The Greatest Thing In The World (book review)

If you’ve been around Christian circles for any length of time, you probably have heard people talk about the “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13). And if you’ve heard anyone talk about this love chapter, you probably think you’ve heard all that there is to hear about it. But think again: The Greatest Thing In The World by Henry Drummond will open your eyes to new insights on love.

D.L. Moody heard Henry Drummond share these thoughts live in 1884, and said, “It seemed to me that I had never heard anything as beautiful.” Moody then asked Drummond to not only share this with his congregation, but then requested that principals in his schools to read to the students every year.

There are some wonderful insights on love that I think you will thoroughly enjoy in this short book.

If you have a Kindle, you can download The Greatest Thing In The World for free by clicking here. If you don’t have  Kindle, you can read it online for free by clicking here.

What Matters Most (book review)

The Old Testament prophet thundered out, “Thus saith the Lord!” and called the people back into a right relationship with God. The prophet’s words were not always well received or well liked, but they were always proved correct by God Himself. In many ways I felt like I was hearing a prophet’s voice in Leonard Sweet’s thundering words in What Matters Most, words calling us back into a right relationship with God.

The sub-title of the book is dead-on: How we got the point but missed the Person. Wow, how true that is! Christians and the Church today have so focused on getting the point of Christianity right, that we’ve missed the central point of CHRISTianity: Jesus Christ!

Leonard Sweet reminds us that we weren’t created to follow the rules of religion in isolated, solitary lives, but we were created to be in an intimate relationship with the Creator and with His creation. Sweet writes:

What makes us human is the same thing that makes us created in the image of God. We are not isolated entities, self-contained, existing apart from God or from one another or even from God’s creation. We are made for “community” and “communion” and “ecology” …. We are judged by the world not on the basis of how “right” we’ve gotten what we believe but on how well we’re living it—on how we love God and people.

So in What Matters Most Leonard Sweet focuses on those living relationships that should be the hallmark of Christians. Things like our relationship with…

  • our faith
  • our Creator
  • other people of faith
  • other people outside the faith
  • creation
  • arts
  • the unseen spiritual world

As I wrote earlier, often the prophet’s message was not received well initially. This is how you may feel when you first read What Matters Most. But if you will prayerfully read through this book, I think you will find (as I did) how these words resonate with the “Thus saith the Lord” tenor of Scripture, and cause you to reevaluate your relationship with God and others.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

From A Frustrating Life To An Exciting Life

In our P119 Spiritual Workout series we’ve looked at the similarities between an exercise program for our physical bodies, and spiritual growth for our souls. There are so many parallels for us to look at, but one of them that rings true for everyone is the up-and-down, on-and-off cycles that so many of us experience.

You know how it goes…

  • Your diet is going great and you are dropping some pounds (yea!), and then you go on vacation and all of your gains are lost (boo!).
  • You are doing really well at sticking with your new exercise routine (yea!), and then a head cold and some rainy weather knock you off your plan and it’s really hard to start back up again (boo!).
  • You are reading your Bible, and praying, and feeling so close to God (yea!), and then relationship issues, trouble at work, and a leaky hot water tank send you reeling (boo!).

We all hope our spiritual growth (or diet or exercise routine) would take us to new heights, but this up-and-down again cycle makes it feel like we aren’t getting anywhere—

In Psalm 119:49-56 the psalmist experienced this exact same up-and-down cycle:

  • He’s tight with God (v. 49)
  • Then he experiences suffering (v. 50a)
  • Only to recall God’s promises (v. 50b)
  • And then he’s getting mocked for this faith (v. 51)
  • But he’s quick to remember God and find comfort in Him (v. 52)
  • Only to get his eyes off of God and onto the godless, which causes him trouble (v. 53)
  • But he remembers God’s ways again and is comforted by singing songs about God (vv. 54-55)

Sound familiar? Up-and-down. Close-to-God-and-far-away. On-and-off. Yea!-and-Boo!

HOW DO WE BREAK OUT OF THIS?!?

The key is found in the final verse—This has been my practice: I obey Your precepts (v. 56, NIV). Look how some other translations render this verse:

  • This I had, because I kept Thy precepts (KJV).
  • This is how I spend my life: obeying Your commandments (NLT).
  • This I have had [as the gift of Your grace and as my reward]: that I have kept Your precepts… (AMP).

When we put this all together we get the solution that helps us break free from the up-and-down again cycle—

It’s ONLY by focusing on God’s GRACE everyday!

When we focus on God and His gift of grace to us, we minimize the ups-and-downs. How? Because the focus is not on what I’m doing or what others aren’t doing, but on God, His faithfulness, and His grace to us.

When God’s grace becomes our focus, we can break free from the up-and-down cycle—

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