“A Man after God’s Own Heart”, RT Kendall

Photo Credit: RT Kendall Ministries

A fabulous biography of King David.

This is a book of sermons. RT Kendall delivered these sermons to his congregation over an 18 month period in the late 1980s.

Don’t be thinking they are stuffy or dull. Far from it. Kendall delves deeply into the heart and character of the key people in the 2 books, but particularly David. His style is always engaging using easy to understand language and plenty of examples from his own life.

Each of the 64 chapters is relatively short, focusing usually on one particular aspect of the story. It is in no way a verse-by-verse commentary. It reads like a biography.

What we see in David is a man, very human, regularly making mistakes by choosing his own way rather than seeking the Lord’s counsel. But there was this humility and adoration for the Lord that is hard to ignore. His faith is a great model for us.
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“The Prayer of the Lord”, RC Sproul

Photo Credit: Ligonier Ministries

A small book packed full of punch.

Jesus gave us the example for prayer by way of the Lord’s Prayer in Luke and Matthew. RC Sproul provides a powerful insight into each of the verses of this very short prayer. This insight has helped refine my prayer life.

Too often our prayer life can become very self-focused, however, Jesus demonstrates that it should be centred on the glory of God. Praise and adoration can sometimes be difficult. But I find when I start thanking and praising God my heart softens as I turn my attention to Him and off myself.

Then true relationship can commence.

Each verse has its own short chapter that is easy to read.

This is beautifully written and I’ll be encouraging friends to read it.

I rated it 5/5.

5 Favourite Classic Novels

I thought I’d start a series outlining some of my all time favourite novels. There are so many and to do any justice to the series, I need to create separate categories.

I thought I’d start with the classics. Generally, the purists will classify these as literary fiction. This is a term I prefer not to use but they are typified by their complex characters and multilayered themes.

I read on average about 60-70 books a year. I don’t read a lot of literary fiction nor classics. However, I do try to ensure I read at least one. At the moment I’m tossing up “The Great Gatsby” or “Les Miserables” as they both have movies coming out soon.

I studied English Literature at university as a sub-major to my Economics degree, having fallen in love with the classics at high school. I am reader who likes to read everything that an author writes, so my Top 5 reflects the status of the author in my estimation as the particular novel. The selected novel below is in effect, my favourite of that particular author.

A Top 5 of anything is really only good for today as there is a very strong likelihood that it would change next week. Trying to limit to five is extremely difficult. So here goes.

“Portrait of a Spy”, Daniel Silva

Photo credit: Harper Collins

I love the Gabriel Allon series.

And this one sure doesn’t disappoint. As other reviewers have stated, Daniel Silva has used the same formula with the other books in the series. This is now my third so I’m not tired of it.

I thoroughly enjoy Gabriel’s character, however, wish we’d see some development in Chiara, his wife. She’s obviously very smart but we seem to see her mostly presented as the gorgeous, young wife who is also an extraordinary cook.

Nadia who plays a critical role in this book is a strong character. Rich due to inheritance and desiring to make a difference in the Saudi world as a woman who cares, she is both captivating and very believable.
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“A Thousand Sleepless Nights”, Michael King

Photo Credit: www.christianbook.com

A beautiful story of forgiveness and reconciliation

This novel was a delightful surprise. Mike demonstrated he can move beyond the suspenseful thriller to crafting a heart-warming contemporary story.

Mike took me on an emotional roller coaster. I could identify with each of the key characters, feeling their pain and heart ache as well as their jubilation and desire to overcome. Jim, as a young man, fighting to save the woman, Nena, he fell in love with on first sight, from marrying the wrong guy. To Nena, as an older woman, who lives with such regret from neglecting her children as they grew up, due to her desire to fulfil a promise she made to her dying father.

The workaholic son, Ken, who cannot see beyond his pursuit of partnership in his law firm, even being prepared to sacrifice his family. To Roberta, the youngest, as she grapples with wanting to be cherished by her boyfriend who cannot meet that need. And Barb, struggling with her own cancer battle, whilst trying to keep a normal family life for her husband and children.
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Being Thankful

Photo credit: www.aholyexperience.com

I’ve been reflecting on thankfulness this week. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, however, it has been hard to ignore with all the messages on social media.

I wish we did celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s very powerful to stop, be still for a few moments, at least, and reflect on what we are thankful for. In doing this we cease thinking about ourselves as we put our mind to God, to other people, or to simply to something else, depending on what we believe.

Praying with a thankful heart

One key lesson I’ve learnt this year is the power of thanking God as I go through my day. Earlier in the year I read a marvellous book, “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, that opened my eyes to the extraordinary power that a thankful and grateful heart brings to our life.

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Intentional Friendship

Photo credit: www.gentlecarechironorwest.com.au

We come to the final element of our study on “Walking as Jesus Walked.” It is perhaps the one element that actually surprised me as to its significance. However, once I worked through Dann Spader’s book, it was plainly evident it’s criticality to Jesus’ life and ministry.

This final element is my weakest one in practice, but more significantly, in my desire for it.

“The remarkable thing about Jesus was that relationships were His strategy”1

Jesus was very intentional about building and developing relationships. I’d encourage you to spend some time looking at His commitment to the disciples.  Read more

He Shall Be Exalted!

Photo Credit: http://ourlibrary.mornpen.vic.gov.au

So we’re now at the fifth element of the Holy Spirit POWER acronym : Exalting the Father.

According to the “Free Dictionary” on the web, to exalt means:

–       To raise in rank, character, or status; elevate.

–       To glorify, praise, or honour.

–       To increase the effect or intensity of; heighten.

Jesus lived a life glorifying the Father.

“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.’”(John 7:16-18 NIV)

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Feeding our Hunger

A Sydney Jacaranda

We continue our series on “Walking as Jesus Walked”.

What I see from my limited study (at present) of Jesus walk was that He fed on the Word. He was the fulfilment of it. So He needed to know what He was going to fulfil, so He knew the Word.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matt 5:17-18 ESV)

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Do what He says

Brandy-girl, our much loved pooch

Earlier in the week I had one of those challenging conversations with a good friend where we both said things that were hard to hear. We both left the conversation a little in certain about where we stood and also where our friendship stood.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week ruminating on the conversation whilst talking to God about it. Pride has continued to badger me with thoughts such as: “of course you’re right, Ian. He was wrong,” “he’ll never change,” and “just forget the friendship, it’s not worth it.”

Most of the time when such thoughts have hit me I’ve cried out to God to take them and rebuked “pride” to get off my back as he’s been defeated by Jesus. Funny, he’ll disappear for a while but then make his presence known with a similar thought but with a fresh twist.

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