October 18, 2012

In His Steps

Inspiring, thought-provoking and convicting, that's how I would describe this classic.

For some reason I thought this book was non-fiction, but it's actually a moving work of fiction. Written and set in the late 19th century, it took me a bit of time to get used to the language style and way of life.

Most of the main characters are wealthy men and women who attend a prominent church in the city of Raymond. They do all the 'politically correct' Christian things like giving to charity, reading their Bibles and being polite.

But then one day the pastor encounters a beggar at his door and decides to turn him away. Later the man shows up at the church during one of his services.

Convicted by the Holy Spirit, the pastor then takes the man into his home. After great thought and prayer the pastor challenges his congregation to live like Jesus and not to make any life decisions without asking 'what would Jesus do?'

Literally.

What happens to the people who choose to go through with this pledge and the circumstances they face are so inspiring. Giving their lives over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and learning to obey, even if that means being ostracized, losing their business or the comfort and luxuries of their station.

There were several powerful scenes where the characters bowed their heads and cried out to God, these scenes really got to me. To envision a man weeping before God asking Him for guidance and strength is so beautiful, it made me think of David, a man after God's own heart.

"A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You." 
 Psalm 141:1

"And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will." 
 Acts 13:22

Sometimes when we obey the Spirit of God's leading we may be precieved as fanatics, but we can't let that keep us for obeying. I can recall many times in my life where I obeyed and been ostracized for it, and sadly many times I didn't obey and had to ask God to forgive my lack of faith.

In some ways the theme of this book reminded me of David Platt's book 'Radical' A book which encourages us to not just live for Jesus but to suffer with Him, to imitate Him.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,

 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." 

1Corinthians 10:31-33 & 11:1

Here's a challenging quote from the last chapter of the book:

'Jesus, I my cross have taken
All to leave and follow Thee?'

"If we can sing that truly, then we may claim discipleship. But if our definition of being a Christian is simple to enjoy the privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and by comfortable things, live respectably and at the same time avoid the world's great stress of sin and trouble because it is too much pain to bear it - if this is our definition of Christianity, surely we are a long way from following the steps of Him who trod the way with groans and tears and sobs of anguish for a lost humanity; who sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, who cried out on the unreared cross, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'

Are we ready to make and live a new discipleship? Are we ready to reconsider our definition of a Christian? What is it to be a Christian? It is to imitate Jesus. It is to do as He would do. It is to walk in His steps."

I recently started watching a BBC show called 'Call the Midwife' which is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth and set in East London during the 1950's. It is one of the most beautiful shows I've ever seen. One that holds life precious.


Here I found 2 wonderful examples of suffering with Christ:

A young nurse goes to help an old man with ulcers on his legs. She doesn't just go and do her job and leave, but makes an effort to spend time with this lonely man and get to know him. Later he is forced out of his home due to bad living conditions and forms gangrene in his legs. Both have to be amputated. The young nurse comes to visit him in the hospital and weeps by his bedside for him. I think that's what suffering with Christ looks like. It's putting someone's pain ahead of yourself and sharing in it with them. I know this is what Jesus would do.

An older woman in her 40's finds out she is pregnant. Her husband is over the moon with excitement. He is even older than she. They met late in life after her first husband past away and though she didn't love him at first, she married for comfort. When she goes into labor she is terrified because she worries the baby may be black. She had had a one night stand and fears abandonment from her husband. When she delivers, the baby is in fact black, but when her husband comes into see them he falls in love with this beautiful little bundle and never says a thing. It's obvious he knows but his love for his wife and her child out weight it and he forgives and calls the little one his son. I know this is what Jesus would do.

God, please help us be real Christians. Help us not to just follow You, but imitate You.

Buy it HERE on Amazon


22 comments:

  1. Great shares! I have always wanted to read In His Steps- as I have heard it is a classic! The show looks wonderful, too!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this wonderful review! I love the book In His Steps! I read it when I gave my life to Jesus and was so inspired. It continues to resonate in my heart and challenge me to live as Jesus would. I highly recommend this book!

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  3. In his steps is a great read. Thanks for sharing. To many time our flesh gets in the way of us doing as Jesus would. We have to pray for the Lord to guide us each step of the way.


    Amanda
    http://lordleadmeon.blogspot.com

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  4. I read In His Steps about 20 years ago and I remember it had a great impact on me. Someone should rewrite that book in modern English with modern situations. I think it is a message we need to hear and more people would read it if it were updated. But the message is timeless. Bless you, GAil

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  5. Thanks for stopping by and sharing ladies!

    Gail - I was thinking the same thing as I was reading this, how it would be great if someone rewrote it in a modern day setting. I think it could be even more powerful if done right.

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  6. What a great story line - I'm afraid to read this and not get anything from it with the writing style, I often stop trying if it isn't fairly easy to read. Yet I think the message is powerful... dilemma

    Thanks for Linking up with Cozy book hop again!

    Marissa

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    1. Hi Marissa, I can understand shying away from 19th century literature because of the language style. I often put off reading classic books because they do take a little more work and time to get through. But I find that these stories are so worth the read.
      I recently pushed through reading 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens and so glad I did. It was such a meaningful story, filled with real characters living in real situations of the time.
      'In His Steps' is not very long, only about 240 pages, so I would encourage you to try it. Hope you do. :)

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  7. Joni Sullivan BakerOctober 22, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    Hi, Cathy -- It's neat that you are reviewing such a wide variety of books including such great classics as In His Steps. How can I contact you to tell you about a book? I'm working with a Christian author and found your blog. Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Joni, thanks for stopping by! I don't usually do reviews for authors, I just write about books I'm reading and enjoying. I do enjoy hearing of new books though. :)

      You can message me through my blogs Facebook page at... http://www.facebook.com/pages/CathyThoughts-on-Books/279213588768824

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  8. Thank you for your book review and for linking up at Leaving A Legacy. I've always wanted to read this book.

    Blessing~Shari

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    1. Hi Shari, hope you get a chance to read this one! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  9. Two of my children had to read In His Steps as part of their high school curriculum (we homeschool. guess that's obvious :)) I read it and it's definitely a powerful book!

    I was wondering about that show. Sounds good! I'll have to check it out.

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    1. I'm really enjoying this show,'Call the Midwife' though it does deal with some 'not so pretty' situations sometimes, I do love the realism. The midwives are far from perfect but they are such an inspiration on how to treat others who are struggling.
      Thanks for stopping by Anne!

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  10. I've read In His Steps a long time ago. Very convicting. Call the Midwives sounds like something I would want to watch. Thanks for telling us about it. Patsy from
    HeARTworks

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  11. Found you through Fellowship Fridays at CMB.... this is one of my all-time favorite books! Great review!

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  12. Hi Patsy and Elizabeth, glad you both enjoyed this book too! Thanks for coming by my blog today. :)

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  13. Visiting from Fellowship Fridays - such good thoughts! And now it has been several times that I have read such positive things about the Call the Midwife series - such griping examples you gave from the series.

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    1. Thanks Cherry! Hope you get a chance to watch the show. I've only seen the first 4 episodes so I'm hoping the rest of the series is just as good. :)

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  14. Love In His Steps and Call the Midwife! I enjoyed reading about both of them and being reminded of all the wonderful storytelling going on in both. Thanks for sharing this with us. Blessings!

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    1. Hi Renee, glad you enjoyed the book and enjoying the series as well! Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. I can't even count how many times I've read this book - it's one of my favorites and I re-read it often! I also love that show and thought the older couple's story was especially touching!

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    1. It's been awhile since I read this. I should read it again too sometime. Glad you loved it!

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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