Wednesday, September 15, 2010

‘God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved’ by Beth Redman – Book Review

Buzz this

One of the most amazing Christian musicians is worship leader Matt Redman. Most people don’t know Matt’s wife, Beth, writes many of those sings with him. She is also an author. Her latest book is entitled ‘God Know My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved.’

Here is the synopsis of this book:

Do You Know How Much You Matter to God? In this powerful and deeply vulnerable book, Beth Redman writes to pass along a message that changed her life – that the God who made us also understands us intimately and proclaims our worth by naming us and calling our name. He hears our cries and reaches out to help us and fight for us. He knows our past but is already hard at work shaping our future – helping us, defending us, and restoring the damage life has done. And no matter what others do, our heavenly Father will never, ever leave or forget us.
Drawing on Scripture and her own experience, Redman invites us to explore the revolutionary implications of being loved by a God who knows our name. And she invites us to call on His name as well – to respond to His heart and love Him as He has loved us from the beginning.

Here is the biography of this author:

Beth Redman is an evangelist, Dove-Award-winning songwriter, and author whose books include Beautiful, Soul Sister, and Blessed Be Your Name, which was co-authored with her husband, Matt. Recently, Beth and Matt received the Dove Award for the Worship Song of the Year for “Blessed Be Your Name,” which they wrote together. Their combined song-writing skills also produced the popular worship songs “Let My Words Be Few,” “Facedown,” and “You Never Let Go.” A native Brit, Beth currently lives in Atlanta, where she serves as part of a team leading Passion City Church with her husband, Matt. They have five children.

Here is the book trailer for this God-honoring book:

Beth opens her first chapter, entitled ‘God Knows My Name,’ with this paragraph:

Our parents are often broken people wearing big learner’s plates, like drivers in training, when we arrive in their worlds. We shouldn’t judge them harshly, but sometimes the parents we need to love us most can hurt us and let us down. (p, 21)

She then went on to explain her situation growing up:

My mum was a true saint when I was growing up, and my closest friend. She brought me to church and taught me about God. In public my dad seemed the perfect father, but in private he struggled with anger…and we suffered terrible violence. In my very late teens, my parents separated. I don’t think we should place our parents’ mistakes or faults under the microscope and blame them for all our problems and baggage. God teaches us to forgive, and He gives us the grace to do so. He enables us to rise above the harshest of circumstances and to begin again. He rewrites generations of brokenness to give us an incredible hope and future with Jesus. (p. 22)

She goes on to share that she was having some health issues during her third pregnancy, and her 
doctor asked her to contact her living relatives to get information on her medical history. She contacted her father, with whom she’d had sporadic contact in her adulthood:

I contacted each family member and very nervously sent an email to my dad. He wrote back immediately, and still to this day I cannot believe his parting words.
He wrote that, yes, there was liver disease in the family, and also cancer, and he hoped I had both.
“Beth,” he wrote, “you deserve to suffer, because suffering would make someone as egotistical and vile as you a better person.”
He also threw in some awful comments about Matt and my children that need not be repeated. The email ended with him telling me I was cut out of his will and he had instructed his solicitor [lawyer] never to disclose his death or where he would be buried. While I was waiting for news of my liver condition, my earthly father had just cursed me and condemned my life. (p. 23)

I can so relate to that. I personally grew up without a father (my parents divorced before I was born, and I never met him). Her email also reminded me of an email I received from a family member over three years ago that was so vile and angry, it still affects me to this day when I think about it (which I try not to do very often)…

Beth reacted in this way to that email:

I cried out to my God…my true, amazing Father, my heavenly, forever Father, the One who knows all the failures and shortcomings and yet has never ever rejected me. He wrote my name on the palm of His hands and He stretched out His arms, and as He was viciously nailed to a cross, He separated me from my sin forever and loved me enough to die unjustly.  He walked a journey of horrific agony – pleading, being taunted – and He carried my cross, my death, my past, and my sin. His love was enough as He cried out, “It is finished!” Everything I ever need in life is now accessible and available to me through His death. (p. 24)

Hallelujah for that news!

Beth had succumbed to some sins in her early adult years. When she first met Matt, she was concerned about how he’d accept her. She was amazed at his graciousness:

Eventually, I talked to Matt about my fears, and he totally blew me away by saying so gently, “If Jesus sees you as pure, stunning, and spotless, how and why would I possibly see you any differently?” The past is just that – the past. When Matt sees me, he sees a beautiful new creation made whole and free by Jesus. I feel so loved and free. (p. 41)

What a wonderful example of unconditional love!

We need to let go of our past:

I want to encourage you in the midst of whatever painful memory hold you or rob you: God is calling you to look up and see the rainbow. It may seem insensitive or frustrating to think outside of or above your pain, but that rainbow is an incredible reminder for you that God is good, a new day is coming, eventually the rain will stop, and beauty and promise will reign over all your life!
Song of Solomon 2:11-21 says, “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come.” Grieve, mourn, heal, and receive the amazing power of prayer. All those things are healthy and right. Lean on Jesus and allow Him to free you from the memories, the trauma, or the regret. When we hand over our questions, our struggles, and our bad memories to Jesus, they are gone, buried, removed, and separated from us forever. (p. 49)

We need to stop the judging and start the loving:

Yes, it is terrible when a brother or sister falls from a blessed life of calling. It is terrible because that fall is the plan of the Enemy to kill and steal and destroy, not the plan of your loving heavenly Father, which is to bless, prosper, and give hope and a future. When we hear of such things and watch our friends fall painfully into sin and despair, let’s gently call them back to repentance, not tell them how dreadful they are. When someone hurts you or is inconsiderate , let’s not stand in judgment and condemnation. It is for Jesus alone to judge. Jesus calls us to love one another. Let’s not be yet another voice of accusation or condemnation. Be the voice of love and forgiveness, urging others to repent and return to Jesus. (p. 53)

God knows the desires of our heart, and we need to entrust them to Him:

God sees the dreams of our heart sometimes without us even telling Him. There are things I dreamed of that God has fulfilled over and above my wildest hopes, and there are dreams and desires I’ve presented and requested, and the answer seems to be, for no and maybe forever, a no. We have to trust Him and love Him enough to be grateful for each gift of grace, and be patient and humble when we wait. He wants us to commit each day, decision, and thought to Him. Then He can use us in the most unique way for the kingdom and for His glory, in a way that we would never have been able to make happen ourselves. (p. 68)

I love this godly advice:

God makes everything beautiful in His perfect time. Put your faith and trust in God, and ask Him to shut the wrong doors and open the right ones. When we let God take control, we allow Him to work miracles of great joy and power in our lives.
When the things we want and dream about don’t come to pass, we must choose to fight against becoming bitter or angry, and instead deliberately lay all our plans before the Lord. Our walk is to be God-centered, not me-centered. May your daily aim be to make the most of every opportunity to be faithful and obedient, to seek His face and His path in your life, and to resist the temptation to make things happen yourself. (pp. 71-72)

I need that reminder every day.

And we need to make sure we are listening to the Voice of God, not the enemy:

It is worth checking our hearts and minds and asking ourselves, Whose voice am I listening to? Are we persevering in our faith and doing the things we know feed our souls and our faith? Being faithful is like being fit – you’re got to put in the training if you want to be fit for the race. Staying in shape means going to the gym or working out regularly, and if you stop doing it, you’ll get out of shape! (p. 102)

And we need to remember where our strength comes from:

         The secret of my strength is the Lord.
Clearly and quite beautifully, the Bible assures us that Jesus, by the presence of the Holy Spirit, is always near and His ears are open when we cry, Help! Amazingly, He responds as our personal deliver. I’m so grateful for the times I have no one to rely on and my self is not enough, because it is in those moments when I call out, Help! that I rediscover the Giver of live. (pp. 117-118)

I am so glad this is true. I have been trying to not be alone this week, and am making appointments to be with people, as I grieve the loss of our sweet pup Toby this week. But one friend had to cancel yesterday, and I had a sweet time with the Lord in her stead. It is nice to know He will always be there.

Beth also reminds us that we do not control our own lives, whether we want to or not:

For whatever reason, they [women] like – even need – to be in firm control over their lives. Independence is healthy, but using our energy and strength to control situations without God is not. Our own strength is simply not enough. In the areas that we have no control, it can actually be easier to say, “Lord, I trust you,” because there is nothing else do! How wonderful to know that He is ready to step in and lead us away from trying to do everything with our own effort. Even in the small details of our lives, we need to recognize Jesus as Lord, which means He is the boss. You may not want a boss – and if that’s the case, your pride could cause a fall. But God wants us to realize sooner rather than later that we cannot (and weren’t designed to) go through life on our own. (p. 123)  

This is her encouragement out of the last chapter, ‘God Is My Restorer’:

Whatever happens to you, Jesus is able to restore to you all that the locusts have eaten. Everything the Enemy took, all that circumstances have inflicted upon you, the times you have messed up – Jesus can recover everything stolen and lost in your life. (p. 158)

This book includes a Study Guide at the back of the book; it consists of a Scripture Reading, Discussion Questions, and a Prayer for each chapter. There is also a web page link to a beautiful song, “God Knows My Name,” written by Beth exclusively for this book.

I was so encouraged by 'God Knows My Name'! Beth clearly has been through some trials in her life, yet she has chosen the high road that the Lord would have her travel rather than the low road that the enemy would have loved to seen her travel down. I intend to keep this book close at hand when I need to be reminded how much the Lord love me and how He has given His all for me.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by David C. Cook and provided by the B & B Media Group for review purposes.


Wanda said...

Enjoyed how you weave in your own personal story with the review of this book Andrea. Great job!

Andrea Schultz said...

Thanks, Wanda!

lotus82 said...

Love your point of view here!! Great review. I can't wait to get my hands on this book.


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