Friday, May 27, 2011

Trusting God for Everything: Psalm 23 by Jan Johnson

Trusting God for Everything: Psalm 23 was subtitled "A Personal Retreat Guide." I was quite excited to realize this book would be a guide for getting time alone with God to grow in my faith. Finding tools to slow down and allow God to quiet my mind are important to me as learning these concepts allows me to help not only myself but many other women as well.

Each chapter confirmed the previous chapter's message, which was basically growing closer to God through understanding His Word and letting it seep into your soul in a way that that Scripture had not previously done. Psalm 23 was the main Scripture presented.

I enjoyed the history of Psalm 23 as well as the explanation of the individual words and their original meanings. I also appreciated the consistency of each chapter: Opening to God's Message, Immersed in God's Message, Responding to God's Word and Resting with God in the Message. I also found the many questions for personal exploration interesting and helpful for personal introspection.

This book would be a good start for someone who needs to take a break from life and get back to God. The guide may also be good for a few women to use together if even just for a walk in the park as the guide suggested.

There were several areas of the guide I found concerning. I noticed a few references with a New Age undertone. One was to imagine God speaking to me and what color would I imagine during that interaction? I liken that visualization exercise with the New Age concept of Chakra. Imagining a conversation with God and having to visualize a color is not a biblical concept. God does not need anything added unto Himself as He is the epitomy of color.

Also, I was to imagine an empty chair next to me and God sitting in it. I remember that exercise from my "embrace your inner child" days before I came to Christ (I was a sold out hard core New Ager). And yes, the chair exercise was a New Age concept and still is today.

This book is marketed to "Christians" however in order for any person to commune with God, one must be "born again" (John 3:7). I was disappointed an Invitation to Salvation (Romans 10:9-11) was absent. Having the invitation or explanation of being born again provides essential clarification to the reader how to have a personal relationship with Christ. I say this because I was a 'Christian" all my life and talked to God, but it was not until I understood what the Bible had to say that I realized God did not hear my prayers until I became His child through Romans 10:9-11. John 9:3 (I do not review books from a religious standard).

Without separating the sheeps from the goats, the question then is, 'Who are you talking to? God or the enemy of your soul?" Being a Berean, I not only read the back cover of the book but the About the Author section. I saw the reference to Ms. Johnson having a DMin in Ignatian spirituality and spiritual formation not on the back cover but inside the book. I learned she writes primarily about spiritual formation topics. I googled Ignation spirituality Had I only read the back cover I would have missed this important element of Ms. Johnson's theology.

Overall, I would recommend this guide to be used as a tool. I would treat it merely as a walk through a buffet line, taking just those best and useful tasty morsels that would benefit me, my soul and my walk with God. On the other hand, The Bible in its entirety I would eat as a nine course meal and more. All of Psalm 23 is a confidence psalm as the author shared. Spend each day in Psalm 23 and you will enjoy white glove table service for the rest of your life. You will be so satiated you will want to share your bounty with all who pass by your table.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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