Book review: The Hope of Prayer and Reflection
Come Sit Awhile. The Hope of Prayers Reflection: Inspiration from the Front Porch. By: Ray Lessin and Heather Solum
We all need encouragement in our daily lives. But there are periods in life when the world seems to come crashing at your feet. In those times you need a moment to pray and reflect; to gather your strength to continue the journey.
Roy Lessin and Heather Solum have put together a collection of heartwarming stories, scriptures, quotes, prayers and inspirational thoughts to provide and comfort and rest for the soul.
The reflections remind us to be still and know that God is always with us, regardless of the circumstances. It encourages us to let go of the past and move forward; learning from our mistakes while remembering God’s grace.
“God doesn’t want us to go back to our past or to live in the past, but he does want us to remember what he has done for us in the past.”
This book is not just a onetime read, but a daily companion next to your bible. In those dark moments of life it can provide you with the words to jump start your prayers. It can provide the encouraging word to brighten your day and lead you back to the Creator.
Wherever your front porch may be, rest awhile and reflect. Embrace the solace and serenity and open your heart to the Master Creator.
Connie Francis-Gumbs is a wife, mother of 3 and a youth worker. Children and youth are her passion and mission. She is an officer of the 2nd St Maarten Company located on 37 square miles of rolling green hills, beautiful beaches and warm smiles- the Friendly Island St Maarten/Saint Martin.
Book review: Beloved Dust
Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself
by Jamin Goggin & Kyle Strobel (October 2014)
This book, Beloved Dust, was gifted to me at the end of last year but it took me a while to get around to reading it. I didn’t want to sit and read yet another book that told me what I should be doing that I am not and how to do what I am doing even better. However, knowing that the person who gave it to me usually suggests great books I decided to give it a go and carve out some space to read it. And, I was not disappointed. This book is not about giving a list of how-to’s but about who you are. It speaks not of doing but about being.
The authors, Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel are co-founders of Metamorpha Ministries. Jamin is pastor of spiritual formation and retreats at Saddleback Church and Kyle is assistant professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology. With this expertise, the book is not soft on it’s theological foundations yet it is written in a straightforward way, which does not require a theology degree to understand.
Goggin and Strobel present the case that a significant issue with Christian life is that “humanity exchanged being with God for talking about him, as if he was not actually present”; that we have forgotten how to walk with him in the garden. Over 9 chapters Beloved Dust takes the reader on a journey encouraging you “to walk through the truth of yourself and the truth of God to embrace a deeper calling – the call to be holy… partaking in God’s life and being caught up in the love of God”. The book is rich in Biblical content and depth as the authors weave together Scripture, personal anecdotes, imagery and interpretation resulting in a smooth flowing text, which beckons you to read further, while also causing your heart and mind to linger a little on what you have read. I found that it was impossible to read this book without drawing nearer to God. While I started reading as a duty, it became a time of prayer and communion with my Father. Which, I guess in itself sees (at least in part) the fulfilment of the purpose of the book. This is a book about prayer; about living a life of honest, open, continual communion with God our Father.
The use of the imagery of “dust” lends itself to be both poetic and also confronting. While the truth that we are creatures made from dust calls us to humility, the authors suggest that it is from this place of humility that we can draw near to God, knowing that we are nothing without Him. Our brokenness living in a dusty world sees redemption as the Genesis declaration of “’to dust you shall return’ is now a victory cry of those who have died and been raised with the Son of God… Christ became dust and has redeemed us from the oppressive cycle of death that looms inevitably on the horizon”. Through Christ the door is open for us to return to the place of relationship with God as it was intended at creation. Through Christ we can once more enjoy living in God’s presence, following his example of prayer and reliance on the Father.
Beloved Dust reminds us that we are just that “Beloved Dust”; in all its simpleness and messiness yet profound wonderfulness. It would be a great book to read for believers who are hungry for a deeper, more real relationship with God.
Tamara Pilgrim is currently serving Girls Brigade Australia as a State Chaplain and works as Ministry and Operations Assistant for Rockingham Salvation Army. Tam loves pursuing the dream of seeing individuals and communities being transformed through Christ.
Book Review: ‘God’s Daughters’
Esther Collective member Zoë Davis reviews the brand new first book of author Hannah Fytche, ‘God’s Daughters’.
God’s Daughters is a book written by a hugely talented young woman called Hannah Fytche, who is currently in her first year of studying theology at university. She hopes for girls to realise that they are ‘loved, held, accepted, enough’ and has written this book for those who are fed up of trying to be good enough, and feel under pressure to be prettier, cleverer, or holier in order to be accepted.