April 24, 2017

18 Big Books I'd Like to Read

I've got quite a few large books (close to or over 500+ pages) that have been accumulating on my bookshelves. It will probably take me years to complete them all, but thought it would be fun to share them here with you.

No Compromise: The life story of Keith Green by Melody Green and David Hazard (500 pages)

I've had this book on my shelves for years and have still to pick it up.

Keith Green was a singer who had a passion for God. He wrote many beautiful songs that are still enjoyed today. My favorite has always been...

Oh Lord You're Beautiful

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love

That burns with holy fear  

I want to take your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you

Oh Lord, my body's tired
But you keep reminding me
Of many Holy tireless men
Who spilt their blood for Thee

He died very young at the age of 29 in a plane crash along with 2 of his 4 children. This is his story, told by his wife Melody.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (430 pages)

I love this beautiful cover! My copy is a thrift store buy and I've been contemplating getting this edition.

This is a Russian classic about a man who believes intellectuals are above the law and decides it's his right to murder two people he thinks are vile to society. Thus begins a battle for morality of the mind and soul. It sounds like a fascinating, physiological read.

5000 Years of Royalty by Thomas J. Craughwell (499 pages)

I found this book at a local used bookstore and thought it looked interesting. Each royal (king, queen, prince, emperor and tsar) has one page of information along with a full length picture opposite it.

I've just started looking through it and think it's a wonderful, though brief, introduction to these lives that have lead kingdoms and countries throughout history.

Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (1124 pages)

I've mentioned this book before, but haven't got around to picking it up yet. Like most of these books it's length is very intimidating!

I discovered it when I read that it was Elizabeth Elliot's favorite novel. Elisabeth Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot who was one of several missionaries that were murdered while out on the mission field in South America back in the 1950's.

This novel takes place in 14th century Norway and follows a young girl throughout her life. I've never read anything set in Norway, so I'm looking forward to getting to this one.

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton (442 pages)

This is a biography of Martin Luther. I'm fascinated by this time period of change within the church and Martin Luther's part in it.

Alone, he stood before the church leaders of the world and said:

"Since then your sere Majesty and your Lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed. Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.

I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen."

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1304 pages)

I've seen the play and I've seen the movie and I've loved them both. This is such a beautiful story of redemption, grace and the love of God. I can't wait to delve deeper into these characters through Victor Hugo's writing, as I follow the many lives shared within these pages.

Middlemarch by George Eliot (889 pages)

This is another lengthy novel I'm excited to read. It takes place in the provincial town of Middlemarch in the 1830's. It follows the many lives of those who lived there and sounds like a great study of 19th century English country living.

The Early Years & The Full Harvest Autobiography by C.H. Spurgeon (vol.1-547/vol.2-508 pages)

These two volumes are the autobiography of Charles Spurgeon. I've had them on my bookshelves for many years and started the first one but didn't get to far. I will have to dedicate time to carefully get through these. I love Spurgeon and find his work inspiring and encouraging.

One of my favorite quotes from Surgeon is this:

“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”

It has encouraged me to test all things against Scripture, and to be careful to only put my faith in Christ.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (580 pages)

This is one of my all time favorite movies. It's another epic story of redemption and the grace of God. I've always wanted to read the book. I have a mass paperback copy, but I thought this cover was so beautiful so I'm sharing it. : )

The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin (525 pages)

I've had this book for over 20 years and have read bits and pieces here and there. Each chapter discusses a certain cult such as Scientology, Mormonism, New Age cults and Jehovah's Witnesses.  It's very informative and is a book much needed today, with so much of these cult ideas seeping into the church.

I have an old copy, but this revised edition for the 21st century sounds interesting as well.

The Brontes by Juliet Barker (979 pages)

I love the Bronte sisters. Their novels aren't all feel good books, but I think they give us a deeper view of human nature and our need for a gracious Savior. Whether it's Wuthering Heights (Emily) or Jane Eyre (Charlotte) or Agnes Grey (Anne), we find broken characters who we can relate to.

This is a very long biography of these sisters and there lives together along with their family.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (985 pages)

The name Charles Dickens is usually associate with long works of fiction. And this is one of those!

This is about a young impoverished boy who grows up to become a novelist.

It is known as Charles Dickens favorite of his written work. That alone makes me want to read it. : )

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (988 pages)

I started this one a few years ago and got to chapter thirteen. I've been meaning to get back to it!

It's a long one filled with much wisdom and gives you so much to think about. I can't believe Calvin was only 25 years old when he started writing it!

Heaven by Randy Alcorn (476 pages)

Randy Alcorn is becoming one of my favorite living authors of non-fiction. His work is easy to understand and biblically sound. This book is a study on heaven and what the bible has to say about it.

 Villette by Charlotte Bronte (586 pages)

I've mentioned this book before and I'm planning on reading it soon. It's next on my TBR pile!

I've heard this is about an introverted character named Lucy Snowe, and since I'm an introvert I'm really curious about this story. I've also heard this novel is autobiographical.

Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers (638 pages)

This is five novellas in one, but I'm including it here because my copy has all the books combined. I've read the authors 'Lineage of Grace' series which I enjoyed. It was about five women in the Old Testament.

This book is about five men in the Old Testament. Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos, and Silas.

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (688 pages)

Ever since I read Elizabeth Gaskell's novel 'Ruth' I've been wanting to read 'Wives and Daughters.' I saw the mini-series years ago, but don't remember to much about it. I do know this was her last book and she didn't get to quite finish the last chapter before her death.

It will probably take my lifetime to get through all these books!

I tend to read books between 250-400 pages the most. I think it's because the longer books are so time consuming and often very dense, especially the classics.

Have you read any long books lately? Let me know if you've read any of these or of any others you found worth reading.

April 10, 2017

Unashamed by Lecrae

I've read and heard many testimony's similar to Lecrae's, and I find they never get old. What Christ does in a life never loses it's luster.

I listened to Lecrae read his book on audio, and found it very moving. He is open and honest with his past and lays it all out there for the glory of Christ.

There were many things I couldn't relate to... his lack of a father, gangs, guns, drugs, sexual promiscuity.

But there were many things I did relate to. Things I think we can all relate to.

My need for salvation in Christ. My goodness not being good enough, and the struggle with self-righteousness.

He also shares a lot about his music and his journey from the darkness he came from to the light of God's truth. He shares about his time as a 'Christian artist' and how God showed him he was really just an artist who was a Christian and that He had bigger plans for him. Plans to reach people that would never be reached in Christian circles.

Lecrae is a work in progress, like us all, and I appreciated his honesty and candor. In a world of political correctness, Lecrae stands out. His faith is real, messy and biblically sound.

Overall I really enjoyed this memoir and highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with this quote from near the end of the book. It sums up the beauty of Lecrae's heart...

“Was I the rebel kid? The lost college student who just wanted to be accepted? The legalistic man who battled self-righteousness? Was I a husband or a father or a hip-hop artist? Like a tree trunk, all those people were a part of me. They are a part of me. 

But more than anything, Lecrae is a child who is unconditionally loved by God. I’m a sinner who has been rescued by God from my brokenness and called to glorify the One who has never left my side. That’s who Lecrae is, and that’s who I’ll always be.”  

*Note - This review is based on Lecrae's book alone. I haven't heard his music other then 1 or 2 songs which I liked. Also, I just found out he is part of 'The Shack' soundtrack which I do not endorse.

Buy it HERE on Amazon

April 3, 2017

A Few Thoughts on WM. Paul Young's New Book

I love reading C.H. Spurgeon. I love reading A.W. Tozer. And I love reading C.S. Lewis. They all wrote books lifting the name of Jesus Christ on high. All wrote of His greatness and majesty. To them, even now, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11

William Paul Young, in his new book, 'lies we believe about God" writes of a god who partners with us, co-creates with us. A god who is on our level. And a god who submits to man.

"The language of God is about partnering, to co-creating, and participating, it's about an invitation to dance and play and work and grow." Page 62

So very different.

I've never bowed down to a partner or a fellow participate. I do bow down before the almighty God.

Throughout the book there is a theme that God submits to man. This is a concerning issue. It's an attack on God's sovereignty. On His Holiness. On His Lordship.

It sounded so similar to the new age teachings of co-creating and combined effort to make the world better. Neale Donald Walsch ( an occult/new age author) says here on page 157 of his book 'Conversations with God'...

"...let me make something clear. The era of the single Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation."

This is eerily similar to the tone in this book.

This book is filled with errors. One right after the other. Page after page. At one point in chapter eleven, 'God blesses my politics,' I thought, finally, a chapter I can agree on, but then I got to the end and he says this:

"Government is not instituted by or originated by God." Page 103


2 Chronicles 20:6 says:

“O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?"

And here in Psalm 103:19:

"The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all."

God rules/governs over the nations...He always has and always will.

Again, the author belittles the sovereignty of God.

I found the author quoted 'The Shack' more than the Bible and when he did use Scripture he used it out of context, twisting it's meaning and at one point makes it up himself.

In chapter 17, where he says it's a lie that the cross was God's idea, he quotes a few verses from Isaiah chapter 53 (not telling us what verses) The first part of the quote 'kind of' sounds like verse 4, and the second part? I have no idea. It's not in the Bible, yet he quotes it like it is.

"Although he bore our sin and suffered at our hands, yet we considered him punished and afflicted and stricken by God...and in Jesus, God encountered/embraced (paga in Hebrew) our twisted rebellion and brokenness." Page 151

What verse is this? He has no notes to back anything up.

Here is Isaiah 53:4...

"Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted."

This is dangerous ground.

A.W. Tozer says here and I agree:

"God's words are not for me to edit and tinker with, but to believe and obey."

The author also didn't use Scripture to back up his claims and ideas, but instead used story and quotes from his own writings. This was disconcerting and left me feeling cheated.

It's very clear now that he wrote 'The Shack' to share his own ideas about his god.

Don't be fooled by his ideas.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Prov. 1:7


Now lets get to the part where he finally admits he is a universalist.

From chapter 13 where he teaches you don't have to get saved...

"Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!" Page 118


...in Acts 16 a keeper of the prison Paul and Silas were in, was about to kill himself after an earthquake had opened all the prison doors. Paul yelled at him “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Acts 16:28

The keeper than asked them “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30

They answered... “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

So what does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?

It means to put your trust fully in Him. To put your faith in who He is and what He says.

In Luke chapter 13 there is a conversation between Jesus and his followers that goes like this...

"There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?

'I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

'Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?

 'I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5

What is Jesus saying?

He is saying, unless you repent, no matter who you are or what you have done, you will not be saved, you will perish.

Perish means: suffer death, typically in a violent way, sudden, or untimely way: Suffer complete ruin or destruction.

Not easy to read, but meant to be believed and obeyed. Why?

Because He is God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Another chapter that was upsetting to me was chapter 3, 'God is in control' which the author believes is a lie.

In this chapter he refutes that God has a plan for humanity.

He says here:

"What if there is no 'plan' for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create, respectfully submitting to the choices we bring to the table?" Page 39

There's that co-creating again and God submitting to our choices? What?

God does have a plan and He does not submit to ours.

Our plans come to nothing and have no effect...

"The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.

The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." Psalm 33:10-12

Again, the author belittles the sovereignty of God.

To love God is to love who He is, and He is sovereign. What does that mean?...

"a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler. a person who has supreme power or authority."

Is Jesus a friend of sinners? Yes, but He is also the King of kings and Lord of Lords. And He is close to those who humble themselves before Him.

The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way. Psalm 25:9

For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

And then there's the attack on the cross of Christ in chapter 19.

The author uses the story of Abraham and Isaac to make his point that God does not require a sacrifice.

He says here:

"Read again the story of Abraham and Isaac. (It's in Genesis, chapter 22). This is not a story about God requiring child sacrifice, but rather the opposite. The point of the story is that God will step into our darkness and speak our language in order to reveal something we didn't know: that this God does not require child sacrifice." Page 171

This is the most twisted view of Scripture I've ever read.

The story of Abraham and Isaac IS about the requirement of God sacrificing His Son.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" Romans 8:32

Charles Spurgeon says of the story of Abraham and Isaac...

"Christ is certainly to be seen upon Mt. Moriah where the beloved Isaac willingly bound, and laid upon the alter, is a living foreshadowing of the Well-Beloved of heaven yielding His life as a ransom." 

I highly recommend you read Charles Spurgeon's sermon on this topic. I've linked it here... Spurgeon's sermon

The story of Abraham and Isaac is a story foretelling what was to come. A Savior who would die in our place, take our punishment that we deserve, and set, those who believe in him, free.

I've decided 19 chapters is enough. I'm not going to read any further. There is so much more error then I've shared here, but this 'conversation' has just become to spiritually unhealthy.

Instead, I'm going to get on my knees and humble myself before God, thanking Him that He sent His son for me. Thanking Him for dying in my place. Thanking Him for taking the punishment I deserve and thanking Him for who He is...my Sovereign Lord.

Thank-you Jesus

"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Timothy 4:16

*Note - I thought I'd share this link to another review that may be helpful... Unshackled: The god of WM. Paul Young