Spirituality

Don’t Let Disappointment Defeat You

Overcoming Disappointment
Photo Credit: Everyday Feminism

Disappointment is a natural part of the human experience; take time to learn from it—never hide from what it invites you to confront. One grows stronger when he or she learns to discover what disappointment offers, but fear causes people to attempt to bury the initial pain and restlessness it materializes. The pain indicates an undesirable, yet necessary pressing against love residing in you; the restlessness, love striving toward healing. Given a chance to run their natural course, pain and restlessness buttress your interior life: they engender resiliency, crucial to surviving and thriving in an often callous world.

Resisting the perception of vulnerability as weakness, a chink in your spiritual armor, inadequate emotional intelligence necessitates courage. To be fearless in the face of adversity, fill yourself up on faith and hope, joy and thanksgiving, rest and gratitude. Doubt, failing to develop a critical reflective praxis, denying vulnerability time and space to speak—all stifle your progress. Extracting value from disappointment requires one to use her or his organic processing tools—reading, writing, and meditating—leading to a higher, more enlightened self.

After reading yourself through disappointment, after writing yourself through heartache, and after meditating yourself through the unpleasant experience, you birth essential knowledge about resistance, resistance to malevolent forces aiming to destroy you. This knowledge of resistance grants you power to shine light into darkness, power to bring tranquility to tottering people and places—and regimes on the brink of ruin.

When you offer peace to chaotic people and places, two guiding principles are important to maintain: stay focused on the mission and understand that you will face opposition—often formidable opposition. Recognize that your opponents, those trying to thwart your continuous progress, suffer from brokenness, requiring someone like you, someone committed to truth, love, and justice, to move them from a barren place to a fecund place.

Misunderstood by many, disappointment torments people. Frightened, they become docile bodies held captive by it. At some point, however, these docile bodies must shatter the manacles of oppression and depression disappointment imposes.

Bondage, it’s dreadful. The more one surrenders to subjugation, the more she or he will accept it. What subjugated people fail to resist, they fail to comprehend.

Mentally and spiritually enslaved people, blinded by ignorance, face inevitable destruction—unless liberators come to their rescue. Resistance can crush bondage. But how? By unseating the false authority granted to bondage.

You have the power to dethrone disappointment’s reign of terror in your life.

What’s holding you back, though?

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison    

Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing: A Summary

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Photo Credit: Amazon

Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing (2019) offers readers important insights about how to make successful decisions. The book strives to help readers see decision making as an opportunity for spiritual growth. For Freeman, one can find peace even when it does not seem possible. The author contends that doing the next right thing is about moving one’s focus from outcomes to the present moment.

When a person removes distractions, Freeman argues that he or she can better understand inner experiences.

If an individual is not being real with himself or herself, the author asserts that God is not able to reveal what He desires to communicate to him or her in the present moment.

The Next Right Thing challenges the reader to question his or her desires and motivations. Freeman believes that questioning one’s desires and motivations allows him or her to find clarity on their spiritual paths. This does, however, require one to be candid with himself or herself.

Freeman recommends that one invest more time in listening to his or her believers rather than critics. She asserts that keeping yourself uplifted with positive words of others empowers you to arrive at the heart of the person you really are.

The writer values surprises, for they, she argues, more often permit one to resolve decision making chaos than perceived clarity does. The book emphasizes that it is not wise to expect clarity about every detail of the future, considering life unfolds in complex and unpredictable ways.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

NIV, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd Edition: A Brief Review

The Maxwell Leadership Bible

Courtesy of Thomas Nelson

John Maxwell’s NIV, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd Edition, is a wonderful bible with an excellent, reader-friendly print. With the New International Version being a popular translation of holy Scripture, many will appreciate how John Maxwell helps readers to gain critical insights about it through illuminating leadership principles throughout the text. Maxwell does a brilliant job of evincing how the bible is truly a book that has much to teach about effective leadership. A well-established authority on leadership, Maxwell brings his years of leadership experience and expertise to profile biblical leaders and what can be learned from their leadership.

This bible contains an introduction to each book and many short articles related to leadership. The hardback edition is a soft, comfort hardback, which makes it pleasant to hold and carry. Maxwell does a thorough job of ensuring that the reader understands the bible through a leadership lens and that he or she is able to engage constantly with Scripture’s powerful revelations about leadership.

Without question, leaders (and not just spiritual leaders) should purchase a copy of this this bible. Also, all individuals serious about the study of the Word of God need a copy of this bible. When one reads this bible, he or she comes away from the text a more empowered person ready to address challenges and problems with biblical courage and wisdom.

To aid the drafting of this honest review, the publisher, Thomas Nelson, provided a copy of The Maxwell Leadership Bible through BookLook Bloggers.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible: A Brief Review

Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version Ancient-Modern Bible is an excellent bible that aids the reader in gaining a solid understanding of Scripture. Throughout the text, the reader has an opportunity to engage with commentary offered by some of the leading Christian thinkers about much of the text. For those readers who struggle to understand verses after they have read them, this text will give them great confidence in their reading and study of Scripture. One should not, however, consider this a study bible; it’s not. At the beginning of each book of the bible, an introduction is provided that will assist in establishing an overview and context for each book.

The bible is well-designed, fusing a traditional style with a contemporary style. It has a nice, readable typeface and print in general that invites the reader to spend hours reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word. This hardcover edition of the bible is durable, attractive, and easy to carry around. Even though it is a hardcover book, I love how it feels; it has a really soft, comfortable feel to it.

This bible could offer more significant study aids for the reader, but it does not present itself as a study bible.

Although I generally like bibles that offer far more study aids than this bible does, I do recommend the Ancient-Modern Bible. Even without the study aids I typically appreciate, the commentary of ancient and modern leading Christian thinkers throughout the text makes this a resourceful bible to read.

To assist in composing this honest review, BookLook Bloggers supplied a complimentary copy of the Ancient-Modern Bible.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Vines Expository Bible by Jerry Vines: A Brief Review

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Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version Vine’s Expository Bible: A Guided Journey Through the Scriptures with Pastor Jerry Vines is an excellent comprehensive study bible that provides readers with significant study aids throughout that enable them to gain a greater understanding of the Word of God. This bible assists readers with useful introductions to all 66 books. Throughout the text, one has the opportunity to engage with unpacked key vocabulary words/concepts that permit a stronger understanding of Scripture.

Jerry Vines leads readers through the bible with 200 “Presenting the Messages,” which are detailed outlines that allow them to gain a rich understanding of often complex and/or misunderstood portions of the Scripture. Also, he includes 200 “Applying the Message” entries that aid readers in seeing how Scripture is relevant to their spiritual walk with Jesus.

Many will appreciate the 100 “Living the Message” articles included in this expository bible that present vivid illustrations of true Christian living.

For those looking for a bible to serve all of their needs, this bible is sure to satisfy most (if not all) needs. This hardcover edition of the bible is durable, attractive, and comfortable to carry.  The typeface and print are inviting, making you want to spend hours in serious study of God’s Word. The commentary Jerry Vine offers throughout this text is grounded in biblical truths; therefore, it supports an accurate understanding of Scripture rather than impeding it.

I highly recommend purchasing this bible, even if you already have a bible, considering the aforementioned features of this text will assist you in achieving deeper comprehension and analyses of the most important book ever written: the bible.

To  compose an honest review of this bible, BookLook Bloggers gave me a complimentary copy.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

  

Christ’s Perfect Example of Love

Jesus Love on the Cross

(Photo Credit: CNN)

Christ is the highest expression and embodiment of love.

Suffering the most barbarous and mortifying sacrificial death one can ever witness or imagine—all to proffer an invitation for eternal union and fellowship with Him—Christ loved everyone even before anyone ever loved Him.

Giving those willing to believe in Him and His redemptive work on Calvary’s Cross as the final atonement for all sins, Jesus offers an everlasting love, a love that never leaves, never forsakes, never separates.  

Faithful to us when we’re unfaithful to Him, Jesus loves unconditionally because He is love.

To know love, therefore, is to know Him.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Words of Grace by Scott Patty: A Book Review

Words of Grace by Scott Patty

                                            (Photo Courtesy of LifeWay)

Written prayerfully and from the heart, Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, penned by Scott Patty, pastor of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a graduate of Belmont University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a powerful spiritual devotional that illuminates the most essential message of the Bible: grace. Through the devotional pieces in this book, Patty strives to “open up the meaning, relevance, and application of God’s Word of grace to people” (xi). The author hopes readers “hear God’s Word, see the grace of Christ in it [the Bible], respond to him [Christ] in faith, and come to know him [Christ] personally” (xi).  

As a minister and theologian whose teaching praxis and theology centers on grace, this book is a welcome addition to my library. Each devotional piece begins with one or two scriptural verses, and then Patty starts teaching the reader critical truths and principles based on the verse(s), triggering valuable spiritual reflections and personal calls-to-action. When reading Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, therefore, don’t think you’re about to pick a book that’s not about to challenge you to experience spiritual renewal and transformation. This book has the power to produce a truly new you; a new you in virtually every area of your life.

One of my favorite devotional pieces in the book is “God, the Just and Justifier,” based on Romans 3:21-26, which is arguably “the most important paragraph on salvation in the Bible” (9). This portion of the book is a beautiful (and brief, of course) explanation and reflection on how God’s grace has liberated those who believe His grace is sufficient to forgive and cleanse their sins forever. Patty writes, “As such, when Jesus died on the cross he took our sins to himself, bore the punishment of God against our sin in his body, and thereby freed us from condemnation for our sin. God sent Jesus to be our substitute. This is the definition of grace” (9).    

In short, I highly recommend that you purchase and read this book. As you read this work, you will grow deeper in your comprehension and appreciation of grace. To help facilitate a critical review of Patty’s work, B&H Publishing Group/LifeWay supplied me with a copy of Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison