Thursday, August 15, 2013

BOOK REVIEW....s.michael wilcox

Today is Book Review Thursday. What are you reading this summer? I have been reading a book by LDS author S. Michael Wilcox:” Face to Face: Seeking a Personal Relationship with God
Have you read any of his other works? I also read a book of his called; The Fourth Watch, When your Prayers seem Unanswered”. It was a very insightful and personal work.  In his new book the author asks this question:

(From inside flap)
Is it possible to talk with God as Moses did—face to face? This not only what we long for, but what God also ardently desires for us. With Moses that may have meant an actual physical encounter, but for most of us it is an expression that suggests friendship, open communication, honesty and familiar conversations. But how can we do that? How can we approach God in such a way that he will respond in kind? And how can we learn how God speaks to us individually?
Brother Wilcox takes his title from the LDS  scripture in the Book of Abraham of the Pearl of Great Price: 
Abraham 3:11 Thus I Abraham talked with the Lord face to face as one man talks with another; and he told me of the works which his hand had made.
You can also note a reference in the book of Exodus with Moses speaking to God “face to face”, and the Lord called him friend.
Exodus 33:11 And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”…
I would ask, what servant of God wound not want to be called a “friend” of God, it seems so lofty doesn't it? But in his synopsis, the author gives us four keys to this relationship: friendship; open communication, honesty and familiar conversation. I am in awe of such a simple method of seeking a friendship with God.

This book is not a "self-help" type of book, but rather it is written almost as an ongoing spiritual progression and practical application, that can be shared with anyone. The author share's  the beginning of his prayer "progression" in Chapter 1 called "Ceilings"   
"When I was a child, my mother taught me to pray. As all children do, I knelt down and followed the formula my mother gave me.... we thanked, we asked, we blessed. At first she said the words and I repeated them, but as I grew older, I would talk to my Father in Heaven on my own. A child's mind  comes up with some of the most interesting thoughts and questions. Many are simply delightful and others are of such complexity that even the most mature  and intelligent don't have a good answer. My question as a child was really very simple. I recall kneeling alone in my room and looking up at the ceiling and wondering how my words could get through. My concept of God was that he was "up" rather than around me or by my side, and all that ceiling overhead was surely a barrier. How could my words reach him.?"  excerpt page 3
I remember feeling that way as a child, but more recently since I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints as a new convert. I have felt that my prayers are in that same realm, but I have also allowed myself to "invite" the Father and the Son into my prayers and to learn to "listen" for comfort and teaching and answers. For me, I have always felt that my prayers are heard, and I have always felt that an answer was given or is "in process". The Lord has answered many prayers in a variety of ways.  I am going to add this verse to the list: 
 Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.His praise endures forever.
The author also encourages us throughout his book to "seek out the Lord" in friendship. I have the impression that a friendship with the Lord goes deep and is more than an email or a text every now and then. 
Excerpt page 4We must talk with him as did Moses, face to face. This is not only what we long for, but what God also ardently desires. For Moses, that may have meant an actual physical encounter. For most of us, it is an expression that suggests friendship, open communication, honesty and familiar conversations.  
The author details in six chapters on "Reaching" God through our prayers:
1 Reaching: Through pouring out
2 Reaching: Through wrestling
3 Reaching: Through believing
4 Reaching: Through acting
5 Reaching: Through desire
6 Reaching: Through knocking  
I recognize many instances in my own life where I have had an ongoing conversation in my heart as well as my head with Heavenly Father and it's not all one sided either. I have felt confident enough to ask questions and ask for help solving problems and sometimes I have had good thoughts fill me up and I have experienced joy. In this friendship, I know that there is happiness and joy and even laughter and humor, awesome isn't it?
I recommend this book to anyone, and if you know me, I have a copy to loan out.  

S. Michael Wilcox is an instructor at the institute of religion adjacent to the University of Utah. A frequent speaker at Brigham Young University Education Week, Michael also conducts tours of the Holy Land, Church history sites, Europe, China, and Central America. He received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Brigham Young University, a master’s in media from the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in educational philosophy. He is the author of House of Glory and When Your Prayers Seem Unanswered.
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