In his new book, “God is a Gift: Learning to Live in Grace”, Pastor Doug Reed explains how God’s love is the greatest gift to the world. From that love, expressed most evidently in Christ’s life and mission, humanity is taught a new way to live. In the Christian’s restored relationship with God, comes the responsibility to bring restoration to the rest of creation.
Through the use of personal stories and inspiring accounts from others, Doug Reed illuminates Scripture and eloquently describes what God wants for us as well as what God wants from us. Expanding upon John the Evangelists declaration that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), Doug makes the case that God’s love is a gift for the Christian life and has several implications for how we perceive our relationship to the world. Doug writes that “understanding that God is a gift transforms all of our relationships. It opens the door for us to love our neighbor and ourselves; if God embraces our neighbor, so must we. Since God has given Himself to us, we can no longer look at who we are or what we have done to measure our worth. Our worth is now tied to who Jesus is and what He has done.
Some of my favorite chapters include Ch. 2 “The Two Trees” in which Doug reflects on the consequences of Adam and Eve’s decision to choose selfishness and independence over paradise in relationship with God; and Ch. 7 “The Cross” where the atoning work of Christ is highlighted to show the reconciling power of God. At Calvary, the fall in Eden was undone and sin lost its power. Jesus the Second Adam establishes the right relationship God intended with the first. Doug writes that “at the cross, Christ became the human condition. And we can describe this condition not so much in terms of pain but of shame and isolation. Aloneness is the greatest consequence of rejecting God’s gift (p. 87).
“God is a Gift” is a great book for the believer to grow in their understanding of how faith in the work of Christ can transform our relationship with the Father and each other. Anyone struggling with insecurities in their spiritual walk will be encouraged and strengthened to see themselves in their new identity as God’s child. One of my favorite biblical story’s, that of the Prodigal son, is a reoccurring theme throughout the book, that later gets fleshed out in its own chapter.
In addition, the author shares some of the personal history behind his church, the world-renown Throncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas which I had never heard of before this read. After finishing this book, I’ll be sure to jump on any opportunity to visit the scenic, “Ozark Gothic” Throncrown Chapel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.