10.29.2011

Book Review: Jesus Calling By Sarah Young

Sharpening my reviewing skills and sharing my passionate,
personal opinion on this popular read!




      I felt led to share my thoughts with all of you on a very popular devotional book of our day written by Sarah Young and published by Thomas Nelson.

      I did not come easily to the place of receptivity with this book, initially. You see, although I periodically perused it a number of times at the local bookstore, included it on my "wish list" on Amazon and even came close to buying it outright on more than one occasion, I held back... for almost 4 years. Why, would a bookaholic hold back on buying a book, you wonder. Well, I will tell you, dear friend. Prior to my acceptance of the Glorious Lord of All, Jesus Christ, I read a number of new-age writings and quite honestly, as I debated about reading this devotional, I felt my inner alarm mechanism kick into high gear. This "be very careful here" alarm, which has been born from a love of Truth and a healthy skepticism toward anything that might be alluring at first but an impostor in the end. That being said, I am always on the look out for true seekers of The Way, that acknowledge His ultimate authority, yet share their own unique perspective, in turning out a gifted word, that draws others closer to His authenticity, grace and truth. To know Jesus better through the written word is not an easy undertaking.The thought of someone speaking for Him sent chills down my spine. He is after all The Living Word. He is the Author of all Truth and The One who will, after all, hold us accountable for every word we speak. He is the ultimate Judge of Truth. Yet, this God, allows His humble servants, friends, children to be used mightily when they yield themselves to Him. He is willing to meet those who will offer themselves to Him as living sacrifices to pour out Living Water and multiply and strengthen His Kingdom. I believe Sarah Young is this kind of servant. I believe she has done a good thing, for this day, to speak truth to those who are seeking truth amidst a myriad of voices calling out from the bookstore shelves, Internet, television and every corner.

     I finally broke down and made the decision to actually buy the book for my Kindle, after listening to K-Love (a local Christian Radio station) and hearing them share a reading from the book. It was a day in June and I was driving - I remember the DJ reading the day's offering and it was based on a scripture in Romans. I am not kidding, I ordered the book that same day! As I began to read Sarah's devotions, I was impressed by the scriptural integrity which was evident throughout her writing. I also was relieved, when I read in her introduction, "The Bible is of course, the only inerrant Word of God; my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard." Also, after reading more about her own personal perspective and journey, I started to realize that this person might be a valid, authentic, down to earth seeker, who  happened to be a gifted writer and why shouldn't the God who created her meet her there, right where she was willing to surrender and listen. I started to feel that Sarah Young might have something valid and I understood this, as it resonated close to home for me, since I have experienced His presence in similar ways, as she has described and desire to live in close communion with Him as opposed to the compartmentalized, fragmented experience I see in the Christian community at times. Of her own writing of this devotional she admits, "I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to God." I think for someone who wants to know God and share Him there is nothing better than to know that what you have written(or spoken) has helped another see Him more clearly, drawn them closer to Him, or sparked the flame for them to pursue Him more passionately than before. This is my own heart's desire as I write. And God meets me there, with my own pen in hand and finger tips to keys in this place. I believe He has met Sarah Young there as well and she has been able to have the privilege to touch many more than I am sure she ever imagined with this writing, inspired by His Word, love, grace and truth. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and have already bought a half dozen copies as gifts. One is sitting right by me waiting to be mailed off to a friend for her birthday as I write this review. I was hesitant to put this book into a certain category of favorites due to the popularity and newness of it. But I confess, I put it right by the side of my two faves "My Utmost For His Highest" and "Morning and Evening". Sarah, is in pretty good company with Chambers and Spurgeon. Historical, I'd say. That is my personal opinion and I am sticking to it. Oh, I have also purchased a hard copy that I currently keep in my purse! I just shared a reading with a friend at a school event. I refrained from giving her my copy as I just bought it, recently! However, I probably will eventually give it to the person God prompts at the moment! Additionally, I am considering purchasing the Children's Version for the Sunday School Class I teach as Christmas gifts - since I only have two boys, it is a realistic possibility! I have been stalking that copy and got a peak at it, at the school book fair just last night. I love the lay out, look and readability of it as well. My daughter's classmate was purchasing it and we checked it against the adult copy (remember, the copy in my purse) and I loved the pages, presentation of scripture and prompt to look up "on your own" some of the verses. It IS on my wish list, even as an adult! Perfect for sharing with a class, small group or for bedtime devotions. Have you read Jesus Calling, yet? I think you should- if you have or do, please let me know your thoughts!

*This review was written by my own desire to express my personal opinion and even though I have not received any copies of this particular book(s) from the publisher, I would absolutely graciously accept them although it would not influence what I have written nor what I will write in the future about the book or any other books by the author OR publisher. Thank you. Hope this is clear and fair.

6 comments:

  1. Great review! I understand your reserve at the thought of someone speaking for God today. There is so much garbage "out there", but I do honestly believe that He speaks through you, me and others all over the world.

    I love how your wisdom to be cautious did not block you from being blessed by Him. That is a lovely grace isn't it?

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  2. I am thrilled. You convinced me to read this book.

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  3. Some years ago, I was at a quaint little book store in Ocean Grove, NJ, and came across this simple little book entitled, 'God Calling.' It was a daily devotional and the authorship intrigued me -- no names, just listed as 'Two Listeners.' Two women who sat down, listened intently and wrote down what they heard from God. Hmmm....I bought it and devoured it daily. After many months, I put it aside.

    Somehow or other, it got lost in my house (BIG shock!) or perhaps I gave it away. Last year, I decided to go out and scan the bookstores for it. I went to our local Borders, which was closing, and looked for it there. I came up empty for it, but as I was turning away to leave, my eyes fell on a small book -- can you guess what it was? 'Jesus Calling.' I grabbed it, read through a page or two and practically ran up to the counter to buy it (60% off, I might add). I read it daily and carry it everywhere with me. I've purchased it for friends. It never ceases to amaze me how each day's message so clearly addresses my need. And my friends say the same thing. I've read some background stories on Sarah Young and believe her to be that humble, obedient servant of the Lord, too.

    Believe me, I've read my share of daily devotionals. There are not many that I would highly recommend to anyone as I have with this devotional book.

    I'm delighted that you posted about this book, Dawn. Thanks!

    Blessings,
    Pam

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  4. Thanks, for the feedback, friends! I sometimes do e-mail bu thought I would comment here today:
    @ Elna- you will not regret it as @ Pam can attest to above! Thanks Susie as always for your input, and am I did read God Calling as well! We continue to have MUCH in glorious common, sister! Have a blessed Sunday!

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  5. I had the exact same reservations about this book. I'm glad she is clear that her words are not God's words. I have this book, but haven't been very diligent in reading it. Thanks for the review!

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  6. Now I am curious after reading your post. I too, have had my reservations, but may read it.

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