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Sufficient in Jesus
5 Stars Out Of 5
Reminder, Conviction, Application.
March 2, 2013
Sufficient in Jesus
When you read the Bible and look at the world God made, you notice that He designed Life itself to require loving relationships. Baby animals need Mama to feed them and nurture them. Plants need wise gardeners to tend and cultivate them. People need family and friends whose care reflects the ultimate Life-Sustaining Love of God.
The metaphors God chose to describe our Christian life show us this in bold colors. Every metaphor is about a loving relationship. Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches and God is the husbandman who lovingly tends us.
We are the straying sheep, Jesus is our leading, protecting Shepherd.
We are the children adopted into our Great and Glorious Father's Heart!
Jesus tells us that following Him is about Loving Well. First, loving God with all our hearts, souls, strength, and mind and then loving our neighbor as ourselves. We are now redeemed by God who is Love, we are commanded to Love, and we are told that we as God's Family are to be rooted and established in Love.
Now, most of us will ask "How?" How do we love others well, to build up the body of Christ? How to we fallen, redeemed people welcome and nurture and tend and strengthen and help the other fallen, redeemed people around us? What can we do *Now* to love them? And how do we work towards loving people well?
William Smith's book LOVING WELL needs to be on the Required Reading List for Christians. Loving people well is a possibility for every redeemed person, but it is by no means common. Things we can do to let people know they are loved are often simple, but rarely easy. Love is sacrifice, at its heart.
"I find it helpful to think of Love as a large jewel with many facets," William Smith begins, "Each facet gives you a glimpse into the jewels essence because each facet is part of the same jewel. But every viewpoint has a sparkle all its own." This book has fifteen chapters, one for each facet of the jewel of Love. Some of these facets seem surprising, and I thought "I knew that!" Then I remembered..."Yes, I know this, but I don't put it into practice." As one wise person said, reminder is needed more often than revelation.
One of the most surprising chapters for me might have been the one on Greeting Love. Yes, Greeting. God is the God who ran down the road to *greet* his returning Prodigal. He hugged him and wept over him and restored him as a cherished son. If the greeting had been any other way, the returning son would not have known he was forgiven and accepted home. God is a God of Loving Greetings- as His people, we must be too. Yet how many times has someone come home and found me in the middle of something (something that was not very important) and I have not given them more than acknowledgement "Another person had entered the room."
I am called to begin loving people the moment they walk in! Greet them as a person, a special person whom you are glad to have home!
Two of the most powerful portions of this book might have been "Comforting Love: Running to those who are Suffering" and "Sympathetic Love: Taking on Each other's Sorrows." These chapters answer the question: When we are trying to love someone who is sorrowing, what do we say that won't be wrong? Do we have to speak? Do we have to give wise, profound advice?
Answer: We just need to be there with them. Perhaps quietly. An arm around their shoulder. A listening ear. Love them. Love them well. And read this book to remind you how.
There is much conviction, reminder, and practical application in this book.
I am blessed by this book. I received it from New Growth Publishing to review
What a powerful book, teaching us how to love like Jesus and the Father do even if we haven't been! The author, William P. Smith gives a comprehensive review of love in his book, Loving Well: Even If You Haven't Been.
As people, we try hard to love our neighbors, family, co-workers, and church family. Depending on how love was dysfunctionally demonstrated to you growing up, you more than likely will model the same type of love in your relationships-distance, resentment, silent treatment, avoidance, outburst of anger, etc.
The author brings us hope from God the Father through Jesus Christ. A relationship with Jesus Christ can help you overcome your destructive methods of relating by seeing in Scripture how God loves us. It also allows Him to help us love others like He loves us.
The book is divided into three parts:
Love That Responds to a Broken World-Comforting, Sympathetic, Struggling, Forgiving, and Long-suffering Love
Love That Reaches Out to Build Others Up-Partnering, Pursuing, Communicating, Serving, and Providing Love
Love That Enjoys Heaven on Earth-Welcoming, Humble, Celebrating, Peaceful, and Hospitable Love
I am overwhelmed (in a good way) for all the different lessons about and methods of loving that the author expounds on and what they look like. He is straightforward in each chapter, giving multiple examples to show you the destructive way versus the constructive way to demonstrate love.
This is a great resource book to keep on hand as a good reminder when one is stuck in a relationship. I'd recommend this book to every person living here on earth. It's helpful to ascertain the different situations and how assimilate what you have learned.
Special thanks to Rick Roberson, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
Has it been your experience that you (and others) don't love well? Perhaps you find yourself undermining the very relationship you value. Maybe you have difficulty expressing love because you were not loved well by your family or your church.
You are not alone. But, Smith says, loving well is a skill you can learn. It is not through a list of techniques that you will learn to love well. It is not by reading stories of others who love well. It is through a Person. You must experience love and know what it is before you can give it to others.
In this book, Smith investigates fifteen facets of the love we experience from God. He breaks the study into three sections: "Love that responds to a broken world," "Love that reaches out to build others up," and "Love that enjoys heaven now."
Smith has included reflective questions at the end of each chapter. He has also included many examples of loving well (or failure to do so) from his own life and the lives of others.
I found some of the chapters to be great. For example, the chapter on longsuffering love has a section giving practical suggestions on how to bear well with others (79ff)
I wish there had been that same kind of practical advice in other chapters. For example, on the chapter on communication, that we should communicate is made very clear. Smith also gives examples of good and bad communication. However, practical ideas on how to restore communication where there is a rift is missing.
Sometimes it seems as if Smith thinks the biblical mandate to love is enough. In his chapter on sympathetic love, he notes that there are pictures in Scripture showing that God is touched by your grief. (23) He writes, however, "If you have been deeply hurt in your life, you may struggle to believe that your grief actually affects God." (24) He suggests reading a passage from Hebrews 4, then tells a story, then moves on. Smith gives no suggestions as to how to work on that struggle and come to the place of accepting that God feels your grief.
Because of the sections like the one above on sympathetic love, I would recommend this book to relatively healthy Christians. If you have worked through any issues you have with God and are ready to show the love of God to others, this book will be a great encouragement to you. If, however, you have some issues with God and his love toward you, you may find this book frustrating.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for the purpose of this review.
When I read the description of this book, I knew I had to read it. I must admit I had a difficult time reading Loving Well because it convicted me to the core. I have never read such an excellent book on the topic of loving others like this one. I found myself reading a sentence and then stopping to think about it. This book is full of scriptural content and wisdom. There is no fluff, only truth.
After reading this book, I realized I have not been loving others well at all. I've been a Christian for many years and yet, I have failed at loving well. This thoughtful book helped me to recognize, accept and learn "how to" love others.
The author investigates fifteen facets of the love we experience from God. He states it is in these ways that God invites us to mature as we relate to other people with love. "We can love other people only out of our own experience of being loved." (xxiii) He also gives examples on how we can learn to love others. After each chapter, there are four questions to ponder and answer. I found this part to be especially instrumental in helping me apply what I learned into my everyday life.
As I read this book, I underlined a lot of it, especially in Chapter 5: Longsuffering Love: Patiently Bearing with Each Other. There are so many nuggets to ruminate over in this chapter. I guess it is an area that I struggle with.
Here are a few excerpts that spoke to me:
"A necessary aspect of love, therefore, is learning to live patiently with people as they continue on their own journeys of learning to live more righteously. That's what loving well is all about: giving people the time and space they need as they grow." (Page 68)
"Living 'happily ever after' is not the goal. Living well with broken people is." (Page 70)
"The goal is not to find the latest, greatest way to turn people into model Christians but to love well the imperfect Christians in front of us." (Page 75)
"The reality is that even blood-bought, Holy Spirit-filled believers sin. They sin often and they often sin against you. Therefore, you need to bear as patiently with them as God does with you." (Page 78)
Loving Well is a very informative and well written book. I definitely want to read it again with the intention of studying it. I believe this book could be utilized as a textbook for schools, colleges and churches. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who work in ministry, such as counselors, pastors and teachers.
In conclusion, I want to thank Mr. Roberson from The B&B Media Group and New Growth Press for sending me a complimentary copy of Loving Well to read and review.