Review: Escaping with Jacob

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

What are you ashamed of?

With this simple question, David Ramos establishes the deep, freeing theme of this devotional, Escaping with Jacob: 30 Devotionals to Help You Find Your Identity, Forgive Your Past, and Walk in Your Purpose.

Reading about Jacob’s life is tough. Frankly, he’s not the most sympathetic of biblical characters. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who lies, cheats and schemes. And that, perhaps, is the point. The reader is moved to confront her own lack of goodness. We may not like Jacob, but we can relate to him.

Jacob’s life of running and wrestling is illuminated brilliantly through this book. At any point he could have turned around. He could have repented. In many ways, he knew better. But don’t we all?

Day 14, midway through the book, brings us to the crisis point in the life of the patriarch. “Many of us are like Jacob. We have something incredibly shameful in our past. A weight that is so heavy, it has in a big way defined and shaped who we have become.” God stands in Jacob’s way. He will not allow him to pass until the great burdens, the great shames, of his life are dealt with. That is our own great crisis point. We must also wrestle with God, allowing Him to draw us into submission. From here He takes the darkness of our pasts and shapes it in the light of His grace.

I appreciate that David Ramos keeps each day’s reflections brief. His focus is not on expounding on every point of the passage, but rather to prompt the reader to ponder the overarching truth of God’s graciousness. Over and over he asks us to recognize and celebrate the greatness and goodness of God. We are given permission to be small and human. This doesn’t mean we have no responsibility, but it does mean that we don’t have to waste time beating ourselves.

Signature

I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Advertisements

Review: Climbing with Abraham

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (2)

Gentle Reader,

Your story is part of something infinitely larger.

This sentence, tucked into the first devotional reading, sums up the journey of Abraham. The reader is prompted to realize that every plot twist and every character development that follows takes place within the context of something far greater.

What kind of man immediately obeys the voice of God, a God he cannot see, and picks up his entire family to move to a location he knows nothing about? What kind of man dares to engage with that same God, pleading for the people of the famous towns, Sodom and Gomorrah? What kind of man is willing to lay his precious miracle son on the altar? Abraham, the father of nations. Abraham, to whom the Gospel was preached thousands of years before Christ walked the earth. Abraham, blessed with riches and influence far beyond his imagining.

Yet this same man lied about his relationship with his wife and slept with a slave. We see him fearful. We hear his questions and doubts. Abraham was a sinful, imperfect man. In that, there is great encouragement for us today. Our stumbling and sin does not prevent God from calling, saving and using each of us in mighty ways both within our own stories and within the grand story of redemption.

I appreciate that David Ramos keeps each day’s reflections brief. His focus is not on expounding on every point of the passage, but rather to prompt the reader to ponder the overarching truth of God’s graciousness. Over and over he asks us to recognize and celebrate the greatness and goodness of God. We are given permission to be small and human. This doesn’t mean we have no responsibility, but it does mean that we don’t have to waste time beating ourselves.

Climbing with Abraham is an enjoyable read, whether you know the story of the patriarch well or it’s the first time you’ve ever encountered him. You will come away encouraged and with a deeper appreciation for God’s willingness to be intimately involved in every aspect of life. Worthwhile purchase!

Signature
I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.