Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Review: The Thrill of Hope

"The Thrill of Hope" helps believers focus on Revelation in a new light, one of hope and assurance, not doom and gloom.

Overview: What are we to do with the Book of Revelation? Some Christians skim the book and glean a superficial understanding of the text; others spiritualize Revelation or label it as unworthy of concentrated study. Many simply ignore John's final letter entirely.

But by neglecting Revelation, the church is missing out on the blessing that the Lord bestows upon those willing to give the book a patient hearing—the thrill of hope.

In The Thrill of Hope, Bruce Green walks with the Apostle John through the open door of heaven and witnesses the wonderful blending of history and hope. God's people may be oppressed, but evil won't prevail. Wrongs will be righted. Those who have the faith and courage to stand strong will be vindicated. However, victory doesn't happen by chance; it is the promised result of a strong and steadfast hope given by God.

Accessible and easy to understand, The Thrill of Hope provides an enlightening and encouraging analysis of the book of Revelation. In short, digestible chapters, Green unveils the major themes of John's message, challenging us to live in hope and holiness. Helpful FAQ sections are interspersed throughout the book, and discussion questions following each chapter make it suitable for Bible class, small group, and individual studies. Those who are waist deep in the woes of the world will be lifted from the mire by a renewed confidence in the sovereign Christ—the One who reigns in hope.

Dawn's Recommendation: 4 of 5 Stars

What I Liked: It is a great book to start reading right before you start reading Revelation and a great book to read as you continue reading Revelation. It helps explain symbolism. It helps with any fear readers might have of reading or studying Revelation. The book talks about Revelations' major theme and gives some history to the times in which John received the revelation. I enjoyed the FAQ sections and the questions at the end of every chapter, which helps readers go deeper (my education background loves that!).

What I Didn't Like: The book isn't as intense a study on Revelation as I wanted, but that was not the authors intent. His intent was to leave readers focusing on the hope that Revelation reveals.  The book did that job nicely. 

To get to the level of detail that I wanted in my personal study of Revelation, I read "The Thrill of Hope", read Bible and internet commentary, and developed my own list of questions/answers as I studied Revelation. With all of that together, I found my study very well-rounded. 

Disclaimer: I received this complementary book from the publisher through BookCrash in exchange for my honest review.

How do you feel about the Book of Revelation?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Small Seed for 2-27-15: Healing

Healing Waters.

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.” John 5:2-4 (NKJV)

I started doing water aerobics again, just me and a friend. In the dead of winter (5 degrees outside), it's nice to step into a warm therapy pool. It makes me think of the Pool of Bethseda and how angels stirred up the water and the first person in was healed. I imagine the daily anticipation and hunger for healing that the ones around the pool felt.

I’ve been using this Scripture to pray for my church. The image of the pool and stirring waters…

Dear Father, I pray for my church. That you would stir the Holy Spirit like the pool at Bethesda. Stir the waters so that healing can happen in the lives of your people. Move their hearts like the water, so that they might not be stagnant. Soften their hearts. Let love flow in and through them. Help them get in the water and then move out of it, in Your Name. Amen.

Is there a Scripture’s imagery that moves you? Or that helps you pray?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Small Seed for 2-26-15: Inspection

A Loving Inspector.

“Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:24 (NLT)

We just went through an inspection where I work. Those are never fun. Inspections uncover problems and things that need fixed; basically, your dirt. But, don't we need inspections? Imagine if restaurants or hospitals never got inspected. We need inspections at places of work and in our personal lives.

Thank goodness, for us, that God is a loving inspector. He points out our mistakes and sin to make us better and stronger. He wants the best for us. He want holiness for us. You have to see the dirt before you can get rid of it.

Ask God to inspect you. Ask Him to point out anything that needs improvement. Don't push the dirt under the rug. Look at it and then wash it in Jesus' blood, so you can be white as snow.

What is something that God pointed out to you in the past that needed cleaned?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Small Seed for 2-25-15: Servant

Servant Heart.

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' " Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Our youth group had a special Ash Wednesday night. They went through prayer stations to reflect on the cross. Here are a few of the stations:
Oil - Anointing
Water - Washing away of sins
Clay - being molded in Christ's image
Ashes - reflecting on mortality and repentance of sin

I got to place a cross of ashes on each teen's forehead or hand (imposition of ashes). At first I was disappointed to not be going to the Ash Weds. Church Service, but then I pushed the disappointment away. Whatever the youth pastor needed me to do - that was where I needed to be. So, as I waited for teens to come to me to impose the ashes, I prayed for them and for our youth group, past, present, and future. I prayed that God would touch them. As I prayed, I realized again how much I love all those kids, that spreading on ashes means so much more. The act of my service to them means helping them find Jesus or to get closer to Him. My love for them is an act of loving Jesus.

I'm working on my own selfishness. Giving up things I want to do, even worthwhile things like church things or vacation time, for kingdom work is hard, but God seems to be working on me in that area. To put aside my wants, for Him, and His work. And He blesses me when I do.

What have you given up for Jesus?

For more information on Ash Wednesday: