Sunday, 22 June 2014

Book Review: 'Power in Praise' by Merlin Carothers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
Power in Praise brings together some of the miracles wrought by the simple application of Bibical truth: all things work together for good. Power in Praise is a simple clear explanation of how and why the principles introduced in Prison to Praise work in every-day life.

My Review:

I may not have agreed with all of the theology in this book (some of chapter two and bits about recieving the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues etc. comes to mind) but despite that, this is a book that I feel every Christian ought to read. In it Merlin Carothers urges us to praise God in EVERYTHING, including every trial. At the end of this book, the Lord had really used it to convict me a lot about my complaining and grumbling attitude when it comes to trials. Praying that if you ever have a chance to read this book, you will and it will help you in your walk with the Lord as much as it helped me!

Quotes I loved from it:

"Our understanding gets us into trouble when we try to figure out why and how God brings certain circumstances into our lives. We can never understand why and how God does something, but He wants us to accept with our understanding that He does it. This is the basis for our praise. God wants us to understand that He loves us and that He has a plan for us." (p.3).

"Praise is based on a total and joyful acceptance of the present as part of God's loving, perfect will for us. Praise is not based on what we think or hope will happen in the future...We praise God, not for what we expect will happen in or around us, but we praise Him for what He is and where and how we are right now!" (p.6).

"Our skepticism and disappointment in God's plan is rooted in a distrust of God. We're not convinced that He has our best interest in mind... The only way out of our dilemma is to accept God's Word on faith. Faith, in spite of what we think, feel, or see. His Word is that He loves, and that the death of an innocent child does fit into God's loving plan for each of the lives affected. God's love for us can be accepted only on faith, just as we accept every other promise in the Bible. We must decide to believe in the nature of His love, because He says it is so, regardless of whether we feel loved or not...God wants to shower us with blessings. He wants to take care of us in every way, down to every little detail of our daily lives. Yet we insist on looking at all the circumstances, the outward workings of His plan, and speculate on what they mean and how they all fit in, while His command to us is that we look to Him and trust Him. We make our understanding into a wall between us and God as long as we insist on figuring out and approving His plan before we dare trust ourselves to Him... acceptence of His will and plan must come before understanding. We must deliberately set aside our own desire for knowledge and comprehension of what God is doing, and through the weight of our will into a decision to trust His word. His plan for us is good. Can we trust His Word for that?" (pp.87-89)

"Have you ever stepped outside your door on a beautiful, clear, sunny day, taken a deep breath of fresh air, and thanked God for His wonderful creation? But what if the next morning is gray and rainy? Does it automatically make you feel a little depressed as you look out the window? Maybe you odn't say it out loud, but how do you feel? Are you in the habit of thanking God only for what you want? And are you in the habit of grumbling just a little when things don't go the way you like?...Grumbling is the very opposite of thanksgiving; a complaint is the opposite of trust...By complaining and grumbling you are actually accusing God of mismanaging the details of you day." (pp.99-100)

"Joy is certianly something we are meant to feel...But joy does not depend on feeling. We are not to rejoice because we feel joyful, rather we can expect to eventually feel joyful as a result of our rejoicing."(p.125).

"God permits every circumstance of our life for a good reason. Through it, He intends to bring about His perfect and loving plan for us. God permitted that lady to be born without a hand because He loves her. God permitted Satan to harass Job because He loved Job. God permitted Christ to hang on the cross because He loved His Son, and He loved us. God allowed the darkness and evil forces of this world to gain an apparent victory - apparent to our senses - yet all the while God's perfect plan for the salvation of the world was being worked out." (p.136). 

God bless, and definitely read this book if you get the chance!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Trials - love letters from heaven?

From Pinterest
Some musings I wrote a while back that I thought I would post here...  

Either I can let the trials in my life define me, and become bitter and twisted about everything I see wrong in my life, or I can see these selfsame trials as God's love to me! Each time He sends a trial, it is His way (incredible as this sounds!) of saying "I love you!"; a little bit like a love letter straight from heaven. You see, He loves me too much to see me living comfortably with sin. He sees pride in me, so begins a process of humbling me, driving me back to Him and His grace. End result? I am more weary yes, but so alive, so awake to the sin in my life and striving to live in a way that honours Him more. It is my belief now that a new life in Christ is wrought in suffering and is the only life that can truly bring Him glory. It is the self-sacrifical life, the kind of life that demands us to "deny [ourselves] and take up His cross and follow [Him]". "For whoever would save His life will lose it, but whoever loses His life for My sake will find it." ~ Matthew 16:24-25. And "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down His life for His friends." Self-sacrifice does not come easily or naturally to us!

What do you think? Do you see trials as like 'love letters' from heaven, sent to strengthen and test you in your faith? A way that the Lord can waken you to sin in your life? Food for thought!

God bless!