A new beginning…

Finding my feet in living for Jesus.

Archive for the ‘books’ Category

From the Depths of Hell to the Heights of Glory

Posted by lauraoli on February 23, 2011

A friend recommended this book (Taming the Tiger by Tony Anthony) a few weeks ago, saying that it held an extraordinary story of a man coming to know Christ whilst in prison in Cyprus. I was intrigued, and so bought it. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

The first few chapters recall Tony Anthony’s early childhood, of being sent to China from England to live with his Grandparents at the age of four. His grandfather was a Kung-fu champion, a Shaolin monk, and a direct descendant of the Soo family kung-fu dynasty. Once in China, Tony was trained by his grandfather in the ways of kung-fu, not only in the physical aspects of it, but also in the mental and spiritual side, learning to focus his ‘Ch’i’ and to rely on the ‘god inside of him’. This training set him up to be World Champion 3 times, before becoming a bodyguard to some of the world’s most powerful people. Whilst in his role as a bodyguard, his fiancée died and he started to commit crime. He was eventually caught and sent to Nicosia prison on the island of Cyprus for a total of 3 years. It was whilst incarcerated, that a man by the name of Michael Wright began to visit Tony, and simply spend time chatting about day to day life. After many visits Tony eventually asked Michael why he bothered to visit him, and he explained about Jesus and how much He loved Tony and wanted to be in a relationship with him. Soon after this, Tony confessed his sins to God, and received His forgiveness. The rest of his time he was in prison he spent learning more about God and telling the other inmates about Him. He soon started a regular bible study for those other inmates who had become Christians, and as a consequence of this had to serve extra time in prison. The book continues to tell his life story up until the present day, living in England, married with children and leading the Avanti Ministries Evangelical organisation.

The book really is an incredible picture of how God can work in lives of those people who seem to be the furthest from him. The story of the time Tony spent in Nicosia prison is simply awe-inspiring, and it’s incredible to see the difference Jesus made in the life of the author. It also shows the love of the missionary, Michael, as a great example of how we should live our lives, trying to reach those who don’t yet know about Jesus.

This was a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and was greatly inspired by, and would recommend it to anyone, Christian or not. The early part of the book documenting Tony’s time in China, being trained in the art of kung-fu is particularly fascinating. However, the greatest part of the book, for me, was the amazing story of how God reaches those who need Him the most by ways we just would not think possible.

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Spaghetti.

Posted by lauraoli on January 20, 2010

At prayer group (‘pentagon’ – there are 5 of us) last night, I was very full of spaghetti, in both the literal and metaphorical sense of the word. I had a belly full of spaghetti, courtesy of one of the other girls, and a head full of spaghetti after we attempted to read the ‘What is God like?’ chapter in our book (Christian beliefs – 20 basics every Christian should know, by Wayne Grudem).  We only got half way through the chapter, since we are very good at going off on huge tangents. Our discussion and what we read really blew my mind. As a fairly new Christian, I am learning something new every day. But last night was information OVERLOAD. God is truly awesome.

I thought I’d recap on some of the stuff we talked about.

God’s existence

The bible simply assumes God’s existence. Every created thing gives evidence of God and his character – human beings, created in the image of God, give the most evidence of God’s existence and character.

So belief in God is not some ‘blind faith’, it is based on evidence found both in the bible and in the natural world. Whenever I’d though of ‘creation’ as being evidence for God, I always though of the physical world, mountains, rivers etc. But then we read that we, as created human beings, are clear indicators for a creator God. It seems so obvious now, but that’s pretty cool.

This reminds me of laminin, my favourite cell adhesion protein. I’ll tell you about it at some other time.

God’s knowability

Not only does God exist, he exists in such a way that we can know things about him and actually come to know him personally.  We can never know God fully – he is infinite and we are finite. His greatness is too great to ever fully to be known.

We have an infinitely great God, who we can’t possibly understand, but we can know him personally. Wow.

God is independent

God doesn’t need us or anything else in creation for anything. God has always been perfectly and completely happy and fulfilled in his personal existence. God always was. He was not created; he never came into being. Therefore God is not dependent on anyone for anything. His entire creation is entirely dependent on him. God chooses to give us value and sinificance. We are important to him!

Though God does not need us, he allows us to bring joy to his heart. I bring joy to the creator God?!

God is eternal

He has no beginning or end or succession of events in his own being. He has always existed. His view of time is radically different to ours. God views all of past history as vividly as he would if it were a brief event that had just happened. But he also views a brief event as if it were going on forever. As the one who created and rules over time, God uses time for his own purposes.

It’s very had to get my head round the fact that God created time. Having no time makes no sense to me. But it wouldn’t, that’s why God’s God and I’m me. Because I can’t understand it. It makes my head hurt trying to understand it.

God is omnipresent

He is unlimited with regard to space. He does not have size or spatial dimensions; he is present in every point of space with his whole being. He cannot be limited by material space because he created it.

Again, not only did God create time, he also created space. So he is not limited by space. Baffling.

God is omniscient

He fully knows all things that he could have done, but did not do, and all things that he might have created, but did not create. He also knows all possible events that will not actually happen, and events that would have resulted if some other events had turned differently in history. God is always, at all times, fully aware of everything. His knowledge never changes or grows. Nothing surprises him, nothing is hidden from him. From all eternity God has known all things that would happen and all things that he would do.

This little bit turned into a huge discussion about predestination. There is a whole chapter on that later in the book, so hopefully I will come to learn more about it then. At the moment it’s all very confusing. But as I learned last week, everything that I need to be a Christian is very clear. If there are things that aren’t very clear, then they aren’t that important.

Writing this has made me remember how I felt last night. Confused and bewildered, but absolutely in awe. God is truly awesome.

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