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Monday, March 25, 2013

"Deeply Loved" (Keri Wyatt Kent)

TITLE: Deeply Loved: 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of Jesus
AUTHOR: Keri Wyatt Kent
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2012, (200 pages).

How do we better experience the practice of Lent? Does it mean simply fasting or refraining from certain things? Is it a period where we wear our somber looks everywhere we go? What about learning to walk closer with Jesus with the 40 days as an opportunity to prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter? The key point: Draw closer to God.

This gentle guide brings together many different spiritual practices, guided by several ancient and modern spiritual practitioners, as well as reflections of our typically busy lifestyle. The crux of the book is this. Make spiritual growth practices a deeply personal one. The disciplines of praying, reading, waiting, pondering, self-examining, and many more are not new. They have been adopted by saints of old such as Brother Lawrence, Thomas Kelly, the prophets of old, as well as modern writers like Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, John Ortberg, and others.

It is important to begin well, and Kent shows the way by reminding readers that we are first and foremost children of God. Our identity is not in terms of what we do or say, but in God accepting us as we are. We walk with Jesus knowing that He is the Master of the whole project called "Life." We slow down so that we can pace more naturally. Kent shows us gently the way to go through the day. We wake up with a daily reminder that God watches over us. We go through the day knowing the presence of God that is real, regardless of whether we feel God or not. We learn to praise and pray, adore and be restored to God, to be alone and yet not lonely, because God is with us. Self-examination is a big feature of the book. Following the spiritual practice of "examen," we resist the pressures of the world that tries to mold us to its image, and to be open to the movement of the Spirit, to transform us into what God wants us to become. Kent calls worry as the biggest distraction we often face. Using personal examples with her own relationships, as well as learning from the spiritual masters, Kent not just writes about spirituality. She practices it. It looks so simple that one may be mistaken that it is a light book. While the content is not heavy, the practice of it can be challenging. By spreading the daily exercises over 40 days, we learn patience and discipline. We learn to be intentional and to be sensitive to what God is saying to our hearts. At the end of it all, as we slow down to examine ourselves, as we open our eyes to appreciate the wonders of God in creation, as we remember the sacrifice of Christ, the biggest benefit we can gain is through the period of Lent, is to learn that we have been deeply loved by God. All the sacrifice, all the overcoming of obstacles, and all the spiritual disciplines that have been done, will be so worth it that we will want to do it over and over again. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Draw closer to God.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Abingdon Press without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

1 comment:

  1. Conrade, thanks for the review. So appreciate your comments and assessment of my work.