God’s Priorities is a book written by J. John on the Lord’s Prayer. The full title of the book, which gives an indication of its theme is: “God’s Priorities – Living Life from the Lord’s Prayer.” Many of us know the Lord’s Prayer off by heart however J. John in this book sets out to challenge us to live this famous prayer.
In each chapter the book addresses a phrase of the Lord’s Prayer in both the old traditional wording (the King James version) and a modern translation of it (the New Living Translation).
However, before he moves into the subject matter, in the first chapter of the book “The Preliminaries of Prayer”, the author outlines who he believes can say the prayer. J. John states that the prayer can only be said by those who are members of God’s family. He then outlines the gospel message and how we can become a member of God’s family.
There then follows seven chapters which are called: Privilege, Praise, Purpose, Provision, Pardon, Protection and Perspective. At the end of each chapter there are questions for the reader to ponder.
God’s Priorities is a very practical book which will challenge the reader as they read each chapter. J. John will encourage you to see if you need to be involved in the answer to your prayers. For example: if you are praying for God’s name to be honoured then how can you honour God’s name in your life, work, home and community!
It will help us to get our priorities in the right order when we pray. Many of us I guess start off our daily prayers concentrating on our own needs and wants. This book as you might imagine will help the reader to change that habit.
In my church we pray the Lord’s Prayer each week in our service and it can be easy to repeat it parrot fashion without thinking about what we are saying. Therefore, for me it was good to read this book and to be challenged and inspired by the Lord’s Prayer.
Stephen Skelton’s book “a Christmas Carol Special Edition” is an interesting version of the famous Charles Dickens book. In addition to including the complete text of Christmas Carol, the author provides interesting insights into the biblical illusions and Christian themes that are found in the classic novel.
At the end of each chapter or rather “stave” as Dickens called them, there are discussion questions for the reader to ponder. These cover the following themes: Selfishness, Regret, Repentance, Salvation and Rebirth.
Each discussion section contains four types of questions under the headings: Telling the Story, Telling Your Story, Telling the Story of Christmas and Living the Story. There are then some bible verses provided for further study. The questions are designed for all ages but the author does suggest the first two types are more appropriate for younger readers.
Christmas Carol is a book that many people have enjoyed over the years and will no doubt continue to do in the future. I think this edition would be good to be used for an Advent study group. There are many Christian themes that run through this classic tale which are worthy of further study and discussion. It would also make a good book to study by yourself too.
I recently read Corrie ten Boom’s book “the Hiding Place.” I have seen the film a couple of times and although I was given the book several years ago for some reason I had not previously read it.
Most of us know about Corrie and her family due to their brave and heroic acts during the war. The book however also provides details of the life of Corrie and her family prior to the war. Like all of us Corrie had her ups and downs as she grew up. She learnt to trust God during this time and submit to the divine leading.
Despite the risks involved, following the outbreak of the war, the ten Boom family risked their lives in helping others. Although it was very dangerous they offered shelter to persecuted Jews in their watchmaker’s shop.
They were though eventually caught and following arrest interrogated by the Nazi’s. Corrie’s father was offered the chance of being released but told his captors if they released him he would continue to help the Jews. An act of bravery that eventually lead to his death in captivity.
Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Despite the truly awful and horrific conditions they experienced in the camp the sisters still reached out to show the love of God to others. This is especially remarkable when you also consider that Betsie’s health was deteriorating. Those of you who are familiar with the Hiding Place will know that Betsie died whilst in Ravensbruck.
The book finishes with a truly remarkable encounter between Corrie and a former SS man from the Ravensbruck concentration camp at a meeting in Munich following the end of the war. Corrie had just finished speaking at a church meeting when the former SS man approached her and wanted to shake hands with her. Despite the immense internal struggle within her Corrie agreed asking Jesus to help her to forgive him. She then describes how the love of God overwhelmed her as she did this.
I would highly recommend “the Hiding Place”. It is a very inspiring book!
Complete Surrender is the title of a biography of Eric Liddell written by Julian Wilson. Most of us will be familiar with Eric Liddell through the film Chariots of Fire and his refusal to race on a Sunday in the 1924 Olympic Games. However outside of the film our knowledge of him might be limited.
Although the book is only 139 pages long I feel after reading it that I know the man very well. There are so many inspiring stories and testimonies of Eric Liddell packed into the biography.
There are quotes from those who knew him saying that he was the most Christ-like person they had ever met. His humility and selflessness shines through many times in the book. Even in the very difficult situations he faced in the last years of his life, which were spent in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, he still was putting other people before himself.
Interestingly someone said of him that he was basically very ordinary. He was not the greatest leader or cleverest person or even an inspired speaker. However Eric Liddell knew what he ought to do and just did it. This is one of the constant themes of the book, doing what is right even when that is difficult. He strongly believed that we should practice what we preach.
What was his secret? It was actually quite simple: the complete surrender of his thoughts, words, deeds and life to God. Early every morning he would get up to pray (both talking and listening to God), read his bible and ponder the day ahead.
This is a very inspirational book and I would highly recommend it.
We have a second-hand bookstall at my church and I recently came across a copy of a book called 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman in the bookstall. Like many I enjoy singing the song 10,000 Reasons but did not realise that there was also a book with the same title.
In this book Matt Redman shares stories of how God has used the song 10,000 Reasons to sustain people in very difficult situations. In circumstances where you would normally expect to encounter hopelessness and despair instead there is hope, thankfulness and victory.
One of the recurring themes and challenges in the book is praising God in difficult and dark times. Both in the testimonies of others, as mentioned above, and in his own life Matt gives examples of worshipping God in all seasons.
It is interesting to read of Matt’s development as a worship leader which started when he taught himself to play guitar at a young age. He shares how worship brought him closer to Jesus. Matt writes about experiencing that worshipping Jesus through music has bought healing into his life. We are told how the Psalms have been both a great source of inspiration and encouragement to him.
Matt speaks about the importance of emotion in worship. We are reminded in the book that worship is very often a decision. We all experience times when it’s a struggle but in those times need to decide we will worship. Importantly Matt also speaks about how worship is more than singing songs.
This is a very good book which is moving, uplifting and challenging too and certainly well worth reading.