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Monday, October 6, 2014

"Abundant Living" (E. Stanley Jones)

TITLE: Abundant Living: 364 Daily Devotions
AUTHOR: E. Stanley Jones
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2014, (384 pages).

E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973) was a Methodist missionary to India. Soaked in biblical wisdom and powerful experiences in the mission field, Jones has written widely and wisely about the Christian life. Unfortunately, Jones himself admits that this book is probably his least successful book as no one paid any attention to it. Until the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr referred to it. It was E. Stanley Jones's friendship with Mahatma Gandhi and his writings that spurred the late civil rights leader to shape his protest movement.

Designed to be read systematically on a daily basis, readers will quickly notice the continuity of thought while leafing through the pages. Grounded with deep awareness of the human psyche and the cultural nuances that we all face from day to day, Jones is a wise guide to anticipate the questions that we have, and to lead us gently to discover the weaknesses of our own strengths, that we may realize our deep need for God. Each page looks initially like "Our Daily Bread" devotional. Unlike ODB, the devotionals are all written by Jones himself, filled with lots of personal experiences on the mission field, followed by spiritual insights to accompany the observations. It ends with a prayer in bold italics to help us refocus back on God. Jones is passionate about the defense of the Christian faith against worldly philosophies such as psychiatry that is too lopsided toward the science and missing out the moral values; or the complete lack of understanding of what science can offer and erroneously dismissing all things as spiritual problems. Jones is not only theologically astute, he is down to earth. His brand of apologetics is rather unique in that he does not simply argue against the non-Christian religions, he shows what he means. For example, in the "Calling the Roll of Life Strategies," Jones shows us the emptiness of Fascism and Capitalism, and reminds us that life's supreme choice will determine how one will live. Spiritual warfare is also big in Jones's agenda. He lists the fifteen seed enemies of the faith that not only threatens the spiritual life but the whole person. He offers tips for deliverance and to show us the way of self discipline. Toward the end of the book, one can see a greater emphasis on kingdom matters,

The devotions all have abundant living as a theme. Overcoming sins, debunking erroneous philosophies, correcting theological flaws, and living for God are all consistently taught. Readers will find that as they reflect upon the convictions of Jones and the writings that show forth the need for God, they will find more to agree with than anything else. This devotional is spiritual dynamite! Don't read this book at night. You may be too excited even to sleep.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Abingdon Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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