Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Review: Above All, Love

Above All, Love

Above All, Love
by Julie Ackerman Link

Paperback: 237 pages
Publisher: Discovery House Publishers
First Released: 2008

Source: Review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
All in the same day, you say that you love the book you're reading, the salad you had for lunch, your spouse, and God. Love is such a vague, elusive concept that we use it to describe everything from passions to preferences, from the absurd to the sacred. We know what it means to be loved, but we have trouble translating that into what it means to be loving--what God wants most from us.

Jesus told His listeners that the most important commandment is this: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." But how do we love God--heart, soul, mind, and strength?

God intends that our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies all be fitted together in Christ, who wants to make us whole by making us one with Him, one with ourselves, and one with others. And the bonding agent is love--His love for us and our love for Him and for others.

Above All, Love explores what it means to love God with all of your being. As we discover that God loves us in all the same ways that He wants to be loved, our love for Him will grow deeper, and we will become satisfied in the safety of His embrace. And as we come to love God with all of our being, His image is restored in us, and we reflect His glory to the world.

This book explores what it means to love God by studying the perfect example of God as He loves us in these ways. Overall, I liked the God- and scripture-focus of this book, and I discovered new insights into God's love and loving God. However, I felt the book was uneven in the depth of each study. The author also sometimes got a little sidetracked from the main focus of the chapter.

The book is written like a devotional, with several sections in each chapter based on the same theme but each section doesn't necessarily flow into the next section or build on each another. This isn't surprising since much of the book was taken from previous devotionals by the author. She also regularly writes for Our Daily Bread, and I suspect you'll enjoy this book if you like that daily devotional.

If you've ever wondered exactly what it means to love God, then you'll probably get a lot out of this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Introduction
When God descended from heaven in His fiery presence to meet Moses on Mount Sinai, He delivered a document citing ten basic rules for His people to live by. The first and most important was this: “You shall have no other gods before me.”This statement was revolutionary. All other civilizations worshiped many gods. But God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, were to establish a nation that would be a light to the world, revealing to all others the joy and peace that come when people live in accord with the design and purpose of our loving Creator, the one true God, who formed us in His own image.Years later, Moses explained the first commandment. Having no other god but God means loving Him with every aspect of our being—heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). Jesus later affirmed this interpretation (Mark 12:30). To love God means having a relationship with Him that is so full and satisfying that it crowds out all competing desires, identifications, thoughts, or actions.

Since the day God delivered the first hand-made edition of the document now called “The Ten Commandments,” sculptors, calligraphers, and designers have formed the words into works of art. But God’s intent was not that we would shape the words into ornate decorations; instead, He wants the words to shape us. God’s law of love is not something to be made into an ornament that adorns ourselves or our buildings; it’s to form us into the unique piece of artwork God designed us to be. Loving God is not about creating something beautiful for Him; it’s about allowing Him to re-create in us the beauty He originally formed. It’s there, and it’s waiting to be recognized, restored, and made real.

Read the rest of the introduction and chapter one.

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