Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saint Francis

Saint Francis (Christian Encounters Series)Today is part two of my series on Psalm 119. If you haven't read the previous post, please click here to start there. Yesterday I talked about the promises for believers who read and study the Bible, but there are many people today who question the validity of Scripture. Even believers have questions about why a book written thousands of years ago has relevance for today. I know that when I was a child, then teenager, into my early adult years, I couldn't understand how the Bible had anything to do with my life. The language was tricky, and it didn't seem to have answers that truly related to my life.

Psalm 119 is an ode to the Word. The writer rhapsodizes about the many benefits to readers, but he also wants to reader to understand just how relevant and true this book is. According to Psalm 119, the Bible is:

  • more valuable than millions in gold or silver. Verse 72
  • trustworthy Verses 86 and 138
  • stands firm in Heaven Verse 89
  • remains true This promise is so important, it is repeated three times: verses 91, 142, and 151
  • sweeter than honey Verse 103
  • right This is another guarantee the writer wants readers to remember, as it is repeated in three verses: 128, 144, and 172
  • wonderful Verse 129
  • fair Verse 137
  • perfect Verse 138
  • will last forever This mighty promise is given twice: verses 152 and 160
  • thoroughly tested Verse 140
  • has no limit Verse 96
  • just Verse 164
Where else are you ever going to find something with that kind of guarantee? If you go to any court in the United States, you cannot be promised to receive justice that tried and true. I know that there are people who believe that the values and stories in the Bible are outdated and irrelevant, but for a reader who opens their heart to it the wisdom found inside is priceless. If I could add a word to the list, "priceless" would be my choice. 

This book promises to give you life, comfort, joy, and peace, and it backs those promises up with a guarantee that is thoroughly tested, perfect, and will last forever. You can't find a better promise anywhere else!

Christian Encounters: Saint Francis by Robert West is a look at the saint best known for his love of animals. West retells the well-known story of how the son of a wealthy merchant in the small Italian town of Assisi went from a party animal to the founder of a monastic order known for its poverty. Francis was raised with all of the comforts of wealth and enjoyed lavishing gifts on his friends, but when God touched his heart, he became deeply changed and grew to hate his former pleasures. Francis' order of monks was known for the requirement to donate all possessions upon entrance, and for their desire to live without any possessions. West brings to life the tumultuous time Francis lived during, with wars between cities, troubles in the Church, and Crusades; he helps readers to understand how Francis fit into this time period, as well as how he impacted it. While Francis has become well known for his affinity to animals, West brings other less known information to readers, about his miracles, stigmata (the first in Church history), and his ecstatic reveries that occasionally sent him running through the snow clothed only in a tunic. West helps bring to light this famous saint and give readers fresh perspective on his life.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book for review.