Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer Reading Club...closing out

Finally found time to post this!

I have been reading again "What's so amazing about Grace" by Phillip Yancey. When I find a writer I like I tend to stick with them and read all they have written. This book has become a favorite of mine. I will probably read it again since there is so much to digest.

My review isn't finished (not enough time before heading to work...I'll add to it)
There are a few books (besides the Bible of course) that I believe all Christians should read. This would be one of those books. Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors and his honesty is at times startling but very much needed in this world today.

Where else can the world go to find grace? Gordon MacDonald’s question on page 15 hit us right where we live. Grace is what we need and just aren’t finding. The world cares about itself period.

The Parable of Grace: A gift that costs everything for the giver and nothing for the recipient. (page 25)
Do we realize that this is what we have been given? We think we have to work for it or give something in exchange for the grace we have been given by Jesus. And I for one just can’t grasp the enormity of what Jesus did for me.

I just loved how a conference was held to debate what belief was unique to Christianity. CS Lewis responds “oh, that’s easy, it’s grace”. Isn’t it the simplest things that always seem to dumbfound us?

Page 53 “Grace is shockingly personal”. Do you have a problem with accepting that God personally cares for you? To realize that God who created ALL and controls ALL cares about little ole me is mind-blowing. There are days when I don’t even care about me so how could God? I have often told people that I believe if I was the ONLY lost person ever Jesus would have still died to save only me. I do believe this but I can’t really wrap my mind around it.

Chapter 5 is my favorite out of part 1. God’s thoughts and ways being higher than mine is pretty much how I leave things in my life. I quote this often (my husband says it is my “I have no idea but that is how God rolls” scripture verse…yep I would agree with that statement. Yancey also delves into Hosea (which is my favorite book of the Bible). God loves us but must judge our behavior. To not do so would just allow us to behave as we wished (this is what society has become…do as we want with no consequence). Then we learn that God decides NOT to give us what we deserve (have you ever received that grace from anyone in your life? did you thank them? do you thank God?).

Page 66 “I marvel at a God who allows himself to endure such humiliation only to come back for more.”
It hurts to realize that I can humiliate God. By claiming to be His and live under His control, when I stray from Him people see my behavior as a reflection of God (not Wendy). And in spite of that He comes back and picks me up and dusts me off.

And once again on page 67 we have a simple yet profound truth. “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so”. We should all sing this daily!

I read Rich Mullins:An arrow pointing to Heaven years ago and in the book there was a statement: You cannot do anything to make God love you more nor can you do anything to make Him love you less. On page 70 this statement showed back up and it is correlated with grace. What an amazing grace it is!!!!

The story of Daisy and her family in chapter six breaks my heart. How cruel we can be to those we should love the most. And how horrible that the cycle continues from generation to generation. Ungrace…what an awful word and concept.

Forgiveness. Is it hard for you to do? We sure do want to be on the recieving end but giving it back is just so very hard for us. I like the statement on page 103 that says “forgiveness is not the same as pardon….you may forgive one who wronged you and still insist on a just punishment for that wrong.” Working in the criminal justice field makes me very biased towards people being punished for their wrong doings. I see some really bad things that people do to each other and I can truly understand how forgiveness would be next to impossible. That’s why grace is so amazing. The other amazing part of grace is Jesus. He cared enough to suffer on this earth. He knows and understands and still forgives. We must also.

“Getting even”…are we not a people that love to get even? Don’t we love to read about people that took revenge on someone? The story in chapter nine involving the Nazi and the Jewish man was a hard one to come to terms with but I totally agree with the statement on page 114 in which we should respond with silence about others forgiving each other. We have no right to tell anyone to forgive other because we so often fall short of it ourselves. The concept of vengeance is a strong on in our society and we often look for ways to pay someone back. The idea that “vengeance is mine saith the Lord” is a foreign one to us. We are impatient and we also believe that God either is not watching and does not care or He just plans to not do anything about the wrongs done to us. I’m just glad that we are wrong about that!

In chapter ten we are shown just how we CAN forgive. As stated on page 123 “I cannot do it, but God will give us His strength”….there’s the answer. Forgiveness is nothing we can do on our own. When we have recieved God’s grace we start to understand that we must forgive and then we rely on the One Who helps us do just that…forgive.

The stories Yancey tells of forgiveness are almost hard to believe. We have to embrace this act and truly mean it for the world to change at all. God help us! be finished.....