I’m running slow on my book reviews. Ugh! I’ve traveled way too much this past month. That doesn’t combine well with keeping up with work, my blog AND reading! I also have some books/authors that I enjoy and want to introduce you to. That is what this entry today is about.
THE AUTHOR: PAUL E. MILLER
Well, when you get right down to it, it is also about the author: Paul E. Miller. When I write these reviews, I’m telling you about some of my favorite authors…well, those who are still alive. Paul’s dad was Jack Miller, former professor of evangelism at Westminster Seminary. Paul’s major in college…if my memory is correct, was literature! However, evangelism is also his passion.
He is the only son of five children. He is the father of six including Kim, his daughter who has a combination of issues including autism. She uses a computer to communicate. He particularly mentions lessons he has learned from her life in his book on prayer (mentioned below).
LOVE WALKED AMONG US
The book for today is LOVE WALKED AMONG US: Learning to Love like Jesus .
I like that he uses plain English…no religious in-words. This book is designed for people who don’t speak churchese…or those who speak it, but don’t really know what it all means. I read it a few years ago, loved it and enjoyed a small group study that just completed this book…another reminder of the wonder of Jesus!
Over the summer as this study took place, praying for each other (in specifics) has helped us to love each other in new ways. We have also had an influx of some younger, singles who love the Lord. It has brought some life to our group and changed the dynamic. There is more of an encouraging spirit; one of hope that God is present and is working in our lives in positive ways. The idealism of youth is good for any group, but so is the wisdom that comes from experience. They combine well, not always easily, but well.
Along the way, this book has been helpful in showing us what love looks like as Jesus showed it to us. Much of what the author says is not necessarily new, it is how he says it. His illustrations are clear, like the one about the effect of self-righteousness on us being like having a skunk in the basement. No amount of perfume or scent can cover up that smell. That is how much our self-righteousness affects us and those around us! Quite a vivid picture isn’t it? No wonder Jesus spoke so strongly against it to the Pharisees…others who were self-righteous. And no wonder they despised Him!
Summarizing this book is helpful if I give you its main divisions.
- Love shows compassion.
- Love speaks the truth.
- Love depends on God.
- Love is energized by Faith.
- Love moves through Death into Life.
Each chapter builds on the one before. Mixed with the illustrations are quite a few that include one of his daughters (out of six children) named Kim. She has many special needs including needing a computer to be able to talk. She is an adult now and lives nearby.
A PRAYING LIFE
Another book of his that I have enjoyed reading has been A PRAYING LIFE: Connecting With God in a Distracting World. Of course, just reading it won’t do anything for my prayer life. I must put it into practice! He is not about guilting us into praying more, but rather showing a paradigm that is available to us, and making us thirsty for it.
One illustration he uses re prayer (and it works for other things as well) is that with prayer, if we focus on prayer, it is like focusing on the windshield when you are driving. It won’t work! Our focus is on Christ. Prayer helps us focus on Christ if it is infused with God’s Word, if we are talking to God with the attitude of a child who needs Him (not a cynic). He offers a number of ways to increase the aspect of “relationship”.
The most helpful thing for me in this book, was its very practical approach to truths I know all too well. He uses very personal illustrations, making himself quite vulnerable. Many were from his relationship with his daughter Kim and the many issues they have had to pray about in her life, the waiting, the “unanswered” prayers.
His chapter on cynicism was very convicting, yet helpful too. I saw how cynical I am when it comes to trusting God to intervene in impossible situations. It is the opposite of “walking by faith”. I was challenged in new directions to trust God, even when it doesn’t always make sense. There is always a challenge, but often put in a way I haven’t heard before.
The main divisions of this book are as follows:
- Learning to Pray like a Child
- Learning to Trust Again
- Learning to Ask your Father
- Living in your Father’s Story
- Praying in Real Life
Recently, a study guide was written to go with the book. If you haven’t read it, you will enjoy it…and it will add texture to your prayer life. It will not remain bland and dull. Isn’t that what we want from our relationship with Christ? An actual living and vital relationship?
DO YOU KNOW THE CHRIST OF THE BIBLE? DO YOU KNOW HOW TO LOVE LIKE HE DID?
ARE YOU IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM THROUGH PRAYER, A LIVING, VITAL PRAYER TIME WITH GOD?