Book Review: Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament by Lysa TerKeurst and Joel Muddamalle (four stars)

Book Review: Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament by Lysa TerKeurst and Joel Muddamalle (four stars)

“If I want His promises, I have to trust his process.  God isn’t ever going to forsake you, but He will go to great lengths to remake you.”

Focuses on how Jesus was not only foreshadowed and prophesied in the Old Testament but how He was and is its fulfillment. Approaches the early revelations of God as types for which only God could be the complete embodiment. High levels of scholarship increase reader confidence that the authors fit their writings to the subject rather than vice versa.

“In our unseen places of hurt, where it feels like everything that could bring hope is absent, we can be reminded that God has given us the power of His Holy Spirit.”

Better than average devotional guide. Rather than a Bible study, Seeing Jesus invites the reader to introspection and change. Probing questions and room to write encourage transformation.

“Just because we can’t always see Jesus doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Just because we aren’t hearing Him doesn’t mean He’s being silent.”

Book Review: The Last Lessons of Christ by Andrew Gilmore and Daniel Sweet (four stars)

Book Review: The Last Lessons of Christ: Living by Faith in an Age of Despair by Andrew Gilmore and Daniel Sweet (four stars)

Your attitude is the driving force for kingdom-centric living. You must develop a sacrificial, selfless disposition to make an impact on the world.”

A better-than-average study based on the next-to-the-last week of Jesus’s life, as reported in the Gospel of Luke. Gilmore and Sweet take the chapter apart in (mostly) chronological order to show how Jesus was preparing his disciples for his coming death. And the start of their ministry.

“But too many Christians believe faith ends at salvation when it’s just the beginning. You’re called to walk in faith daily.”

Each chapter is a stand-alone lesson, which encourages readers to read one then meditate on it for a day or a week.

“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” St. Francis of Assisi

Lots of good references and quotes.

“Few of us will have to face martyrdom, but God is calling us daily to walk in faith, to live in step with the Spirit, to do something uncomfortable for the sake of the kingdom.”

Book Review: Andrew Murray on the Holy Spirit. (Four Stars)

Book Review: Andrew Murray on the Holy Spirit. (Four Stars)

“A life in the presence, the will, and the power of God has been opened up; men have been given the opportunity to enter into it and live in it; and you, too, can enter it.”

Andrew Murray was a prolific South African cleric who flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Extracts of several of Murray’s shorter works were compiled create this topical work on the Holy Spirit.

“This is the great objective of fellowship with God: that we may have more of God in our lives and that God may see Christ formed in us. Be silent before God, and let Him bless you.”

Foundational works for modern Christians who seek to empty themselves of themselves and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

“Your God has given you Christ, and He wants to put Christ into your heart in such a way that His presence will be with you every moment of your life.”

Chapters stand alone, encouraging the reader to reflect on the topics.

“Count upon the living Christ to do everything in your heart that needs to be done.”

Book Review: The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer (five stars)

Book Review: The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer (five stars)

To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.

The Pursuit of God is the enduring Christian classic written by renowned pastor and theologian A. W. Tozer.” For a change, the cover blurb is correct, though Tozer might have quibbled with the label theologian.

The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

Published in 1948, this book reverberates with contemporary import. Tozer cuts to the quick of the malaise infecting modern Christians and the modern church. It identifies and prescribes for exactly what is ill in believers today.

If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.

Book Review: Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray

Book Review: Absolute Surrender: How to Walk in Perfect Peace by Andrew Murray

“God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you.”

An extraordinary example of this type of literature. Vastly better written than many contemporary exhortations toward Christian living.

“Do not be afraid He will command from you what He will not bestow. He is living in your heart by Hid holy Spirit.”

Murray thrived in South Africa over a century ago, but his many works on theology and Christian living reverberate with today’s readers. His scholarship and doctrine are at the same time orthodox and lucid. This particular edition was “revised for readability and clarity,” greatly improving the accessibility of Murray’s original text.

“Why have you not experienced it? Because you have not trust God for it, and you do not surrender yourself absolutely to God in that trust.”

Murray’s counsel is arranged in compact chapters, each well-written and organized.

“We are far more occupied with our work than we are with prayer. We believe more in speaking to men than we believe in speaking to God.”

If you read only one devotional this year, read this one.

“As the Spirit reveals Christ to us, Christ comes to live in our hearts forever, and the self-life is cast out.

Book Review: The Veil by Blake K. Healy (Five Stars)

Book Review: The Veil: An invitation to the Unseen Realm by Blake K. Healy (Five Stars)

Seeing in the Spirit is all but worthless if you can’t hear the voice of God.

This book was “written by a Christian targeted at Christian about a Christian topic.” It will make little sense to non-Christians and even many Christians. An experiential-based discussion of Healy’s gift and how it offers a closer walk with God for those who seek it.

Knowing who God says you are is just as important as knowing who God is.

Purely on the level of communication, this book surpasses ninety percent of Christian theology and literature. Even non-believers will understand most of what Healy is saying even if they don’t think as he does.

You need the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life for everything. Without it anything can be twisted, but with it anything can be redeemed.

He includes several chapters on practical aspects of obtaining seeing and dealing with blockages, and closes with a helpful appendix of biblical references, but his decision to keep his text conversational increases the potential that the reader will understand and receive his message.

Seeing isn’t a privilege; it’s your destiny.

Book Review: Oral Roberts’ Life Story (Four Stars)

Book Review: Oral Roberts’ Life Story (autobiography) (Four Stars)

“Son, I am going to heal you, and you are going to take my healing power to your generation.”

Fascinating autobiography by a pioneering Pentecostal evangelist and faith healer. Like that of Ben Franklin, this memoir was written early enough in Roberts’ life that much of what he was famous (and infamous) for came later. This is something of an origin tale.

“God always has some one He can trust and someone He send to help those that lose their way in life.”

Roberts tells his story in a simple, straightforward manner. His narrative is the right balance between detail and leanness.

“God will take care of us. You just hush and you will see what the Lord will do.”

Before you judge a person (whether faith healer, politician, media celebrity) it’s good to hear their side of their tale. Roberts came from a conservative faith tradition which did not recognize faith healing, so he had a rocky road to recognizing and growing in his calling.

“In a world of unfriendly, unbelieving people I would hear Papa say, ‘You just wait and see. This is the one God has His hand on.’”

Amazing illustrations by Eloise Gray

“When His power is not upon me I cannot deliver people. I have no personal power. I cannot heal. Only God can heal.”

(I listened to Oral Roberts on live radio broadcasts in the 1950s with my grandfather, a conservative Methodist minister. He liked Roberts’ preaching.)

“I cannot stop preaching the gospel because all men do not receive it. I cannot stop trying to get people saved because some reject God. Neither can I stop praying for the sick because I fail on some. I have to do the best I can and leave the results in His hands.”

Book Review: The Sinless, Sickless, Deathless Life by Frank Neiman Riale (Three Stars)


Book Review: The Sinless, Sickless, Deathless Life: God’s Glory-Goal for All by Frank Neiman Riale

(Three Stars)

“Man was not made to die … but to be ‘clothed upon’ with glory that cometh down from on high.”

A seminal work in modern Christian mysticism, published in 1913. Riale argues that the hereafter begins now for the believer and that not only is sin forgiven, but sickness and death defeated. (Riale died in 1935.)

“The second coming of the Lord has already begun in me the moment I have accepted by faith that by his indwelling and outworking Spirit I will, by God’s Spirit, be over all the great race foes forever triumphant.”

Many contemporary Christian movements hark back to Riale’s thesis, if not his writings. Like moderns, he quoted from then-contemporary secular works to buttress his arguments.

“The Spirit of life that raised Christ from the dead swells in us to life us into the same almighty triumph also.”

Quibble: Understandable that Riale quotes from the King James Version of the Bible, less excusable that he occasionally writes as if he lived in the seventeenth century.

“All that I desire I shall have. God withholds nothing from the child of his likeness and the child of his love.”

Experiencing God

“If education clogs your spiritual sight, it’s a problem. You’re studying someone else’s stuff. It has to be first hand, or it’s just religion. The same information, but the light of God isn’t in it.” Gary Garner

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:17-18)

We confuse knowing facts with experiencing. We can read, listen, visualize, copy the actions of others, but experiencing it gives us new insight into it and ourselves. “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Book Review: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (Four Stars)


Book Review: The Seven Storey Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith by Thomas Merton

(Four Stars)

“By the gift of faith you touch God.”

Thoughtful and thought-provoking.

“The only law we (student Communists) had to obey was our own ineffable little wills. And if, afterwards, we changed our minds–well, were we not our own gods?”

Hard to believe this book was so popular when published in 1948. Merton sounds like a man from a different century, if not a different planet. His generation may have been the last to routinely learn Latin. He touched all the best his world had to offer in Cambridge, Columbia and the fleshpots of New York City and, while still relatively young, he left it–converted to Catholicism and became a Trappist monk.

“I had been suddenly illuminated by being blinded by the manifestation of God’s presence. I had to be led by a way that I could not understand and I had to follow a path that was beyond my choosing.”

Many parallels with C. S. Lewis’ conversion at about the same time, as reported in Surprised by Joy. Many converted to Catholicism in mid-twentieth century. That the converts had good and sufficient reason Continue reading