Anybody else love doing book reports in school?
I loved all of it. The reading, the writing and if we had a project assignment from the book, even better.
As nervous as I am about speaking, I even liked getting to read my report to the class.
I still remember the tribute to Homer Price and the Donut Machine where I used construction paper, yarn, copious amounts of glue and assorted things from around the house to fashion a mobile from two wire coat hangers taped together.
It was epic.
Books have always been my weakness…too many to read, too little time to do it. Reading as an adult has become a luxury and I have kept collecting books, but then put off reading because there are more important tasks to be done.
So this year, I am striving to make time to read and have been hitting the well stocked shelves to see if I can eliminate any that I don’t need and glean what I can from the collection.
One I read in just a few short weeks was picked up when the local Christian school library was doing a book purge. It is a biography by James R. Adair on the life and ministry of M. R. DeHaan.
If you have ever read Our Daily Bread, the name M. R. DeHaan has to mean something to you. A successful physician in the early 1900’s, DeHaan had a life changing encounter with the living Christ in his 30’s and while he had always been a church attender and basically a good man, he experienced a new birth through the Holy Spirit and eventually left his practice to attend seminary and become a pastor.
He was the founder of the Radio Bible Class which was the springboard for the devotionals called Our Daily Bread. He wrote a large number of books and booklets.
The book by Adair is easy to read and even aside from the accounts of the life of DeHaan, it holds interesting descriptions of life in the Midwest during that time. The narrative is engaging and paints pictures with words of that part of the country as well as what medicine and daily life was like during this time in America.
I was impressed by the way DeHaan took God at face value, and just studied and prayed and asked God to show Himself in simple ways.
As someone who can point to Our Daily Bread as one of the resources that has helped me grow spiritually in my journey of faith, I think of how many times a devotion would speak to my heart and when I looked to see who the author was, it was Martin DeHaan.
He had a gift to see God in the every day of nature, human condition, relationships and then tell in simple ways that I could understand of the love and mercy and grace of God.
I will share in closing one of the quotes I copied into a notebook from my reading:
“Everywhere he looked, the teacher of the Radio Bible Class saw hidden Bible truths. ‘He could look at anything in nature and come up with a story that had to do with redemption,’ recalls Clarence Carlson. ‘Whether it was a fish, a tree, or an animal, he could see the handwriting of God and its relationship to the Word of God.’”M.R. DeHaan; the Man and his Ministry by James R. Adair, Zondervan Publishing House 1969 pg. 137
Adair uses accounts from people who knew him and worked with him and gives us a full picture of an imperfect man who was transformed by God to serve Him faithfully throughout his ministry. He was one who understood that we are saved once and yet daily we are works in progress being conformed to the image of Christ.
DeHaan was genuine and straightforward in his approach to his calling, refusing to use gimmicks to gain support but instead relying on prayer for God to grow his ministry to reach as many as he could for Christ.
I am one of those he reached.
I am so grateful for those who have answered the call to share the Gospel in truth and to remind me constantly that it is only by grace that we are saved, not by works.
The only way to salvation is through work of Christ on the cross. Nothing we do can be added to it or taken away.