Relentless Pursuit #BookReview #Outsiders

As a pastor’s kid, I have experienced a lot of different things in my life. Mostly, we moved, and I never felt like I had a place to really fit in. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to add Relentless Pursuit: God’s Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us to my summer reading list.

In this book, author Ken Gire looks at “the marginalized and the ostracized; the sinner and the loner, you, me … and Jesus”. He writes that everyone at one point in their lives is an outsider or has felt lonely using stories from the Bible, history, popular texts, and his own life as examples. Even though we have those feelings of being an outsider, there is always one who loves us.

At first, I had a hard time connecting with the book … I wanted to hear more stories letting me connect with outsiders. Soon enough, however, I got into the book and started to see how weaving historical figures (such as C.S. Lewis) had feelings of being outside, too.

Chapter 5 spoke of God’s passion for the outsider and began to look at biblical figures that I am more familiar with. Like Adam and Eve. In their pursuit to hide their nakedness, God didn’t expose them because He loves them.

He further discusses how people carry the weight of shame, and I know I’ve struggled carrying shame throughout my life, so I could identify with his words. Shame is what pushes people to the outside, leaving them alone. I’ve been there, and looking back, it was in those moments that God spoke loudest to me (perhaps more on that another day).

I learned that God provides for the outsider, and has a mission for the outsider. These things are hard to understand when feeling outside, but if you search, you will find the reasons why. God works in His time, and finds the outsiders “when they are shivering”. How powerful!

Perhaps you have felt like an outsider before, and feel called to check out this book, too. If so, you can find this book from Bethany House or on Amazon. I hope you connect with it like I did. There are great discussion questions at the end of each chapter that would serve as great journal starters (I know I’ll be doing some soul searching with these).

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Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by Bethany House. These opinions are 100% my own.

Confronting Jezebel: A #Review

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I am sad to admit the Jezebel spirit is not something I am unfamiliar with. In Steve Simpson’s new revision of “Confronting Jezebel” (from Bethany House Publishers, I got a chance to read up on how to discern this spirit and defeat it.

If you don’t know, Queen Jezebel was a wicked queen who was a spiritual threat to leaders in Bible times. Those with a Jezebel spirit seek out the weak to stand by them, controlling them by projecting power.

Interestingly enough, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to protect myself from Jezebel spirits, so the book delivered at a good time in my spiritual journey. I learned that I’ve never forgiven these women who “ruined” some of our experiences in churches, and that they keep winning while I keep disliking them. Others in my life that have Jezebel traits/qualities can be dealt with. Sampson gives some tips on how to deal with a Jezebel spirit throughout the book, all while providing examples of real life (present day) Jezebels.

Chapter 5 described forty characteristics of a Jezebel. While reading these, I was able to connect the characteristics with people that I struggle with. Some of the strongest ones were:

* Practices One-Upmanship
* Spirtiualizes Everything
* Knows it All
* Demands Forgiveness but Does Not Forgive
* Loves to Win

Sure, I admit that I struggle with some of the Jezebel characteristics myself, but I pray that I can let those go, give my opportunities to God.What I liked most about this book is that each chapter would end with questions and a prayer. It helped put the readings into perspective and strength my spirit.

I’d share my copy, but it’s dog-eared and highlighted throughout, so if you are interested, head over to Bethany House and get your own!

This post is brought to you by Baker Publishing Group. I was provided the book to review, and all opinions are my own.