Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review of "Future Grace, The Purifying Power of the Promises of God"

The whole book has many great, encouraging words. A quote from Piper about the purpose of this book is found on page 115, "I am writing this book – if by any means I might come into the deeper experience of living by faith in future grace, and take as many people with me as I can."

Another thing I like in this book, as well as others by Piper, is his transparency when he shares about his life and often his struggles (and then his victories) with getting a hold of wonderful truths and promises in God's Word (Bible).

While I love John Pipers teaching, I have many of his books and have listened to multiple sermons by him, my only problem is I find his large books (like this one with 400 pages) have a lot of repetition in them, which to a certain extent is good.  Repetition does help a point to sink in, but still a little too repetitious in my opinion.  The most incredible book I ever read by John Piper was "Finally Alive" with only 208 pages, but it was incredible. 

At over 400 pages, "Future Grace" is one of his larger volumes, and while there is a lot of repetition, he really hits on a lot of aspects of grace. In the process, he also covers a lot about faith and taking hold of the promises of God.  He even deals with the sin of doubt in a very effective way. 

This book should encourage you in many aspects of your Christian walk and taking God at His word. If He made a promise to you in scripture, it is a DONE deal in future grace.  God's yes promises are yes, and we need to believe and take hold of them with all of our hearts.  As you read this book, it may show you that you have not been taking hold of all the promises God has for you by Future Grace. 

This is a good book whether you read it quickly or take your time.  I believe by the time you read the last page (if not way before the last page), you will be able to say this booked enriched my life and it was worth the read.  

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Review of "Humble Orthodoxy" a very good short book.

Review of "Humble Orthodoxy"

Before I get into my review let me encourage you get this book!  It is so needed by Christians today.

My first thought in readying the title almost scared me away from this book, just because seeing the word "orthodoxy" personally brings negative, overly traditional connotations to my mind.   But then seeing "humble" in front of it got my curiosity, plus I respect Joshua Harris as a Christian author and pastor.   I'm happy to have read this small book (61 short pages plus an added beneficial study guide). If you're a Pharisee in heart you really need this book, but likely won't want to read it.  As stated in his forward to the book, "Pharisaism is a poisonous weed that grows in every garden of orthodox religion."

In this book the author, Joshua Harris, does not down play the importance of Biblical truth, but stresses the importance of having the right spirit about these Bible truths.  The way in which Joshua uses "orthodoxy" is "...right thinking about God.  It's about teaching and belief based on the established, proven, cherished truths of the faith."  I like that definition of "orthodoxy."  As he expresses "humble orthodoxy" he says, "We must care about truth, and we must also defend and share this truth with compassion and humility."  He says, "We don't get to choose between humility and orthodoxy. We need both."

He brings balance to the whole subject of "biblical truth" and "humility." We so often get in the ditch of all Bible teaching (doctrine) and not an ounce of love and humility, or we get in the opposite ditch of all love, love, love and no concern or priority put on Biblical truth (orthodoxy). As I stated earlier (and worth repeating), I so love how Joshua says we need Biblical truth (orthodoxy) and humility, it's not either or, but both!  

As you prayerfully read this book, hopefully, you will see the need for both and that they don't have to be viewed as oxymoron's, but can flow together.

In one to two short readings you will have read this short book. Even if you do this book as a group, it is basically only going to be 4 sessions (utilizing the study guide in the back of the book).  When you are finished you will have a lot to think about and pray about.

None of us has a right to be proud of the truth we do understand, even that knowledge is all by God's grace!  And none of us has the right to dismiss/compromise the truth in the name of love or humility. 

As Joshua says, "We can demonstrate a humble orthodoxy, holding on to our identity in the gospel.  We are not those who are right; we are those who are redeemed".   

To that I simply say, "AMEN!"

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: "Simply Jesus"

Simply Jesus by Joe Stowell

"Simply Jesus" is a book on really experiencing Jesus in your life. That is not hard to do, as I believe this book shows.

This is a short book and easy read with only 62 pages, but definitely worth the read.  Many authors would have made this a 200+ page book with lots of drawn out repetition.  I like that this book said what was needed to be said on this subject and did it in 62 pages.  He enhances the book by telling some stories which is a good thing.  He also makes it clear that this is a 24/7 lifestyle, and you won't experience Jesus in the way he talks about unless you give your heart to the Lord 24/7.  He also shares how it is God working in us (grace) and not about our doing good works.  Fruit will always be the result of a life in communion with Jesus (see The Gospel of John chapter 15 and Matthew 7:17 & 18).

In this short 9-chapter book you will find a wealth of good information on knowing Jesus intimately mostly based on the truth found in Phil. 3:7-11.

This book is NOT to short and does NOT need to be longer, it is just the right length to get those wonderful truths into our hearts.

The only negative would be the use of too many versions of the Bible and some weak paraphrases. 

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Divine Appointments

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD
and he delighteth in his way. - Psalm 37:23
(This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible)

"Our Steps are Ordered by the LORD" or "Divine Appointments" wherein God places us in situations for our benefit and/or the benefit of others.

As Oswald Chambers (Author of "My Utmost for His Highest) put it, "God is the Great Engineer, creating circumstances to bring about moments in our lives of divine importance, leading us to divine appointments."

Remember, Jesus at the well ministering to a woman who had been married many times
(See John 4:5-42). This is a good example of a "Divine Appointments ."

Another good example of this is found with Philip joining the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch who just happened to be reading
Isaiah 53:7, 8 and didn't understand it. Think about it, at EXACTLY that moment Philip shows up by the LORD's leading and explains the passage in Isaiah to him and thus about Christ (see Acts 8:26-39).

I know a minister who always seems to be running into opportunities to minister to others – because he is expectant and available. Personally, I know that when I'm expecting and available, God uses me and it seems like I have many more of these divine appointments.

What I want to deal with in this short devotion is that there are many opportunities that are orchestrated by God for us to minister in some way to others, but some-times we are not willing, or we are not paying attention, or we are not looking and expecting these opportunities - these "Divine Appointments." 

An example of this happened to a friend of mine and myself on a trip we took together a few years ago.  He is a pro pool (billiards) player, and I run a pool/billiards ministry nationwide ( He picked me up in Atlanta, GA (my home at the time), and we drove to the event in Valley Forge, PA (approx. 800 miles).  This event was a pro event and also a pool expo with lots of people.  I ministered to individuals at the event (primarily amateur players), and my friend played in the pro event and ministered to people, too.  When the event ends we head back for Atlanta, GA. About a few hours into our trip (approximately 2:30 in the morning) we both find we need a bathroom break (God ordained as you'll see).  So we stop and go to the men's room. On the way out we both briefly share how the young girl running the store has been put on both of our hearts and that we are to share Jesus with her.  Long story short, we both end up telling her God sent us there to tell her "Jesus love you".  She opened her heart and shared how her family are born again and that her brother is a minister.  We didn't really get any more details than that, but I'm sure her family was praying for her, and unknown to us, God was going to use us to let her know that God knows her and cares about her.  All I can say is it was an awesome experience.

Now, I want to encourage you in your everyday life to ask God to help you to not miss His hand moving in so many of your life situations. Tell God you are AVAILABLE to be used by Him in this way.  I PROMISE you that as you seek His face with a pure heart, and as you ask Him to use you, He will give you many opportunities. What a blessing it is when you see God line you up with people! There will be other occasions God will move, and you didn't see it, but eternity will reveal it – Hallelujah!  

As I said previously, I know a minister who constantly has stories to tell about God using him. He is not bragging on himself, he is just sharing. It is because he is available, and he is expecting God to use him.

No matter what I'm doing or where I go, I ask God to use me with the people I meet everyday, to make "My Steps to be Ordered by the LORD."

May this devotion encourage you that God's many divine appointments out there for all of us if we would just believe Him and be willing, ready vessels.

The Bible says in
2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season." Also, in I Peter 3:15 " ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." This is what we should be doing. We should always be ready; we should always be looking for opportunities, and if you are a vessel like that, God will use you.

I believe this is a great lesson for all of us. If we all start looking for those "Divine Appointments."

If we all start being AVAILABLE to be used of the LORD, we will see things happen that we would have never expected to see happen previously.

If we were to multiply that by the MANY in the Body of Christ, what
a change that would make in the world we live in! Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Review: Live Second

My review of: "Live Second"

Periodically I review books for Thomas Nelson
This is my latest book review - I hope you find this helpful.
Live Second –  365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Before I get specifically into the book "Live Second", I will say I love the "I Am Second" website, video clips (testimonies), and the fact that they have chapters all over the country.  I also find "I Am Second" so refreshing in a world where we are so me-centered (self-centered), as their entire premise is that Jesus must be first in our lives.

As I read through this book, "Live Second", I was somewhat disappointed. There are days where the devotions are great, others when there did not seem to be much depth in what was said.  Day 1 of each week was probably the part I liked most where you are directed to a specific video testimony on their site with a different person each week. Very inspiring! But then the questions asked on Day 1 after watching the video are the same generic questions each week for the entire book. I believe questions related to the video testimony would add so much to the book.  The "Talk with God" are good, although most were too brief, but at least they are directly related to the devotion for each day. Where as the "Live it,  How can you live more second today?" and then the "Tell it. How will you share what was learned?" is repeated in so many devotions, that after the first few devotions I feel it is not necessary to keep taking up space with these repetitive questions. The space would be better used for longer devotions or a longer section on "Talk with God."

I am only giving it 3 stars for some of the above stated improvements I feel are needed in his book. If you are part of a "I Am Second" group and/or using this book for a group discussion, although it still could be better, it definitely would be a good addition to your "I Am Second" group.  If I ran an "I am Second" group I would encourage people to use this book.
Note: Thomas Nelson gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are my own.

I also rate and review books from my personal library
Here they are:
View all my reviews