Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review: The Beloved Disciple (2003)

The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus. Beth Moore. 2003. B&H. 352 pages. [Source: Bought]

The Beloved Disciple is a book I've meant to read for years now. It is a book that focuses in part on the life of the Apostle John (it does this by examining what we know of him--of his life--by what is revealed in the four gospels and the book of Acts); it also focuses in part on the works of the Apostle John (it does this by examining the gospel of John, his three letters, and the book of Revelation). I'll be honest. While I enjoyed the first part of the book, I really really really loved the second part of the book. I loved the focus on John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.

The first part of the book focuses on relationships, focuses on John's relationship with Jesus, and John's relationships with the other disciples. It's a creative approach, but built on a scriptural foundation as well. The second part of the book focuses more on reflections and doctrines. The first part, in other words, we see John as a young man. The second part, we see John as a very old man, a wise man focused on passing along what he knows, a man passionate to speak the truth.

This book definitely ministered to me. I found it to be WONDERFUL. I loved it so, so much!!!

Favorite quotes:
What do you say about yourself? What we don't say in words, we ultimately say in deeds. Daily we say all sorts of things about ourselves. Sometimes what we say about ourselves is not necessarily accurate, but it's what we believe.
How differently would we pray if Christ chose to manifest His presence? Would we pray differently if He sat in a chair right across from each of us, leaning forward to concentrate on what we're saying? Beloved, if only we would realize that though He's invisible to our sight, that's in essence what He does! He intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father. When we pray, He is so close to us, He may as well be leaning over the edge of heaven and bending down to hear. His presence through His Holy Spirit literally surrounds us as we pray. His eyes are fixed on our face. On every word we're saying. On every expression we're making. Can you imagine how the angels marvel over our boredom at times when we pray, as their faces behold our Father in heaven who is listening intently to every word?
We were created to be full. When we're not filled with the good things Christ came to bring us, we will grasp at anything as a substitute. An unsatisfied soul is an accident waiting to happen.
If the world population took a vote as to whether Jesus is the Son of God and not a single ballot was cast in His favor, He'd still be the Son of God. He doesn't need our permission or even our faith to be who He is.
Each of Christ's seven “I Am” statements in John's Gospel is relational! If you look again at all seven titles but look for how each title is associated with people, you will discover a blessing: John 6:35—He who comes to the Bread of Life will never go hungry. John 8:12—She who follows the Light of the world will never walk in darkness. John 10:7–9—Whoever enters through the Gate to the Sheep will be saved. John 10:11–14—He who belongs to the Good Shepherd receives protection and is known by the Shepherd. John 11:25—She who believes in the Resurrection and the Life will live, even though she dies. John 14:6—Whoever follows the Way and the Truth and the Life comes to the Father. John 15:1, 5—He who remains in the True Vine will bear much fruit. Christ is many things. He is truly the Great I AM. He is the Savior of the world. He fulfills numerous titles in the Word of God, but I believe the spiritual implication of the seven “I am” sayings in the broad approach of John's Gospel is this: Jesus Christ is everything we need. Every one of these titles is for us! Remember, He is the self-sufficient One! He came to be what we need. And not just what we need, but what we desire most in all of life. The I AM came to be with us. I could weep with joy!
You and I need nothing on this earth like more of the Holy Spirit. Do we need to love an unlovely person? Do we need extra patience? Could we use a little peace in the midst of chaos? Do we need to show an extra measure of kindness? Could anyone stand a little more faithfulness to God? Could anyone use a strong dose of self-discipline? How about a heaping soulful of joy? Take a look at Galatians 5:22–23. They all come with the fullness of the Holy Spirit! You see, we don't just need more patience. We need more of the Holy Spirit filling us and anointing us! Does anyone need deep insight from God's Word? An added measure of understanding? Anyone need the eyes of her heart enlightened to know the hope of her calling? Does anyone want to fulfill God's eternal purposes for her life and think with the mind of Christ instead of the misleading mind of mortal flesh? All of these come with “more” of the Holy Spirit! (see 1 Cor. 2). Child of God, don't just absorb this truth! Get up and celebrate it! God gives the Spirit without measure! He has all that you need. Or more properly stated, He is all that you need. Our fulfillment and greatest joy are in the flooding of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives. He is how we understand God's Word and will for our lives!
We will always give Satan plenty of ammunition to discourage us. If we don't literally camp in the love of Christ, we will talk ourselves out of untold fruit by dwelling on our own unworthiness. Accept the fact that we are unworthy and we're lavishly loved by a God of redemptive grace.
I believe this is what Christ was saying to them: I am going to leave you so that I can prepare rooms for you where you will one day dwell and indeed make yourself at home where I live in heaven. Until then, I have built a room in each of you where I can make Myself at home with you. This way I am at home with you in Spirit until you are at home with Me in heaven.
If we don't learn to get honest with God over our thought lives, we will never allow Him to teach us new ways to think. If we never develop renewed minds, consistent victory and glorious koinonia will tragically elude us. Dear one, God already knows your thought life! Our conviction is telling us not only that He knows but that He wants to apply His grace to the problem and correct it.
Agreeing with God over our forgiven state is just as important as agreeing with God over our sin! If Satan can't tempt us to hide our sin and refuse to confess, he'll tempt us not to accept our forgiven and purified state.
Fears are fillers. Mind fillers. Heart fillers. Soul fillers. The enemy fuels them because they leave virtually no space for the filling of the Spirit and the welcomed flood of divine love. Second Timothy 1:7 (KJV) tells us that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of sound mind. Does that tell you why Satan would want to do anything possible to supply us with fillers other than the Holy Spirit? Satan neither wants us to know who we could be nor what we could do. Lives full of God's power, love, and soundness of mind are a terrible threat to the kingdom of hell. After all he's done to me and to so many others, I want to be a threat. Don't you? How do we begin? By allowing God's perfect love to start driving out our destructive fears and condemning natures like an eighteen-wheeler plowing through a cornfield! Wholeness begins by deliberately and daily receiving the lavish, unreasonable, unfailing love of God all the way into our marrow. When life is too foggy to see the evidences of His love around us, behold it in His Word, dear one! Know it until you feel it.
I am convinced that virtually everything in an individual believer's life hinges on his or her deliberate belief and active acceptance of the lavish, unconditional love of God. I'm not sure we can be reminded too often of God's absolute priorities for our lives. No matter how different our personalities, gifts, styles of worship, or denominations, God's chief priority for every single one of us is that we love Him with everything in us (Mark 12:30).
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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