Book Review: Kiss

Kiss
I just finished reading Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy. Pretty much every Dekker book that I've ever read I've finished in a maximum of three days. This one I've been working on for about two weeks. It's not that it wasn't a good story; it was. It just wasn't a captivating story. I don't read many novels (comparatively), and when I do I want it to be one of those type of stories that I obsess over to the point of neglecting other necessary things in life (i.e. sleeping). 

One positive about the book was a solid ending. I have often felt that Dekker is a phenomenal story teller who struggles with finding an ending that is as grandiose as the story itself. The end result is that the ending often feels anti-climatic. The ending of this story was rather obvious, but (in it's defense) it wasn't meant to be a twist ending. The ending was solid and fitting, just not surprising. 

The book is worth your time, but checking it out from the library is probably a better idea than buying at it's current hardback rate, since you probably won't read it more than once. It receives 3 stars from me because my rating system (in the left column) won't allow 2 1/2 stars.

That Was Smooth… Shaving Off One of His Eyebrows

Once again I'm a little behind in getting this video up. I'm going to try to make sure my video guys have these exported and uploaded in advance so that I can post them immediately after they air Sunday nights at Uprising.

This week's selection: "Shave off one of your eyebrows." Awesome. My poor wife has had to resign to the fact that I am going to be continually looking strange and perhaps constantly injured… at least for awhile.

Here it is, this week's "That Was Smooth."


Approaching God. Wow.

Wow. I was blown away this morning. First, I have to admit that I wasn't too excited about my morning readings that started today and will go through the next two weeks or so. I'm about to finish up The Imitation of Christ, and the last section of the book is entitled "Exhortation to Receive Holy Communion." Not too excited about that, especially since a'Kempis was a Catholic monk. I knew that more than any other parts of the book, this section was going to be particularly difficult for me to glean anything from… or so I thought. In the opening chapter he is talking about our invitation to approach God through Communion, but really these words are just as applicable in any other situation where you would approach God: prayer, reading God's word, worship through song, etc. I've slightly edited the section below for length.

Hold on to your panties…

O how sweet and loving in the ears of a sinner are the words by which you, my Lord God, invite the poor and needy…
But who am I, Lord that I should presume to approach you?
"Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you," and you say, "Come — all of you — to me."

What does this gracious honor and loving invitation mean?
How shall I dare to come, I who know of no good in myself on which to presume?
How shall I bring you into my house, I who have so often offended in your most gracious sight?
Angels and archangels stand in awe of you, holy and righteous people fear you, and you say, "Come to me — all of you."
If you had not said it, O Lord, who would believe it to be true?
And if you had not commanded it, who would attempt to draw near?
Behold, that just man Noah worked a hundred years to build an ark that he and a few others might be saved, and how then can I prepare myself in one hour to commune reverently with the Maker of the world?

Your great servant and special friend, Moses, made an ark of incorruptible wood, which he covered with purest gold to place in it the tablets of your law — shall then I, a creature of corruption, dare so easily to receive you, the Maker of the law and Giver of life?
Solomon, the wisest of the kings of Israel, spent seven years building a magnificent temple in praise of your name. 
He celebrated its dedication with a feast of eight days, sacrificed countless peace offerings in your honor, and solemnly set the Ark of the Covenant with trumpeting and jubilation in the place prepared for it.
And I, the most miserable and poorest of all, how shall I receive you into my house — I who can scarcely spend one-half hour in true devotion?
If only I could spend even that much time in a worthy and proper manner!
Nevertheless, our coldness and neglect is much to be deplored and pitied, that we are not moved with greater affection to receive Christ, in whom is all the hope and merit of those that are to be saved.

Wow. Now, of course, God has said that we can come before him boldly. That is absolutely true, and something that should be taught and we should take note of. But I think in today's modern culture, most of us struggle not with bashfulness but with brazenness in the presence of Almighty God. This was a good reminder for me this morning.

Great Daily Prayers – For The Grace to Fight The Flesh

I offer this one without comment. It stands well enough alone. It's a long one and I have slightly edited it for length.

Oh Lord, my God, who created me in your image and likeness, grant me this grace that you have shown to be so great and necessary for salvation, that I may overcome my most evil nature that draws me to sin and perdition.
For I feel in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the law of my mind and leading me captive to obey sensuality in many things. I cannot resist the passions that result, unless your most holy grace is fervently infused into my heart and helps me.

There is need of your grace, O Lord, and of a great amount of it, so that a nature that has been prone to evil from youth may be overcome.

Thus it is, my God, that I delight in your law according to the inward person, knowing that your command is good, just, and holy, and reproving all evil and sin and teaching that it is to be avoided. But in the flesh I serve the law of sin obeying sensuality rather than reason.
Thus it is that the will to do good is present with me, but how to accomplish it I do not know.
Thus I often propose many good things, but because grace is lacking to help my weakness, I recoil and give up at the smallest resistance.
Thus it comes to pass that I know the way of perfection and see clearly how I should act, but being pressed down with the weight of my own corruption I do not rise to what is more perfect.

O Lord, your grace is entirely needful for me to begin anything good, continue with it, and accomplish it. For without it I can do nothing, but in you I can do all things when your grace strengthens me.

I beg you, O Lord, that I may find grace in your sight, for your grace is sufficient for me, even though I obtain none of the things for which nature longs.
If I am tempted and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evil while your grace is with me. This alone is my strength — this alone gives me counsel and help.
This is stronger than all enemies and wiser than all the wise.

This grace is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the consoler in anguish, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nourisher of devotion, the mother of tears.
Without grace I am but a withered branch, a useless piece of wood, fit only to be cast away.
Let your grace, therefore, O Lord, always go before me and follow me, and make me always inclined to good works, through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.