Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"The Noticer" by Andy Andrews

"The Noticer" is one of those books that is so simple it is profound. The main character, Jones (not Mr. Jones, just Jones) changes the lives of everyone he meets by simply helping them to see things a little differently. Jones always appears at a choice moment and then is gone before you know leaving behind a new perspective that shines a new light on a problem and illuminates a path of greater understanding that leads to a better outcome.
The book was engaging and easy to read and left me feeling hopeful, thoughtful and encouraged. From the first paragraph I was convinced that this was a book I really needed to read. I was feeling discouraged and frustrated and realized right away that a new perspective could make a difference and it did. Jones was very mysterious and the reader is left with questions about exactly who he was supposed to be. But he was very much someone I would hope to meet and be glad to know. Perhaps I could be Jones to someone I know.
The characters that Jones meets and helps with his unique perspective were easily recognizable types the reader can identify with and thus profit from Jone's message. Many elements/lessons in the book were very familiar, but were pulled together in the book for a greater impact.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

This 366 day daily devotional challenges, encourages and teaches readers to abide in Christ. The author invites the reader to share with her the messages that Jesus has impressed on her spirit as she has developed the habit of quietly listening to His still small voice. His invitation the trust Him completely and to be thankful for His loving care becomes an overarching theme throughout. Each message is followed by recommended Scriptures that give authority to the messages.

When I first received this book, I read the first three months in one sitting and finished it the next day. Now I am looking forward to going back through it one day at a time and reading the recommended Scriptures and journaling as I go. I feel compelled to seek the closeness that the author enjoys with my Savior and am thankful that she has shared her journey with me.

This book would make an excellent gift for someone who is going through a difficult time. In fact, I will have to purchase a new copy because I gave mine away when I learned that my friend's elderly mother has quit eating and will probably be going home soon.

The Principle of The Path by Andy Stanley

WARNING-If you do not want to be challenged to re-evaluate the choices you have made and are making DO NOT READ this book. If you do read you will no longer be able to blame anyone but yourself for the consequences of you actions. You will make choices with your eyes wide open. I have made choices that I regretted and wondered, "How did I deceive myself into believing that these were good choices?" Now I know.
Andy Stanley does a masterful job of teaching individuals how to use their heads instead of being led by the deceitfulness of their hearts. He uses humor and storytelling to lead the reader to a clear understanding of the inescapable principles at work behind every decision. He includes a study guide to further enhance the readers grasp of the principles and to help apply the principles to life.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Encouraging Words from the Bible for these Troubling Economic Times

Isaiah 46 tells about the demise of the Babylonian gods, Bel and Nebo. In America our false gods are our 401k's, our jobs and careers and our stuff. In today's economy many have seen the demise of the gods they have given their lives to serve.

Both the owners and the gods are bowed down. The gods cannot protect the people
and the people cannot protect the gods. They go off into captivity together. v 2 (NLT)

Many are wringing their hands in desperation, imprisoned by hopelessness and fear. Some have even taken their own life to escape from a future without the financial stability they had relied on for their security.

Even the children of the One True God have served these gods in varying degrees. I spent six years in the Financial Services Industry encouraging people to "protect their future" with investments and insurance. While these instruments can be useful it is imperative that they do not become the source of our security. We have been caught up in the culture and have been led astray from our dependence on our True Source.

Listen to me descendants of Jacob, all of you who remain in Israel. I have cared
for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be
your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age. I made
you and I will care for you. v 4 (NLT)

Believers in Jesus Christ have been grafted into the one true vine. We can receive the inheritance promised to the descendants of Jacob.

We will have hardships and trials, but we can depend on our God to carry us through, until the day He calls us home. We have a great hope and nothing to fear.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What does it mean to be subject to a king?

Having grown up in America and governed by a democracy, the idea of being ruled by a king is a foreign concept. Americans are very focused on our rights, which are protected by our constitution and law. Life in a kingdom is very different. The subjects of a king have no rights. The king is the authority and what he says is the law.

Kings are often ruthless, greedy and violent. Taking what the wanted with little regard for the needs and wishes of their subjects. This was the context of the nation of Israel when Jesus came into the world. The Jewish people longed for a king from God who would rule with justice and righteousness. The expected that this king would come with power and might and take his people by violent force from the oppressive rule of the Roman Kingdom and restore the God-centered nation they were called out to be.

But, Jesus came with love and humility and created a kingdom that is not of this world. Without military might or violence He has overcome His enemies and brought the benefits of His kingdom to those who submit to His authority. In the Bible we are introduced to a King who is present, at work, calling His people to Himself and who promises never to leave or forsake His loyal subjects.

His enemies are not sinful people or sinful nations. The enemies of our King are spiritual forces that ally with our human nature and cause us to live contrary to God's will.
These enemies have been overcome, but Satan continues to try to build strongholds. Our king has give us POWER AND PERMISSION to remove these from our life. It is up to us to use that POWER. The King has spoken and His Word is law.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12
The victory is claimed when we submit to His authority and remove those spiritual forces of evil from our lives. We are blessed to have a King who loves us unconditionally and who always has our best interest at heart. Choosing to please Him is always the best choice, but is contrary to our human nature. It is our duty as subjects of the King to know Him and obey Him.

This message is taken from a sermon Wesley Bolden preached at First Christian Church in Milledgeville, Ga