Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God (book review)

Have you ever wanted to sit down and ask some deep questions about God? What about some not-so-deep questions? Perhaps you’ve tried to have this conversation with someone, and either they weren’t too well informed or perhaps they talked “over your head.” If that describes you, I think you will enjoy Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God (but were afraid to ask) by Eric Metaxas.

This is not a deeply theological book. Eric himself states right up front, “On the subject of God, most of us want to know whether He actually exists and whether we can know He exists and how we can know that. And if He does exist, we want to know what He’s like and what that has to do with us and how we live our lives. These are the deepest human questions, and we deserve to get some answers, even if those answers might be imperfect, which the answers in this book certainly are.”

Maybe the answers are “imperfect” but then again, who really has a “perfect” answer?! What you will find in this book is a conversational feel that is very engaging without feeling like the subject matter is “dumbed down,” some good information to help guide you on your own journey of finding answers, and some pithy humor as well. Of course, I believe the best answers are found in the Bible itself, but this book is a good starting point to connect with the Scriptures.

I would recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t been able to connect with someone that could give you satisfactory answers to your God-searching questions. This book would also be an excellent resource to read together with a friend as you attempt to find answers to your God questions.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

On Calvary’s Hill (book review)

Max Lucado has written several books concerning the week leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. In On Calvary’s Hill, you will be treated to 40 of the best looks from all of these previous books into what was happening during this pivotal week.

Max Lucado has both a firm grasp of Scripture, and a keen imagination to “read between the lines” of the biblical accounts. God has truly gifted him with the skill to take his readers behind the scenes, and even into the very thoughts of the key characters in the many stories that make up the big story of Christ’s Passion.

These forty entries make excellent reading during the Lent season, to help you appreciate more fully the work Jesus did for us on Calvary. But, honestly, this book could be read at any time during the year and still have immense value to those who want to know more about what Jesus accomplished on the Cross.

Don’t miss this book!

8 More Quotes From “The Christian In Complete Armour”

“A man of humble spirit loves a low seat; he is not ambitious to tower above the thoughts of others; and while he stoops in his own opinion himself, the same bullet flies over his head which hits the proud man in the chest.”

“The reason so many Christians complain about the power of their corruptions lies in one of two roots—either they try to overcome sin without acting on the promises, or else they only pretend to believe. They use faith as an eye but not as a hand; they look for victory to drop from heaven upon their heads but do not prayerfully fight to get it.”

“Despair, more than other sins, puts a man into a kind of possession of hell itself. As faith gives substance to the word of promise, so the cruelty of despair gives existence to the torments of hell in the conscience. This drains the spirit and makes the creature become his own executioner. … Faith quenches the fiery dart of despair. … Only faith handles sin in its fullest strength by giving the soul a glimpse of the great God.”

“Christ does not ration out His blood, some to one and some to another; but He gives His whole Self to the faith of every believer. … A man’s faith in Christ is accepted for righteousness; that is, at the judgment he will escape the sentence as if he had never strayed a step from the path of the law.”

“Christian, you have no more effective argument to defeat temptation than hope. … The Christian’s choice is inferior when he must use the wicked man’s argument to cut through temptation.”

“The devil deprives some people of this scriptural relief by mere laziness. They complain about doubts and fears like sluggards crying out of their poverty as they lie in bed. But they will not get up and search the Word for the satisfaction of their need. Of all others, these sell their comfort most cheaply. Who pities the starving man who has bread before him but refuses to move his hand to take it?

To some Christians, satan presents false applications of the Word and thereby troubles their spirits. The devil is an exceptionally bright student in theology and makes no other use of his Scripture knowledge than to lure the saint into sin—or into despair for having sinned. He is like a dishonest lawyer who attains legal skill merely to force an honest man into serious problems by the tangled suit he brings against him.”

“If we spend all our thoughts on our unworthiness of heaven we shall never realize we are among the chosen ones who will enjoy it. But when we believe the pleasure God takes in demonstrating His greatness—making miserable creatures happy instead of allowing their misery to continue in eternal damnation—and the cost He paid for His mercy to reach us, we see Him as the Most High God! When we weigh and meditate on these truths they open our hearts, though fastened with a thousand bolts, to believe without question all that He has said.”

“It is absurd to think of being a Christian without knowledge of God’s Word and some skill to use this weapon. This weapon is both defensive and offensive. The rest of the apostles’ armor are defensive arms…. But the sword both defends the Christian and wounds his enemy.”

You can check out my review of this book by clicking here, and you can read the first set of quotes I shared by clicking here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr for more inspirational quotes posted every day.

11 Quotes From “Shade Of His Hand”

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible can be a challenging read for many people. In Shade Of His Hand, Oswald Chambers walks us through this biblical book of wisdom chapter-by-chapter. Shade is a great companion for your personal Bible study time in Ecclesiastes. Check out my full book review by clicking here.

Below are just a few of the many (many!) passages I highlighted in Shade. Some of the longer passages I have already shared in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts. You can read those by clicking here.

“We always get out of touch with the Bible attitude to things when we come to it with our own conclusions.”

“The intellectual order of life does not take things as it finds them, it makes us shut our eyes to actual facts and try to live only in the ideal world. … Solomon is fearless in facing facts as they are. … It is not a question of living a blind life in the brain away from actuality, not of living in dawns or on mountain tops; but of bringing what you see there straight down to the valley where things are sordid, and living out the vision there.”

“Unless you bank your faith in God, you will not only be wrongly related in practical life and have your heart broken, but you will break other things you touch.”

“Almighty God does not matter to me, He is in the clouds. To be of any use to me, He must come down to the domain in which I live; and I do not live in the clouds but on the earth. The doctrine of the Incarnation is that God did come down into our domain. The Wisdom of God, the Word of God, the exact expression of God, was manifest in the flesh.”

“To serve God in order to gain heaven, is not the teaching of Christianity. Satisfaction cannot be found in gain, but only in a personal relationship to God. … A man is not to serve God for the sake of gain, but to get to the place where the whole of his life is seen as a personal relationship to God.”

“Whenever we put theology or a plan of salvation or any line of explanation before a man’s personal relationship to God, we depart from the Bible line, because religion in the Bible is not faith in the rule of God, but faith in the God Who rules.”

“Sometimes it is cowardly to speak, and sometimes it is cowardly to keep silence. In the Bible the great test of a man’s character is his tongue (see James 1:26). The tongue only came to its right place with in the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ, because He never spoke from His right to Himself. He Who was the Wisdom of God Incarnate, said ‘the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself.’ … We are either too hasty or too slow; either we won’t speak at all, or we speak too much, or we speak in the wrong mood. The thing that makes us speak is the lust to vindicate ourselves.”

“The general history of Christianity is that it has been tried and abandoned because it is found to be difficult; but wherever it has been tried and honorably gone on with, it has never failed.”

“The Christian faith is exhibited by the man who has the spiritual courage to say that that is the God he trusts in, and it takes some moral backbone to do it.” 

“We reap terrific damage to our own characters when we vow and do not perform. … Promises are a way of shirking responsibility.”

“It is appalling to find spiritual people when they come into a crisis taking an ordinary common-sense standpoint as if Jesus Christ had never lived or died.”

More quotes from Shade Of His Hand are coming soon…

William Carey’s Perseverance

“William Carey, the ‘father of modern missions,’ wanted to translate the Bible into as many Indian languages as possible. He established a large printshop in Serampore where translation work was continually being done. Carey spent hours each day translating Scripture, while his insane wife ranted and raved.

“Carey was away from Serampore on March 11, 1832. His associate, William Ward, was working late. Suddenly Ward smelled smoke. He leaped up to discover clouds belching from the printing room. He screamed for help, and workers passed water from the nearby river until 2 a.m., but everything was destroyed.

“On March 12, 1812 missionary Joshua Marshman entered a Calcutta classroom where Carey was teaching. ‘I can think of no easy way to break the news,’ he said. ‘The printshop burned to the ground last night.’ Carey was stunned. Gone were his massive polyglot dictionary, two grammar books, and whole versions of the Bible. Gone were sets of type for 14 eastern languages, 1200 reams of paper, 55,000 printed sheets, and 30 pages of his Bengal dictionary. Gone was his complete library. ‘The work of years—gone in a moment,’ he whispered.

“He took little time to mourn. ‘The loss is heavy,’ he wrote, ‘but as traveling a road the second time is usually done with greater ease and certainty than the first time, so I trust the work will lose nothing of real value. We are not discouraged; indeed the work is already begun again in every language. We are cast down but not in despair.’

“When news of the fire reached England, it catapulted Carey to instant fame. Thousands of pounds were raised for the work, and volunteers offered to come help. The enterprise was rebuilt and enlarged. By 1832, complete Bibles, New Testaments, or separate books of Scripture had issued from the printing press in 44 languages and dialects. The secret of Carey’s success is found in his resiliency. ‘There are grave difficulties on every hand,’ he once wrote, ‘and more are looming ahead. Therefore we must go forward.’” —from On The Day

Cherish (book review)

Gary Thomas notes something rather peculiar: Many wedding vows contain the promise “to love and cherish” our spouse, and many pastors spend quite a bit of time promoting love, but often the concept of cherishing our spouse gets overlooked. Gary is out to correct that in his aptly-titled book Cherish.

Learning the value of cherishing our spouse pays enormous benefits. In fact, near the beginning of the book Gary says, “Cultivating a cherishing attitude toward your spouse will elevate your marriage relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.” That sounds to me like something we would all want in our marriages!

So Gary begins unpacking and defining the idea of marriage in practical terms that any married person (or soon to be married person) can grasp. He uses examples from the first marriage in history between Adam and Eve, shows some of the principles Solomon outlines in his Song of Songs, shines a light on the many passages in the New Testament that address marriage, and even shows the ultimate picture of Jesus cherishing His bride. Throughout all of these, Gary gives us modern-day examples from couples he has known and counseled, and even lessons learned from his own marriage.

Each chapter concludes with some bullet points summarizing the main themes, and some questions to help couples grow in their cherishing of one another.

If you are married, about to be married, or a pastor or counselor who works with married couples, Cherish is a book you need to read and be ready to share with others. Such an outstanding read!

I am a Zondervan book reviewer.

Becoming Spiritually Fit

To me this sounds weird: Jesus grew spiritually strong. Think about that: Isn’t He already God?!

When Jesus came to Earth as a man, the writer of Hebrews says He was made like us humans in every way. So just as you and I have a spiritual health to maintain, so did Jesus while He was on earth.

Dr. Luke noticed this as well when he noted that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Luke notes His spiritual growth by saying Jesus “grew…in favor with God.” In other words, God was more and more pleased by what He saw developing in His Son.

Yesterday I listened to Pastor Josh Schram explain the parallels between our physical health and our spiritual health. He said that we all know what we need to do to grow physically strong—eat the right food, exercise, get proper rest, and have some way of monitoring our health.

It’s exactly the same way spiritually! We need…

…a good dietMan does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus repeated this truth when He was confronted by the devil, and lived it out every day.

…proper exercise—All the health food in the world won’t do us a bit of good if we just sit around. It’s the same with the Bible: we can read it, memorize it, and talk about it, but if we don’t exercise it we won’t get spiritually fit. Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).

…the right amount of rest—We can’t be in perpetual “go” mode if we want to be healthy physically or spiritually. Jesus knew the value of rest, and frequently He would “withdraw to deserted places and pray” (Luke 5:16).

…to monitor our progress—James talks about the Word of God being a mirror for us, and Paul advises us to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

But here was the most important takeaway for me in Josh’s message…

Health is not just one big one-time choice. Health is small daily choices.

A good question for all of us to ask ourselves: Am I making good daily choices which will help me grow spiritually fit like Jesus.

I so enjoy sharing the teaching duties with a couple of really solid pastors-in-training in our church. They have helped me develop this series called Wholly Healthy, and have taken part in sharing messages in various aspects of this series. Please watch how Josh lays out the plan for our spiritual fitness.

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