Thursday, January 10, 2019

Meeting God Face to Face by Bill Johnson

I had hoped this would be a devotional to help me seek and be in God's presence this year. Johnson says in his introduction that he wrote this devotional to stir up our desire to be close to God. (vii)

He starts out well. He reminds readers of the cost of seeking God's face – everything. The supernatural reality of God's presence may mean we lose our dignity or respectability. I was encouraged when I read, “Ministry to God is the most important responsibility of all, and it is available to every believer.” (10)

Johnson did not stay long on the subject of seeking God's presence or ministering to Him, however. He moved quickly from being in God's presence to doing something as a result of it. By day 65, “God's favor rests upon us when we are being and doing that which He created us in His wisdom to be and do.” (65) Being in God's presence is not an end in itself but a means to use God's power in ministry, in areas of influence and for completing God's assignments. He does return from time to time to choosing the main thing, knowing and loving God. (71) But he seems to quickly return to “what we've been given to do in life...” (73) Even God's grace, favor, “always goes with an assignment.” (90) I was disappointed that Johnson described the face of God as “the ultimate place of favor and responsibility.” (176) What happened to intimate relationship and deep communion?

I was disappointed that there was not much instruction on how to actually enter into God's presence and develop the habit of meeting Him face to face. Johnson writes on Day 136, “What will it take for you to truly count the cost, step out of your comfort zone, and boldly enter God's presence?” (136) But the succeeding days return to more about our assignment rather than how to enter into God's presence. (141) Even the baptism in the Spirit is not something to deepen our relationship with God but to be filled with His power to demonstrate the life of Jesus to the world and affect the course of world history. (147,148)

If you are looking for a devotional to help you experience God's presence, perhaps by prayer or meditating on His word, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book that is more about walking out that relationship, such as the choices we make and the assignments we are given, this is a good one. (78)

My rating: 3/5 stars, mainly because the title does not reflect the content of the book.

Bill Johnson and his wife are Senior Leaders at Bethel Church in Redding, California. He is a well known international speaker and is the author of several books. You can find out more at http://bjm.org/bill/.

Charisma House, 384 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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