Book Review|The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer

 

 

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urgent within us that spurs us to the pursuit.”

Containing ten short chapters, this book by A.W. Tozer is as relevant to believers today as it was when it was written. Practical and easy to read, The Pursuit of God is comforting and admonishing in turn

Tozer does not pull punches when addressing the church.  I was struck by how applicable Tozer’s writing is to the current issues we face in the church and in our individual lives. Whether we agree with all of his philosophy or not, The Pursuit of God is full of dateless advice for seekers.

There is a certain beauty in the straightforwardness  of Tozer’s prose. It is refreshing. Timeless exhortation and instruction rests between these pages. Plain speaking and simple, but at the same time profound, the writing contained in this small volume is well worth the read.

Each of the 10 chapters ends with a prayer.

This small volume is suitable for individual or group study.

An excellent book to write responses in a personal journal.

“The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect one. While he looks at Christ the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.”

Project Gutenberg has this book, The Pursuit of God, free here.

Click here for a discussion guide for The Pursuit of God.

 

Book Review| A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul by George MacDonald

George MacDonald was a poet, author, preacher, and a mentor of Lewis Carroll. He wrote A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul during his later years.

He wrote a poem a day for a year and the book is divided in such a manner. The poems are short. As I read, on occasion I would read ahead to see the conclusion of the days poem.

I thoroughly enjoyed the daily readings. This is a timeless classic and well worth the read.

A friend recommended this book to me and I am glad she did. I will be rereading this one.

You can download a free copy of A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul from many sites. I got mine from Amazon.com here.

To learn more about George MacDonald you can visit The George MacDonald Society’s website here.

 

Book Review|God’s Story, Your Story by Max Lucado

 

God’s Story, Your Story by Max Lucado is a short book, written in a down to earth style.

Lucado has a way of cutting through the rhetoric and allowing me to see the familiar through a different lens, like looking through a suddenly clear lens.

“As God’s story becomes yours, closed doors take on a new meaning. You no longer see them as interruptions of your plan but as indications of God’s plan.”

Sometimes I get used to how things look through my dirty eyeglass lenses without being aware of it until something draws attention to the fact. I clean my glasses and, suddenly, see things clearly. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see before. The daily dirt and grime had simply build up a bit by bit and I hadn’t noticed how it dulled my vision. Reading this book was like that for me.

“Your blocked door doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. Quite the opposite. It’s proof that He does.”

Lucado’s anecdotes give fresh meaning to phrases often used. Real life examples helped me understand Biblical truths in a new way. For example, he relates a story of a man who found himself in a situation where he had to actually fly blind. He had suffered a stroke and lost his vision while flying a plane. Unable to see, struck blind, he had to depend on the voice of another.

“Learn to wait, to be silent, to listen for his voice.”

Lucado is a gifted writer and paints vivid pictures to explain Biblical concepts in an easy to understand and personable style.

“Arm yourself with God’s word. Load your pistol with scriptures and keep a finger on the trigger.”

Every chapter gave me something to think about. I read one chapter a day, taking time to write a response in my journal.

There’s much wisdom in God’s Story, Your Story. am encouraged and blessed.

Relevant and applicable.

Recommended for individual or group study.

 

 

 

 

Why Look Beyond Labels?

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We love to label.

Disabled, Gifted, Conservative, Liberal,

The tendency to label is a natural one. It’s how we make sense of the world, but all too often we automatically stick people in the wrong category and leave them there.

It’s hard to love someone after they’ve been sealed into a box stamped with the label “undesirable”. There are so many ways to label people as unwanted, different, and somehow ‘less than’.

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If we could overcome our need to categorize and compartmentalize people long enough to find the person underneath, what would we see? People are more than the name tag they wear.

People are more than the labels they wear. (Tweet This)

We are supposed to be careful of what we let influence us, but avoiding destructive behaviors and thoughts are not the same thing as avoiding people in the not us camp.

We are to be salt and light, walking without fear. (Matthew 5:13-16) In the world, but not of it. (Romans 12:2)

What if we peeled back the labels?

Convict, Leader, Homeless, Executive,

What if we ignored societal convention and followed Jesus’ example?

Tax Collector, Fisherman, Prostitute,

What if we opened our eyes and saw the human being underneath the designations that society has slapped on them?

Human Being.

As long as we give our attention to labels we allow our opinion to be colored by it. We limit our view of the person and who they can become.

Before anything else, God values people for who they are, not what they do or believe.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5 :8 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

What if we took a look under our own labels, the ones we so proudly wear? Without our protective labels firmly stuck in place, are we brave enough to relate person to person?

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Overcoming Darkness

IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.
He was present originally with God.

All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.
In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.

And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it]. John 1:1-5 AMP

Darkness and light are not equal. Where light is, there is no darkness. Turn on a light switch and suddenly, instantly, darkness is gone.

Even the weakest sources of light are never overpowered by darkness. A candle flame is not extinguished by a creeping shadow; rather, the flame casts its glow in all directions producing illumination that travels outward from the central source. No corner can remain dark if the beam of a flashlight shines into it.

Light overcomes darkness.

Darkness is real. It is a fact of life. These words of John, if we can grasp them, hold life, bringing such comfort and peace.

Darkness never, ever, eats up the light. The opposite is true. The smallest spark displaces darkness. How much more does the very source of perfect light overpower the darkness?

The smallest spark displaces darkness. How much more does perfect light overpower darkness? (Tweet This)

Jesus is the Light. And He has come to give us light and life.

There it was–the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person.

He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him].

He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own–His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.

But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name. John1:9-12 AMP

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Giving Thanks: Searching the Storm Clouds for Silver

This week I have had several conversations with friends about going through hard seasons. We all have our share. I hesitated to spill words here, for fear of being misunderstood, named melancholy. That is not where I am. I write these words to bring honesty and an attempted measure of comfort. At times it is good to speak of our oh-so-common pain and poorly hidden struggles.

There are times when darkness overwhelms.
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Even though we assuredly know we are blessed, untangling threads of silver from the storm clouds remains elusive. (Tweet This)

I used to say that times are hard but at least . . . and would then consider those things and events that were not, as if comparing tragedy to tragedy would lighten the load.

I still do this and there is a coping value in such a habit, but today I choose to face head on the things here and now. The pain that demands to be felt and not only touched but gripped. There is much to be thankful for in the midst of the human condition we so often find ourselves.

When everything moves off center, regaining a sure footing is a dance too clumsy to perform well. There is a profound lack of grace in the middle of stumbling over a thing so large its impact has shifted your entire world. When this happens, and it will, it is impossible to catch yourself. The ground is hard and strewn with half-forgotten discards that make for a rocky landing. We bruise. We bleed.

But we cannot catch ourselves, even when we realize the hard fall is coming.

I am thankful for the God Who Catches Me.

Today I am thankful for not knowing. For the should have, could have, would haves, the guilt and horrible realization that seizes me as I gape at the depth of my inadequacy. Facing our own lack is a rude and exquisitely singular pain. But I believe in a God who reveals.

The revelation here is that I will never truly be enough or do enough. What arrogance to think I was ever intended to be.

I give thanks for the God Who is Enough.

I am thankful for the desert places. I have been to the place where I have given and given, expecting a return. It did not come. There was a time I would become upset with those who did not respond in kind, not understanding that people cannot give what they do not possess and no amount of striving on my part will cause my need for reciprocity to be fulfilled. That yesterday seems so long ago from the here and now moment my feet are entrenched in today.

I have learned what it is to dwell in desert places, to have someone hold my heart in their hand without even an inkling of understanding what that means. Yes, there is sorrow in the knowledge that this love will not be returned, but there is an unfathomable greatness in knowing that without requital I would walk, with no hesitation, through fire for this one.
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It is in the act of giving, not receiving, that love comes to rest in its true purpose. (Tweet This)

Today I am thankful for the power of love that comes only from God. It pours itself out, watering this desert, and life blooms.

I am thankful for the God Who Fits His Vessels.

I have tried to be thankful through physical pain. This is one of my large failures. I detest measuring my time and energy in small, careful steps when my nature wants to run and dance headlong into adventure. But here I am, creeping along, sweating in a most unladylike manner and uttering words that are equally unladylike. I do not like this weakness, this dependency, this failure. I am not the owner of an angelic countenance and no gentle speech regarding my body’s suffering flows from my lips. My days are filled with physical pain and I bite against the restriction.

Any advice on what the grand meaning of this thorn may be will not be welcomed as long as I remain in this frame of mind. I much prefer being ministered to with soft, encouraging words accompanied by something chocolate and gooey delivered to my door. Yet I am thankful for today’s small victories.There will be an end to difficult times, of this I am sure. My thoughts skip over all the in-betweens.

I am profoundly thankful for the faith and hope that provides me courage to continue on.

I am thankful for the God Who is My God.

Flower with Quote Thankful for the Power

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This post is part of the Thankful for God’s Gifts Blog Hop. Please be sure to stop by the other participants listed below.

11/17/14 Loving Christ Ministries: Thankful In Grief www.lovingchristministries.com
11/18/14 Keeper Ministries: The Barren Woman a Joyful Mother – God’s Perfect Gift www.KeeperMinistries.com
11/19/14 Teena Myers Blog: A Greater Gift http://teenalmyers.com/blog/
11/20/14 Live, Love, Laugh, Post: 7 Reasons I Am Thankful For God http://livelaughlovepost.com
11/21/14 The Green Tomato Experience: To Serve and Capture http://www.thegreentomatoexperience.com/
11/22/14 Donna Stone Blog, Giving Thanks: Searching the Storm Clouds for Silver https://donnastone.me/
11/24/14 Sister We Thrive: Sister, given any thought to being thankful? Well, I have. http://www.lindsyb.com/#!blog/c17x6
11/25/14 Completely Committed Blog: One Grateful Mom http://completelycommittedgirl.blogspot.ca
11/26/14 The Kangacoo Blog Grateful People Share, Daily Bread is Enough www.kangacoo.com/kanga-blog

godsgiftsbloghop

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The Laundry Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the arms covered by these sleeves. And thank you for the way those arms encircle me, even when I’ve been cranky and mean.

Thank you for the ripped up knees of his good pants, because these holes show that he is healthy enough to run, play, fall down, and get up– all without me knowing it.

Thank you for the chocolate stains down the front this once white shirt. It means she can eat. Anything she wants.

Thank you for missing buttons. The time I spend reattaching them will remind me to ask You to protect his heart, especially from my own harsh words.

Thank you for the huge pile of mismatched socks. Let them always be worn by ‘beautiful feet’.

Thank you for clothing my family, Lord. Thank you for the grace that covers Your children from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes.

                                           Amen

Trying

Trying

I have been trying. And failing. Maybe now it’s time to rest in God. To trust Him to bring about whatever He wills to happen. I am trying – there’s that word again! – to displace the guilt I feel for not having been able to do the impossible.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 KJV

Refocus

I cling to my life verse. My one goal, the one thing He, God of All Creation, asks of me is total abandonment of all agendas and expectations of my own making. I must choose obedience to Him and Him alone.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8 KJV

Surrender

I pray a hard prayer. My needs are legitimate. They are great, but Jesus waits to hear me ask for larger gifts, greater healing, “Lord, Equip me to do Your will. Be the delight of my heart.”

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Psalm 27:8 KJV

Authentic Pharisee

In today’s Christian culture, old fashioned terminology is more than frowned upon; it is loudly disdained by some of the ‘cool’ Christians.

I have never been cool. Awkwardness is my forte. Cliché has often crept into my vocabulary. I have, at times, committed that terrible offense of speaking Christianese.

The thing is, I don’t see anything wrong with certain terms unless gets in the way of communication. Truth be told, sometimes it does, and in my search to find better methods I keep stumbling across negative slams against those not culturally up to speed.

au•then•tic adj.- not false or copied; genuine; real

I can’t wrap my head around the idea that certain people are automatically labeled as fake because of the terms they use. Who can look inside a person’s heart? Who can dare to say they know another’s true thoughts and intentions?

It really isn’t anything new, this mocking of people who look, act, or speak differently than we do. We have all experienced it, and we’ve all done it. Rejecting a person based on a dated vocabulary is no different than unfairly judging someone by appearance.

phar·i·see n.-a sanctimonious, self-righteous, or hypocritical person.

It doesn’t seem to matter who you are, sooner or later a judgmental attitude will take over if we are anything less than vigilant in preserving our unity. Churchy language, contemporary music, body piercings, stained glass, these things are not the most important issues. Try to remember a matter of preference is no reason to show disrespect. Negative, divisive attitudes do not belong in the body.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 NASV

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:14-15 NASV

Overwhelmed

Being pressed from every side and pulled apart, continually on the edge of frustration. The needs of others demanding immediate attention and then, when the list is already impossibly long with too much to do, more uninvited complications come.

Spring colds, backed up plumbing, the insurance bill you forgot was due, car repairs all have to squeeze into an overcrowded week.

On Monday, if you’d asked me, I would have said this is what overwhelmed feels like.

Today is Good Friday and meditating on that fact, I am reminded.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8 NASB

I am reminded of the smallness of these temporal and momentary struggles. I am reminded of my own unworthiness without Christ and of His unfathomable love that is beyond my ability to comprehend.

I am overwhelmed.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we would be called children of God. I John 3:1 NASB