Book Review: “When the Darkness Will Not Lift”

There are Christians for whom joy seems unattainable.

What will we tell them . . . “When the Darkness Will Not Lift?”

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“It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.”

–John Piper

The title of this reviewed book is terribly unyielding, but with a quick glimpse into its contents, and you realize what you hold in your hands is worth its weight in gold.  When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—And Joy,  John Piper gives guidance and hope to suffering believers and to those whom God has given to walk beside them.  The father of Christian hedonism reminds readers that joy is a duty even as he teaches them how to fight for it. At eighty pages, this slim volume commends itself to readers who, struggling under the weight of spiritual darkness, might be daunted by an exhaustive treatment of the subject.

Because the book starts from despair, it is a uniquely accessible tool for those who hurt. In the pastoral tone for which he is beloved, Piper shows that joy begins with despair in oneself. In “When the Darkness Will Not Lift”, Piper tackles difficult issues including:

• The physical nature of depression and the role of medication

• How to wait on the Lord through darkness

• The relationship between obedience and thanksgiving

• How unconfessed sin can clog our joy

Piper also provides insight for those who love depressed Christians—showing them how to exhort without crushing, and how they can help the struggling believer to distrust the “certainties of despair.”

PiperbookWhen the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—And Joy Publisher Crossway Books, Author John Piper, ISBN 1581348762 Price $7.99, Released, January 2007

Available through your Bookstore, or just go to www.Amazon.com, like me.

John Piper’s website, http://www.desiringgod.org/

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BB Book Review: “Imaginary Jesus”

“Imaginary Jesus,” by Matt Mikalatos

This was a book saturated with holy surprises.  For sure, the title seemed eccentric and I couldn’t be certain that it be worth reading.  After I read several pages I was able to use my own “spiritual” GPS and locate, and understand the “lay-of-the-land.”  There was a sense of reading something very fresh, and striding to keep up with Mikalotos.  I discovered that I couldn’t wait for the next page, which is a great indicator.

Imaginative and engaging.  If this book transformed into a person, I would immediately invite him to my living room for coffee and a conversation.  I would not hesitate.  Plot and content wise–this is a narrative of a man’s journey to what is real.  Especially in the spiritual realm of the truth, where it is best to possess what you confess.

The book unfolds with adventure after adventure.  It has a plot that seems like sci-fi.  It is both exotic and friendly, all at the same time.  If I could think out loud my impressions of “Imaginary Jesus” in a single word it would be “winsome.”  Mikalatos presses into our imaginations a journey that is both amusing as it is cutting.  It is a fun read, that is explosive and sure, it puts together for us an understanding of our own hearts in this generation.

Outside Review: “Take the theological forcefulness of Bonhoeffer, combine it with the imaginative whimsy of C. S. Lewis and the wit of Charles Spurgeon, and you get Matt Mikalatos. Imaginary Jesus marks the debut of one of today’s most prominent young Christian writers. “(Gary Thomas, Author of Sacred Marriage and Pure Pleasure )

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I purchased my book direct from Amazon.com for $10.19 USD.

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: BarnaBooks (March 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:9781414335636
  • ISBN-13:978-1414335636
  • ASIN:1414335636
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars.  (134 customer reviews)
  •  Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

In His Steps, Reading #36

Two months went by. They were full of action and of results in the city of Raymond and especially in the First Church. In spite of the approaching heat of the summer season, the after-meeting of the disciples who had made the pledge to do as Jesus would do, continued with enthusiasm and power. Gray had finished his work at the Rectangle, and an outward observer going through the place could not have seen any difference in the old conditions, although there was an actual change in hundreds of lives. But the saloons, dens, hovels, gambling houses, still ran, overflowing their vileness into the lives of fresh victims to take the place of those rescued by the evangelist. And the devil recruited his ranks very fast.

Continue reading “In His Steps, Reading #36”

In His Steps, Reading #35

In His Steps


Chapter 17

The next day she went down to the NEWS office to see Edward Norman and arrange the details of her part in the establishment of the paper on its new foundation. Mr. Maxwell was present at this conference, and the three agreed that whatever Jesus would do in detail as editor of a daily paper, He would be guided by the same general principles that directed His conduct as the Saviour of the world.“I have tried to put down here in concrete form some of the things that it has seemed to me Jesus would do,” said Edward Norman. He read from a paper lying on his desk, and Maxwell was reminded again of his own effort to put into written form his own conception of Jesus’ probable action, and also of Milton Wright’s same attempt in his business.

Continue reading “In His Steps, Reading #35”

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