I missed a Friday post and then remembered that I can also post on Saturday…so here we go. Breaking out and posting on a weekend. Is this what it is like to be thinking outside the box?
Everybody…seriously…get back IN the box. The box is safe. (insert a grin and let’s look at the books I managed to finish in June)
With the bonus time of being stuck on an airplane for a total of 45 hours in the past two weeks, I really thought I would finish a whole bunch of books. However, I forgot to factor in sleep, meals, plane noise, poor lighting on the reading surface and fighting claustrophobia induced panic attacks.
Thus I only managed to read two books. So here is the low down on each:
Make Your Mark is a 40 day devotional produced by various women in leadership at Gateway Church in Texas.
I know you all are sharp enough to gather that it took more than the month of June to finish a 40 day devotional, so, yes….I started it in May and finished the end of June.
The book is divided into five sections:
- Make your mark at Home
- Make your mark in the Marketplace
- Make your mark as a Leader
- Make your mark in Relationships
- Make your mark in the Kingdom
Each section has some introductory material that fleshes out what it means to be a change agent in each of the categories.
The daily devotions include a Bible verse, a short meditation and then some questions to ask yourself that will prompt activity towards growth.
This is not an “empowerment” type book, bur rather a call to applying God’s word to our daily living so that we make and impact on those around us for the good and glory of God’s purposes.
Here is an example of a takeaway nabbed in my journal on Day 15 by Lynda Grove:
“Jesus’ life on earth was like ours – filled with normal routines and mundane living. We face this temptation to wallow in a bad attitude about this by:
- Challenging ourselves to bring Christ’s love, kindness and hope into our daily walk
- Do simple acts of kindness
- Keep a positive attitude in the daily grind
- Refuse to listen to other’s grumblings”
Daily thoughts like this with actions steps help me grow and take some rough edges off of my natural bent towards self-preservation.
The second book I read was The Last Hour; an Israeli Insider Looks at the End Times by Amir Tsarfati.
It turns out as I was about half way through the book, I ran across my own notes and underlining and realized I read this when it was first published in 2019. The last half of the book, the part where I was underlining before, was quite startling to re-read in our current world setting.
I had chills as I read his prophetic words regarding Putin, the Ukraine, and how events like viruses (he was referring to computer viruses, but yowza….), earthquakes, economy, fear and food shortages can change things in ways that have been foretold but we couldn’t imagine how it would work.
Tsarfati is one who I have checked in with from time to time when events happened here or around the world as he views all things from an Israeli perspective.
As he discusses the end times, he uses only Scripture as the basis for his thoughts and I found it interesting that his perspective is quite different from that of the N. T. Wright book I just read. Both authors admit that we do not know exactly how it will come down and yet both use Scripture to share their thoughts on what we can know.
All I know is and agree with is concurred by Tsarfati and Wright – for those who are in Christ, there is nothing to fear regarding how it all comes down in the end.
But I particularly loved the charge in the final pages of The Last Hour. Amir Tsarfati says what matters right now is how we use the time we have.
In the final pages of the book he asks these questions and fleshes out the answer with counsel:
- Are you reading your Bible?
- Are you praying daily?
- Are you going about your Father’s business?
- Do you trust God in the good times and the bad?
- Are you truly abiding in God by serving Him?
- Are you supporting Israel?
Speculation about how the things of God will come about does little to help. We are living in times of great conflict and turbulence, but God has given us everything we need to navigate this and as Jesus said…the harvest is ripe but the workers are few…pray to the Lord of the harvest for helpers. I would add, pray that we would be the kind of help needed in these times we have been placed in.
Here are links for the two books. I am not affiliated…just sharing them if you are interested.
The Last Hour https://www.christianbook.com/last-hour-israeli-insider-looks-times/amir-tsarfati/9780800799120/pd/799123?en=google&event=SHOP&kw=christian-living-0-20%7C799123&p=1179710&utm_source=google&dv=c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_8iMlrLa-AIVMMLCBB21EgBeEAQYAiABEgLfA_D_BwE