Tuesday, June 8, 2010

book review : paradigm shift

Redeeming love is a book I think everyone should read. I think it maybe should be held off until the later teen years but this book {i don't want to say 'changed my thinking'} but probably made me understand God's love in a different way than ever before.

It's a fiction book about the book of Hosea set in the gold mining times in the U.S. It is a book that is glued to you while you're reading it because you're constantly thinking about and analyzing it when it is in and out of your hands. It taught/reminded me of five things; five things I don't think I pay attention to enough - which made it so worth while to meditate on throughout the course of reading the book.

one. It reminded me of God's relentless pursuit of us. When I ventured off to Cedarville University in the fall of 2004 and walked into my first Bible class I felt like a kindergartener trying to use their pencil. God had become very real in my life in high school but I hadn't had a lot of Bible teaching outside of church & youth group. That made the Bible classes so refreshing and exciting especially compared to my gen. eds. All that to say when I entered Old Testament my sophomore year I was glued to what the teacher said. I still cannot get out of my head many things that he taught me- simplistically but true Bible teaching. I remember the themes of Hosea and Jonah (although they had overlapping and other themes) the relentless pursuit of Christ in those lives. I feel like in life it's hard to see (other than Christ pursuing me) a lot of other relentless pursuits. But, the faithfulness that God cannot deny to portray makes it the most vibrant pursuit there. It's truly electrifying to think about.

two. forgiveness. i love the fact that when God wants to teach you something he CLEARLY shows you. God was doing this very CLEARLY in my life while I read this book. So often I would be reading and thinking, '[the main character] so does not deserve to get forgiven right now, or again, or again?!' And then God would slowly speak to me and say, "really, you REALLY think you should be forgiven again... seriously Kristen?!" It was no coincidence that I read this book while my pastor did a spontaneous 2 week series on forgiveness or when my small group talked about forgiveness. i haven't arrived, but I'm realizing more and more he who has been forgiven much, MUST forgive much. please, Lord have mercy on me.

three. it was such a different, simplistic, but hard lifestyle. wow, part of me wanted to jump right into the pages where their home held no t.v., internet, cell phones... etc. the treatment of women was so different too and the way that many men would look at women (because some didn't see women for years while they were mining, etc.), wow- kinda glad I can choose to place myself out of those situations now instead of that being standard. Also, the thought of no cell phones.. or no phones at all. I'll just say I like having a cell phone and the convenience, please don't get me wrong. but, less drama & chaos maybe?!

four. This book so clearly showed what God will allow in our lives for the idols to be put away and for us to truly trust him. When you're reading a story and hoping for a certain ending you can see pretty clearly how God is weaving his way in a person's life and how he will take things away or put certain things in their life to help them notice his presence or their need for Him. When it's your own life or when you're caught in the drama of a situation with a friend, sometimes it's way more difficult to see how God is going to allow a hard situation or even sometimes a blessing to be used for Him. But, He knows... He is SOOOO sovereign and I know that's what you rest in, but this book made me really think about that.

five. God puts specific people in our path. they are no mistake - yep, those people that drive you to the moon, the people you can't get enough of and the people that you sometimes can't get enough of and can't stand all at the same time. yes, to grow our character but I think even more than that to trust Him more, and to allow you to see how much friendship is a blessing in life. I have a hard time believing that Jesus didn't believe in friendship (not saying anyone ever says that but...) when the disciples were constantly with him for three years. perfect example.

the day that I finished this book on my airplane ride I had also read this verse. May we draw near to Him as he draws near to us.

Psalm 95:8-9
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

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