Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yawning at Tigers, by Drew Dyck

Drew Dyck’s new book, Yawning at Tigers is a very challenging and helpful read for believers in Christ. In an age where men attempt to create a God that makes sense for them it is good to be reminded that God is God and He is not tame nor is He to be trifled with. I was not sure how to rate this book. It was just the book I needed at this moment in my life and yet it was slow at first and hard to get into. Drew rightly points out that we try to tame God, that we try to have a God that is all about love and forget His other attributes. On page 64 the author quotes a gospel presentation that he was once presented with, “Being a Christian isn’t hard. You won’t lose your friends or be unpopular at school. Nothing will change. Your life will be the same, just better.” Not only is this a lie but the students this was presented to were unmoved. Who wants a God that doesn’t change their lives or offer a grand purpose? God is all loving but He is also Holy, just and righteous. He transforms us and the notion that He would leave us the same and tolerate our willful narcissism is ridiculous at best. The book is powerful and I fear that many won’t be able to get past the beginning to get to the heart of it. Often we try to tame the holiness of God as Dyck points out but we also try to put limit on his love and grace which are inexhaustible. Dyck uses the story of Hosea to remind us of God’s great love for us and the length He will go to win us. By the end of the book I felt renewed in my faith and challenged to pursue God with all that I have. Yawning at Tigers is a book that will challenge you to see God as He really is instead of the watered down domesticated cat that this culture finds increasingly popular. The book made me uneasy about my assumptions of God which was just what I needed. It is a book worth buying and reading. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars for a great read. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Passion movement is made up of 18-25 year olds pursuing the fame and renown of Jesus Christ. This is a compilation of  messages from many who have spoke at the conference such as  John Piper, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Judah Smith, to name a few. This book is more of an overview of how Passion first came into existence and where God has taken it from that start. Each chapter is a different message from one of the above speakers.  This makes it somewhat difficult to review as some parts were much better than others.
 I found myself super excited and wanting everyone to read some portions of the book while in others I could easily put it down. But there were definitely highlights. One definite highlight for me was found on page 54 and was written by Beth Moore. “We will never be able to simply maintain what we have now. We either move toward more of Christ or more of the flesh.”  She goes on to state that we are “capable of living victoriously.”  I loved the illustration of grace by Francis Chan. His daughter fails a test and he takes her out on a daddy-daughter date. Think of how that could play out in our own lives. Who doesn’t like to be met with grace and kindness?
One of the things I loved about the book was the mixture of ministries. While the writers are all Christian leaders, they each have different perspectives. John Piper showed us how to look at the supremacy of Christ and deep theology. Beth Moore and Francis Chan have this amazing ability to communicate. Christine Caine inspired me to put action to statistics.  
This book inspired me to expect more from myself and my walk with Christ. It was thought provoking and full of truth I needed to hear. I encourage anyone to read this book.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Powerful Devotional

Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is one of the finest devotionals I have ever had the privilege to read. The entries are both powerful and compelling, but succinct enough to easily fit into a before work schedule. It is so nice to begin my day with this book. It feels as if God is talking to me personally. Many times it has served to calm my anxious thoughts and point me in a right direction. 
Here is one example of how this book re-aligns my thinking ;  "Rest in My Presence, allowing Me to take charge of this day. Do not bolt into the day like a racehorse suddenly released. Instead, walk purposefully with Me, letting Me direct your course one step at a time." So often I get hurried and miss being attentive to Jesus.

I am so thankful to Book Sneeze for allowing me a copy of this book to review. I have much enjoyed reading it and hope to be able to read often in the years to come.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Risky Business

I believe in remembering. I know that it helps us be thankful. I know it helps us avoid multiplied disasters. I believe it gives us perspective and helps us grow. I just don't like to remember. Sometimes memories flood at me. Usually bad ones. They threaten to overwhelm me because I look at the parts that are disaster and fail to look at who brought me through the disaster. I fail in that moment to forget that I made it to the other side. We are going to begin a series at church this week called risky business. So I've been thinking about risk and whether I would take the same risks if I had it to do over again or whether I would be more self-protective. In my thoughts I take more risks. I figure that since I was pretty fearful in life and I still had to go through a lot of nightmares why not risk it all. God has been with me all of the way.  At one point this week I asked God why I refuse to grow closer to Him without the prodding of pain and suffering. I begged Him to show me the way to be close to Him without feeling pain. I think that is the way of life for all of us. But I have also pondered this week the treasures that come out of the pain. I love God so very much and I know I would not have the relationship that I have with Him if I had not suffered calamity or dealt with struggle. I feel closer to my children than I ever have and I believe it is because we have gone through fire together. I am a child of God who is most grateful. I am a child of God who is thankful for risks taken and battles fought.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Roses and Remembering

While looking at Pinterest my eyes caught a picture of some beautiful, pink, cabbage roses. The sight nearly brought me to tears but also allowed God to speak to me. You see, I miss my rose bushes. I miss spraying roses, pruning roses, shopping for roses, picking roses, and most of all I miss having vases full of roses all over my house. When you have upwards of 100 rose bushes your springs and summers are glorious. There is never an end to the beautiful bright beauty and sweet smell that they bring. I miss getting up early and plucking off the dead blooms and bringing in freshly cut blossoms. I didn't need to wait for the blooms to look  ratty,  I had so many. It is a part of my old life that I avoid thinking about. I don't allow myself to go to Flower World anymore. I avoid walking by the roses in grocery stores and the rose plants lined up outside Fred Meyers in the spring. That is what I do. My default plan to avoid change and pain is to avoid. Thinking about life and change today I believe that is how I handle most of the pain in my life. Maybe it is what you do too. If I don't think about it, it's not real...but it is...and the reminders come. God gently shows me that I have to walk through my pain, not avoid it and pretend it isn't present and isn't real. I don't have my rose bushes anymore, and I don't have a husband that brings me flowers (rarely), or listens to me talk about my day, or gives me a man hug (they are different). But I have much. I am rich. After feeling the pain of loss I counted what I have...a house full of girls that love me, a beautiful grandson who lights up when he sees me, meaningful work to do each day, the love of my Father...and so many more. Loss is part of life. I think I may allow myself to remember more the pain as an offering to God and being grateful for what is now.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Heart Trouble

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

I have been thinking about the heart today. The above verse keeps showing up in everything I have read today and even on a couple blogs I follow. It is like I cannot get away from it. And it bugs me. That is because I have had to learn the hard way just how true it is. And it seems like I have to keep learning the hard way. The heart cannot be trusted because it is filled with the disease of sin and even with years of walking with God I am still full of my own self and sin. My heart is broken and far from where God wished it to be when He created it. But so often we fall for the falsehood and subscribe to the lie to "follow" my own heart. This feel-good statement replaces the true wisdom that searching after God brings to my lifes many questions. From choosing a career to deciding whether to stay married far too often believers and unbelievers alike choose by their feelings instead of God's Word. We end up doing what we want to do in the short term and then suffer for it in the long term. When I  want to sound righteous while I "follow" my own heart I can always say that it is "God" who is moving my heart or that I can trust my feeling because I have prayed and still "feel" this way. But when I follow my heart...when I go by how I "feel"...I become self-absorbed, shallow, fearful, vain, and I make really bad decisions. And I wallow. Because I am all about me and not about anyone else. But I need to fight against self.  Because my Jesus went to the cross and not to the spa. He did not spend His days or emotions on Himself but upon others. He did not dwell upon being offended but showered upon us His grace and mercy. And He ALWAYS did the will of His Father in heaven and did not yield to His humanity with its feelings. Whenever I have followed my heart I have ended up bruised and crushed. I have felt the pain of offense and the sting of my sinful nature. When I have followed God I am bruised and crushed as well, but it is a bruising and crushing that bears fruit instead of death. It is a bruising and crushing that comes from putting to death the flesh. And it is a crushing that comes with peace.  We have not been called to follow the lie of our hearts or the whims of our emotions. We have been called to follow Jesus.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Lump of Clay

I often say I am fascinated by creativity. I know that each of us is creative but I am rather partial to that type of creativity that I am not. I am not an artist. I don't even hang pictures up in my house or pick colors of paint except when forced. It amazes me how we all have the same hands and brains and mouths and yet some can draw anything; others can sing with beauty; and still others can design. I can't even decide how to arrange my furniture. I love the story about how we are clay in the hands of a potter even though it is hard for me to relate to creating something beautiful and artistic. The first reason I like it is because it uses something incredibly ordinary to create beauty. Clay is simply dirt taken from the ground. In Genesis God says that we were essentially formed by dirt and in the verse about the potter God says that He is still forming us as though we are dirt. Clay also has no power at all. It is a lump of dirt waiting to be dealt with. This reminds me that God holds the power of the universe and that, no matter how much I want to be in control, I am in God's hands. Clay does not have its own plans; it has no aspirations and gives itself wholly to the artist. Clay is most pliable when mixed with water and I am at my best when I yield to the Spirit of God and when I am in fellowship with other lumps of clay. I also like that clay is most often made into something useful. I have a deep desire to be both used and useful. Clay cannot mold itself, but needs the direct contact of the potter’s hands to mold it into what he wants, and what he determines will be most useful. It is shaped by his hands. When a potter begins to make an object, he wraps his hands around the clay as it spins, and then squeezes the clay so it will begin to take shape. The same holds true of us. We are squeezed and molded until we become what He desires. And then comes the  part I would want to skip entirely. Clay must be put through the fire to be of lasting value. I have felt the fire lately; actually for a long time. I have to remember that the fire does good; that I am being worked on by a master creator. The process is painful--but good.  I ask myself, Do I trust the potter with this life I have? Do I trust Him when all is falling down and apart? Do I believe that the finished product will be worth this pain. Some days those questions are harder to answer than others.