Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Seeing the Unseen: Cultivate a Faith That Unveils the Hidden Presence of God by T.W. Hunt

It is so good to see Dr. Hunt back in the saddle again. His work is among some of the best, if not the best out there in the area of prayer. Seeing the Unseen is no exception. His candor and his knowledge of prayer show forth in this short book like a beacon in the night. He shares with his readers his years of experience in prayer without all the fluff that accompanies other books I’ve read on the subject. He makes it clear that the occasional prayer meeting will not suffice if you seriously want to see the unseen, grow in faith, and know God better than you do at this moment. He also doesn’t promise instant prayer warrior status either. He makes it clear that growth is a process, that takes time, and that it takes practice. But he also makes it clear that the end result is well worth the effort.

So what didn’t I like about this book? Not much really. I could have done without some of the introductory stuff, but it was interesting. Slows down the rapid consumption of what he has to say which is necessary if you are really interested in prayer. But who had ever heard of entelechy before he mentioned it? Wonder where he ran across it? I do think a return to "seeing the unseen" more frequently would have good. I lost sight of that about midway through the book even though all the discussion continues to be related to that theme.

Read through this book slowly. Think about what is said and then pray. This is a deep, yet very simply stated, book. I recommend it highly.

This book was provided to me by Navpress for review.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garden, Class, and other Time Eaters

Must be time for another non-review entry.  Good intentions to visit more often just aren't enough.  It's all I've got, though.  Yes, that was a very lame excuse.  It'll have to do.

So what have I been doing that takes up all my time?  Recently, I've been pushing to get a course done before the end of the month.  Tons of reading and three papers later I'm almost there.  Need the final and a "reflection paper" now.  Close, very close to reaching the finish line.  I think I'm beginning to get the hang of how to do these independent study courses.  Beginning, I say.  They are much more work than the online versions.  By about two papers at least and several progress reports.  Believe it or not I am enjoying this.  Learning a few things along the way too.  Start another course first part of July, but it's an online one.  Need the rest from this one.

Got a jury summons.  Suppose to be some sort of privilege, but it ends up being more like voter intimidation since that's where they get the names.  Or so I've been told.  Anyway, unless something amazing happens, looks like I might have to show up.  Been downloading some reading material onto my Kindle just in case.  Problem with that is I keep reading it.  Been on a Shakespeare jag lately.  Why?  I have no idea, except they are good reads.  Taming of the Shrew is the latest one.  Since they're classics, a basic version is either free or a dollar.  Can't beat that.  

I also hear that they don't feed you while you're down there so I guess I'll have to find some food too as the time gets closer.  Glad I've got that backpack.  Should give the security folks a some fit or some sort.

We've had some interesting weather lately.  Mid June and I had to drag out the blanket again.  Needed a sweatshirt yesterday and today it got into the 80's.  Feels like it's going to cool off overnight, but I doubt into the 40's again.  Had a summer like this four years ago.  Coolish, rainy, but it didn't alternate with the 80's or 90's every few days.  

Got a garden going this year.  Didn't do one last year.  This year we have our own tiller which is really nice.  It's new so it's much easier to handle.  So we got the ground ready, put in the plants and now we watch it grow.  Used a bunch of fertilizer this time around and some other additives and it seems to be helping. Weeds look much healthier.  :)  A month or so will tell the tale for sure.  Bunch of squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peas, beans and corn.  Pretty basic stuff, but that's what we've had the best luck with here.  The ground is not ideal.  Oh yeah, we've got peppers in a pot on the deck.  See how that works out.  The peppers just did not do well in the garden, so this year is an experiment with the alternate plan.  

That's about it for how I have spent my time recently.  The usual comments on the news I may forgo (doesn't look right spelling wise) this time around.  Don't want to get crazy and go off on a rant about anything. Been staying pretty calm lately and like it that way better.  Besides, if you want a rant just tune in to any news talk show and get an ear full from them.  

I have to mention that the Bible I got from Tyndale has been very helpful to me.  The combination of a liturgical devotional (I guess that's the proper name for it) with daily readings adds focus and keeps me from grazing all over the place.  Just thought I'd throw that in there for an update and a "plug" for the Mosaic Bible.  A good idea.  

Been toying with the idea of starting some sort of journal that's more about recording God stuff than what I've been doing.  Notice I said "toying".  Some of the ones I've tried before didn't work out at all and got abandoned quickly.  Maybe give this more thought and see what happens.  Like, why didn't the others work, what do I think would be an improvement.?  Yada, yada.  

Well now I have definitely gone beyond my usual limit.  Must be time to stop.  Until next time...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: We Shall See God: Charles Spurgeon’s Classic Devotional thoughts on Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn uses edited excerpts of Spurgeon’s sermons about heaven in this devotional and adds some of his own content. They make wonderful compliment to Spurgeon. For those who are not familiar with the life and preaching of Charles Spurgeon, Alcorn introduces him throughout this 50 day devotional. The introduction carries a short biography of his life and work, and then Alcorn weaves other fascinating bits of information into his content. But…this isn’t a book to glorify Spurgeon or Alcorn. Its theme is God and the Heaven that He inhabits and shares with His children.

The first few readings are situated in the place where the focus on heaven is the most pronounced, after the death of someone near and dear to us. Sadness gives way to joy as the reader progresses through these opening days. And it continues that way throughout the rest of the book. Alcorn’s comments and illustrations help reinforce the encouragement or exhortation that Spurgeon provides. There are a few entries, however, that do focus on the fate of those that refuse to heed the Word. While those are few, they do serve as a reminder and a cause to express gratitude for the grace that is available to us.

As Alcorn aptly says in his first comment, “We should not romanticize death.” Spurgeon certainly did not and was well acquainted with sorrow himself as the reader will discover in the readings. This devotional is probably one of the most helpful collections of writings about the topic as I have encountered. I recommend it without reservation.

This book was provided by Tyndale in exchange for my review.