Sarah Young is quietly leading thousands of women worldwide on a journey of intimacy with Christ. Sarah has a philosophy degree from Wellesley College, a counseling degree from Georgia State University, a Master's degree from Tufts University, and studied with Francis Schaeffer's L'Abri Fellowship. Sarah and her husband have traveled around the world planting churches and counseling, and they currently reside in Australia.
A few months ago I joined the Thomas Nelson Publishers blog book review team. What a novel idea. I signed up, agreed to write a review and publish it on my blog as well as one other commercial site. In exchange, I received the book I chose to review in the mail.
I chose "Jesus Calling," a devotional by Sarah Young.
I was drawn to the content based on a few tweets from others reading the devotional. I grew up in my faith with the Oswald Chambers classic "My Utmost for His Highest." I love my online devotional time on the Jesuit site [..]--one of my favourite experiences on the web. I also love Henri Nouwen's "Bread for the Journey."
Now "Jesus Calling" is fast becoming another classic in my life. Sarah Young writes what she hears Jesus speaking to her in her spirit. She has honed her listening through years and years of writing in her journal and being attentive to what the Spirit wants to say to her.
As I have spent time in "Jesus Calling, "I have heard Jesus speaking to me many times in beautiful, fresh ways. Sometimes I hear Sarah's personal filter--she is the pen, the messenger, after all--but I also recognize this as the voice of my Shepherd.
Here are a few of my favourite calls:
* "Rest in My Presence, allowing Me to take charge of this day. Do not bolt into the day like a racehorse suddenly released. Instead, walk purposefully with Me, letting Me direct your course one step at a time."
* "You are on the right path. Listen more to Me, and less to your doubts. I am leading you along the way designed just for you."
* "You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens.Read more ›
"Jesus Calling" is a relatively unique devotional book in that Sarah Young has written her devotions from the point of view of Jesus Christ. Using this technique gives the book a sense of immediacy and intimacy with the Lord, and this is the great strength of the book.
Many of these short sayings that Young puts in the mouth of Jesus are things the Lord would say and has said to me during a life of listening to Him, reading the Scriptures, and keeping a journal. How often have I heard Him remind me to worship Him alone, to trust in Him at all times, and that He is always with me. To hear these words as if they are Jesus' own can be beneficial to the soul.
However, there are 4 reasons I can give "Jesus Calling" only 3 stars and not 4 or 5 stars, (even though I'm vastly outnumbered in the reviews on Amazon).
1. Young has Jesus say only a limited range of things compared to what God actually teaches in the entirety of the Bible. I love to hear Jesus say things like, "Relax; Trust Me; Listen to Me; I am with you; I am calling you; and Wait for Me." But this seems to be all that Young's Jesus ever says. Where are the specific commandments of Jesus, and not just "affirmations"? Where does this Jesus ever talk about the practical ways we should love our neighbor, and not just love God? And why is it always a solitary call to be alone with Him, when we're called to be the Church?
2. "Jesus Calling" shows Young's bias and doesn't have Jesus say the hard things He must often say. Where are His reminders and commandments to seek forgiveness and to forgive, to love regardless of the cost, etc? This Jesus doesn't seem ask us to do anything difficult or to sacrifice very much. It's all "You are on the right path.Read more ›
This book, written as if God were speaking, gives you a new perspective on God's desire for you to find contentment and peace. Sarah Young finds the perfect scriptural references for each devotion. Reading this devotion daily will bring you a new kind of peace, rooted in the word of God.
This book has an excerpt to read for every day of the year. So far I have read Jan. 1 through Jan. 28. In addition to those 28 days I have jumped around reading random pages and I have been so encouraged by what I have read. Each reading is a half a page to one page long. The book is small so the reading time is very short. Each page is written as if Jesus is talking directly to you. There are scripture references listed at the bottom of each page as well. So if you are looking for a great devotional book that will help you get closer to the Lord that won't take up a large amount of time this is the book for you.
I absolutely love this devotion book. Sarah Young speaks from the heart and puts into words what I can not form but what I do feel.
It is like "listening in a mirror." Listening, not reading. I can read the book, but listen to God's voice in my soul - where the Holy Spirit reflects (hence, mirror) that from those in whom He lives.I highly recomend this as a must have devotion.
What a wonderful book and gift this turned out to be. She loved it!
My wife was attending a ladies Bible study and the leader recommended this as a daily devotional that would open their eyes to a different perspective of Jesus. I have read some pretty sad remarks about this book from people that truly are not looking to increase their experience with knowing the Savior. So, I came to Amazon to review the book, read a few pages that got me excited about what she was doing with this daily word experience, and saw this special which I couldn't pass up -- I love to spoil my wife.
Enough said. The book is beautifully made and a lifetime gift that can be passed along to our children and grandchildren. Actually, I have already bought the books for our daughters and will give it to them on their anniversaries. Unless I get too excited about it and give it to them before!