What if Christians Became the Best Advertisement for Jesus?

The philosophical underpinnings of Christianity point the way to a community where each one competes to show maximum honor and respect to the others. The Bible describes a rule of life that values individuals as carriers of the image of God and the church gathered as a place to be refueled for maximum impact when scattered. Biblical Christians made the world better wherever and whenever they showed up.

If we could pull this off, it seems as if every church in North America would have to launch building or church planting programs to accommodate the masses lined up at their doors. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and in
Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian the World Can’t Resist, author and pastor Scott Sauls invites readers to mind the gap between the life of faith described in the Bible and the one that gets practiced here on the ground in the 21st century. With so much at stake, and so much good that could be done, Sauls describes what it means to abide in an “irresistible Christ” (1) and to live in such a way that we do not contradict his teachings at every turn.

What Does Irresistible Faith Look Like?

With a three-part road map, Irresistible Faith plots a journey back toward lived-out doctrine that is winsome and compelling:

1.  Draw close to Christ by taking his righteousness. Think his thoughts after him by immersing our brains in Scripture and allowing God’s Word to shape our understanding of suffering and the objects of our affections.

2.  Live in intimate community with other believers in which members speak life-giving words over one another. This transparent living invites mutual correction based in a spirit of loving concern Sauls refers to as “soul surgery.” (79) This is the essence of true gospel living for all of us, for we are “desperately in ruins and graciously redeemed.” (91) Martin Luther said it well:

“We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” (94)

3.  Carry all this gloriously generated grace out into the world. Share it with the poor. Broadcast it through our words and our worship, our work and our play, and let the overflow leave transformed lives in its wake.

We Can Do Better Than This!

We bury the winsomeness of our Savior beneath tactics designed to preserve and heighten our comfort and our control. Fear keeps us inside our fortresses, making decisions based in self-preservation.

We can do better than this! Empowered by the Spirit, our lives and our love serve as ambassadors for a faith that “leaves people, places, and things better than they found them.”

Simply irresistible!

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Committed to redeeming the resistible church,

michele signature[1]


I reviewed Scott Saul’s first book back in 2015 —Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides. Also, Scott’s church has pioneered The Nashville Institute for Faith and Work, an organization the aims to equip, connect, and mobilize Christians to integrate their faith and their work for the flourishing of Nashville and beyond. Click here for more on the ways they’re sharing irresistible faith in their areas of influence.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian the World Can’t Resist or Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides, simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

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Knowing God in the Midst of Our Pain

Elisabeth Elliot offers the most durable definition for suffering I’ve ever heard:

Suffering is Having What You Don’t Want —

This covers everything from cancer to a flat tire.

Or Wanting What You Don’t Have —

A spouse, a child, a new job.

Life on a fallen planet includes suffering of all types and intensities, and it’s one thing to have a snappy definition for it, but what about a theology of suffering?

  • What does God have to do with our pain?
  • Are there lessons to be learned or is suffering just a thing to be gotten through so we can continue with the business of life?
  • And what about suffering in the life of the believer? It’s clear we’re not offered immunity or exemption from the world’s woes, but search the internet for five minutes and you’ll find teachers who would say otherwise and support their claims with Scripture.

In her long career as an author and speaker, Elisabeth Elliot lingered long on the topic of suffering. Widowed as a young mother, committed to a missionary calling, widowed again in middle age, and then, finally, subjected to the indignity and disappointment of dementia at the end of her life, Elisabeth spoke from experience, but more than that, she spoke from a sinewy faith that God does not abandon us in the midst of our pain.

Published nearly four years after her death, Suffering Is Never for Nothing has been adapted from a six-part series Elisabeth taught and which was recorded on CD at a small conference. Readers familiar with Elliot’s message will recognize her voice in the printed page as she asserts that it has been through “the deepest suffering that God has taught the deepest lessons.” (1) “And let’s never forget,” she continues, “that if we don’t ever want to suffer, we must be very careful never to love anything or anybody.” (9)

“In Acceptance Lieth Peace”

Beginning with lessons drawn from the life of Job, Elisabeth Elliot challenged believers to rejoice in the possibility of presenting our “whys?” to God, and to be ready to receive God’s answer in the form of His presence with us in our misery–the answer we need more than any other we might have sought.

Then, taking her cues from her lifelong mentor, Amy Carmichael who said, “In acceptance lieth peace,” Elisabeth shared that leaning into what she knew about the character of God released her from the notion that when we suffer, we are “adrift in chaos.” (44) By doing the next thing, giving up our notions that we deserve a happy ending, and then saying “yes” to God, we are empowered to take the cup of suffering that God offers, in faith that He knows the end of the story.

While it seems ironic (or even masochistic) to thank God for suffering, that is exactly the advice Elisabeth offers. We do this, trusting the wisdom of the Giver who knows and attends to what we need; and we give thanks because it honors God.  During her second husband’s battle with cancer, God gave Elisabeth a testing ground for putting all her theories into practice, challenging her in regard to their shared suffering to:

  1. Recognize it;
  2. Accept it;
  3. Offer it to God as a sacrifice;
  4. Offer yourself with it.

Deliverance in Suffering

While it makes for a much better story line for someone to be delivered or rescued out of their suffering, the truth is that often God chooses to save His people in or through their trials. The psalmist outlines this miracle:

“He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; to him who orders his way aright I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23 RSV)

Suffering sets the table for salvation.

Receiving the gift of suffering is the first step. Offering it back to God is the next step, and it’s an act of total obedience–the highest form of worship. Loneliness, sorrow, loss, or weakness of any kind can be offered back to God like a bouquet of smashed dandelions in the clenched fist of a tiny two year old. “It means everything in the world because love transforms it.” (83)

The paradox of suffering linked to glory is a theme that runs through Elisabeth’s writing and teaching because it runs through Scripture. “The wilderness into pasture. Deserts into springs. Perishable into imperishable. Weakness into power. Humiliation into glory. Poverty into riches. Mortality into immortality.” (104)

A biblical theology of suffering finds God there in the midst of the pain, always present, always active, as He makes beauty from ashes, because our suffering is never for nothing.


Many thanks to B&H Books for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Thankful for a God who meets us in the midst of our pain,

michele signature[1]

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Suffering Is Never for Nothing, simply click on the title here or within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a very small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

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Why It’s Great to Be a Woman

According to popular wisdom, ten thousand hours of deliberate practice are required for excellence in any field. After 20 years of homeschooling, 25 years of mothering, and 30 years of gardening and canning, I’m doing the math and wondering if mastery is even a possibility in any of these life compartments. Maybe a more realistic goal is gratitude for the way in which the hats I’ve worn and the dailiness of my duties have mastered me. Still, when you don’t know MLB batting averages or the Great Books or how to arrange living room furniture for delightful ambiance, it is reassuring to hear that the things you have given your hours to really matter.

Abigail Dodds has performed this service in the message of (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ where her stated purpose is to encourage women to “be at peace as women, to be grateful for being made women, and to see it all as an essential part of Christ’s mission and work.” (13) She laments the compartmentalization of Christian womanhood in which we are encouraged to “make femininity our entire life,” or, conversely, to try to “rise above womanhood as important humans, not silly women.” (13) In Christ, we are women in identity; women in action; and women in a free and fearless following, and this embrace of gender identity and the biblical role of women serves as the backbone of Dodds’s argument for a life of loving Truth and serving others.

Atypical Women

Elisabeth Elliot famously said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” With her outspoken manner and her laser-like logic, Elliot brought her own panache to the definition of what it means to be a “Christian woman,” and it turns out there’s room for everyone here. It is far better for a woman to focus on becoming Christlike than to become subject to purely cultural interpretations of how a true Christian woman looks or behaves.

“How we feel about being a woman doesn’t have any bearing on what we are. We may feel like we don’t fit the mold, but God calls us to live in a way that shatters the world’s expectations.” (61)

Too, more important than carrying a pink Bible or adhering to the visible signs and signals of the submissive woman is the need to embrace our role as image bearers of the God from whom both masculinity and femininity emanate and originate. We are first and foremost His. We are fallen, redeemed, and deeply dependent upon a righteousness that comes to us only through the cross. Any idea that womanhood is small and confining likely arises from confusion over what the Bible really says about being made a woman in God’s image, for it’s clear that both men and women are subject to limitations–and blessed by fullness of opportunity!

Women in All We Do

Dodds is straightforward in addressing current and controversial topics around gender and even takes on some of the more sensitive topics, exploding stereotypes around singleness, probing the tendency toward media obsession and distractedness in mothering, and looking squarely at the elephant in the room–submission. Her clear and concise definition of submission (“willingly placing yourself under the authority of another”) draws a straight line directly back to the submission of Christ to the Father, reminding both men and women that all Christians live and work under authority and we all submit to Christ first.

A highlight of Dodd’s good writing is her employment of creative metaphor in making a point. This summer when I look at my tall, majestic sunflowers, I will be remembering that the sunflower “gladly sways this way and that, turning its face wherever the sun shines. In so doing it assures its own growth.” By contrast, if a sunflower is not following the sun, any attempt to force it to change direction would snap it off at the stem. Submission forced upon someone from outside “is not submission; it is coercion.” (83)

Women, Free in Christ

As a wife, a mum to five, and a leader in her home church, Dodds brings her own experience as well as her conversations with other women into her offering of wisdom, and she encourages women to live our actual life and to do it with hope. We are all workers, we are all in the process of being transformed, and we are all disciples who are also called to be disciplers.

We are strong enough to bear children — and “weak” enough to cry when they leave home for the first time. We are wise and gifted, but we are also humble and receptive. Like Job, we are full of questions and even complaints, but we trust for grace to lay our hand over our mouth in humility as we lean into the hope of resurrection life. Most importantly, we are finite women, rooted in geography and circumstances, but we are indwelt by an infinite Christ, and it is this alone that makes us free to lean into our identity as Christian women and to hear and fulfill His unique calling to us with contentment and gratitude.


Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Grateful to be free, whole, and called in Christ,

Michele Morin

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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A Melody Above the Noise of Your Grief

Written by real people with genuine feelings–often worn closer to the surface than this stoic New Englander might like–the Bible gives voice to a full range of emotions. There is plenty of joy, lots of celebration, and this has found its way into our worship. However, we are less comfortable with the practice of biblical lament:

  • David wails his abandonment and anguish of soul;
  • Jeremiah mourns the demise of true righteousness and the fall of his nation;
  • Hannah’s weeping is so out of control that she attracts the attention of the priest who assumes she is intoxicated.

When believers hurl their complaints God-ward, he responds with compassion. Aubrey Sampson finds in God’s great love evidence that he “doesn’t avoid or ignore pain. He sings a louder song over it. And he invites his hurting people to sing with him.” (11) She describes her own journey of lament, and loss in The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament.

Suffering as an Invitation

The death of a beloved cousin, the ongoing physical challenges of her youngest son, and then, as if to add weakness to the overwhelm, the symptoms of a mysterious illness hang on and intensify, leaving Audrey in continual pain.  A counselor challenged her and her husband to lean into the invitation suffering offers, to stop trying to “handle it,” fix it, understand it, or explain it away and, in the presence of the deep loss, to allow, “the unanswerable to remain unanswered while still declaring that suffering will not have the final say.” (11)

The Louder Song is a place where life in the trenches of mothering and ministry meets solid biblical scholarship. A peaceful heart in the face of suffering honors the sovereignty of God while putting his compassionate nature on display. “He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103)

Aubrey accepted God’s invitation and began scribbling the howl of her questions into an ekah journal, a landing place based in the Hebrew word for “how” that echoed the psalmists’ blunt questions:  “God, how could you allow this?” Instead of running from her sorrow, she began where she was–with complaint. Like David and Jeremiah and so many other sad singers of the Bible, she found that, while her misery did not dissipate, her complaint mysteriously morphed into praise. Even in dark times in which she found it impossible to be thankful for her circumstances, Aubrey was able to rest in the character of God and to trust his motives.

Go Ahead. Lament.

Romans 5 beats a direct path from suffering to hope, and it travels the route of the testing of our faith. James shares the same map, promising maturity at the end of the road, but this acceptance of God’s invitation to lament is an acknowledgement that God may take us through suffering rather than delivering us from it. Aubrey has been tutored into taking a long view of biblical promises of deliverance:

” So lament your social-media obsessions. Lament your days on the couch. Lament your former glories and all of those what-ifs. God wants them all. He wants every burden, every broken path, every looking back. But then, return your gaze to Jesus.” (103)

This fixed and unflinching gaze to the Savior defines the difference between lament and despair. With no where to look, despair comes (literally) “down from hope” (154), sits down, closes its eyes, and gives up. Lament looks squarely at the evil in the world, at the unchosen, undeserved, unwanted, and unfair and then looks for the God who is nearby and listening. A howl from the heart implies the awareness of a Listener, and lament may be your first stop on the pathway back toward hope.


Many thanks to NavPress for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Because of His Great Mercy,

michele signature[1]


I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

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The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

When Ray Rhodes, Jr. was investigating topics for his dissertation, he followed his life long interest in Charles Spurgeon and began to research Spurgeon’s marriage and the spiritual element of his relationship with his wife of thirty-six years, Susannah Spurgeon. Surprisingly, his interest led him away from “the prince of preachers” and toward a more focused attention to the life and legacy of the woman behind the great man.

This was not without its challenges. If you are a woman in Victorian era England and you happen to marry a famous man, it may appear to your biographer that you did not exist until you met and married your husband. To get the inside story and piece together the first 20 years of Susannah Spurgeon’s life, Rhodes had to resort to census reports, legal records, and old letters. Even discovering her mother’s name was a challenge!

The result however, is a treasury of background and the record of a courageous and  poured out life:  Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon. Ray Rhodes, Jr. chronicles Susie’s early days as a “city girl,” familiar with the cultural advantages of London and Paris, and her early introduction to Charles Spurgeon, a young country preacher whose appearance, speech, and mannerisms left her cold.

Susie was a fairly new believer when Charles took on the pastorate of London’s New Park Street Chapel in April 1854. She was in a spiritual slump that had gained the concerned attention of a mutual friend who then alerted Charles to the problem. Charles responded by giving a copy of the classic book The Pilgrim’s Progress to Susie, and then followed up by counseling with her.

That was the extent of their relationship until June of that year when they attended an event at London’s Crystal Palace (like a World Fair) together. He asked her, “Do you pray for him who is to be your husband?” With remarkable powers of interpretation, she understood that Charles was interested in pursing the role, and in August of that year he proposed and confessed his love.

Marriage and Ministry

Their engagement introduced Susie to the rigors of life with a well-known pastor. On one occasion, they were riding together to a service where he would be speaking, and he left her behind in the carriage, totally forgetting about her. The speaking engagement was near enough to her family home that she was able to run home in tears to her mother. Weeping and angry, she explained Charles’s oversight, and her mother served as peacemaker, challenging her daughter to accept the faults and follies of her preacher husband as the price of greatness.

The record does show that Charles improved with age, and their marriage in 1856 was a love story documented in daily love letters when they were separated  by geography, and charming nicknames and declarations of love that were most unusual in the Victorian era.Early on, Susannah resolved that she would give herself to the calling and ministry of her husband. This included stretching the family budget to support Charles’s Pastors College in its early days and making her home and time available in all sorts of ways.

Susie functioned in a role similar to a modern-day deaconess at New Park Street Chapel. However,  that does not mean she had no interests or influence of her own. When she finished reading the proof copy of Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students, she responded, “I wish we could give every pastor in England a copy of this book.”  Charles’s response was something akin to, “Make it happen!” And so she did, and the Pastor’s Book Fund was born. Over the course of her life, the book fund made 200,000 books available by donation to poor pastors.

The “Furnace of Affliction”

Letters and journals show that Susie traveled extensively with Charles, often leaving the comfort of a carriage and hiking the trails on foot. However, her health began to fail in 1868, and from that point on she was house bound, even requiring surgery for an ailment that was likely akin to endometriosis, but, like most gynecological issues of that era, was shrouded under the Victorian explanation: “delicacy forbids.”

Charles was also in poor health for most of his life, suffering from gout, a kidney ailment, and depression. Early in their marriage, in October of 1856, Charles was speaking at the Music Hall in London which seated several thousand listeners, when a prankster shouted “Fire!” In the panic that ensued, several died and many were injured, and Charles never fully recovered, manifesting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder for the remainder of his life. Susie ministered to him by reading aloud Scripture and the poetry of George Herbert.

The legacy of Susie Spurgeon is, in large measure, the legacy of Charles Spurgeon. Biographer, Ray Rhodes concluded in his research that the Spurgeon we study and revere today, particularly here in America where he is more well-known than in his home country of England, would not exist without Susie Spurgeon. Charles needed a wife, but not just any wife. He needed Susie, and God provided through a love story that wrote itself over the course of their 36-year marriage.

Of course, that is not all. Susie poured herself into her twin sons, both of whom became pastors and credited her with their early spiritual formation. Even in the midst of great physical pain and suffering, Susie wrote letters of encouragement to others along with three devotional books and two autobiographical accounts of the Pastors Book Fund. Following the death of her husband in 1892, Susie continued on in a fruitful and flourishing life that even included planting a church before her death in 1903.

Looking unto the Lord

Training her children and grandchildren, advocating for the care and provision of churches for their pastoral staff, providing reading and study material for those in ministry, and loving a sometimes high-maintenance husband ensured that Susie would stay in touch with her need to look to Jesus for adequacy in her many roles. The record of her life and ministry is an encouragement for present day ministry wives and leaders to find our own sufficiency there as well:

“As travelers on the great mountains refrain from looking down the steep precipices, keeping their eyes fixed on the heights above lest a sudden vertigo should overcome them, so may I look unto the Lord with humble, steadfast gaze, and receive courage and strength to press onward and upward in the path he has marked out for me.” (238)

Many thanks to Moody Publishers for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Looking unto Jesus,

michele signature[1]


I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you enjoy reading biographies, you’ll find more on Susie Spurgeons’s husband and eleven other famous pastors in  12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry. You can read my review here if you’d like a preview.

Subscribe to Living Our Days to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

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I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

When You Expect Nothing and Get the Gift of Everything

There’s an old hymn that we don’t sing much any more, but it’s worth re-visiting because the final verse puts words around the futility of language in expressing the inexpressible:

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”

(Frederich M. Lehman, The Love of God)

Singer, songwriter, and author Michael Card describes words (somewhat less poetically) as “clumsy bricks” we attempt to employ in defining concepts. While they enable us to have thoughts and conversations about God and about intangibles such as hope and love, ultimately, meaning cannot always be contained within syllables. In his biblical study, Card has found this to be particularly evident with the Hebrew word hesed. 

The Struggle to Translate Hesed

Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness is founded on the mystery of this unique word. With no clear path to the English language, hesed has appeared in various versions of the Bible under a number of different labels. In fact, in 1535, Miles Coverdale jerry-rigged the term “lovingkindness” in an attempt to translate hesed, and it is still in use in the American Standard Version. More recently, the English Standard Version has employed the phrase “steadfast love,” and the New Living favors “unfailing love,” but, in reality, the struggle with translation is only a pale adumbration of the true challenge–that of wrapping our minds around a God who hands out second chances to the guilty and opens the door of His life to welcome frail humanity.

Michael Card’s definition of hesed is simple and direct:

“When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” (5)

Hesed is put on display richly in God’s Old Testament dealings with the nation Israel, for He met their faithless betrayal with forgiveness and restoration. Then, Solomon stepped into the unbroken stream of hesed  when he ascended to the throne of David:

“LORD God of Israel,
there is no God like you
in heaven or on earth,
who keeps his covenant and hesed
with your servants who walk before you
with all their heart.”  (II Chronicles 6:14)

The temple musicians set to music their wonder at hesed in abundance:

 “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his hesed endures forever.”    (I Chronicles 16:34)

And the psalmists vented their outrage over its lack:

“God of my praise, do not be silent, for wicked and deceitful mouths open against me . . .Let no one show him hesed . . . for he did not think to show hesed.” (Psalm 109:1, 2, 12, 16)

The Struggle to Embody Hesed

The prophet Hosea was assigned the task of putting God’s hesed on display in his calling to love and marry a prostitute, in spite of her ongoing unfaithfulness. “Though she has no right to expect anything from Hosea, he will lavish everything on her. Their relationship will incarnate the meaning of hesed.” (89)

The Apostle John picks up the theme in the New Testament with his description of Jesus, the Word, who came to us “from the Father, full of hesed and truth.” In eight of Jesus’s thirty parables, he defines hesed either by its lack (the unforgiving servant) or by its rich exemplification (the Good Samaritan). 

Card warns readers who seek to embody hesed that our own experience will be like Jesus’s:  misunderstanding and rejection. While we are often unclear about God’s expectations for us, the example of Jesus bore out the truth that “hesed is always something you do.” (116) This has vast implications in a world where “doing justly, loving mercy (hesed), and walking humbly with God” may be subject to wildly disparate interpretations.

And since hesed is something we do, what are the implications of such a counter-cultural doing?

  • How faithfully is my “doing” flowing from my “loving?” Is my “love” in keeping with the love of God toward the undeserving?
  • How would my actions and motives be different if I understood–and trusted–God’s deep and never failing love, mercy, and kindness toward me?
  • Can 21st century believers find the sweet spot where our compassionate outrage over injustice is both offered to God with trust and paired with action on behalf of the oppressed?

Many thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Because of the LORD’s hesed,

michele signature[1]


I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

4 Joyful Spring Reads for You and Your Family

One of the great gifts of blogging has been the privilege of helping authors with book launches as they release their good words into the world. Here are four books that have been joyful additions to my personal reading for the month of March.

War Against Distracted Living

In a world where our brains are going 100 miles an hour–and still are not keeping up–Betsy de Cruz invites readers to find the still place in the midst of the topsy turvy.  The streams of living water that have sustained Betsy against all odds in the spiritual desert of the Middle East continue to run deeply as she wars against distracted living.

More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times offers insights for cultivating daily habits of focus in our marriages, parenting, and ministry lives which will also keep us from desert living. Betsy’s warm encouragement is motivation to keep charging through the dry times with twenty minute “dates” with God. Then we close our Bibles, stand up, and take the truth with us because our life is lived one moment at a time, and, by grace, we can get past our distracted living by cultivating a greater focus on God.

Sacred Family Fun

Conscientious parents struggle to incorporate cultural traditions with the sacred underpinnings of family holidays. Biblical stories of Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection hardly stand a chance against the lure of gifts and candy. But what if the light-hearted side of Easter could be harnessed in the service of cementing the story of real, live truth?

Meadow Rue Merrill invites families to Lantern Hill Farm where Aunt Jenny hosts a backward Easter egg hunt with rhymed clues that send kids scrambling and competing for the goal. When she brings them all back together again, it’s for an unveiling of God’s Big Story that’s been there in the hunt all along. The Backward Easter Egg Hunt Hardcover Picture Book (Ages 4-7) is fun for reading aloud or for Easter gift basketing, and it is also a heads up for parents who want to plan ahead for meaningful celebration of Resurrection Sunday and of the God who makes possible a new sparkly life in Christ!

Daily Prayer and Devotional Reading

Vernet Clemons Nettles has distilled thoughts from her own prayer life, insights from her reading of Scripture, and ponderings that have arisen from her very mindful application of truth to life here on the ground. The delightful outcome is Why Should I Be Bound?, a gift to readers who take seriously the biblical truth from II Corinthians 5:17:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Weaving her own original poems with devotional thoughts and the transcribed words from referenced biblical passages, Vernet reminds readers that “our thorns are given to us as a connector to the creator.” (43) She links prayer to hope with the exhortation that “asking is not the end of the request. It is the beginning because we are then instructed to seek.” (34) You can join Vernet for a daily prayer here.

An Easter Gift for Your Teen Girl

Live in Light: 5-Minute Devotions for Teen Girls is the glowing product of Melanie Redd’s twenty-five year investment in teaching and mentoring women and teen girls. In an era of unprecedented opportunity–and sobering challenges–young women need a voice of wisdom and a caring arm around their shoulders to steer them toward hope in Christ. Whether it’s setting healthy boundaries, managing emotions, or establishing habits of holiness, mums, grandmothers, and girls after God’s heart will find spiritual motivation and conversation starters in the pages of this dynamic collection of daily devotions.


Happy Spring Reading!

Michele Morin

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase any of the books reviewed in this post, simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

More of God by Betsy de Cruz

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