the good life by Dr. Derwin L. Gray–Book Review

Everyone is looking for happiness.  Did you know that in 2008 four thousand books were written on this topic?  Yet, true happiness is elusive.  As author Derwin Gray puts it:

“Trying to find lasting happiness is like chasing your shadow;  what starts as childish fun erodes into adult frustration, failure and disappointment.”

In this book, subtitled What Jesus Teaches About Finding True Happiness, Dr. Gray takes an in depth look at the Beatitudes, which he sees as a description of how God’s people should live here on earth.  Jesus was inviting people to be happy by joining their lives to His and participating in His kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“The deeper we immerse ourselves in Jesus and his kingdom, the more we are supernaturally sculpted into his image, and the happier we will become.”

True and lasting happiness is not about satisfying our every desire, or having only good things happen to us.  It’s about being good and becoming more and more like Christ.  It’s about being grounded in the eternal instead of the temporary.  This is living the good life.

Each chapter is followed by a prayer, reflection questions and a recap of the main points covered.  It could easily be used in a small group setting.  The Beatitudes are rich fodder for comparing our individual lives to the Christian ideal.  It will encourage reflection and self-examination.  You will ask yourself many Difficult Questions.

VERDICT:  4 STARS.  A study that is both readable and challenging.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/the-good-life-P005822388

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.

For more on the Beatitudes see:

Peacemaker or Peacekeeper?

Bonhoeffer on Peacemaking

Hungry for What?

 

Difficult Questions

I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems to me that the further I travel along the Christian path, the more difficult the questions I have to ask myself become.  In a previous blog, I wrote about the diaries of Dorothy Day–Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day) edited by Robert Ellsberg –Book Review.  I found myself convicted by her statement that we love God only as much as that person we like the least.  How much is that if I am truly honest?

Currently I’m reading a book by Dr. Derwin L. Gray entitled, The Good Life.  (You’ll be seeing a review of it shortly).  It focuses on the beatitudes.  Here are some questions he poses in his section on mercy:

  • Who is your greatest enemy?
  • Who has hurt you the most?
  • How do you feel about those who are on the opposite end of the political spectrum from your position?
  • What people group of a different ethnicity or socioeconomic status do you hold ill will toward?

And then of course, the big question — if God loved me and offered me forgiveness, reconciliation and mercy when I was His enemy, How can I not do likewise?  Consider these verses from the book of Romans:

“For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.”  Romans 5:10

Is this easy?  Of course not.  It’s not easy to put aside fear of those who are different, to forgive the person who hurt you, to show mercy to someone who harmed you.  But going to the cross wasn’t easy for Jesus, either.  However, that’s exactly what we’re called to do.  To love others, not just in word, but in deed.  Not necessarily the warm, fuzzy feeling of love that comes and goes, but the charitable love that is patient, compassionate and thinks the best of others. (Charity = Love)

Sounds good, but how do we do this in practical terms? The Bible tells us to pray for our enemies — so pray.  Not just for enemies in general, but that particular person you feel unable to tolerate.  Pray not that they will change, but that things will go well for them.  We’re also called to do good to those who harm us.  In other words, get to know them, and let them know you.  Their perspective may change, and so may yours.

Well, I’ve talked long enough and now I’d like to hear from some of you, readers and authors.  What are the difficult questions you’re struggling with?