Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Seeing the Unseen

Seeing the Unseen. Randy Alcorn. 2013. Eternal Perspective Ministries. 120 pages. [Source: Bought]

This is a sixty-day devotional by Randy Alcorn. Each devotion has a focus or subject. Each devotion includes two Scripture verses and two quotes from famous Christians. Subjects include humility, forgiveness, stewardship, repentance, holiness, prayer, the Bible, etc. The book includes quotes from A.W. Tozer, C.S. Lewis, Augustine, J.C. Ryle, John Stott, R.C. Sproul, Oswald Chambers, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Martin Luther, etc.

I liked the length of this one. Year-long devotionals require commitment. (Perhaps you too have devotionals that have bookmarks in March or April?) But 60 days is much more manageable! Each devotional takes just minutes to read. I do believe that daily devotions should never take the place of actual Bible reading. But. I have nothing against the concept of daily devotional. (Especially if the focus remains on God and not on people the author has met or known.)

Favorite quotes:
The Bible tells us we are pilgrims, strangers, aliens and ambassadors working far from home. Our citizenship is in Heaven. But we’ve become so attached to this world that we live for the wrong kingdom. We forget our true home, built for us by our Bridegroom. Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for Heaven. We think that what we want is money, sex, drugs, alcohol, a new job, a raise, a doctorate, a spouse, a large-screen television, a new car, a vacation. What we really want is the Person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, Heaven. Nothing less can satisfy us. (day 10)
The more I learn about God, the more excited I get about Heaven. The more I learn about Heaven, the more excited I get about God. Jesus said, “I am going there to prepare a place for you...I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2–3, NIV). Hope is the light at the end of life’s tunnel. It not only makes the tunnel endurable, it fills the heart with anticipation of the world into which we will one day emerge. Not just a better world, but a new and perfect world. A world alive, fresh, beautiful, devoid of pain, suffering, and war, a world without earthquakes, without tsunamis, without tragedy. A world ruled by the only One worthy of ruling. (day 13)
If we want our words to have lasting value and impact, they need to be touched and shaped by God’s words. That will happen as we make an ongoing daily choice to expose our minds to Scripture, to meet with Christ, and let Him rub off on us. (day 15)
Genuine repentance is utterly vulnerable. It confesses more than has been found out. It never withholds information in the hope of preserving an image or a reputation. It puts itself at the mercy of others; it does not presume to direct or control them...To be repentant means to be committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep from falling back into sin…The sincerity of your repentance is demonstrated by how willing you are to take the steps necessary to nourish your soul and reprogram your mind from the Scriptures, so that you can draw on Christ’s power to be righteous. (day 20)
Truth hates sin. Grace loves sinners. Those full of grace and truth—those full of Jesus—do both… Attempts to “soften” the gospel by minimizing truth keep people from Jesus. Attempts to “toughen” the gospel by minimizing grace keep people from Jesus. It’s not enough for us to offer grace or truth. We must offer both. When we offend everybody, we’ve declared truth without grace. When we offend nobody, we’ve watered down truth in the name of grace. John 1:14 tells us Jesus came full of grace AND truth. Let’s not choose between them, but be characterized by both. (day 24)
The greatest kindness we can offer each other is the truth. Our job is not just to help each other feel good but to help each other be good. We often seem to think that our only options are to: 1) speak the truth hurtfully; or 2) remain silent in the name of grace. Both are lies. Jesus came full of grace AND truth (John 1:14). We should not choose between them, but do both. (day 54)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Michelle F said...

I highly recommend Randy Alcorn.

I have reviewed his book `The Chasm: A Journey to the Edge of Life`