Book Reviews From 2018

Thursdays With Oswald—Jeremiah 27-28

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Jeremiah 27-28

[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 27-28.] 

     God does not act according to His own precedents, therefore logic or a vivid past experience can never take the place of personal faith in a personal God. … God is constantly stirring up our nests that we may learn that the only simplicity there is is not the simplicity of a logical belief, but “the simplicity that is in Christ” [2 Corinthians 11:3]. … 

     Never try to explain God until you have obeyed Him…. The only bit of God we understand is the bit we have obeyed. … Never be surprised if there our whole areas of thinking that are not clear, they never will be until you obey (John 7:17). …

     We never gain any knowledge by intellectual curiosity, but only as a relationship of simplicity to God is it maintained. In John 9 Our Lord was dealing with religious teachers who had known God’s way in the past but they were blind to His ways in the present. … Our Lord’s phrase “blind leaders of the blind” was used of those who built their teaching as to how God would act in the future on their knowledge of how He had acted in the past, instead of on a personal knowledge of God. …  

     We have to keep in unbroken touch with God and give every soul the same freedom and liberty before God as God gives us. …

     No silence is so profound as the silence that falls on a soul that has quenched the Spirit of God by concentration on religious convictions. … Our only safety is in concentration on God with nothing between.

From Notes On Jeremiah

God is infinitely creative—He never has to repeat Himself. For proof, just look at the billions of unique snowflakes! 

We must be very careful not to say, “God, You worked just like this last time so I expect You to work exactly the same way this time.” Let God be God; let Him do what He knows is best to do. Don’t tell God how He’s supposed to work, and don’t teach others to interact with God the same way you have interacted with God. 

Let God be God—unique, inimitable, creative, sovereign, omnipotent, personal—with you and with others. 

10 More Quotes From “Yours, Jack”

I love reading C.S. Lewis’ books, and I loved learning more about Lewis himself through his personal correspondence. Here are a few more quotes from Yours, Jack. 

“Indeed the best thing about happiness itself is that it liberates you from thinking about happiness—as the greatest pleasure that money can give us is to make it unnecessary to think about money. And one sees why we have to be taught the ‘not thinking’ when we lack as well as when we have.” 

“Read your New Testament (preferably a modern translation) intelligently. Pray for guidance, obey your conscience, in small as well as great matters, as strictly as you can. Don’t bother much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them: when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you.”

“The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.’ Would something of this sort be any good: Almighty God, who art the Father of lights and who has promised by Thy dear Son that all who do Thy will shall know Thy doctrine: give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in the understanding of Thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” 

“I would prefer to combat the ‘I’m special’ feeling not by the thought ‘I’m no more special than anyone else’ but by the feeling ‘Everyone is as special as me.’ In one way there is no difference, I grant, for both remove the speciality. But there is a difference in another way. The first might lead you to think, ‘I’m only one of the crowd like anyone else.’ But the second leads to the truth that there isn’t any crowd. No one is like anyone else. All are ‘members’ (organs) in the Body of Christ. All different and all necessary to the whole and to one another: each loved by God individually, as if it were the only creature in existence. Otherwise you might get the idea that God is like the government which can only deal with the people as a mass.” 

“As to the ‘state of the world’ if we have time to hope and fear about it, we certainly have time to pray. I agree it is very hard to keep one’s eyes on God amid all the daily claims and problems. I think it wise, if possible, to move one’s main prayers from the last-thing-at-night position to some earlier time: give them a better chance to infiltrate one’s other thoughts.” 

“One can’t help momentary wishes: guilt begins only when one embraces them. You can’t help their knocking at the door, but one mustn’t ask them in to lunch.” 

“I take it as a first principle that we must not interpret any one part of Scripture so that it contradicts other parts: and specially we must not use an Apostle’s teaching to contradict that of Our Lord.” 

“Any honest workmanship (whether making stories, shoes, or rabbit hutches) can be done to the glory of God.” 

“It is important to keep on giving thanks. Otherwise, as one continues to pray for the others who have not yet been relieved, one simply fails to notice how many of one’s intercessory prayers have been granted—never notices how the list of Thank-you’s grows and perhaps outstrips the list of mere Please’s.” 

“The only thing one can usually change in one’s situation is oneself. And yet one can’t change that either—only ask Our Lord to do so.” 

You can read my review of Yours, Jack by clicking here. And be sure to check out the first set of quotes I shared from this book by clicking here. 

10 Quotes From “You!”

Max Lucado has given us a collection of short passages that will reaffirm to you how much God values YOU! This book could be a great pick-me-up for you, or a life-saving helper to your friend who is in crisis. Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“Since you are God’s idea, you are a good idea. What God said about Jeremiah, He said about you: ‘Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work’ (Jeremiah 1:5).” 

“God ‘personally formed and made each one’ (Isaiah 43:7 MSG). … And if you aren’t you, we don’t get you. The world misses out.” 

“You are a custom design; you are tailor-made. God prescribed your birth. Regardless of the circumstances that surrounded your arrival, you are not an accident. God planned you before you were born. The longings of your heart, then, are not incidental; they are critical messages. The desires of your heart are not to be ignored; they are to be consulted. As the wind turns the weather vane, so God uses your passions to turn your life. God is too gracious to ask you to do something you hate.” 

“God never called you to be anyone other than you. But He does call on you to be the best you you can be.” 

“God promises no applause for self-promoters. But great reward awaits God promoters: ‘Good work! You did your job well’ (Matthew 25:23 MSG).” 

“Don’t confuse God’s love with the love of people. The love of people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love. He loves you right where you are. He loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.” 

“Enough of this self-deprecating ‘I can’t do anything.’ And enough of its arrogant opposite: ‘I have to do everything.’ No, you don’t! You’re not God’s solution to society, but a solution in society.” 

“When asked to describe the width of His love, Jesus stretched one hand to the right and the other to the left and had them nailed in that position so you would know He died loving you. But isn’t there a limit? Surely there has to be an end to this love. You think so, wouldn’t you? But David the adulterer never found it. Paul the murderer never found it. Peter the liar never found it. When it came to life, they hit rock bottom. But when it came to God’s love, they never did.” 

“There are two extremes of poor I-sight. Self-loving and self-loathing. … Self-elevation and self-deprecation are equally inaccurate. Where is the truth? Smack-dab in the middle. Dead center between ‘I can do anything’ and ‘I can’t do anything’ lies ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13). … Not self-secure or insecure, but God-secure—a self-worth based in our identity as children of God. The proper view of self is in the middle.” 

“Each time we do our best to thank God for giving His, we worship.” 

You Are A Masterpiece!

“‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10). The Greek word for workmanship is poiema, from which we get the English word poem. It can also mean masterpiece. …

“The book of Genesis tells us that God created each of us in His image. You and I are created to be so much more than normal. Being normal is safe. And easy. It doesn’t require much work or effort or change on our part. But it always leads to mediocrity. When you strive to be just like everyone else, you never have a chance to be special. When you start to embrace and even celebrate how different God made you, you can begin to do extraordinary things. You can begin to see yourself through His eyes. You can begin to live in the uniqueness with which you were created.” —Tim Tebow, in Know Who You Are, Live Like It Matters (emphasis mine)

Right-Brain Leadership

Right-Brain LeadershipI read a fascinating article in Influence, written by Mark Batterson, called “Right-Brain Leadership.” If you are involved in any type of speaking or teaching role, you should check out what he has to say about the power of creativity.

Here are some quotes I especially liked…

“Creativity is the natural, supernatural by-product of a Spirit-filled life.”

“Loving God with half your mind doesn’t cut it. Half-minded is no better than half-hearted. God wants to sanctify your right brain imagination so you can see visions and dream dreams.”

“Neuroimaging has shown that as we age the center of cognitive gravity tends to shift from the imaginative right brain to the logical left brain. That neurological tendency presents grave spiritual problems for leaders: At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future, we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith, we start living by logic. Instead of going after our dreams, we do it the way it’s always been done.”

“Uniqueness if God’s gift to you. Creativity is your your gift back to God.”

“What to say is content. How to say it is creativity. Part of my calling as a writer and as a preacher is to say old things in new ways. I think that’s precisely what Jesus did with the parables. Most of them are no more than 250 words, but hear them once and you’ll remember them for ever. Jesus was the master of metaphors.”

“The brain processes print on a page at 100 bits per second, but it processes pictures at a billion bits per seconds. That means that a picture isn’t worth a thousand words; it’s worth 10 million.”

Links & Quotes

link quote

“satan is real and may have a hand in our calamities, but not the final hand, and not the decisive hand. James makes clear that God had a good purpose in all Job’s afflictions: ‘You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful’ [James 5:11]. So satan may have been involved, but the ultimate purpose was God’s, and it was ‘compassionate and merciful.’” —John Piper

“God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good.” —C.S. Lewis

“Let us never suppose that there is any lack of charity in speaking of hell. Let us rather maintain that it is the highest love to warn men plainly of danger, and to beseech them to ‘flee from the wrath to come.’ It was satan, the deceiver, murderer, and liar, who said to Eve in the beginning, ‘You shall not surely die.’ (Genesis 3:4.) To shrink from telling men, that except they believe they will ‘die in their sins,’ may please the devil, but surely it cannot please God.” —J.C. Ryle

“You aren’t the only person with your skill. But you are the only person with your version of your skill.” —Max Lucado

“There is nothing natural about the Christian life. It is all supernatural. It’s a life dependent upon miracles from the very beginning (including your conversion). And it simply can’t be lived without faith in the supernatural.” —David Wilkerson

It is time for science to detach itself from an atheistic worldview. Douglas Rushkoff states, “By starting with Godlessness as a foundational principle of scientific reasoning, we make ourselves unnecessarily resistant to the novelty of human consciousness, its potential continuity over time, and the possibility that it has a purpose.”

Detroit Tigers fans (like me!) will love this: an interactive map that shows where every Tiger has been born.

John Stonestreet asks, “Why is pop music so angry?” Check out his answer in Bad Blood.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell challenges us to find someone we can inspire this weekend—

 

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