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Embraced by Holiness: The Path to God's Daily Presence Paperback – June 2, 2014
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Embraced by Holiness Bible study, is six chapters with five session in each, with the study theme of living a life of holiness.
Holiness is a topic that makes people uncomfortable; the most common problem with holiness is a misunderstanding of what the word means, and especially how it is lived-out.
Howard gave a quote from a book written by Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness. "To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin and, therefore, consecrated to God. The word signifies 'separation to God and the conduct befitting those so separated."
The word holy is expounded on through the first chapter to give a full and complete understanding of it for the Christian, especially in regards to living out in obedience to God in holiness.
I'm glad the author explained in chapter two that God does not "hide or conceal Himself. He freely makes Himself known and invites us to explore and experience Him in numerous ways."
Chapter three explores "face to face with His holiness." How will we "respond" to this?
Chapter four "will explore our own spiritual 'before and after'. We will see that believers are positionally holy before God because Christ gives us His holiness when He saves us. We will also hear God's call to progressive holiness."
Chapter five is on "refining" and "sanctification".
Chapter six is on how to live out holiness in a "practical" way.
A variety of authors, pastors, and teachers are quoted: Nancy Leigh DeMoss, J C Ryle, Jerry Bridges, Wayne Grudem, R C Sproul, C S Lewis, and A W Tozer.
Howard uses several versions of the Bible: New Living Translation, New International Version, and the Amplified.
Both the Old Testament and New Testament are explored. The creation story, Moses, the Israelite people during their time of bondage in Egypt and journey to the Promised Land, Job, Isaiah, Nicodemus, Peter, and Paul.
I loved it that the Bible study explores the whole Bible, both in what the OT and NT has to say about: holiness, godly living, justification, sanctification, obedience, God's Word, and values of our culture versus how God has called us to live.
This last point is what I thought about while reading Embraced By Holiness. When I was a kid growing up we attended a small Southern Baptist church near our home. The members of the church were like a family. This is a benefit of a small church, everyone knows each other and feels a connection. On the other hand, everyone knows your business; however, this is a reflection of people period, people notice what we say and do, and opinions are aplenty. I cared what my church family thought about me, and of course cared what my family thought about me; perfection for the sake of perfection in order to earn points even if those points are love points, is not what being holy is all about. During my youth, I stopped trying to be perfect and rebelled, because I wanted to please my peers and this included an abusive boyfriend. Throughout this time I'd not understood (or accepted) what mom and dad had tried to teach me, "Annette, you are a child of God, you do not live like the world lives, because if you do, then you do not reflect Jesus Christ abiding in you." I began to straighten out my life in my late teens and began attending church again, but was sporadic at reading the Bible. At age thirty I was invited to Bible Study Fellowship, and other Bible studies through the years were attended. At age thirty, I began a daily Bible reading time. In my forties, reading through the Bible every year became apart of my life. It has been through reading God's Word, and the Holy Spirit's work in me, that has changed my thoughts, goals, emotional maturity, view of self and others, and further that my journey on this earth as a Christian does not stop until I'm in the presence of Jesus Christ in heaven. The life of a Christian is a day by day, and even moment by moment, surrender to His Word and His Spirit, in my life.
Our eyes should be on Jesus Christ, not on others, because people are people, they are fallible, insecure, weak, meandering, sheep.
Kathy Howard's Bible study is a reminder at several points, as to why holiness is important as a Christian. Society may roll their eye balls or hurl obscenities at our talk of holiness, but with stark seriousness we have been "bought with a price".
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. ESV.
The book has a great balance between Scripture and application. It doesn't just give commands and then leave us to fend for ourselves. It provides practical tips to help someone develop holiness in their daily lives.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is this: "God’s salvation not only changes our eternity, it also changes our here and now.”
*I received this book for free for review but all opinions are my own.
This is a true Bible Study/Devotional. It requires a Bible in hand for each chapter/day study as there are many references to back what the author is sharing. There are also spaces to write within each chapter your own personal reflections, etc...
Each chapter serves as a daily devotional for a six week span. The author shares a personal example followed by Biblical points to ponder and personalize. She then seamlessly ties it all together as she encourages the reader to take an individual look at what His Word is saying and how we can apply it. While this sounds like a "I need to do this, do that, be this, be that, this means more hard work for me" kind of study, it didn't end up being that for me. Kathy Howard managed to show me how God has made living a holy life readily available to us all.
"Embraced by Holiness" provided the perspective I needed to follow the holy life God desires for me. And I would highly recommend it to others.
My four star rating is not based on content but on layout. The font is rather small, although clearly printed. While it helped me stay completely focused, it was difficult to read in the places I normally do. Which ended up being a good thing as you really do need to be at a writing surface to fully take advantage of what this book offers.
Note: I was given a copy for free in exchange for my honest review. And I honestly would recommend this to anyone looking to know God's character more intimately. As you will find--the more you know God, the more you will see what He has designed you to be.
I would recommend this study to someone who is seeking a closer relationship with Christ and a desire to know Him more. This is not a study with fluff. It is a solid, truth filled, examination of God's character and how it aligns with your life. It guides you to seek God and challenges you to honestly search your own heart.
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.