Book Review: In Visible Fellowship

If you've been around my blog for a while you know that I admire the life and writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Last year, I had the opportunity to do a book review of Costly Grace: A Contemporary view of The Cost of Discipleship by Jon Walker.  Jon Walker has now done another modern re-write of Bonhoeffer's book Life Together called In Visible Fellowship.

In Visible Fellowship is a very light but beautiful read.  Each chapter is only 2-3 pages long.  The format includes a quote by Bonhoeffer, some thoughts to ponder, Scripture verses and a few follow up questions.  The main theme discusses how we should live together as the body of Christ in fellowship (which you know is one of my favorite things to think about these days). 

I believe this book is a valuable resource and would be a great book for a fellowship group to dive into together.  It is a simple and short read, but the thoughts and concepts presented have an important conversational depth to them.

Another reason why I especially like this book is that it allows us to think about Christianity outside of our contemporary biases.  God's truth expands cultures and time periods and Bonhoeffer lived in a different culture and in a different time period.  I believe it is important to grasp a hold of Christianity with a fuller and deeper understanding by considering thoughts and aspects from those who came and lived before us.  This book provides a wonderful opportunity for that to happen.

In Christ,

I received a complimentary edition of this book from Leafwood Publishers.  I was not paid for my opinion and all thoughts expressed are mine and mine alone.

Waiting on the Lord

What does it mean to wait on the Lord?  Personally, I believe it means to trust that the Lord is moving even though we can't see what He is doing; it is an element of faith.  In order for us to trust Him, we need to rest in His character, that He is who He says He is even when we don't see it. 

Years ago, I read a commentary on Exodus 33:18-22:

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you,
and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.
I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom
 I will have compassion. 20 But,”
he said,
“you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23
Then I will remove my hand and you
will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

The commentary stated that Jewish tradition teaches the following based on this story: "You cannot see God in the moment, you can only see where He has been."  I have found this to be so true in my life.  There have been many moments when I have called out to the Lord in the desperation of the moment and got up discouraged because I didn't get "an answer" in that moment.  However, there are so many more times when I have emerged from a season of hardship and looked back and I can see God's hand EVERYWHERE!  Why?  I think that this Jewish commentary sheds some light on the why.  God is always present and working but we do not have the ability to see Him in the moment.  However, just because we can't presently see Him, does not mean that He is not at work.  Because of this truth, I have been taking the time to learn how to wait on the Lord.

As I said in the beginning, waiting on the Lord means to rest in His character in the midst of situations; instead, of being in despair, I choose to rest in the faithfulness of the Lord and wait in eager expectation of the day when I can look back and say, "There you were."

The Psalms provide us with plenty examples of doing this, here are a few:

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 130:5

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

I am learning that it is so worth waiting on the Lord.  There comes a time in our lives when what we believe should begin to affect the reality of how we live our daily lives.  One way to do this is by learning how the Lord operates so when hard times come we are not confused.  The Lord has promised that He will always be faithful, even if we are not faithful; that He will never leave us or abandon us.  If and when you are in a situation where you can't see His face, learn to wait on the Lord.  Don't let the smallness of our minds, cloud out the greatness of our God.  Instead, wait in eager expectation that He has placed you in the cleft of the rock (Jesus) and know that there will be a day when you can look back and say, "There you were."

In Christ,

Our Words

I had the pleasure of going to the grocery store with both of my children today.  They are quite well-behaved but this particular grocery store is ALWAYS busy and the aisles seem extra tight.  My kids like to ride, one on each side, which keeps them conveniently near and gives me one less thing to worry about.  Well today, of course, seemed extra busy and we were doing our best to stay out of the way of others.  We had passed an older gentleman once and he seemed slightly perturbed by the girth of my cart.  Low and behold, we ended up in the next aisle with him.  This time we did have a problem, because there was a supporting beam going down one side of the aisle, and then in my lane a box of halloween candy blocking the path.  These obstacles changed it from a two-lane path to more of a one and a half-lane.  Of course, my kids were preoccupied with each other, chatting across the cart, so it took me an extra second to inform them that they needed to get off to make room for this man to pass.  In the meantime, the man got very upset, shaking his cart and saying "g-dammit" kind of under his breath.  We passed by going in our opposite directions.

Normally, this event would be very upsetting to me.  I was racking my brain of "what I could say" if we happened to pass ways again... However, the Holy Spirit nicely reminded me of some of the things I've been contemplating lately.  The first was a post from Alisa Hope Wagner's blog, called Stop Cursing.  It's a tremendous article (that I highly recommend you stop by to read) but the gist of it was that our words have power to them.  We have the power to bring life and death to people.  The thoughts in her article, were later re-affirmed to me when I read Ascent from Darkness.  Because of both of those readings, I've become acutely aware of the power of our thoughts and words, and I've had no desire to be an unconscious participant in satan's business.

So as I pushed my cart down the aisles I spent time in prayer, "Lord, how would you have me to react to this man?" I was reminded of the Scriptures, which say to bless those who curse you, to pray for your enemies.  So I began to pray for that man.  I don't know what happened in his day, or his life for that manner to make him so angry at that moment. But as I prayed I was filled with compassion for him, and prayed that the untapped value in him would be revealed and that he would know the power and the love of the Lord in his life.  We didn't run into each other for awhile, which I was glad about, since I was still coming into agreement with the Lord about the best way to handle this.  But several aisles later, I saw him.  The Lord just told me to smile at him.  And I did, thinking in my head, the Lord loves you.  Lo and behold, he smiled back...  At that moment, he didn't seem like such a mean, old, cranky man to me anymore.

So I share this with you, not to give myself a pat on the back, but hopefully to make all of us more acutely aware of the power of our thoughts, words and actions.  Even in something so small as an incidence at the grocery store, we have the power to choose.  If we choose life, we can carry the truth of God's love in us and allow it to overflow from our hearts to others.  Like I said above, I personally have no desire to join with the enemy in spreading ugliness and hatred towards others.  Today, let us surrender to the beauty of the Lord's way and spread His love.

In Christ,

Book Review: Ascent from Darkness

I recently finished the book  Ascent from Darkness: How Satan's Soldier Became God's Warrior by Michael Leehan.  The back of the book states:

A life of difficulty and disappointment set 33-year old Michael Leehan up for the worst decision of his life—to make a deal with the Devil to follow and serve him. Practicing the dark arts that include ritualistic cuttings and blood sacrifices, while fine tuning his manipulation and control skills, Michael launched into a twenty year downward spiral that included job loss and detachment from loved ones, and even jail time.

But God had another plan that included a group of Christian men to love him and pray for him—even when it became evident his assignment from Satan was to kill their pastor, Craig Groeschel.

The life Michael Leehan lives today is an incredible testimony of the transforming power of God's mercy and grace, but is also a wakeup call to the church to be fully aware of the spiritual war that is going on all around them, and to the ultimate battle for their souls.

"I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." Acts 26:18


This autobiography was pretty incredible and at times almost unbelievable.  Once again, I was amazed how many times throughout his life story God placed believers in Mike's life.  Some were small encounters, others were bigger but in the scope of his life I think each person played a role and had a contributing significance to his eventual salvation.  The sin in his life was paramount and it just goes to show once again that Christ's love has no bounds and can take even the "worst of sinners" and turn their lives around.  God was on a relentless pursuit of Mike throughout his life, and Mike's life almost ended in death several times.  The book was written in such a suspenseful way that even though I knew he was going to live and be saved I was on the edge of my seat as to who was going to win and when.

As I stated, there were times that it seemed almost unbelievable.  I appreciated the fact that the book ended with testimonies from people who knew Mike before he was saved and after.  They vouched for the validity of his story and they vouched for the incredibly on fire, changed life that Mike now leads.  I even looked up the pastor of his church, whom Mike spent one year planning how he was going to murder him, he is a real, well-known, published pastor. 

If you are one of those who don't really believe that satan and demons are real, then you just might want to peek at this story.  If you want to appreciate the need for spiritual warfare, and to realize that the enemy is very real and intent on bringing destruction to the church, you might want to peek at this book.  If you want to be amazed once again at how deep God's love can reach then this story is a great place to start. 

In Christ,

PS I received this book free of charge via Booksneeze.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Excellent Book: A Heart for Freedom

Last night, I finished an incredible book called A Heart for Freedom by Chai Ling.  The back of the book describes it best:

The dramatic and fascinating story of Chai Ling,
commander-in-chief of the student protesters at Tiananmen Square
and witness to the massacre of thousands of Chinese civilians.
Risking imprisonment and possible death for her leadership role
in the student democracy movement,
she was on the run in China for ten months while
being hunted by the authorities. She eventually escaped to the U.S.,
completed her education at Princeton and Harvard,
found true love, and became a highly successful entrepreneur.
 But her desperate quest for freedom, purpose,
and peace—which she had sought in turn through academic achievement,
romantic love, political activism, and career success—was never
satisfied until she had an unexpected encounter with a formerly forbidden faith.
Her newfound passion for God led to her life’s greatest mission:
Fighting for the lives and rights of young girls in China.

This book was excellent on so many levels.  I was 11 years old when the attack on Tiananmean Square took place.  I remember seeing a picture on the front of Time magazine and I always knew that people died that day, but I had no idea why.  This book did an excellent job explaining the historical whys behind the Tiananmean Square events.  It also gave me great admiration and love for the people of China and their desire for freedom.  In addition, the book gave me insight into how first generation immigrants to America might feel even though they are now "free" their past still has huge impacts on them.  The book is excellent if you are just looking at it for those reasons.  But to top it off, she has become a daughter of God in the last two years!

The incredible impact that the love of God has had on this tremendously inspiring woman is beyond words.  He truly is a Redeemer, healer and lover of people's souls.  As a result of her love for God she has launched a new movement of God's love to set the people of China free.  Her specific focus is to end gendercide through her initiative called All Girls Allowed.  Whether you are interested in the book (which I hope you are) or not, please stop by this website.  100% of donations goes straight to the cause of helping the women of China!  Their four focuses are: help end gendercide, educate abandoned girls, rescue trafficked children, and defend mothers from forced abortions.  37 million girls have been lost to China due to the One Child Policy.  However, Chai Ling has not been overcome by the tremendous weight of this statistic.  She is calling us to make a difference and after you read her life story, you will understand how the Father has equipped this beautiful woman to be a leader.  She truly believes through the love of Christ, we can make an impact in one generation.

I guarantee this book will rock your heart!

In Christ,

Disclosure: I received this book free of charge for the purpose of review.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.  I do have Amazon affliate links in this post.

Daily Prayer

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