Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors | Book Review

 

Stop right there. Just go pre-order the book (click on the picture above). THEN come back and read all the reasons why. No, seriously…it’s THAT good. And I do not dole out compliments on books often. But this is one you just NEED to get. You can thank me later.

When I signed up to be a part of the launch team for this book, I had a feeling that this was going to be a tool God wanted to use to speak to my heart in a very particular way…but I really had no idea HOW meaningful it would be to my heart.

But, as I cracked it open for the first time earlier this week, and began to read, I couldn’t help but just shake my head and look heavenward. How did you know, God? HOW do you DO this?? How do you have someone on the other side of the world write a book that is SO…so…for ME?

As I sat and read this book, it was as if a dear friend was sitting beside me, speaking words straight from the Lord to MY heart. I could hardly bring myself to finish the last few chapters because I just didn’t want it to ever end. Someone understood. Someone who really, truly knows the Lord, in the truest sense of the word. Someone who had real truth to share with my heart, birthed out of having walked through the fire with the Lord, and having come out on the other side seeing His faithfulness. And it was like the sweetest fellowship you could ever hope for from the most kindred of hearts.

I could scarcely put the book down, and chapter after chapter, the tears tumbled down my cheeks.

Katie’s story is so raw. So heart-wrenchingly beautiful. So full of the reality that this life God has called us to is just not easy — nor was it meant to be easy…but He is WITH US. And He uses all of the brokenness of this world, and our own brokenness and wrestlings to draw us near. So close to His heart.

As she shared how she has found herself actually longing for the times of darkness and difficulty because she has found such a special closeness with the Lord through the midst of them, several memories of my own life flashed through my mind…and I had to nod, “Amen, Amen!” For I, too, have found this to be true. In fact, some of the MOST heart-wrenching circumstances of my life have become the greatest blessings, as they caused me to cling to Jesus with a fierce tenacity. And I would not trade the lessons He taught my heart as I walked through the midst of them, for being able to go back and have things work out differently.

“The invitation to experience sorrow and doubt and all those long nights WITH Him — THAT is favor.”

What do you do when your prayers have gone unanswered (ar at least, not answered in the ways you were hoping for)? What do you do when there is death instead of healing, heartache instead of comfort, and so, so much brokenness in this world that continually surrounds us?

Katie shares some of the bitter trials she has walked through since she wrote “Kisses from Katie”. She shares her wrestlings with the Lord — and perhaps you will see yourself in some of her struggles to hope…to trust…to understand why there is such heartache and pain in this world — and her triumphs, coming forth as she casts herself before the Lord, washing His feet with her tears poured out before Him day after day (and night after night), when the brokenness of the world around her was just too much to bear. Every bit of truth she shares in this book is tested by a life truly lived in the midst of the brokenness of this world — these are no trite quips written by a person sitting in their armchair by the fire in their multi-million dollar private mansion. These are truths birthed from pain, and springing forth from a life that is laid down for the sake of bringing Hope and life to those who are destitute.

From the depths of Katie’s weakness, the Lord showed HIS strength….and this book is SUCH a beautiful memorial to His faithfulness and power in spite of our weakness and wrestlings — our brokenness and scars. As she says so well:

 “All those cracks and holes and ruptures, they would be the places in my life where His glory would shine through.”

The resounding theme of this book is this: Those who hope in the Lord will never be disappointed (from Isaiah 49:23, Psalm 25:3)! We can cast all of the pain, and all of our weakness and burdens and fears upon Him…and know that He WILL come through. We can trust Him. We can HOPE in Him!

“When I hunger always for Him, even the hard satisfies. Even the grief gives way to joy. Even the bitter is sweet. Even in the dark, I can see His face. Because when we are looking for Him, we will always see Him. I have tasted of His goodness, and now I hunger for it.”

If you would like to pre-order this book (DO IT), watch the book trailer, or get more info on it, go to: https://amazima.org/daringtohope/

(Also, there is a special gift for those who pre-order this month!!)

 

And last, an excellent passage of scripture which sums up the book SO well:

Isaiah 49:13-16a

“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
    break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted.

 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me;
    my Lord has forgotten me.’

Can a woman forget her nursing child,
    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”

Pure & Holy Passion: Album Review

by Stephanie H.

It is a special bond when you find someone who loves the same music that you do.  I discovered one such kindred spirit recently in a dear friend and prayer buddy.  I’m the kind of person who discovers that I like a song, and then proceeds to listen to that same song for the rest of the month.  Well, my friend happened to venture into conversation with me during one of these fateful moods, and was hopelessly barraged with links.

What a blessing that she rose to the occasion!

We ended up having a really sweet conversation about our mutual love for the old-fashioned Jesus music.  Of course, there is plenty of more recent music that we both love, but there is just something about the older music, the ones that speak Scripture, that just speaks straight to the heart.  We talked about Petra, I shared with her some of my favorites from Chuck Girard, and she mentioned really enjoying GLAD.  I had some of their albums in my library already, but hadn’t gotten around to listening yet, so on the next available opportunity, I picked out an album called Pure and Holy Passion for a listen.

Even in the midst of a road-trip, when I can listen to hours of music in a single day, it was a few weeks before I listened to anything else.  Here are just a few of the reasons I quickly became so fond of this album:

Style

I love the depth of hymns, and the simplicity of learning to sing or play them.  I often prefer them to the more energetic contemporary Christian music that is popular now.  Pure and Holy Passion offers a pleasant mix of energy and the draw into the presence of the Lord.  How Firm a Foundation is exactly the combination of a hymn and modern pop/jazz accompaniment.  The other songs are more contemporary in origin, but easily parallel this sweet hymn, so that it is very difficult for me to choose just one favorite song.

Tone

Some of the music I tend to keep closest is that which I can use in my prayer time.  Each ends up having its own mood that best suits praise prayers, comfort prayers, or “be still and know” prayers.  Pure and Holy Passion is well designed for active participation.  Some vocalists are very talented, but it may be more easy to listen to them than to join them in praising the Lord.  This album is more like having time to dance with Jesus.  The melody is easy to follow, but the music and the message can turn suddenly, and offer sweet reminders of the character of God that I seemed not to have noticed in the song before.  It can draw me to joyful laughter and tears in the same musical phrase.  It isn’t something to which I listen for my “be still and know” prayers, but I love to be reminded of the wild nature of the Lord.

Skill

The talent displayed on this album is amazing.  I love it when I can just sit and listen to music, picking out the different voices of background instruments, or explore singing different parts of a harmony.  While the melodies of these songs are wonderfully easy to follow in worship, the layers of music to explore are rich and deep.  GLAD also does a great deal of a cappella music, so their voices function just as well as one whole as they do individually, and the result is wonderful to behold.  That doesn’t stop the instruments from having a chance to shine, though.  Every voice, string, and cymbal is given a purposeful role in this symphonic offering to the Lord.

Message

I enjoy a variety of musical styles, but what always makes or breaks it for me is the lyrical content.  The music I love most always has some way with its words to make the truths of God a little bit more real to me than they were before.  This is the biggest reason I’ve been coming back to Pure and Holy Passion again and again for the past two months.  Some of these lines just stick with me in a powerful way.

“The wisdom of a sovereign God,

Whose greatness will be shown,

When those who crucified Your Son,

Rejoice around Your throne.”

“Now from your dungeon a rumor is stirring,

You have heard it again and again,

Ah, but this time your cell keys are turning,

And outside are the faces of friends.”

“As long as I have breath I will praise You,

As long as my heart beats, I will sing.”

“And our voices join with the thousands who

Know mercy because of the cross.

All sinners washed in Your precious blood.

Forever we will sing!”

Even the order of songs is interesting to me.  Many albums begin with the most energetic songs and progressively transition to those that are slow, deep, and personal.  Pure and Holy Passion seems to do the opposite.  Most of the songs are energetic, but the first half mainly comprises the songs that sing of our offerings of praise to God.  Progressively, whatever we may do for God ebbs into the background as the music builds into crescendos of the eternal greatness of our Lord.

It is such a blessing to be able to share praise to the Lord through music, and to know that it will be our greatest joy to share again for eternity with thousands before and after us.  I hope that this music may be as much a blessing to your time with the Lord as it has been to me.

Here is a link to the album on YouTube.  I would love to hear your thoughts!