Book Review- Five Traits of a Christ Follower

Five Traits of a Christ-Follower is edited by Doug Nuenke, with writing contributions from many Christian leaders, speakers, ministers, and theologians.  The book is slightly larger than pocket-sized with just over 70 pages.  The theme of this book hinges on a simple spiritual truth of becoming a Christian in action by emphasizing prayer, witnessing, fellowship, and the Word of God, all with Christ at the center.  If you have been grappling with how to live out the Christian life more fully, this short book lays out practical ways in which you can become a better disciple yourself, while also making other disciples for Christ.

This book takes you through five traits of someone who can truly say they follow Christ.  These five traits are: walking with Jesus, knowing and living the scriptures, participating in community, engaging with those who don’t know Christ, and reproducing spiritual generations.  Each trait in the book has selections from various Christian leaders who share a Bible verse and a personal story or example of how to live out that specific trait.  At the end of each short devotion, are questions pertaining to how you see yourself in light of these traits, and also questions that will challenge the way you live life going forward.

I enjoyed the simplicity of this read.  This book would be well suited to give to someone who is a new believer in Christ, or anyone who wants to live a more fully abandoned life of surrender to the Lord and His discipleship training.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale Publishing House in exchange for a review. 

 

 

 

 

The Legacy of Jehoiada

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Moisture suspends in the air, as the early morning fog rolls about down the cracks of cobblestone streets. We walk hand in hand, a needed weekend get-away from the demands of everyday life.  Warm coffee in one hand, warm hand in the other. Smells of fresh baked goods and sea water mingle in the air in a dance of complexity.

My eyes are drawn to a red door and I suddenly feel that I am in another place. Perhaps Europe? The door opens and a young lady darts out with a handful of leashes attached to furry dogs that are excitedly pulling her down the street. I stop for a moment and snap a photo. This, would be a great photo to capture the charm of these city streets.  I think about how just around the corner, commerce bustles in a district trying to wipe the sleep out of its weary eyes and begin another day selling and buying. Who would ever think that someone lived in that building, with the red door. Did I mention that I always wanted to live on the top of a shop…or at least have a red door?

Had we not slowed down we might have missed it. And it might not seem like much, but it was one of the most cheerful sights I saw that morning…Oh yes, there were flowers and docks and such, but for me- that cheerful brick building with the lovely awnings took the prize. Though I stopped in my tracks to stare, loads of people continued to shuffle down the sidewalk right past it, without so much as a curious glance. So interesting how we all see something different when something is in front of us.

Proverbs 1:5

 

This  launches me into a thought concerning  people and this generation of children. People can pass by them without so much as a glance, nothing seemingly interesting in that. Yet, this generation is lying quietly on a side street, waiting for someone to stop and show interest, someone to take notice and declare that they are something to stop for….something to value, something to prize.

Yet sadly, traffic keeps moving and the beauty and creativity lays dormant until someone stops and declares, this is worth stopping for. This is worth slowing down and seeing.

In the book of 2 Chronicles we find an account of Joash, a 7-year-old king who comes to the throne through circumstances that are unimaginable.  His father, Ahaziah was murdered, and Joash’s own grandmother tried to kill him.  His life was spared and protected by his grandmother’s sister and her husband who was Jehoida the Priest. With the help of the Priest, Joash took his position as king as a young child.

Jehoiada took responsibility for overseeing the most important aspects of Joash’s life. We understand from the passage that Jehoiada mentors him, and pours his life and energy into training the young king. This older man taught Joash the ways of God, and instructed Him in Godly living. He did not think it was a small task to teach, nurture, and encourage Joash in the ways of God.  It appeared that he took this responsibility very seriously. While Joash had Jehoiada in his life, he lived in God’s ways, pleasing the Lord with his actions and decisions.

Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.”

-2 Chron. 24:2

Unfortunately, after many years of training Joash,  Jehoiada passes away.  This passing of a man who was so influential in the spiritual upbringing of Joash, leaves a void in his life.  It takes no time at all to see the departure of the faith of Joash, without the encouragement and accountability of his persistent and wise mentor.

Joash eventually accepts the counsel of wicked people,  and pushes the Godly away. In due course, he eventually has Jehoiada’s own son killed.  This was the very same son of the man who encouraged and trained Joash throughout his formative years.

What happened to this young man? We see he was instructed by a Godly man. He was taught God’s ways and He obeyed the Lord. The influence of a man of God in Joash’s life could not be underestimated.  Joash clearly needed continued council and teaching.  Undoubtedly, each person must have their own relationship with God and nurture that relationship, seeking God whole-heartedly.  Despite this truth, another important element is missing in the lives of many young people.  That element is mentorship from the older generations.

In the book of Titus chapter 2,  we can see this instruction concerning the older generations, teaching the younger. So many younger generations lack the courage to seek this wisdom from the older generation, and many in the older generation perhaps do not believe that younger people desire to learn from them.  Oh how we need a change in this area in the body of Christ!

What would have happened to righteous King Joash if another Jehoiada would have stepped in and continued the mentorship, the encouragement, and the accountability that Joash still desperately needed?  We of course, will never know.

This generation is no different. This generation is crying out for the older, Godly people to take them under their wing and invest in their lives with great compassion and diligence. It has always been that the older generation is charged with reminding the younger generations of the glories, miracles, and wonders of God…until that generation becomes so hungry to see it for themselves…that they pursue God with even greater passion.

And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” Psalms 71:18

There must be encouragement, there must be conviction in our hearts to silence the accusations of the enemy that lies waiting to whisper that the next generation is too lost, too enamored with sin, and too disinterested in the older generations.

Stop on the sidewalk and see what is in front of you. This generation must not be left in the alleyway,  unnoticed by the hurried traffic of a busy world. It would be an epic tragedy to remain undaunted by the lives of the next undiscovered generation which God Himself knows and created for His glory and His purposes.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7

Like never before this generation needs to walk in the footsteps of those who went before them.  Oh that the Jehoida’s of this world who know God and who can mentor young people in righteous living, would call out to the younger people who are fading into the world!

May the older generation know that there are young people who long to be trained and mentored by them.  May the younger generation know and greatly regard that the older generation has wisdom and counsel that is beyond necessary for this day and hour.  May every person take their place and position in the body of Christ so that the name of Jesus is magnified and that God  Himself is glorified in generation after generation.

Amen

Book Review: Everything you always Wanted to know about Heaven by Randy Alcorn

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Everhything you always wanted to know about Heaven

Author: Randy Alcorn

ISBN:  978-1-4143-9941-6

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing, Everything you always wanted to know about Heaven by Randy Alcorn. The book comes in a soft leather-like binding,with beautiful imprinting on the cover. The book itself is compact, easy reading with just over 250 small pages. The bulk of the book is written in a question/answer format which spans the scope of questions that are frequently asked about what heaven is like based on the Bible. Alcorn answers each question concisely, yet thoroughly, giving the reader the feeling that they have benefited from years of Alcorn’s detailed research on scripture topics.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is that the understanding and answers imparted to the reader make you feel as though you are having a conversation with a Pastor where you can ask as many questions as you can think of on a the topic of heaven, but where you don’t have to take his word for it, but rather it is outlined for you in scripture. By the close of the novel, it seems as though every question you can think of has been answered, and now all that is left is to make your declaration for Christ sure! Alcorn delivers, by drawing the reader to Jesus and His redemption for mankind on the cross. Alcorn pairs salvation in this closing section with a few topics where he lists scriptures that can be meditated on concerning fear over dying as well other staple topics that are often brought up by believers and unbelievers alike.

This book would be a great small resource to have on hand to answer questions concerning heaven quickly and efficiently. It would also be beneficial for scripture mediation on the glories of heaven and the hope that awaits every believer. As a gift to give, this would be perfect for someone who has not yet come to the Christian faith but has many questions, or even a brother or sister in Christ who would like some additional comfort and help in their study concerning heaven.

I enjoyed reading this book, and I know it will touch the hearts of others as it has my own.

*I received a complimentary copy of Everything you always wanted to know about Heaven by Randy Alcorn from Tyndale Publishing House, in exchange for my earnest review.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace Book Review

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This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

 

  1. Rest. Something seen in our fast paced culture that we view  as a rare treat or something we are told to do when we are feeling sick.  Perhaps rest is delegated to a summer vacation or a trip to the spa.  Seldom do we seek after rest or categorize it as a necessity.  Often if we think of rest we picture the laziness that comes with not crossing another item off our “to do list.”  Bonnie Gray breaks down rest in a simple, beautiful way, showing how rest is not a frivolous act carried out by an irresponsible person, but rather a commandment from the one who created us and knows what is best for our lives…The Lord. 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest….”  Matthew 11:28

It is within the pages of her book, that Bonnie pours out her heart, sharing her journey to find rest through the only one who can give true rest for our souls-Jesus.    You will find glimpses of your own need for rest and a gentle nudge from a friendly voice who encourages you, as a sister in Christ, to step into that promised rest that the Lord beckons us to. 

I want to share one of my favorite passages from the book…. Bonnie is setting up the parable Jesus tells concerning the good Samaritan, and in it she likens ourselves to all three people in the parable…I saw so much truth in this… Found on pg. 86-87

“Jesus shows us a new way of resting in the story of a wounded stranger on the side of the road.  I’ve always read this story seeing the wounded stranger as someone else.  Not anymore.  I know that wounded stranger has always been me.  It’s the part of me that I’ve neglected, a casualty stripped bare on the side of life’s highway.  That stranger is me, too wounded to step closer to joy.  That joy-wounded me is a time waster to the Levite busy getting back to his temple duties.  The joy-wounded me.  I’m exhausted by trying hard to be useful, so I’ll never end up staring into a bag of garbage and feeling unloved an unknown-again. “

 

This passage spoke to me and I believe it will speak to many people.  How often do we neglect to see our own condition and we hurry right along and go back to the busy schedule of life…or how often do we avoid dealing with wounds or hurts that are inconvenient.  There is victory always in Christ Jesus, because He alone heals the broken hearted.  The sooner we can acknowledge that we have a broken heart, the sooner the one who created the heart to begin with can bind up those wounds and pour the salve of His love over it to heal and restore it completely.  Jesus is able and He will!  Rest is available in and through Christ, and I am determined to start looking at His rest with great joy and expectancy.  A refreshing comes through that precious rest… and so…..be refreshed in Jesus,  Amen.

Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith Barista.com who wrote a book about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and invite you to read it too.  You can get a copy HERE.