Martyrs of Malatya by: James Wright

Martyrs of MalatyaMartyrs of Malatya by James Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The violent and untimely death of good people always raises the puzzling issue of how an all-powerful, perfectly just and fully loving God can allow such evil to continue unchecked. Was his arm too short to reach into Malatya? Is it too weak to open the eyes of Muslims to understand true nature and purpose of Jesus? To ask such questions must always lead back to the person of Jesus himself, the incarnation of that same all-powerful, perfectly just and fully loving God whom we question. God himself was brutally tortured and killed. Through Jesus, God did not only enter fully into the suffering of humanity, he upended a hopeless situation. … Turning it around completely….Turning it into a victory. Their lives were not a waste and they will bring more to faith in Jesus Christ through their deaths than they did in life.

I don’t know about you, but I question my faith all the time. I am learning to question my faith takes my eyes off the object of my faith and puts it back on me. What kind of faith does it take to die for? I do know that if I truly live out my faith, I will be able to die for my faith.

The account of three faithful men of God, Necati Aydin, Uger Yusel and Tilmann Geske were different men from different cultures and backgrounds. However, they came together for the Gospel of Christ.

As you read you will learn how they came together and how they came to the faith. I found it interesting that coming from a Muslim faith the obstacles of lies that are believed of the Christian faith and of Jesus has blinded so many Muslims. How each man’s heart broke for the people of Turkey. What motivated each man to literally give their lives to the people of Turkey? They realized that it would take a sacrificial type love for the people to open their eyes to the love of God.

This account will open any Christian eyes to the love that must displayed for the work of the Gospel.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Two Folded Gift

A two folded gift of faith and suffering is a packaged deal with true Christianity. When our lives are centered around living for Christ, we will be given the gift of faith and the other side of suffering on the flip side.

What defines suffering? Is our suffering rooted in love of the gospel? What defines faith? Is Jesus an ideal? A good man? A concept? Does Jesus become your reality as you live in your every day decisions?

Philippians 1:27-30English Standard Version (ESV)

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[a] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have

Paul is writing to the believers not to Distort, Dismiss or Diminish the Gospel.

Our manner of life is worthy of the Gospel. This is all encompassing. This includes everything. This is all! This is a high bar of living. It is only reached by the grace of the gospel. Not by our lists of do and don’ts but applying the Gospel.

Do we live life as citizens of the Kingdom of God?   There is something better. There is something that lasts for eternity. In Jesus there is life. There is forever. There is rest.

Do we life our life reflecting our identity in Christ?   Do my decisions define who I am in Christ? Feasting on the words of God with others in community, help me in maturity in the Christian walk.

Christians must be seen and heard with the gospel in front and center. We must avoid treating others as projects.   Jesus does not make nice people but new people in the gospel.

We do not have to operate our faith out of fear. God uses our suffering to proclaim his faithfulness as we place our hope to the future.

Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.  Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.  Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and give us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image; through Jesus Christ in the light of the world.  Amen

God’s Gospel (Making Him Known Series) by: Jill Nelson

God's Gospel (Making Him Known)God’s Gospel by Jill Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We must always put things in the right order, and it is Truth first…the heart is always to be influenced through the understanding –the mind, then the heart, then the will…but God forbid that anyone should think that it ends with the intellect. It starts there, but it goes on. It then moves the heart and finally the man yields his will. He obeys, not grudgingly or unwillingly, but with the whole heart. The Christian life is a glorious perfect life that takes up and captivates the entire personality.

Embracing the truth of God and His will is a desire for many Christian parents for their children. This book is a tool to not only embrace that truth but how does that apply where faith can grow. Major parts of the bible from creation to the resurrection is shared in a simple terms that is applicable for a young mind to grasp. With questions, you and your child discover truth for yourself as you learn more about the Great God that loves you together. Questions like “Why is it important for God to punish sin? These questions develop critical thinking that can encourage faith to grow deeper.

This devotion is rich in theology more so than many adult devotionals. It speaks to you and not above you.

Favorite excerpts…

You See Adam and Eve-people like you and me-were created to be able to enjoy God’s world in ways that rocks and plants, and animals never could. But as much as Adam and Eve could enjoy all the wonderful things God has made, God knew that these good things could not make Adam and Eve truly happy. What gave Adam and Eve the most happiness at the “super-duper, best party ever” was being in the presence of God himself!

Cain and Abel were helpless sinners who could not fix their hearts. Could Dad and Mom help them? No. Only God, who is rich in mercy, could help them. But in order for them to be forgiven, God has decided that sinners must respond to His mercy in the right way. What is the right way? To answer that, we can look at Cain and Abel for an example.

A tool for discipleship that reveals the deeper problem of the heart that together will turn our hearts to our greater need for a Savior. I am excited for this book as I will be a grandma in March and just the importance of building a relationship on the good news of the Gospel is something I am looking forward to. I have put the rest of the series on my wish list.

A Special Thank You to P & R Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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What Are You Known For?

The problem of humanity all comes to this statement.  It is not that we lack knowledge, but we lack love.  It is not that we lack resources, but we lack love.    It is not that we lack who we know, but we lack love.

Paul was known for his zeal for the Gospel.  He was known for his love for the church.    What was the source of the passion of Paul for the church?

What was the substance of Paul’s prayer for the church of Philippi?

 

Paul and Timothy, servants[a] of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers[b] and deacons:[c]

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,[d] both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s passion is a celebration of what God has done.  His joy had the mindset of God and his work of the Gospel.    A mindset that sees, understands and seeks God’s power and his work.

Paul’s substance of prayer was the partnership of the church.  A partnership that works together for the gospel.  A partnership that births affection.  A partnerships that develops partakers.   A partnership is the core of who God is (the triune) and is the center of Christianity.  (relationships, discipleship,)

It is in love that knowledge abounds.  The partnerships grows, where the gospel grows.  Relational problems are not a knowledge problem but a affection problem.  Where do your affections lie?  Do I get in the way of love?  Does love pit knowledge against truth?

The work of the gospel is completion that begins and ends with Jesus (vs. 5)

The work of the gospel is our affection that begins and ends with Jesus (vs. 8)

The work of the gospel is the glory of God that begins and ends with Jesus (vs. 14)

Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ by: Eric Mason

Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of ChristUnleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ by Eric Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Specifically speaking of unleashing the transformation offered to those who follow Christ by faith-of both justification and sanctification-we must not see our journey with Jesus beginning and ending with a past moment, but as a continuous journey began by God in the gospel, sustained by God in the Gospel and completed by God in the Gospel. God both begins and ends our journey. (Phil. 1:6) We don’t do any of the above, but we must be responsible with the journey that God has begun.

Unleashing is the work of sanctification of our Christian walk. Sanctification is pursuing holiness and the impact that it has on our daily life. What does that look like? What is my responsibility? What is God’s? Is it important? To that question is say an a resounding YES! Our sanctification is our life line. Sanctification is our faith growing and it is unleashing the power of God in our life. The end result is not my glory, but God’s.

Ten Chapters you will discover your growth in sanctification starting with the Gospel. The Holy Spirit, Faith and Repentance, The word of God, Prayer, the Strongholds that hinder growth, Marriage and the local church. Each chapter is rich with the discovery of the work of sanctification. Our sanctification brings us closer to God with a heart that worships.

Several chapters went into deep word study on submission and repentance. A great insight of repentance is that it edifies the work of God in a sinner’s life. That it takes faith to walk in repentance. Submission is the key faith and is a partnership of love and the greater good. Submission is a means of grace, not destruction. I loved that!

The author got personal with his struggle of strongholds listing the different strongholds that we all struggle with. Racism is a stronghold brought on by the cultural and how it continues even today. This is an important as it stunts our growth and ability to love others. It keeps us in bondage.

With clarity and the love of the Gospel, sanctification is a doctrine that should be embraced and celebrated. This study did that!

A Special Thank You to B&H Publishing Group and Netgalley for ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Awe: Why it Matters for Everything we Think, Say and Do by: Paul David Tripp

Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and DoAwe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You have been called to the high position of making the invisible glory of God visible to people who quickly lose sight of God’s glory and begin to look for glories elsewhere.

Our hearts are prone to wander, to be distracted, to be hijacked and in doing so we lose the awe of who God is. We have an awe problem. Our awe problem is focused on self instead of the grandeur of God. Paul Tripp gets to the root of a heart problem like no other teacher today by identifying the problem and offering a solution. Is your heart willing to be changed? The awe of God brings us to a worship lifestyle that shapes our thoughts, desires, words, choices, and actions in the situations and relationships that make up our everyday life. We are wired to be awed. What makes you excited? Now ask yourself if your awe is based on who God is? Do you have peace in your life? Do you have security? Confidence? Rest? What motivates our wonder in life? What gives us hope?

Tripp in stressing our awe problem is somewhat repetitive however, in the repetitive style, he brings different circumstances such as work, ministry, marriage, etc. in how we lose our focus on who God is. We have a daily struggle of awe of ourselves or awe of God.

Some of his quotes…

Our problem is not the size or difficulty of the things we face. No, our problem is AWN and the havoc it wreaks on our daily living. AWN will cause you to fear things that you need to defeat. AWN will cause you to deny reality because you are afraid to face what is true. AWN will cause you to fret over people and situations. AWN will cause you to attempt to control what you cannot control because you think that it is out of control. AWN will never lead you anywhere good.

When you are blown away by the glory of the Savior and his cross, you will be driven to that cross for the character and strength you need to represent the Savior well in the lives of those around you. You won’t be so quick to pontificate. You will be quick to admit your need. You will be obsessed not by how much people respect you, but how much they worship their Redeemer. Fear is only ever defeated by fear. Only awe of God puts you in your place in ministry, and it will keep you there. Once you know who God is and rightly access who you are, you will be able to minister with humility, hope and courage.

This is a treasure of resource. A book that I will be reading every year. To remind me of the awe of God and to strengthen my heart toward Him in worship.

A Special thank you to Crossway Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God by: Bob Kauflin

True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to GodTrue Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God by Bob Kauflin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There can be no higher purpose, there can be no greater joy. And for those who have gratefully received God’s mercy in Jesus Christ, there can be no other end.

What does worship mean to you? It is a question that we must ask ourselves. Why does it make a difference? True worship involves seeking what matters to God. Bob Kauflin gives the reader, the seeker, a child of God tools as what worship means and why it matters.

We must worship God by means of Christ. What does this mean? Kauflin gives an expository study on the Samaritan Woman that reveals the train wreck in all that she believed and lived. All because she came face to face with whom Jesus really was and is today.

How are we like the Samaritan woman in what it means to worship? How worship begins with God not our efforts. It really becomes about receiving than giving. We can love, because God first loved us. We must receive who God is and His glory to worship in spirit and truth. True and pure giving is done out of gratitude. There is a definite distinction between giving and receiving in worship.

Mercy that’s deserved is no longer mercy. And worship that doesn’t begin with mercy is no longer worship. Do we see the mercy of the Lord? In seeing the mercy of the Lord puts us in a posture of humbleness.

Worship never beings with us. It is always a response to the truth. It flows out an understanding of who God is and what he has done for us in Christ. It begins with his revelation and redemption. So we must ensure that the bible which contains that revelation and points us to God’s work of redemption, stays right at the heart of our meetings and our own spiritual lives. True worship is always a response to God’s word

Clearing up misconceptions of worship is prevalent in this study. What do think of when you hear the word worship? It is a once a week deal? Is it just music?

Some churches have a Historic liturgy a progression begins with adoration of God, confession of our sins, and assurance of our forgiveness through the substitutionary death of Christ. A liturgy is to remind you of the gospel and to engage you in the gospel with a response. How does your church engage you in worship?

Worship is more than once a week, singing. It is a lifestyle that will bring you closer to the heart of God. True worship will satisfy you and leaving you wanting more. This study will change you – to want more, to know God deeply and to see the work of Christ in us in worship! I loved this.

A Special Thank you to Crossway Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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