ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING: A REVIEW

This inspirational book by Max Lucado was one of the books I read over the holidays. It is a 2017 publication provided by my church library. Lucado has been my favorite inspirational author for twenty-something years, and this is not a reworked, revised, updated older publication, but a BRAND NEW “take” on an idea Lucado has not tackled before.

The book’s theme is anxiety, described as “…a meteor shower of what-ifs.” He defines the difference between anxiety and fear. “Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one.” The writer bases the book on Phillipians 4:4-8 and directs the passage admirably, using the passage’s structure as the structure for his book.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. Be anxiousus for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving , let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and minds through Jesus Christ.”(KJV) (italics mine) What, don’t worry? How is that possible? Lucado gives the steps to achieve the promise listed in the end of the passage–peace of heart and peace of mind.

The book is easy to pick up and put down, reading it at odd moments for short periods of time. There are only a total of ten chapters, divided into four sections, so while waiting for kids at the orthodontist, one can read a whole section, or at least come to a stopping place at the end of a chapter before the appointment is over. Questions for Reflection are presented for study groups, and there is a handy reprinting of all scriptures (in more than one version) at the chapters’/ book’s end(s). This is a  very applicable book to one’s attempt to improve his/her Christian walk.  It made me think and evaluate myself, and I intend to apply Lucado’s suggestions as I try to carry out my New Year’s goal of drawing closer to God.

JUST LIKE JESUS by Max Lucado: A Review

This book, published in 1991 came from my church library and was a very inspirational read from my favorite inspirational author.  The premise is, “God loves you the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.  He wants you to be…Just Like Jesus.”  Sounds impossible?  I thought so too.  However, Lucado gives examples of people learning to be like Jesus in some hard relationship situations and offers encouragements and strategies to act/think/be more like Jesus in those situations.  Lucado helps us develop a heart like Jesus’: a forgiving heart, a compassionate heart, a listening heart, a God-intoxicated heart, a worship-hungry heart, a focused heart, an honest heart, a pure heart, a hope-filled heart, a rejoicing heart, an enduring heart…(chapter titles) and he tells us the way to do this is to focus on Jesus, to “fix your eyes upon Him.”

There is also an excellent study guide in the back for those who wish to read and study the book in groups. As always, Lucado’s writing is almost lyrical.  Here is an example: “‘Rabbi, where are you staying?’ (John 1:38) Pretty bold request.  They didn’t ask Jesus to give them a minute or a message or a miracle.  They asked for his address. They asked to hang out with Him.  They wanted to know Him.  They wanted to know what caused His head to turn and His heart to burn and His soul to yearn [use of rhythm and rhyme].  They wanted to study His eyes and follow His steps…They wanted to know what made Him laugh and if He ever got tired.”   This kind of excellent writing, keeps the reader turning the pages and allows the author’s “message” to sink in without deliberately  “preaching-at” the reader.

I got a lot out of this book and can say I enjoyed every minute of reading it.  You will too.

BEFORE AMEN by Max Lucado: A Review

This is a review of a re-read.  Every so many months, I check it out from my church library and give it a re-read as a check up on my prayer life.  Yes, I have bought the book, more than one copy as a matter of fact, but I always end up giving my copy away to someone who needs it just as much as I do.

This week I re-read the simply structured book, saying “Um hum, ok” and “Hmm, not so good”… as I read. The model prayer, the pocket prayer, as the author calls it because it can fit in your pocket, is simple:

Father,

you are good.

I need help.

They need help.

Thank you.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

That’s it. All you need to effectively pray are in those lines. Each succeeding chapter is a meditation or musing upon each line in the Pocket Prayer.  It begins with “Father” and thinks about what it means to have accessibility to God because He is our Loving Father.  It is a first chapter rich with nuances and thought-provoking concepts.

My favorite chapter, perhaps because I am so big on, “Give me applications, so I can USE this…”is the one that presents the line, “They need help.”  Lucado points out that when we see a Mom struggling with a screaming toddler, yanking her by the arm, we need to pray that line, “She needs help,” not be judgmental or condemning. Every morning when I go out to pick up my morning paper and maybe put mail in the box for the postman to pick up, I stand at the end of the sidewalk, paper in hand and look at each house on the cut de sac, praying that particular line, “They need help.” I look at and linger over each house, those families I know well and have known for a long time, and those I just wave at when I see them drive by. I pray specifically for needs I know about: illnesses in the extended families, broken or shaky relationships, small and demanding children and/or adolescents, whatever needs I know about.  I give a generally “Bless them in whatever way they need at this time” request for houses whose occupants I don’t know by name or know anything about them, but see them often–going to work, taking the kids to school or getting their mail or papers in.

Every line has ways you can put that line to work in your prayer life, applications you can make and start doing that makes you feel a part of the Lord’s work.

Max Ludcado is my favorite inspirational author, and this practical, convicting, applicable book is one of his best.