Tag Archives: Bethany House

Book Review: Finding God in the Hard Times

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For a number of reasons, I’m excited to share this book with you! I always like a book that tackles well the topic of suffering, and this one fits the bill. The actual meat of Finding God in the Hard Times consists of less than 70 pages (five chapters). But not to worry—Matt and Beth Redman, writers of the popular contemporary worship song “Blessed Be Your Name,” make efficient use of the space.

The book is organized into four main sections, once you get past the forewords and introduction: five chapters of material, complete with reflection questions; a small group discussion guide; an appendix that lists Scriptures quoted throughout the book; and a final appendix of recommended books on suffering.

I found the chapters to be full of gospel truth that point the reader to Christ at every turn. The Redmans are straightforward; sometimes, what they have to say is a hard, but necessary, truth. The brevity of the book doesn’t allow time to touch on the theology of why suffering occurs, but that’s okay. That’s really not the purpose, in my opinion. This would be a great book to read before you’re in the throes of suffering. (I recommend a different book for when one is in the valley.) It’s a quick read (though packed with truth)—one that is very accessible. I read it in about an hour, but I can see the value in reading it with a discipleship partner or with a small group. The discussion questions in the back of the book serve to bring the reader deeper into an investigation of the concepts covered in the chapters. I think they would do just that; they definitely sparked more contemplation as I pondered them.

All in all, I would recommend this book to just about anyone who might encounter suffering (which is everyone). Priced for Kindle and paperback at under $7 (at the time of this post), you have nothing to lose!

Soli Deo Gloria,

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*In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.

 

Book Review: Praying for the World

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When I selected this book to review, I did so because my heart was pricked regarding my lack of praying for the nations of the world. My habit has become to pray for the nations in which I have friends working and living. Is this bad? Certainly not. But, to me, it does feel a bit neglectful. Alas: An Insider’s Guide to Praying for the World, by Brian C. Stiller of World Evangelical Alliance. Overall, this book is a great help in cultivating a spirit of prayer for the gospel’s spread around our planet.

The book is organized into 52 devotionals, each about 4-5 pages. Each devotional is organized into five sections:

  • a box with general country information, including population and religion statistics
  • a narrative portion, titled “Dispatch,” that includes on-the-ground anecdotes
  • a Scripture reading
  • items for specific prayer
  • a written prayer

Though this book did broaden the countries for which I prayed, I found that I eventually only accessed three sections: the box with general information, the Scripture, and items for specific prayer. Honesty betrays that I began omitting the “Dispatch” section simply because I didn’t like the author’s writing style. If you do, then you might find that section more meaningful. I skipped the written prayer because I wanted to pray in my own words. Again, that’s just a personal preference in this context.

In this world of smartphones and apps and instant updates on social media, I think this book’s main shortfall is how it can’t be updated quickly and efficiently. Conversely, the Operation World website is exactly that—a fast, profitable way to obtain up-to-date information with a few screen taps (or mouse clicks).

An Insider’s Guide to Praying for the World does what you expect it to do: It provides a well-structured guide to praying through the nations. I think it is helpful for the church in that regard.

Soli Deo gloria,

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*In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House.

 

 

 

Book Review: Delighting in God

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Unbelievably, I had never read a single word by A.W. Tozer until I opened this posthumously-published volume called Delighting in God. Compiled and edited by James L. Snyder, Delighting in God is billed as the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy. Now that I’ve consumed these 199 pages, there is no doubt that I will return to the well to read their predecessor.

The general purpose of this book is to examine the modern church (during his lifetime) and our perception of God—what we get right, what we fail to see correctly, and how Scripture repairs our faulty perception of a God who is higher and holier than our finite minds can fathom. In fact, he states this as the purpose of the book on p. 58: “to be faithful to point out that the evangelical church today has some serious spiritual problems, the primary one being a loss of the perception of God that has been its hallmark since its inception.” Despite its being recorded in the mid-twentieth century, Tozer’s indictment of the church is uncomfortably close to home. Overall, he charges the church to relinquish their lukewarm attitude toward God, His work, and our participation in it—and every action (or the inaction) that flows from that heart attitude. Tozer aptly handles the Word of truth to illustrate how a proper view of God and His attributes leads to a heart that more deeply desires and delights in the Lord. Tozer took special pains to deal with our perception of God’s perfection, grace, mercy, power, and goodness. In my experience, it is precisely these attributes of God that the enemy would have me to question. Dwelling on these facets of God left me encouraged, humbled, and convicted.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who feel that small tug at their souls—the tug that suggests the once-intense passion for God and His glory has become less vibrant, more ember than flame. Delighting in God will help you do exactly that once again.

Soli Deo gloria,
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*In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House.