Saturday, May 16, 2009

July/August Book: Because He Loves Me

Because He Loves Me

Because He Loves Me:
How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

Hardback: 217 pages
Publisher: Crossway Books
First Released: 2008

Source: Bought from Books-A-Million

Back Cover Description:
Believing that a heart-felt desire to live a godly life flows from recognizing how you've been loved and transformed through Christ, Fitzpatrick seeks to help you embrace and apply God's love in every area of your everyday life. When you do, she says, the truth found in Because He Loves Me will become not merely your entrance into Christianity but the ambience of your entire Christian life.

Simply speaking, love changes people. Christians, then, by definition, should exhibit the greatest transformation of all because, rightly understood and cherished, God’s love makes them increasingly more like the One who has lavished his love on them.

This truth is meant to tell believers who they are, their purpose and destiny, and how to faithfully persevere in their struggles against all opposition. But sometimes people lose sight of this. Because He Loves Me restores that vision, reminding Christians of their true identity as beloved children of God—adopted by the Father, espoused to the Son, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is not a self-improvement program but a transferring of identity and growth, accomplished in history through Christ and in our daily lives through his Spirit. This book explores and celebrates these truths in an unforgettable way. Study questions and invitations for deeper discovery conclude each chapter.

Excepts from the Introduction:
What I am saying is that once we’ve been saved, once we’ve understood and accepted the message of the gospel, the person and work of the Redeemer becomes secondary to what we’re focused on—living the Christian life. We love to remember him at Christmas and Easter. We adore him as the baby in the manger; we rejoice over the empty tomb. But aside from these two seasons, our attention is primarily focused on us, on our performance, on our spiritual growth. We know that the incarnation and resurrection are important truths to our initial salvation, but that’s pretty much where their impact ends.

Let me illustrate what I mean. If I asked you, “Where did the ongoing incarnation of Jesus Christ intersect with your life yesterday?” would you have an answer? We all know that the crucifixion is important for our initial salvation, but what did it mean to you this morning? Does Calvary inform and warm your heart when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or hearing bad news from your doctor? Does his sinless life comfort you when you realize that you’ve just sinned in that same way again? In other words, is he significantly relevant to you in your daily walk with him?

....To put it another way, if I told you that this is a book about the gospel, would you automatically assume that it’s for unbelievers?

What I’ll be asking you to consider throughout this book may be summarized in one simple question: In your pursuit of godliness, have you left Jesus behind? Since this might be a new question for you, let me ask you a few more that will help clarify the answer.

-If I said that we're going to spend page after page considering God's love, would you feel the need to stifle a yawn? What does his transforming love mean to you today?

-Are you more focused on your performance for him or his for you?

-At the end of the day is there a rest in your soul because of him, or is there guilt and a determination that tomorrow you’re going to “do better”?

-Do you still feel the need to prove that you're not "all that bad”? Do you get angry when people criticize or ignore you?

-You know that Jesus is the Door. Do you see how he is your life? Could you tell me exactly how he has transformed your daily life?

As we work through the answers to these questions together, I want you to be encouraged. This is an endeavor that your Savior is passionate about. His great accomplishments, so personally costly to him, are not to be relegated to some introductory course that gets stored in the garage with old yearbooks. No, they’re to be constantly mused on and relentlessly rejoiced in by all who know them.

So let’s ask him to enlighten us now as we embark upon our journey back to Jerusalem, searching for the Beloved Son. ...he is joyfully and patiently waiting to reacquaint you with his love and to make his undiminished presence the most relevant aspect of your life. Let’s spend time thinking about our Savior and how what he has already done is meant to be the most significant characteristic of our faith and life for him.

Here's the first 38 pages of the book.

Why I Chose This Book:
This book focuses on Bible scripture and on Christ, and it can powerfully change your life. If you've been a Christian long, you may see that the first part of the book covers "the basics" which you think you know too well to bother reading again. But the author points out how the transforming power of Christ comes from the truths contained in those basics. The second part of the book discusses how to apply "the basics" to see God's transforming power work in your life.

This book is for anyone who wishes to get rid of some everyday bad habit, hurt, or sinful behavior but hasn't been successful. Basically, it's for any Christian who wants peace and victory in their lives instead of a nagging feeling of guilt and defeat.

For those interested in Because He Loves Me, ChristFocus Book Club is holding a giveaway of the book on June 1-14, 2009. See the giveaway blog entry for information on how to enter to win the book.

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