’s many changes and transitions.”

RONI LESAGE: Facilitator Grief Support group, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Colchester, Vermont

“Four years ago I met a man whose son was one of four kids tragically killed in an auto accident. Because of his pain, he told me the kind of god he had come to grips with was one who wasn’t in control of everything. I told him that kind of god is not really God at all. Elvia Atherton’s book, One Step Closer, is a brief but refreshing rebuttal of the popular idea that the things which hurt us most must somehow be outside God’s control. Her response to the tragedy of losing a son has been to turn to a sovereign God to learn more about Him rather than to deny His power and run from His call of relationship. She communicates a much needed message for today’s me-istic culture.” Pastor ARCHIE WALKER, Bible Central of Enosburg Vermont

“One Step Closer by Elvia Atherton is a unique book on dealing with grief and loss. I have never run across anything quite like it. Elvia uses a style and approach in a very practical manner. She provides all the nugget’s that are needed to work through grief. For a self published book I found the quality to be exceptional. Another nice thing is that Elvia is not an expert on grief, but an extraordinary everyday person who has produced something better than that of many people who have been trained in the field.”

Pastor STEVE SEIPKE First Baptist Church, Montpelier, Vermont

“Thank you so much for bringing Elvia to our church to speak; it was very emotional for me (and I imagine for anyone else who has lost a loved one under similar circumstances). I felt that her story was a true blessing, as was her book, as I have struggled to deal with and understand my sister’s suicide four years ago. Elvia’s courage in sharing her story, and doing it in such a beautiful way, really spoke to those of us who heard her that day. Her message reminded me that our Lord is in ultimate control through all the challenges and trials that come our way, and as Guy Rossi said in a recent sermon, “Satan is only a lackey on a leash.” Thank you so much, Mike, for introducing Elvia to our church family.”


“Elvia Atherton was a recent guest speaker at Gazebo Apartments, an independent and assisted living facility in South Burlington. Elvia spoke about the loss of her son, Brian, and of her book, “One Step Closer”. Our residents have suffered great losses themselves and to hear Elvia speak of her loss, to find forgiveness towards Brian’s friends that were with him the night of his death, her strength, her faith in God and her spirit was truly amazing and uplifting. I have purchased two of Elvia’s books and have sent my older sister’s each a copy. They both have lost children. My oldest sister lost her 34 year old daughter due to a drunk driving accident 16 years ago and my other sister lost her son, at the age of 44, due to a massive heart attack the day before Elvia came to speak to us here at Gazebo. Both of my sisters have read “One Step Closer” and have found it very comforting and a wonderful book for anyone suffering from loss. They both commented on Elvia’s heartache and her strength and in reading her book have also found a way to deal with their grief. This is not a book to be read once but over and over when trying to cope with our loss. I am grateful that you introduced Elvia to us and I encourage anyone who is grieving for any reason to purchase “One Step Closer” and let the healing process begin.

MARIE CHASE: Activity Director Gazebo Apartments Pillsbury Manor