Liferails, Holding Fast to God's Promises
Scott Walker, Augsburg Press, 1999, 161 pages, $12.99, softcover.
At the age of eleven, Scott Walker's life was literally saved by a ship's railing. He could have been swept overboard and perished in the storm, but his life was saved by the "liferail." In his book Liferails, Holding Fast to God's Promises, Walker shares encouraging insights about the promises of God we can hold on to when buffeted by the storms of life.
Walker is an excellent storyteller and each chapter is a true-life story that illustrates how we can trust God's promises. Each story is coupled with scriptural truth that helps the reader cope with the difficulties life brings. At the end of each chapter there are quotes for reflection and a prayer.
Colleen Townsend Evans, author of A Deeper Joy, says so well about Liferails: "…and the underlying truth is that joy is not to be found in the absence of pain, but in the presence of God in a person's life."
For inspirational reading, you can't do better than Liferails.
Streams of Confusion
Brad Scott, Crossway Books, 1999, 320 pages, $17.99, softcover.
When the Western world launched the modern age some 400 years ago an insidious assault began against traditional Christianity. Philosophers and other thinkers propounded ideas that chipped away at the tenets of the gospel. True, Christians have always had their apologists; but even when these new rationalistic teachings were refuted, vestiges of these ideas were accepted and adopted by a new generation of thinkers.
After four centuries the forces of naturalism, rationalism, and relativism have so permeated Western thinking that they have become the rule rather then the exception. The forces have, to a great degree, influenced the life and work of the church.
In a well-reasoned and scholarly way, Brad Scott examines several of these forces. He explains their origin, their growth, and their modern influence. Then he refutes each of these teachings from the biblical perspective.
A few of Scott's chapter headings give an idea of the scope of his discussions: "Man Makes Right, Not God," "Man Is Good by Nature but Corrupted by Society," "Man, Too, Is an Animal," "Life Is Meaningless," "Everything Is Relative," and "All We Need Is Love." Every thinking person recognizes these catch-phrases, but all are subtle perversions which have eroded the influence of the gospel.
Scott's philosophical acuity commends itself to those who are trying to come to grips with the amoral and immoral thinking of our day. Those who have little acquaintance with the philosophers of relativism-Hume, Sartre, Russell, Voltaire, Marx, Nietzche, Freud, Skinner, and Huxley-however, may find this slow reading. Others will find this book stimulating and challenging.
Glen H. Jones
Christians at Work, (Not Business as Usual)
Jan Wood, Herald Press, 1999, 147 pages, $10.99, softcover.
Work is not a secular pursuit that is necessary to making a living. Jan Wood's thesis is that all of life-secular work included-is a calling. Christians are called to be lights in the world. In that sense we are called to be ministers. Some minister from the pulpit. Others minister in their trade, profession, or occupation.
But the workplace often presents joy and sorrow, happiness and bitterness, and harmony and bickering. The author presents several concrete suggestions for working in a less-than-perfect world with less-than-perfect people. Wood shows how to deal with self-control, fear, anger, interpersonal conflicts, and seductions.
Above all, though, the workplace is God's testing place that presents opportunities for Christian growth and service.
Glen H. Jones
Incense and Thunder ( Experiencing Intimacy and Power With God Through Prayer)
Dudley Hall, Multnomah Publishers, 1999, 247 pages, $12.99, softcover.
In Revelation 8:3-5 an angel of God stands at the altar of heaven holding a golden censer with incense representing the prayers of the saints that ascend to the throne of God. The angel takes the censer and throws it onto the earth. Thunder, lightning, and an earthquake follow.
Using this analogy, Dudley Hall states that effective prayer "moves" God to react on behalf of His saints. God has appointed prayer as one of the means for mutual communication. The saint of God who has a right relationship with our heavenly Father has the assurance that God delights to grant favors for our good and His glory.
The author shows these steps as an avenue to effective prayer: 1) realize the importance of prayer, 2) have the right attitude to get God's attention, 3) understand the place and purpose of prayer, 4) gain the cleansing that prayer affords, 5) pray for other believers, 6) pray for the lost, and 7) pray for the erring believer.
Books on prayer impress me two ways. First a good book on prayer shows me my own inadequacy in prayer. But on the other hand a good book on prayer encourages me to remember the limitless possibilities of prayer. When one recognizes these two points and rightly acts on them, "thunder, lightning, and an earthquake" follow.