Tag Archives: Book Review

Needing a Refill…of Jesus [Book Review]

 

“When was the last time you exhaled the craziness of life and sat before the Lord in silent adoration? Isn’t it unbelievable to think that, of all we could say to and do for the Lord, sometimes he just wants our silent presence with him?”
Fresh Out of Amazing, Stacey Thacker

Often I am more about getting something out of my time in the Word with God than I am about worshiping him for his own sake. I feel like a starving person just trying to get crumbs down my throat in the two minutes of snatched quiet time I get while the kids are watching Curious George than the person who can sit and relish a decadent dish of food and appreciate the chef who created it.

We talk so much in the church about spending time with God that it starts to feel cliché. But I find the only time it seems that way is actually when it’s not a constant part of my life. When I let my unsatiable hunger drive me to meet God in his word, I realize only the enemy wants me to think that precious time is a cliché.

fresh out of amazing stacey thacker elizabeth cravillion book review

There are two kinds of people. One who gives you advice, solicited or not, and one who lives and shares their story in a way that makes you say, “I want some of that.” I’ve read a lot of books and the ones that linger with me are the ones written by the second kind of person.

God used Fresh Out of Amazing to really work in my heart. The author, Stacey Thacker, gets real and raw about God’s work in her heart, peeling back the layers to show her how much she needed him. I knew before I read this book that I was tired and worn down, but I didn’t realize just how empty I truly was. My kids weren’t the only things wearing me down. Grief, disappointment, trials, comparison…so many things I’d been shoving under the rug were also affecting me. This book helped me peel back my layers, too.

What I realized most as I turned the pages was that Stacey let the struggles she faced drive her to God, and that made all the difference. That was how she could go so far as to write a book about being “fresh out of amazing”! Only meeting God in the stillness to pour out her heart, to listen, to worship, and to be silent could shape her.

This is what I want. And this book snapped the final barrier keeping me from pushing through all the interruptions to spend time with God. If you need encouragement, if you want to go deeper with God, if you are struggling to make it from your first cup of coffee to your pillow at night, pick up this book and be spurred on to depend on Christ. Find it on Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

Not Afraid to Ask

Monday morning found me escaping to my office for my time with God, desperately calling out to him for help. I sat on my office loveseat with my face in my hands and asked God, “Don’t you ever get sick of hearing me ask for help? I would, if I were you. Don’t you want me to be like, worshiping you more? Or just talking to you for the sake of talking to you? Aren’t you done hearing me beg for help?”

He brought the phrase “the Lord heard my plea for mercy” to my mind so I opened my Bible to Psalm 116, one of my favorites. I read there,

“I love the Lord,
because he heard my plea for mercy,
and listened to me.
As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help.”

No, silly me, he never gets tired of hearing me ask for help. “As long as I live” I’ll get the privilege of coming to him. I’m the one who gets sick of asking him for help because I get tired of depending on him.

I’m strong.

I don’t need help.

I’m a tough farmer’s daughter, used to working from dawn till dusk and pulling myself up by my bootstraps when I need to.

But that mentality only leads to defeat when I try to be a good Christian girl. Truthfully, I’m not a good person. Not without Christ’s new life in me.

I’ve been reading an encouraging book called “From Good to Grace,” releasing this week. I relate so well to the author Christine Hoover’s words.

“What I really found myself asking was this: Am I a good Christian, wife, mom and minister? Because that’s what I want more than anything else – for my life to mean something in the kingdom of God, to be good at these things.”

I relate because I ask myself that question every day. Am I doing a good enough job?

What I’ve really appreciated about From Good to Grace is how Christine shares what is really means to walk by the Spirit in simple, clear terms.

“The most important thing I can do each day is not to be good or rely on myself but to trust God and acknowledge my weakness.”

See, this is something God has been showing me, too, and to read Christine’s testimony of the same truth in her life has powerfully confirmed that this is God’s truth.

fron good to grace christine hoover elizabeth cravillion bible study

She writes again, “In order to live the Christian life as God intends us to live it, we have to learn to ask for his help in everything, to rely on the power and wisdom of God rather than our own abilities or wisdom.”

Like Christine, so much of my life I’ve lived by what she calls the “goodness gospel.” Even though I knew I needed Jesus to save me from my sin and save me, somehow I’ve often lived like I could go forward from the point where Jesus saved me and be perfect in my own strength.

But that’s baloney. Jesus never said to people, “Be a good person.” Instead he said, “Come to me. I’m the way. I’m all you need.”

For a number of years now I’ve been asking God to show me how to live every day by his grace. What does it look like to let him change me? How do I rely on him rather than myself?

The answer is, by asking for help. By embracing the fact I can’t do it on my own. That is freedom from the burden of rule-keeping and constant approval-seeking. Fresh, life-giving air for the long hours of everyday life.

“Relying on the Holy Spirit isn’t loosey-goosey stuff. He is God, not a power to be manipulated according to our will and desires or for our emotional benefit. He is a Helper given by God; he is God himself helping us in our daily lives. He knows what he’s doing. We can rely on him.”


 

Christine’s book From Good to Grace is available now. Only $11 over at Amazon.com. Go check it out!