Review: The Road to Paradise

Well, this book… I decided to review it based upon the cover, which I found very appealing in an old vintage way. And, it was considered Christian fiction, so I thought I probably wouldn’t have to deal with anything “trashy”. But, it goes down as one of those books that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time reading. I found the plot to be incredibly boring, ridiculous, under-developed, and childish. The characters were sooo annoying too. You’ve got a stubborn, but weak can’t-get-over-the-accidental-death-of-his-father park ranger, the stubborn, hard-headed, foolish, allows herself to be victimized visiting single rich girl, & the abusive, my-way-or-the-highway fiance of before mentioned single girl. That combination was about enough to make me pull hair out while reading. Nothing was really believable nor was it something I could imagine in real life. I mean, people don’t really act like that do they? And, this was supposedly Christian reading … what’s with all the “passionate kissing, hugging, & imagining scenes”? Very disappointed in that. This is definitely not a book I recommend and I thoroughly regret reading it.

Muller On Building Your Faith

1. Carefully read the Word and meditate on it. Through reading the Word of God, and especially through meditation on it, the believer becomes acquainted with the nature and character of God. Besides God’s holiness and justice, he realizes what a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise, and faithful Father He is. Therefore, in poverty, affliction, death of  loved ones, difficulty in service, or financial need, he will rest on the ability of God to help him. He has learned from the Word that God is almighty in power, infinite in wisdom, and ready to help and deliver His people. Reading the Word of God, together with meditation on it, is an excellent way to strengthen faith.

2. We must maintain an upright heart and a good conscience and not knowingly and habitually indulge in things which are contrary to the mind of God. How can I possibly continue to act in faith if I grieve the Lord and detract from His glory and honor? All my confidence in God and all my leaning on Him in the hour of trial will be gone if I have a guilty conscience and yet continue in sin. If I cannot trust in God because of a guilty conscience, my faith is weakened.

With every fresh trial, faith either increases by trusting God and getting help, or it decreases by not trusting Him. A habit of self-dependence is either defeated or encouraged. If we trust in God, we do not trust ourselves, our fellowmen, circumstances, or in anything else. If we do trust in one or more of these, we do not trust in God.

3. If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried. The more I am in a position to be tried in faith, the more I will have the opportunity of seeing God’s help and deliverance. Every fresh instance in which He helps and delivers me will increase my faith. The believer should not shrink from situations, positions, or circumstances in which his faith may be tried, but he should cheerfully embrace them as opportunities to see the hand of God stretched out in help and deliverance. Thus his faith will be strengthened.

4. The last important point for the strengthening of our faith is that we let God work for us and do not work a deliverance of our own. When a trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God and to trust in ourselves, in our friends, or in circumstances. We would rather work a deliverance of our own than simply look to God and wait for His help. But if we do not patiently wait for God’s help, or if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith we will have the same problem. We will again be inclined to try and deliver ourselves. With every fresh trial, our faith will decrease. On the contrary, if we stand firm in order to see the salvation of God, trusting in Him alone, our faith will be increased. Every time we see the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in the hour of trial, our faith would be increased even more. God will prove His willingness to help and deliver at the perfect time.

-George Muller, The Autobiography of George Muller

 

Muller On Sleep

I want to encourage all believers to get into the habit of rising early to meet with God. How much time should be allowed for rest? No rule of universal application can be given because all persons do not require the same amount of sleep. Also the same persons, at different times, according to the strength or weakness of their body, may require more or less. Most doctors agree that healthy men do not require more than between six or seven hours of sleep, and women need no more than seven or eight hours.

Children of God should be careful not to allow themselves too little sleep since few men can do with less than six hours of sleep and still be well in body and mind. As a young man, before I went to university, I went to bed regularly at ten and rose at four, studied hard, and was in good health. Since I have allowed myself only about seven hours, I have been much better in body and in nerves that when I spent eight or eight and a half hours in bed.

Someone may ask, “But why should I rise early?” To remain too long in bed is a waste of time. Wasting time is unbecoming a saint who is bought by the precious blood of Jesus. His time and all he has is to be used for the Lord. If we sleep more than is necessary for the refreshment of the body, it is wasting the time the Lord has entrusted us to be used for His glory, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of the saints and unbelievers around us.

Just as too much food injures the body, the same is true regarding sleep. Medical persons would readily agree that lying longer in bed than is necessary to strengthen the body actually weakens it.

It also injures the soul. Lying too long in bed not merely keeps us from giving the most precious part of the day to prayer and meditation, but this sloth leads also to many other evils. Anyone who spends one, two, or three hours in prayer and meditation before breakfast will soon discover the beneficial effect early rising has on the outward and inward man.

It may be said, “But how shall I set about rising early?” My advice is: Do not delay. Begin tomorrow. But do not depend on your own strength. You may have begun to rise early in the past but have given it up. If you depend on your own strength in this matter, it will come to nothing. In every good work, we must depend on the Lord. If anyone rises so that he may give the time which he takes from sleep to prayer and meditation, let him be sure that Satan will try to put obstacles in the way.

Trust in the Lord for help. You will honor Him if you expect help from Him in this matter. Pray for help, expect help, and you will have it. In addition to this, go to bed early. If you stay up late, you cannot rise early. Let no pressure of engagements keep you from going habitually early to bed. If you fail at this, you neither can nor should get up early because your body requires rest.

Rise at once when you are awake. Remain not a minute longer in bed or else you are likely to fall asleep again. Do not be discouraged by feeling drowsy and tired from rising early. This will soon wear off. After a few days, you will feel stronger and fresher than when you used to lie an hour or two longer than you needed. Always allow yourself the same hours for sleep. Make no change except on account of sickness.

-George Muller, The Autobiography of George Muller, Chapter 12

Review: The Ragamuffin Gospel

I had so many high expectations starting into reading this book. I knew it was a top Christian favorite and it had been on my reading list for a long time. I was so excited to see what all the hype was about. But, I just didn’t enjoy it like I thought I would. Manning is a good author, but he’s just not an author I enjoy reading. His writing style is what I would call very philosophical and rambling and often the rambling just doesn’t seem to have a purpose except to fill up pages. That drove me nuts. I’m very much a to-the-point person and getting through all the fluff was really hard. At times I just wished I could put the book away and not finish it. I also wasn’t entirely sure I agreed with everything he said doctrinally. It was difficult for me to narrow down what he was saying amid all the words. And that really bothered me. If I don’t know what someone believes or is teaching in a book, I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone. So, for me, this book was a flop.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God

I was super excited to get into this book. Eric Metaxas quickly became one of my favorite authors after just reading his biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce. So, I figured anything he authored had to be just as good.

This book though … it was, well, quite different in style from his biographies. In fact, it was so different that I couldn’t even tell that he had written it – not in a bad way though. This book was written as a ‘question & answer’ dialoque between two people, one ignorant of and full of questions about the Christian faith & the other a Christian with answers. I can’t say that I disliked this approach to writing, though at times I found it a bit cheesy and minorly ridiculous. But, Metaxas was trying to tackle the hard topics in a lighter, but solid way. I can’t criticize him for that. Overall, it was a good read, though not something I would have normally read outside of reviewing it.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Psalm 61:2

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Sometimes life throws you a curveball that you never thought you’d see coming. You know, those curveballs that really hurt when they hit you because, you trusted much and loved much and now it all seems for naught. Why people do the things they do in the ways that they do them will always be a mystery. But one thing is not a mystery. And that is the love of God. He promises to always be there for us. God will never betray any of His own, for He is our Rock & Fortress … we can run to Him and be safe.

Review | Saffire

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Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer is the kind of historical novel that makes me sit up and take notice. Set in the first decade of the 1900s, on the banks of the Panama Canal, this cunning story has just the right amount of historical detail without losing the juiciness of interwoven personal interest stories and political intrigue. Anyone who likes Indiana Jones will absolutely love this book. The main character strongly resembles Jones in personality and occupation, but without a lot of his questionable morals. The action keeps moving rapidly throughout the book, and definitely makes the reader guess the ending until the very last chapter. Overall an excellent read. I look forward to more reading delight from this author.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.