March 23, 2020

What I'm Currently Reading

Happy Spring everyone!

Here the sun has been shining and the flowers are starting to come up, which has helped with the stress of what is going on in the world. God is good.

I've been reading some interesting books and thought I'd share about them here today.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross Edited by Nancy Guthrie

Since Easter is around the corner I've started this one. It's a compilation of short chapters on the Easter story by Christians leaders from the past and present. Christians like Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, J.I Packer, Martin Luther, Timothy Keller and Jonathon Edwards.

Each chapter is full of great wisdom and gives you something to think about deeply, towards the cross.

Here's a quote from Alistair Begg's chapter titled, 'An Innocent Man Crushed by God':

"Here's the gospel in a phase. Because Christ died for us, those who trust in him may know that their guilt has been pardoned once and for all. 

What will we have to say before the bar of God's judgment? Only one thing. Christ died in my place. That's the gospel." Pg. 25

The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
I'm not to far into this one yet, but enjoying it so far. Elizabeth Gaskells writing is beautiful, even in biography form! Charlotte and Elizabeth were friends which makes this book even more lovely.

The first chapter starts out with a description of the parsonage, church and yard, where the Bronte's lived and were laid to rest. Here their tombstones are, sharing their short, but impactful lives that have touched so many.

I'm looking forward to continuing with this one.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis

This book has some beautiful and thought-provoking quotes. It was written in the 13th century and therefore needs to be read through the lens of that period of the church.

It's amazing though how throughout time the basic faith of Christians and their love of God, hasn't changed.

Here are a few beautiful quotes:

"A lover of Jesus and of the truth, and a true inward Christian, and one free from inordinate affections, can freely turn himself unto God, and lift himself above himself in spirit, and with joy remain at rest." Pg. 107

"To be without Jesus is a grievous hell; and to be with Jesus, a sweet paradise." Pg. 124

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

I'm only a few chapters into this novel, but really impressed by the writing and storytelling so far. It follows two couples who end up working and serving together at a Presbyterian church.

Goodreads says here of the novel:
"The Dearly Beloved follows these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, these four forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy. It's a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives."

So far it has introduced the four characters separately, touching on their home lives, as they enter their college years and how they first meet each other. 

One character has stood out to me so far, a young man who recently puts his faith in God and attends divinity school. His desire is to help and show the love of God to others, but has no desire to share the gospel story. This is starting out sadly, as we see this in so many pastors and churches today. Sacrificing the gospel, which brings life, in exchange for a feel good church.

I'm hoping this character grows in his faith and is moved by the power of the gospel, but because this book is not considered christian fiction I'm leery of its direction.

I'm looking forward to getting more into this one and routing for its characters.

March 16, 2020

Thinking on These Times

I'm a thinker.

And my mind reels with thoughts constantly. I can let my thoughts go to places they shouldn't or I can trust in the God who made me. Through these crazy and uncertain times, when the world is fearful of getting sick or getting a loved one sick, I've been thinking.

Thinking about the Sovereignty of God, which simply means, that He is in control.

"The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all."   Psalm 103:19

"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him."   Colossians 1:16

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep."   Psalm 127:1-2

"And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts."   Revelation 21:6

It's hard to fathom His sovereignty, especially when horrible things happen in this world. But I find it incredible that the more I think on His sovereignty, the more I have peace. I don't understand it, but I trust Him. I trust He has my best interest at heart even through my fears.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."   Philippians 4:6-7

"It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes."   Psalm 118:8-9

When our thoughts get away from us we can turn to Him. Because thinking on Him and His Word will bring true peace.

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."   Isaiah 41:10 

The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.

The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works."   Psalm 145:8-9

I encourage you to think on these Scriptures as well as any you read. Remember they are promises, and God always keeps His promises, even when we don't see or understand.

I thought I'd leave you with this song called 'Anchor' by Skillet which I found encouraging...