Pros: pulls from both the bible and real people's stories, feels personal and not too preachy
Cons: dates itself
I've been trying to read some books to help me in my Christian faith and growth. One that I found available their my local library's Kindle collection was The Applause of Heaven so I checked it out.
This is Max Lucado's book about the Beatitudes which are found in Matthew 5:3-12 in the bible and were given as part of the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. These are them:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye when [men] shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.
The book is divided into chapters based on each one. Lucado describes modern day scenarios as well as comparing them to stories in the bible. He talks about people with disabilities who are happy, in their love of God. He mentions people who are hurt emotionally or physically that are able to forgive their abuser.
He also analyzes many stories from the bible as well like the walking on water story and doubt, how John in a dungeon prayed to be freed and felt his prayers were unanswered, but how Jesus was working on a bigger need. I actually liked how Lucado talks about God's silence as not necessarily ignoring us, even though it can feel like our prayers are not being answered.
There are his interpretations of how the story of the rich man trying to get into heaven can be played out today and one part I liked was Lucado's discussion of going home, both literally after a trip away from his family, and how he thinks it will be going to his heavenly home. This part especially made a lot of sense and was easy to relate with.
I felt the book was well written overall. There were just a couple negatives. Some of the things he talked about showed the book was a bit dated. I believe the book was originally published in 1990 and some of the technology mentioned in the 'current' world situations were dated. One other thing he wrote about was the pain you would feel if your husband left you for another man, that it would be that much worse than leaving you for another woman. He didn't go into but my personal belief is that homosexuality is OK, and while leaving a spouse for another person is wrong it's not more wrong if it were for someone of the same sex.
I would definitely recommend this relatively short book (at 240 pages) to anyone interested in being more introspective about the beatitudes.