Book Review: "The Pursuit of God" by A. W. Tozer

Before there was John Piper urging this generation to delight in God, there was A. W. Tozer. Tozer wrote The Pursuit of God in 1949 yet this work remains timeless in its purpose, which as Tozer put it, “is a modest attempt to aid God’s hungry children so to find Him.”

Are you hungry for more of God? Do you long for a deeper and more intimate relationship with your Savior? Then you will find a sympathetic and helpful friend in Tozer. Tozer teaches us, reminds us, wins and woos us to a soul-satisfying, deeply respectful friendship with God Himself. Tozer could never be accused of elevating emotionalism and experientialism at the expense of doctrine and faithful biblical exposition for he reverently lifts up the Scriptures as the means to know the Lord more deeply. Tozer himself wrote The Pursuit of God to combat the trends of his day that elevated Bible study almost as an end in itself rather than the answer to knowing the Lord more deeply and fully. 

Even the chapter titles hint at the refreshing green pastures that await for anyone who forages here—“Following Hard After God,” “Removing the Veil,” “The Gaze of the Soul” to name a few. Yet I must warn you, there’s nothing new here. There’s no secret handshake. Tozer isn’t revealing some long held secret to the Christian life that only he has discovered; no, he simply showcases the Lord Himself as the Word unveils Him and eloquently urges us seek Him.

Tozer wrote, “With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus’ flesh, with nothing on God’s side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God?” That is the question, isn’t it? Why do we loiter just outside of the Lord’s presence, content to live near Him rather than really know Him? The Pursuit of God pushes us toward the tent so that we will enter in.

Book Review: "Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England" by Faith Cook

If you’re looking for a book to read this summer, might I suggest Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England?

Faith Cook’s biography, Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England, is for history buffs. It’s for anyone interested in the Puritans and how they impacted England through their preaching and godly lives. And even more importantly, this portrait of Lady Jane is for anyone looking for a role model of a young girl who stood fast in her faith in perilous times.

From the time of her birth Lady Jane was a political pawn in the hands of power seeking adults. Yet, the Lord surrounded this little girl with great Puritan preachers as her tutors, friends, and fathers in the faith. Faith Cook skillfully introduces the reader to the court of Henry the VIII, the political climate of the time, and the subsequent power struggle that ensued after Henry’s death and led to the tragic circumstances for Lady Jane.

This excellent book is a must read for anyone interested in the monarchy of England, the Puritan reformation, and how the Lord strengthened the faith of one young girl to withstand pressures most adults would find challenging. Lady Jane's story is a testimony that God’s ways are not our ways, that He uses pain and trial to sweeten our faith, and that all who are His will persevere until the end. 

Book Review: "Rescuing Ambition" by Dave Harvey

Some authors you read simply because of the author. I’ll read anything by J.C. Ryle; Charles Spurgeon, and Jerry Bridges because of their writing style, sound doctrine, and practical application. Dave Harvey seems to fit in that category too. I started reading his book Rescuing Ambition because I so enjoyed his other book, When Sinners Say “I Do. Though I wasn’t quite sure what the book would be about, I trusted that I’d find some good meat to chew on, no matter what its subject. I wasn’t disappointed—and you won’t be either when you dive into this book. Don’t be put off by the title if that word “ambition” scares you. Rescuing Ambition is a book about following Christ. It’s about entrusting the Lord with all your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The “rescue” comes when we wait upon the Lord to bring those goals and hopes about rather than ramrodding them through ourselves. If you like praying about what you’re reading, being prodded to examine your heart, and encouraged to press on in your walk then you’ll enjoy this book. And then there’s the “I-can’t-see-the-page-because-I’m-laughing-so-hard” bonus of Dave Harvey himself whose stories usually pack a convicting wallop at the end. Rescuing Ambition is a pleasure to read that leads us to live lives pleasing to the Lord.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from one section of the book:

“To be alive is to have delayed ambitions.” Page 71

“Delaying the fulfillment of our dreams seems to be part of refining and rescuing ambition.” Page 71 

“How we live when ambitions are delayed significantly shapes who we become. God uses the wait to teach us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.” Page. 71

“Waiting is God’s backhoe in the excavation of our ambitions. Waiting unearths and brings to the surface what we really want.”

  • Waiting purifies our ambitions.
  • Waiting cultivates patience.
  • Waiting redefines our definition of productivity. 
    • God defines productivity differently. For God, productivity is wrapped up in transformation, in who we’re becoming, not in what we’re accomplishing. Pages 73-74 

“Waiting is often God’s reorientation program aimed at our definition of success. He lovingly empties our misguided preoccupation with accomplishment and fills it with ambitions to know Him and be like Him. God isn’t beyond slowing our walk to remind us that only He is omnipotent, and we’re not; only He is omnicompetent, and we’re not; only He exists without need for rest, and we don’t.” Page 74

“God loves us so much He’ll intentionally fence us in to keep us on His road. That can be hard, I know. It’s never easy to stare at a fence suddenly blocking the path we want to take. But God fences our road to keep us moving in His direction.” Page 78.

“We find no peace in life until we’re convinced our path is His way and our place is His choice. That’s so important it’s worth repeating: your place is His choice. Fences and all.” Page 79.

Book Review: "Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose and Provision in Suffering", edited by Nancy Guthrie

A friend sent me Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose and Provision in Suffering and I’m so glad she did! Twenty-five short chapters, twenty-five authors, and twenty-five ways to address trials, troubles, and afflictions. Some authors I wasn’t familiar with and some chapters were more pertinent to me, yet every chapter had some meat for me to sink my teeth into and gain some soul-nourishment.

Here some snippets: “All our hurts are temporary (Philip Yancy).” “Suffering lobs a hand-grenade into our self-centeredness, blasting our soul bare, so we can be better bonded to the Savior (Joni Eareckson Tada).” “Suffering must be borne in order for it to pass (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).” “The God we had, we lose, and then it cost so much bitter conflict of soul, before refined and purified in our knowledge of God, we grasp another, and now the only true God in the place thereof (Abraham Kuyper).” “The devil, things, and people being what they are, it is necessary for God to use the hammer, the file, and the furnace in His holy work of preparing a saint for true sainthood (A. W. Tozer).” “Our afflictions reveal our state of mind: when we see outward crosses as the greatest evil, God is not our main happiness (Thomas Manton).” “You do not find one godly man who came out of an affliction worse than when he went into it; though for awhile he was shaken, yet at last he was better for an affliction (Jeremiah Burroughs).”

There’s more, way more, in this little tome to encourage and strengthen your soul if you are going through trials. If someone you know is besieged by afflictions then by all means send them this book. The sweet fellowship of sufferings (Philippians 3:10) we can enjoy from the contributors of Be Still, My Soul will only be surpassed when we meet them in heaven and all will be just as it should be.