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Monday, November 25, 2013

"God is Able" (Priscilla Shirer) [*Giveaway Offer]

TITLE: God is Able
AUTHOR: Priscilla Shirer
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2013, (166 pages).

[* The publisher has kindly made available a free giveaway. Just make a comment on this blog with your email contact to enter the draw. Note that giveaways are limited to US and Canada residents only.]

A song commonly taught to children goes like this:

"He's Able. He's Able. I know He's Able.
I know my God is Able to carry me through.

He healed the broken-hearted
And set the captive free.
He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see."

As children learns this words through music, adults learn the meaning through life. Sharing about her broken heart, her marital struggles, her worry over bearing a child, her tussle with guilt and regret, salvaging a friendship, and doubts about her place in ministry, popular speaker Priscilla Shirer has written another inspiring feel-good book about living victoriously in God. It is about being able to be confident more in God who is able to carry us through anything. She puts together the testimonies of how the impossible became suddenly possible. Like the husband of a friend who repented before God, after leaving his wife; how God healed a nine-year-old boy of his brain tumour; and how a stranger from Singapore paid for all five family members to travel halfway round the world and back! The book is written using alliteration with the letter T.  In eight chapters, Shirer tries to convince readers that God is able in at least eight ways.

First, the Time to believe and to set things in motion is now. Ephesians 3:20-21 contains promises that believers can practice immediately. There is no better time than "now" to be connected to God. Whatever the challenges, whatever the doubts, whatever the constraints we face, with God, there is always hope.

Second, any journey of hope needs to begin with a Turning to God. Continuing her meditation on Ephesians 3:20, the words "unto Him" is about turning away from the things of the world toward God. This means that we need to turn away from ourselves as well, to trust that God knows best. Like the Old Testament spies of Israel who managed to read the signs correctly when they adopt the eyes of faith; or when Mary Magdalene wept at the empty tomb, only to find Jesus looking for her instead. When we turn to God, we turn to a God who is powerful and able.

Third, Truth keeps us firm footed on facts and faith. It is when we know God is true, we can place our trust amid the seemingly unending series of problems and disappointments. God's Omnipotence is truth.

Fourth, earthly things do not last, which is why we need to keep our eye on the Transcendence of God. Even as the issues of this world try to nail us down in despair, the hope in God can lift us way beyond what our earthly senses tell us. God is eternal. God's grace is exceedingly abundant. God's will is abundantly better than anything the world can give.

Fifth, Totality means all the way, not just half or part of the way. When God loves us, God loves us all the way. Everything we know, everything we have, and everything we do, we cannot outknow God, outpossess God, or outdo God.

Sixth, Turbo reminds us that God's power is exceeding great, that even death cannot hold Him. This power is within us, simply because God is with us. This power works within us and is meant for us to use it as the Holy Spirit leads us.

Seventh, Tribute is about giving thanks, honour, praise, and glory, to God and God alone. It is that perfect circle that what begins and belongs to God, goes back to God and God alone. The more we realize that all we have and do are all in the grace of God, the more we can become thankful that we praise God from whom all blessings flow. I like the analogy of the football stadium where many people clamour to get into the stadium in order to get a peek at the game. When the glory of God resides in one place, people from all over will clamour to get a glimpse of God's presence.

Finally, Telling It represents our response to all of the preceding seven things about "God is Able."

So What?

Priscilla Shirer has a communications style that is both captivating and concise. Going through all the eight points based on her exposition of Ephesians 3:20-21, readers are invited to sit and meditate on this precious verse, just to get a better sense of who God is and what God is able to do. In our modern world, we multitask a lot of things. We train ourselves to manage our schedules. We try to keep our own lives in order. Often, we stumble or fumble through our feeble attempts, and only at the most desperate moments, we come to God. We plead with God. We realize our human attempts are nothing compared to the overwhelming ability of God. Sometimes, we learn things the hard way, that we have to fall down and hurt ourselves first when we ignore the guiding hands of God. Shirer lets the Word of God be the hand that we can hang on to. Knowing God is able is not enough. We need to let that knowledge come forth in our daily lives. It takes our awareness of eternity in order to appreciate the timeliness of God's purpose and the timelessness of God's plan. We need to be humbled in order to turn back to God in submission and surrender. We need to be reminded all over again that God's Truth is the only Truth that matters. We need to be lifted above our measly human concerns to see the bigger picture of God's universe. We can take comfort that even when we know in part, God knows the whole. Thus, we can trust God more for He sees more things than we can see. Why then do we behave as if we know better than God?

All of these add up to give us many reasons why our response to God is to worship God and to make God known widely. God is able not because any book, any author, or any teacher says so. God is able because he IS so.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


p/s: note that this post comes with a giveaway. If you like to participate in this giveaway, just send me an email or make a comment on this post. I'll get back to you by December 15th, 2013 if your entry has been selected. Note that the giveaway is limited to residents in the continental United States and Canada. All decision made is final.

This book is provided to me courtesy of B and H Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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