Gospel

Book Review: The Cure

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We can never resolve our sin by working on it.

That was the first line of many that made me literally catch my breath and stare for a few minutes as I read The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall. A few pages into chapter one and I was already filled with a feeling that few books give me: a feeling of longing, of knowing this is truth and it is truth that I have been missing. So here I am with another book review so close after the last. Because this is a book that must be shared.

I received The Cure from my best friend for my birthday. I remember asking her about it as she read it over the summer and then promptly forgetting the title. But she didn’t forget and gave it to me a couple months ago, assuring me that it gave a clear picture of Who God is and who we are in a powerful way. Turns out, she was right.

Once I started reading, I was hooked. The thought of this book is what got me out of bed several days while I was reading. But enough about me. What was so life changing about this short little Christian life book?

An analogy of two rooms runs through each chapter – the Room of Good Intentions and the Room of Grace. To be honest, I initially thought that was a bit silly. I mean, we’re all adults here (or almost). Do we really need a cute story to go along with our theology?

Yes.

The first chapter is titled “Two Roads” and discusses the paths to and consequences of both Rooms. It ends with the unnamed man finally coming into the Room of Grace. He has been trying so hard to please God. He knows he’s not happy and that no one around him is either. But he doesn’t know what else to do. Finally, he runs away from the Room of Good Intentions and sets out on the other road, leading to the Room of Grace.

As someone who has struggled with perfectionism and trying to get everything right for a long time, this book was the first to so accurately put into words all the feelings behind that. I learned things about myself and what I believe and then I learned the truth about God and how dear I am to Him.

After arriving in the Room of Grace, the man begins to learn what it means to live out of grace, not just good intentions. What it means is freedom, joy, purpose, nearness to God, and so much more. Each chapter addresses another aspect of a life of grace and is both painful and healing to read.

My review cannot do this book justice. I’ve tried to tell a few people about it, but my words never fully explain how God has used this book in my heart. Since reading it, I haven’t stopped thinking about it and before I was finished, I was ready to read it again. The pages are already full of notes, prayers, and, in some cases, tears.

I recommend this book to you, as my friend did to me, because it is a book everyone should read. Not just the perfectionists. Not just the Christians, even. Everyone. I don’t think it will ever grow old, though I foresee my own copy becoming quite tattered through the years.

Never has a book changed me like The Cure and I pray the truths in it will keep working in my heart for many years, freeing me and filling me with the wonderful joy of being near the Father. And I pray that you will read it and that you will join me in a more full and true understanding of this life we lead as disciples of Christ. I doubt you’ll regret it.

Kira

What are you reading?

Please Read the Gospels

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Have you ever heard a story that you loved so much you could listen to it over and over again? Is there a book that you’ve worn through from so many re-readings? A movie with scratches on the disc because you have to watch it again?

Stories are incredible and many of them are so good that we could experience them again and again without growing bored. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched The Princess Bride or Annie. Whinnie the Pooh never gets old and Narnia will always have a special place in my heart.

But even those stories can wear down some eventually. I have to take a break between Doctor Who marathons and Lord of the Rings can only be seen so often.

But there is one story that is just as awe-inspiring and moving no matter how many times you read it. The gospel feels just as fresh the first time as the thirtieth, as we see our sin and then see what Christ went through to save us from it.

I’ve been reading through Luke for my morning devotions and I love to read all the stories of Jesus’s ministry again. The two that stand out, though, are His birth, and His crucifixion and resurrection.

My soul magnifies the Lord along with Mary and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47).  How could Christ have humbled Himself so much and been willing to suffer so much just so that I could be with Him? How could anyone love me that much?

And yet, God does love me that much. He loves all of His children that much. And the four Gospel accounts are refreshingly full of that love.

It seems simple to read through the Gospels over and over again. Shouldn’t more mature Christians be studying other parts of the Bible? We already understand salvation.

But the Gospel is the basis of Christianity. It is Christianity. They are encouraging and lovely and convicting and beautiful all at once.

Don’t forget to read the Gospels. Don’t forget the most important story ever told.

Kira

What’s your favorite part of the Gospels?

Book Review: Hand of Vengeance

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Photography is not my forte, but at least you can see the cover.

Yes, yes, a second book review in a single week. That’s just the way it worked out. 🙂

Hand of Vengeance by Douglas Bond was recommended to me by Moriah Simonowich of Delighting in Him and one of my friends offered to let me borrow it. So I started this book by Douglas Bond in the midst of all the other books I’m reading in at the moment.

Living in an 8th century Anglo-Saxon community, Cynwulf is shunned by most of the people in his world. Being left handed and part Viking, the rest of the community is happy to both avoid and judge him. Until one of his weapons is found at the scene of a murder. Cynwulf becomes the chief suspect in a murder trial he wants nothing to do with and must try to clear his name and save his life.

Bond writes a compelling tale (one which kept me up late for “one more chapter” more than once). His characters are complicated enough to be brought to life. I felt as if I understood Cynwulf even though I’ve never been on trial for murder. I wanted to know what was going to happen to them, so I kept coming back.

As I mentioned in my review of Jane Eyre, wholesome books are becoming more and more difficult to find. A large majority of authors are content to write fiction overflowing with sin and vice (not to mention lazy grammar and writing). It’s a tragedy, and I don’t say that lightly. Books hold great influence over the thoughts and lives of those who read them and authors are entrusted with the responsibility of shaping minds.

That being said, Douglas Bond’s tale of murder, love, and geese is a refreshing read. He shamelessly and easily weaves in the gospel – something also not done well in many modern tales. Hand of Vengeance was relaxing to read. I knew I wouldn’t have to be on the lookout for anything sinful or dark that might make me need to put it down. The world needs more books like this one.

Kira

You can find Douglas Bond at douglasbondbooks.blogspot.com

or bondbooks.net

Are there any authors that you know are “safe” – that will deliver a great story without treading sinful waters? How did you find out about them?