Friday, 21 December 2018

Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible: Rainbow - International Children's Bible - A Review



The new Sparkle & Change International Children’s Bible from Tommy Nelson, an imprint of Thomas Nelson publishers, is sure to be a hit with little girls everywhere! The sequins attached to a variety of objects which children can rub in various directions to change their appearance is a highlight, front and centre, on the cover of this Bible and I know that many girls would be thrilled to own this. I love that the picture in the sequins is a heart – indicating, subtly, that the words contained in this book are directed at the heart and can change a person’s heart!

The Bible itself is a great tool for children. It features a Timeline, key verse highlights (an index of verses that specifically deal with a certain thought/concept), an easy to understand Bible dictionary, a list of the names of God throughout Scripture, a list of the miracles of Jesus, a list of the 12 disciples, a list of kids mentioned in the Bible, and easy to read maps! These features make it a great study resource for Sunday School lessons or other Bible lessons!

The text itself it not too large but not very small either – just a perfect size font for young children who are beginning to read! Throughout the text, there are feature pages which include topics such as: “How Do I Know Jesus Loves Me?”, “Knowing Jesus Better”, “How Do I Pray?”, and “How Do I Forgive?” just to name a few.

Comparing the translation with a couple common translations (ESV, NIV), it appears to be a faithful translation of the text. The danger in making a Bible for children is to “dumb down” the text in a way that over simplifies it and really causes the meaning to be lost (and sometimes changed completely). However, that is not the case with the ICB. It uses language that a child can understand. But it also uses language/vocabulary that will challenge a child to learn. Where something may not be fully understood, it puts the word in bold (such as the word “chaff” in Psalm 1 or “Word” in John 1) and references the Bible dictionary provided at the back or provides a footnote to explain the word or concept. In this way, the translation itself teaches a child HOW to study the Bible, making Bible study an enjoyable and enriching experience, which is something we definitely want for our children!

This is a Bible translation and a Bible I would recommend to all parents of young children! The publisher provides a recommended age of 6-10. I would agree with this for children who are reading on their own but I would also recommend this Bible as a read-aloud translation to younger children. I also believe it would be enjoyable and beneficial to pre-teen girls. It is certainly a translation that will get them in the word and help them to understand God’s word better! What a beautiful gift this can be! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Let's Get Ready For Bed - A Review


I took a break from my normal books to review and chose a children's book instead!  This book is called Let's Get Ready for Bed by Grammy winner Michael W. Smith and co-creator of VeggieTales Mike Nawrocki, illustrated by Tod Carter and painted by Chuck Vollmer. This is the second book in the Nurturing Steps series by Michael W. Smith and Mike Nawrocki. It is currently available in hardcover format but will be released in board book format in 2019.

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little puppy who depends strongly on his bedtime routine in order to have a restful, peaceful night's sleep (and about his friends who help him with it)! It is a great story for helping to keep a child's bedtime routine consistent. The lovely rhyme and rhythm make it engaging and enjoyable for both child and adult alike! The book is described as being for ages 0-4 and I can confirm that my 2-year-old and nearly 4-year-old both love this story! However, my 6-year-old also quite enjoys it so I wouldn't limit it to just the younger age group!

There are a few things I love about this book! I love that it includes Puppy praying before he goes to sleep which really reinforces the concept of ending the day in thanks to God. It includes a sweet bedtime prayer that would be easy for a child to follow and imitate for his or her own prayers. The authors do end the prayer with "Amen" in the story which is appropriate to teach children how to close a formal prayer but I find it awkward because it doesn't fit at all in the rhyming scheme of the poem format of the rest of the book. I also really love the adapted lyrics to "Rock-a-bye, Baby" (though in this case it's "Rock-a-bye, Puppy"). On finding a child loves the story, a parent or grandparent can easily adapt the lyrics to replace "puppy" with a child's own name). However, what I do find somewhat disturbing is that this song is sung by Puppy's friends, in spite of the fact that the lyrics of the second verse start include "Never mind, Puppy, Mother is near." The problem is, in the story, Mother is NOT near, nor is Father. In fact, there are no parents in the story at all. It indicates that Puppy is "too young to know how to read" which shows he's 4 or younger, but there's no parent around to guide him through his bedtime routine! Instead he's followed around his house by two young friends, whom he somehow doesn't notice until he remembers he needs a song, who look young enough that they should be in bed themselves, not helping him fall asleep and tucking him in! However, these concerns appear to be only parental concerns as my daughters didn't seem at all phased by this! I still feel that they're valid concerns.

In spite of that concern, I really enjoy reading this book to my children and they love to listen to it! Since it arrived a few days ago, they have asked to have it read to them multiple times a day! My 8-year-old is also quite able to read it to her younger sisters and the 6-year-old benefits from the reading practice, the rhyming helping her to decode words she may be unfamiliar with.

In general, I would recommend this book to parents of young children as a sweet addition to their bedtime routine!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Saturday, 6 October 2018

An Inspiring Account of God’s Work Through one Humble Woman

 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mathew 17:20, NIV) Oswald and Biddy Chambers had such a faith!

I recently finished reading Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional by Michelle Ule. This account of their lives together, and, more specifically, Gertrude Hobbs Chambers (Biddy Chambers), is an account of faith, of utter dependence on God for all things, knowing that He is the provider of all good things! Biddy Chambers is a beautiful illustration of what a Christian wife should be. Submitting to her husband, but submitting first to God, working well for her family to provide a good home for them all, showing such beautiful hospitality to all who cross their paths – this is what I hope to be! Her story is one of trial and triumph! But not triumph in herself or her own accomplishments but triumph in what God has done for His kingdom through her and her husband! THIS is what a testimony should be – pointing people to what God has done!

This book does a beautiful job of pointing it’s readers to God, to Christ our saviour! Written by a woman trained as a reporter, it has the appeal of a feature story, drawing in readers to the facts, yes, but also to the deep emotion behind the facts. I will readily admit I cried at the point of Oswald Chambers’ death! The story takes us from Biddy’s young life to her death, illustrating her striving to live for God’s glory all her life!

It is beautifully written and easy to read and, I believe, would appeal to readers from all walks of life!  There is so much I could say about this book but it would fill a week’s worth of blog posts at least!  Suffice it to say, I would highly recommend this book and plan to loan out my copy to many!

I’d like to close with a favourite quote from the book, a quote from Oswald Chambers: “God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.”

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. 




Monday, 9 April 2018

The Heretical Foundation of "God's Best-Kept Secret"

I received the book God's Best-Kept Secret: Christianity is Easier Than You Think by Mark Maulding free for review purposes from Baker Books.

Unfortunately, I can't give this book a good review. I can't even give it a complete review because I refuse to read any further. The reason? This book is built on a foundation of heresy! Sometimes it is beneficial to read books that are different than your own beliefs. However, sometimes, it's best to just leave those books untouched! Especially when the book claims to be God-honouring and, instead, leads it's readers astray! Very early in the first chapter, the reader will learn that Mark Maulding had a host of issues growing up. Then, rather than dealing with his issues within Biblical teachings, he distorts Biblical teaching and changes (or rather attempts to change) who God is to suit his fallen self, his own needs. Rather than growing and changing himself to honour God as He really is, Mark instead tries to change who God is. He is now, as a result, worshipping a false God, one crafted in an image he can accept.  His views of God are heretical; that it, his views are contrary to Scripture. 

What is heresy?

"Regarding biblical Christianity, what is heresy? Second Peter 2:1 says, “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” From this verse, we see that heresy is anything that denies the teaching of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 11:19, Paul takes the church to task for having heresies among them—heresies that led to schisms in the body. These verses touch on both aspects of what constitutes heresy in the church: denying the doctrines God has given, and dividing the body He has created. Both of these are dangerous, destructive actions that are soundly rebuked by Scripture. See also 1 John 4:1-61 Timothy 1:3-62 Timothy 1:13-14; and Jude 1." (From https://www.gotquestions.org/heresy-definition.html)

So, in this review, I will address the heresy that seems to be foundational to this entire book: 

"Let me be clear, God isn't interested in right and wrong." (Chapter 2, page 30)

Hmm, really? Let's check God's Word on that! And to do so, we need to define something: 

Obedience: doing what is right, avoiding what is wrong

"... through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, ..." ~Romans 1:5 ESV   Looks like obedience is pretty key to faith!

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" ~Romans 6:16 ESV

"And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it." ~ 2 John 6   So apparently love can be equivalent to doing what is right!

What about the example of Christ? "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." ~ Philippians 2:8

"Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants." ~ Exodus 12:24

"Now this is the commandment - the statutes and the rules - that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, ..." ~ Deuteronomy 6:1-3a

"You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him." ~ Deuteronomy 13:4

 There are many more references to obedience (doing what is right, following God's commands) throughout Deuteronomy.

"And Samuel said, 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.'" ~ 1 Samuel 15:22

"Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!" ~ Psalm 119:33-40

Words of Jesus: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." ~ Matthew 28:19-20a   Here we can see that, in writing, and therefore teaching, that God isn't interested in right and wrong, meaning He's not interested in obedience, Mark Maulding is purposefully going directly against the very words of Jesus Himself!! And in doing so, Mark is leading many others astray. Does this not illustrate what a heretic is? (I'm curious to know why Baker Books chooses to publish such twaddle!)

"Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching." ~ John 14:23a

There are so many more verses that show how important obedience, doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, is to our walk with God!  I can only conclude that Mark Maulding is teaching heresy and is, therefore, a heretic against the Christian faith!

I cannot and will not recommend this book except to recommend that it be removed from bookshelves.

Mark Maulding is very concerned with grace. And we should be concerned with grace - as we learn in Paul's letter to the Romans, we are saved by grace through faith! So, yes, grace is incredibly important. But Mark goes into a hyper-grace mode and falls into the very trap that Paul warns against when he says "What shall we say then that we go on sinning so that grace may abound? By no means!" (Loose paraphrase.) I'm not saying that Mark is telling everyone to go on sinning, BUT by saying that God isn't concerned with right and wrong IS equivalent to saying that God isn't concerned with sin. And if God is not concerned with sin, what was the point of Christ's sacrifice and why have any faith in Him at all? Mark says that God "is interested in life - you and me living from his life within us!" (page 30). But what life is there with God if it does not first start with the complete forgiveness of all our sins which Christ accomplished on the cross?! God HAS to be concerned with right and wrong or our life with Him is a lie!


Sunday, 11 February 2018

She Is Free ... From What?! (A Book Review)

She is Free … From What??


*I received this book for free for review purposes as part of the Bake Books Bloggers program.*

I had a very difficult time reading this book as it was filled with SO. MUCH. WRONG! As a result, it took way longer to finish than it should have!

She is Free: Learning the Truth About the Lies that Hold You Captive, by Andi Andrew, is a book overflowing with shallow platitudes, prosperity gospel, mysticism, and statements bordering on heresy. What it lacks most is the true Gospel! I do not at all recommend this book and, should any choose to read it, do so with an open Bible of a reliable translation and a heart open in prayer!

Her introduction concludes with a lengthy quote from, for want of a better word, a paraphrase of Scripture called The Passion Translation. This so-called translation is one man’s paraphrase mixed with his own lengthy opinions interspersed throughout, under the guise of being actual Scripture (divinely inspired word of God). Apparently, he forgot about the verses indicating the curse that should fall upon the one who would choose to add or take away from the words of Scripture! See Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32. This certainly doesn’t deserve the descriptor “translation” and it is hugely concerning that, not only in the introduction but also throughout her book, she relies so heavily on this “translation”!

Another translation she relies on heavily is the Amplified Version. This is another dangerous translation. It claims to reveal what other translations conceal (though they conceal nothing). It adds meaning to the text that clearly isn’t intended by the text if you were to view the text in its complete context! It allows readers to choose their own meaning of the text, by including alternate meanings of words, instead of looking at the context to understand the meaning! It does have its benefits, making us think, or rethink, how a verse is translated and what it means, but should be used with caution and with another reliable translation next to it!

She likes to encourage her readers to read the Bible (good) but to do so “in a translation that comes alive to you” (p 51). I have a problem with this! The word of God is a living word!! A good, reliable translation is always alive!

I struggle to know where to start with what is wrong with this book (there is VERY little right with it)! Chapter 1, Trapped by Pain, we are told that if we just feel Christ’s love, the Father’s love, we are freed from our pain. That this is the gospel, the Good News that Jesus came to bring. That we “are reconnected to this love” (p 22). What? I thought that the gospel was that Christ came to DIE for us! To give us COMPLETE forgiveness of all our sins! THAT is the primary purpose of His coming, the primary Gospel. Everything else (being connected to His love) flows from that! But NOT ONCE does she indicate that! Not until chapter 7 is there ANY mention of our sins being what separates us from God’s love, from God, nor is there ANY mention of the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with God being the reason Christ came to die!!

Instead, we’re given a lot of “I just need to choose” or “When I simply become aware of His unending presence in my life, …” (p. 23). What about repentance, Andi?! Not ONCE is repentance mentioned!!  So we have this message that we can be set free from all the bad thoughts, feelings, memories we have but nothing about being set free from sin. In addition, she gives the implication that, once we’ve been set free from these negative things, we will be completely free always, never having a struggle again, never facing depression again, etc! As thought faith is a magic happy pill! So what happens if, one day, I’m freed from anxiety and depression and then a few months later, it all comes back with a vengeance? Was my faith than not a true faith? This is what she would seem to imply! This is a dangerous false doctrine that is embraced by proponents of the prosperity gospel. She seems to be a strong proponent of this false gospel.  And then later, in chapter 3, she says, “Having Jesus doesn’t mean we won’t have storms; having Jesus means we are unshaken by them”, contradicting what she said in previous chapters!!

“I’ve woken up to the reality that our spiritual freedom is fought for an won on the battlefield between truth and lies.” (p 24). Really?? Was it not fought for an won by the only one capable of this battle (Christ) on the cross??

She speaks of “our reality” showing that it is all really relative to our own desires, personalities, etc. Showing a complete disregard for the only actual reality – God’s reality! Instead, she’s embraced cultures view – reality is what we make it!

“…certain areas of my life hadn’t been perfected in His love! To be honest, I’m still working on it – we all are.” (p. 25) And this is a sad quote that shows she’s still not truly free, not in the way Christ truly came to free us – from our sins! She still has the pride to think it’s up to her! But, read Hebrews 12:2 – “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”! It is Jesus who perfects our faith! No amount of work we do will perfect it!!

Andi implies Christ is simply a presence that brings peace. But where does that peace come from? She doesn’t say! She misses the point of the person of Christ and what He accomplished on the cross! She gets SO CLOSE but, still, she misses it!

“Make room for Him in a way that works with how you are uniquely created to connect.” (p 33) What??? No!! This smacks loudly of the postmodern ‘we make our own truth’!!

She tells us to read the Bible daily and allow it to transform us. She misses the fact that we can’t transform ourselves, we can’t “allow” it to transform us. It will transform us but not because we allow it, rather because HE uses it to do so!

This all, so far, is just from the first chapter! Much of the rest of the book is the same! Her philosophy that seems to form the basis of this book seems rather existentialist! A dangerous philosophy for one who is supposed to be Christian! “We need only become more aware…”, “we simply need to work…”, etc.

Page 44 – another example of where she gets SO CLOSE and still misses the mark: “We have access to a God that sees us, knows our brokenness, and loves us anyway. …” She continues along the same line – that we are loved while still in our brokenness (by which I assume she means to include sin). BUT she never indicates that we need to leave that sin and brokenness behind! We need to leave our life of sin in response to this love of God!

She pushes the need to belong to a good community that demonstrates selfless love. Good! I agree! But no community can demonstrate such love purely, nor can they do so alone! Again, where is Christ in all of this?? Is the purpose of Christ simply to make us feel good about ourselves?? Because that’s what this book implies and sometimes outright states!

She often contradicts herself. For example, on page 39 she talks about being alone in the pit and God is just waiting to be invited to come in and join us, to be with us (so we’re alone until we invite Him in). But on page 47 she says we’re never alone! She’s right, there; we are not ever alone! But then be consistent and say that ALL the time!

We see a lot of “allow God”, “let God” and I wonder since when are we in charge of God??

Back to the prosperity gospel (health, wealth, and prosperity gospel), she states in multiple places that God doesn’t intend for us to experience pain, sickness, disease, or trial because “He is good, kind, and all things wonderful…” (p 49). But is she forgetting David, Job, and Paul to name a few? Or the countless godly people in this day and age who just never see healing on this earth (one famous example would be Joni Erikson Tada)?? I believe that the trials we face are part of His plan and I believe this is supported by scripture: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when  you meet trials of various kinds,…” (James 1:2 ESV) as well as Jesus promise to His disciples that life would be hard and full of trials!  She, rightly, states “God does not tempt us or entice us to sin, nor does He give us sickness or pain; it’s not in His nature…” (p 50). And I agree with this! He doesn’t give these things, He’s not the author of bad things. BUT He allows them and we need to believe, then, that they are part of His plan. To say that God has nothing to do with these things is to say that He is not in absolute control and to say that they serve no purpose in our lives! Again in chapter 9, “He sent Jesus to heal my body…” NO! He sent Jesus to heal our souls! Sometimes, to do that, it means our bodies will be broken or sick! That’s OK!!

As a side note, she does get certain Biblical facts wrong (specifically in chapter 3 when she was on a tour in Rome and went to one of the places Paul was imprisoned (not house arrest but actually prison before his execution). She implies, also, that the plan for Christ to come as a ransom was conceived after the fall into sin. However, I believe this plan was in place long before creation happened. I think the Fall was part of the plan because I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful God!

There’s a lot of contradiction (which is common when you’re relying on false doctrine): we need to invite God into our lives; oh but God is always with us and we can’t be separated from Him; oh but if we’re willing and allow Him, he’ll come into our lives; and so on. We are not in control of God!!

“… I felt God say to me in all my inadequacy and insecurity, ‘I have confidence in you.’ “ (p 67) Yeah, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t God! God who is all-powerful, almighty, our creator is not one who will have confidence (which is actually defined as a feeling of belief or trust) in His creation!

“Jesus died willingly in order to connect with you…” (p 67). Again, NO!! He died willingly in order to pay for our sins!!!

“The Holy Spirit softly whispers to us, ‘You hold the key in your hands to let yourself out…’.” (p 78). There’s a good dose of works righteousness!! We can do it ourselves – the only purpose of God is to remind us we have the power to change ourselves!

At this point, I’m not even through chapter 4 yet. I could go on with more of the same. This is such a discouraging read because she is so close and yet so far from the true gospel! I’m going to leave my review at this point because it is just going to be way too long otherwise (it’s already quite lengthy)! I will say that, finally, in chapter 7 she admits that Christ came to save us from our sins! Chapter 5 has a good practical section that encourages reading the Word, prayer, and worship.

Based on this one book, I would argue that Andi Andrew is a false teacher who is leading thousands of people to hell in a pretty hand-basket. She teaches the prosperity gospel, works righteousness and a good dose of existentialism! This is not in line with Scripture!!

Nuggets I Like
Yes, there are little nuggets in this book that I like, even though I believe she’s a false teacher. Shoot, even Donald Trump says SOME good things!

Speaking of an example of a marriage gone dry: “The ring on your finger has become a rock instead of a symbol of covenant relationship. The truth is, if we don’t live with a sincere awareness of our walk, the same can happen with Jesus.” (p. 29)

“There is no substitute for the presence of God.” (p 29)

“At any moment of the day, in any season, you can step away for a moment, give yourself a time-out, and connect to the Father’s heart.” (p 41)

“At the King’s table we … are taught to live from love instead of for love …” (p 62).

“When I hold on to unforgiveness, I become bitter and deeply offended, and a little piece of my heart hardens to intimacy with God.” (p. 77)

“A life of radical forgiveness … is not possible without the grace and forgiveness of God in our lives.” (p 79)


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Hope for the Prodigal ... A Partial Review

*Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.*

Hope for the Prodigal: Bringing the Lost, Wandering, and Rebellious Home by Jim Putman with Bill Putman... Sounds like a promising title right? (In addition, as an aside, the wonderful use of the Oxford comma pleases the grammar geek in me.) I wanted to like this book. I really did! I wanted to enjoy it, learn from it, and grow from it. I had high hopes for this book! But I just. could. not. get. into. it!! I think the biggest reason for my struggle with this book was the author's flawed presupposition - believing that a person can lose his/her salvation and then has the opportunity to become resaved. This he speaks of already in the introduction and throughout chapter 1 (at least as far in the chapter as I could get), this theme is the foundation for all his arguments. I was just not able to get past this and see the good that may be apparent in his writing.

There was the odd point that I greatly appreciated. He speaks of how essential it is for parents to model their faith to their children. That, if parents truly believe their faith is important to them, they need to show this importance in their own lives and how they address issues in their children's' lives. Do you skip church to attend that sporting event? Or is church important enough that you are willing to miss the sport and perhaps forego advancement in that sport for the sake of Christ? Do we place the church, our faith, our time with God as the most important in our day to day lives?

So, I suppose this book has the potential to be a good book. I suppose someone might enjoy it very much. However, I, personally, could not enjoy it.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Work ... as those who love him (Five Minute Friday)

These were my thoughts this morning. I thought they fit alright with the Five Minute Friday word for this week: work.

Work ... as "those who love him"

So, this school year, while I homeschool my girls, I’ve decided to work on memorizing the Fighter Verses (collection of verses put together by Desiring God). The very first verse is Deuteronomy 7:9.

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

Last night, as I was lying in bed, I was reciting it to myself and feeling rather proud of how well I had already learned it. I was convinced I had the whole verse memorized! This morning, I opened my Fighter Verse binder and looked at it and realized I forgot one key part of the verse. See, I think we, as humans, err on the legalist side of things. “If we just work harder, if we just obey, if we just follow the rules, then God will love us.” Can you guess which part I had forgotten?? Yup: “those who love him”!!

What is obedience without love? It is nothing! It is what the older brother did (in the parable of the Prodigal Son), proving that he was, in fact, the one that was truly lost! But isn’t that our tendency? In our minds, it is easier, probably because it’s more tangible, to measure God’s love for us by how well we work for him, how well we obey him. And yet we deceive ourselves because we cannot even come close to perfect obedience and, without love, all our work is defiled and imperfect and doesn’t meet His standards! “Be holy, as I am holy!” is, in some translations “Be perfect, as I am perfect!” (Leviticus 20:26/1 Peter 1:16) But we can’t attain this level of holiness or perfection. Only Christ can! And, thank God, He did this for us! But then there’s love. No, we can’t love perfectly either (though we think that if we do lots of loving things it means we love a lot … another deception we tell ourselves.) But if we love God, truly love Him, then obedience flows out of that – not out of duty (because we have to) but out of love (because we want to). Then obedience is no longer really work but it is a pleasure! Yes, there are verses in Scripture about work “work out your salvation…”, “work heartily, as for the Lord…” but I believe that this idea of work is really about delight and the outflowing of love for our Lord, not about duty, which is our tendency.


Work, yes, but don’t forget to first love! You can work & obey, without love (but it is empty work, empty, meaningless obedience) but you cannot truly love without obedience. Otherwise it is empty, meaningless love – simply words to look good but not how you truly feel.