Inner Beauty Forever

just my thoughts on books and stuff :)

A Lesson From 10-year-old Boys March 26, 2013

Are you ever blown away by the gospel? Do you ever cringe when you think on or imagine the brutality of what Christ endured both before and during his time on the cross? Or does the intensity of it all escape your thoughts, leaving you dulled to the horror and extent of Jesus’ sacrifice for you? These are some questions that I have been asking myself today.

Each Tuesday morning some of the fourth grade students from local elementary schools come to our church for one hour during the school day. During this hour they are taught from the scriptures, learn memory verses, play games, sing songs, etc. It is a truly amazing opportunity and an immense blessing. I have the privilege of teaching one of these classes. My class is made up of three boys, whom I have become rather fond of. Throughout this school year we have been working through the Bible. We began at creation, and now, as we near Easter, are exploring Jesus’ crucifixion.

Having grown up in a Christian home, being active in my church, and being homeschooled, I have grown up hearing the gospel, which is a true privilege. My WRE (weekly religious education) kids have not had that. So this morning when told them the story of Jesus’ beating, the cat o’ nine tails, and the crucifixion process, I watched their reactions. The boys, all about ten-years old were wincing, cringing, and shocked by the details that I was describing. They were blown away by what Jesus endured. This got me thinking.

Do I take what Jesus endured too lightly? Do I sometimes take for granted the fact that he was beaten with leather, glass and bone to the point where he was not even recognizable? Do I? Do you? Do we sometimes hear that Jesus died for us, and fail to grasp just how intense and excruciating this death really was? I am sad to say that sometimes this is the case with me. Sometimes I breeze over the gruesome details of his death and instead focus on the happy ending. Why? Maybe because it is painful to come to the realization that I deserve that death. It hurts to think of and picture myself in Christ’s place, which is where I deserve to be. I deserve to be the one beaten with the cat o’ nine tails. I am the one who deserves to be spat at. I am the one that deserves to drag a massive cross — an emblem of shame– up a mountain in humiliation. I am the one who deserves to die on a cross. And so are you, as harsh as that may sound. But no, Christ took our place. How awesome is that?!

Today I was reminded of the extent of Christ’s sacrifice, and the depths of his grace.  I was once again brought to the startling realization of the pain, ugliness, and disgrace brought about by sin. I was once again shown the love, glory, and magnificence of my savior. And what did it take? Three ten-year-old boys. What will it take for you?

 

‘Passion’ Book Review March 4, 2013

thTitle: Passion: How Christ’s Final Day Changes Your Every Day

Author: Mike McKinley

Date I Finished Reading: March 4,2013

My Rating: 5/5

Some books have good content, but lack application, making them impractical. This is NOT one of those books. No, this is a book that is full of both wisdom, and practicality. By examining the details of Christ’s final day on earth, we see how they can affect our life in radical ways.

In this book Mike McKinley takes a look at the details of Christ’s final days from the garden of Gethsemane to the crucifixion. He often approaches them from an angle that we — or at least I– never have before. He helps us to see every aspect of Christ’s behavior during this time as an example for how we also should live. Whether that means we are more compelled to forgive, more encouraged towards faithful friendship, etc. He also uses characters from the story that we sometimes tend to overlook, such as the mourning women, Barabbas etc., to help us see our relationship with Christ in a whole new light.

Simply put, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Whether that be a sceptic, a new christian, or one more mature in the faith… it doesn’t matter. This book can help you see things in a new light, and give you food for thought.

Note: I received this book free from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

‘Making the Most of the Cross’ Book Review February 1, 2013

thTitle: Making the Most of the Cross

Author: John Chapman

Date I Finished Reading: January 31,2013

My Rating: 4/5

Book Description from Matthias Media’s website:

Every now and then, humanity witnesses a history-changing event, like the invention of the wheel or the discovery of penicillin. But there has been no other event like the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
With characteristic candour and humour, John Chapman explains the meaning of this history-shaping event:
» How can we know that Jesus really died?
» How can we know that Jesus really rose from the dead?
» How can God love people and yet condemn them to hell?
» How can God forgive guilty sinners and yet be just?
» What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean for me?
How does it affect my life?

The cross. So many questions surround it. Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? What did his death on the cross accomplish? What does it mean in our own personal lives? John Chapman answers these questions and more in this book.  Chapman covers many different topics in this book. He ranges from the purpose of the cross, to how a loving, just God can wipe away our sins. From how we can know that the Bible is true, to how the work on the cross can take away our guilt and condemnation.  He does so in a way that relates both to unreached unbelievers, and believing christians alike.

Some aspects of the book that I liked would include the fact that Chapman answers MANY questions that MANY people ask. Also, he does not over-explain or ramble. He is short, sweet, and to the point. The chapters are short, which makes for easy reading.   Something I did not like about the book would be the fact that although Chapman uses scripture to support his points, there were a couple of times that I was not sure if they really applied or tied into the topic being discussed very well. It just seemed that at times the writing did not flow very well or logically. This made for the reading to become a bit confusing at times.

Although I did not really find any of the book’s content extremely deep or eye-opening, the basic questions were answered well, making it a good resource to use in reaching out to and answering the questions of unbelievers. So I would recommend it to you as a tool to pass on to another, but I do not  believe that it would be overly beneficial for a believer who is more mature in the faith.

Note: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

 

‘The Cross Centered Life’ Book Review January 9, 2013

CrossCentered-01Title: The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing

Author: C.J. Mahaney

Date I Finished Reading: January 8,2013

My Rating: 5/5

How often do you preach the gospel to yourself? At first this may come across as a weird question, but really. The cross is the center of our Christian faith. Yet we somehow tend to live our lives with the gospel absent from our thinking. Why? In this book, C.J. Mahaney discusses why and how we are to live our lives centered around the gospel. He discusses why forgetting about the cross leads to frustration, irritation and disappointment, as well as how living a cross-centered life requires us to move past legalism and condemnation in our minds and hearts. He explains that we must keep the gospel in our mind and hearts, that we are to not move on from the cross, but deeper into it. Finally, he gives practical applications and steps you can take to center your life around the cross and the gospel.
When I read this book I really only had one complaint…it was so short! But at the same time this is a huge positive, since Mahaney is great at addressing the problem, explaining the mindset we should acquire and recommending solutions in a very efficient way. He doesn’t over-explain or go on and on, yet at the same time he does a great job of not being to vague or leave unanswered questions.
I would definitely recommend this book to you! It is great food for thought and opened my eyes to an area of the gospel that I tend to forget, or not even consider.
You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Cross-Centered-Life-Keeping/dp/1590520459/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357748787&sr=8-1&keywords=cross+centered+life