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The Three Books Which Have Most Impacted My Life (Thus Far)

Elisabeth Elliot, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor-- some of the men and women who've most impacted my life (thus far).

I recently went through my books in preparation for my move to Colorado. My goal was to decide which books to bring with me and which to leave behind. But I found myself also reflecting on all the Lord has taught me through books.

So, as a way of remembering– here are the three books which have most impacted my life and a few favorite quotes.

Shadow of the Almighty: the Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (Elisabeth Elliot)

Oh, this book! This was the first missionary biography I read. My heart echoes Jim’s prayers. I think my desire to “go” as a missionary may have been ignited by this book. And rereading it still kindles that “missionary fire” in my soul.

Lord, make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing god.

Jim Elliot

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.

Jim Elliot

(Leviticus 17:10) He who consumes blood will ever have the face of God set against him. So with me. If I would save my life blood, and forbear to pour it out as a sacrifice– thus opposing the example of my Lord –then I must know the flint of the face of God set against my purpose. Father, take my life, yea, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire. I would not save it, for it is not mine to save. Have it Lord, have it all. Pour out my life as an oblation for the world. Blood is only of value as in flows before Thine altar.

Jim Elliot

He makes His ministers flames of fire. Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of “other things.” Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this my soul– short life? In me dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him. And He has promised baptism with the Spirit and with fire. “Make me Thy fuel, flame of God.”

Jim Elliot

Father, let me be weak that I may lose my clutch on everything temporal. My life, my reputation, my possessions. Lord, let me lose the tension of the grasping hand… Rather open my hand to receive the nail of Calvary, as Christ’s was opened– that I in releasing all, might be released, unleashed from all that binds me now. He thought Heaven, yea, equality with God, not a thing to be clutched at. So let me release my grasp.

Jim Elliot

I only hope He will let me preach to those who have never heard that name Jesus. What else is worthwhile in this life? I have heard of nothing better. Lord, send me!

Jim Elliot

A Chance to Die: the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael (Elisabeth Elliot)

While I’ve forgotten how many years it’s been since I first read this book, there is one quote in particular I haven’t forgotten. 

Never, I think, not even in heaven shall I forget that parting. It was such a rending thing that I never wanted to repeat it… even now my heart winces at the thought of it. The night I sailed for China, March 3rd 1893, my life, on the human side, was broken, and it never was mended again. But He has been enough.

Amy Carmichael 

Amy wrote this 52 years after sailing for China as a missionary. What a picture of the cost of following Christ!

It is a surrendered life He calls us to–a life which forsakes all in order to follow Him–even good, God-given things.

Amy lived a surrendered life. She surrendered family, her desire for marriage, her homeland & home culture, her reputation, and later, her health, to follow Jesus. Her life, and this biography, inspire me to do likewise. 

A few more quotes:

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.

Elisabeth Elliot (speaking of Amy)

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star. 
Hast thou no scar? 

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned. 
Hast thou no wound? 

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far 
Who hast no wound or scar? 

Amy Carmichael

Do I regret now that for your sake I chose to do without that which nature desires, what was pressed upon me, so that I might serve “without distraction” as Paul puts it? No, indeed I do not… You will go through hard days, but you will never regret it. You will never regret it.

Amy Carmichael

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor)

I first read Hudson Taylor’s biography a couple years ago. There are many lessons to be gleaned from its pages! However, one stands out in my mind.

And now I have the very passage for you, and God has so blessed it to my own soul! John 7:37-39– “If any man thirst, let him come unto ME and drink.” Who does not thirst? Who has not mind-thirsts, heart-thirsts, soul-thirsts, or body-thirsts? Well, no matter which, or whether I have them all– “Come unto me and” remain thirsty? Ah no! “Come unto me and drink.”

What, can Jesus meet my need? Yes, and more then meet it. No matter how intricate my path, how difficult my service; no matter how sad my bereavement, how far away my loved ones; no matter how helpless I am, how deep are my soul yearnings– Jesus can meet all, all, and more than meet.

Hudson Taylor

This lesson was to be tested in his life by extraordinary sorrow. After Hudson Taylor lost his newborn son and wife to cholera he wrote:

“Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” Twenty times a day,  perhaps, as I felt the heart-thirst coming back, I cried to Him, 

“Lord, You promised! You promised me that I should never thirst.” 

And whether I called by day or night, how quickly He came and satisfied my sorrowing heart! So much so that I often wondered whether it were possible that my loved one who had been taken could be enjoying more of His presence than I was in my lonely chamber.

Hudson Taylor

Oh– to learn ever more the lesson of being fully satisfied in Jesus! 


  1. Elliot, Elisabeth. Shadow of the Almighty: the Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. Harper Brothers, 1958. pp. 13, 55-56, 58-60.
  2. —. A Chance to Die: the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael. Revell, 2006. pp. 55, 64, 264, 302.
  3. Taylor, Dr. & Mrs. Howard. Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. Moody Publishers, 2009. pp. 174-175, 180.